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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Additional Church News Reported

Hello again, everyone! I wanted to post again now to share some additional Church news which has crossed my radar in the last couple of days. Let's get right into all of that. We start with stories from the Newsroom on the Church's official website. Yesterday, I reported that additional members of the general Young Women and Primary boards had been called. But apparently three new members have also been called to the Relief Society General Board. You can read more complete biographies of all of these newly-called board members here.

Second, as some of you may or may not be aware, Jacinda Ardern (the Prime Minister of New Zealand) is the niece of Elder Ian S. Ardern, who is serving in the Church's Pacific Area Presidency. He and his wife joined area president Elder O. Vincent Haleck in presenting PM Ardern with a compilation of her family history. Although the Prime Minister has not been personally involved with the Church for some time, she graciously accepted this gift. This continues the Church's ongoing tradition of presenting such histories to major leaders of the world.

Next, Relief Society General President Jean B. Bingham, joined by Sister Michelle D. Craig, First Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency, met with Chile's Minister of Women and Gender Equality, Isabel Plá. They spoke with her on the subject of eliminating gender discrimination and violence and the valuable role women have in society. The two Church leaders exchanged ideas with the Minister, particularly describing how the Church has emphasized the divine nature and vital role of women of all ages, and what the Church has done and continues to do to protect the women of the Church. More details, including a list of other articles describing the recent worldwide ministry efforts of the women of the Church, can be found in this article.

And the Newsroom also reported today some additional details about how clean-up efforts are underway after Typhoon Mangkut swept through Hong Kong and the Philippines. I don't know this for certain, but it is possible that any further progress towards a groundbreaking for the three temples announced in the Philippines (for Urdaneta, Muntinlupa City, and Cagayan de Oro) may be delayed until the aftermath of the storm is dealt with. I hope there will not be a delay, but it is possible. I will be keeping an eye on that aspect of things for sure.

Turning now to the Church News website, the Church has recently reemphasized the ongoing need and available opportunities for senior missionary couples. In light of that need, the Church News provided 5 suggestions for prospective senior missionary couples to remember as they are looking into the options that best suit their gifts and their situations. I would just interject here that without the loving leadership and labor provided by older couples, the work of the Church's Humanitarian program and many temples around the world (to name a few opportunities in which I have actually had experience) could not occur to the degree it does.

The Church News also marked the second anniversary of the dedication of the Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple with a retrospective look back at the history of how the temple was years in the making. And as those in the southeastern United States continue to recover from the recent flooding, the local members of the Relief Society have mobilized to provide assistance.

It may just be my personal opinion, but I have noticed that there has seemed to be an increase this year, and especially in recent months, in the number of news stories about the way the women of the Church, both generally and locally, are making a difference. The Brethren of the Church have been very clear about the fact that the women of the Church have made very valuable contributions to the furthering of the work. It is very significant to me that the first address President Nelson gave as President of the Quorum of the Twelve was directed to the women of the Church.

Some may claim that the Church can and should do more to include women in the Church, but seem to overlook the fact that no major decision in recent years was ever made by the general Church leadership without extensive input from the women of the Church. That has been particularly true recently in the decision to replace home and visiting teaching with ministering, to consolidate the Priesthood and Women's Sessions of General Conference, and with the Come Follow Me curriculum. And we know that two of the general Women presidency members are on each of the three major Church councils, which is significant. Also, Priesthood Executive Committee meetings have been discontinued, with both male and female leaders in the ward meeting to discuss issues on an as-needed basis.

The Church continues to find ways to enhance the contributions of all women in the Church. But more than that, it has been correctly observed that women make up roughly half of the world's population and are mothers to the other half. It has been amazing and humbling for me to see what the Church continues to do to show women how valuable they are in the eyes of the Lord and to the Church as a whole.

I continue to monitor all Church news and temple developments and will pass word of those things along to you all as I become aware of them. That does it for this post. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated, on any post at any time. 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.