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Sunday, May 31, 2020

President Henry B. Eyring Celebrates His 87th Birthday Today

Hello again, everyone! I am grateful for the opportunity I have to pay tribute to President Henry B. Eyring, who is celebrating his 87th birthday today. There is a lot to discuss about his life, so let's get right into it. Henry Bennion Eyring was born on rhis day in 1933, in Princeton New Jersey, to well-known physicist Henry Eyring and Mildred Bennion. As I previously noted, his father's sister, Camilla Eyring, married Spencer W. Kimball, while his father's first cousin was Marion G. Romney. Young "Hal", as he was known, was generally a very good student. At one point, his father was explaining a scientific concept to him when he noted that Hal seemed to not be interested in it. He asked his son what he thought about when he had nothing else to consider, and told him that he should pursue that subject. This led young Hal to an eventual career as an educator and academic administrator. His family would later relocate from New Jersey to Salt Lake City, Utah. Although he did not serve a full-time mission, he was an active member of the U. S. Air Force, and was stationed in New Mexico, where he served as a liaison between military officers and scientists, where he was responsible for analyzing data from tests done on nuclear weapons. Prior to his military service, he had earned a degree in physics from the University of Utah. He also studied at Harvard, where he eventually earned both a masters' and doctoral degrees in Business Administration. While he was highly sought after by business owners who admired his analytical work, he chose to continue to pursue his education. In the meantime, it was not until 1960 (when Hal was 26 or 27 and serving in a district presidency) that he met Kathleen Johnson at a YSA meeting in New Hampshire. She was born in Palo Alto California, and had studied at Stanford before coming to Harvard. She also spent some time studying at the Universities of Vienna and Paris. Because Hal was serving as a counselor in the district presidency, his district president (Wilbur Cox) adjusted his assignments to accommodate his desire to date Kathleen. They dated over that summer, and continued their courtship long-distance, with Kathleen making several cross-country trips prior to their engagement in the early months of 1961.They continued their courtship for the next year or so, until they were married in the Logan Utah Temple on July 27, 1962, by which time Hal was 29 years old. Their marriage was solemnized by his uncle, then-Elder Spencer W. Kimball of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.  Their family would eventually include six children (four sons and two daughters). Two of their sons are Henry J. Eyring (who current serves as president of BYU-Idaho and as an area seventy) and Matthew J. Eyring (who is a Chief Strategy Innovation Officer with Vivint, a company specializing in home automation, who served previously as an area seventy as well.). Hal eventually became a professor at Stanford University. He continued his career as an associate professor at the Stanford School of Business for 9 years (between 1972 and 1981), and went on to be a Sloan Visiting Faculty Fellow at MIT, during which time he also took courses in human behavior. Sometime between late 1970 and early 1971, his wife asked him if he shouldn't be studying with Neal A. Maxwell, who was serving at that time as Commissioner of Church Education. After considering her question and following a lot of reflection, Hal accepted an offer to become president of Ricks College. Although other job offers came his way during his 6 year tenure at the college, he continued to serve until his release in 1977.. His previous Church callings included being a bishop, serving as a member of the Sunday School General Board, and as a regional representative.

In 1980, Hal was called to serve as the Commissioner of Church Education, succeeding Jeffrey R. Holland. He would continue to serve in that capacity until 1986. When the Church reorganized the Presiding Bishopric in April 1985, Robert D. Hales was called as the new Presiding Bishop, and he recommended that Hal serve as his First Counselor. After serving in that capacity for 7.5 years, he was called in October 1992 to serve as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy. When he began his new assignment, he was called for a second time to seerve as the Commissioner of Church Education, an assignment in which he would continue until 2004. Before that time, following the passing of Church president Howard W. Hunter and the subsequent reorganization of the First Presidency in March 1995, new Church president Gordon B. Hinckley called Elder Eyring to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. 12.5 years later, following the death of President James E. Faust, who had served as Second Counselor to President Hinckley, Elder Eyring was invited to join Presidents Hinckley and Thomas S. Monson in the First Presidency. The way that came about is an interesting story. Elder Eyring had taken the phone call from President Hinckley and had heard his invitation to join the First Presidency, but because he had occasionally taken calls on the Church's phone system that were meant for some of his apostolic colleagues, he asked President Hinckley if he was sure he was talking to the right person. "This is Hal Eyring." he said. President Hinckley quickly responded, "I know who this is." Thus it was that the first apostle appointed during President Hinckley's administration was called to serve in the First Presidency for an almost four-month period prior to President Hinckley's passing.

