Fare thee well. May we all be emissaries of the Lord in our own ways and expand the Kingdom of God individually and collectively as we see membership increase. And units.
One of the prayers at the Republican National Convention was given by Nathan Johnson, who is a counselor in the Kirtland Ohio Stake Presidency. Johnson is the son of a black man and a white woman who joined the Church while studying theology at Boston College. His wife is white and grew up in the Salt Lake City area. Despite at times seeming like there are those who want to keep knowledge of this surpressed, including one person who occasionally gets chances to make his angry attacks on the LDS Church as culturally white and forcing African-American into a white cultural paradigm heard in the news, the evidence is there are a growing number of men of African descent serving in stake presidencies in the US. On the other hand considering how many African-American members live in my stake boundary, that there is only one even on the high council at present is a case a disproportionately low representation. On the other hand having a child of Mexican immigrants who was partly raised in Mexico on the high council gives us a disproportionately high number of Latinos on the high council. One interesting thing is it seemed we had a much higher rate of turn over on the high council under the former stake president than the current one.
There is a Kick Starter out for a surveys on why people do or do not identify as Mormons.This seems to me vitally important in understanding Church Growthhttp://religionnews.com/2016/07/23/who-is-leaving-the-lds-church/https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/863062971/the-next-mormons/description
One way to try and guess at dark horse candidates for temples is too look at the 200 miles from a temple threshold that President Monson mentioned a certain percentage of Church member was within and then see what falls beyond that. Mainly this will work in areas where the Church has reached spiritual maturity.I am trying to see how likely a Casper Wyoming Temple is. Casper Stake has 12 wards and a branch, so it might be split soon. The Casper Stake maybe could draw in the Wheatland Ward from the Cheyenne Stake as well. However from Whealand to Casper is an hour and a half, it is only an hour to Cheyenne. The ward streches from Chugwater on the south, where it is only 45 miles to Cheyenne and 24 to Wheatland and 133 to Casper to Gurnsey on the north where it is still 111 miles to Casper (Guernsey is to the east of Chugwater and Wheatland by a little) but it is 98 miles to Cheyenne, so pretty close to the same distance. If the Church is going to move the Wheatland Ward, they might as well move the Torrington Ward as well, and either make a Douglas Wyoming Stake with the Wheatland Ward, Torrington Ward, Douglas Ward, the Lusk Branch, the Glenrock Ward and one of the nine wards in Casper, or they could downgrade Wheatland, Douglas, Torrington and maybe Glnrock to branches, form a branch in Guernsey which has its own schooldistrict, make Chugwater where they have a K-12 school a group in either the district or under a ward in the Cheyenne Stake, and do aggresive Church growth and planting. Considring that Chugwater has 200 people and Gurnsey has 1,2000, while Longmont, Colorado, the main city in the furthest south stake in the Fort Collins Mission has 92,000 people, I doubt such aggresive tactics will be undertaken. Just Larimer (where Fort Collins and Loveland are) and Weld (where Greeley is) have more people than all of Wyoming, but only by a little bit. The Longmont Stake portion of Boulder County adds in at least another 100,000 people.
John Dehlin, before coming out as totally anti, did a similar survey a few years ago. It suffered from a huge sampling bias because the types of people who filled out the survey were mainly just the types of people who listened to his podcast. Hopefully Jana Reiss will do a better job of disseminating hers to more mainstream Mormons, because if not it will undoubtedly suffer from a similar bias, since her blog is rather on the liberal side (not saying that's always a bad thing).
She ids deliberatly trying to avoid theat kind of BiasFrom the Kick Starter"Can I be in the survey?"Er, no. Sorry. That's the difference between a representative sample and what's called a snowball sample: In a snowball sample, the word goes out among friends and family, who take the survey and then tell their friends about it, creating a "snowball" effect.The awesome thing about snowball surveys is that you can get huge groups of people answering the questions -- often well into the thousands. The bad news is that the data is not considered scientific because it has been generated among people who might already feel a certain way or lean in a particular direction. If I started a snowball sample on my Flunking Sainthood blog, for example, I would probably get mostly left-of-center Latter-day Saints answering the questions. I love those people -- those are my people! -- but that would not represent all Latter-day Saints the way a representative sample does.So: I won't know any of the people taking the survey. It's not something they can volunteer for; they're already in certain panel databases that the research firm draws upon.However, I *am* doing extensive oral histories for the book. The interviews can be conducted by phone and take about 90 minutes. I think they are actually really fun, but then I am weird. If you are interested in possibly doing such an interview, know that you will have to sign a release form and that not everyone who is interviewed will have comments or stories that actually make it into the book. I'm particularly looking for people under 35, but am also doing interviews with older Mormons and older former Mormons.So far I have had more women volunteer for this than men, so I am particularly looking for: men, people who came from extra-large families, people who spent more than a couple of years in a YSA ward, and anyone who has been in a mid-singles ward.
