Sunday, March 22, 2020

COVID-19 and Church Growth Predictions

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted the Church's operations in essentially every country of the world. Public sacrament meetings have been suspended, approximately 60 temples and all of the Missionary Training Centers have temporarily closed, proxy ordinance work in all temples has been suspended, and General Conference in two weeks will be significantly adjusted to have sessions include a handful of individuals to avoid concerns with the spread of the virus. Furthermore, the Church has announced plans to return full-time missionaries to their country of origin and have these missionaries complete their service in their home nation or to end their missions early if they are close to the end of their service. The impact of these changes appears unclear given that the duration of this pandemic is unknown. However, examination of previous incidents in which Church operations have been disrupted may provide some useful insight into what may occur for the future.

Significant disruptions in Church operations has yielded a mixed bag of results, but generally the long-term findings are mostly positive in regards to self-sufficiency for the Church on a local level. For example, the "the Freeze" occurred in Ghana between June 1989 to November 1990 when the government banned all activities of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As a result, annual membership growth rates decelerated from 30-42% between 1985 and 1989 to 5.1% during 1990 and 1991. The number of branches in the country also declined from 50 to 39. Annual membership growth rates never exceeded 20% after this incident, albeit this appeared primarily due to increases in the number of members that made geometric growth of this magnitude difficult to sustain. Nevertheless, the Church in Ghana has consistently reportedly moderately high growth rates since the end of the Freeze. Also, the Freeze appeared to help prepare local Ghanaian members to operate stakes, as the first two stakes in the country were organized just six months later in April 1991. Isolation from Church leadership can help improve self-sufficiency in local leadership as there are no outsourced leaders or missionaries to occupy these roles. At year-end 1991, there were 9,800 members and 39 congregations in Ghana, whereas at year-end 2018 there were 83,651 members and 314 congregations.

Another noteworthy example of positive growth after disruptions in Church activities is in Liberia and Sierra Leone when the 2014-2016 Ebola crisis occurred. Prior to the Ebola outbreak, the Church in these two nations generally experienced intermittent periods of rapid growth punctuated by slow or stagnant growth that appeared caused by local leadership development problems and civil wars. Church growth rapidly accelerated immediately prior to the Ebola outbreak in both nations, with annual membership growth rates nearing 16% in Sierra Leone and surpassing 20% in Liberia. The Ebola outbreak slowed annual membership growth rates in both nations (8.4% in Liberia in 2015, 9.3% in Sierra Leone in 2015), but these rates have gradually increased since the outbreak ended. However, most importantly, the Church in both Sierra Leone and Liberia has experienced unprecedented growth in the number of congregations and higher convert retention and member activity rates. Local leaders have indicated that much of these improvements have been due to increases in the number of returned missionaries serving in leadership positions. However, the evacuation of all foreign missionaries and mission leaders required local members to undertake missionary and leadership roles more independently. As a result, the number of congregations in Liberia increased from 24 in 2015 (at the height of the crisis) to 48 in 2018. In contrast, the Church in Liberia grew from 12 to 24 congregations between 2009 and 2014. Congregational growth rates in Sierra Leone appeared unaffected by the Ebola outbreak as the number of congregations increased from 22 in 2009 to 45 in 2015 and 69 in 2018. Lastly, the Church in both countries has reported unprecedented growth in the number of stakes since the resolution of the Ebola outbreak. For example, in 2015 there were no stakes in Liberia and one stake in Sierra Leone. Today, there are seven stakes in Sierra Leone and five stakes in Liberia.


There are other examples when significant disruptions in Church operations have set back progress. The Church in the Republic of Georgia is a prime example of when such disruptions resulted in significant convert attrition and leadership voids. The Church evacuated full-time missionaries for three months during the brief war between Russia and the Republic of Georgia in 2008. Perhaps half of the active members became inactive, which resulted in the merger of the two Tbilisi branches and the appointment of a foreign senior missionary as the branch president. It took approximately one decade for the Church to return to its previous status with two branches, approximately 100 active members, and local branch presidents presiding over each branch. The Church in Sri Lanka was also significantly affected by the removal of full-time missionaries from the late 2000s to the mid-2010s although there was no disruption to Church meetings or operations for local members. The removal of the only senior missionary couple from the Central African Republic in the mid-1990s, as well as persistent political instability and war, rapidly reversed the rapid growth the Church originally experienced in Bangui in the early 1990s, culminating in the merger of the two Bangui branches and resulting in only one branch in the entire country as of early 2020. Political instability, economic turmoil, and the mass exodus of many active members significantly set back Church growth in Venezuela in the 2010s. There are also additional examples where long-term Church growth trends did not appear affected by significant disruptions to missionary work or Church activities, such as with political instability and its impact on the Church in Serbia and the Church in Albania during the late 1990s/early 2000s, or periodic viruses that limited missionary work or church meetings in industrialized East Asian countries in the 2000s.

The current COVID-19 crisis is unique in regards to the speed it has spread across the world and its significant disruption to everyday life in developed countries. It is likely that many active members may become inactive and not return to regular Church attendance or follow Church teachings once the crisis abates due to isolation from fellow Church members and falling out of habitual Gospel living standards such as weekly Church attendance and daily scripture study and personal prayer. However, the current crisis could also present as an important catalyst to change societal conditions and perhaps improve receptivity to the Church. Furthermore, such crises can also result in a revitalization of member-missionary work and fellowship with less-active and inactive members by helping alleviate distress and need.

My prediction is that the Church in countries with a solid leadership base and seasoned Church membership (i.e. the United States, Canada, Western Europe, industrialized East Asia, Oceania) will likely not experience long-term negative consequences from the current crisis, although 2020 will likely be a year for very low membership growth and congregational growth rates due to the suspension of church meetings and limited missionary activity. Instead, growth trends in these nations will likely remain the status quo or perhaps slightly increase in the coming years after the crisis is resolved. Growth trends in countries with developing Church leadership, a sizable body of Church members, and more dynamic growth (i.e. Philippines, Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa) appear more unclear, but past experience has indicated that growth rates usually significantly decrease during the crisis, and then rapidly increase after the crisis ends. Thus, I predict membership and congregational growth rates in these areas will likely increase, at least temporarily, due to the COVID-19 crisis. Countries with fledgling Church membership and limited or no local leadership appear most vulnerable to the shock of evacuating foreign missionaries and the suspension of regular worship services due to the current crisis (i.e. Sub-Saharan African nations with fewer than 1,000 members, countries in East Asia with a recent Church establishment, Eastern Europe).

The current crisis may also present opportunities for the Church to reconsider some of its missionary and growth strategies and paradigms. For example, sacrament meetings held in member homes may serve as an important catalyst for the Church to more seriously consider a more aggressive expansion into previously unreached areas in the coming years with isolated members, specifically in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia where conditions for growth appear most favorable. Heavily reliance on internet and technology during the crisis presents opportunities to better refine and develop online teaching approaches to make them more effective and commonplace. Standardization of regular videos from Church leadership that share doctrinal messages or teachings suggestions may also present ideas for the future online proselytism and Gospel learning.

In conclusion, the current crisis is only in its beginning stages and the consequences of it on the world economy and society will be devastating. There has not been a recent event in world history that comes close to replicating the current situation on a global scale. As such, it is unclear how the Church will respond to the current pandemic albeit the trend has consistently been one of exercising caution to minimize potential harm to its members and the general public. It will be interesting to see how the Church uses the crisis in a constructive manner to help build the faith of its members and forge a sense of community in the wake of social distancing. I imagine General Conference will have many messages that address this challenge and strive to make the most of the situation to strengthen the faith of its members, alleviate suffering, and prepare for rebuilding the future.

100 comments:

brycen said...

Going much further back, Church membership throughout the mountain west was significantly impacted by the federal prosecutions against men practicing plural marriage in the 1860s through 1880s, leading to the establishment of colonies in Canada and Mexico. And President John Taylor spent much of his 10 years leading the Church in hiding. Do you have any statistics on that time period?

Bryan Dorman said...

I would argue that if done correctly, Church membership could potentially explode once the current crisis is over.