When the First Presidency was reorganized, new Church president Thomas S. Monson called President Eyring to continue serving in the First Presidency, this time as his First Counselor. While in that capacity, President Eyring has dedicated 8 temples (San Salvador El Salvador, Gilbert Arizona, Payson Utah, Indianapolis Indiana, Philadelphia Pennsylvania (for which he had also presided at the groundbreaking), Hartford Connecticut, Paris France, and Cedar City Utah). The dedication of the Gilbert Arizona Temple was an interesting anomaly. Although President Monson presided at all three sessions, he requested that President Eyring read the prayer during the first session, so that was one recent example of how the dedication duties were shared by two apostles. President Eyring also rededicated seven temples (Ogden Utah, Buenos Aires Argentina Mexico City Mexico, Montreal Quebec, Suva Fiji, Idaho Falls Idaho, and Jordan River Utah Temple). The Ogden Utah Temple rededication is another interesting case. President Eyring conducted all three sessions and presided at the final two sessions, in which he also offered the dedicatory prayer, with President Monson having presided at and offering the dedicatory prayer in the first session. As we also know, around two years ago (on May 23, 2017), the Church announced that President Monson would be stepping back from an active role in the day-to-day administration of the Church.

Following the release of that statement, Presidents Eyring and Dieter F. Uchtdorf assumed oversight of all decisions except for those requiring the prophet's direct approval. Following President Monson's passing last year on January 2, the First Presidency was reorganized on January 14, at which time President Eyring was called to continue his service in the First Presidency, and is serving as Second Counselor a second time, working with Church President Russell M. Nelson and his First Counselor, President Dallin H. Oaks. For the last several years, President Eyring's wife has been in ill health, and he has done a wonderful job of balancing his responsibilities in the First Presidency with his role being his wife's caregiver. Because President Eyring has a familial connection to both Presidents Spencer W. Kimball and Marion G. Romney, who were involved in the 1981 dedication of the Jordan River Utah Temple, President Nelson asked President Eyring to preside over its' recent rededication on May 20, 2018. As noted in an earlier post, President Eyring drew heavily on the original dedicatory prayer in composing the dedicatory prayer for that temple. He went on just one after that (a year ago from today) to preside over the one-session private rededication for the Oklahoma City Oklahoma Temple, since he also has ancestral connections to that temple. Although he is now 87 years old, by all accounts, he continues to be in good health.

His lifelong devotion to education and his decades of committed Church service is an inspiration to all. I had the opportunity to attend a stake conference around 14 years ago, over which then-Elder Eyring presided. His message to us at that time focused on unity. It is a message he has since shared repeatedly in several General Conference addresses, a focus that has since been adopted by the current First Presidency, with multiple efforts underway to unify the Church on a global scale and to streamline and standardize policies and procedures. That message of unity was particularly poignant during the October 2017 General Conference, when he, as First Counselor to the ailing President Monson, served as the de facto presiding authority, since his talks highlighted the important concept that the Lord is at the helm of His work, and that, regardless of the health of His chosen prophet, He continues to move the work forward. To date, President Eyring has given a total of 103 addresses in General Conference.

Of those, 4 were given during his 7 years in the Presiding Bishopric (including his first which, for unknown reasons, is not in the main repository page where his other talks can be found), 25 others during his 12.5 years in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and the remaining 75 since he was first called to the First Presidency in October 2007. During his apostolic tenure thus far, he has served as a counselor to 3 Church Presidents. Aside from his being the junior and youngest member of the current First Presidency, he is the fifth-most senior apostle and the fourth oldest overall. Among his other fellow apostles, President Eyring has been one who has clearly shown when the feeling behind the message he is giving during each General Conference has had a direct impact on him. We are blessed to see how deeply he wants to convey such ideas, thoughts, and feelings to each of us. I am grateful for the life, ministry, and service of this amazing man, whom I sustain with all my heart, and for the opportunity I have had in this small way to pay tribute to him on this day as he celebrate his 87th birthday. That does if 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, May 28, 2020

