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Sunday, March 10, 2019

My Attempt to Clear Up Misconceptions and Misunderstandings

Hello again, everyone! I hope you will all indulge me as I share a personal post. My purpose in doing so is to attempt (even if I fail) to clear up some misconceptions and misunderstandings on the part of anyone who reads this blog regularly. The need to do so has arisen due to my being criticized through a comment on this blog. The comment, made by one of several who use the "Unknown" moniker to post their feedback, called me out for my failure to recognize that I am not always talking to the same individual in each interaction I have with those who comment as "Unknown".

So let me say this right off the bat: I am only as good as the information I am given. I have one individual who comments as "Unknown" and, in doing so, always leaves his first name with his comment, so I know which "Unknown" comments he has made. I recognize fully that, with the Blogger commenting system being what it currently is, there are some who comment using a default system other than Blogger. And for those individuals, the one and only way I would know whether I am talking to the same person or someone different is if they were to tell me.

Because of this problem cropping up, I wish in some ways I could look through the screen and see who I was talking to every time. I cannot do so, and for the most part, being able to would cause more harm than good. I am also not in any way omniscient, and, due to that fact, am only as good as the information I am given. I would personally love to treat everyone who comments here with the consideration and respect they deserve, and would love to refer to them by name. Therefore, for the sake of my not being perfect or able to see through the screen, could you who use the "Unknown" moniker do me a favor? When you comment, please leave your first name for me before posting, as that will help me know to whom I am speaking.

I also wish to clear up another misconception about me and about the things I post. Some of you who comment have told me that, at times, I come across as being far more interested in asserting the accuracy and validity of my own opinion than I do in conducting a process of earnest dialogue between myself and those who comment here. As I mentioned earlier, I am not perfect. In fact, full disclosure here: I am probably the most imperfect man on earth, even on my best days. That is why I am grateful for the atonement of Jesus Christ, since that can, does, and will make up the difference when I inevitably fall short, which I almost always do.

That said, I do have a firm testimony of the gospel, of the doctrines, practices, and procedures thereof, and I have gained that testimony through years of extensive study. I would be foolish and misguided if I were to claim I have all the answers. I do not now, and I likely will not ever know everything there is to know about the gospel in general, and the topics I cover here in particular. But I have studied for years on end to gain knowledge of such things, and if I don't know something, at least I usually know where to look for answers to such questions. If I have ever portrayed myself as someone who thinks he has all the answers, or whose opinions ought to be considered as the end-all be-all of any discussion, I sincerely apologize. That was in no way, shape, or form my intent.

My purpose for starting this blog was to share my passion for the news and developments of the Church. Generally, I never come away from any interact with anyone in the comments of this blog without having learned something therefrom. As my regular readers will tell you, sometimes in the rush to collect and publish data or information, I overlook something big which escapes my notice. And the efforts others have made to point out such errors are sorely needed. We need to be focused on lifting and encouraging each other, and when that happens through the discussions on this blog, I consider my efforts a success.

Recognizing my imperfections and limitations (which, even on my best days, can be severely debilitating  if I stop and think about them), and acknowledging that I am prone to mistakes constantly, I hope that all of you who read what I post here will forgive and pardon any misunderstanding, misconceptions, or ill feelings any mode or manner of expression I have utilized here may have caused.

My hope and prayer is that we will all do more to ensure civility, kindness, and accuracy purveys and permeates our discussions. If it can be so, then all of my imperfect efforts will have been more than well spent. In the meantime, if any of you have any questions or concerns about my mode and manner of speaking in either blog posts or the comments thereof here, I hope you will feel that this is a safe space where you can let me know about them. As we attempt to uplift, strengthen, encourage, and inspire one another, I likewise hope and pray that the Lord will bless our mutual efforts.

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.

BREAKING TEMPLE NEWS: Rome Italy Temple Is Dedicated as the 162nd Operating Temple of the Church

Hello again, everyone! I apologize for the delay in sharing this, but the Rome Italy Temple dedication is underway. As I anticipated, there have been 3 dedicatory sessions held today (as it is now past 10:00 PM Sunday Italian time), and there will be 2 more each day tomorrow and Tuesday. The Newsroom website shared this report about the dedication, complete with a video summary of the cornerstone ceremony, which demonstrated President Nelson's personal warmth and sense of humor.

And the Church News provided this report on the history of the Church in Italy and the events of the day. In the course of the next 48 hours, there will be more reports from both the Newsroom and the Church News website. In relation to the latter, that website is maintaining a special section compiling all of the Church News coverage that has been or will yet be published, so you can catch the latest stories through that page as they are published and added.

