Latest from Mormon Land: Russell Nelson poised to become oldest Latter-day Saint prophet

Also: What new temples might he announce next month at General Conference?

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) President Russell. M. Nelson speaks from a studio on Temple Square to Latter-day Saints throughout Europe. The devotional aired on Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022. Nelson, who turns 98 in September, is on the brink of becoming the church's oldest prophet-president.

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Age-old question

In a little more than a month, Russell M. Nelson will become the oldest church president in Latter-day Saint history.

Right now, the church’s 17th president has lived for 97 years and nearly six months.

Gordon B. Hinckley lived for 97 years and a bit more than seven months.

In fact, 27 years ago this month, Hinckley became the church’s 15th president. He was ordained March 12, 1995, nine days after the death of 87-year-old Howard W. Hunter.

Hinckley led the worldwide faith for nearly 13 years, until his death on Jan. 27, 2008.

Nelson, the former heart surgeon who has shown no signs of slowing down since taking the church’s helm Jan. 14, 2018, was the second oldest apostle ever to rise to the presidency (after Joseph Fielding Smith).

He will turn 98 on Sept. 9.

Temple predictions

With General Conference a mere month away, thoughts turn to temples — namely, who might be getting new ones.

It’s a safe bet that President Russell M. Nelson will announce new temples. The tricky part is predicting where they will be built. After all, there is a world of possibilities.

Once again, Matt Martinich, an independent demographer who tracks church movement at ldschurchgrowth.blogspot.com, has accepted the challenge.

Here is his latest list of the 10 “most likely” places to have a temple announced the first weekend April:

• Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

• Spanish Fork (it would be Utah’s 29th existing or planned temple).

• Austin, Texas.

• Charlotte, N.C.

• Santiago-Tuguegarao, Philippines.

• Angeles or Olongapo, Philippines.

• Tacoma, Wash.

• Colorado Springs, Colo.

• Kampala, Uganda.

• Iquitos, Peru.

Last fall, Martinich successfully predicted two temples (Monrovia, Liberia, and La Paz, Bolivia) and got the country or state right (but the city wrong) in three others.

LDS Dems back historic high court pick

(Carolyn Kaster | The Associated Press)Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson speaks after President Joe Biden announced her as his nominee to the Supreme Court at White House, Friday, Feb. 25, 2022, in Washington.

The verdict is in from members of Latter-day Saints for Biden-Harris:

They like federal appeals court Judge Katanji Brown Jackson, President Joe Biden’s historic choice to become the next U.S. Supreme Court justice.

“Judge Jackson brings with her top-flight credentials, including two degrees from Harvard University, time as a public defender, and over eight years of experience on the federal bench, more than four current justices at the time of their nomination combined,” said Robert Taber, national director of Latter-day Saints for Biden-Harris. “...[She] will bring the court someone who will make an immediate positive contribution for everyday Americans from all walks of life.”

If confirmed by the Senate, Jackson would become the first Black female justice on the nation’s highest court.

From The Tribune

• The governing First Presidency issued a plea to seek peace in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — without naming either country — while urging world leaders to bring a speedy end to “this armed conflict.”

Read the story and a commentary.

• Before the attack began, the presidency of the Europe East Area encouraged Ukrainian members to join with top Latter-day Saint leaders in praying for the hearts of leaders to be “softened for peace.” Meanwhile, the Kyiv Temple shut down.

Read the story.

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Ukraine's Kyiv Temple at the time of its 2010 dedication. The building has now closed due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

• Ukrainian Latter-day Saints are banding together, helping one another, and receiving support from former missionaries and other Latter-day Saints across the world.

Read the story and listen to the podcast.

• The number of Latter-day Saints in Gambia nearly doubled in one day this past week — to 23.

But church leaders expect that tiny tally to multiply now that apostle D. Todd Christofferson has dedicated the small West African nation to the preaching of the faith’s gospel. Christofferson also visited Nigeria, Ghana and Ivory Coast.

Read the story.

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Apostle D. Todd Christofferson with his wife, Kathy, and other senior church leaders make their way to the overlook near the Atlantic Ocean in Gambia on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, where the Latter-day Saint leader would dedicate the West African country to the preaching of the faith's gospel.

• Popular “Mormon Stories” podcaster John Dehlin has legions of fans but also some prominent critics, who point to his compensation, his treatment of women and his combative style.

Read the stories from this three-part package here, here and here.

• More than a year after Donald Trump left the presidency, 17% of U.S. Latter-day Saints still cling to belief in wild QAnon conspiracies.

Read the story.

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