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First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve working on another first

President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, and his wife, Sister Kristin M. Oaks, arrive at the Mesa Arizona Temple a day ahead of the rededication ceremony in Mesa, Arizona, on Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021.
President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, and his wife, Sister Kristin M. Oaks, arrive at the Mesa Arizona Temple a day ahead of the rededication ceremony in Mesa, Arizona, on Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021.
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

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Barring any changes, President Russell M. Nelson is preparing to preside over another first for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

ChurchBeat reader Seth Jackson of Billings, Montana, gets credit for bringing this to my attention. A few weeks ago, I wrote about the historic nature of President Nelson’s temple dedication assignments. Seth pointed out that adding in those he has assigned to rededicate temples, too, provides a fuller, even more interesting picture.

He was right.

President Nelson has assigned Elder Gary E. Stevenson to dedicate the Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple in May. When that happens, for the first time in church history, all 15 members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles will have participated in temple dedications or rededications.

No previous prophet’s administration has come anywhere close to spreading that responsibility across the entire senior leadership of the church.

In fact, under President Nelson 10 of the 15 apostles have dedicated a temple for the first time in their ministries. (See chart. Bold signifies a leader dedicating a temple for the first time. Rededicated temples are listed in italics with an asterisk.)

Temple dedications and rededications under President Nelson

Date Temple dedicated (or rededicated*) Leader
Date Temple dedicated (or rededicated*) Leader
2018-Apr 22 Houston Texas Temple* President M. Russell Ballard
2018-May 20 Jordan River Utah Temple* President Henry B. Eyring
2018-Oct 28 Concepción Chile Temple President Russell M. Nelson
2018-Dec 9 Barranquilla Colombia Temple President Dallin H. Oaks
2019-Mar 10-12 Rome Italy Temple President Russell M. Nelson
2019-Apr 14 Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple Elder Dale G. Renlund
2019-May 5 Memphis Tennessee Temple* Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
2019-May 19 Oklahoma City Oklahoma Temple* President Henry B. Eyring
2019-Jun 2 Fortaleza Brazil Temple Elder Ulisses Soares
2019-Jun 16 Oakland California Temple* President Dallin H. Oaks
2019-Sep 1 Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple Elder David A. Bednar
2019-Sep 15 Lisbon Portugal Temple Elder Neil L. Andersen
2019-Oct 13 Raleigh North Carolina Temple* President M. Russell Ballard
2019-Oct 20 Frankfurt Germany Temple* Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf
2019-Nov 3 Asunción Paraguay Temple* Elder D. Todd Christofferson
2019-Nov 17 Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple* Elder Quentin L. Cook
2019-Dec 15 Arequipa Peru Temple Elder Ulisses Soares
2020-Feb 16 Durban South Africa Temple Elder Ronald A. Rasband
2021-Oct 31 Winnipeg Manitoba Temple Elder Gerrit W. Gong
2021-Nov 7 Pocatello Idaho Temple President M. Russell Ballard
2021-Dec 12 Mesa Arizona Temple* President Dallin H. Oaks
Upcoming
2022-May 8 Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple Elder Gary E. Stevenson
2022-June 19 Washington D.C. Temple Assignment not yet announced
Tad Walch, Deseret News

President Nelson has explained before why he has shared the responsibility of temple dedications with the other apostles.

Merry Christmas!

My recent stories

President Nelson video message: Acts of service can light the world with Christ’s love during Christmas (Dec. 16)

Church finishes General Handbook update for Latter-day Saints, completing two-year project (Dec. 15)

What I’m reading

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People have purchased 52,000 chickens and nearly 1 million meals as donations through the church’s Giving Machines so far this year. See what else people have donated and how much money they’ve given.

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Here are four highlights from the Christmas special the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square taped last weekend for broadcast in 2022.

Read more about how the choir’s leadership pulled together artists and the concert in just two months.

The church will break ground for the Freetown Sierra Leone Temple on March 19. See an illustration of what it will look like and a map of where it will be.

It was an interesting week for Latter-day Saint sports executives. Darrell Bevell is the new interim coach of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars and Danny Ainge is the new alternate governor and CEO of the Utah Jazz.

Utah State University’s police chief resigned after making what the school called “reprehensible and unacceptable” comments about Latter-day Saint women to the football team.

LDS Living published an interesting piece about some lesser-known visual depictions of Joseph Smith.

Naomi Schaefer Riley has written another column for the Deseret News, this time about how singer “Billie Eilish’s exposure to porn is unfortunately common — and destructive.”

This story says the owner of the New York Mets bought the baseball that went through Bill Buckner’s legs in 1986, leading to the Mets winning the World Series over the Boston Red Sox. Fortunately, I was serving a church mission in Germany at the time and didn’t agonize over that loss like most Red Sox fans. But the tidbit is staggering: The owner was told the ball would cost $100,000 to $150,000, so he authorized his representative to buy it. The representative came back to report he bought it, all right — for $410,000. Yikes.

My wife and I enjoyed Steven Spielberg’s new version of “West Side Story.” This story provides a different faith perspective on the movie.