Blog Commenting Issues Leading to a Temporary Change

Hello again, everyone! There has been an influx of spam comments on this blog recently, all of a similar nature. As time and circumstances have allowed, I have looked for a reasonable solution, but dealing with this problem is taking too much of my focus. As a consequence, I have had to reort to enabling full moderation on all comments published on this blog for the time being. This means that even for those who regularly comment, I will need to grant approval for all such comments. I regret having to take this course of action, but the nature of the massive spam comments has left me no other alternative for the time being. But I will do my best to quickly approve all valid comments ASAP after I receive word of them. Thanks for your cooperation and understanding at this time regarding this highly irregular situation. 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. As those comments will now of necessity be moderated, I appreciate your patience for the time being. 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, May 25, 2020

BREAKING TEMPLE NEWS: Church Releases Exterior Renderings for Two More Temples; 14 More Temples to Reopen Under Phase 1 Next Week

Hello again, everyone! Although today is Memorial Day here in the United States, as a result of which, I had not antiipated any major Church updates to be provided therein, breaking news on two fronts has been reported. First, the major announcement. As some of you are no doubt aware, the Church has concentrated temple announcements in the last several months on locations in the United States, where approvals are more easily granted. As some of you may also recall, I have previously stated that, per my Church member contact in Central America, sites had been procured and plans been submitted for the 3 temples most recently announced in that area. My contact additional has noted that the likely groundbreaking sequence for these temples would be San Pedro Sula Honduras, Coban Guatemala, and Managua Nicaragua. Fast forward to this afternoon. Two temples outside the United States have unexpectedly had site locations confirmed and renderings released, and they are two for which I did not anticipate that occurring this soon.

The two temples in question are Cobán Guatemala and Okinawa Japan. The site locations for both have been confirmed as well. For the Cobán Guatemala Temple, it will be located adjacent to 4a. Avenida 4-48 Zona 8, Barrio Bella Vista, on a 5.4 acre site. It is anticipated to be roughly 8,800 square feet, and a single-story temple, with temple patron housing and a meetinghouse also featured on the site. The Cobán Guatemala Temple was announced in October 2019, marking another of the temples announced during that time which had official information released within less than a year following its' original announcement.

For the Okinawa Japan Temple (renamed from Okinawa City Okinawa, which was the original location mentioned when it was announced in April 2019), it will be based in Okinawa-ken, Japan, on a half-acre site at 7-11, Matsumoto, Okinawa Shi.  That temple is anticipated to be a two-story temple of approximately 10,000 square feet, another example of an Asian temple being built up rather than out. And since a meetinghouse already exists on that site, part of the construction process for that temple will involve adding on to that meeting house a temple patron waiting area, which may in turn be connected to the temple directly somehow.

Some other thoughts on this major announcement: I had been reasonably certain thart I knew which 13 other temples for which a groundbreaking has not yet been announced this year would have that occur. Although the Coban temple had been on that list, Okinawa Japan had not. As a result, I will have to totally reevaluate that list. I still anticipate that all of the United States temples on that list will see groundbreakings, but this may mean that perhaps the Church will focus on the more easy approvals for international temples (in such locations as Africa, Brazil, Central and South America, the Philippines, and the Pacific regions of the Church). If that happens, the groundbreakings for both the Phnom Pehn Cambodia and Bengaluru India Temples might possibly be deferred until next year.

Additionally, however, I wanted to report that the Church News has announced this morning that 14 more temples will reopen under phase 1 one week from today (Monday June 1). When those temples reopen, 66 of the total 168 currently dedicated will then be open, which will be equivalent to roughly 40% of all operating temples. The First Presidency continues to carefully evaluate conditions and respond accordingly. Temples which will reopen under phase 1 on Monday June 1: Adelaide Australia, Albuquerque New Mexico, Baton Rouge Louisiana, Calgary Alberta, Fukuoka Japan, Melbourne Australia, Nauvoo Illinois, Perth Australia, Raleigh North Carolina, San Antonio Texas, St. Louis Missouri,  Sydney Australia, The Hague Netherlands, and Vernal Utah.

I appreciate that the Church is carefully and cautiously reopening the temples. Although there are some locations in the United States in general (and for my home state of Utah in particular) where the conditions of COVID-19 have sufficiently cleared in such a way that it might make sense to transition a few temples here and elsewhere in the United States to the phase 2 where the risk is likewise lowering, I am sure that Church leaders are in a far better position than I myself might be to make that call. So, the best I can promise to do is to let you all know once I hear anything more about these phased reopenings, in addition to any other breaking Church news or temple developments. Stay tuned for all such updates.