The reason for that is that in Chile (and perhaps in a few other nations, Chile is already confirmed as having done this), the Church leaders have offered up their buildings to be used as temporary hospitals to treat COVID-19 patients. The government of Chile said "Let's do it" and now they are doing that in Chile.

Such a replication in many other nations where there is a Church presence, plus current Church humanitarian aid to multiple countries where the Church has no presence at all, is going to open many doors that were previously not open.

Christopher Nicholson said...

I wonder how many more people are now going to die thanks to these missionary families in Utah who think the directives from church and government leaders don't apply to them. https://kutv.com/news/local/lt-gov-cox-disappointed-in-missionary-families-at-airport-who-did-not-social-distance

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

I wonder if the Brethren will take the opportunity once the quarantine is over to implement home-centered sacrament meeting/family church more permanently in certain areas of the world.

For example, in places like Chile (where it's been reported in the comments here that many members avoid going to the church buildings due to poor heating systems in the Winter months); or in Eastern Europe (where they've recently consolidated a lot of units, and some members live far away from the central location).

Within the last year or so, before the quarantine, I read and reported here about a new church initiative called the "Hispanic Outreach Program" (or something similar) wherein the church was encouraging local leaders in certain parts of the US to create more small Spanish-speaking member groups (based out of family's homes), with the hope that these individual groups would grow into branches, wards, stakes, etc. I wonder how well that plan was already implemented before the quarantine, as it appears now to be a necessity (another indication of a church program implemented with foresight to the current situation, as well as the aforementioned previous consolidation of units in Europe).

Back in the days of the early church (I believe in the Nauvoo Period, but probably before and after for some time), before the Church had so many buildings, cottage meetings (small church gatherings of family units and a few others) in members homes wasn't just commonplace, it was the normal practice for Sunday worship service. I think going back to those roots presents opportunities for us to come together (feeling a sense of unity, though separated by distance), and to return to the emphasis on this being a family centered Church.

One change that occurred to me that might be implemented in the areas of the world I mentioned above (or others) could be something like holding ward or branch sacrament meeting once a month, and home/family-based church the rest of the month - in order to allow families to exercise the priesthood and leadership roles regularly from home, while still having regular social opportunities and a sense of community/belonging with their local church unit.

In fact, I wouldn't mind seeing this put into place in certain areas of the US (like my own) as well. It could potentially cut down on building maintenance costs as well, which is something President Nelson has focused on during his tenure.

Like you, Matt, I'm very interested to see what actually ends up happening.

Francesca said...

I can definitely see the Church experimenting with the missionary program and home sacrament meetings. I've read about the success of cottage meetings for proselytization and I also feel that such meetings could be successful in strengthening the Church in more remote areas. This is certainly a fascinating time to be a member of the Church (but isn't every time fascinating to be a Saint).

On another note, does anyone know if the Anthony Ward of the El Paso Texas Mount Franklin Stake was just upgraded from a branch? I just checked my ward directory (I live in the stake but am unable to attend church) and thought that the Anthony Ward used to be the Anthony Branch.

Unknown said...

@Francesca I just checked CDOL and it is listed as a Ward now.
Anthony Ward (Spanish) 361852

-Luke

Eduardo said...

In priesthood terms the Roman Catholic Church is being hit hard, I would submit. Too much age, not enough replacement.
In terms of numbers of Church of Jesus Christ priesthood lay clergy, our faith is set to plow ahead.
I can't help but think that people in Polynesia or West Africa or anywhere will see divine beauty in each worthy male having priesthood authority. And a central hierarchy that executes the sacraments and ordinances of God.

J Pond said...

@Francesca, I also live in the Mt. Franklin Stake. The Anthony Branch was made a ward on March 15 via a Zoom meeting! The work continues even though circumstances are different for the time being.

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

Nice to hear about the new Spanish ward organization.

@Francesca: My mission president really really pushed for cottage meetings for teaching investigators the missionary lessons, because of the success he'd seen with them in other areas. We found success with them in our mission when we could get the members to participate.

One thing I predict (or at least that I hope will be a result in the aftermath of this crisis) is a huge surge of temple attendance following the reopening of the temples for regular ordinance work. I think members will miss the spiritual benefits of regular attendance and want to make up for lost time as soon as possible.

Along with that will be the rush of all the living ordinances that had to be postponed (marriages and endowments for called missionaries). Plus those wanting to seek blessings and the Lord's guidance because of lost jobs or in general for these uncertain times. I've heard tell of a surge of temple work in some areas back during the Recession of '08, and I think we'll see something similar here.

For similar reasons, I think we'll see a surge of Church attendance once regular services are reinstated. Another reason will be for the feeling of loss of social community and perhaps even of purpose for some (for example, some of the elderly like my neighbors whose main social outlet is serving in the Church).

I think it will be similar to my nephew's situation who, though he claims to hate school, is chomping at the bit for it to be reinstated so that he can see his friends in person again. I believe it will be similar for many of the youth (and plenty of adults) who also miss their church friends and that sense of belonging.

Absence does make the heart grow fonder, after all. :)

Ryan said...

Look at growth 1916-1922. The Church may follow that aggregate pattern.

James said...

Just wanted to post some follow-up comments here on the subject of the prospect that at-home Sacramet Meetings could become the status quo. That has been a persistent rumor which began being shared on a more wide scale around 2 decades or so ago. More recently, I have heard public speculation to the effect that Church leaders could restrict congregational meetings to a once-a-month basis, with Melchizedek Priesthood bearers in the homes presiding over worship services the remainder of the month. I have a strong feeling that if something like that were to happen, it would not be something the Church transitions to instantly, but involve a gradual rollout. That is something not comprable to the adjustments which have been made thus far. What has happened under President Nelson is placing more responsibility on individuals, families, and congregations, and course correcting programs, policies, and practices to be consistent with Church doctrine.

James said...

But it is a doctrinally mandated in the scriptures, especially in key passages of the Doctrine and Covenants, that the Church needs to meet together often to partake of the Sacramnt, for the correct administration of which the keys reamin in the hands of each congregation's bishop. It would be virtually impossible for any bishop to ensure correct administration of the Sacrament if he only personally oversees that in his congregation once a month. Also, other passages in the Doctrine and Covenants talk about "all being edified of all" and how correct doctrine is to be taught in the Church. If each family in the Church was holding an in-home worship service all but once a month, how could the bishop ensure that correct doctrine is being taught?

Currently, there are also no provisions in Church doctrine and practice for temple recommends to be issued by each Melchizedek Priesthood bearer. That too requires keys as a judge in Israel, which, by defnition, is exclusively applied to the bishops of the Church (or in some cases, the apostles and prophets thereof). And even in a ward without a high degree of turnover, the dynamics of congregations would likely be markedly different from meeting-to-meeting, if congregations only mt together once a month.

Just based on these examples (which I focus on initially), there would have to be a process of unfolding changes that would be years in the making and made gradually before something like that is on the horizon. And yes, I realize that these observations are coming from the same guy who used similar arguments against changes that have since been announced, but there is much more doctrinally that indicates that weekly worship services (except when otherwise directed) are a vitally important part of the success and prosperity of the Church as a whole. The correct administration of the sacrament is of such importance to the Brethren that their weekly Thursday meetings in the temple (or, amidst its' current renovation, a designated area of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building) almost always involves the administration of the Sacrament to those in attendance, generally because Sabbath days ordinarily find these Brethren on assignment in various parts of the world.

I mean no offense to anyone who has expressed support, excitement, or enthusiasm for the concept of more at-home worship services that congregational services, but my understanding of the current doctrine, policies, and practices of the Church has led me to conclude that that is one change that will not be imminent, assuming it were to ever happen at all. In the midst of COVID-19 grinding to a halt all formal congregational meetings due to those being deemed unsafe for health reasons, weekly administration of the Sacrament in homes Churchwide for the time being does make sense. But once the crisis passes, barring anything earth-shattering received by President Nelson over the next decade or so that changes things, I just don't see it as something that will be a permanent arrangement for which responsibility will be given to priesthood leaders in the home. That is no more and no less than my own opinion, but it's a strong feeling I have at this point. Thanks to all of you who have waded through this lengthy comment on my part.

