Latest from Mormon Land: Temple predictions and the last set of dream conference headlines

Imagine Dragons singer Dan Reynolds and his wife separate; leaders launch African tour; church donates $5M to UNICEF; a new D.I. opens in Utah.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Latter-day Saints offer their sustaining vote to the church's leadership in April 2019.

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Temple talk

If the past is prologue, then it’s a safe bet that President Russell M. Nelson will announce new temples at next month’s General Conference. It’s far riskier to predict where they will be built.

Once again, though, independent researcher Matt Martinich, who tracks church movement at ldschurchgrowth.blogspot.com, has anted up with his best guess.

Here is his tally of the 10 “most likely” places to have a temple announced the first weekend October:

• Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

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

• Charlotte, N.C.

• Santiago/Tuguegarao, Philippines.

• Angeles or Olongapo, Philippines.

• Tacoma, Wash.

• Colorado Springs

• Kampala, Uganda.

• Iquitos, Peru.

• São José, Brazil.

In April, Nelson announced 17 new temples, upping his total to 100 since he took the Utah-based faith’s helm in 2018.

Dan Reynolds and his wife have separated

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Aja Volkman and Dan Reynolds are all smiles on the red carpet for the LoveLoud Festival in May 2022. The couple have now separated.

Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds and his wife, Aja Volkman, have split up.

“Being great parents to our children is our number one priority,” Reynolds tweeted to his fans. “Thank you for always supporting us with love and care for all these years.”

The couple had planned to divorce in 2018 but reunited and had a fourth child.

Reynolds, a Latter-day Saint, is the driving force behind the LoveLoud LGBTQ fundraising concerts.

Leaders launch African tour

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) General authority Seventy Thierry K. Mutombo and Brad Wilcox in Nairobi, Kenya, on Sept. 10, 2022.

Two high-ranking general church officers have launched a five-nation tour of Central Africa.

Brad Wilcox, of the Young Men presidency, and Milton Camargo, of the Sunday school presidency, will be training leaders, meeting with missionaries and providing support to members.

After a training session in Nairobi, Kenya, the two were to travel to Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda and the Republic of Congo.

The stop in Ethiopia represented a homecoming of sorts for Wilcox, who lived there as a child.

“I am from Africa. I don’t look like it, but I grew up here, in Ethiopia,” he said in a news release. “I left when I was 7 years old, and so I say, ‘Jambo!’”

Earlier this year, Wilcox, a BYU professor, made what were viewed as dismissive remarks about Black Latter-day Saints and the faith’s former priesthood/temple ban. He later apologized.

$5M to help malnourished children

(UNICEF) Konata, a 24-year-old mother of two children, with her 1-year-old daughter, Mariam, at the Health Center of Bobo-Dioulasso, in the Southwestern region of Burkina Faso. Mariam is malnourished and was able to be given treatment and supplements.

The church has donated $5 million to a longtime United Nations partner.

On Wednesday, Sharon Eubank, head of Latter-day Saint Charities, announced the contribution to UNICEF’s “No Time to Waste” campaign against global malnutrition.

The money will help young children in up to 24 countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Middle East and the Philippines, according to a news release. It will assist with the “prevention, detection and treatment of malnutrition, including wasting, the most immediate, visible and life-threatening form of malnutrition.”

“The funding … was given by Latter-day Saints so that mothers will have healthier pregnancies and births,” Eubank said in recorded remarks at the United Nations in New York, “and they can offer therapeutic food and micronutrients to their children who might be at risk.”

A new D.I. opens

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Two church service missionaries tour the new Deseret Industries store in Saratoga Springs on Sept. 14, 2022.

Deseret Industries, the church’s thrift store and provider of other welfare services, opened its 46th location last week, this one in the mushrooming Utah city of Saratoga Springs.

“This new facility … is all about caring for the one,” Bishop W. Christopher Waddell, first counselor in the faith’s Presiding Bishopric, said in his dedicatory remarks. “...All will be received with open arms, without judgment and with Christlike love.”

Besides the store, the 54,000-square-foot facility includes the church’s Family Services, Development Counseling Services and Employment Services, a news release noted, along with a neighboring bishops’ storehouse and home storage center.

Colombia MTC to close

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) This missionary training center in Bogota, Colombia, will close next year.

