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Tuesday, October 8, 2019

BREAKING NEWS: Release of the Transcripts for Addresses Given During the October 2019 General Conference Includes a Significant Change

Hello again, everyone! In yet another couple of unexpected developments, the Church has made available the transcripts for the addresses given during the October 2019 General Conference, and a slight change has been implemented to one of the only consistently common items which occurs in every General Conference. I am referring to the common consent practice whereby the leaders of the Church have been presented for sustaining vote. For the last 150 years at least, the process of presenting names for sustaining vote has been entitled "The Sustaining of Church Officers", with other titles tacked onto that common name when applicable.

But as Church President Russell M. Nelson initially announced (and as Elder Cook subsequently expounded upon), those serving in what had been colloquially termed "auxiliaries" will, as part of the other changes, now be called "officers" at both the general and local level. As a result of that, that part of General Conference which had, up through April of this year, been called "The Sustaining of Church Officers" will now be known by the more fitting title of "Sustaining of General Authorities, Area Seventies, and General Officers of the Church".

As I began composing this blog post detailing this change, there had been a problem with accessing the transcript of that process. But it appears to be fixed now. That said, I think we would all be well advised to take time to review those transcripts frequently during the next 4-6 weeks until we have our physical copies of the November 2019 Ensign, and even more so after we receive those copies thereof. I do continue to monitor all Church news and temple updates and will do my level best to bring word of those to you all here as I become aware of such developments.

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 M. Russell Ballard Observes His 91st Birthday

Hello again, everyone! After the report of two breaking Church news developments earlier today, I wanted to post now a tribute to President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who is observing his 91st birthday today. Among the total of 19 nonagenarian, President M. Russell Ballard currently ranks 14th, and he will next move up on that list in March of next year. That said, let's get to some biographical details.

Melvin Russell Ballard Jr. was born in Salt Lake City Utah to Melvin Russell Sr. & Geraldine Smith Ballard, on this day in 1928. Both his paternal & maternal grandfathers (Melvin J. Ballard & Hyrum M. Smith) were apostles, and Elder Ballard is thus a direct descendant of the early leaders of the Church (Hyrum M. was the son of Joseph F., who was the son of Hyrum Smith, brother of the Prophet Joseph Smith).

As I previously mentioned, the Church has, by tradition, had at least one apostle currently serving who has ancestral ties to the Smith family. It is further interesting to note that Bruce R. McConkie, who was the last apostle indirectly related to the Smith family (being the son-in-law of Joseph Fielding Smith, who was the son of Joseph F. who was the son of Hyrum, who was the brother of the Prophet Joseph Smith), was the apostle whose death resulted in the apostolic vacancy that necessitated Elder Ballard's call.

He served as a missionary in England, as has been noted in previous blog posts. Upon his return, he served in the US Army Reserves, where he rose to the rank of First Lieutenant. As a result of obtaining his secondary education from the University of Utah, he met a young lady named Barbara Bowen, whom he married on August 8, 1951 in the Salt Lake Temple. As I reported last year, she died on October 1, 2018, and was laid to rest one year ago today.

They became the parents of 7 children, and one of their daughters, Brynn, married Peter Huntsman, whose mother, Karen Haight Huntsman, is the daughter of Elder David B. Haight, one of Elder Ballard's apostolic colleagues. It is interesting to see that additional relationship Elder Ballard has to other LDS apostles. Brother Ballard worked professionally in auto sales. His Church service included serving as a counselor to his mission president, as a bishop twice, and as president of the Canada Toronto Mission. He completed the final year of that assignment as a General Authority Seventy, having received that call in April 1976.

Less than four years later, on February 20, 1980, he was called to the Presidency of the Seventy. Both before and as a result of that assignment, he swrved in a wide variety of capacities. Particularly, the Church had established an International Mission in the late 1970s, and in 1985 then-Elder M. Russsell Ballard ws called to serve as president of that mission, overseeing the isolated congregations within it from Church headquarters. During his roughly 5 years and 7 months or so in the Presidency of the Seventy, he had moved up in that Presidency from being the junior member thereof to the third most senior member.

In the October 1985 General Conference, as a result of the death of Elder Bruce R. McConkie a couple of weeks after giving his powerful final testimony, M. Russell Ballard was called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Now-President Ballard is known and respected for the emphasis he has placed on missionary work in his apostolic ministry. Since October 1985, he has moved from the position of the junior apostle to now being the third in apostolic seniority. In his 43 years as a general authority (which has seen his apostolic ministry span exactly 34 years this month), he has given 78 addresses in General Conference (all but 7 of which he gave prior to his apostolic call), which includes the one he gave during this last General Conference, for which the transcript will be available later this week). All of these addresses are well worthy of review.