The Spencers said...

Someone predicted a surge of temple attendance once they are reopened. Many temples may even push the limits of their capacity. That would show leaders which temple districts are most ready to split, and I bet the following general conference we'd see either a long list of new temple announcements, or a short list if we realize we can better utilize what we already have (after getting creative in how temples manage the rush of patrons. I hope that many people will step up to at least temporarily serve as temple workers and continue after realizing what a blessing it is.

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

@Ryan

Was that mostly influenced by the end of World War I?

Also, do know of a place to easily find a graph of those numbers?

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

@Ryan

Nevermind, I found it.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Church_of_Jesus_Christ_of_Latter-day_Saints_membership_history

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

@The Spencers

Right, and we'll hopefully see a greater number of the smaller Hinckleyan Temples expanded, as well.

James Anderson said...

They are getting ready for even more names to be found, even in the 80% of the just under 4.1 billion records FamilySearch has that are not indexed yet.

You will be prompted to log in if you are not when you go to this link: https://www.familysearch.org/records/images/

In some results, you may see what on the face of it are the exact same thing, but they are not, they may be parts of a larger grouping or may be two closely related or situated locations run by the same entity that created the record.

We easily have over 100x or larger, and that estimate is probably way off on the low end, names reserved by members of the Church for temple work, and over 3.8 million names a week are added to Family Tree, over half are added by those who are not members.

L. Chris Jones said...

Do indexing or personal family history. Have many more names ready for when the temples begin regular schedules again.

MainTour said...

And I will argue with all and say that the Pandemic is a huge blessing in disguise to dramatically open the door for dramatic Church Growth worldwide. How? This Pandemic has forced nearly half of the world's population indoors and given them tons of idle time. What will they do with that?

This week is our golden opportunity to flood social media with 1 MILLION Invites to watch General Conference where I predict that Pres Nelson will share a very inspiring message of HOPE and his personal testimony of the reality of the First Vision Story of Joseph Smith. He will not have a single greater opportunity to bear his apostolic witness to the world.

The hard part to predict is how many saints can click the SHARE button on FB to copy and paste the Gen Conf URL? But Here it is for you. https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/church/events/april-2020-general-conference?lang=eng&fbclid=IwAR2fZOwynklRrYGmgeGAplEK9RkQ_OTcMLqc0yHTAqrxMZS_AxiHgDz9Eg8

I have already hit my 15 share limit.

And that is only one example of a great missionary opportunity before us now. I'll leave it to the rest of the church to come up with some more!

Eduardo said...

Changing the subject a bit but putting out some speculation that may affect Church growth: my ballpark figure for overall deaths worldwide from Corona virus is 80 million. That would actually be good, in my opinion. It could go twice or quadruple that. That woukd be really bad.
I figure 60 percent of the world population will contract it, then two percent of them will die.
Men die more from it, and those who smoke and drink are not favored. Men do more of both of it, it seems.
I believe poorer nations will suffer much more from it.
I wonder when China will ever admit their part in this.
Was it a bio-weapon gone wrong? Science claims that is not looking that that is the case. I hope we find out someday.
Follow the prophet, watch and pray, vanquish every foe today.

Deivisas said...

https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/first-presidency-temporarily-closes-all-temples-march-25-2020

Luke said...

Regarding the comment above about all temple closures: Because this will affect ALL live ordinances, would that mean that no new missionaries would go out into the field? Or would they start serving without being endowed?

Eduardo said...

It is not realistic that anybody travels right now, let alone congregate in even small groups.
All missionaries are now sequestered, aka sheltered in place.
Big pause on callings for now, I guess. Let me know if you know different.

John Pack Lambert said...

There are long precedents for sending missionaries without endowment. In the early 1990s many countries saw missionaries go under such conditions. I remember reading about couples from Central America where both served missions and both got endowed on their wedding day.

ScottS said...

Missionaries will be allowed to serve without being endowed as per the last update on missionary service

twinnumerouno said...

James A. and Chris, I agree that this is a good time to spend more time working on family history. I have recently spent several hours on familysearch looking at parish registers from Sweden which are not yet indexed, trying to find sources for the information given. (I've been having fun finding the names and dates that match people in my tree, and trying to get a feel for what kinds of information is included in the records.) I am not sure yet but I think I have found a couple references to people who are not yet in the tree. I want to keep working on this but might decide to help index them instead/also.

I also tried to look at some parish registers from England and found that the films I need are only available at the FHL or online at the family history centers, neither of which does me any good right now :-) ; I was thinking I should call and see if they can lift that restriction, at least temporarily.

James said...

Eduardo, as far as callings go, mission calls will continue to be issued, and all missionaries who would have otherwise been trained in the MTC will complete that training online, then be sent straight to a mission field. But actual missionary activities may be impacted. In the meantime, the Church News continues to highlight the biographies of newly-called mission and temple leadership.

I do not personally anticipate that COVID-19 or the altered arrangements for the April 2020 General Conference would prevent the Church from presenting the traditional changes in Church leadership for sustaining vote. If my understanding is correct, new leaders that are sustained on a general level usually receive their new assignments as such in the 2-3 weeks or so preceding General Conference. And there is nothing in Church doctrine that requires an individual to be physically present in any setting in order to be sustained or released.

The biggest difference with new Church leadership that will be announced is that there won't be an opportunity for them to walk from the congregation to their places on the rostrum, because there will be no in-person attendees and that part of the sustaining process will therefore be omitted this time around. Hopefully this crisis will have passed by October, and there won't be a need for alternate arrangements when that month's General Conference rolls around.

But if you were talking about local leadership changes, then you'd probably be correct. I know that earlier in this or another thread on this blog, someone mentioned that their stake was participating remotely from home in a conference that would form a new stake in their area. But other than scenarios such as that, we can probably count on no changes in congregational leadership anywhere until all of this blows over. Hope these insights, such as they are, are helpful, Eduardo.

Scooter said...

Were any new stakes organized this week?

James said...

Scooter, if you look at the information in the sidebar on the main page of this blog, you'll find that the fifth and sixth new stakes were organized this year on March 1, just prior to the indefinite suspension of weekly Church meetings. According to the information in that side bar, the next new stake is anticipated to be organized on Sunday March 29. Hopefully that answers your question.

Chris said...

Read about these 8 new temple presidents and matrons

https://www.thechurchnews.com/callings/2020-03-26/read-about-these-8-new-temple-presidents-and-matrons-178245

..."Marlo Oliveros Lopez, 62, Seventeenth Ward, Salt Lake Utah Stake, called as president of the new Yigo Guam Temple. President Lopez’s wife, Memnet Panes Lopez, will serve as temple matron. He is an elders quorum president and a former Philippines Bacolod Mission president, stake presidency counselor and bishop. A curriculum specialist for Seminaries and Institutes of Religion, he was born in Manila, Philippines, to Guillermo Mendoza Lopez and Sofia Ferrer Oliveros Lopez"....

Chris said...

@James, to add to your previous comment. Matt has not fully updated the sidebar list of new Stakes 2020.

#7 Nampa Idaho YSA Stake was organized March 8th, 2020. Can be confirmed in CDOL and Classic Maps.

https://classic.churchofjesuschrist.org/maps/#ll=43.61206,-116.51545&z=18&m=google.hybrid&layers=stakecenter&q=Nampa%20Idaho%20YSA%20Stake&find=stake.ysa:2151316

Includes : Nampa YSA 1st + 2nd, Black Canyon YSA, Caldwell YSA, Emmet YSA, Kuna YSA + Ontario YSA Wards.

Your welcome.

Eric S. said...

First president and matron called for Winnipeg as well.

David Todd said...

One of my companions received his endowment while I was serving with him. Very unique situation, but a really special occasion, still.

James said...