I look not only on the 200 mile radius but also the size and dimensions of the temple plus the number of congregations within an area.The next two temples in Texas will be Austin and McAllen (though they will probably build it in Reynosa).Lagos will probably be announced first with Benin City shortly thereafter, in Nigeria.Just two examples.I will follow up with temple predictions of my own in the next few days...
There's a program on Mormon Channel where they talk about what goes into preparing for, designing, and eventually building, any temple. They do talk about how after the temple is announced, one of the considerations is indeed what size of a temple will be needed for that area.Now on to one area some have thought might merit a temple, Missoula Montana. Turns out, it's about less than 200 miles from Spokane, which does have a small temple. If it is over, it's not by that much, and I-90 is a very good road through Idaho, that pass in Idaho has a nasty canyon that probably gets some bad weather issues in the winter, but they keep it passable outside when there is a storm.A Missoula temple would have very few members, Coeur d'Alene is much closer to Spokane, so that would stay with that temple. Eastern Montana would stay with Billings, and the rest goes either way depending on primarily mountain passes and associated roads.
Based on comments people left on my list of temples that might be announced, I have once again revamped my list of locations that seem to be most ripe for a temple. You can comment on my new list at the link below. I am particularly anxious to hear what people think of my predictions because there seems to be a dispute going on regarding the next city in the Provo/Mount Timpanogos Temple districts that will next have a temple announcement. I favor Lehi and Orem, while others keep insisting the next one will be in either Eagle Mountain or Saratoga Springs. I would especially welcome feedback on my blog on that particular point. I also learned from Rick Satterfield, who maintains the most excellent LDS Church Temples site that land has already been purchased for a temple in Managua Nicaragua and Port Moresby Papua New Guinea. He also reports that a potential temple site has been identified by Elder David A. Bednar for Missoula Montana. And my former team leader from work informed me that a site has been purchased in Bentonville Arkansas once Church membership warrants such an announcement. We have seen particular growth in South America and Africa, so I am anticipating several sites there. There have also been around 4-5 other temples that have been publicly proposed. I go into all of this on my blog, so comments would be appreciated to hopefully help me thin this list down to just a few I can add to my predictions for October General Conference. I would prefer if any comments on my selections were left on my blog itself so that we can leave Matt's comment board open for those wanting to wish him well on his vacation or report other Church news. Thanks.http://stokessoundsoff.blogspot.com/2016/07/slight-revamp-and-expansion-of-list-of.html
Update on the Churches volunteers that where located in Turkey: http://www.ldsliving.com/Church-Removes-Volunteers-from-Turkey-After-Failed-Coup-Releases-Statement/s/82719
Here is from the official church Newsroom: http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/church-statement-volunteers-turkey
Regarding the Survey Kick starter, would any one else be interested in combining to do the $100 level so we can get the Executive summary.Pledge $100 or moreAn executive summary of the researchIn addition to an acknowledgment and a signed copy, you will receive a PDF in December 2016 summarizing some of the survey's most interesting findings about Mormon Millennials.LESSESTIMATED DELIVERYDec 201658 backers
Sending those "volunteers" to Germany for now sounds like a hidden blessing. Is any specific outreach to the Turkish population there already going on?
Opinion: as much as our faith is a large part of our country at civic levels and we are pleased with our participation as patriots, sometimes I think the "Americaness" of the Church can grate on non-US peoples. Sometimes like some Utah LDS can have a less than positive impression on outside of Utah Mormons.For me growing up in the Midwest I always had a positive take on Utah LDS, as we had many associated with Indiana University, and so many good missionaries as well.We have an elder from Seattle who never heard of Pioneer day while having maybe 4 times more members than Indiana but in Bloomington we typically celebrated it on a ward level. Utah influence, but I loved it. We usually had a Utah based CES director and other strong Utah families in our wards, which seemed to be a boon to guys like me.
