Monday, July 31, 2017

July 2017 Newsletter

Click here to access our July 2017 newsletter for cumorah.com detailing recent LDS growth developments and new resources added to our website.

17 comments:

James said...

Another awesome newsletter, Matt! Thanks for sharing. I particularly enjoyed the case study about West Africa and the analysis of potential developments in that nation. I look forward to seeing what the Lord has in mind for Church growth worldwide. I would like to additionally thank you for keeping us informed about ongoing worldwide developments as they happen. Your work has changed the way I look at current and future Church growth. Thanks again, for everything.

99 said...

Anyone else think it's high time for Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia to have a temple? It had 7 stakes operating there already, with 2 more created recently according to the newsletter, for a total of 9 stakes with Santa Cruz Bolivia in its name. The same (9 stakes) can only be said for La Paz (Bolivia's capital) when also including the neighboring and more populous city of El Alto. Santa Cruz is about 471 km from the temple in Cochabamba, and it is THE most populous city in Bolivia. La Paz has been noted in Potential Temple Announcements but from what I can tell, never Santa Cruz. Not sure about the Cochabamba temple attendance but if it can survive without the (at least) 10 stakes that would likely be pulled by this hypothetical Santa Cruz temple, why not? If there is more growth in the La Paz area then we might even hear a temple announced there too.

Cory Ward said...

The topic of Church growth and facilities interests me. I find myself looking of the meetinghouse locator often out of interest of how the church is structured around the world. It looks like in Tijuana the church removed two meetinghouses from the meetinghouse locator. Out of Curiosity, does maximizing the meetinghouse space include selling some of the chapels.

All of the meetinghouses on the north west side of the city only hold one ward. this explains why this older, smaller meetinghouse was removed: https://www.google.com/maps/@32.5174619,-117.0615517,3a,43.1y,310.11h,93.08t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sPB3eOkecwrvVlyd3tLgdzg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en

But on the flip side, this larger meetinghouse was removed: https://www.google.com/maps/@32.5237015,-117.0036839,3a,41.6y,146.53h,94.42t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sVu7RXwIp9CGY1glyCXkwoQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en
Even though another smaller, probably rented meetinghouse is located nearby:
https://www.google.com/maps/@32.5375119,-117.0157005,3a,66.9y,24.91h,96.84t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s6vBLZ9568LNR__9Ez2TobQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en

Does the Church normally sell meetinghouses that are not being used?

John Pack Lambert said...

My understanding is that the Church tries to sell buildings it is not using. Someti.es they get reused as LDS family services buildings.

James said...

In terms of Bolivian temple possibilities, I think that Santa Cruz and La Paz are both likely. Of the two, I favor La Paz because a good friend (the bishop of my parents' ward from the time I was a priest until two years after the end of my mission) served his mission there. But I have found in my research on the subject that Santa Cruz may be more likely. Even so, I feel confident that temples for both cities are on the list of the 85+ that are set to be announced within the next 15 years or so. I have both on my current list, and will be happy to see them announced whenever the time is right for that to happen.

Cory Ward said...

Thanks John for pointing that out. Certainly in the Church in the US has a history of utilizing buildings for such things. In my hometown of Idaho Falls, one church was converted into a large family history center for all the stakes and another building holds a YSA Ward and is now the offices for the Idaho Falls mission. Another building was sold to the Salvation Army and one older one is in decay passing from owner to owner. With many YSA and language units in the US, it seems easier to utilize old meetinghouses. However in Mexico these units don't exist and programs like Family services aren't very strong. So I just found it interesting that a cookie cutter Mexican meetinghouse could be sold.

As far as a potential temple district for new temples in Bolivia, looking at driving distances according to google maps, Santa Cruz would have 13 stakes and 3 districts; La Paz with 9 stakes and possibly 4 districts. With the Temple in Arequipa, the Peruvian stakes on the boarder would not likely attend Lap Paz.

99 said...

Something that might happen is announce either one (La Paz or Santa Cruz) first, and if the Cochabamba temple becomes rather idle, redraw borders to re-expand the temple district and probably not make the second temple until there is much more activity. If the Cochabamba temple is doing alright, perhaps then the other temple would be announced. Cochabamba was probably chosen as the first temple location because it is a central location. This process would span many years but announcing both concurrently risks the Cochabamba temple becoming idle.

James said...