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, May 24, 2020

UPDATED: Current Apostolic Statistics

Hello again, everyone! I last posted an apostolic statistical update the Sunday evening following the final session of the April 2020 General Conference. So it's time to do so again now. As per my new tradition, I have assembled the updated data in shareable documents. The updated data is in two parts, the first and the second. The information largely speaks for itself. I will, of course, pass along any additional Church news or temple developments, 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.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

BREAKING TEMPLE NEWS: Small-Scale Private Groundbreaking Held Today For the Layton Utah Temple

Hello again, everyone! As some of you may be aware, the Church had previously announced that the groundbreaking for the Layton Utah Temple was set to be held on Saturday May 30, one week from today. I was absolutely blown away, therefore, when I just heard a report from KSL, which was soon verified by the Church's official Newsroom that, due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns, the First Presidency instead instructed the Utah Area to conduct a small-scale private event earlier today. The official word from the Newsroom is that images and video from those proceedings will be published on the Newsroom in the coming week. I am hopeful that means that similar surprise announcements are in store about scheduled and unscheduled groundbreakings taking place on a small-scale might be possible. This means that the next scheduled groundbreaking is now two weeks away, assuming the groundbreaking for the Alabang Philippines Temple is able to take place on its' newly-scheduled date. For my part, I continue to monitor all Church news and temple updates and will bring word of those to you all 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.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

UPDATED: Two Different Speaking Order Scenarios for the October 2020 General Conference

Hello again, everyone!  Yesterday, the First Presidency made their announcement about the phased return to worship services and other meetings. Subsequently, I provided some insight in the threads of another post into what that process will look like in my neck of the woods, as a result of guidance given by the Utah Area Presidency. In the day or so since that time, I have been led to revisit some of my previously-offered thoughts regarding if, how, and in what manner COVID-19 may impact business as usual for the October 2020 General Conference. The initial draft of those predictions was assembled with the assumption that that General Conference would be similar or identical to what we saw with the April 2020 General Confernce. I subsequently began to reason through how I might arrange those predictions if the October 2020 General Conference were able to be more towards a normal status quo situation. After doing additional research, I set up an alternate projection for the potential speaker layout based on what I believe conference might look like should we be able to have a more normalized one. If anything more official is noted about that conference, that information will need to be factored in to any predictions I provide here. But for now, with what is and is not known, I wanted to provide a look at both projections and see if input from any of you can provide some perspective on which of those two scenarios may be more likely.

I'd just note here that for either predicted scenario, I will be using the exact same set of predictions for the changes in general Church leadership and the potential future locations for which I feel a temple could be announced this go-round, so I did not duplicate that information in both. Whichever speaking order is used will be attached to the other assembled predictions as detailed in the first document. And again, an open commenting period on these predictions remains effective anytime from now through 10:00 PM MDT on Thursday October 1. 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.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

BREAKING NEWS: First Presidency Announces Changes to Area Seventies Quorums; Creation of Four New Quorums

Hello again, everyone! I almost missed another breaking development. The First Presidency today also announced the creation of four additional Area Seventies Quorums to provide an ease of meeting as a Quorum, and as a result of the expanding presence of the Church in many areas. The distribution and assignment of Area Seventies Quorums will also be changing. The changes will go into effect on June 1, in less than 2 weeks time.As of June 1, the Quorums will break down as follows: The Third Quorum will consist of those area seventies living in the Africa Central, Africa South, and Africa West Areas. The Fourth Quorum will be comprised of those Area Seventies serving in the Asia and Asia North Areas. The Fifth Quorum will consist of those area seventies living in the Brazil Area. The Sixth Quorum will include those area seventies serving in the Caribbean, Central America, and Mexico Areas. Those in the Seventh Quorum will include all who serve in the Europe, Europe East, and Middle East/Africa North Areas.

Those serving in the Pacific and Philippines Areas will be assigned to the Eighth Quorum.The area seventies living within the South America Northwest and South America South Areas will constitute the Ninth Quorum. The final three Quorums will include those serving in the six North American Areas. Those serving in the North America Central, North America Northeast, and North America Southeast Areas will constitute the Tenth Quorum. Those area seventies in the North America Southwest and North America West Areas will constitute the Eleventh Quorum. And those serving in the boundaries of the Utah Area will now fall under the Twelfth Quorum.

When I originally suggested that new Quorums could be created to break up some of the larger Quorums, I never envisioned anything like this. But taking the approach of dividing the area seventies by goegraphical area will enable the Church to subsequently call as many area seventies as may be needed for each Quorum, which may involve a higher number thereof in each Quorum at some point in the very near future. As a result of this announcement, I have many updates to make to my list of Area Seventies over the next little while. With two major announcements in one day (even coming within 2-3 hours of each other), I hope that means that other major announcements will be coming down the pike in the days ahead, especially relating to temple construction efforts. I will monitor all such news and bring you all word of those developments 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. 