Chris, I might vaguely remembering hearing that the Nampa Idaho YSA Stake was going to be created, and I'm glad the Church has confirmed that it is now active on Classic Maps. So thank you for that. And thank you for the advanced "you're welcome" as well. We certainly do live in crazy times. I happened to catch a breaking news update right as the Church News reported it, and as the Newsroom corroborated it. For the first time ever in Church history, the Lord's prophet has issued a worldwide invitation for all to participate in a global fast about COVID-19 and its ongoing impact. More details in the articles below:

https://www.thechurchnews.com/leaders-and-ministry/2020-03-26/coronavirus-covid-19-president-nelson-worldwide-fast-178604

https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/president-nelson-fast-pray-relief-covid-19

Chris said...

https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/renovation-of-the-columbus-ohio-temple-scheduled

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

So, I was totally talking with my sister yesterday about the possibility of the Church taking the opportunity now with all Temples closed to announce renovations for some of the smaller Hinckleyan ones. Then, Boom! They announce Columbus Ohio today. :)

James said...

Johnathan, FWIW, in addition to the Columbus Ohio Temple, I am anticipating that, between now and the end of June, one or two other Hinckley-era smaller temples could also have a renovation closure announced. And according to the Church of Jesus Christ Temples site, renovation plans are currently underway on both the Logan Utah and Manti Utah Temples, so we could see more information announced as far as the extent and timing for either or both renovation projects before the end of this year. Hope these insights are helpful to all who read them.

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

@James

Yeah, I wonder if they'll hasten the renovation dates on Logan and Manti due to the quarantine, too.

Matt said...

I wonder when some of the smaller Hickley-era temples will actually be expanded? For example, the size of its temple district, Spokane WA Temple could easily be expanded 2 to 3 times its current size.

James said...

Johnathan, insofar as I have been able to ascertain, the plans to renovate the Columbus Ohio Temple were well underway long before there was any hint that COVID-19 would impact the world in general and the Church in particular the way it has. In relation to the Logan Temple, I know that I had done research into whether the recent vandalism there could impact and/or push up the timing of the renovation of that temple. As we know now, that did not turn out to be the case. But with the confirmation provided by the Church of Jesus Christ Temples site that renovation plans are underway for both Logan and Manti, I would not be surprised if one or both were mentioned by name, with a timeline given for preliminary details, at some point during General Conference next weekend. It is also possible that the Church could wait on either or both for another year or so, depending on whatever else might be coming down the pike.

Matt, it appears that the plans for all temple renovations are determined on a very much case-by-case basis. For the Memphis Tennessee, Oklahoma City Oklahoma, Raleigh North Carolina, Asuncion Paraguay, and Baton Rouge Louisiana Temples, all of them had been the standard Hinckley-era size of 10,700 square feet. With all of them having been rededicated last year, Memphis, OKC, and Baton Rouge all wound up with a slight square footage increase of 10,890 in total.

They apparently had more room to expand Asuncion and Raleigh, with the former now being 11,906 square feet, and the latter really expanding quite a bit to 12,864 square feet. And for 4 of those 5, all have a similar exterior look that is typical of others of this same era which have previously undergone renoation most recently. The odd one out of that group is Asuncion, for which the exterior look did not seem to change as significantly, although the temple covers that larger square footage.

I have watched with great interest the systematic way the Church has gradually renovated this group of Hinckley-era temples which had roughly the same square footage and basic design. I have also compiled a list of temples for which I could see a renovation being done in the near future. On that list are 22 of the older temples (referring to those originally dedicated anytime between 1884 and 1990), and 36 of the Hinckley-era temples (ranging from Ancorage Alaska to Brisbane Australia), for any of which renovations could occur in the next few years. That list will continue to change over the next few years as some temples on it are closed for renovation and others take their place. For any that would like to look over the latest version of that list, you can find it at the following web address:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xuq1QQUCwQXeoxo4Lnes64skyE7RfXFZ/view?usp=sharing

Hope this comment is helpful to all who read it. Thanks.

John Pack Lambert said...

Is Moses Lake going to reduce the size of the Spokane Temple didtrict.

With the exception of the Aba Nigeria Temple most temples built in the 1998-2003 era on a small scale seem more to call for building new temples than expansion.

John Pack Lambert said...

Raleigh was actually another one I would have said could use expansion.

I still think in the long run it makes more sense to build additional temples in Kinston, Greensboro and Charlotte.

If we are to make regular temple attendance a true standard for members we need to get to a point where a large amount of the population can go to the temple on a weekend evening.

This means most metro areas will need their own temples and mega areas like the San Francisco Bay Area and the LA area need another temple.

James Anderson said...

Moses Lake will take from Tri Cities and Spokane both, mostly sakes close to I-90 or that are on it.

James said...

I did some further research on this on my end, and I agree with what James Anderson noted above as far as which regions in Washington State may go to the Moses Lake Washington Temple. What really intrigues me about current and prospective future temple districts within that state is that there are 63 stakes served by the current 3 temples therein, and it appears that the temple in Moses Lake will primarily split the smallest of those three districts (Columbia River has 14 stakes, with Spokane covering 15 others, and the remaining 34 stakes being assigned to Seattle.

But in looking at the current composition of those temple districts, it would not surprise me if the boundaries for all of them were shifted, adjusted, or realigned. Additionally, it is interesting to consider that a temple being announced for Missolua Montana could further break up the other districts, specifically in tandem with Spokane. I for one would not be surprised if a Missoula temple were to be announced in either April or October of this year, or April of 2021.

JPL, as we know, a temple for Lagos Nigeria was announced in October 2018, so it appears that the slightly-larger size of the Aba temple was not a deterrent to another temple being announced in Lagos, and it looks as though there could be at least 3-4 other Nigerian cities for which a new temple could be announced in the near future.

And while I understand your statement on how Raleigh could have used a larger expansion than what was done, it went from an original size of 10,700 square feet to now being 12,864 feet, which is a 1.2 times size increase. Since we don't know what is being deliberated at Church headquarters in terms of new temple announcement and construction and the renovation of existing temples, in thaat sense, a higher and more significant degree of expansion for that temple might have been warranted. But it did occur to me to wonder if the Church just chose to expand it to the extent that they have done so with the main objective and intention to announce another temple for North Carolina in the near future.

And if they were waiting for the Raleigh Temple to be back up and running before making such an announcement, then another North Carolinian temple may be announced soon (by no later than the April or October General Conference of next year). My own personal analysis shows that Charlotte is likely to be the best candidate for such a prospect. The final thing I would note here is that I will be very intrigued to see how soon President Nelson might opt to detail his plans and announce a higher-than-usual number of temples. It seems most likely that that will happen during General Conference next weekend, especially in light of the bicentennial commemoration of important events related to the Restoration, among which are the restoration of priesthood keys relating to temple work.

FWIW, these are just some additional thoughts and observations from me. I have a feeling that none of us have any idea what might be coming down the pike for the temple construction program of the Church.

Timothy said...

James: I in lived in Northern Ohio after being in Central (Columbus) Ohio for eight years. Columbus Temple has half of Pittsburgh, PA, NorthEast Ohio and Cincinnati, Ohio. That why second busy temple in eastern USA. That my thought on Cleveland and Kirtland of NE Ohio being importance part of Church History. Any thought? Thank you for all wonderful advice and love read all comments. Timothy of Sandusky,Ohio.

James Anderson said...

Tooele Valley Temple site concept plan. The temple will back up to SR-36 and the straight line from the front doors will line up due west with an old cemetery on the far west edge of the project area which is to include homes and parks.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10160271946473636&set=gm.2255993231362170&type=3&eid=ARDu06dMYSUveKE5ESfcFutdWpluCBc6xGPz000wshAk-Ad7HAOUqPKYcjIILYTVRAiuHhgH73dEDocb

Anonymous said...

@James,

Other than sq ft, do we happen to know what changes were made during renovation (were there increases/decreases in endowment seating capacity, dressing room lockers; addition of clothing rental, etc.)? I’m just curious if the info is readily available somewhere.

James said...

