Saturday, December 30, 2017

December 2017 Monthly Newsletter

Click here to access our December edition of our monthly newsletter for cumorah.com.

112 comments:

James said...

Another wonderful newsletter, Matt! Thank you so much for putting together all that data. The general widespread progress of the various nations within the African continent is a subject for which I have high enthusiasm. As I have previously mention, my mom was born and raised in South Africa, and her parents became first-generation converts shortly before she was born. She fondly recalls their family's sacrifices and arduous journey she and her family took to be sealed in the temple when she and her siblings were very young. But getting back to the subject of your wonderful newsletter, I am grateful to hear of all the progress the Church is making on the African continent. That progress is one of many reasons why I concur with what you have said up to this point about the possibility of several additional temples being announced to serve the Saints in the two or three African areas of the Church. In terms of those possibilities, I have 10 potential locations on my list for the near future, 4 of which would, if all of them was announced, would be built within the Africa Southeast Area, and another 6 potential locations for the Africa West Area.

That reminds me of your statement in an earlier post about how, if current growth trends continue within the nations comprising the Africa West Area, that area could easily have 13 temples dedicated and in operation by 2030. And while the Church has 2 temples serving the Saints in that region at the moment (though 1 other has been announced for the Ivory Coast), the Church would just have to build and dedicate that temple, along with 9 others in various locations, within the 13 years between now and the end of 2030. And while we don't know for certain yet how soon the Ivory Coast temple could have a groundbreaking (since the official site announcement is still pending), and beyond that, how long it will take to construct and dedicate it, along with the timing of the announcements, groundbreakings and dedication of the other 10, I would estimate that, if the Church can have all 10 announced by the end of 2027 or so, and if a minimum of 1 new temple were able to be dedicated per year between 2021 and 2030, that milestone could very easily be marked and perhaps even exceeded. And that is staggering to consider. So, thanks again to you, Matt, for continuing to provide us all with relevant data and information about such prospects, and keep up the great work!

Having said that, to everyone else who reads this comment, I wanted to let you all know that I have finished the series of posts on my blog which I have put together to share my thoughts about the most likely potential temples which I have felt could be announced in the near future for each of the Church's 25 geographical areas. Having done so, I am continuing to openly invite any and all feedback on such posts until late March of next year, when I will need to firm up and finalize that list of such possibilities prior to General Conference next April. With my additional & continued thanks to Matt for being gracious enough to allow me to do so, I am again including a link to my blog for any that would like to give their feedback on such posts. The subject of where potential temples may be built is clearly one that is important to Latter-day Saints all over the world, and I am very grateful for the opportunity I have had to contribute in my own small way to the ongoing dialogue about both the likelihood and timing such prospects. Thanks again to you all.

http://stokessoundsoff.blogspot.com

Unknown said...

Matt, please. We love you. But you need to migrate to WordPress or something. You deserve a better blog template than this. We can help you. Your website DESERVES to be upgraded. It's long overdue!

Eduardo Clinch said...

Why is Wordpress better?

Mike Johnson said...

i was wondering the same thing.

Mike Johnson said...

I was also wondering if "Unknown" was simply trying to sell a site.

John Pack Lambert said...

Very exciting developments throughout West Africa. I am hoping for as many as 5 temples announced there in the next two years. The top contenders are Freetown, Monrovia, Lagos, Benin City and Kumasi. A number 5 contender would probably by Calabar or somewhere in Akwa Ibom State. However since the general south-east region ventered on Aba is still below the number of stake Lima and Manilla had when their second temples were announced, that might be a little way out.

With Church growth in the Demovratic Republic of the Congo I could see a temple announced in the bear future for Lumbumbashi. Moxambique is the only other potential soon location for a temple I see in Africa, but with only 3 stakes and a second temple going up in South Africa and a temple being built in Zimbabwe I think it will be after significant growth of church units in both Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

With the general growth of the Church in Central America this year a temple for Nicaragua seems likely. A second temple in Honduras in San Pedro Sula might also occur. Bolivia getting a second temple in La Paz seems very likely after the new stakes in that country this year.

I would love to see a temple in Mendoza, Argentina but do not have a sense how soon that would be. A third temple for Chile would be nice, but its placement is hard to predict.

Salvador Brazil I hope can get a temple soon.

I guess Cape Verde is another possible temple for Africa I forgot about it because it is in the Europe Area.

India is a developing temple candidate with 4 stakes. However they are in 4 spread out cities. I would not be surprised if a temple is announced once Banglore or Hyderabad sees its staje split. On the other hand Ukraine has a temple with only 1 stake in the country.

A Moscow Temple would be awesome, but I am not holding my breath. Vienna seems a potential good candidate for another temple in central Europe.

Mongolia will probably someday have a temple, but I dont see it announced in the next 5 years.

The same is true of Singapore. I think that will wait until the Singapore stake splits and stakes are formed in Malaysia.

Taiwan may soon get a second temple.

Micronesia is a large area, with 5 stakes if braodly defined, with no temple. Still it is so large geographically that it is hard to figure where a temple will go.

Papua New Guinea has seen growth this yeat, so a temple there is a hope, but prob ably more stakes first.

New Zealand is a strong contender for a second temple. Puebla, Mexico seems a potential cite as well, and maybe also Durango.

In the US I think the top candidates are Brntonville/Fayetteville Arkansas, Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, Richmond, Virginia, a dark horse in Buena Vista, Virginia, and in Utah Layton, Tooelle and Heber City. Austin, Texas could be a candidate if growth in crntral Texas continues. Another one is McAllen Texas especially if Laredo becomes a stake. El Paso Texas is a bit of a dark horse, but may have some potential.