If I am correct that the sessions held today were at 9:00 AM, noon, and 3:00 PM Italian time, and that the two sessions each on Monday and Tuesday could be held at 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM, then the dedicatory sessions will conclude around 36 hours from now. And by way of reminder, the open house tours for the Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo are set to begin on Tuesday March 12. Kinshasa is ahead of Utah time by around 8 hours, so that open house may begin at around 1:00 AM MDT tonight. Oddly enough, it appears that Kinshasa is in the same time zone as Italy.

And so, the Church continues to make great progress on temple construction all around the world. I am committed to bringing all of you word here on temple developments as I become aware of them. In relation to that commitment, I should also note that new information received today indicates progress has been made at the Durban South Africa Temple site. The latest update I have found is that the baptismal font is being clad in marble, that work continues on the ceiling and tiling, that walkways are being poured, and that the walls of the on-site water feature are being prepared to be poured.

Although I hold out a small amount of hope that this update indicates that the construction process for the Durban South Africa Temple is back on track after being affected by electrical blackouts and a high degree of political turmoil, until I am sure that is the case, I stand by my previously-offered assessment that the dedication of the Arequipa Peru Temple could occur before the Durban South Africa Temple is dedicated. Time will tell.

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. 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.

Current Apostolic Statistics: Part Two—Updated Ages, Averages & Apostolic Nonagenarians

Hello again, everyone! I am back again now with the second part of this apostolic update, in which we will move on to talk specifics regarding the long-form and decimal ages of our current apostles, which will also include updated information on the average ages of the First Presidency, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the 15 apostles as a group, and current and future nonagenarians.

So let’s get right into all of that. Again, all data is current as of today (Sunday March 10, 2019). Since my last update, Elder Rasband has observed his 68th birthday. The next apostolic birthday (President Eyring’s 86th) will not occur until the last day in May. By that time, one more of these updates will have been posted on this blog, and another such update will follow 2 days after President Eyring’s birthday (Sunday June 2, 2019). Less than two weeks later (13 days, to be exact), Elder Bednar will observe his 67th birthday. And the next apostolic birthdays after that won’t be observed until August.

With that noted, we now move on to some exact figures about the ages (and average ages) of the First Presidency, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and all 15 apostles as a group. In the Church’s leading Quorum, President Nelson is, as noted towards the end of my previous post, 94 years, 6 months, and 1 day old, with a resulting decimal age of 94.50 years. His right-hand man, President Oaks, is now 86 years, 6 months, and 26 days old, or 86.58 years. The junior member of the First Presidency, President Eyring, is now 85 years, 9 months, and 10 days old, which is 85.78 in decimal years.

The First Presidency thus now has a combined 266.86 years of life experience, which results in an average age for each man of 88.95 years. President Nelson remains 5.55 years older than that average, with President Oaks closest to it (as he remains 2.37 years younger than that average), which means that President Eyring remains 3.17 years below it. Unless there is something of which we are not aware in relation to the health of any of these Brethren, they will continue to set new records for the oldest-serving First Presidency in Church history for the foreseeable future.

Next, let’s turn our attention to the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. President Ballard’s long-form age now sits at 90 years, 5 months, and 2 days, or 90.42 years. Elder Holland now has a long-form age of 78 years, 3 months, and 7 days, with a resulting 78.27 decimal years. Elder Uchtdorf (who is a mere 27 days older than his senior apostolic seatmate) age now stands at 78 years, 4 months, and 4 days old, which works out to 78.34 years.

Elder Bednar has now reached the full age of 66 years, 8 months, and 23 days, which works out to 66.73 decimal years. Elder Cook, the oldest but least senior of the 3 apostles born in 1940, has a long-form age of 78 years, 6 months, and 2 days old, with a resulting decimal age of 78.50 years. Elder Christofferson has now reached the age of 74 years, 1 month and 14 days old, making his decimal age 74.12 years.

Elder Andersen, who, as previously noted, will be marking a decade in the apostleship this April, is now 67 years, 7 months, and 1 day old, and his decimal age is 67.58 years. Elder Rasband, who is our only apostle to have a birthday since my last update, is now 68 years, 1 month, and 4 days, or 68.09 years. Elder Stevenson, at exactly 4.5 years younger than Elder Rasband (as both were born on the 6th), has a long-form age of 63 years, 7 months, and 4 days, or 63.59 in decimal years.

We move on now the final 3 apostles. Elder Renlund has now reached the exact age of 66 years, 3 months, and 25 days, with a resulting decimal age of 66.32 years. Elder Gong is now 65 years, 2 month, and 15 days, which works out to 65.21 in decimal years. As for Elder Soares, he is now 60 years, 5 months, and 8 days old, which is a resulting 60.44 decimal years.
           