Let me clarify what I said: I do not believe that both will be announced concurrently. At the same time, I do believe that both may be on the list of 85+ that are expected to be announced during the next 15 years. The only question in my mind is, which of the two might be announced first? I could see either one announced within the next 1-3 years, then the other following about 7 years after that. I don't think that is impossible. I hope no one thought I was personally suggesting anything else. It is almost unheard of for any nation (aside from the US) having two temples announced within the same General Conference. At least, I have not heard of that happening. Nice to know that information about the Cochabamba temple, of which I was not aware. Thanks.

Steven Kent said...

As a former missionary in Bolivia (La Paz Mission), I would love to see temples in both Santa Cruz and La Paz, especially La Paz. However, I have to believe that Santa Cruz is more likely to be next. While both cities currently have 9 stakes in the metropolitan area, Santa Cruz would take in more of the outlying stakes (or they would remain with Cochabamba). Also, Santa Cruz is one of the most dynamic cities in Latin America, having nearly doubled in population in the last 15 years.

Another reason for favoring Santa Cruz has to do with Bolivia's geography. There is a huge difference in altitude, and therefore climate, between the eastern and western halves of the country. In the west, El Alto and La Paz are the highest major cities (over 500,000 population) in the world, at 13,615 and 11,942 feet respectively. Cochabamba, in the center, sits lower but still at 8,432 feet. In the east, however, tropical Santa Cruz sits at the base of the mountains at just 1,440 feet. (For reference, the highest cities in the US are just over 7,000 feet: Los Alamos, NM; Santa Fe, NM; Laramie, WY; Flagstaff, AZ). For some travelers from Santa Cruz to the temple in Cochabamba, I'm sure it is difficult to adjust to that change in altitude during a brief temple trip.

Nathanial Warenski said...

In identifying the 80 temples worldwide in next 15 years, we should keep in mind that Elder Wilson said that they are potential locations that could have a temple built.

https://www.eastidahonews.com/2017/04/east-idaho-newsmakers-mormon-temple-dept-executive-director-elder-larry-wilson/

James said...

Nathanial, I think I understand what you are saying, but wanted to clarify: Are you saying that it is not a sure thing that the Church will announced all of those 80 in the next 15 years, or are you saying it is hard to know what those locations are? Either way, even if half of those 80 wind up actually making it to announcement and construction, it is still significant. And even if 20 such temples only actually get announced within that time, it would mean that the Church could easily get enough of them built to have 200 in operation just under 13 years from now when the Church observes the 200th anniversary of its restoration. And I don't think that will be a problem. We have 13 temples currently announced, and 12 of those have been within the last 2.5 years. That means that roughly 5 have been announced per year. If that trend continues, then there could be 75 more announced in 15 years, which is pretty darn close to the 80 Elder Wilson referenced. I know that for my part, anything I have put out about potential future temples points clearly to my strong belief that the Lord controls where temples are announced and when that happens, so I see no harm in talking about where future temples may rise. Either way, I am happy that my voice can be one of many reporting on such developments. I hope you don't take offense at this comment, just as I hope you know I have the greatest respect for you personally and that I appreciate your continuing comments on this blog, and, when you feel so inclined, on my own. Thanks so much for reposting the link to that interview. I enjoyed watching it again and very much appreciated the chance to pick up on new insights. Hope you are well, my friend. Thanks again.

And speaking of the ongoing discussion about potential future sites, I have posted more on that subject on my own blog, including a few posts about sites that may be announced in the near future. I appreciate any who may wish to offer feedback on that, or anything else I have posted. A link to my blog follows. Enjoy!

http://stokessoundsoff.blogspot.com

Mike Johnson said...

I think 80 locations over the next 15 years means simply that is what is currently on the Church's radar screen, so to speak. Some may be close to being announced and others are simply being monitored and considered. Over the next 15 years some will undoubtedly be built, some will likely remain as potentials. Some may be dropped from the list and others likely will be added due to continual evaluation and some of these may be built. I think it is more a planning tool for the Temple Department. Church presidents have had a tendency, as moved upon by the Spirit of Prophecy, to mix things up a bit by announcing temples that the Temple Department may not have planned.

Nathanial Warenski said...

I think Mike expressed my thoughts better than I could. There is no harm in sharing thoughts on where temples could be built. I seen make predictions happen sooner than I would've thought.

James said...

Thanks to both of you for those thoughts. I agree, for the most part, with what was said. Only the Lord and His prophet (or those the prophet authorizes in his inability to do so) are authorized to make such decisions. As one who has followed temple developments extensively for several years, I know that plans can change, even after announcements are made. We have two temples I know of recently where plans were announced, and, due to a variety of issues, those announcements were withdrawn. And we have also had several temples that were planned in the early days of Church History that, because of persecution, could not be built. The Doctrine and Covenants contains several revelations from the Lord to the early Saints where they were either chastised for their failure to put their focus on temple building, or where the Lord subsequently excused them from doing so because of the opposition that existed at that time. So I know it happens.

