Random thoughts on conference so far


–BRAZIL!  Yet another temple in one of the fastest-growing areas for the Church.  Fortaleza is an important, large city in the north, and missionaries are baptizing there like crazy.  Congratulations, Brazil!

Speaking of Brazil, how about those Olympics in Rio?  Brazil pledged $14 billion in government money (that’s a HUGE amount of money for Brazil).  They will completely rebuild Rio, and the city will be an entirely different place by 2016.  When I first heard about the Rio bid, I thought there was no way anybody could go for it.  Rio has crime problems, traffic problems beyond belief and, frankly organizational problems.  Boy, was I wrong.  If you understand Portuguese take a look at this video, which explains how Rio will be transformed.  To summarize, the main Olympic area will be in the southern part of Barra da Tijuca, where an entire new city will be built to house many of the sports, the athletes and the press.  A private beach, only for Olympians!  New freeways will whisk the athletes to and from events.  Completely new stadiums through the city.

Watch for immense controversy in the years ahead as government officials move people from the slums (favelas) around Rio.  Hopefully there will be some effort to build new public/private housing, but even if there are new apartments to move to, slum residents will not go willingly.  Various governments over time have decided to move slum dwellers from the hills surrounding Rio.   Violence usually breaks out. I predict a lot of controversy.  (By the way, missionaries are not allowed to enter the slums, which are centers for drug trafficking and other crime).

Rio is the second largest city in Brazil, but it does not have a temple, while much smaller cities like Fortaleza, Recife, Campinas and Curitiba have been granted temples.  That is partly a reflection of the Church’s relatively slow growth in Rio, where people prefer the beach to church on Sundays.

–Concepcion, Chile!  I can tell you Chileans have wanted another temple for a long time.  It’s a long trip from the south up to Santiago, and now the faithful Saints in southern Chile will have a temple in the second-largest city in the country.  My father and stepmother are on a mission to the Santiago temple, so I’m sure they’re celebrating in Chile right now.

–Brigham City?  Wow, isn’t the Logan temple like 20 minutes away?  I know that area is growing quickly (my family on my mother’s side is from Brigham City).   Not sure what to make of this or of the temple in Sapporo, Japan.

–Elder Oaks’ talk was incredible.    I predict it will be analyzed and re-analyzed in the days to come.  His basic point was the God’s love does not overcome lack of obedience to God’s laws.  He discussed co-habitation outside of marriage and other controversial topics.  I look forward to re-reading that and other talks.

–Elder Packer.  Sorry to see him give his talk from the sitting position.  I hope his health is OK.



What are some of your thoughts?

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

25 thoughts on “Random thoughts on conference so far

  1. Agreed about Elder Oaks’ talk.

    I also really, really liked Anderson’s talk.

    I can’t remember a conference where something from *every* talk has cut to the quick of me like it has in this conference. A very good conference so far.

  2. Actually Brigham city is about 20 minutes away from Logan AND Ogden. That was the most shocking of the five to me, Brigham city has less than 20,000 people. Temples stay pretty busy in Northern Utah though, there must be a need.

  3. Yeah Brazil (on all counts—including World Cup 2-14)!!

    My favorite talk of Conference so far was from the General Relief Society session, Barbara Thompson 2nd counselor. If you haven’t listened to it yet, please do.

    Elder Oaks is usually one of my favorite speakers, but this time I just didn’t connect with him at all. That’s not a slam on him, mind you.

    I was impressed by how often service was mentioned in the opening session.

  4. I agree that Elder Oaks talk was amazing. I found that alot of the principles he discussed could specifically apply to the gay marriage debate.

  5. Geoff, Great comments. Thanks for sharing that. I had to work today and missed conference sessions. I was pleased to read about the two new temples for Brasil. Que bom!

  6. I understand your concern. I almost added a disclaimer before I said it, but I took a chance that people would be mature enough not to restart the debate just because one person saw some application.

  7. Why be surprized about the Brigham City Temple? There are four in the SL valley alone and two in Utah Valley. It makes sense to have more up north.

