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Friday, July 19, 2019

Revised and Expanded List of Potential Locations in Which a Temple Could Be Announced During the October 2019 General Conference

Hello again, everyone! As I previously mentioned, I have, over the last little wile, been working on a mass and large-scale revision process (which included some degree of expansion) for my list of potential locations in which a temple could be announced during the October 2019 General Conference. As a result of my completing that process earlier this evening, I am keeping my promise to share those updates here. The list, along with the relevant notes for it, follows below. An open commenting period for it continues to be in effect on this blog until Monday September 30,at which point I will take that week to put the finishing touches on it before General Conference begins the following Saturday. 

In order to not disturb the flow of that information, I will end here as I always do: 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 feedback is in compliance 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.

Temple predictions: 14-16 new temples announced for any of the following locations[1]:

Africa Southeast[2]: Antananarivo Madagascar; Second DR Congo Temple (in Mbuji-Mayi or Lubumbashi); Maputo Mozambique; Kampala Uganda; Cape Town South Africa
Africa West[3]: Freetown Sierra Leone; Kumasi Ghana; Monrovia Liberia; Benin City Nigeria; Yamoussoukro Ivory Coast
Asia[4]: Ulaanbaatar Mongolia; Jakarta Indonesia; Singapore; Taichung Taiwan; Hanoi Vietnam
Asia North[5]: Osaka Japan
Brazil[6]: Belo Horizonte, Florianopolis, João Pessoa, or Ribeirão Preto Brazil
Caribbean: Kingston Jamaica[7]
Central America[8]: Coban Guatemala
Europe[9]: Edinburgh Scotland; Berlin Germany; Barcelona Spain; Oslo Norway; Vienna Austria
Europe East[10]: Vilnius Lithuania
Mexico[11]: Torreon or Queretaro Mexico
Middle East/Africa North[12]: Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates
Pacific[13]: Port Moresby Papua New Guinea; Tarawa Kiribati; Savaii Samoa; Christchurch New Zealand
Philippines[14]: Tacloban or Bacolod Philippines
South America Northwest[15]: Santa Cruz Bolivia; Iquitos Peru; Cali Colombia; Maracaibo Venezuela
South America South[16]: Bahia Blanca Argentina; Vina del Mar Chile; Ciudad del Este Paraguay
North America (including the United States and Canada)[17]:
North America Central[18]: Missoula Montana; Green Bay Wisconsin; Wichita Kansas; Des Moines Iowa; Pueblo Colorado; Rapid City South Dakota
North America Northeast[19]: Cleveland Ohio; East Brunswick New Jersey; Montpelier Vermont;
Augusta Maine
North America Southeast[20]: Jackson Mississippi; Knoxville Tennessee; Savannah Georgia; Jacksonville Florida; Charlotte North Carolina Shreveport Louisiana
North America Southwest[21]: Bentonville Arkansas; Fort Worth Texas; Las Cruces New Mexico; Queen Creek Arizona; Elko Nevada
North America West[22]: Victoria British Columbia; Fairbanks Alaska; Bakersfield California
Utah[23]: Herriman Utah; Evanston Wyoming or Preston Idaho; Heber City Utah; Washington County Utah (Third Temple)