Maine is a real dark horse, but still has some potential. Somewhere in Western Montana is also a candidate. I would love to see a temple in Colorado Springs but am not holding my breath on that one either. Jacksonville Florida and Charlotte North Carolina are also potential candidates.

A temple is Scotland is a vague possibility, but does not look super liKely.

The oned other place that seems really lacking is the eastern Carribean. But there are not many stakes there so I do not predict one there soon.

Eduardo Clinch said...

I guess part of the irony of Matt Parker and Tre Stone buffooning LDS and Africans is that Africa will be where the Mormon movement will grow in unprecedented ways, despite their pompous, lewd, disrespectful, bigotted, racist, profane, "big Broadway hit". Way to go, morons of the entertainment world! Maybe all the gross mockery will end up bringing more light and publicity to the valiant causes of missions and African peoples struggling to progress.
Stone and Parker are forever married to their work. A few months ago a Utah soldier killed on a mission in Afghanistan was eulogized as having served in Ghana on a mission with dedicated zeal and love.
Matt and Tre do not hold a candle next to that guy.
Great to see so many countries developing well, regardless of Western skeptics and first world spoiled "artists" as mentioned above.

James Anderson said...

Are there locations, where like some stakes, two temple districts are larger with a core of stakes somewhere between them that could support a temple? One of the things needed along with temples being sufficiently used enough is enough members reasonably close by to staff it and where, after a couple years, other members could staff that same temple thus rotating amongst the members in that new district's area?

James said...

JPL, I agree with most of your statement about likely locations in the future that may get a temple, especially on the point that West Africa has a solid chance of having several more temples announced in the near future. When I covered that area in the series of posts I did about current and future temples, I particularly referenced Matt's statement from an earlier post that the area (which has two temples operating currently and one other announced for the Ivory Coast) that there could easily be 13 dedicated within that area by 2030.

And among the sites on my personal list are Benin City or Lagos Nigeria, Kumasi Ghana, Freetown Sierra Leone, Yamoussoukro Ivory Coast, Monrovia Liberia, and Lome Togo. I likewise agree on the potential for Lubumbashi and Mozambique, as well as Managua, San Pedro Sula, and a second temple for Bolivia (with the top two contenders in my opinion being Santa Cruz as well as La Paz, though I am not sure which might be announced first or if both could simultaneously be under construction).

For the next Argentine temple, I have the possibility of Neuquen, which has been on my list for as long as I have been sharing my thoughts about such locations. I have also offered my thoughts that a temple could be built in Valparaiso Chile. In the meantime, India is on my list for the near future (though the political climate will have to change if that is going to happen anytime soon). I think Cape Verde may be a more viable possibility than most people may realize.

Salvador is also on my list, along with one potentially in Belo Horizonte, and perhaps a second for Sao Paulo, given what has already happened in Lima Peru and Manila Philippines. In view of what Matt has said about the Church in Russia and what my personal research has uncovered, a temple in Moscow may also be more imminent than any of us realize.

James said...

I also have temples on my list for both Vienna and Budapest, with the latter being, according to one individual with whom I have shared my thoughts, the next candidate hands down for the next European temple. As for other likely future prospects for Asia, the top ccontenders there appear to me to be Phnom Penh, Jakarta, Taichung and Ulaanbaatar, which all make sense in light of President Monson's goal to have every member within 200 miles of their assigned temple. That goal is becoming more of a reality, but we are not there completely yet, nor might we be for a while.

I also have previously shared my feelings that temples could likely be built in both Port Moresby Papua New Guinea and Auckland New Zealand. Since it has been confirmed that the Church is holding land in reserve in both places, it is just a matter of time until both are announced, and both could happen sooner rather than later.

In terms of the next temple in Mexico, a comment from someone living there points to the idea that, if the congregational consolidations do not prevent it from being so, Puebla may be the next Mexican city to get a temple.

Not sure how your broad definition of Micronesia makes sense, since the textbook description of that region primarily includes stakes in Micronesia and Pohnpei. So I'm not quite sure where you got 5 stakes for that region.

The top contenders in the US I see include Bentonville Arkansas, Missoula Montana, Richmond Virginia, Layton, Tooele, and Mapleton Utah. New information received via a comment on my blog spurred additional research on my part, which seems to indicate that the Southwest Salt Lake Valley Temple location referenced in 2005 by President Hinckley is currently within the boundaries of Herriman City, but that has not been confirmed in any way by the Church, and though the land in question may be the subject of a territorial dispute between Bluffdale and Herriman. So I am keeping an eye on that. I also see Mapleton as a possibility for the near future.

And in view of a comment on my list of possibilities from someone familiar with the temples in Texas, Fort Worth could be considered as the most likely candidate for the next temple in that state, though I also have my eye on El Paso at some point in the future. I also think there may be a reason to believe that we could see a second temple for New Mexico in Las Cruces at some point, likely before El Paso (I think what will happen is that temples will be built in Fort Worth and possibly Las Cruces, then we will see El Paso). I also see a strong case for Henderson and perhaps Elko Nevada, and a few other locations, depending on if the stagnated growth of the Church continues or ends.

If a temple is announced in Budapest Hungary, whether or not one winds up being announced for Vienna, another possibility which I have on my list is Edinburgh Scotland, which I feel may be more imminent than some might realize.

James Anderson, in terms of your question, when I discussed the districts of temples within the US, I went into specifics about some cities I see as potentially being able to have a temple that would break up such districts quite a bit. A few of them were listed above in my response to John's comment, but others are not.