BREAKING NEWS: First Presidency Announces Phased Return to Church Services

Hello again, everyone! At some point yesterrday, I had commented on the Church Growth Blog that I didn't see the Church returning to any degree of normalcy in some areas before the third or fourth quarter of this year. But in a clear signal that the Lord's thoughts and ways are higher than mine (not that I needed one, but I got it nonetheless), the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles today announced a cautiously-coordinated and phased return to some regular Church functions. Note the wording I used above: cautiously coordinated and phased. Here's the way that approach will work. In consultation with their ecclesiastical contacts in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Presidency of the Seventy (whose assignments still do not appear to be known in their entirety), area presidencies can authorize the Church in their areas to ressume Church services Under Phase 1, shortened meetings with appropriate precautions to protect health and safety of Church members, shortened meetings (primarily Sacrament Meeting) may be held with tappropriate social distancing between each family. Other meetings, if needed, may be held by technology. And bishops may, depending on needs, continue to authrize home worship, including the administration of the Sacrament, in homes where one or more members are among the vunerable population. Any other meetings (interviews, Quorum or group meetings (Young Women and Relief Society) will continue remotely for the time being. The phase 2 approach would involve a return to a more normal degree of weekly worship, as long as local regulations are adhered to and Church seervices to a more normal degree can be resumed safely. The letter notes that in some areas where normalcy is returning may jump directly to phase 2, if that is approved through the proper channels.

Again, this will not be an instant change from home worship back to normalcy. This will be a carefully-coordinated effort that will cautiously progress as approvals are granted per area through the Area Presidency in consultation with their contacts in the Presidency of the Seventy and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. And the determinations will look different in each area, based on whatever regulations or restrictions are in place. I am not able to determine by this announcement how, if at all, the October 2020 General Conference may or may not be impacted from a normal scenario, but I will be researching that question in the days ahead. If the conference resumes as has been normal, theere may be a need to adjust my predictions for that. But I will be watching for information in that respect and will adjust those accordingly. In the meantime, I'm grateful that Church leaders are taking a smart approach in relation to this particular matter. I continue to monitor all such developments and will be sure to pass word of those along to you all as I become aware thereof.

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, May 18, 2020

TEMPLE UPDATES: 18 Additional Temples to Open Under Phase 1; Angel Moroni to Be Removed from the Salt Lake Temple As Renovations Continue

Hello again, everyone! The First Presidency continues the careful and methodical phased reopening of temples. In addition to the 18 that opened under phase 1 2 weeks ago, and 18 more that have opened/will open for live sealings by appointment only today, 18 more templeswill reopen under phase 1 one week from today. On the latest list are the 1 temple in Alaska, the 2 in Colorado, the Orlando temple in Florida (the Fort Lauderdale temple may reopen in a week or two), and the single temples in Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Oklklahoma, the Dallas and Houston Texas Temples, Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple, 4 more in Canada (Candston and Edmonton Alberta, Regina Saskatchewan, and Vancouver Britisth Columbia), and the Helsiniki Finland Temple. In the meantime, renovation efforts continue at the Salt Lake Temple, where crews are removing the angel Moroni statute and its' capstone. The Church News provided additional coverage on that development as well. And from Church News reporter Scott Taylor comes some thoughts about "preconceived missions", and how missionaries are, can, and should be responding to the unusual circumstances of their reassignments as a result of COVID-19.

In previous reports, the Church News has shared examples of the proper approach to that process based on accounts shared by missionaries whose service has been disrupted. It appears that the Church in some cases has  also reassigned mission presidents to their homelands as well in the wake of COVID-19. But it is awesome that the Church continues to take a measured approach in dealing with unusual cirucmstances due to the ongoing pandemic. The way in which the latest developments have transpired is a clear indicator that the Lord is very much aware of His work, and is blessing those involved in helping to move it forward in the midst of these highly unusual circumstances. For my part, I continue to monitor all Church news and temple updates, and will do my level best to pass word of those along to you all as I become aware of such things.