[1]Having announced a record-breaking 27 new temples during his first 3 General Conferences as Church President, some have suggested that President Nelson could focus on clearing the existing backlog, which could result in a hiatus on temple announcements. While I understand that opinion to a certain degree, we have heard much more from apostles, other Church leaders, and those privy to such information regarding President Nelson’s plans to expand the number of temples. With that in mind, I believe at least as many temples as I have suggested here may be announced, though it could be more. I also believe that the expansion of the number of temples will be done with wisdom, order, and common sense, which may mean that President Nelson might not explain his plans for the near future, and instead focus on gradually implementing them with the end result in mind that the number of temples will ultimately include a ten-fold increase. The locations named below seem to be the most likely to be announced during this conference, based on the reasons I will detail in subsequent notes.
[2]The Africa Southeast Area has experienced significant Church growth. In fact, the degree to which such growth has occurred resulted in the First Presidency announcing the division of this area on June 28, 2019, which will go into effect in August 2020. There are currently 2 operating temples which are serving this area, with the Durban South Africa Temple set to be dedicated in February of next year. With 2 other announced temples for which a site confirmation or groundbreaking are pending, I have found 6 additional cities which could get a temple in the near future. Most of these candidates are on the list based on either the mileage to the current temple(s), travel rigor, or oversized temple districts. Additionally, Uganda, Mozambique, and Madagascar are fourth, sixth, and seventh respectively on the list of top ten nations with the strongest Church presence that do not have a temple in any phase. Due to its’ isolation from the rest of the African continent, Madagascar is my top pick for this area. And in reference to a second DR Congo Temple, I have personally favored Lubumbashi, but a recent report on the Church Growth Blog pointed to the idea that a temple in Mbuji-Mayi might be more imminently needed, so both are on this list. Moreover, a temple in Mbuji-Mayi would fulfill the public proposal of a temple for the Kasai region, which was made by Elder Andersen in 2016. For some of these locations which are in political, moral, or other turmoil, the temples mentioned could provide a welcome refuge.
[3]The same factors I referenced in note 7 above (about significant Church growth, the mileage and rigors involved, and temple district sizes) also applies to the Africa West Area, as reflected by the 5 candidate cities listed here. With only 2 temples currently operating, 1 more under construction, and 1 which has been announced, the Church Growth Blog has noted that West Africa could have at least 13 operating temples by 2030. Only two of the five candidate locations in this area do not have a temple in any phase: Sierra Leone and Liberia, which rank as the second and fifth respectively on the aforementioned top ten list.  Sierra Leone is my top pick for this area, and also for Africa overall. And while it may be difficult to know how soon a second Ivory Coast temple and a third Nigerian temple may be announced, I have felt confident enough in these picks to include them here.
[4]The Asian Saints, whose ability to practice their faith has been somewhat limited at times by governmental regulations, are nonetheless very faithful, as evidenced by recent temple announcements for that continent. With 2 temples currently serving the Saints in this area, one other is under construction, and two more have been announced. The factors first mentioned in previous notes above also apply to the Asia Area, which is the largest geographically in the Church. Of the locations listed, Mongolia is my favored pick, since that nation is eighth on the aforementioned top ten list. Additionally, President Hinckley publicly proposed a temple in Singapore around 2 decades ago, and Vietnam is a dark-horse pick that I included based on reports of Church growth in the area.
[5]The Asia North Area of the Church has seen some stagnated growth. But President Nelson announced a temple for Yigo Guam in October 2018, and a temple for Okinawa Japan last April. As a result, Osaka is on my list, with the main reasoning being that the Saints in Osaka are roughly 1.5 times further away from their temple than the 200-mile distance specified by previous prophets.
[6]Brazil has been a Church stronghold for a while now. With seven temples currently in operation, the Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple will be dedicated within the next 4-8 months. The Belem Brazil Temple had a groundbreaking ceremony 7 weeks prior to this General Conference, and the Brasilia Brazil Temple is anticipated to have a groundbreaking prior to the end of this year. One other temple (in Salvador Brazil) is awaiting a site announcement and groundbreaking. Although any or all of the candidate cities I listed above appear to be likely prospects for the immediate or near future, President Nelson visited Saints living in the Sao Paulo region roughly 5 weeks prior to this General Conference, so another temple in that area may be the priority.
[7]This city is another dark-horse pick, but is on the list due to the factors mentioned previously, and also because someone suggested it elsewhere. And given what President Nelson has done in terms of the 27 temples he has announced thus far, Kingston could be another location for a smaller temple. I say that because the Kingston Jamaica Saints travel 298 miles one-way overseas to worship at their assigned temple (in Port-au-Prince Haiti, which was dedicated 5 weeks before this General Conference). Given President Nelson’s attention to remote areas, it seems more likely than not that a temple in Jamaica may be in the works for either the immediate or near future.