And, as we know, the death of President Thomas S. Monson on January 2 of last year resulted in the First Presidency being reorganized on January 14, with President Russell M. Nelson choosing his apostolic seatmate and the new President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Dallin H. Oaks, as his First Counselor. Consequently, President M. Russell Ballard was set apart as Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve. He thus is tasked, with the approval of the First Presidency, with giving the other 11 members of that Quorum their various assignments around the world and at Church headquarters.  I am grateful for the life and apostolic ministry of President M. Russell Ballard, and on this, his 91st birthday, testify of the divine inspiration that attended both his apostolic call and the way and timing by which he has moved up in ranks of apostolic seniority and among all apostolic nonagenarians.

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.

BREAKING NEWS: President Nelson to Minister in Southeast Asia; Rendering Released for the Layton Utah Temple

Hello again, everyone! At the top of this breaking news post, I'd be remiss if I did not first take just a brief moment to thank you all for your continued interest, ongoing support, and regular comments. Some of you may have commented earlier today to report the breaking news I will now share, and I will be addressing any comments ASAP this afternoon. In the meantime, let me now share the two breaking news developments reported by the Church today.


First of all, President Nelson is not letting the proverbial grass grow under his feet following the recent historic General Conference weekend. He has made plans for a third 2019 ministry tour as an ongoing effort to enable as many Church members as possible to have the opportunity to see a prophet, and to better acquaint himself with the issues worldwide members are facing. He, accompanied by his wife, Wendy W. Nelson, and Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Katherine, will travel to Southeast Asia, making four stops in a seven-day period.

The Church leaders will depart from Salt Lake on Friday November 15, returning to Salt Lake on Friday November 22, 6 days before Thanksgiving here in the United States. The first stops will last two days, and see the leaders in Hanoi and Ho Chi Min City in Vietnam. They will stop in Phnom Pehn Cambodia the following day, and I would be shocked if they do not spend part of the time looking at prospective locations for the Phnom Pehn Cambodia Temple, although a potential site has already been identified. The following day, the leaders will travel to Singapore, ending the tour with the last stop in Jakarta Indonesia the following day. So perhaps part of the time may be spent scoping out any of these cities for readiness for a temple of their own.

President Nelson becomes the first Church president to visit these regions of Southeast Asia since President Gordon B. Hinckley visited Vietnam and Cambodia in 1996, and Singapore and Indonesia in 2000. The Newsroom release also notes that the leaders will speak at member meetings to Latter-day Saints and friends of otther faiths, and that they will also pay courtesy calls to government and religious leaders. So stay tuned here for more coverage on that tour as it occurs.

If that were the only breaking news, it would be reason enough to rejoice, but the Church also released earlier today an official exterior rendering for the Layton Utah Temple, as they continue to work with the Layton city government on final approvals for that temple. No groundbreaking date has been announced as of yet, but until further notice, I stand by the estimate I have previously offered. If I am correct in assuming that all temples for which news was reported within the last month or so will have a groundbreaking by this time next year, in addition to the other temples for which I am anxiously awaiting news, then within the next year, we could easily see a minimum of 12 temples have a groundbreaking within that time.

But I anticipate that we may see more temple groundbreakings than that. Although he has not be too specific about the extent or timing of his plans, it is obvious that President Nelson loves temples and wants to bring them to the people so they can experience the blessings thereof. Therefore, in the coming days, weeks, and months, I anticipate many more temple-related announcements, some of which may currently be on nobody's radar, including and especially my own. I will watch for word of all such developments and will bring word of it all to you here as I become aware of it.

Another couple of notes not related to the breaking news developmnts I have reported here. The Newsroom also reported today that the president of the Pacific Islands nation of Kiribati visited Church headquarters today, meeting with the First Presidency and other Church leaders. Additionally, with today being Tuesday October 8, Acting President M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is celebrating his 91st birthday today. I will be posting a birthday tribute to him on this blog later this afternoon or evening, just as soon as I catch my breath from the whirlwind influx of Church news that was seen today. Again, I have to echo Elder Holland's statement from the April 2018 General Conference. "What a prophet [we have in President Nelson]!"

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.