Need more information?

Top Leaderboard

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Some Thoughts on the Developments of the Day (Including and Especially the Children and Youth Face-to-Face Event)

Hello again, everyone! I wanted to take an opportunity now to share my thoughts and analysis on Church news and events that were reported today. Before I do so, I wanted to note something in relation to the reports on this blog. As I have made mention in prior comments here recently, within the last 6 weeks, I have been dealing with horrific migraines, which at times have been the most intense and severe that I have experienced within the last decade or so. As a consequence of dealing with that, I have been more exhausted, stressed out, and in pain, and far less mentally clear than I usually am, which has made me less capable of keeping up the previous status quo of normal reports on this blog. That is why I have confined my reports on all non-breaking news developments and updates to the comments sections of recent blog post, and is also why the published posts have been more sporadic within that time. On the rare occasions where I have had sufficient capacities to do so within that time, I have prepared advanced copies of normally-scheduled content, such as apostolic birthday tributes and the most-recent apostolic milestone update. And by so doing, when I have a bad day, or a string of bad days, which has happened more frequently of late, I can focus on providing less-crucical updates through the comments as time and circumstances allow. In the meantime, having continued to work with a capable group of doctors and specialists, I have been prescribed treatment for the migraines and for other issues I am dealing with, and hopefully, I am on the mend from all of it.

But while efforts to resolve these issues are ongoing, I request your patience with me as I continue to go through this process. Within the next few weeks, hopefully I will be mended enough to resume normal reports on a regular basis. But until that time, of necessity, I must request your continued understanding and patience. Thanks in advance for your cooperation and understanding regarding this matter. With that said, let's get to the purpose of this newest post. Regarding my thoughts about the events of the day, first of all, as I reported in this comment earlier today, two members of the First Presidency and a total of 7 members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (including those accompanying the two First Presidency members) were scattered throughout the United States and other parts of the world.

In reference to that earlier comment, with Elder Bednar in Africa, it is unclear whether he was in the Africa Southeast or Africa West Areas, or whether there was some overlap. But part of me wondered if he was perhaps sent to assess how soon Nairobi Kenya and Harare Zimbabwe might be ready to have their temple groundbreakings And if that was the case, I could see one or both of those two having that occur next month, before the end of this year. Next, of course, Elder Cook rededicated the Baton Rougue Lousiana Temple this morning.

Meanwhile, President Nelson made his first visit to Vietnam, accompanied by Sister Nelson and Elder and Sister Christofferson. Having stopped in Hanoi, the leaders now move to Ho Chi Minh City, also in Vietnam, where it is currently just past 1:00 PM on Monday afternoon. If the devotional in that city is held between 5:00-7:00 PM local time, then we could see reports on those within the next 4-8 hours or thereabouts. It will likely be around 12-14 hours before I am able to pass a report on that stop along to you all.

And also today, we had the largest global Face-to-Face event held, during which Elder Gong, accompanied by Brother Owen and Sisters Cordon and Jones, fielded a variety of FAQs about the ne Children and Youth Initiative, which will go into effect on January 1, 2020. During the October 2019 General Conference, Elder Cook and Sister Cordon, having been assigned to do so by President Nelson, outlined changes to Aaronic Priesthod Quorums and young women groups, while Brother Owen had announced a minor adjustment to the "Come Follow Me" curriculum for Youth. As part of Sister Cordon's remarks, she had introduced a new Young Women theme, which will be recited twice a month as young women meet.

Tonight, as part of the Face-to-Face event, Brother Owen, again with the approval of President Nelson and upon invitation from Elder Gong, introduced a  new Young Men theme, which will also be recited twice a month as Aaronic Priesthood Quorums meet together. Further, as explained by Elder Gong, Brother Owen, and Sisters Jones and Cordon, there are solid reasons why the new initiative is formulated the way it has been: individuals, families, Primary-aged groups (which can meet as separate male and female groups or co-ed groups divided by age as determined by local leaders), Aaronic Priesthood Quorums, Young Women groups, and the combined youth groups (as scheduled) can determine, with the approval of the Lord and their local leaders, how best to formulate activities that will enable them to grow phsysically, spiritually, intellectually, and socially.

This will be a concentrated effort that continues to be home-centered and Church-supported, and focuses on how the individual children and youth and their families and relevant Church gropus can be guided by the Spirit in best determining how to achieve that kind of growth. And the process will be another extension of the Church's efforts to unify programs and practices on a Church-wide basis. Children age 4 years will continue to receive a CTR ring as they enter Primary. At 8 years of age, they will receive a new ring that will turn their focus towards the temple. Young men will receive rings and the young women a necklace to encourage them to remember the goals of their programs. As a young man prepares to turn 18 and receive the Melchizedek Priesthood, the bishopric will now provide him with a vial in which he can hold and carry the consecrated oil he will use in giving priesthood blessings.

And the specifics provided this evening were laid out and expanded on in a logical way that highlighted the reasoning this new approach was being implemented, and how it can support Church curriculum and help individuals to grow the way the Lord wants them to, while also serving to unify families, age-groups, congregations, and the Church as a whole. Based on what was described in that meeting, I echo the sentiment offered by President Ballard in the meeting introducing this initiative in late September: Although I am grateful for the programs and guidelines that were in place when I was 8-18, I am very envious of the opportunity children and youth on a Church-wide basis will have to embrace this new program, and the challenges and blessings that will come from participating therein.

The program itself is a continued effort to emphasize the importance of personal, group, congregational, and Church-wide revelation, which is something President Nelson has urged from the very start of his prophetic administration, and is further evidence and an additional witness of the inspiration that attends the decisions made by apostles that will affect the global Church in a time where the circumstances of the world are becoming increasingly more complex and dangerous. As President Nelson observed during that address, "In coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost."

And if any of you reading this have not had experiences with receiving personal revelation, the guidance of the Lord as found here and here are a helpful start, as would be a careful review of the aforementioned first address to general Church membership by President Nelson as Church President. The Lord is anxious to speak to us and distill His knowledge, inspiration, and direction upon us. In fact, as I watched that broadcast (which I did a few hours after it originally aired), I felt the Spirit whispering some very personal things to me about what I needed to do in my own life as a result of what was said there.

As the leaders also noted, all of us have days when we may fall short of what we want to do and what we want to become. The key in all such cases is to allow ourselves to not get discouraged about any personal failures we may encounter in our day-to-day lives, and to try our best to get back on track the next day in every way that we can. It will be our persistent efforts to try, be, and do each day that will, in the end, count for or against us. My hope is that we may continue to do that. The Lord will hep us in those endeavors, For my part, I continue to monitor any and all Church news and temple updates and will endeavor to pass word of those along to you all as I become aware of them, either through  comments on existing posts or (in terms of major developments) through brand new posts here.

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.