Based on those numbers, the current members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles now have a combined 857.61 years of life experience, which results in an average of 71.47 years per member. Elders Christofferson and Rasband are respectively above and below that average, with the former again being 2.65 years older, and the latter remaining 3.38 years younger. Based on the information I provided earlier about the members of the First Presidency, the entire body of apostles now have a combined 1,124.47 years of life experience, which is an average of 74.97 years. I don’t know whether or not I have miscalculated this in the past, but the latest calculations I have run show that Elder Holland is older than that average by 3.2 years, while Elder Christofferson is now apparently 0.85 years younger.
           
We now move on to the nonagenarians. President Nelson remains the seventh oldest apostle in Church history, and is set to move up to the seventh spot on July 5 of this year. In the meantime, President Ballard has observed his next nonagenarian milestone (that occurred on Wednesday February 20, 2019, when his lifespan became longer than that of President Thomas S. Monson), and he also has 3 other milestones in that regard coming up on May 15, June 9, and July 31, the specifics of which I will discuss closer to those dates. For the other apostles, President Oaks will join the nonagenarian list in 3 years, 5 months, and 2 days, while Elder Soares will do so in 29 years, 6 months, and 22 days, with the other apostles doing so at other various intervals, which will be detailed more fully as they approach.

I hope that many of you found this information to be interesting, informative, and accurate. 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.


Current Apostolic Statistics: Part One—Updated Data for President Oaks, President Nelson, and Longest-Serving Apostolic Groups

Hello again, everyone! While I continue to welcome comments on any previous posts (particularly any feedback any of you have on the latest version of my list of potential cities for which a temple might be announced next month in General Conference, or the coverage I have provided and will yet provide about the Rome Italy Temple dedication), it is time once again to bring you all updated information on the latest apostolic statistics. This data will again be published in two posts.

Although I sincerely hope most of you will find this information interesting and enlightening, there may be some of you who are not interested in the data I will be presenting. Consequently, I will not in any way be offended or bothered if any of you skip over this post and the next one. This first post, as has been the case for previous updates, will address President Dallin H. Oaks’ tenure as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, then shift to explore where Church President Russell M. Nelson currently stands in terms of his age and tenure length among his prophetic predecessors. That will be followed by some observations about the tenure lengths of our current First Presidency, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and all currently-living ordained apostles as a group.

The more specific data about upcoming apostolic birthdays, the long-form and decimal ages of our 15 current apostles, and details about nonagenarians will then follow in a second post, which will be published a few minutes after this one is. My last such update was posted on January 27 of this year, and since I have made a tradition on this blog of sharing these updates every 6 weeks, I will be planning on posting my next such update on Sunday April 21 (two weeks after General Conference, and one week following the dedication of the Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple).

The data in this update is current as of today (Sunday March 10). There is a lot to get to, so let’s jump right in. President Oaks has now served as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for a period of 1 year, 1 month, and 24 days, and he has not moved up among the other Quorum Presidents since my last update. I mentioned previously that his first tenure milestone for this year is coming up on April 9, 2019, at which time he will have served longer as Quorum President than Franklin D. Richards, thus becoming the 24th longest-serving Quorum President in Church history.

His next two milestones will, as noted when I provided an overview of projects for this blog for this year, be observed on July 7 and 9 of this year. I will provide more specifics on those with my fourth overall update this year (which I am planning on posting on June 2 of this year). As mentioned previously, the length of President Oaks’ service will depend not only on his health and life length, but, of course, the health and life length of President Nelson will factor into that as well.  Insofar as I have been able to ascertain, none of our 15 current apostles is experiencing any kind of age- or health-related limitations. While the lifespan and length of apostolic tenure for all of these men is in the Lord’s hands, I am reasonably certain it will be several years before the next apostolic death.
And speaking of President Nelson, since he was ordained and set apart as Church President on the same day he set apart President Oaks as Quorum President, his tenure has spanned 1 year, 1 month and 24 days as well. He is also now 94 years, 6 months, and 1 day old. He will observe his only 2019 tenure-length and age-length milestones two days apart on July 3 and 5 respectively with subsequent milestones more spread out in the years following that. And again, I will be detailing those more specifically closer to the time when they will be reached.

In the meantime, as also noted previously, the current First Presidency will only be joining the list of longest continuously serving First Presidencies in Church history on Saturday April 20, 2024, so I will be outlining their future milestones on that list closer to the time.  As for the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the current members will mark 3 years together on March 31, 2021, at which point they will join the list of the longest-serving Quorums of the Twelve Apostles in Church history. I will likewise be providing updates on those future milestones closer to that time.

Interestingly enough, less than two months prior to that, the 15 apostles will make the list of the longest-serving such group (the exact date is February 8, 2021). With that said, I want to conclude this portion of the update. 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 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 (which will be the second half of this update that published here within the next few minutes), I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.