Timothy, thanks for asking me to weigh in on your questions. I believe there are a couple of ways in which the Columbus Ohio Temple District as it is presently comprised could be split, and although I have not had both on my list for this next General Conference, I am thinking about changing that due to additional information of which I have become aware in the interim. The two cities in question are Cleveland Ohio and Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. I was reminded earlier just today that there is not a lot of room for the Church to expand the current Columbus Ohio Temple, at least not out. Building that temple up might be an option, but depending on the extent and details of that temple's renovation, it is likely that another temple in either or both of the other cities I mentioned will be needed.

For a while, I had prioritized Cincinnatti rather than Cleveland, but between further study on my part and comments from other individuals, I came to the conclusion that Cleveland was the more likely prospect. Between Cleveland and Pittsburgh, I'd probably prioritize Cleveland, primarily due to the fact that Ohio's first temple was originally dedicated in early September 1999, while Pennsylvania's first temple was dedicated in mid-September 2016. As far as the more specific reasoning, for both cities, mileage is the key metric I used on this question. The Cleveland saints have a 141.5 mile one-way journey tom get to the Columbus Ohio Temple, while the Saints in Pittsburgh have a one-way journey of 185.1 miles.

Although the greater distance for the Saints in Pittsburgh would seem to warrant prioritizing that city over Cleveland, research of some of the other factors involved has led me to prioritize Cleveland. And I think that a temple for Cleveland could be announced before the renovation for the Columbus temple is complete. If that winds up being the case, then a temple for Pittsburgh could be announced either near the conclusion of the renovation for the Columbus Temple or else not long after its' rededication. Of course, that is just my own opinion, based on my own research and what I currently know.

James Anderson, thanks for mentioning the site concept plan for the Tooele Valley Utah Temple. I don't know what to expect as far as that temple is concerned. Not long after that temple was announced, many sources noted that that temple was going to be fast-tracked. The release of these concept designs through social media would seem to point to the fact that that temple is headed in that direction. At the same time, based on what is now known vs. what is not known, it appears likely that at very least, the Orem Utah Temple will be the next temple here in Utah to have a groundbreaking, with Taylorsville perhaps following within one or two months. And I know that the concept designs for the Brasilia Brazil Temple were similarly floating around social media for 4-6 months before an official announcement was made on that temple.

That said, while I have no idea to what, if any, degree, the current COVID-19 crisis will further impact current temple construction efforts, it seems fairly clear to me that at least 10 other temples (in addition to the 4 already scheduled) could have a groundbreaking. My thanks to Timothy and James ANdersonw for the latest comments they have made, and to all who read my comments here.

James said...

James Anderson, I just wanted to additionally let you know that it appears that the link you shared that shows the Tooele Valley Utah Temple concept plans is dead/not valid.

Anonymous, I am not sure how readily available the information about which you're inquiring might happen to be. One suggestion I can make is for you to look at the specifications listed for each temple about which you have questions in the 2013 Deseret News Church Almanac, and compare and contrast tht with the information about each temple that was released in conjunction with the rededication(s) thereof. Unless I am mitaken, that information should be fairly easy to find onlin. Hope these suggestions are helpful to you. Sorry I don't have a better answer.

Chris said...

Here is another link to the Tooele Valley Utah Temple concept site map :

https://churchofjesuschristtemples.org/tooele-valley-utah-temple/photographs/#Construction-1

John Pack Lambert said...

The wife of the new president of the Arizona Phoenix mission was born in Aalt Lake City. However her maiden name is Rahimzadeh which is Iranian.

John Pack Lambert said...

The Aba Temple has roughly 11,000 square feet. Yet there are probably 30 stakes less than 100 miles away.

What I am saying is that I could see the Church expanding the Aba Temple while building at least 4 more temples across Nigeria.

I also could see Port Harcout getting a temple. That despite it only being 40 miles between them. I also have Ikot Eyo on my list of potential temples.

James Anderson said...

That Tooele Valley Temple plat plan was posted last night to a large group for those involved in temple and family history work, largely consisting of consultants and leaders.

That is also not unusual for those types of plans to go through a revision or two before it goes final, we saw that with Saratoga Springs most recently. That one ended up a little east of where the first plans I saw had it, but not by much.

John Pack Lambert said...

The new president of the South Afeica Cape Town Mission was called from George which is within the mission. His predecessor was also South African but from outside the mission boundaries.

The Spencers said...

As for local callings and sustainings, I don't know if this is how things are done church wide, but my stake president has given direction to ward leaders to interview people via videoconference and announce callings via email. Members who oppose a calling should respond to the Bishop's email (or whomever is the presiding authority). No response=consent. We have already done it this way once in my ward. New callings are then set apart in person, health permitting, using as much caution as possible.
As odd as it all seems, it is amazing how well the work continues through alternate methods despite the setback of not being able to meet in person.

Keaton said...

Are missionaries that come home because of the virus getting new assignments immediately?

Chris said...

Does anyone know what the name of the 4th stake in Orlando Florida area, that was scheduled to be organized today, is called?

Also, a few weeks ago, before he crisis, it was mentioned here there may be a new Edmonton Alberta YSA Stake organized this month in March. Any news if it was?

James Anderson said...

I have worked with my bishopric via email, I am a ward music chair, and am trying to resolve challenges in my area with them and via email.

Another example of this is from this stake president who posted this to Youtube last night, you will hear of it in the middle, and what family history people are doing just a little later

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=rXN8ndKq-Po&fbclid=IwAR24Rfzc9mH1nUQzjudoPgg9thJeM4oEBDVyz4BHTmf1nDRe19c2CuHndxk&app=desktop

Unknown said...

This could be the slowest growth of the church In over 50 years. Semi active memebers may very well fade and the Missionary program will likely take weeks to get re established. The area where the church grows the fastest have the least resources to deal with the Virus. So few stakes established in 2020 and 1 stake close in California. Pres Russel will have a high task conducting a Confrence that maintains the activity level. which is already at about 25% of 16 Million.

Mario Miguel said...

My YSA Branch has been hosting Sunday meetings via zoom for the past couple of weeks. Today I noticed the participation of at least three people who previously were not attending church or were semi active for a long time. I've honestly felt more unity within the branch recently. It really showed me that progress and miracles will continue through all these setbacks if we do the best we can to reach out and be creative.

Eduardo said...

Unknown: I understand your negative take on this, but I see some postives:
1. Those who follow the Word of Wisdom should be more protected.
2. Warnings and prophecies of the scriptures by the Lord and His prophets should be more evident.
3. Current authorities should be more pertinent than ever.
4. Food storage plans should be in use.
5. Bishops and the storehouses, plus the overall Church charities system, should be more useful than ever.
6. The 100 billion being "hoarded" by Ensign Peak seems to be quite nicely inspired.
Was President Nelson president of the 2011 Quorum of 12?
He quoted "men's (and women's) hearts will fail them.
Indeed.
Turn to the Lord and pay your tithes. Fire insurance.
God bless.

Christopher Nicholson said...

President Packer was president of the 2011 Quorum of 12. President Nelson assumed that role upon the former's death in 2015.

Since Governor Herbert's "Stay Safe, Stay Home" directive announced for Utah on Friday, my YSA stake is no longer even allowing small groups to meet for the sacrament or Come Follow Me lessons until at least mid-April. It's ironic to be so cut off from the Church here of all places. I live alone, I no longer have a job as of last week and everything else is also closed or canceled, and I'm far more concerned about the boredom and isolation that have already taken a heavy toll on me than about the virus itself.

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

@James

Yes, and I totally understand that the Church had plans for the Columbus Ohio Temple renovation long before announcing it. I wasn't saying that they they just suddenly decided to renovate it on a whim, but that the timing was coincidental, both to my comments here from a few days before on the possibility of them announcing renovations to some of the smaller Hinckleyan Temples, and to the comment I had just made to my sister in person the day before the announcement. Also coincidental is the timing of the announcement in relation to the quarantine, as we don't know whether they would have announced the renovation at this time had all the Church's Temples not been closed just days before.

I think it's pretty safe to say that the Church has renovation plans in some stage for most, if not all, of its Temples. After all, President Hinckley said at the announcement of the smaller Hinckleyan Temples that they could be "expanded as needed" in the future. My comment was more directed at the serendipitous time of this particular renovation announcement.

