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Sunday, August 19, 2018

Some Additional Observations About Asian Temples

Hello again, everyone! This will just be a very quick post to pass along some information of which I became aware around 10-15 minutes ago. It appears that severe storms have struck several nations in the Asia Area of the Church. In particular, my local news just mentioned that some of those upheavals of nature have occurred specifically in the nations of India and Indonesia.

While nothing solid has been mentioned in relation to Thailand, if past, current, or future storms have had any impact on the Saints there, then I can see why Church leaders may potentially be opting to hold off on any announcement about the groundbreaking for the Bangkok Thailand Temple until weather conditions clear. There may be a slight possibility that the Philippines could be affected by the Asian storms as well, but it seems unlikely, as my research shows that the Philippines is distant enough from the affected nations that that shouldn't have an impact.

But it could be that any Asian temples under consideration for an announcement could have that process delayed for the moment while the Church assesses if, how, and in what manner the current storm season may hinder the feasibility of such an announcement. In the meantime, it could also be true that. as I observed in an earlier post, President Nelson may be waiting on making the first temple groundbreaking announcement(s) of his presidency until 3 or more announced temples are ready for construction.

It would also not surprise me in any way to find out that such announcements are made 3-6 weeks before the groundbreakings are set to take place, or that they perhaps have a smaller window between the announcement of such groundbreakings and when they are scheduled to take place. Whatever might occur in that regard, I will do my level best to bring word of any developments to you all here as I learn of them.

That does it for this post. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time. If you enjoyed what you read here and would like to stay informed of newly-added content, please feel free to subscribe. 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.

The Church News and President Nelson Provide More Context Regarding Statement About Church Name

Hello again, everyone! There have been several more Church news stories published since my last update, which I hope to be able to pass along to you all in the days ahead. That said, there have been a few that, to me, need to take precedence and be passed along right away. Those stories detail additional context President Nelson and the Church News have provided regarding the statement he issued last Thursday to reemphasize the importance of using the Church's official name.

To start, as I have previously noted, this is not so much a "new policy decision" as it is a correction and reiteration of policies that have been in place for a long time. President Nelson, who is currently visiting Saints in Canada, provided counsel to the Saints in the regions he visited which clarifies that distinction. (That article was published in the Deseret News).

There was also this article, which contained some similar elements to the previous one. And although in the comments of my post covering the statement's release, I had shared this article (which details 6 reasons we should call the Church and ourselves by the proper name, none of which are related to the statement itself), I thought it would be worthwhile to share it again here.

I just wanted to provide some additional commentary on this, if you all will indulge me. In their responses to this statement's release, there was a lot of public expressions to the effect that the "change" would be too hard, too confusing, or not important enough to implement. Some also took their responses to the extreme, suggesting that the name of the Book of Mormon should be changed.

I even heard some statements to the effect that, regardless of the way in which President Nelson's statement was worded, it was not necessarily incumbent upon any of us to comply with the request. That is something I wanted to address more fully here. Before I do so, I want to be clear on one thing:

I do not claim in any way that I have the right or authority to force anyone into compliance with anything the prophet says, nor would I want to exercise such powers even if I had them., It would be highly inappropriate for me to assume or try to exercise "control, dominion, or compulsion" upon anyone. and if I (or anyone else) were to attempt to do so, then any of us that did would be subject to the penalties the Lord outlines in D&C 121 starting in verse 33 to the end of the section.

That said, it is a fair point, to a certain extent, that our agency enables us to choose whether or not we do follow such directives when they are given. At the same time, what seems to be misunderstood is that freedom to act or not is not in any way equivalent to freedom to escape the consequences for failing to follow the Lord's will as expressed by His servants.

The Lord has said, "Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same." Our failure to follow the counsel of the Lord's prophet is therefore equivalent to failure to hearken to the voice of the Lord, which, if we continue to do, can lead to grave consequences for us. Round about the time the Church was restored, the Lord gave to the Prophet Joseph Smith the revelations we now have in the Doctrine and Covenants as Sections 20 & 21. In the latter revelation, the Lord shared the following counsel in verses 4-7:

"Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me;

"For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.

"For by doing these things the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory.

"For thus saith the Lord God: Him have I inspired to move the cause of Zion in mighty power for good, and his diligence I know, and his prayers I have heard."

