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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Temple Construction Progress Review During the First Quarter of 2020

Hello again, everyone! As this last day of March comes to its' close, while I continue to welcome comments on my General Conference predictions for the next few days, as this first quarter of 2020 draws to its' conclusion, I am pleased to take this opportunity to look back on the progress which has been made on temples worldwide during this quarter. As per my usual tradition, I will be providing links to which any who clinck on them will have access to the full reports. What I'd like to present at this time is the report that I provided as 2020 began and the one that shows how that progress looks at this first quarter's end. 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 as I become aware of them. In the meantime, in addition to finalizing my predictions for this General Conference and covering any of the major developments and updates that are reported, I am also planning on posting my next apostolic milestone update at some point on Sunday April. 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.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

My Pre-Conference Testimony

Hello again,, everyone! This post is being published with two purposes in mind. First of all, since not a lot of new comments have come in on the latest edition of my April 2020 General Conference predictions, I have gone back in the history of this blog to when comments had been made on the most recent version of this list, and based on that, I have made some additional last-minue adjustments to the locations for which I have felt a temple might be announced. The open commenting period on those predictions in general, and on the list of potential temple candidates in particular, remains open between now and 10:00 PM on the night of Thursday April 2, so as to give me the following 36 hours to make any further adjustments that may be necessary prior to General Conference weekend. The other reason I wanted to post again here and now is to share my testimony in advance of the upcoming General Conference. I have always had a high degree of excitement relating to General Conference, and that excitement has only been heightened in recent years as I have had the opportunity on this blog to share my thoughts about things that might happen during each General Conference weekend. But the excitement in the air for General Conference this go-round is primarily significant because it will be the first General Conference held solely by technology and in the midst of a global pandemic that is having such wide-spread impact on the day-to-day operations of the Church, and on the ability of our current leaders to minister in a usual way.

For many of us, the current massive degree of coverage on the COVID-19 crisis, including the developments detailed by the Church as found in the Church News and through the official Newsroom may be cause for concern, worry, stress, and anxiety, especially in cases where (as has periodically been the case) the media outlets outside the Church sensationalize or promote fearmongering and mass hysteria. But with the Church reports striking a far more positive tone, and with President Nelson's two-fold encouragement through a recent video and Ensign article, the current cirucmstances, while still stressful, weighty, and devastating, can be given a proper context.

In his "Standard of Truth" statement, the Prophet Joseph Smith noted that 'no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing." The reverse is also absolutely true, that no unhallowed hand can or will help to move the work forward. The current situation., continuing as it is in this week before General Conference, is cause for concern. But as we do our best to keep ourselves unspotted from the world, and to strive to stay positive and importune the Lord for His blessings to be bestowed upon us, we will be witnesses to and recipients of the miracles that we need at this time.

And with the upcoming General Conference proceeding as scheduled, originating from a small auditorium on Temple Square, and featuring prerecorded music and only those who are speaking or praying in each session being in attendance, it will be a slightly different experience, above and beyond what President Nelson noted in his admonition to us last October to prepare for it. We can take comfort in knowing at this time that the Lord's promise to "hasten [His] work in its' time" remains in force, and that we have the promise of angels round abou us to bear us up on both sides of the veil. As we continue to press forward in faith, the Lord will not only bless and sanctify us in our daily lives, but His blessings will be poured out in abundance upon us and upon all those who will particpate in the upcoming General Conference.

With that in mind, I'd encourage all of us, to the extent that we can, to take time within the next few days to consider what our biggest concerns, worries, and questions might be, to take those to the Lord in prayer, to petition Him that we will find answers in the upcoming General Conference, and to listen, record, and follow the promptings we will receive about what we heard (which may not be the same as what was actually said or taught). If we follow that process and engage ourselves in it more fully, the Lord will bless us to get more out of this General Conference than we would otherwise have been able to do so. Moreover, He will also confirm to us in our minds and in our hearts by this method that anything that is announced or taught is in harmony with His will for His Church at this time. We are blessed during this period of time to have the upcoming opportunity to listen to the teachings of those the Lord has called, appointed, ordained, and set apart to lead His people in the ways in which He would have them go, and to tell us what we need to hear (which may not necessarily be equivalent to what we want to hear). The Lord wants to speak to us through the events, announcements, teachings, and testimonies that will be offered next weekend. Will we hear His voice? Will we accept and follow His counsel? Will we take this opportunity to do and to become better? It is my hope and prayer that we will do so, and my testimony that He is mindful of our needs and troubles, and will speak peace to us thereby, and I share that witness with you all here in the sacred and holy name of Him whose Church this is, even the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