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

Sorry to hear about the boredom and the job loss, Christopher Nicholson. :(. You got any hobbies to keep you busy?

Unknown said...

Other positives to think about:
- Home Centered Church and Come Follow Me were already in place
- Millions of potential extra "bored" viewers may tune into Gen Conf to hear a living prophet talk about the gospel of peace and hope and bear witness to the 200th anniversary of the First Vision. Since there are no sporting events, work parties or concerts scheduled to conflict that weekend.
- Many members are getting a crashed course in virtual meetings to further the work (My dad had 42 viewers in his ward sunday school online class yesterday).

Unknown said...

Keaton - most missionaries coming home have two wait in 14 day quarantine first. Then if they have more than 3 months left they may get a new assignment in their home country. Many missionaries with high health risks, asthma, etc will be released.

James said...

Above and beyond that, anyone serving in or returning to the United States could be released after 21 months (for young elders) or 15 months (for sisters). Earlier this morning, the Church confirmed that a second missionary had contracted COVID-19, and that that case was being dealt with. Understandably, in conjunction with that statement, the Church spokesman also noted that, going forward, individual cases contracted by missionaries would not be reported by the Church, but that the responsibility would be the missionaries' and local physicians to spread that word.

I know that social distancing may be problemeatic in such cases as described by CHristopher Nicholson (sorry to hear about the job loss as well, Christopher!), but my wife and I were just talking about how the current situation may change some attitudes and perspectives in our own congregation. In the last few years, with our not being able to regularly attend Church, it appears that some among our congregation, including a few leaders thereof, were of the opinion that our lack of Church attendance was by choice. Now many of them are in the same boat we are, unable to attend Church every week, and that may lead some of them to an understanding of what we have been struggling with in our situation for the last several years.

By saying that, I don't mean to sound as if I am gloating, but if the Lord here locally can use this experience to clear up the ways in which our fellow Saints have misunderstood our situation, I won't object to that at all. On another subject, with Utah Governor Gary Herbert issuing a "stay safe, stay home" order that will be in effect for the next little while, and the Salt Lake County mayor spelling out which industries in particular were to be affected thereby, I had been concerned that might impact the Church's ability to hold General Conference as arranged. But specific industries were subsequently identified that will be affected by that order, and it appears that will not impact the Church specifically in that particular case.

One last thing I wanted to mention: Since I have not received much new feedback on my latest General Conference predictions (which gave multiple choices for prsospective new temples in some areas), I went back over the history of comments on my blog about past predictions, and based on what I found there, I hve thinned out the herd myself. I will still be welcoming feedback until 10:00 PM on Thursday night of this week, but wanted to note that here. You can find the revised predictions at the following web address:

https://stokessoundsoff.blogspot.com/2020/03/my-pre-conference-testimony.html

My thanks once again to Matt for allowing me to share such developments, and to all of you who may weigh in on those predictions before the aforementioned deadline.

Ryan Searcy said...

Our local news reported on a creative missionary homecoming, him having to come home early due to the virus. Instead of being greeted by a large crowd at the airport, his parents arranged for all of his friends and family to park on the side of his street, each waving and holding signs from their vehicles as the parents slowly drove down the street.

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

@Unknown

"Since there are no sporting events, work parties or concerts scheduled to conflict that weekend."

I'm glad you commented on this, as it had occurred to me and another friend of mine a few weeks ago. Without the conflicting distractions, I wonder if we'll have more General Conference viewership than ever before.

Personal spiritual benefits so far have been my teenage nephews continuing to bless the sacrament at home, and one of them giving the lesson yesterday.

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

As someone who struggles with his own medical issues, James, I can appreciate at least some of your situation.

I can rarely sleep without medication, and that has affected my own church attendance at times as well as my ability to work a steady job. There have been some members (even leaders) who have made disparaging comments to me about my situation or accused me of being unrighteous because of these medical problems. Not that I would wish this quarantine on anyone, but now I think some can understand how unexpected circumstances can cause unwanted limitations in our lives.

Unknown said...

Christopher Nicholson, you and I must be in the same YSA stake (or at least the same church area). Our ward had a lot of success reaching out to people and inviting them to attend virtual Sunday meetings, including less-active members and missionaries returning home early due to Covid. Unfortunately the Utah Area Presidency since put the kibosh on that, which is especially frustrating given this is evidently allowed in other parts of the world, as seen in the example from Germany in an article on the church website (https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/church/news/how-latter-day-saints-across-the-globe-worshipped-at-home-on-sunday-due-to-coronavirus-concerns?lang=eng&_r=1).

I understand there are concerns that people will interpret virtual services as meaning there is no reason to go to church once things are back to normal, but I think cutting off people who live alone, such as YSAs, from opportunities to experience congregational worship will lead to more inactivity. I know that some YSA Stake Presidents are hoping to get an exception for YSA stakes, so we shall see what happens.

Eric S. said...

My YSA Ward did a virtual testimony meeting yesterday. It wasn't the sacrament meeting, just sharing testimonies for about an hour which was awesome. Lots of people joined in as well. We plan on continuing to do that, in addition to doing Come Follow Me one day during the week. Reach out to your Bishop or just do something with fellow ward members over a video chat.

Chris said...

Did anyone else notice earlier this month 3 new Branches were organized in the northwest part of Mozambique, along the Zambeze river, around the locality of Tete?

35 Mar 12, 2020 Zambeze Branch Zambeze, Mozambique
36 Mar 12, 2020 Matundo Branch Matundo, Mozambique
37 Mar 12, 2020 Moatize Branch Moatize, Mozambique

I personally believe they could all 3 be reorganized in near future as a new District. Along with the already Tete branch, making 4 total branches. The only church units in the area that I know of.

https://classic.churchofjesuschrist.org/maps/#ll=-16.144036,33.665221&z=10&m=google.hybrid&layers=stake&q=Zambeze%20Branch&find=ward:2162776

James said...

Johnathan Whiting, I'm sorry to hear about your recent health issues. While I wouldn't wish any of what I'm dealing with on anyone else, there has been a time or two where I felt that, if some in my circle of influence could experience even a part of what I've had to deal with, there might be more room for compassion and understanding on the part of those individuals when they make future assessments on my situation.

Over time, as our problems have continued, Church leaders have made a more significant effort to understand our personal plight. And over the last little while, changes in the leadership of our ward (specifically in the bishopric and EQ Presidency), there are leaders serving now that do have a higher degree of understanding on our situation. And our bishop in particular seems especially suited to help guide our ward through this particular period of time.

So when it comes to that, a lot of the resolution of such issues will come over time, as you and your leaders make consistent efforts to understand where each other is coming from. I am also able to confirm that the passage of time melts such misunderstandings. Without knowing more specifically what you are dealing with, Johnathan, I hope the insights I have shared are helpful.If at any point you'd like to share more about your situation, if you'd want to do so in a more private setting, I'd be happy to dialogue with you more via e-mail. If you wouldn't care to do so, that's not problematic either, but I've found that, with my health issues, it has helped at times to connect with people who have similar difficulties, so I thought I'd offer.

In the meantime, yesterday, I had some time to solidify some thoughts I've been having leading up to the upcoming General Conference, and I also took time to refine my list of temple prospects to be more specific and definitive. For any of you who would like to weigh in on those predictions before this weekend, you are more than welcome to do so. The post in question where I shared them is found at the web address below:

https://stokessoundsoff.blogspot.com/2020/03/my-pre-conference-testimony.html

For those that would prefer to just view the predictions and offer pulbic or private feedback, you can find those at the following web address:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1hHjnnmwcr16z8FHZUc7PZtFRImAGEl4kXGU10UXlgyY/edit?usp=sharing

My thanks once again to you all.

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

With just a few days left, I've finally updated my "March Temple Madness Bracket" for this Spring (idea originally from Cory Ward). Probably even more relevant this time with the actual March Madness being canceled.

