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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Church Provides Official New Pictures for First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (Including Individual Images for Elders Gong and Soares)

Hello again, everyone! It has been a busy day for me gathering data and blogging about it, and I thank you all for your continued interest in everything I post. I am pleased to be able to report that the Church has added official images to their media library, which includes new group photos for the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and official individual images for new Quorum members Elders Gerrit W. Gong and Ulisses Soares.

It also appears as though the Church is in the process of getting the PDF version of the May 2018 Ensign up on the official website as well. From what I have been able to determine, the front will feature a picture of President Nelson at the pulpit, and the inside front and back covers will feature the new photos of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Stay tuned for more on all of that as I learn 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 Construction Progress Report Section on Announced Temples Reworked

Hello again, everyone! In view of some new information that has crossed my radar in the last 2 or 3 days, I have reworked the announced temples section of my temple construction progress report, which has involved reordering many of them due to updates I have found, and also, where I feel confident in doing so, giving a very general time-frame within which many of them might go on to have a groundbreaking. The updates in that regard follow below.

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.

Announced temples:
171. Bangkok Thailand Temple: Planning and approvals; artist’s rendering released on March 19, 2018.
Note: With the site identified and the release of the artist’s rendering, a groundbreaking for this temple may just be a matter of time.
172. Urdaneta Philippines Temple: Awaiting government approvals.
Note: The biggest barriers preventing progress on this temple were getting government approval and having an official site announced. With the recent confirmation of the site location, it may simply be a matter of time before government approval goes through, at which point a groundbreaking can be held.
173. Lima Peru Los Olivos Temple: Planning and preliminary construction phase; awaiting official site announcement.
Note: The contractor assigned to oversee design and construction for this temple indicated in March 2017 that a year of pre-planning would be needed before a groundbreaking was held. If that year has come and gone, we may see a groundbreaking set soon.
174. Saratoga Springs Utah Temple: Planning and approval; designs underway; awaiting official site announcement.
Note: Having received notification that the design process is underway for this temple, since it is a Utah temple, it seems relatively safe to assume that a groundbreaking could be held sooner rather than later.
176. Harare Zimbabwe Temple: Planning and approval; awaiting official
Note: Shortly after this temple was announced in 2016, Kevin S. Hamilton, who currently serves as the president of the Church’s Africa Southeast Area, was quoted as saying this temple could have a site announcement and groundbreaking in the early months of 2017. With that not occurring at all last year, it seems safe to assume that this temple could have a site announcement and groundbreaking this year. It may also be safe to assume that the Church might opt to have that occur before Elder Hamilton is released from his assignment on August 1.
177. Brasilia Brazil Temple: Planning and approval; site inspected by Church engineers on June 21, 2017.
Note: With the site having been confirmed and inspected almost a year ago, a groundbreaking for this temple may just be a matter of time.
176. Greater Manila Philippines Temple: Planning and approval; awaiting official name announcement.
Note: The site for this temple was confirmed not long after it was announced. Whether or not an official name is announced anytime soon, it may just be a matter of time until the groundbreaking is held.
177. Nairobi Kenya Temple: Planning and approval; awaiting official site announcement; media event held June 14, 2017.
Note: In an article published on April 18, 2018 by a Kenyan newspaper covering President Nelson’s visit to that nation, two tidbits were shared: the Church has selected a site for that temple, although its’ location has yet to be officially announced, and that this temple will, by comparison, be one of the Church’s smaller temples, which, depending on how quickly things happen for this temple, might be dedicated sometime during 2021. For that reason, I have felt impressed to move this temple up on this list.
177. Pocatello Idaho Temple: Planning and approval; awaiting official site announcement.
Note: Although the citizens of Pocatello have speculated about two or more potential locations for this temple, one of those locations has emerged as being the most likely to be chosen. Depending on how quickly that is confirmed, a groundbreaking could follow shortly thereafter.
178. Layton Utah Temple: Announced April 1, 2018; awaiting official site announcement.
Note: The Church reportedly acquired land in Layton two days before this temple was announced. Based on that acquisition, members have speculated that will be the most likely location for this temple. If that is confirmed in the near future, since this is a Utah temple, a groundbreaking could occur sooner rather than later.
179. Richmond Virginia Temple: Announced April 1, 2018; awaiting official site announcement.
Note: In mid-April 2018, a Virginia newspaper disclosed that the Church had purchased an 8-acre site in 2015. If the Church confirms that the site in question will be the official location for the temple, a potential groundbreaking could follow shortly thereafter, especially since temples in the US generally have their construction start a lot sooner than their international counterparts.
180. Abidjan Ivory Coast Temple: Planning and approval; awaiting official site announcement.
Note: Although this is the last of the three temples announced in April 2015 that might have a groundbreaking, Church growth in the Ivory Coast seems significant enough to believe that a second (and perhaps even a third) temple could be announced in this nation within the next 15-30 years. With that in mind, the Church may opt to have a site announcement and groundbreaking sooner rather than later.
181. Quito Ecuador Temple: Planning and approval; awaiting official site announcement.
Note: Although the first Ecuadoran temple (which is located in Guayaquil) had a 14-year wait between its announcement and subsequent groundbreaking, the Church will likely not wait even half that long for this temple’s groundbreaking. I would anticipate a groundbreaking could occur sometime between now and the end of 2020.
183. Belem Brazil Temple: Planning and approval; awaiting official site announcement.
Note: Although this temple was announced in 2016, its’ counterpart in Brasilia, which was announced a year later, has had a site confirmed and inspected already, which makes it likely that that temple will have a groundbreaking before this one does. That said, I would anticipate that we could see a groundbreaking for this temple within the next two or three years.
185. Salta Argentina Temple: Announced April 1, 2018; awaiting official site announcement.
Note: While many people (myself included) had shared our feelings that the next Argentine temple would be built in Neuquen, the Lord’s higher thinking resulted in a temple being announced in Salta. Although it has been just over two weeks since that announcement, I believe we might see a groundbreaking for this temple within the next 3 years or so.
186. Bengaluru India Temple: Announced April 1, 2018; awaiting official site announcement.
Note: President Nelson’s recent world tour includes this city, which may involve a search for a suitable location. While there may be obstacles to getting this temple started, I could see a groundbreaking happening within the next 5 years or less. And perhaps Elder Gong’s status as someone of Asian descent might be a means to get work started on this temple sooner than that.
187. Managua Nicaragua Temple: Announced April 1, 2018; awaiting official site announcement.
Note: President Nelson had publicly proposed a temple for Managua while an apostle, and he fulfilled that proposal himself. As noted elsewhere, Elder Juan A. Uceda is being assigned as president of the Central America Area, and one reason may be so he can work with the Nicaraguan government to get quick approval for this temple. If that occurs, a groundbreaking could happen within the next 3 years or less.
188. Cagayan de Oro Philippines Temple: Announced April 1, 2018; awaiting official site announcement.
Note: Although this temple is the second to be announced for the Philippines since the beginning of last year, I would anticipate that this temple will likely not have a site announcement or groundbreaking until both the Urdaneta temple and the second temple in Manila are at least under construction. That said, I believe this temple could potentially have a groundbreaking within the next 3-4 years.
189. Russia: Announced April 1, 2018; awaiting official location and site announcement.

