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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Elder Gerrit W. Gong Speaks at BYU-Provo Devotional; Highlights Importance of Life-Long Learning

Hello again, everyone! As some of you might recall, roughly one month after his call to the apostleship, Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife Susan were asked to substitute for Church President Russell M. Nelson and his wife, Wendy, when the latter were unable to speak at the BYU Women's Conference in May of this year due to a scheduling conflict. Elder Gong, who had been in the administration of BYU prior to his call as a general authority in April 2010, returned to that campus earlier today to speak at the weekly devotional.

He addressed the importance of lifelong learning, taking a unique approach in covering that topic by asking his audience to imagine themselves in the future, and how they would feel at that time about their BYU experience in which they are currently engaged. It is a timely message in a way. It has often been said that "hindsight is 20/20", meaning that looking at past experiences through the lens of where it has brought us now helps us see clearly what we may have overlooked or failed to realize during that same period of time.

In moments where we cannot see the hand of the Lord directing the major details of our lives, we may find ourselves wondering what the purpose behind such experiences might be. And for a while, perhaps none of that makes sense in the moment. We may feel neglected, forsaken, and abandoned in challenging or trying times where nothing makes sense and when it feels very much like nothing will get better, or that there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

But as Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf reminded priesthood bearers in April 2006, we need to develop the capability the Lord has perfected, to see the end from the beginning in any situation in which we find ourselves. When we retain in remembrance the ultimate purpose of our lives: to live so we can one day return to our Father in Heaven, and to do so knowing we have each fought our individual battles well and are "returning with honor", that can always put any mortal experience, whatever it might be, into its' proper perspective.

We are, after all, eternal beings going through a mortal experience, rather than mortal beings going through an eternal experience. The Lord has taught me that repeatedly through various ways and means throughout my life. There have been several experiences in my more than 30 years of life that, in the moment, I would have preferred not to have, but for which, looking back on them now, with the benefit of hindsight, have shaped me into who I am now.

The Church News summary of Elder Gong's address was a timely message for me personally. As I may have referenced previously, in early spring of last year, my health took a nosedive from which I am still attempting to recover. And within that same period of time, if and when things have changed, it has usually just been to a different kind of worse rather than any sort of improvement. The same goes for the health situation of my sweet wife, with the only differences being that in her case, it has dragged on more than twice as long, and that we are still trying to find the root cause for her ongoing health challenges.

So right now, I have had nearly two years of yet another experience that doesn't seem to make much sense right now, but which I can only hope will make sense at some point in the future. If previous examples in my life are any indication, that will be true in this case. So I can, from experience, say that keeping an eternal perspective is hard in the midst of severe and lengthy periods of those kinds of tests, but that there is always a light of the end of the tunnel. Even when we cannot see more than one step ahead in the paths of our lives, sometimes, all we need to do is to keep trudging ahead as best we can. Is it difficult? Absolutely. He didn't say it would be easy: He only said it would be worth it.

And, if we allow Him to do so, not only can He strengthen our backs to bear our burdens, or lighten the loads we bear, but He can and will carry us through such periods of time. One of the hardest things to do in such times when everything feels out of our control is to surrender whatever control we have left completely to His hands. But He alone knows how best to uphold, strengthen, and succor us in such times, so if we cut Him out of giving us the help we need, going through hardship will only be that much more difficult.

I hope all of us can take that message to heart. It is an important one to understand. We may not know the reasons for anything we might experience, but we don't necessarily have to. We just need to understand that He does know, and that He can and will help us through such things, if we allow Him to do so. I leave these thoughts, my testimony of their truth, and my love and blessing with all of you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

BREAKING TEMPLE NEWS: Hurdles Cleared on Asuncion Paraguay Temple Renovation Process

Hello again, everyone! New information of which I became aware a while ago demonstrates that the Asuncion Paraguay Temple is no longer stalled in commencing its' renovation process. That temple, which closed almost a year ago, has seen significant delays in the commencement of that progress. As of today, it is unclear whether or not the renovation of that temple will follow a similar change in style and design to what we have seen occur for temples first dedicated during the Hinckley-era building boom of the late 1990s and early 2000s.

 If that is the intent, then we are probably looking at this temple concluding that process in mid-2020 or so. But if the basic design and structure of the temple is not changed, then I could see that process concluding in late 2019 or early 2020, as other sources have indicated may turn out to be the case. But given that the temples undergoing renovations have been stalled, whether they are older or newer, I am trying to be more conservative at the outset until more is known about the extent and consistency of that renovation process.

I continue to monitor any and all developments in terms of temple progress and Church news and will do my level best to bring word of those to you all as I become aware of it. 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.


Newsroom Releases Statement About Name Change

Hello again, everyone! As some of you may be aware, following the release of President Nelson's statement reemphasizing the usage of the proper name of the Church, many people seemed surprised that all relevant changes relating to compliance with President Nelson's request were not immediate. The problem I have with that notion is that, as anyone who owns and operates a website will tell you, there is more to changing a URL (web address) to any site than meets the eye. If, for any reason, the desired domain name to which any website wants to change is unavailable, it takes time to either find other options or negotiate for the desired URL.

Additionally, in that statement, President Nelson had noted that Church departments had started the preliminary work towards complying with that request, and noted that in the coming weeks and months, more information would be provided on this matter. Although the statement was released in August, it was not until the day before General Conference began that we learned that the Mormon Tabernacle Choir would change its' name to the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square.

Any change takes time, so to assume or assert that such changes should be instantaneous seems misguided at best and disingenuous at worst. Accordingly, today, the Church's official Newsroom page released this statement to explain why a change has not yet been made to the URL for that site yet, and what that process will involve and entail.

I think it is a wise thing that, where possible, Church resources take time to be updated, and I don't think that is unreasonable. So, whenever and however that site changes its' name, I will embrace those changes. I appreciate the Newsroom's publishing this statement to clarify what their process will be. Similar processes may be coming for the Church News website.

I continue to monitor all of those developments, along with any and all other Church and temple news, and will do my best to pass word of those along to you all as I receive 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.