For any curious about my thoughts about other potential temple locations, or who would like to read more about the cities I referenced above which I have felt will get a temple in the near future, you can check out the posts I have devoted to such possibilities within each of the Church's geographical areas at the address below. And just to be clear, I will be accepting comments on any or all of the posts in that series until the week before General Conference, when I will need to put my final version together in preparation for any announcements. Thanks to you all for the ongoing dialogue about future temple locations. It is a subject I enjoy, and which I greatly appreciated the chance to cover more fully on my blog over the last couple of months.

http://stokessoundsoff.blogspot.com

Matt said...

The Book of Mormon musical is great and if you aren't laughing then you are the joke.

OC Surfer said...

I believe land for the 2nd Las Vegas Temple site, is already reserved in Summerlin.

David Todd said...

My parents live in the fort worth area and I am currently visiting them. I have felt that a split in the Dallas temple could be a possibility in the future with how rapidly the area has grown out here for a while. Interestingly, in the last several years since I have lived out here, the booming part of the Dallas- Fort Worth metroplex has shifted from north fort worth to Frisco, which is closer to Dallas and the current temple. In the next 5 years or so, if more of the stakes are split in the fort worth area (I think Alliance and Denton are the most likely right now) I can still see a temple coming over here, but with the likelihood of most of the new stakes coming closer to Dallas, im not as convinced.

The current temple president of the Dallas temple is in my parent's ward, so if I see him while I am here, I will ask him how the attendance at the Dallas temple looks and if much of it comes from the fort worth stakes. That might give me a better idea of the likelihood of a fort worth temple in the near future. I do think that eventually both fort worth and Austin will have temples.

Michael Worley said...

Matt-- The Musical has profane, crude, and vulgar language and mocks a minority religion. Please respect people who choose not to embrace such content in their entertainment.

Michael Worley said...

Perhaps more importantly, the book is better than the musical.

John Pack Lambert said...

The stakes I define in Micronesia are 1 in Guam, 1 in Pohnpei, 1 in Marshall Islands and 2 in Kiribati. All these countries are generally considered to be part of Micronesia. I think there are actually 2 stakes in the Marshall Islands so I miscounted.

John Pack Lambert said...

Some of us choose not to laugh at racism and blasphemy.

John Pack Lambert said...

That may be so but Las Vegas Temple is a good sized temple and has significantly fewer stakes in its district than Aba Nigeria Temple. It has several endownment rooms. I am thinking Dallas and Houston Temples are closer to seeing their districts split. I dont see a new temple in any of those three areas unless there is more stake creation.

John Pack Lambert said...

My view is that both the Dallas Metroplex and the Las Vegas area will get 2nd temples when the overall area uses the current temple to capacity. In especially the Las Vegas area no one is so far from the temple as to justify a second temple on distance issues.

Matt said...

By a show of hands how many of you have actually seen it? I saw it with my wife's non-member family, when I still held a temple recommend, and found it hilarious and thought-provoking.

Please respect that people can get over a few naughty words because of some very valid social commentary. Choose not to be offended.

Yes the musical largely revolves around the LDS faith, an obscure christian sect from the intermountain west of the United States trying to be relevant in Uganda, but really it lampoons religion more generally. I have read comments from you same people disparaging catholics, evangelicals, and secularists so you aren't exactly in the best position to "cast the first stone," so to speak about someone not respecting your ideology.

But enough about that, I actually have a real question. How do you explain the church creating having a net increase of 23 stakes in the US without a net increase in wards or branches?

Bryan Baird said...

My guess for Las Vegas is Henderson and for Dallas, Fort Worth. Las Vegas alone has about 19 stakes and Henderson 8 I do see about 3 or 4 splitting in the next year or two. And 13 in Dallas area and around 7 in Fort Worth at least, it would come as no surprise if temples were announced in the areas. But if I were a betting man I'd put my money on a 2nd temple announced for Las Vegas. With the population growth in the area Vegas has nabbed an NHL team an NFL team, and an WNBA team. A population in total of 563,756 in 2010 to 632,912 in 2016

Skyline said...

I do not think Europe needs more temples. It's not too much of a stretch to say the Church on the whole continent is stagnating due to the increasing secularism. Some of the existing temples have small temple districts such as Copenhagen, Helsinki, and The Hague.

Fredrick said...

I live in the Summerlin area of Las Vegas. I am aware that the Church owns land near the corner of Alta and Hualapai. There's a stake center just a half a mile (or less away) and there's enough room to built another chapel on that lot if necessary. So there's good reason to believe this is probably where a temple would be constructed.

But one thing - this plot of land is signifcantly smaller than where the temple currently sits. The Church would have to buy up additional property adjacent to it before they could build a temple.

James Anderson said...

I thought that temple was one of the stake-center-sized temples from the mid-80s, and when I saw the property it was aabout the right size for a larger stake center but it was the temp;e. Of course the Church successfully fought off a six-lane road Clark County or Henderson wanted right by that more recently but I'm not all too sure if the county got anything of what they wanted with that.

Current designs though would need a larger lot than that one sits on, however, so if the Hualapai lot is too small, hopefully they have something, maybe north of Lone Mountain as things seem to still be a bit open there still.

James said...

While I don't want to start an argument here, I feel impressed to address the comment made above by Matt (not the author of this blog, but the other Matt). That response would be that while I currently don't meet the textbook definition of an "active" Latter-day Saints (though it is not by choice and currently due to health issues that hinder my daily ability to function at the moment, so I hope no one has a reason to cast doubts about my spiritual commitment to the gospel), the one thing I have learned as a Latter-day Saint is to not take myself too seriously. That is why some of my favorite movies about the Church are those released by Halestorm Entertainment, which offer a tongue-in-cheek look at popularly misunderstood groups of individuals within the Church. I do find those to be amusing. And I am grateful to have been alive during the prophetic tenure of President Hinckley, who encouraged optimism and not taking oneself to seriously. That said, I do not need to see the movie or production in question (The Book of Mormon movie) to know that it crosses a line for me which I am not comfortable with. Rather than being a sign that I might be "unable to take a joke", as you put it, I hope that my decision not to watch it personally is an indicator of where I draw the personal line between satirical content (that is clearly not meant to be taken seriously) and blatant and cruel lampooning by individuals who clearly don't have any knowledge of the subjects about which they wrote, and did not take the time and effort to ensure that the content would not be seen as offensive to the mainstream Church. Rather than being a sign that members choosing not to watch or enjoy it are "unable to take a joke", it is a personal choice about where each of us draw the line. Even if we may not see eye-to-eye on that point, I hope we can at least respect each other's views.