Friday, March 27, 2020

BREAKING TEMPLE NEWS: Columbus Ohio Temple Will Close for Renovation

Hello again, everyone! In the midst of the wide-spread COVID-19 crisis that has temporarily closed all temples, the temple construction program of the Church continues to make strides. One such development was nanounced today by the First Presidency. Regardless of when it reopens following the COVID-19 crisis,  a renovation process will begin on the Columbus Ohio Temple on Saturday August 15, 2020, and is anticipated to reopen in late 2022. The temple, which was originally dedicated by Church President Gordon B. Hinckley in early September 1999, will likely be given a similar exterior overhaul that was done to the Memphis Tennessee, Oklahoma City Oklahoma, Raleigh North Carolina, and Baton Rouge Louisiana Temples, and thus have its' square footage increased from its' current 10,700 square feet to 10,890 square feet. But that will be subject to confirmation or denial by the First Presidency.

Either way, this announcement means that temple will be removed from my list of those that could be renovated, since the renovation announcement is now official. And based on this announcement, I am assuming that the Columbus Ohio may be the first of a few other temples for which a full--scale renovation closure may be announced. I will keep my eyes opnn for all such updates and will be sure to pass those along to you all as I become aware of such news.

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, March 25, 2020

BREAKING TEMPLE NEWS: All Operating Temples Will Temporarily Close at Midnight Tonight

Hello again, everyone! Breaking news has just been shared through another official letter from the First Presidency. Effective at the thime of their closures tonight, all temples of the Church worldwide will temporarily close in continued response to COVID-19.  After a couple of temples were impacted by the attandance of one or more patrons who had COVID-19, this is the next logical step in the Church's ongoing COVID-19 response. The letter notes that this is a temporary and precautionary measure, and that the First Presidency is looking forward to the day when all temples can resume normal hours. This supercedes anything which has previously been noted on this blog about temple closures. With all temples now closing for the time being, more time and attention can be devoted to other worthy pursuits, particularly indexing and more fully preparing for the upcoming April 2020 General Conference, which, insofar as I am aware, still scheduled to go forward as planned with the arrangements most-recently announced. It was wonderful to hear the hope conveyed in the letter, and I am grateful that the First Presidency is willing to take this next step to help protect the Saints and citizens of the world during this continuing COVID-19 crisis.

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, March 19, 2020

Third Edition: April 2020 General Conference Predictions

Hello again, everyone! Far later than I had anticipated, I wanted to publish here the latest fully-annotated edition of my predictions for the April 2020 General Conference. The content and notes largely speak for themselves, and anyone with the link should be able to view them. The open commenting period, which began with the first posted version of these predictions, remains in effect for the next three weeks.,at which point I will take the 36 hours between that time and Saturday morning of General Conference to do any fine-tuning or make any adjustments. As usual for an April General Conference, the predicsions are split into four sub-categories, the speaking order predictions, the possible changes in general Church leadership, the statistical report (for which the numbers are estimated), and potential locations in which a new temple may be announced. And it is in that latter section that I'll really need good feedback. There are several nations or states where I could not narrow the likely prospects down to the top one for each. So if any of you have any insight that helps me thin out the proverbial herd, I'd appreciate it.

Other than these notes, the rest speaks for itself. That does it for now. I look forward to your feedback, any or all of which is always welcome and appreciated, as long as it is offered 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: Additional Ajdustments Announced for the April 2020 General Conference

Hello again, everyone! In light of additional recommendations which have been made due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the First Presidency has just announced by letter that there will be another format change to the April 2020 General Conference. Rather than broadcasting from the Conference Center, each session will originate from a small auditorium on Temple Square. The First Presidency will preside at and conduct each session, but aside from the First Presidency, only those invited to speak or pray during in each session will physically attend. All conference music has been prerecorded. I believe this is a common-sense adjustment based on the changing recommendations. And given that the conference will be carried by technology, any Church leaders who would have ordinarly attended all sessions can catch the sessions in the same way the rest of us will. I had a feeling that an adjustment like this would be coming down the pike, and I believe it is a wise strateegy. No word on where the sessions are specifically going to originate from, but perhaps that will be in the Conference Center theater. And this is another precaution that can ensure the conference will go ahead as scheduled. When I had mentioned this prospect previously, I had thought only those speaking or praying would attend, but it makes sense that the First Presidency will be the only leaders attending all sessions. That's a doctrinally-mandated provision. And as a former physician and surgeon, I am sure President Nelson has been very sure that he and his counselors observe best practices to keep themselves healthy enough for this conference.