This upcoming Sunday, I have scheduled the next apostolic age and tenure milestone update. The following Saturday will mark the groundbreaking for the Layton Utah Temple, unless COVID-19 conditions change that. That will kick off the first of 3 weeks straight during which the Church will break ground on temples each Saturday. And the final day of May, I'll be bringing you all a post in tribute to President Henry B. Eyring, Second Counselor in the First Preidency, who will mark his 87th birthday on that day. All of those developments and more will be covered on this blog in one form or another in the days ahead. I also continue to work on updating my estimates for known temple events in the near future.

And of course, the open commernting period remains in effect for my predictions for the October 2020 General Conference. So stay tuned for all such reports. 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, May 14, 2020

Initial Predictions for the October 2020 General Conference

Hello again, everyone! I finally have the first draft of my predictions for next October's General Conference put together. An oope commenting period is now in effect until either I need to update them and post the revisions later on, or until the week before the October 2020 General Conference (with the deadline for the latter being 10:00 PM MDT on Thursday October 1, which will give me 36 hours to finalize those before General Conference formally begins). I look forward to your feedback. 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, May 11, 2020

UPDATES: First Presidency Announces 17 Additional Temples Which Will Open Under Phase 1; Reemphasizes Guidelines for Art in Meetinghouse Entryways

Hello again, eveeryone! 4 days ago, the First Presidency first annnounced the strategy the Church will take towards reopening temples., which included 17 temples that would reopen under phase 1 today (enabling previously-endowed  couples to have their marriages solemnized in the temple). After further evaluating world conditions and governmental restrictions, the First Presidency today announced 17 more teeples which will open under phase 1 one week from today (Monday May 18). The neewest 17 include templess scattered through the United States in the following 9 states:Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and Wyoming. Also included on the latest list are temples in Denmark, Korea, and Taiwan. It is wonderful to see Church leaders moving forward in faith and expanding the phased reopening of temples. If that was the only development I had to  report today, it would be reason enough to rejoice. But above and beyond that development, the First Presidency is also looking ahead to the time when regular worship will resume in meetinghouses worldwide.  As assessments are underway on that front, the First Presidency has provided a directive pertaining to art in meetinghouse foyers. Acknwledging the efforts of Church members everywhere to use the correct name of the Church, leaders have felt to reemphasize the centrality of the Savior in Sunday worship services in chapels around the world by directive that artwork featuring the Savior, either on his own, or ministering to others, should be prominently displayed in the entryways of each chapel. Local physical facilities directors are being instructed to prayerfully work with congregational leaders both at the stake/disstrict and ward/branch level to ensure that the artwork that is selected for each such meetinghouse meets the desired parameters as spelled out in today's news release. A First Presidency letter provides more specific recommendations on that.I  am grateful to have learned of these developments and to have been able to pass them along to you all here. I will continue to do so with all future developments, whether in new posts or on comments for existing posts.

Just by way of reminder, I do have my next apstolic statistical update set to be published here on Sunday May 24. I will also carry coverage of the upcoming temple groundbreakings for the Layton Utah, Alabang Philippines, and Auckland New Zealand Temples as that is made available. And of course, I also have plans to bring you apostolic birthday tribute posts for President Henry B. Eyring (on May 31) and Elder David A. Bednar (on June 15). So stay tuned for those reports, among others. 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, May 4, 2020

BREAKING TEMPLE NEWS: Groundbreaking for Alabang Philippines Temple Postponed

Hello again, everyone! As many of you might be aware, I have been looking for (and having difficulty finding) confirmation that the Alabang Philippines Temple groundbreaking occurred today as scheduled. In my latest perusal of the available information, I happened to look on the Church Temples site. On the page for the Alabang Philippines Temple, an update at the top of that parge drew my attention. The status was as follows: "Preparing for groundbreaking ceremony; site cleared; groundbreaking scheduled for 6 June 2020." Although that update has not officially been confirmed through the Philippines Newsroom or the main Newsroom, the Church temples site has been known to have official information that has been or will soon be verified through the proper official channels. Therefore, I am pleased to pass along to you all the news that the groundbreaking for that temple will take place one week after that of the Layton Utah temple, and one week before the previously-scheduled groundbreaking for the Auckland New Zealand Temple. That update supercedes any previous information I have provided on this matter here.

Insofar as I am aware, the last time there were 3 consecutive temple groundbreakings on 3 consecutive weekends was during the Hinckley-era buiilding boom of the late 1990s-early 2000s. So it looks as though the end of May through the beginning of June will be chock-full of temple events to cover on this blog. I continue to monitor all such updates and will be sure to pass 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.