  8. I thought the same thing at first about the Ft. Lauderdale temple. I spent the better part of 2 decades living just north of Ft. Lauderdale, and still attend the Orlando temple on occasion (just a few weeks ago actually). However, I could see this being similar to our current temple (Detroit). They only have sessions in the evenings except for one day a week and Saturday when they offer them in the mornings. The maximum capacity is 40 people per session. Also, you must have an appointment for any temple attendance.

  9. Re: another temple for Florida.

    If you go to http://www.lds.org/temples, and look at the temples East of the Mississippi, and look at the number of stakes in a temple district, it’s about 10 stakes per temple.

    The Orlando temple has 25 stakes in its district. Theoretically, 10 stakes should be able to be transferred to a new temple district. (Plus three mission districts from the Caribbean are also in that temple district.)

    In the US, it’s my understanding that a stake is generally 4,000 souls (men/women/children) on the roster, with about 2,000 men/women/children who are active. Therefore a temple district generally needs 20,000 active members. Although a more accurate figure would count number of temple-recommend holding adults. But, since that figure is usually not readily available, the figure for number of active adults (ie, sac meeting attending adults) could be used, and then apply a percentage to that to estimate number of temple-rec holders.

    Another factor, is that temple construction is under the direction of the Lord. As I understand it, the prophet may go to the Lord and ask “May we build a temple in _____?” But the Lord can initiate conversations with his prophets, and may have told President Monson where to build some temples in places that might not have passed the general guidelines.

    Another factor: “if you build it, they will come” might apply. The Lord might want temples built to get people trained as temple workers in preparation for future growth. Or, for future increase in temple activity among those stakes in the new temple district.

    South Florida is heavily populated with immigrants from all over, not just Latin-america. And my refrain is that the church in the US is going to experience tremendous growth among immigrants.

    Another factor may just be timing to get the land purchase and construction out of the way now so there won’t have to be such a flurry of land acquisition and temple construction later.

    I ran some numbers, and assuming that there have been 60 billion people born on this planet since Adam and Eve, and assuming we build temples that are the same size as today’s average, then, in order to do ordinance work for 60 billion people by the end of the millenium, and assuming we build new temples at a constant pace, we’ll have to have AT LEAST 1500 temples on the earth at the half-way point through the millennium (ie, in the year 2525 if the Lord returns in 2025).

    After only a short time into the millennium, I suppose there will be a huge need for temples in India and China. There will be a huge need for trained temple-workers from the US to go to those countries and train people there as temple-workers. That also ties into my personal belief that American citizens (or residents of America) whose family is originally from India or China will be joining the church in droves, and then taking the gospel (and temple stuff) back to their country of origin.

    Which would be easier/quicker/better: train 20,000 American temple workers in Hindi and Mandarin and send them to India/China, or, teach/convert/baptize 20,000 Indians and Chinese here in the states and train them to be temple workers? I would guess the latter would be better if the goal is to take the gospel/temple to India and China.

  10. Geoff, that video… Rio (and Brazil) is really going all out. Besides, no offense to Madrid, Tokyo, or Chicago, but seriously, there’s no location quite like Rio. No wonder they won.

    It’s been a marvelous day. I’m so glad there’s more tomorrow!

  11. Goeff B., I didn’t get to hear all of Elder Oaks’ talk. But I sincerely hope your summary of it is not accurate. You said, “His basic point was the God’s love does not overcome lack of obedience to God’s laws.” Really? He said/meant that? That sounds awfully clunky.

  12. I should add that the part I heard was about how parents should treat wayward children. I loved his line how both shunning them completely and openly accepting their transgressive choices were equally wrong. I thought it was thoughtful and inspired counsel.

  13. Second BrianJ that the best talk of this conference has been Barbara Thompson’s in the RS Broadcast. It was amazing in a bunch of totally different ways.