The format and location may be different, and it will be a slightly unusual scenario, but these are slightly unsusual times. I continue to monitor all Church news and temple developments and will pas 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.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Custom Search Engine Added

Hello again, everyone! I just wanted to post briefly again today to announce that I have added a new custom search engine for this blog, which I hope will allow any of you who are interested to find more information yourselves on the developments which I continue to cover in various ways here on this blog. Hopefully it will be a good addition to this blog. Please be sure to let me know if you have any feedback for me on this development, or any other I have covered or will yet cover on this blog. 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 stalbished guideline. Thank you for the privilebe of your time. If you would like to stay informed of newly-added content, please feel free to subscribe for updates. 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: Church Postpones Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple Open House and Dedication

Hello again, everyone! Out of an abundance of caution while COVID-19 still has widespread impact,, the Church today postponed the Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple open house and dedication indefinitely, until whenever the crisis passes, or, more particularly, whenever the Brazilian government determines that larger gatherings, as would be present for an open house and dedication, can be safely held. Time will tell what effect COVID-19 might have on the previously-arranged groundbreakings for temples in various locations, or if the opening dates for the Washington DC Temple may also be changed as a result of this crisis. There will be more to come from the Church in the days ahead, of that I am certain. 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, March 12, 2020

BREAKING TEMPLE NEWS: Official Rendering Released and Groundbreaking Announced for the Auckland New Zealand Temple

Hello again, everyone! While I was posting the COVID-19 updates from the Church on the threads of the previous post, breaking temple news was also reported by the Newsroom. The official rendering has been released and the groundbreaking has been set for the Auckland New Zealand Temple. The groundbreaking for New Zealand's next temple will occur on Saturday June 13, 2020. Elder Ian S. Ardern, the president of the Church's Pacific Area (who happens to be a native of New Zealand)the, will preside thereat. This brings the total number of groundbreakings scheduled between General Conference and the end of June to 4 so far.
The AUckland New Zealand Temple now becomes the fourth of those originally announced in October 2018 to have a groundbreaking within the last 18 months or less, and he timing for this event was sooner than I anticipated, since I had offered a general window of mid-to-late 2020 for that. But this news gives me hope that other temple groundbreakings (including perhaps the Orem and Taylorsville Utah Temples and at least 2 of the 3 most-recently-announced temples in Central America) could potentially have their groundbreakings prior to the annual July recess for the General Authorities of the Church. In the meantime, given the exterior rendering that has been released and what President Nelson said when he announced that temple's site less than a year ago (in mid-May 2019), I am anticipating the temple will take around 2-3 years to construct, which would mean its' construction could wrap up during late 2022-early 2023. But that estimate is subject to confirmation or denial by the Church based on the consistency and speed at which construction progresses.

This has been an exciting few days, and there will likely be much more to come. To the best of my ability, I wil attempt to stay on top of it all. 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, March 11, 2020

BREAKING NEWS: First Presidency Tweaks Guidelines for the April 2020 General Conference, Missionary Training, and Other Larger Gatherings