I also hope that nothing I personally have said has given you the impression that I don't like or get along with those of other religions. Quite the contrary. My junior high school counselor was a practicing Presebyterian, and I have had friends and classmates who were Catholics, Protestants, and Jehovah Witnesses. I also have a brother who, like me, grew up in the LDS faith, but who has since determined that he and his family do not need to be part of a formal religion to be good people. He has made many choices which I cannot condone or support, but he is still my brother, and I would rather have him remain in the family circle and not ascribing to any religion than have him feel that he and his family are out of place with those of us who are involved with the Church. And I fully ascribe to the view expressed by President Hinckley when he said to those of other faiths, "Bring all the good you have with you, and let us see if we can add to it." I would personally be just as willing to stand up for the rights of those of any other religion, or none whatsoever, as I would hope such individuals would in turn be willing to stand up for my right to practice the religion to which I feel connected.

James said...

Next, I wanted to note that I appreciate your earnest question about how the Church in the US can report an increase of stakes without also having many new wards and stakes. The answer is that the Church generally prefers to have its' stakes in well-established areas, such as the US, to not generally have more than 10-15 congregations. When the number of congregations in certain stakes (as well as those in the surrounding region) reach around that number of congregations, that is when the Church looks to split them, at least in the US. And it usually is the case that a new stake in the US or elsewhere is made up of units already existing in the stakes from which the new stake is drawn. Then, as the presidencies of the new stakes see a need to do so, they can recommend to the Brethren that other congregations should be established as it makes sense to do so. So that would be my answer to your question.

Bryan, to you I send thanks for your thoughts on how the Las Vegas and Dallas Texas temples could be split. I agree with you on that point. And while I can see why you have said that European Church growth may be stagnating, my study on the potential future temple sites in Europe seem to indicate that the degree of that stagnation is not as severe as what the US is seeing. And since I was given some great advice from a few people to expand the list of possibilities I have for the US, I don't see the current stagnation in Europe being a detriment to future temples there in the near future, especially in those areas where the logistical considerations may outweigh those relating to such stagnation. But it was great to hear your assessment, and I thank you for it.

Finally, to Frederick and James Anderson, I would like to send my thanks for your additional thoughts posted here about the prospects for Nevada's next temple. I always appreciate hearing from people with direct experience in such locations, as that can add corroboration to the direction in which my thoughts have gone on that subject. It is obvious that the discussion of potential temple sites all over the world is close to so many of us, and I appreciate hearing your insights. I likewise hope that in some small way, the thoughts I share here can be valuable to many, if not all of you. Thanks to you all for the ongoing great discussions we have here.

John Pack Lambert said...

The Las Vegas Temple has 80,350 square feet. It has a district of 30 stakes. The Dallas Temple has 44,000 square feet and a district of 27 stakes. The Aba Nigeria Temple has 11,000 square feet and 45 stakes in its district. The Houston Temple is just under 33,000 square feet and has a district of 22 stakes. Boise Temple is just under 36,000 square feet, while Meridian Temple is at 67,000 square feet. So Of all these temple Las Vegas is the largest by area. While its 30 stakes are not much below the 32 between Boise and Meridian Temples, its square footage is well over twice that of Boise Temple. Denver Temple is under 30,000 square feet, and Chicago Temple is about 37,000 square feet. Compared to other US 1980s built temples, Las Vegas is at least twice as big. It is not part of the crop of smaller sized temples built in the 1980s.

Well, The Portland Oregon Temple has a few more square feet than the Las Vegas Temple, but even the San Diego Temple is only at 72,000 square feet. Las Vegas is the 22nd largest temple. Portland's size may be a factor in there not having been a temple built in either Salem or Eugene. Portland Temple has 31 stakes in its district. To be fair the Portland Temple district has not been growing as much as the Las Vegas one.

On another note today ldschurchtemples.com reported the formation of 6 new units. Two new wards in Utah, one the recreation of a Spanish-speaking ward that had existed in the past. 2 new wards in one stake in San Antonio, and 2 new branches in Paraguay.

John Pack Lambert said...

Evidently the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple will be smaller than most of the temples dedicated in 1999-2001, so there are lots of design potentials for temples. However the factors behind building a new temple in the Las Vegas area do not suggest building a small size temple. On that note, I do not see getting a new temple there. Unless the baptistry is being overworked. This is one factor that could push for a new temple.

John Pack Lambert said...

The Guatemala City Temple on the other hand has under 12,000 square feet and a district with 31 stakes. Guatemala has seen a net increase of stakes this year. This suggests to me that Guatemala is probably a closer candidate for a new temple than southern Nevada. Quite possibly a second temple in the Guatemala City metro area.

John Pack Lambert said...

Cochabamba Temple is 35,000 square feet and 35 stakes. So it is smaller than Boise Temple with more stakes than Boise and Meridian Temples combined.

Matt said...

Matt-

The reason why the Church reported a net increase of 23 stakes in 2017 was because most of these stakes were organized from stakes that had been experiencing steady congregational growth for many years. Oftentimes congregational growth occurs in stakes with larger numbers of congregations. Furthermore, there is often a lag from congregational growth to stake growth. Thus, we should expect fewer stakes created in 2018 given congregational growth trends in the US during 2016 and 2017.

