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Friday, January 24, 2020

Elder D. Todd Christofferson Observes His 75th Birthday Today

Hello again, everyone! I am back this morning for the purpose of posting a birthday tribute to Elder D. Todd Christofferson, who is today observing his 75th. As with the posts I have written for every other apostle, I will be sharing a biography herein with highlights about his life. Let's get right into all of that. David Todd Christofferson was born to Paul Vickery and Jeanne Swenson Christofferson in American Fork, Utah (a place I proudly claim as my hometown) this day in 1945 He spent his formative years in Pleasant Grove and Lindon, and his family subsequently relocated to Somerset New Jersey. While there, he participated in the annual Hill Cumorah Pageant, and, having been urged by his bishop to do so, he earnestly sought a personal testimony of the gospel. Although he felt for a while that his prayer at that time had not been answered, the witness he was seeking came about a month later. At around this same time, his mother was diagnosed with cancer and underwent surgery for it. While his father learned later that he had gathered his brothers to pray for their mom, it would be years later before Elder Christofferson learned about his father's personal sacrifices to supply what his wife needed to help her with the housework. Young Todd Christofferson also stepped in to help his mom by making homemade bread for his family, after being taught how to do so by his grandmother. After graduating from high school, he studied for a year at BYU prior to serving full-time in the Argentina North Mission, where he had two mission presidents, Ronald V. Stone, and his future colleague in the Quorum of the Twelve, Richard G. Scott. Following the conclusion of his missionary service, Elder Christofferson returned to BYU, and there he met Kathy Jacob, whom he married in May 1968. He earned his bachelor's degree from BYU, and went on to get a doctor of law degree from the School of Law at Duke University. During his years as a young attorney, he clerked for Judge John J. Sirica at the time the Watergate hearings were occurring. When his clerkship ended, he took active duty with the US Army for a year, after which he served in the Army reserves for 8 years, by which time, he had achieved the rank of Captain. His professional career took his family to Washington DC, Nashville Tennesee, and Charlotte North Carolina. During that same period of time, he would serve as a bishop, stake president, and in the now-defunct calling of regional representative to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

After being called as a general authority in April 1993 (at the same time as Elder Neil L. Andersen, alongside whom he now serves in the apostleship), he served in a variety of capacities (including as a member of area presidencies outside the US) until his call to the Presidency of the Seventy in August 1998. During his service in that presidency, he first served as the executive director for the Church's Family and Church History Department (which have since been split into two departments), where he worked to negotiate with Jewish religious leaders on the matter of performing temple ordinances for Holocaust victims, which in turn shaped the policy of Church members only being allowed to perform such ordinances for direct-line family members. In 2004, the First Presidency announced that the Presidency of the Seventy would be relieved of responsibility for the Church Departments and would instead oversee areas in the United States and Canada. Elder Christofferson was given responsibility for the North America Southeast Area of the Church, holding that assignment from August 2004-August 2007, at which time he was reassigned to oversee the North America Northwest and North America West Areas. He continued that assignment for 8 months, then, as we know, he was the first apostle called by President Thomas S. Monson in April 2008. At the time of his release from the Presidency of the Seventy, which came in conjunction with his call as an apostle, he had become the second-most senior member thereof.

During his time as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, as noted, Elder Christofferson served alongside his former mission president, Richard G. Scott. Since his ordination as an apostle, Elder Christofferson has filled a wide variety of assignments, and he was serving as the senior member of the Quorum of the Twelve assigned to oversee the Church Public Affairs Committee when he was asked by President Nelson to introduce the new First Presidency in a worldwide broadcast on January 16, 2018. He has given 30 addresses in General Conference so far, 1 of which was given in the conference following his call as a General Authority, with 5 others given during his near decade in the Presidency of the Seventy. Elder Christofferson currently ranks as the fifth most senior member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and he is also the fifth oldest.

He remains the ninth in overall apostolic seniority and the seventh oldest among all of the apostles. I am grateful for the life and ministry of Elder Christofferson. I had a couple of choice opportunities to meet him. His niece and her family lived in my parent's ward, so when their newest baby was blessed, Elder Christofferson presided at our Sacrament Meeting. A few years later, our paths crossed again while I was a temple worker, and he was the speaker at our yearly devotional. As one who has had the opportunity to chat informally with him on these two occasions, I testify that his call as one of the Savior's special witnesses is divinely inspired.