In the above passage, the Lord explains that when we follow the prophet, we have the assurance that we will be prospered and preserved, both temporally and spiritually. But the reverse is also true: if we choose to reject the prophet's counsel and continue incorrect behaviors and practices, then the Lord will surely hold us accountable for our failure to follow the prophet's counsel.

There are other elements related to all of this. In the Teachings of the Living Prophet Student Manual, Chapter 2 is well worthy of review, as it covers how highly the words of the living prophet should be prized, cherished, accepted, and followed above and beyond the words of any previous prophet in this or any other dispensation of the world.

Additionally, however, there is also the fact that this is a relatively "small and simple" thing President Nelson is asking us to do, and if any of us have a hard time following the counsel (which, again, is a reiteration and added emphasis of previously-announced policies and procedures rather than a "newly-announced" way of doing things), then each may find it even more difficult to do things that may be seen as more significant or note-worthy that we are asked to do by the living prophet.

Again, while I do not pretend to any authority, power, or influence which would provide ways and means to force compliance with this latest revealed word from our prophet, the Lord and His servants throughout the ages have made clear exactly what the consequences can and will be if we fail to do as the prophet has requested, advised, counseled, and revealed. I for one would not want to chance such things, but the choice is clearly ours as individuals and as the collective Church membership whether or not that should be done.

I testify wholeheartedly that the statement President Nelson has released comes from the Lord. If I can say anything about it, I have gained that witness for myself. My hope and prayer is that each of us may come to gain our own witness on this subject. As we follow the prophet's counsel, he will not lead us astray, and we will be blessed for complying with that counsel. I so testify with a grateful heart in the name of Him whose Church this is, and through Whom this direction has come to His chosen prophet at this time, even the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Temple Construction Updates

Hello again, everyone! I wanted to post briefly to share some temple-related developments. I have previously mentioned the progress the Church is making towards having 200 operating temples by or before the 200th anniversary of the reestablishment of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (which will occur on Saturday April 6, 2030).

As of today, there are now 11.63 years remaining until that day. With 159 operating temples currently, there are 30 others in various phases of construction. So the Church would just need to complete each of those and announce and complete 11 others within those 11.63 years, which could be easily done if 3.53 temples were completed per year.

As I also previously mentioned, with only 2 temples scheduled for dedication later this year, 2018 will be below that average. But the Church has already scheduled 1 temple dedication to take place next year, and there are 4 or 5 others that will, barring anything unexpected, be dedicated the following year. And there are 3 that we know of so far which are anticipated to be dedicated in 2020, likely within the first half of that year. And any temples that might have a groundbreaking within the next year or sooner could likewise be completed in 2020 and the following years.

As the next two years pass, and each of these temples goes on to dedication, the passage of time and the number and timing of those dedications will cause that average to shift. It is also worth noting that, although very little is known so far about the extent of President Nelson's temple-building plans (other than the fact that those plans will outpace and overshadow President Hinckley's previous legacy as the foremost temple-building Church president), the number of temple events in the future could potentially expand exponentially.

I should also mention that, although it is very rare indeed to get to mid-to-late August of any year without a temple groundbreaking being scheduled, let alone held, if work is going on behind-the-scenes and outside our notice to rapidly prepare a number of temple sites for the construction process, it may not be unreasonable to believe that the Church may announce a number of groundbreakings simultaneously, nor would it surprise me at all if some of those groundbreakings were only announced 2-6 weeks before they occur.

The last such announcement we had was in 2016, when the First Presidency announced that the groundbreaking for the Winnipeg Manitoba Temple would take place just 15 days before it was held. We also know that there are currently 3 announced temples that seem closest to a groundbreaking ceremony, and that others may also be close, though the timing of all but the most imminent 3 may be harder to pin down.

And of course, with a number of temples undergoing renovation (all but one of which have reportedly made steady progress), the number of temple events that will be held over the next two years may be off-the-charts and unprecedented.

That said, there was one temple construction development which has been reported in recent days. On August 17, a new photograph posted to the LDS Church Temples Facebook page a couple of days ago showed that progress has been made on the white exterior of the meetinghouse which is being built adjacent to the Lisbon Portugal Temple.

I am keeping my eyes open for all such developments and will pass word of those along to you all as I become aware of it all. That does it for this post. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time. If you enjoyed what you read here, please feel free to subscribe to stay informed of newly-added content. 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.