Note: Although Russia may have problems that could potentially create a barrier to getting this temple built, President Nelson had supervisory responsibility for the Europe East Area of the Church for several years, including during his tenure as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. For that reason, he may be able to effect an expedited start for this temple. That area is now overseen by Elder Uchtdorf, who, as a European-born apostle, may have unique connections to help that process as well. Being conservative, I could see a groundbreaking for this temple in 7-10 years, but certainly sooner if the Lord opens doors for that to occur.

Some Thoughts on the Presidency of the Seventy

Hello again, everyone! I am posting again now because I have, as I may have previously mentioned, been going over many of my files that contain different data about those in leadership positions on either a general or area level. And in that regard, a couple of thoughts hit me about some unprecedented things that are happening with the current and future membership of that presidency. So let's talk about all of that right now.

First, as I noted, I found it significant that the Church not only called replacements for Elders Gong and Soares following their calls to the Twelve, but that the First Presidency presented three other changes in the Presidency of the Seventy that will be effective on August 1 for sustaining vote as well. This is the first time that I can recall the First Presidency asking for an advanced sustaining vote for changes that would not be effective for another 4 months following that vote.

Connected to that are three other thoughts. One of the three that will be released in August is Elder Juan A. Uceda, who, as some of you may be aware, was only called to serve in the Presidency of the Seventy last August, which means his release is effective after only year in that assignment. It would appear that the Church is releasing him so he can then take an assignment as the new president of the Central America Area. So it occurred to me to wonder whether that new assignment might enable him to convince the Nicaraguan government to let the Church get a quick start on the temple that has been announced for the capital city of Managua.