Jana Riess consistently attacks the leaders of the Church. She has accused Elder Nelson of lieing with his explanation of how the current policies on not baptizing children whose parents are in same-sex marriages came about. She also was one of the regular voices in attacking PResident Packer whenever he spoke for man/woman marriage and the ability of people to chose not to engage in homosexual acts.
To me pioneer day should be a Church wide celebration. It is not about Utah, but about the history of the LDS Church. This is the message of many recent works, including the Church History Department's "Pioneers in Every Land" series.On the other hand, I took some missionaries and there investigator to the Detroit Mission's "I am a Mormon" Devotional on Thursday night. It was great fun, seeing missionaries I had not seen in a while, and meetings ones from places like Samoa.The speakers were a sister who was baptized a few months ago. She had been raised Catholic, but spent much of her 20s as part of the religious demographic of the "nones". The next was a recently baptized sister who is a native of Mexico. She was raised Catholic, but had at some point become part of a protestant Church. She had a granddaughter who was being baptized LDS and her pastor said of the LDS "They are not even Christian". This enraged her so much that she asked for a Book of Mormon. She knew the claim was false and wanted to learn the truth.The last speaker was the mission president. His father was baptized at age 8 in California and grew up in Redondo Beach around 1940. When he was a teenager he started going to a Protestant Church with some friends, but his mother who smoked and never went to Church told him (the mission president's Dad) that if he was going to go to Church he should go to the Mormon Church which he was a member of. The mission presidents Mom was raised Lutheran but joined the LDS Church while in college. His parents took a greyhound bus to go to Salt Lake City to get married, because there was no temple in California in those days.President Cleveland also mentioned that his wife is a convert, but said she would tell her story at a later meeting.
In Detroit, they have held some sort of minor thing at times to celebrate the day in 1701 when the town was founded, that also was a July 24th.Yet I've never heard of local wards and stakes doing anything there to tie the two together in some way, I think something that celebrated both events, the Mormon Pioneers arriving in the Salt Lake Valley, and the founding of Detroit, could turn into a good missionary outreach in that area.
Talk to your bishoprics and stake presidencies. Leaders are usually amenable to good wholesome activites and those who volunteer to plan and execute them.
My stake does a pioneer day celebration every July about the 24th. It initially started back in the mid-2000s when the Detroit district was disolved and the branches were moved back to the stakes, and at first was held on Belle Isle. However after Belle Isle was leased to the state and there was an entrance fee imposed (although you only have to pay it once a year and it covers all state parks) they relocated the stake picnic to the stake center. I thought it was a good thing to once a year have a church event that forced suburbanites to go into the city.July 23, 1967 was the day the Detroit Riots started.
If there was a church wide holiday, these would be more appropriate than July 24th - April 6th, the dates the aaronic and melchizadec priesthoods were restored, the date the first temple was dedicated... You know, something that applies to everyone in the church.
Until the late 1960s, General Conference in April would have two sessions at least on April 6th, no matter when it fell during the week. But due to other considerations, and the fact that it was not required to be held that day, that practice was discarded and by 1977 we were on the two-day schedule we have now for General Conference.
I still think July 24th applies to everyone in the Church. It is the chosen date to represent the day that the Church established its headquarters in its current location. Anyway we need to understand it as a representation of group history.May 15th was normally the target date for my ward's father's and son's campout and we often spoke of the priesthood restoration. April 6th was deliberately chosen as the day the Palmyra Temple was rededicated. June 27th, the day of Joseph Smith's death, and December 23rd, the day of his birth, are also remembered. The day the melchizadec priesthood was restored is not actually known.April 6th also connects to the dedications of the Kirtland and Salt Lake Temples.There is Hawaiian Pioneer Day, August 25th I believe, which is the day Laie was formed and also Iosepa, the Hawaiian colony in Utah where many of the first temple workers at the Laie Temple lived when they first went to the temple, over several years before President Joseph F. Smith and his counselors encouraged them to go back to Hawaii when a temple was announced for that place.Then there is my birthday, October 27th, Extermination Order Day. On the other hand it is also the birthday of Daniel H. Wells, the hero of the Battle of Nauvoo, and long-time counselor to Brigham Young, and also of Elder Lynn G. Robbins. The very day I was born the Tokyo Japan Temple was dedicated and the Papeete Tahiti Temple was dedicated the day I turned 3.
A temple in McAllen, Texas would be more convenient for a number of reasons. Those familiar with the area know what I'm referring to.
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