You can see and download the bracket here, and print it out if you'd like to participate.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/mdpitnah2v3t1mx/Temple%20Predictions%20Apr%202020%20Full%20Bracket%202.pdf?dl=0

As you'll see from the bracket, I stuffed it as full as I could with all the names from Matt's post, Nate's Temple Matrix, and even JPL's recent predictions. Since it is so full, however, I plan to divide it into two brackets, one for the USA/Canada, and another for the rest of the World. I'll try to finish those two new brackets and post them here shortly.

twinnumerouno said...

Chris, is March 12 the date the 3 new branches in Mozambique were created? That was a Thursday, which is a bit of a surprise. But if I remember correctly, that was also the date that it was announced that all public church meetings would be canceled, perhaps they had plans in place for another date and felt it was best to go ahead and organize them before the closures.

Pascal Friedmann said...

That's cool, Jonathan! Thanks for sharing. I will be finishing my prediction list with 100 temples on it tonight, probably, but rest assured that Morgan and Vilnius will be on there. Glad I'm not the only one (obviously) who finds them possible.

Chris said...

@Twinnumerouno, the March 12th date was from fullerconsideration.com website. the date the branches were officialy added to the Classic Maps and possibly to the CDOL. the organization date would have been a previous sunday.

James Anderson said...

We have seen that before, where a unit is created, but does not show in the computer systems for as much as a week. Thursday is as far as i seems to go normally

Pascal Friedmann said...

Here is my ultimate list of predictions, should the Church indeed decide to announce 100 temples this weekend (not what I am personally betting my money on, but it's a possibility). Focus is mainly on travel time reduction, and I would clearly anticipate that most of these would be standard small temples, similar to those announced by President Hinckley before 2000:

North America

Fairbanks, Alaska
Lethbridge, Alberta
Victoria, British Columbia
La Grande, Oregon
Bakersfield, California
San Luis Obispo, California
Elko, Nevada
Farmington, New Mexico
Morgan, Utah
Price, Utah
Nephi, Utah
Heber, Utah
Grand Junction, Colorado
Preston, Idaho
Casper, Wyoming
Rock Springs, Wyoming
Rapid City, South Dakota
Helena, Montana
Des Moines, Iowa
Champaign, Illinois
Wichita, Kansas
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Green Bay, Wisconsin
Austin, Texas
Amarillo, Texas
El Paso, Texas
Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Tallahassee, Florida
Knoxville, Tennessee
Charleston, West Virginia
Buena Vista, Virginia
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Cleveland, Ohio
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Burlington, Vermont
Augusta, Maine

Central and South America

La Paz, Mexico
Mexico City 2nd, Mexico
Campeche, Mexico
Kingston, Jamaica
Guadeloupe
Port-of-Spain, Trinidad & Tobago
David, Panama
Cali, Colombia
Santo Domingo, Ecuador
Santa Cruz, Bolivia
Tarija, Bolivia
Salvador, Brazil
Cuiabá, Brazil
Rio Blanco, Brazil
Cusco, Peru
Bahia Blanca, Argentina
Ushuaia, Argentina

Europe

Dublin, Ireland
Edinburgh, Scotland
Oslo, Norway
Hamburg, Germany
Vienna, Austria
Malaga, Spain
Las Palmas, Spain
Acores, Portugal
Toulouse, France
Riga, Latvia
Tirana, Albania

Asia

Dubai, United Arab Emirates
New Delhi, India
Hyderabad, India
Rajahmundry, India
Ulan Bator, Mongolia
Singapore
Taichung, Taiwan
Jakarta, Indonesia
Yerevan, Armenia
Puerto Princesa, Philippines
Laoag, Philippines
Cabanatuan, Philippines
Naga, Philippines
Iloilo, Philippines

Africa

Cape Town, South Africa
Gaborone, Botswana
Maputo, Mozambique
Antananarivo, Madagascar
Lusaka, Zambia
Luanda, Angola
Brazzaville, Republic of Congo
Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo
Mbuyi-Mayi, Democratic Republic of Congo
Benin City, Nigeria
Port Harcourt, Nigeria
Abuja, Nigeria
Lome, Togo
Kumasi, Ghana
Takoradi, Ghana
Yamoussoukro, Cote d’Ivoire
Monrovia, Liberia

Oceania

Christchurch, New Zealand
Ipswich, Australia
Port Vila, Vanuatu
Majuro, Marshall Islands
Noumea, New Caledonia

Eduardo said...

More temples in California would be miraculous.

Any news of any missionary re-assigments yet?

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

Thanks for posting your predictions, Pascal. I'll add some of your new ones to help fill out my new USA/Canada vs World Brackets.

James said...

Eduardo, this may answer your question: https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/service-options-missionaries-march-31-2020

Thanks.

Eduardo said...

So, I was looking for anecdotes, but I get it, everyone is on standby for now.
I have nephews back from Mexico and Guatemala on hiatus now. It is exciting and historical in many ways.

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

All right, guys and gals!

I divided the Temple Madness Bracket into 2: USA/Canada vs World for your downloading, printing out, and participating pleasure.

USA/Canada:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/tex3s5gdwdy1519/Temple%20Predictions%20Apr%202020%20USA%20Bracket%202.pdf?dl=0

and here's the World Bracket:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/5nq3j3ou2tktqdg/Temple%20Predictions%20Apr%202020%20World%20Bracket%202.pdf?dl=0

And here's the original/full bracket (although I was able to fit more into the new divided brackets):

https://www.dropbox.com/s/mdpitnah2v3t1mx/Temple%20Predictions%20Apr%202020%20Full%20Bracket%202.pdf?dl=0


@Pascal Friedmann: I was even able to include all of yours!

Hopefully, this will set the bracket for the next few conferences (particularly for places like Utah, Mexico, Africa, Brazil, & the Philippines, where there are numerous options that are hard to chose from, and multiple temples are likely to be announced in the near future). It'll be interesting to see if I'll be adding more or taking away more possible locations within the next couple of years. I imagine taking away, unless a new small-temple program is initiated by President Nelson, like unto the President Hinckley Era (although if that is initiated, then I'll likely be both adding AND taking away (shh! don't tell Revelation 22:18–19!)).

Let me know if you guys see any egregious errors, or if I've omitted any locations you really wanted to see on there. I probably won't make any huge adjustments between now and conference (and there is always the "Pick" blank space for writing in extras), but I can always add more to the list for next time, unless you point out a glaring mistake I've made, I'll try and fix it between now and this Saturday.

Thanks again. :)

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

@Eduardor

Sorry, no missionary re-assignments on my end. My nephews won't be sent out for a couple of years, yet.

James said...

Eduardo, as far as anecdotes about the latest developments are concerned, it may be a while before anything surfaces in that respect. The announcement about the optiosn available to missionaries came out less than 9 hours ago. My understanding from the way the announcement is worded is that, whether or not our young missionaries returning home are still considered missionaries through the duration of their quarantines (which will differ on a case-by-case basis), the Brethren are leaving it to the missionaries to determine how best to handle a return to service, assuming their choice is to resume that service. Because many missionaries are just barely home and starting the quaranteening process, it could be another 4-6 weeks before there is enough action by the missionaries that would drive the kind of anecdotes you might be seeking.

That said, since the COVID-19 situation is ongoing, and given the vast number of developments which have been reported in that respect just within this last month alone, I would be very much shocked if part of the General Conference did not mention something about COVID-19 in general, and its' impact on missionary work and temple worship in particular. If something further is mentioned on a more significant scale about the missionary side of things, any of the four apostles currently serving on the Missionary Exeuctive Council (which, at last check, included Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, who chairs it; and Elders D. Todd Christofferson, Neil L. Andersen, and Ulisses Soares).

The only question would be, if something is mentioned about the missionary program, when might that occur? It might make the most sense for anything of that nature to be explained by Elder Uchtdorf, who, if I am correct in my theories about when each member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles might speak, could address those during the Saturday Afternoon Session. But it is also possible that something could be mentioned when any of the other three apostles speak. Right now, I am theorizing that Elder Christofferson might speak during the Sunday Afternoon Session, with Elder Andersen on Saturday Morning, and Elder Soares on Sunday Morning.