David Todd said...

I don't mean to usurp Matt's comments as he is definitely the expert on the topic, but there might be some other factors worth mentioning as well.
One is that the geographic allocation of membership changes over time. As members move from one location to another location in large numbers, often we will find that certain areas of the country will gain wards and others will lose wards without any net change. If both areas had strong stakes to begin with, the migration may not result in the need to discontinue the stake but the growing area may still determine that splitting the stake can benefit the saints in the area. As the priesthood leadership becomes more experienced in any area, even with stagnant congregational growth, stake growth can be a common trend from what I have seen, just with smaller stakes that are better able to suit the needs of the members.

Another factor that wasn't considered is the upgrading of branches to wards which doesnt count in the net change of units but would be a big factor in stake net change. I'm not sure how much it applies to the US as much as places like West Africa where branches are being created and upgraded very regularly, but it might have some impact on the discrepancy.

Eduardo Clinch said...

The amazing thing about President Monson is that he was called so young and lived so long. May his family and posterity be blessed forever. My sister and brother-in-law met him. A great Christian and leader.
I may be a "joke" in many ways, but cultural imperialism, bigotry, racism, ethnocentrism, profanity, and sexually suggestive material is not.
I have many family and friends who have lived and loved in Africa, and they deserve better as a continent and a huge panoply of beautiful peoples.
Stone and Parker are not in fact, racist? Maybe the joke is on me. Call me the stupid one, sure.
God bless the Prophet and his calling.

coachodeeps said...

President Monsoon had passed away. During his time as one of the longest-serving apostles in Mormon history, church membership expanded from 2.1 million members to 15.9 million. The number of temples grew from 12 to 159. This is incredible growth. He served 54 years, 5th longest in modern church history.

coachodeeps said...

I visited the Guatemala City Temple 3 years ago and having served my mission in Guatemala I have several contacts there. From my observation and from what I have learned from those living there, the temple is very much underutilized. They have few endowment sessions and those are sparsely attended, some go without patrons. Due to traffic issues from the areas I served, the members had a big challenge to get there. Most members don't have vehicles, so they either have to go with someone who does or they have to use 5 different buses to get to the temple and have to pass through some difficult areas of the city. It takes a couple of hours for one to go from the far side of the city to the temple via bus. Another temple on that side would be great, butt not likely any time soon, in my opinion.

John Pack Lambert said...

President Monson's passing is sad, but I am glad he is reunied with his beloved Frances.

President Monson was a driving force in Church groth. He was a key figure in the Church moving into eastern Europe and especially in building the Friberg Temple.

He dedicated Haiti for the preaching of the gospel.

He embraced a view of transfering keadership of branchess out of the hands of fultime missionaries as quickly as possible. He expressed this goal in at least one talk but suspect we could find it in lots of actions. He was also a very big advocate of oatriarchs for all and I have to think the current situation of some countries covered entirely by stakes is in oart a result of this vision. Many new countries received stakes while he was president of the Church but this is a result if many different policies, many of which oredate his time.

The biggest change is that of missionary age requirements. I do not think we yet know the full impact of that.

Another change is in the format and approach of Xhurch meetings. First to change was youth Sunday school, folliwed by major revisuins in CES courses, then teacher council meetings and now major revisions in oriesthood and relief society meetings. There will also be a change in the sciuting orogram although how mucb the new program for young men 14 and up will duffer from what went before I cannot yet say.

The new policies on baptisms for the dead are another big change.

While President Monson announced far fewer temples than President Hinckley it was still a significant number he announced. In Africa the number he announced exceeded the number operating when he became president of the Church. However none of those temples are yet complete. Asia, Latin America, Europe and North America all some progress on the temple front. On the other hand no new tenple was announced for Oceania.

Beyond this the Church majorly increased the number of temple visitors centers.

The Church has also stepped up its publicarion efforts and put out the Gospel Topics Essays. The Church Historians Press was launched during his presidency although since that was in 2008 it was probably formulated when President Hinckley was president of the Church.

The Church has also stepped up its outreach in humanitarian services, launched BYU-pathway worldwide and done major reformating of LDS employment services. The launching of Justserve was another big plus, althiugh I feel it has been under utilized in some areas.

Lastly there have been major moves forward in building understanding on religious freedom issues. Back in 2015 a conference on this issue was a J Reuben Clark law society initiative interfacing with v arious law professors. By late 2017 two and a half years later a general authority and the Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit would be the lead speakers at a conference in Detroit.

It is hard to gauge President Monson's full impact. On one hand as an apostle since 1963 and a member of the first presidency since 1985 he has had a role in the course of the Church long before he became president of the Church. On the other the Churvh is governed by councils that seek the guidance of the Lord, so the impact of the h ead on any decision can be overstated.

John Pack Lambert said...

My guess at this moment is that probably at least one of the newly called members of the 12 will be a current member of the presidency of the 70. Juan Uceda is my top pick. On the other hand Elder Bednar was not a general authority wh en called to the 12.

Another question is will President Nelson announce new temples in April, wait to October, or go back to announcing at times othrr than general conference.

My guess is that we will see anouncements both in April and October but I could be wrong.

President Nelson has traveled and ministered extensively in Eastern Euripe and Africa. He is also fluent in Chinese.

I suspect this to lead to multiple nee temples in Africa. A temple for Russia continues to be a possibility.

On the whole though my temple predictions remain what they were before.

John Pack Lambert said...

President Nelson oresided at the ground breaking for the Accra Temple. He dedicated Ethiopia for the preaching of the gospel and dedicated the Takarodi Ghana stake center. I am guessing I will find more such examples from more searchjng.