[8]I have previously referenced information on prospective temples in Central America from someone who lives and works in Guatemala. Based on the information received from that individual, when Guatemala receives a third temple, the best way to split the current Guatemala City district would be for a temple to be built in Coban. My personal research has confirmed that opinion. But above and beyond that, during the same tour that saw President Nelson in Brazil, he also made a stop in Guatemala, and could perhaps have been assessing Coban as a temple prospect. So a temple in that city may simply be a matter of time.
[9]The situation of Saints living on the European continent is somewhat interesting. Where there are centers of strength, significant growth has occurred. But there has been some stagnant growth through the continent in recent years. Having said that, both the Rome Italy and Lisbon Portugal Temples were dedicated this year, while construction is underway on the Praia Cabo Verde Temple (which falls under the Europe Area, even though it is geographically closer to West Africa), another temple has been announced in Budapest Hungary. And most or all of the factors I have mentioned previously apply in equal measure to the Europe Area, making it likely that any of the 5 locations I mentioned here could get a temple this go-round. With Barcelona and Berlin being new additions to this list, I have prioritized the latter over the former due to Elder Uchtdorf’s recent visit there. And the odds of a temple in Austria, which was also visited by Elder Uchtdorf recently, may depend on how soon work is able to get underway on the temple in Budapest, which is Austria’s closest neighbor with a temple in any phase.
[10]The Church in Eastern Europe is an interesting case to consider. With one temple currently operating in Kyiv Ukraine, one other has been announced for a major, yet-to-be-determined city in Russia. Based on the political climate of Russia, it may take a while for the Church to get the temple there approved and built. In the interim, a temple in Lithuania, which, insofar as I can tell, would have no political obstacles, may be the best option to help with the currently-reported activity levels at the Kyiv temple. Additionally, although no stakes are currently established in Lithuania, which would make the nation more of a dark-horse pick, there have been recent examples of President Nelson announcing temples for other cities where no stakes are established. Above and beyond that, in the mid-1990s, then-Elder M. Russell Ballard visited the Saints in Lithuania and publicly proposed a temple there, so I have felt confident enough to list such a prospect here this go-round.
[11]Mexico presents an interesting anomaly. With some significant growth in areas of strength, the mass consolidation of units in that nation continues. A temple was announced in Puebla last October, and it is difficult to know how soon another temple may be announced for that nation. But the cities of Queretaro and Torreon have been identified by a Church member living in Mexico as likely to get a temple in the near future, so both are on this list.  
[12]The bulk of Church membership in this geographical area is comprised of US military personnel. The fact that such personnel are only there for a comparatively short amount of time led me to conclude for a while that a temple for this area would not occur for a decade or more from now. But given the unprecedented, out-of-the-box thinking President Nelson has demonstrated in the temples he has announced (particularly in announcing temples in locations that I felt were unlikely to see a temple for another decade or more), and given the fact that the UAE represents a Church stronghold in the area, I have put a temple for that nation on this list. And although it seemed that there was an equally-likely chance such a temple could be built in either Dubai or Abu Dhabi, after further research on my part, I have concluded that the latter is the more imminently-likely prospect.
[13]The Pacific area is another stronghold of Church growth. With 10 temples currently operating there (and 3 others announced), it seems logical to assume that other temples will be needed to serve the area. Most (if not all) of the factors I mentioned previously apply equally to this area. Additionally, New Guinea, and Kiribati are ranked first and third respectively on the aforementioned top ten list of nations. So I have no doubt the Pacific Area will see temples announced in each of these cities within the next 5-7 years, if not sooner.
[14]The Church has two operating temples in the Philippines (Manila and Cebu City). The temple announced in October 2010 for Urdaneta is now under construction, with three more announced for Muntinlupa City, Cagayan de Oro, and Davao. If that is any indication of what might happen in the future, then other temples may be needed for the Philippines, and the cities mentioned here seem to have the highest likelihood of having a temple announced, due to difficult travel which may constitute an undue hardship for reasons outlined in prior notes.
[15] The entire South American continent has experienced massive Church growth. Having previously discussed Brazil, in reference to the South America Northwest Area, I wanted to observe that there are 7 operating temples there. 1 more is currently under construction in Arequipa Peru (for which a dedication is anticipated before the end of this year) Two others, the Lima Peru Los Olivos and Quito Ecuador Temples, are both now under construction. And while I have personally-favored La Paz as the candidate for Bolivia’s second temple, my research shows one in Santa Cruz may be more crucially needed. And although I had two candidate cities each for Peru and Colombia, further research has enabled me to narrow each down to the most likely location. Also, President Hinckley publicly proposed a temple in Maracaibo, and further research on my part suggests the time may be right for that prospect.
