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Monday, April 9, 2018

BREAKING NEWS: First Presidency Announces Celebration in Honor of the 40th Anniversary of the Revelation on the Priesthood

Hello again, everyone. I am currently watching the 6:30 PM newscast on KSL, and they just passed along some big news from the Church. The First Presidency has announced a celebration to be held in the Conference Center in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Revelation on the Priesthood. That revelation was announced in a letter dated June 8, 1978, with the signatures of the members of the First Presidency at that time (Spencer W. Kimball, N. Eldon Tanner, and Marion G. Romney), and that revelation was sustained as the word and will of the Lord during the General Conference that followed roughly 4 months later.

The celebration honoring the 40th anniversary of that announcement will be held on June 1 of this year, the details of which will be released at a later time. I, of course, was not born yet when this revelation was accepted as the word and will of the Lord, but I have read firsthand accounts in the biographies of many of the apostles that were involved in the process that led to that revelation.

Some are quick to accuse the Church of being racist, and in a way, I understand people who feel that way. The practice of ordaining all worthy males to the priesthood was established from the Church's foundation, and at some point, under the leadership of prophets who succeeded Joseph Smith, the decision to exclude some individuals from priesthood ordination was made.

There are wide-ranging disputes between scholars over who is to blame for making that change, and also why it took so long for this revelation to come. Some have tried to assign such blame to apostles that didn't feel right about a policy reversal prior to 1978. While I don't know or understand all the reasons things happened the way they did, I firmly believe that it took the right group of apostles who were in the right mindset to receive and act upon the direction from the Lord in the matter that directly resulted in the revelation being received at that time.

As that 40th anniversary celebration approaches, it is interesting to note that none of the apostles involved in the deliberations that led to this revelation are still alive (as President Monson was that last living apostle involved in that process). But we have seen the direct result of that revelation, particularly in the fact that so many internationally-born men are now among the Church's general authorities.

It is therefore altogether fitting and proper that such a monumental anniversary for such a significant and life-changing revelation should be celebrated, and I will be anxious to learn the details of that celebration, which I will be sure to pass along as I receive them. For the moment, I refer you to the Church's official announcement about the celebration, which contains what is currently known about it.

That does it for this post. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time. Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.

Temple Updates (Including Reported Progress on the Barranquilla Colombia Temple)

Hello again, everyone! I first became aware of an update on the status of the Barranquilla Colombia Temple a day or two ago, but in view of some personal circumstances and more pressing developments that needed my attention, this is my first opportunity to post about it. The update shows that work on the interior is progressing, that the landscaping around the temple grounds is closer to its' completion, and that the exterior of the housing facility on the temple lot has been finished. With its' dedication set to occur exactly 8 months from today, it is great to hear of the progress that has been made on this temple..

The day-to-day milestones that are marked in temple construction are wonderful indeed to observe. While we are still waiting for news that full-scale efforts are underway for the Winnipeg Manitoba Temple, and while there has not been any other progress reported on any temples under construction, undergoing renovation, or announced, I did want to note that, with the Church being 3 days past April 6, which marked the 188th anniversary of the gospel's restoration, there are now 11.99 years in which the Church would need to announce and complete 11 temples, in addition to completing the 30 in various phases (which includes the 7 announced 8 days ago by President Nelson during General Conference) in order to have 200 operating temples dedicated by the Church's 200th anniversary (which will, as noted, occur on Saturday April 6, 2030).

By extension, that means that the Church will need to dedicate 3.42 temples per year during those 11.99 years between now and then. Since we know that 2 temples will be dedicated by the end of this year (which is slightly below that average), as we look to the years ahead, we already have seen the announcement of the first temple dedication planned for next year, and in addition to that, we have 5 others that will likely be dedicated next year, which is above that average. With two others already anticipated to be dedicated in 2020, if, as anticipated, full-scale construction begins in Winnipeg at some point this month, and if any other temples have a groundbreaking within the next 8-12 months, they may go on to be dedicated during 2020 or within the years following.
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I know that I heard from a lot of people their opinion that President Nelson would not announce temples during his first General Conference. I felt confident enough in the results of my research on the subject to suggest that he could do so, and likely would, and I was very gratified when he announced 7 new locations in which future temples would be built. I don't know if any of you noticed this (I may be one of the few who did), but the number of temples announced by President Monson in 2015 and 2016 (the third-to-last and second-to-last occasions during his presidency when he would do so) were exactly equivalent to the 7 announced by President Nelson during his first General Conference.

I may be incorrect in this assessment, but that fact suggests to me that President Monson's health struggles during the last 3-5 years of his life may have impacted his ability to determine the timing of such announcements and to announce those locations in General Conference. Between the April 2017 General Conference and President Monson's passing on January 2 of this year, he may have been unable to approve the announcements for any other temples.

With all of that in mind, and based on the fact that the announcement of 7 temples in the first General Conference of any Church president before now has almost been unheard of, and with all we have seen President Nelson do regarding temple announcements in the less than 3 months of his presidency so far, and also in view of President Nelson's good health and extreme vigor, I have no doubt we will see multiple temples announced on other occasions. What will be really interesting to see is whether or not President Nelson will announce a few during every General Conference over which he presides, or if he might opt to keep those to a once-a-year thing, as President Monson did for the last 3 years of his presidency.

Whatever might occur in terms of continuing temple developments, you can count on my reporting on such news here as I learn of it. That does it for this post. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time. Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.

Elder and Sister Gerrit W. Gong Asked to Speak at Women's Conference

Hello again, everyone! There has been a prime example today of how the apostles are assisting the First Presidency in the work of the Church. As some of you might recall my mentioning, President and Sister Nelson were going to be the keynote speakers at the annual BYU Women's Conference, which will be held next month. Due to a scheduling conflict (whatever the details of it might be), the Nelsons will not be able to do that. So they reached out to Elder and Sister Gerrit W. Gong and asked them to take that assignment.

As some of you might recall, prior to Elder Gong's service as a General Authority, he was an Assistant to the President for Planning and Assessment, so it makes sense that he, as one familiar with the BYU campus, would be asked to substitute at this BYU gathering since the Church president cannot be there himself.

I was grateful to have learned of this development. The Church News additionally provided these details about the featured speakers at this year's Women's Conference, which I hope will be helpful to some of you.

That does it for this post. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time. Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.

BREAKING NEWS: Closure Date for the Hamilton New Zealand Temple Confirmed

Hello again, everyone! As implied by the title of this post, the Church has officially confirmed the exact closure date for the Hamilton New Zealand Temple. As I hope some of you might recall, one of the first major temple announcements of President Nelson's administration was this temple's renovation, and was announced 5 days after his ordination and set to occur in July. A few moments ago, I found official confirmation of the exact closure date.

It has been customary for all such closures to occur between Friday & Monday, so I am pleased to share that this temple's 3-year renovation is set to begin on Monday July 23.

I continue to monitor such developments and will do my best to pass them along as I hear of them. That does it for this post. Any & all comments are, as always, welcome & appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time. Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best & pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.