The second of those three thoughts is that, once the August 1 changes are effective, 4 of the 7 members will have been born outside the United States. Elder Kearon was born in England, Elder Vinson in Australia, Elder Teixeira in Portugal, and Elder Godoy in Brazil.

And the final of the three thoughts I had is that, with Senior President Elder L. Whitney Clayton now being 67 years old, if there are no other changes in the Presidency by 2020, then his being released and granted emeritus status will leave Elder Patrick Kearon as the Senior President.

I looked back as far as I could into the history of the Senior Presidents of the Seventy, and, as far as I can tell, if Elder Kearon is called as Senior President at that time, he would become the first Senior President of the Seventy born outside the US. If there has been another foreign-born Senior President of which any of you might be aware, please let me know.

It is also significant to me that, with the exception of Elder Clayton, all other members of the Presidency of the Seventy will have served for a year or less as of August 1. That is a pretty significant turnover.

I have also been wondering a lot lately about the specific assignments that will be given to the Presidency of the Seventy in August after they are relieved of the responsibility to oversee the Church's North American Areas. I know that prior to the 2004 decision to give the Presidency oversight of those North American Areas, they were executive directors of various Church departments.When they were given the area assignments, the responsibility to serve as executive directors of the Church departments, which had rested with the Presidency of the Seventy, was given to General Authority Seventies. I look forward to seeing what will happen there.

And to round out these thoughts about the Presidency of the Seventy, I wanted to share some data on the Presidency of the Seventy as it will be constituted in August of this year. The data relates to the number of talks each of those 7 men have given in General Conference, and how recently they have spoken. So let's go into all of that.

Elders Robert C. Gay and Terence M. Vinson are the two members of the Presidency that have only given one address in General Conference, in response to their calls as General Authorities. Elder Gay spoke in the Saturday Afternoon Session of the October 2012 General Conference, and Elder Vinson first spoke in the Sunday Afternoon Session of General Conference one year later. For that reason, I believe that the two will be asked to speak during the next General Conference.

Elders Carlos A. Godoy and Jose A. Teixeira were among the first group of General Authorities called during President Monson's presidency, and they have each spoken twice in General Conference. Elder Godoy last spoke in General Conference during the Sunday Afternoon Session of the October 2014 General Conference, and six months later, Elder Teixeira had his second opportunity to speak during the Sunday Morning Session of that conference.

Elder Patrick Kearon was called as a General Authority in April 2010, and Elder Carl B. Cook's call as a General Authority came one year later. Both have spoken twice in General Conference as well, with Elder Kearon last doing so in the Sunday Afternoon Session of the April 2016 General Conference, and Elder Cook having done so in the same session six months later.

The final member of the Presidency of the Seventy is, of course, Elder L. Whitney Clayton, who was called as a General Authority during the April 2001 General Conference, and who became a member of the Presidency of the Seventy 7 years later, filling the vacancy in that Presidency that was caused by Elder Christofferson's call to the apostleship.

Elder Clayton has given 7 addresses in his 17 years as a General Authority. 5 of those 7 have been given since his call to the Presidency of the Seventy. And of the 5 addresses, only 1 has been given since his call as Senior President of the Seventy, although he had given an address in the April 2017 General Conference, which occurred six months prior to his call as Senior President.

As I have noted in other posts, it will be interesting to find out if the Church will now only have one member of the Presidency of the Seventy speak in each General Conference. But if I had to make a guess, I would venture my opinion that two members will speak during General Conference next October, and that those two will likely, as noted above, be Elders Gay and Vinson.

This concludes the thoughts I wanted to share about the Presidency of the Seventy, so 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.

Update Provided for the Durban South Africa Temple; Mormon Newsroom Reports on President Nelson's Visit to Zimbabwe

Hello again, everyone! This post will cover two topics: an update on the construction of the Durban South Africa Temple and Mormon Newsroom's report on President Nelson's visit to Zimbabwe. Let's get right into all of that.

First of all, the last update we had for the Durban South Africa Temple was posted just under one month ago. At that time, I noted that the process of attaching the precast concrete panels was ongoing, and that first floor drywall was being hung, while roof trusses were being set for the adjacent missionary housing facility.