I also know that there have been several sites that I became aware of quite a while ago where land is being held in reserve for a temple. In most of those cases, I know that an official announcement is anticipated to follow once the right time and conditions are in place for that to happen. I also know of cases where land may have been set aside for a temple, but that has not happened.

My point in observing all of this is that, as one who gained an early love and appreciation for the temple (which was only heightened by six years of service as a temple worker, and in light of the fact that in one of these temples I met and married the woman to whom the Lord led me), I have a great desire to follow such developments.

With recent health issues that have come my way, my ability to live as normally and fully as I usually have been able to do has been somewhat limited. So in the midst of these things, I have found studying current and potential future developments as relating to temples to be a grounding and inspirational way to pass time. When all else has failed me, my love for learning about and passing on news of current or potential future temples has been a great comfort to me.

So when I first learned of the 80 sites that may be announced in the next 15 years, it was awesome to consider such an expansion of temple building. And, as I observed in my last comment, I will be just as happy if the number increases at any rate within the next 15 years as I would if the total number of temples increases by 80 within that time. Each temple is a wonderful milestone, but by no means a summit. And for my part, I hope that my enthusiasm for finding out and reporting about such things can help anyone who reads about those developments.

That is one of many reasons why I was so elated this afternoon when I found out about the rededication that has been set for the Jordan River Temple. I had been hoping and projecting that the dedication would be sometime in May. It is nice to have that feeling confirmed. In the meantime, for my part, whether I am wrong or right on anything else temple-related (including the potential time-frame for such events or where future temples might rise), I am just grateful that the Lord has given me the enthusiasm for such subjects while I am not able to do much else.

Thanks for the ongoing discussion. I certainly hope all of you know I mean no offense in anything I post. I value the opinions and experiences shared here, and I hope that what I have to say continues to be a valuable contribution to such dialogue.

For any who may want to, as I noted above, I have posted more about temple developments lately and would welcome comments and insights on my work, shared either here or on my own blog. Thanks for allowing me to be part of this. Hope all of you are well. Thanks again.

http://stokessoundsoff.blogspot.com

Cory Ward said...

I would conjecture that the temple department uses this list to aid in the revelatory process. Like it says in D&C 9, "I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right."So I would say that the first presidency delegates part of this study to the temple department, and then the president of the church makes the final decisions. Back in April I commented this on this blog:

"On the local news at 10pm on Channel 8 in East Idaho, they interviewed the Pocatello Mayor, Brian Blad, who knew of the announcement for a week prior. He was asked how Pocatello was selected to have a temple. the News anchor said that when the temple department was going over a list of potential temple locations with President Monson, Pocatello was mentioned and President Monson said, "Stop, the saints in Pocatello are well prepared and they shall recieve a temple."

So this confirms what I think we all knew. The temple Department researches the best location for new temples, and then final word comes from the Prophet who receives the revelation. But it's still insightful get a glimpse of the process."

David Todd said...

Thank you for sharing that again! I am so grateful for the inspiration that guides the prophet and other leaders of our church.

James said...

Me too. Thank you, Cory and David, for those comments. That is why I am so glad that my voice can be one of many that not only reports on important developments, but also, more importantly, has spoken out so much about the importance of supporting the Brethren. Well-meaning people who style themselves as faithful Church members have suggested that an "emeritus status" of some kind should be enacted for our prophets and apostles, but that is not the Lord's way. He reveals His will to the prophet (or those the Church President authorizes to do so in his behalf), and the work carries on in that manner. And, as I have observed in such posts, were it not for such practices, we would have missed out on some of the most inspirational sermons delivered by either members of the First Presidency or Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (or those they have requested to read their remarks) as given in the twilights of their lives.

Perhaps most significant to me has been following developments related to temples that are or may soon be under construction. The last several days, I have posted numerous updates in that regard on my own blog. I welcome feedback from any of you who might wish to give it. I have also done more posts in the last 10 days or so on future temple sites, for which I would love feedback.

If I may end on this note, I would like to close by saying that, even when I have voiced a differing opinion on such things from other people who share their thoughts with me, I still have the utmost respect for any who share such thoughts with me. And I hope, in turn, that my comments may be equally helpful to all of you, whether they come here or on my own blog. Thanks for all of these wonderful insights. May the Lord bless you all.

http://stokessoundsoff.blogspot.com