  14. Hunter, I was distracted taking care of my 4-year-old during parts of all of the afternoon talks, but here is how T&S described it:

    “Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Twelve, on God’s love and law:

    Despite mortal confusion over the relationship between love and law, love does not supercede or render inapplicable law or God’s commandments. Mercy cannot rob justice.
    Counsels a balanced response rather than extreme reactions (ignoring it or bringing harsh family disapproval) to “cohabitation” by adult children.”

    That sounds like a good summary to me.

  15. Curt H, good point on Ft. Lauderdale. Hopefully we will be able to keep that temple busy. Book, good comments as always. I would just caution you that there are basically about eight stakes in southern Florida. Perhaps some of the Caribbean branches will also go there. The level of activity until now has not been good compared to other areas of the country. Just to give you an idea, my ward in central Miami had about 450 people on the ward list, and we were lucky if 80 people showed up for sacrament meeting. This was very common in the Miami area. Hopefully this will change, and hopefully more people will come to the temple now that it is closer.

  16. Ben, if everything comes together for the Rio Olympics (meaning if everything gets built on time and under budget, etc, etc), it will be an absolutely spectacular event.

  17. Well, I’ll just wait till the text is available. Thanks for that.

    In the meantime, we will both just have to do our best to catch portions of the talks while chasing after our 4-year-olds . . . (well, 4 in December).

  18. As someone raised in the Fort Lauderdale temple, I am so thrilled to hear that a temple will be built in the area. One of the big reasons for it might be that international flights from the Bahamas etc are much more likely to fly in fort lauderdale than to Orlando. Also, cruise ships stop with fort lauderdale as a port of call. Having a fort lauderdale temple will allow lots of day trippers and visitors to have a nearby temple. I am confident the temple will bless the area
    and help the church to grow.

  19. Daniel, I’m sure you meant to write “Fort Lauderdale area.” :). Anyway, if you’re going to put a temple in South Florida, Fort Lauderdale is definitely the place to put it. The Church is a lot stronger in Broward and Palm Beach counties than in Miami-Dade (per capita). The mission presidency is in Fort Lauderdale. I still think Miami is bigger for cruise ships than Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, and the Miami airport is also bigger than the Lauderdale airport.

    I’m sure Fort Lauderdale was chosen for the same reason that Joe Robbie chose to put the Dolphins Stadium near the Broward county/Dade county line: it is a more central location for the South Florida population.

  20. I currently live in the Ft. Lauderdale Stake. As you can imagine members here are very excited about the prospect of a temple here… there were literally cheers at the stake center when the announcement was made.

    Currently our Stake sends 2 temple buses every month (~50 people per bus)…besides other individuals that drive up on their own. Our stake President began this bus schedule several years ago and I believe that other stakes here in South East FL do the same. This is an all-day event…travel time 6 hours (3 hours each way), 2 session times (4+ hours) + other time. The buses leave at 4:30 or 5:30 am and get back around 5 or 6 pm. While this is certainly not bad compared to many members in the world, we are over the 200 mi Pres. Monson mentioned in his talk 🙂 There are also a lot of young families in our stake that simply cannot make such a trip very often. A temple in our stake (or nearby) would allow members that currently go 2x per year to go at least monthly or even weekly.

    While a temple in Fort Lauderdale will not run at capacity for some time, it is certainly a start and fills a definite need.

  21. I don’t know what church membership in Hokkaido is, but I can give some data about travel to the nearest temple in Tokyo. The trip from Sapporo to Tokyo by train takes about 10 hours, and the one-way fare is 22,680 yen, about $500 round trip. One-way airfare from Sapporo into Haneda Airport (the old Tokyo airport on the harbor near Yokohama) is over 33,000 yen.

    I suspect that there may be excursion fares available at lower prices, and there are buses that cost about half what the train costs (but you’d have to take the train or a bus and a ferry to get onto Honshu–the only tunnel crossing the strait is for trains. (And that tunnel is the deepest undersea tunnel in the world, and the longest–although the undersea portion of the Channel Tunnel is longer.)

    Anyway, the travel times and costs seem likely to have been significant contributors to the decision to build a temple in Sapporo.

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