But I've probably pontificated enough on this topic for now. Hope these thoughts, such as they are, are helpful to all who read them.


Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

@James:

Hey, sorry I didn't get back to you sooner. I was busy finishing up those brackets and with some stuff at home IRL.

As far as leaders go, Elder Holland has been probably the biggest comfort to me as to someone who understands:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNAx2Rgq-uI

I appreciate your concern and your offer, James. Wouldn't mind chatting at some point. I sent you a friend request on The Facebook.

John Pack Lambert said...

I just hope the conference viewing infrastructure is up to the strain.

John Pack Lambert said...

It looks like now the plan is to wait to reassign. In the US and Canada they have the choice of reassigning once conditions change or delaying and having a new end date.

Unknown said...

Current and Future missionaries are now being given the option to delay their time service by 12-18 months. This will probably really distort Matt's next round of church growth predictions:

https://www.deseret.com/faith/2020/3/31/21202210/mormon-missionaries-coronavirus-covid-19-lds-options-continue-return-mission-field

James said...

Hey, Johnathan. Thanks for getting back to me. No worries at all about your delay in responding. I understand fully how real life can sometimes necessitate delays on lesser priorities. I also appreciate you sending a Facebook friend request and will be happy to accept that when I can. In my own life and situation, however, I have found, especially in recent years, that regular usage of that particular platform has sometimes stressed me out more or added to the degree of worry I have in my current situation.

Consequently, particularly within the last few years, I have been giving myself more regular and extensive breaks from that platform. I can count the number of times I have access that platform thus far this year on one hand. And usually, when I do access that lately, it is only to check notifications and responsd to anything that requires my immiedate attention.

My purpose in mentioning this to you is to let you know that connecting on Facebook may not be the easiest way to reach me at times when you need to talk to someone. Right now, my main method of communication is by cell phone or e-mail. Since I currently check my e-mail a few times a day, your best bet to reach me would probably be by that method. You can find my e-mail address through my Blogger user page.

Of course, if Facebook is the easier method for you to stay in touch with people, I will be happy to resume more regular checks on that platform, as I wouldn't want to inconvenience you, and I want to make sure I keep myself open to contact with you. So just let me know either way what works best for you, and I'll do my best to accommodate you on that.

Come to think of it, I don't believe I've frequented Facebook all that much since COVID-19 became the new status quo, so I'd probably better check in there at some point soon anyways. But that's more of a side-track than I meant to share here. Whatever works best for you, Johnathan, I will make an effort to work on my end. Just let me know either way. In the meantime, thanks again for responding. Hopefully however we connect, I can be of some assistance to you in your current situation.

In the meantime, thanks for all your hard work on the General Conference Temple Madness brackets. As a result of my physical disabilities, aside from a cursory knowledge of and past participation in basketball, I have not really been much of a sports spectator or fan. For that reason, I have never once participated in corresponding rituals like March Madness. BUt I like the concept of using the bracket system for prospective temple locations. I have been trying to find a way to trim down my own list of locations in order to highlight my top priorities, and I haven't yet found an effective way to do that. The bracket system for General Conference Temple Madness may be the answer in that respect. So thanks again for your work on that. Best wishes to you in your ongoing struggles at this time, Johnanthan. Hopefully, through whatever means we utlize to communicate with one another, I can be of some help to you. In the meantime, godspeed, good brother!

James said...

Just wanted to mention to all of you here that, late last night, I published a new post on my own blog. This latest post takes a look back at temple construction progress which has occurred during the first quarter of 2020 (spanning from January 1-March 31). In the meantime, I continue to welcome comments on my General Conference predictions until 10:00 PM MDT this Thursday night, which will then give me 36 hours to make any necessary adjustments to those before General Conference starts on Saturday morning. You can find both of those posts at the following addresses:

https://stokessoundsoff.blogspot.com/2020/03/temple-construction-progress-review.html

https://stokessoundsoff.blogspot.com/2020/03/my-pre-conference-testimony.html

And for those that merely want to read the predictions and give public or private feedback thereon, you can find those here:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1hHjnnmwcr16z8FHZUc7PZtFRImAGEl4kXGU10UXlgyY/edit

My thanks once again to you all.

Whizzbang said...

In this Canadian mission, all but two Senior couples are home, all international missionaries are home (I assume they'll be reassigned) and any autoimmune compromised missionaries are home, so all that are left are Americans and Canadians and in a few weeks they'll get Canadians who were serving elsewhere in the World.

Bryan Dorman said...

Concerning temples, I would be very surprised if they announced more temples considering the current world situation. Though you never know what will happen.

James said...

Bryan, I'm sure if the Brethren felt that announcing temples in the midst of this crisis was a bad idea, they would hold off on doing so. But I have done more research on my end about temple construction in general, and the announcement of new temples specifically. Based on that research, it appears as though, as long as the necessary precautions and screenings are done when necessary on those involved in such projects, the only area that might be impacted in terms of temple projects may be the Asian continent. Consequently, aside from potential delays in progress on the Tokyo Japan and Hong Kong China Temple renovation process, the only other delays may be on the Church's ability to dedicate or rededicate some temples for the time being, which would in turn result in a significant queue of temples needing dedications or rededications once that is safe. But since all apostles have been or will yet be given opportunities to officiate at such events, then when it would again be safe for the leaders to hold such gatherings, the apostles could go out individually or in groups to those temples and dedicate or rededicate them at around the same time.

That said, it does not appear that the Church will put a complete halt on temple construction or renovations, or alter the previously-set dates for the four temple groundbreakings which have been announced thus far. If anything, those ceremonies will merely be adjusted to include a minimum of a few key individuals at that event. And with all public church gatherings, such as viewing groundbreaking ceremonies from stake centers in the temple districts, halted, I could see the Church carrying those via the internent in general or social media in particular.

In addition to the four groundbreakings already scheduled, new information has been reported tonight by the Church of Jesus Christ Temples on both the Orem and Taylorsville Utah Temples, based upon which it appears that the groundbreakings for both could take place in August or September. And the construction time-frame for both temples is anticipated to be roughly 2 years. It is also likely that the next few months will see more information released and perhaps even groundbreakings for the following additional temples, at very minimum: Tooele Valley Utah, Feather River California, Brasilia Brazil, Harare Zimbabwe, Nairobi Kenya, San Pedro Sula Honduras, Coban Guatemala, and Managua Nicaragua.

It is particularly likely that August and September could be huge months for temple groundbreakings. Assuming the 4 temple groundbreakings which are already scheduled are joined by the other 10 I mentioned, that would take the announced temple backlog down to 21. So I'd be not only surprised but shocked if COVID-19 led to a hiatus on either new temples being announced or temple construction moving forward, or both.. Just my own thoughts here, but it seems unlikely.

James Anderson said...

Alabang, Metro Manila will see its groundbreaking broadcast over Facebook, Urdaneta and Bangkok did likewise already and I trhink at least one other.

James said...

James Anderson, good to have that confirmed arrangement for the Alabang Philippines Temple. I'd also assume that, unless something changes with COVID-19, Elder Christofferson will not be overseeing that as originally planned. Thanks for that information.

Skorance said...

@Eduardo with Catholic populations getting hit hard by Covid, here's a wild idea: Temples recently finished in France and Italy at the heart of Catholicism then boom the Catholic world is shaken by Notre Dame and now this. Maybe this is God's way of clearing the older branches so to speak for the young tender shoots, clearing out an older generation for a young one not as set in the traditions of their fathers. I cant help but think of the Book of Mormon prophesies but maybe just been reading too much Jacob 5 lately.

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

Just updated my "Temple Predictions by Utah County - Apr 2020 Edition" at the 11th hour.

Check it out before Conference starts (or before The Prophet announces the new temples):

https://www.dropbox.com/s/jeooo5ivcbt688j/Temple%20Predictions%20by%20Utah%20County%20-%20Apr%202020.docx?dl=0

Let me know what additions I've missed, what suggestions you may have for improving it for the next time, etc.

Hopefully, I'll be updating it right after this weekend with some brand new Utah Temples! :)