John Pack Lambert said...

Elder Nelson seems also to have dedicated Namibia and Zambia for the preaching of the gospel.

John Pack Lambert said...

Elder Nelson also dedicated Malawi for the preaching of the gospel. He has traveled to Africa at least 5 times but probably more.

James Anderson said...

A couple of obscure facts are emerging with the funeral date announcement late today.

Most of the Presidents of the Church have had their funerals around a week or so after their passing. It will have been ten days for President Monson when that is held on the 12th.

The apostles usually, and likely out of respect for the deceased President, wait until after the funeral to meet to discuss and reorganize the First Presidency. Since the 1890s, that period has not exceeded 11 days. The time between the death of one and the calling of another had been sometimes years prior but about that time one of the Presidents received a revelation to not delay the reorganizing of the Presidency.

But the timing of the funeral and a few minor things meanss that it may occur Sunday the 14th with the public announcement being made on the 15th with the media event. Sunday the 14th will be 12 days after President Monson's death.

Michael Worley said...

James A is in general correct, but I think the media announcement will be the 14th this time. Otherwise, they'll have to introduce President Uchtdorf in vague terms at the Worldwide Devotional that night. "Welcome to President Uchtdorf, who was Second counselor to Pres. Monson" sounds much too weird, given Pres. Nelson will have ordained his new counselors-- whether the same ones or not-- by that time.

Christopher Nicholson said...

I hope I'm not being prematurely optimistic, but Russell M. Nelson's very good relations with China could be advantageous for the Church with him as President.

James Anderson said...

CHQ is going to be buzzing that night, this event was planned some months ago and was announced last month and will happen three hours before and after the broadcast. It is the first time the Church has done things this way.

https://www.lds.org/si/institute/worldwide-devotional-share-event-at-temple-square

John Pack Lambert said...

I wonder if President Nelson will choose the same counselors. Both President Kimball and President Hunter retained their predecessors counselors. So did both Wilford Woodruff and Lorenzo Snow. I am pretty sure that Heber J. Grant kept both counselors that President Smith had ended with. The other 4 examples involved retaining counselors who had served through the whole time of their predecessors. George Albert Smith kept both of his predecessors counselors. So of the 16 presidents of the Church 6 made no changes to the 1st presidency at their call. The last time an entirely new first presidency was put in place was when John Taylor became president of the Church.

In the 140 years so covered only 3 men have been released from the First Presidency. Well technically 5, but two of those were additional counselors to President McKay.

The other 3 were Rudger Clawson who was called to fill the vacancy caused by George Q. Cannon's death but never set apat because President Snow died so quickly.

The other two were Hugh B. Brown, who was quite elderly, and Marion G. Romney who was in such poor health that Howard W. Hunter was designated acting president of the Quorum of the 12.

My general guess is that President Nelson will retain Presidents Eyring and Uchtdorf but I could be wrong.

John Pack Lambert said...

Today ldschurchtemples.com reported 2 new branches. An additional Spanish speaking branch in Utah and an additional branch in Ivory Coast. There was also a shuffling of what stake many correctional facility branches were assigned to but the total number remained the same as far as I can tell.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Pretty sure that the Church has never set apart a nonogenarian (not sure about that word) as President. The quick succession of prophets in the early 1970s might be a factor with our elderly apostles. It is an interesting phenomnenon, President Lee affected my new convert dad in positive ways. Then again, President Hunter had a good impact on many in 1994-95.
It seems like Prez Nelson could live to be 100 as he seems now.
Whatever the case, our apostles are getting older on average, which I happen to like. I love people with long memories and wise experience.
Old age benefits our society in many ways.

John Pack Lambert said...

Actually Joseph Fielding Smith was well over 90 when he became president of the Church. I believe he was 93 the same age as President Nelson.

The Opinion said...

Saturday Feb 3, Pres Nelson and his wife, Wendy will hold a Face to Face with the you. It will mean even more to hear from him as the President of Church. I am sure many adults will be watching as well.

I am going to go out on a limb here and say significant progress will be made in China with normalizing Church operations with Pres Nelson as the prophet. I think this will be his legacy (or one of them). I think he was prepared for this moment by the Lord. He was just over there 3 weeks ago. I caught him mentioning that in a soundbite I believe. He is beloved and honored by government officials. I believe they trust him the utmost and know he will do as they say. I believe there is a chance that a temple will be announced in mainland China by him.

As a side note, think of who is behind him presumably as the next president, Elder Oaks. He was the one that was about to announce missionary work back in 1984 for China and then it was postponed never to be heard about again.

I think many would agree that the Presidents of the church are prepared their whole life for significant purposes when they are called to be the President of the Church.

Michael Worley said...

Link to soundbite of Pres. Nelson being in Asia (China?) three weeks ago?

James Anderson said...

It looks like they are reshuffling things on that Face2Face event, it no longer appears on youth.lds.org but is still on the Church website under 'Church News' in the calendar sidebar. But the Youth site may also have had something else come up and had to post the more current thing first

TempleRick said...

I believe this is the first time since 1978 that there is no new temple under construction in the United States or in mainland North America. (The Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple is located in the Caribbean, so it doesn't count toward mainland North America. And ground has already been broken for the Winnipeg Manitoba Temple, but no actual construction will begin until the spring.) There was a gap in the 70s after the Washington D.C. Temple was dedicated in 1974 and ground was broken for the Seattle Washington Temple in 1978. Since then, there appears to have always been a temple under construction in the US (and mainland North America) until the Cedar City Utah Temple was dedicated last month. Someone can take a closer look to see if I am missing something, but it feels strange to not have a new temple underway. Fortunately, we have several renovations going on with more on the way, and there are temples under construction in South America, Europe, and Africa. Once ground is broken in Pocatello or Saratoga Springs, the US should have a temple under construction again.

