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Monday, January 14, 2019

Major Church News Reported; Temple Developments Clarified

Hello again, everyone! In the early hours of this morning, the Church News and the Newsroom on the Church's official website shared some images and insights about and a look at the process relating to the construction for the Rome Italy Temple, where VIP/Media tours are underway beginning today, with formal public tours set to begin in a couple of weeks.

So, I wanted to pass along this release (from the Newsroom) and this article (from the Church News) which share some stunning interior photographs and describe the workmanship of the temple. Both of those articles feature quotes from Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, but they incorrectly describe his role as "chairman of Temple and Family History Department", but the Temple and Family History departments are two separate divisions.

Therefore, it appears his role is actually chair of the Temple and Family History Executive Council. This time last year, Elder Quentin L. Cook was serving in that capacity, so it seems safe to conclude that within the last year, there has been some transferal or shuffling of assignments between members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, particularly as a result of the reorganization of the First Presidency, Elder Uchtdorf's return to that Quorum, and the appointments in late March of Elders Gerrit W. Gong and Ulisses Soares to that Quorum.

And that makes sense. I mentioned in a post at some point within the last couple of months that Elder Holland's assignment to oversee the Middle East/Africa North Area has since been transferred to Elder Bednar. And as I mentioned in a post (or the comments thereof) on this blog, Elder Cook is now the chairman of the Priesthood and Family Executive Council, so it makes sense that the assignment to chair the Temple and Family History Executive Council has now been transferred to Elder Bednar.

Sorry about that sidenote. Getting back to the subject at hand (which is the opening of the Rome Italy Temple for public tours), the Church News additionally published this article, highlighting the journey involved to get the Christus and apostles' statues to the Rome Italy Temple Visitor's Center, and this one, which focuses on the symbolism of those statues.

Turning to other Church news now, I am honestly not sure whether I shared these items yesterday or not. Reports of the Renlunds' address to young single adults last night can be found via the Church News and on the Church's official Newsroom. Likewise, reports of the visit President and Sister Nelson and Elder and Sister Duncan made to victims of the Paradise Campfire can be found in the Church News and from the Newsroom.

The final item of Church news I wanted to share was reported earlier today. Sister Kristen Oaks, wife of President Dallin H. Oaks (who serves as First Counselor in the First Presidency) addressed single adults in the Holladay Utah area, sharing her views on the questions single adults should and should not be asking themselves. As some of you may be aware, President Oaks' first wife died in 1998, and he married Sister Kristen Oaks around two years later. So she wasn't married until she was in her 50s, and because of that, she can relate all-too-well to the experience of older single adults.

And I also was able to clarify some temple developments as well. It appears that what was originally reported as a construction fence which has been installed around the Brasilia Brazil Temple site was actually only a boundary fence, which means that the groundbreaking for that temple might not be as imminent as I thought it was. Additionally, it appears that there might be more work that needs to be done to prepare the site where the San Juan Puerto Rico Temple will be built than I originally believed. As a result, the groundbreaking for that temple may also not be as imminent as I believed it to be.

This also means that I will again be needing to look at and revise my list of announced temples, and make adjustments on the general estimates I have offered for their groundbreaking ceremonies. And it appears likely that both the Pocatello Idaho and Saratoga Springs Utah Temples will be the next ones to have a groundbreaking. As I have mentioned quite a few times on this blog, the process of analyzing the likely time-frames and providing well-researched general estimates for future temple groundbreakings is an ongoing process.

I do continue to monitor all Church news and temple developments and will be sure to bring word of those to you as I receive it, whether through new posts or comments on recently-published posts. In the meantime, that does it for now. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated, on any post at any time, as long as such comments are made in accordance with the established guidelines. 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.

President Russell M. Nelson's Prophetic Administration Reaches the One-Year Mark

Hello again, everyone! In the early hours of January 14, 2019, I am pleased to be able to post here in honor of the one-year mark of President Nelson's prophetic administration. As many of you may recall, I had found out about the passing of President Monson on January 2 after being prompted to check KSL's website, which resulted in my being able to find out and pass along that news not long after it was reported. During the 12-day apostolic interregnum which followed, mission calls were sent out with President Nelson's signature, since he was the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and thus was the Acting President of the Church.

In my summary of the funeral services for President Monson (which were held on January 12), I had noted that President Nelson looked very worn out, unwell, and exhausted. Two days later, he was ordained and set apart as Church President, and two days after that, we had the inaugural broadcast of the announcement of the reorganization of the First Presidency, followed by the traditional press conference.