Hello again, everyone! Around half an hour ago, I received a breaking news alert on my phone from the Church News, wherein a new article indicated that 3 changes are being implemented effective immediately by the First Presidency in the wake of the ongoing worldwide spread of COVID-19. Those changes were further detailed in 3 official news releases published on the Newsroom website at around the same time. Let's look at those one-by-one. The first change will impact the April 2020 General Conference. With all five sessions thereof originating from the Conference Center in Salt Lake City (which should put rumors to rest about the conference being held in other locations), attendance at the Conference Center will be limited to participants only, including General Authorities and General Officers of the Church, the choirs that will be performing thereat, and the technicians and specialists required to help trasmit and translate the conference. The second announcement relates to missionary work. In order to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19, all missionaries who would otherwise have been trained in the MTCs in Provo Utah and Preston England will instead be trained remotely before flying out from their nations of residence to their fields of labor. This change also applies to missionaries from areas where there are a high number of cases of COVID-19. And the final adjustment will pertain to large gatherings of Church members in the following specific areas of the Church: Asia, Asia North, Europe, Europe East, and the 6 areas in the United States and Canada. In those areas of the Church all stake or large leadership gatherings  that would otherwise have been held are postponed out of an abundance of caution regarding the potential spread of COVID-19. For each of the other  11 (soon to be 12) areas of the Church, members and leaders are being counseled to follow directions received from the area presidencies.  In the meantime, for weekly worship servicesand and other meetings or activities that would have been held, local leaders will be tasked with making decisions on that on a case-by-case basis, as a result of what is determined through the lines of authority. The interesting thing that struck me about all of these announcements (aside from the fact that these three major developments were reported simultaneously) is that each of the letters outlining these changes were published in full via the official Newsroom of the Church. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time that 3 letters have been simultaneously sent out and reported via the Newsroom website, rather than merely showing up in members' e-mail inboxes or on the Church's repository website for official communications. Aside from that analysis of these developments, I want to acknwoledge that it is wonderful to see Church leaders making these adjustments due to the changing asse\ssments and recommendations about COVID-19 from health and government officials.

These official announcements also all serve as corrections and clarifications to anything I have previously shared on this subject, since the determinations of the leading quorums of the Church as inspired by the Lord trump my own wisdom and analysis at any time.t These appear to be very common-sense adjustments allowing the utilization of technology to a greater degree to further the work of the Lord in the midst of the ongoing global scope and increasing threat posed by COVID-19.  That said, it is also important to note that, according to recommendations made by several doctors familiar with infectious diseases, there is no call at this time for widespread panic or mass hysteria in response to the virus. As long as proper precautions are being taken on all of the right fronts, and as long as Church members are prepared for how COVID-19 might impact individuals, families, and congregations, and as long as health officials indicate this is the case, there is no need at this time to be unduly concerned or troubled. Any further adjustments will be made based on recommednations from health officials and political and religious leaders at various levels. To quote the immortal words of President Gordon B. Hinckley, the enterally optimistic prophet, "Everything will work out." And above all else, the Lord is mindful of His people all over the world, and knows how best to assist all of us in preparing for and responding to the virus in all such cases.

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, March 4, 2020

REVISTED: April 2020 General Conference Predictions

Hello again, everyone! Far later than I had originally planned, I wanted to note that I have finished the updates to my predictions for the April 2020 General Conference. After finishing tho updates, all that remained was to add the relevant refrences. However, that process is going to take more time than I originally thought, so I decided it would be best to post the predictions for now and enable discussion to start on them, and then to update them as I can with the relevant references. As I previously mentioned, upon reanalyzing the likely layout of the speaking order, I realized that this conference might have a higher-than-normal degree of participation from members of the First Presidency.  Where appropriate, I have allowed spaces for any major announcements that could be made.  Given President Nelson's statement that that conference would be different from any previous ones, there was a lot to think about. I am sure it will be different mostly due to the focus of its' content (honoring the bicentennial of the imprtant events of the Restoration), but I also wanted to make allowances for other things that might be announced. Nelsonian-era General Conferences are hard enough to predict as is, but when accounting for his statement regarding how the upcoming conference will be different from anything we have previously seen, it gets even more tricky. I should also perhaps mention that, in connection with the changes in general Church leadership, there are a couple of more specific notes I might have in the future, but I will need to think about the logistics of what I have in mind. Additionally, the statistics might be hard to pin down with any degree of accuracy, and the formulas and methods I use are less than perfect, but I gave it my best shot. And as far as my list of prospective temple locations is concerned, I have several new additions thereunto, and I have chosen in this latest revision to not predict any specific number as far as how many temples might be announced, although I do anticipate a higher-than-usual number to be announced. Other than these notes, and the references I eventually hope to add to contextualize these predictions, the content largely speaks for ittself. An open commenting period is now in effect for the next four weeks (until the night of Wednesday April 1), at which time I will take a few days to finalize those predictions before General Conference weekend. I look forward to your input. 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.