Christopher said...

I just want to give a shout out to the new "Canadian Mormons" book. It is very well done, written by a number of authors including sociologists and historians, and would be of interest to anyone who wants to learn more about the growth of the church in Canada. The story of the church in Canada is fascinating, and with the challenges of size and diversity in Canada, it really is a microcosm of how the church has grown worldwide. I just finished reading the chapter "Historical Geography" which is particularly applicable to this blog. Check it out!

https://deseretbook.com/p/rsc-canadian-mormons?ref=Grid%20%7C%20eBooks-20&variant_id=153836-hardcover

Gnesileah said...

@Michael - the soundbite came from Trump's visit to Utah last month. From the Salt Lake Tribune, December 4, 2017:

Nelson relayed to the Republican chief executive that last week he was in China, where the LDS apostle heard talk about what “a wonderful job President Trump had done.”

Trump returned the compliment, calling Nelson a “great heart surgeon; one of the best in the world.”

“He [Nelson] decided to help even more people,” Trump noted, by giving up a distinguished medical career to become a global religious leader.

http://www.sltrib.com/news/politics/2017/12/04/trump-whom-the-lds-churchs-newspaper-once-urged-to-drop-out-of-presidential-race-will-meet-with-top-mormon-leaders-today/

Michael Worley said...

Thanks Gnesileah.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Right, Joseph Fielding Smith was well into his 90s when called. So this should be the second "nonevenarian". That is definitely not the right word, but we will learn it now more.
Post-octagenarian.

Jim Coles said...

I believe the word is nonagenarian.

The Opinion said...



The Face to Face event is still listed on the youth website.

Click https://www.lds.org/youth?lang=eng&start=9
Right side menu has Face2Face as a choice and the click on it and it will take you to
https://www.lds.org/broadcasts/face-to-face/archive?lang=eng
There he is with his wife.

James Anderson said...

If this still goes off aa planned, it will be the most widely viewed of the Face2Face events so far. This will likely be the first broadcast event where the President of the Church fielded questions from an audience.

Michael Worley said...

The questions are from his grand children and great grand children, no?

Jim Coles said...

Over on ldschurchtemples a branch in Montana was renamed with the addition of (seasonal) I am curious how many seasonal branches are there?

John Pack Lambert said...

While I would love to see progress in China with President Nelson I am trying to not be overly optimistic. I think we have made more progress in China and with the Chinese than we sometimes realize.

Gnesileah said...

I am aware of seven seasonal branches:

Philmont (NM)
Del Oro and Gila Ridge (AZ)
Heber Valley Camp and Panguitch Lake (UT)
Old Faithful and Gardiner (Yellowstone NP)

MainTour said...

Many remote touristy areas have really small branches/wards that are crammed full of visitors during summer tour season or winter ski season.

John Pack Lambert said...

I wonder if therr are also some seasonal groups that operate under wards or branches in the general area.

Michael said...

Prunedale Ward, Monterey CA stake discontinued today, combined with Salinas 2nd Ward

James Anderson said...

There are said to be a couple around prime vacation ares in Arizona and northern Utah, although I have not heard talk of either in many years

twinnumerouno said...

It seems like the Panguitch Lake branch chapel was impacted somehow by the Brian Head fire, lost power or something.

twinnumerouno said...

On another subject, I just saw that then-Elder Nelson was the apostle who six years ago promised a temple to the Nicaragua saints when they are ready for one.

John Pack Lambert said...

That last statement makes me think a temple announced for Nicaragua this year is more likely. Except I already rated it extremely high so not really much of a change there.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Is there any precedent of a new apostle being called and announced when the newly announced prophet is declared? I was thinking this might be a good thing to do before General Conference. But I wonder if it has happened that way before.
And, if it were to be a Hispanic or Latino, I think the fact that maybe 5 million or so LDS are south of the US border would make sense on a principle of averages, not just for the purposes of political correctness/diversity "fairness". Interesting times.
Maybe 5 temples this year?
Hopefully the use of the Columbus or Nashville or Charleston temples will increase while DC and Raleigh temples are down. I know Philly will increase in activity.
In the Pacific there are at least 3 places by distance that need temples.
Maybe Vanuatu? Not enough members?

Mike Johnson said...

Eduardo, there is some precedent. Shortly after Howard W Hunter became president 5 June 1994, he called Jeffrey R Holland to the Twelve on 23 June 1994.

Not the same thing, but on 23 July 1981, when Gordon B Hinckley was called as an additional counselor in the First Presidency, Neal A Maxwell was called to the Twelve. Both were announced the same day.

I think these are the last two apostles called outside of General Conference.

I don't think the announcements will be simultaneous because the new president of the church will likely want some time to think and pray about the choice.

I think President Hunter moved fast because he didn't think he had long to live.

Gnesileah said...

@ John Pack Lambert -- In response to your earlier comment, I am not aware of a central source that tracks country dedications, but a search through many various sources shows that President Russell M. Nelson has dedicated or rededicated at least the following 24 countries:

1987-Hungary
1990-Bulgaria
1990-Czech Republic
1990-El Salvador
1990-Estonia
1990-Romania
1990-Russia
1991-Honduras
1992-Belize
1992-Namibia
1992-Zambia
1993-Belarus
1994-French Polynesia
2003-Kazakhstan
2003-Kyrgyzstan
2003-Tanzania
2004-Ethiopia
2010-Bosnia and Herzegovina
2010-Croatia
2010-Kosovo
2010-Macedonia
2010-Montenegro
2010-Slovenia
2011-Malawi

Gnesileah said...