Then today, a few sources I had available for temple updates noted that the east-side concrete panels were being stitched at their joints, while wall brackets are going in on the north and west sides. In the meantime, the process of hanging drywall is ongoing, and the exterior of the missionary housing facility is being painted.

It was wonderful to hear of this temple's progress, since, as I have previously mentioned, my mother is very familiar with Durban. I do not see anything in that update that would warrant moving the general or more specific completion estimate for that temple up further, but it is wonderful to have heard of these developments.

Moving on to the second topic I wanted to cover, there is a reason why we did not hear anything yesterday about President Nelson's time in Zimbabwe. It appears that, while a member meeting was held in Nairobi, the gathering for Harare was a devotional rather than a member meeting, which accounts for the delay in reports on what was said during that time.

Mormon Newsroom shared this report of that devotional, which was attended by a media representative from Zimbabwe, who shared his reaction to hearing President Nelson's message. It is well worth reading, and I commend it to you with my full endorsement.

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.

Some Preliminary Thoughts and Questions About the October 2018 General Conference

Hello again, everyone! I wanted to post again right now to throw out some preliminary thoughts and questions I have been considering about the October 2018 General Conference. Your input on this would be appreciated.

1. I have gone back and forth with my thoughts on the potential layout of the Women's Session. There has been a lot to consider, such as the following questions:
a. The Church originally noted that the Priesthood Session for the April 2018 General Conference would run around 1.5 hours, but it actually ran for nearly 2 hours, which was its' standard length before President Monson started doing shorter addresses in 2015. With that in mind, is it likely that the Women's Session will be that long?
b. It has been customary for at least one member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to speak during the Priesthood Session. Would it be safe to assume that will also be true for the Women's Session each October?
c. The entire First Presidency has traditionally spoken to conclude the Priesthood Session. Would that also be the case for the Women's Session, or might the Church continue the established tradition of only having one First Presidency member speak?
d. If only one First Presidency member does speak during the Women's Session, how might that affect the typical patterns by which First Presidency members have typically spoken (with the Church President generally giving 4 or 5 addresses, and each of his counselors giving 2 or 3 talks, one of which will be for the Sustaining of Church Officers).
d. Would the Church opt to have any other leaders speak during the Women's Session, or is it likely that only three female auxiliary members, the First Presidency member(s) and/or a member of the Quorum of the Twelve speak?
2. If the Church does not opt to have a member of the Quorum of the Twelve speak during the Women's Session, how might the number of apostles speaking in each session change? (We have typically seen 2 during the Saturday Morning Session, 4 on Saturday Afternoon, 1 in the Priesthood Session, 2 on Sunday Morning, and the final 3 in the Sunday Afternoon Session.)
3. Since both of President Nelson's counselors led a portion of the Sustaining of Church Officers (with President Eyring leading the Solemn Assembly, and President Oaks presenting the other changes), which of the two might potentially lead that sustaining vote in October? I have felt it will likely be President Eyring, and my reason for saying that is that President Oaks (in my opinion) did very well reading the long list of Area Seventy changes, so he may continue to do so each April, when most of those changes are announced, leaving President Eyring to lead the October sustaining vote, which, by comparison, generally sees far less area seventy changes to present.
3. The Church has typically had 2 members of the Presidency of the Seventy speak during each General Conference. In October of 2017, two that were in the Presidency but had been released at the beginning of the previous August spoke, and both in April of last year and this year, only one member of the Presidency spoke. Is one the new normal now?
4. The Church has seemed to be giving the general auxiliary presidency members more opportunities to speak regularly in General Conference. In April 2017, only two general officers spoke. Last October, we heard from 4 general officers, and in this last conference, 5 general officers spoke to us. Might the Church continue to allow its' general officers more opportunities to speak? And would the fact that the General Women's Session is being held in October affect the number of other general officers who speak during the other four sessions?
5. In my preliminary efforts to put together the predictions for next October, is there anything I need to keep in mind regarding the general authority seventies who might potentially be asked to speak? I know we will likely hear from 4 of the 8 new General Authorities called, and I have taken a look at other General Authority Seventies who either have not yet given a second address, or who have not spoken in General Conference within the last 5 years or so, and I want to be sure I am not overlooking anything.

It is interesting to consider how much the April General Conference altered what has been typical patterns in previous General Conferences. It was what it needed to be, of course, but these questions are interesting to consider. I look forward to your feedback.

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.