I greatly appreciate the chance to share these thoughts with you. 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.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

BREAKING TEMPLE NEWS: First Presidency Announces the First 3 Temple Groundbreakings for 2020; Official Name Announced for the Second Manila Philippines Temple

Hello again, everyone! In a stunning (and unexpectedly-timed) announcemnt, the First Presidency released information on the first 3 temple groundbreakings that the Church will hold in 2020. I know that many of you may have already commented on this news in the threads of previous posts, since became made aware of the announcement roughly 2 hours ago, but I wanted to provide my take on it either way, including a more in-depth analysis on these developments. Before getting to all of that, n conjunction with this announcement, the name of the second Manila Philippines Temple has been revealed as the Alabang Philippines Temple. Although I had previously offered a few suggestions on this blog about the name of the second Manila temple, unless I missed something in reviewing my own coverage on that subject, I don't believe I was anywhere close to guessing that name. So, let's get right into the relevant information: The first groundbreaking mentioned in this announcement will be held on Saturday April 11, 2019, for the Richmond Virginia Temple. Elder Randall K. Bennett, president of the North America Northeast Area, will preside over that groundbreaking. 3 weeks later, on Saturday May 2, 2020, Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles will preside at the groundbreaking for the Alabang Philippines Temple. And 4 weeks after that, the groundbreaking for the Layton Utah Temple will take place on Saturday May 30, at which Elder Craig C. Christensen, who serves as president of the Utah Area, will preside.

I should add here that I still anticipate that the groundbreaking for the Auckland New Zealand Temple may take place in April or May. But I guess preparations for that are not far enough along yet for an official announcement in that respect. And I am hopeful that several other temples might have a groundbreaking soon as well. And the groundbreaking for the Alabang Philippines Temple will leave only 3 temples from President Monson's prophetic administration that have not had a groundbreaking: the Harare Zimbabwe Temple, originally announced in April 2016, and the Nairobi Kenya and Brasilia Brazil Temple, which were announced in General Conference a year later.

And I cannot in good conscience rule out the prospect that additional temples could have their groundbreakings scheduled around these other 3. I have referred a couple of times in the past to a list released by the Church that shows days on which two or more temples simulnaneously had a groundbreaking ceremony. That was the case most recently on Saturday May 4 of last year, when 3 temple groundbreakings were conducted. I will be keeping my eyes open for more information in that respect for sure. I also have a couple other observations to provide as well.

First, these groundbreakings will mark the first time ever that 2 new temples in the Philippines will simultaneously be under construction, and the first time since 2017 that more than 2 or 3 United States temples are simultaneously under construction. Next, based on the releawsed information for the Richmond and Layton temples, and on an approximation of the anticipated size of the Alabang temple, I am proposing the following general estimates for the completion of these temples, which are, of course, subject to change, based on the pace and consistency of the construction, along with anything more official that may be announced for those tempes:

Early-to-mid 2023: Richmond Virginia Temple
Mid-to-late 2023: Layton Utah Temple
Late 2023-early 2024: Alabang Philippines Temple

And finally, less than 13 hours after I published my most-recent adjustments to the more specific estimates for known temple events, it looks ax though I am back to the drawing board as far as that goes. I also have every confidence that an exterior rendering for the Alabang Philippines Temple will be released at some point within the next 2-3 weeks. I continue to monitor all Church news and additional temple updates, and will be sure to pass word of those along to you all as I become aware of 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 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.

UPDATED: Specific Estimates for Known Temple Events in the Near Future

Hello again, everyone! I have takeen some time over the last few hours to update my list of specific estimates for known temple events in the near future. That document speaks for itself. I continue to monitor any and all Church news and temple developments, and will do my level best to bring word of those to you all here as I become aware of them. 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.

Monday, January 20, 2020

REVISITED: Updated Sections of My Temple Construction Progress Report

Hello again, everyone! Given the recent developments I have reported on both the Bengaluru India and second Manila Philippines Temples, I thought it would be wise to again revise and update a few sections of my temple construction progress report. Althoough those sections are largely self-explanatory, and prioritized between what I know and all that is currently not known about several announced temples, I did want to offer a standard disclaimer: Until officially confirmed or corrected by the Church through the proper channels, the information in that document is only based on my personal analysis, and should thus be taken with a grain of salt, as it is always subject to change if and when more information may come to light. Aside from that disclaimer, I hope that many of you might find my updated thoughts on this subject illuminating, such as they are. I continue to monitor all temple developments, in addition to all  Church news reports, and will endeavor to pass word of those along to you all as I become aware of them. 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.