President Monson dedicated or rededicated at least 6 countries:

1968-New Caledonia
1975-East Germany
1975-Portugal
1977-Sweden
1983-Haiti
1985-Yugoslavia

Michael Worley said...

Pres. Nelson has identified 30 nations he dedicated here (in the video):

https://www.lds.org/church/news/elder-russell-m-nelson-celebrates-90th-birthday?lang=eng

Gnesileah said...

Thanks Michael! I hadn't seen that very informative video before. I love President Nelson's precision and attention to detail. The six additional countries he listed are:

1990-Nicaragua (Elder Richard G. Scott gave dedicatory prayer)
1991-Armenia (Elder Dallin H. Oaks gave prayer)
1991-Guatemala (Elder Marvin J. Ashton gave prayer)
1992-Republic of Congo (Elder Richard G. Scott gave prayer)
Australia
New Zealand

I am unclear when Australia and New Zealand were dedicated; an online search has revealed nothing for me yet. President Nelson visited both nations in 2014 and gave apostolic blessings to the congregations he spoke to -- maybe those were actually national dedications? It would seem like both nations would had been dedicated earlier in their history, but I haven't found any indication yet of that happening. I note that Elder M. Russell Ballard dedicated Argentina in 2014 after he was unable to locate a dedicatory prayer given specifically for Argentina. His grandfather, Elder Melvin J. Ballard, dedicated all of South America from Argentina in 1925, but individual prayers have since been given to several South American nations. So, perhaps it isn't too unusual for Australia and New Zealand to receive dedicatory prayers at this late hour.

John Pack Lambert said...

President Hinkley and President Monson both waited to general conference to announce a new apostle. However President Hunter died March 3rd so it was close to conference. I had not realized President Hunter waited that long to call Elder Holland, I had somehow thought it was simultaneous.

On the other hand Legrand R. Richards died on January 11th 1983. No one was called to the 12 in either conference in 1983. Elder Mark E. Peterson died Jan 11, 1984. Elder Nelson and Elder Oaks were called to the 12 on April 7, 1984. Elder Nelson was ordained an apostle April 12, 1984 and Elder Oaks May 3, 1984.

John Pack Lambert said...

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin presents another interesting case. President Kimball died Nov 5, 1985; the first presidency was organized nov 10, 1985. Yet Elder Wirthlin was not called as an apostle till October 1986. He was called as on of the presidents of the 70 in August 1986.

John Pack Lambert said...

I just figured out that with the death of Robert D. Hales everyone who served as an Assistant to the 12 is dead.

Johnathan Whiting said...

I thought Yoshihiko Kikuchi had served as an assistant to the 12?

Unknown said...
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twinnumerouno said...

No, according to gapages.com (Grampa Bill's General Authority pages), Elder Kikuchi was called as a GA in 1977, to the 1st Quorum of 70. You may be getting him mixed up with Elder Komatsu, who was an Assistant to the Twelve. Looking at Grampa Bill's list of those who served in that calling, I believe John is right.

twinnumerouno said...

Also, I saw on that site that two of the apostles called in the 70's, Elders Ashton and Haight, were called outside of General Conference.

Richard L. Evans died Nov. 1, 1971, and Marvin J. Ashton was called on Dec. 2 to fill the vacancy.

Hugh B. Brown died Dec, 2, 1975, and David B. Haight was called Jan. 9, 1976.

Eduardo Clinch said...
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John Pack Lambert said...

Elder Kikuchi was a member of the 1st quorum of the 70 from his call in 1977. Elder Adney Y. Kamatsu, a Hawaiian born man of Japanese descent was an assistant to the 12. He is dead however. The position of assistants to the 12 was abolished in 1976.

John Pack Lambert said...

I used Wikipedia and having death dates listed for everyone who was an assistant to the 12.

Ohhappydane33 said...
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Matt said...
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Michael Worley said...
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Matt said...

Other people did it, so that makes it was OK? Got it. I was under the impression the one true church was supposed to be better than that.

Johnathan Whiting said...

Thank you all for confirming that it was Elder Komatsu, and not Elder Kikuchi who was an Assistant to the Twelve. I had them mixed up.

Michael Worley said...

Matt--

To your question, God has always called prophets who were a product of their culture. Sure, God could have done things differently, I suppose, but my testimony that the LDS Church is true implies that God asks prophets-- and all of us, really-- to try to follow him by trial and error, as well as by study and by faith. Indeed, that is one of the messages of Matt M. (this blog's author) : We can be honest that imperfect techniques have been and still are used to spread the truth found in the Book of Mormon and the words of modern prophets throughout the world while still finding the success in doing so faith-inspiring for those who believe in Christ.

Knowing little about your background, I'll let you make any response you wish, and not comment further unless that subsequent comment is linked more closely to this blog's purpose.

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Eduardo Clinch said...

Well, I guess the death of a beloved prophet is a bit harder to deal with than I thought. Unfortunate.
I suppose blogs are a slight indicator of Church growth, on small levels. May be telling, hard to know.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Perhaps the above comments do not make as much sense to some, based on the low context of all the comment string deleted as we see. Nevertheless, suffice it to say that as my family reads about the populations of ancient American inhabitants killing off their prophets for their opposition to what they stood for, I can't help but see parallels to how modern day prophets can be dealt with, socially, virtually, in terms of acceptance and rejection, in 2018.
Individually and collectively this phenomenon has everything to do with LDS Church growth or stagnation, in my opinion.
I cherish the fact that we may openly dialog about it.
The Restoration of All Things occurs in a much more shared and transparent era, which has its pros and cons. I see many more positives, and the negatives stir emotions for sure, which indicate a side measure of LDS status.
Long live the example and impact of Thomas Spencer Monson and the expansive growth and influence of his faith. Not a light thing, in my opinion.