[16]The South America South Area has likewise seen very significant and rapidly expanding growth. So again, with President Nelson’s extensive temple-building plans in mind, I have considered the most imminent prospects for future temples in this area, and the factors mentioned in previous notes hold true here as well. Currently, this area of the Church is served by 6 operating temples (1 of which is closed for renovation), and there were 2 more announced for this area last year. With that in mind, the 3 locations listed in this section seem to have the strongest case in their favor of a temple announced in the near future. In reference to Argentina, I received word of a report that Saints in the city of Bahia Blanca were lobbying Salt Lake City for a temple of their own. And in view of President Nelson’s visit to the Buenos Aires area 5 weeks before this General Conference, it seems probable he went there in order to personally assess such a prospect in addition to visiting with Church members there.
[17]Although the North American continent (primarily in the United States) has seen somewhat of a stagnating growth situation, in light of the recent increased mentions of President Nelson’s ambitious temple-building plans, the likelihood is extremely high that the US and Canada will be included in whatever the plans are to expand the number of temples worldwide. The locations listed below represent what I believe are the most imminent prospects for each of the now-6 North American areas of the Church.
[18]As mentioned in previous notes, on the one hand, it may be difficult (if not impossible) to gauge the imminent likelihood of any locations. But as also mentioned, in view of some of the relevant factors, I can see the merits of each location listed here. Particularly, I heard a report of a public proposal of a temple for Missoula Montana. Pueblo made the list due to a report I received of high attendance numbers at the Denver Colorado Temple. For Kansas, Iowa, and South Dakota, mileage is the main factor driving my choices, and a temple (if only a smaller one) seems likely for all three states in the near future. And a temple in Iowa could be named for Mount Pisgah, a significant landmark in the pioneer history of the Church.
[19] Given the steady growth of the Church in Ohio and Pennsylvania, second temples for each seem to be likely sooner rather than later. And New Jersey, Maine, and Vermont may each be eligible for a temple of their own given the distance factor, and the rigors of travel involved in getting to their currently assigned temples.
[20]Since the Saints in Jackson currently have an arduous journey to get to their assigned temple, it is my opinion that a temple will be announced in that city sooner rather than later. And an arduous journey also factors in to my reasoning for temples in Shreveport, Jacksonville, Knoxville, and Savannah. If, as I anticipate, President Nelson plans to prioritize the mileage factor and also filling in the gaps that exist in temple district coverage, then any or all of these may simply be a matter of time.
[21] For this area of the Church, the Saints in some cities currently assigned to temples across the Mexican border may, depending on what happens in the future, have a hard time reaching those temples. With that said, I am basing my theories on the potential location of an Arkansas temple on information from a friend indicating that land has been held in reserve for a temple in Bentonville for several years now. And I am basing my picks for temples in Texas and New Mexico on the opinion of someone living within the current Dallas Texas Temple district. This individual noted that Fort Worth would almost certainly be the next city in Texas to get a temple. So if border issues arise, those could be ameliorated by a temple in Las Cruces, which would likely also cover El Paso for the time being. Arizona and Nevada both fall under the “Mormon corridor”, and, based on further research on my part, I have prioritized Queen Creek due to recent growth in that city. And although Elko and Ely Nevada once seemed to have an equal likelihood of having a temple announced, after further research on my part, I have chosen to prioritize Elko this go-round.
[22]With this area having been consolidated in August of this year with the North America Northwest Area, there are a total of 3 locations for which I feel a temple announcement is most likely. Victoria was mentioned by name to me by someone living there, who reports the hardship of rigorous travel and the expense involved, which makes a temple a feasible prospect. Fairbanks is one of two Alaskan cities for which I anticipate a temple will be announced in the near future (the other being Juneau), but my research shows the former as being the more imminent prospect. And although there has recently been some stagnant growth in California, Bakersfield has been on my radar for a variety of reasons, many of which have been explained in previous notes. Additionally, in my opinion, the fact that a temple was announced in Yuba City last October does not at this time eliminate the likely imminence of a temple for Bakersfield.
[23]Since one new temple has been announced in the Utah Area of the Church within each of the last four sets of announcements, more are surely in the works. Particularly, a temple site was publicly mentioned as being held in reserve in April 2005 for a temple in the Southwest Salt Lake Valley. Though no official confirmation has occurred, if my research is correct, the land in question has been the subject of a border dispute between Herriman and Bluffdale cities, but is currently owned by the city of Herriman. For Heber City, Preston, and Evanston, they all seem to have an equal likelihood of having a temple announced in the near future. And Elder Steven E. Snow, who was born in Washington County, recently told the Saints there at a stake conference that someone from the Temple Department had indicated to him that a third Washington County temple would be needed in the not-too-distant future. For these reasons, I couldn’t narrow any of these selections down, at least not for the moment.