The church has announced it will shut down its missionary training center in Bogota, Colombia, starting in January.

“Missionaries who would have attended the Colombia MTC will attend one of the nine missionary training centers that will continue to operate around the world,” said a news release. “As technology has allowed training to begin at home, church leaders continue to seek the best use of resources according to the needs of each region of the world.”

MTCs remain in operation from England to Mexico, including the flagship campus in Provo.

Final set of dream conference headlines

Here is our last batch of reader-submitted “dream headlines” for next month’s General Conference. Review them, and we’ll give you a chance to vote in a few days on the best out of this group. We’ll combine those results with the winners from the previous two rounds for one final runoff to crown an ultimate champion:

• The only essential oil is consecrated oil.

• LDS Church will lead the charge to change clergy exemption laws in Utah and across the U.S.

• Effective immediately: Democrats welcome in LDS Church but only if they do not act on it.

• We are being audited by the IRS and fear for our tax exemption.

• LDS Church adopts the Bible as its sole authority.

• LGBTQ people will now have all the same rights and privileges as everyone else, including temple marriage.

• LDS Church to members: Stop paying tithing! Says it has plenty of funds; now’s the time to feed and educate your families.

• Church cuts tithing to 5%, says it has too much cash on hand.

• Church brings the total number of temples to 300.

• Church employees encouraged to work remotely in other states.

• Second Coming of Christ imminent.

• How looking at magic rocks in a hat can be inspirational.

• Church shortens Sunday block to 90 minutes.

• Coffee removed from banned substances in Word of Wisdom.

• Cold coffee no longer a hot drink.

• Church requires all members and leaders to report child and spousal abuse to police.

• ‘All future meetings to be on Zoom,’ Nelson declares.

• Several apostle wives speak at conference.

• Two more temples planned in Colorado. The first being the Springs, then Limon.

• A special calling for my Grandpa Joe. Of course, Grandma Glo has to get something, too.

• ‘Ministering’ is too confusing. We’re changing the name and actually SHOWING you (videos, role plays) how to do it.

• First counselor positions in every presidency and bishopric in the church will be reserved for a woman.

• LGBTQ students may now date at BYU.

• Marijuana is well within reason of the Word of Wisdom.

• Dallin H. Oaks renounces ‘Good, Better, Best’ talk and says church members are ‘good enough.’

• Church actually hires a historian to be church historian (instead of a lawyer).

• Second wives will get their own celestial mansion, church confirms.

• Tithing no longer a requirement for temple recommends.

• UTA announces FrontRunner service on Sunday.

• Temples will become self-serve due to lack of temple workers.

• All second-hour meetings, youth firesides, etc., will now read and discuss the Gospel Topics essays.

• Bishops now receive a stipend for their work (or no longer pay tithing).

• Women to be ordained — immediately.

• Documents reveal Emma Smith’s original recipe for sacrament bread was whole wheat, not white.

• We are liquidating the Ensign Peak fund and sending the proceeds to Latter-day Saints living in Orem.

• President Nelson announces major changes to the singles program of the church.

• Mothers in Heaven may be discussed if references are always plural.

• Bishops promoted — First presidency encourages use of middle initials when speaking about bishops or stake presidents.

• Church headquarters moving to BYU campus, further solidifying ‘Everest’ status.

• LDS Church buys The Salt Lake Tribune and closes it.

The latest ‘Mormon Land’ podcast: Religious freedom

• The director of BYU’s International Center for Law and Religion Studies discusses global religious freedom in a special podcast from Spain. Listen to the podcast.

From The Tribune

• Latter-day Saint scholar Matthew Bowman explores how the rise of the religious right fueled stereotypes and misconceptions about Christians.

• The University of Oregon and its student section apologized for offensive chants directed at BYU fans and Mormons during the Cougars’ loss to the Ducks on Saturday, and Salt Lake Tribune columnist Gordon Monson denounced such detestable outbursts.

• Tribune senior religion reporter Peggy Fletcher Stack shared five takeaways from her trip to the Holy Land and how the place compares to Utah.

• Latter-day Saint suffragist Susa Young Gates had a “very forceful, dominant personality” like her dad, Brigham Young, a biographer says in excerpts from last week’s “Mormon Land” podcast.

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