In both of those settings, President Nelson looked considerably better. I had remarked when covering the events of January 14, 2018 that the prophetic mantle had clearly been placed upon President Nelson, and ventured a guess that the reason he looked so unwell during the funeral was because he had not yet been ordained and set apart to lead the Church. Once that occurred in the temple, he was literally ready to go.

He selected as his counselors his apostolic seatmate and dear friend, President Dallin H. Oaks, and retained President Henry B. Eyring in the First Presidency, asking him to serve as Second Counselor for a second time. (President Eyring had served as President Gordon B. Hinckley's Second Counselor for roughly 4 months prior to President Hinckley's passing, and had been asked to serve as First Counselor to President Thomas S. Monson.)

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, who had served as President Monson's Second Counselor, was not retained by President Nelson, and resumed his place in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, where he has been given quite a few responsibilities based on his status as a skilled administrator. The responsibilities Elder Uchtdorf has been given were those overseen by Presidents Nelson, Oaks, and Ballard prior to their new assignments. President Nelson made it clear on at least two occasions that neither President Eyring nor Elder Uchtdorf were being demoted, and that each was willing to serve now where they were most needed.

Since President Oaks was then the next most senior apostle, he (President Oaks) was also set apart as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. But because his simultaneous service in the First Presidency wouldn't allow President Oaks to actively function as Quorum President, the next most senior apostle, President M. Russell Ballard, was set apart as Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

The new leaders literally hit the ground running. In the year that has followed, President Nelson has done so much to reshape the Church. Most of that process has involved reducing and simplifying programs and practices of the Church in a way that encourages more individual and familial responsibility, as well as greater Church-wide unity. But he has also done more to highlight and underscore the diversity which exists among the general leadership of the Church.

He had noted in the press conference that, although he and his counselors were all white and American, there would be a day when the Church would see "more flavors in the mix". He has fulfilled his own prophecy in that regard, as he felt impressed to call the Church's first Asian America and Latin American apostles. For the first time in a long time, 5 of the 15 apostles in the Church have come to the apostleship within the last 3.25 years. There may not be much turnover in the First Presidency or Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for the foreseeable future.

President Nelson and his counselors have focused on their worldwide ministry with great vigor and success. Perhaps the most impressive highlight of this first year of President Nelson's prophetic administration is the fact that 19 new temples have been announced within that time, and sites have been officially or unofficially confirmed for many of them. Sister Nelson shared some observations about her husband, saying that, as he speaks to Church members around the world, he looks 20-30 years younger than his 94 years of age. She also noted that President Nelson is serious and very earnest regarding his responsibility to prepare the Church and the world for the Second Coming of the Savior.

President Nelson has also traveled extensively, becoming the first Church president to deliver remarks in a language other than English during devotionals with members. He has observed the practice of only stopping long enough between trips to take care of necessary Church business, get some rest as needed, and grab a new apostolic companion before setting off again. It is anticipated that he will continue to travel extensive and expand the number of temples in various phases for as long as he can.

He has also taken action to make certain announcements, such as changes in area leadership, and new and consolidated missions, earlier than they have typically been announced in previous years. His career as a heart surgeon has honed his keen attention to detail in such a way that he is very much ahead of the curve in taking care of his ministerial responsibilities. He noted in an interview that if we thought 2018 was exciting, we should wait for this year, and the years that will follow. As a physician, he gave the Church membership a simple prescription: "Eat your vitamin pills. Get your rest. It's going to be exciting.

He has a very clear vision for the Church in the years ahead. I referenced previously a conversation someone overheard between Presidents Oaks and Eyring, in which President Nelson's two counselors marveled at the fact that President Nelson had just outlined the timing whereby future changes for the Church would be made over the following 2-3 years. President Nelson is clearly a man who takes seriously his responsibility to foresee what the Church will be facing in the days ahead, and what can be done to prepare the Church and its' members for what is to come.

It is all but certain that we are in for another historic year for the Church, and I look forward to finding out what is next in that regard. As I learn more, I will be sure to pass it along here. In the meantime, if his first year as Church President was any indication, 2019 is almost certain to be another big year that will change the Church as we know it currently. It will certainly be interesting to see all of that unfold.

This concludes my thoughts about the one-year anniversary of President Nelson's prophetic administration, so that does it for this post. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated, on any post at any time, as long as such comments are made in accordance with the established guidelines. 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.