Some Thoughts on Recent Announcements Made About the New "Children and Youth" Initiative, Which Kicks Off in 2020

Hello again, everyone! On the heels of yesterday's official confrimation from the Newsroom about known details of the new global "Children and Youth" program which will replace Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Personal Progress, Duty to God, Faith in God, and Achievement Days as they currently exist, the Church further announced today that an extension of the international youth conference gathering "For the Strength of Youth" (FSY) will expand its' reach Church-wide. When word of the original announcement came to my attention, I had thought about focusing a new blog post on that subject, but something else told me to wait. And now I know why that wait was necessary.

With these two announcements, published on the Newsroom a day apart, we are now able to fill in some blanks in the more general information the Church originally released about the new initiative. The unique thing about the FSY program, as it has served youth outside the US and Canada, is that adult leaders of youth are not involved therewith. Rather, the FSY program allows young adults to mentor youth. The new FSY program here in the US (and by extension, in Canada), will be fully implemented by 2021 and/or 2022, depending on the way those gatherings are scheduled. In the meantime, only selected stakes will be participating in FSY next year/

As noted, additional details of the new "Children and Youth" Initiative will be shared in a special Fifth-Sunday Presentation in late September via video clips from President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. That, in turn, will be followed by the release of more details through a Face-to-Face Event for Children and Youth, which will be held in mid-November, and through which Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, in company with the entire General Presidencies of the Primary, Young Men, and Young Women organizations.

At this point, what is abundantly clear to me is that this new initiative will be an immeasurable benefit to the children and the youth. And given that both announcements have also amply illustrated that the program's intent will be to unify the children and youth on a global scale, what we know so far has provided insight into how all of that will be accomplished. And although the goal is for global uniformity, it is nice to see there will also be a degree of flexibility in implementation in various areas of the world. And those involved in the "pilot programs" for these changes have all reported that the new initiative works, provides opportunities for congregational growth, creates more chances for the youth and children to take a more active role in the planning process, and so much more.

With all of that in mind, it will be interesting indeed to see what happens as a result of President Ballard's message in September, and the Face-to-Face event held in mid-November. The details of the new initiative, and its' associated programs and practices, are taking shape, and this new initative will no doubt bless the children and youth of the Church on a global scale in ways we have not heretofore seen. For my part, I continue to monitor all Church news and temple updates and will bring word of those to you all as I receive it.

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 feedback is in compliance 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.