Friday, January 17, 2020

First Presidency Announces Adjustments to Temple Ceremonial Clothing

Hello again, everyone! Although this is not necessarily breaking news (since it was first reported a couple of hours ago), I wanted to share here some news affecting temple worship for members of the Church. The First Presdiency today announced some minor adjustments to the clothing worn by members of the Church during the endowment ceremony. An official letter from the First Presidency announcing these adjustments is accompanied by a list of common questions Church members may have, which are largely self-explanatory. As I read about these changes, I saw them as yet another way that our Church leaders, under the direction of President Nelson, are making to reduce and simplify things for members of the Church. And I love that the statement made it clear that the adjustments to the temple clothing do not change the sanctity of the work done, and that they were also clear, as was the case when the scriptures were updated a few years ago, that buying the new version is not necessary until the currently-used material needs to be replaced. I am grateful to have been able to read about this development, and to pass it along to you all here.

I continue to monitor all Church news reports and temple updates, and will endeavor to keep passing word of those along to you all as I become aware of such things. 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.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

BREAKING TEMPLE NEWS: Church Announces Location, Releases Rendering for the Bengaluru India Temple

Hello again, everyone! I have breaking temple news to report from the Church this evening. In the last half hour or less, the rendering and location has been released for the Bengaluru India Temple. According to that news release, the temple is planned to be roughly 38.670 square feet in area, and it will be located at 2-B, Garudachar Palya, Mahadevapura, Bengaluru, Karnataka, in India, sitting.on a 1.62-acre site.  An existing chapel and Church offices on the site will be razed to make room for the temple, which will have an adjacent two-level meetinghouse, a distribution center, patron housing, and Church offices. In the coming months, Church leaderss will work with the city through the approvals process. Housing for the temple president, temple and service missionaries, and the mission president will also be built.  This temple is still very much in the design and planning phase. In coming months, the Church will be working with city leaders to get more detailed plans approved, and once that approval is granted, the Church can then look at a groundbreaking. But hopefully, that process won't take too terribly long. As some of you might recall, President Nelson only intended to announce six temples during his first General Conference, but the night before conference weekend began, the Lord told him: "Announce a temple in India." This now makes the third of those seven temples then announced to have preliminary information released.

There are now 6 temples in my "Groundbreaking Anticipated" section of my temple construction progress report, leaving 6 that have had initial details confirmed, and 7 others for which more official details are pending, in addition to the remaining 16 temples on which we are waiting for initial or more official details. I fully anticipate that a huge set of a temple announcements, including on the open house and dedicaiton of the Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple, in addition to news of at least 2-3 temple groundbreakings that are almost certain to be held prior to the April General Conference.

I continue to monitor all such developments and will pass word of those along to you all here as I become aware of such things.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.

Friday, January 10, 2020

First Blog Post of 2020: Updated List of Temples Which May Be Renovated in the Near Future

Hello again, everyone! Much sooner than I had anticipated, I am pleased to bring you now my first blog post of this new year, 2020. Before I get to my main reason for posting now, I wanted to just offer a brief reminder: Although I cannot anticipate evyerthing thatt will wind up being covered on this blog during the course of this year, I do have a fair few known blog projects which I am planning on publishing here as scheduled on the dates indicated. Those posts will, of course, be in addition to covering all major (and especially breaking news) developments reported via the Church News, the Church Temples site and the official Church website (which includes those from the Newsroom thereof. Having shared that information, we now move on to the main reason for this post: I have completed my reanalysis of the temples which are most likely to be renovated in the near future. That list, as previously mentioned, has been further annotated and adjusted based on new information that included those temples which had closed for an extended period last year, and those that will do so at any point during this year.  The one thing I would add is that, as noted on the list itself, the timing of temple renovations is and ever will be in the hands of the Lord, as He conveys that direction to His prophet. I am also not entirely sure how (if at all) the closure of larger temples (those in Hong Kong China, St. George Utah, and now Salt Lake) or the planned closures (in the cases of the Logan Utah and Manti Utah Temples) might possibly impact the timing of any of the temples on the list I have put together.

That said, because it seems likely that around 19 temples could potentially have groundbreakings within the next 12-18 months (just from what we know so far), I am satisfied that, in considering the Church's 2020 budget, the Council on the Disposition of the Tithes set aside more than sufficent for all existing current and anticipated future projects. And if we see President Nelson continuing to announce temples every six months, and making announcements on other temples this year (which I have no doubt will be the case), we may be in for another windfall of temple announcements on a variety of fronts. For my part, I remain committed to continuing to bring you updates on every facet of the developments which have characterized the tone of this blog for the last 3-4 years. In the meantime, as I begin another year of covering such things, I'd be remiss if I failed to thank you all for your continued interest, for your onoging support, and for the privilege of your time. That does it for now. Any and alll 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. 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.