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President Thomas S. Monson: First year

Feb. 3, 2008: President Thomas S. Monson — a counselor to Presidents Ezra Taft Benson, Howard W. Hunter and Gordon B. Hinckley — was set apart and ordained the 16th president of the Church during a sacred meeting in the Salt Lake Temple.

President Thomas S. Monson speaks to young adults during the Jan. 11, 2009, CES fireside broadcast held at the BYU Marriott Center in Provo, Utah.  Sustained and set apart in February 2009 as the Church's 16th president, President Monson recently reflected on his first year leading the Church.
President Thomas S. Monson speaks to young adults during the Jan. 11, 2009, CES fireside broadcast held at the BYU Marriott Center in Provo, Utah. Sustained and set apart in February 2009 as the Church's 16th president, President Monson recently reflected on his first year leading the Church. Photo: Brian Nicholson/Deseret News

Feb. 4: President Monson and his counselors, President Henry B. Eyring and President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, held a press conference in the lobby of the Church Office Building that was carried live on local TV and transmitted via the Church satellite system to meetinghouses across the world.

Feb. 9: In his first address since becoming President of the Church, President Monson counseled Church members attending the annual Worldwide Leadership Training Broadcast that the home remains the basis of a righteous life.

Feb. 10: President Monson dedicated the Rexburg Idaho Temple in four sessions.

Feb. 13: President Monson presided over and spoke at the funeral of Sister Ruth Faust, widow of President James E. Faust who had served as second counselor to President Hinckley; President Faust passed away six months earlier.

March 15: President Monson addressed the BYU-Idaho's President's Club Banquet in Salt Lake City, declaring "There aren't many small decisions in the life of a person. Every decision you make will have an influence upon what you become, what you really are and what your potential beyond yourself can be."

March 16: Gathered in stake centers throughout Bolivia for a satellite broadcast that originated from a studio in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Church members listened to counsel and instruction from President Monson and other Church leaders.

April 5: President Monson was sustained by Church members worldwide — according to their quorums and groups — as prophet, seer and revelator, as the 16th president of the Church in a solemn assembly originating in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City.

April 26: Plans to build two new temples in Arizona — the Gilbert Arizona Temple and The Gila Valley Arizona Temple — were announced by President Monson, the first two temples he announced since becoming president of the Church.

May 2: President Monson spoke at the closing general session of the 2008 Women's Conference, held on the BYU campus and sponsored by the university and the Relief Society. "I plead with you to not let the important things in life pass you by, planning instead for that illusive and non-existent future day when you'll have time to do all that you want to do. Instead, find joy in the journey — now. There is no tomorrow to remember if we don't do something today. Let us not procrastinate those things which matter most."

May 24: President Monson announced plans to build a new temple in Phoenix, Ariz., bringing to three the number of temples announced for Arizona within a month.

May 29: U.S. President George W. Bush, in Salt Lake City to participate in a fund-raiser for Republican party presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain, visited with President Monson and his counselors in the Church Administration Building.

May 25: President Monson returned to Toronto, Ontario, where he had served as president of the Canadian Mission, and presided over a Canada-wide stake conference broadcast.

May 31: President Monson watched a cultural event the evening before the dedication of the Curitiba Brazil Temple, describing the program as "very much like what you'd see at the opening ceremony for the Olympics."

June 1: President Monson dedicated the fifth temple in Brazil in four sessions.

June 2: In Brazil for the dedication of the Curitiba Brazil Temple, President Monson traveled to Brasilia to address 7,000 Church members gathered in Marina Hall, some coming from as far away as 600 miles. On that day President Monson also paid a courtesy call on Brazil's Vice President Jos?Alencar.

June 21: President and Sister Monson attended the 50th anniversary celebration of their ward.

June 22: President Monson addressed new mission presidents and their wives at a sacrament meeting held at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, during the 2008 Seminar for New Mission Presidents.

July 24: President Monson participated in the Days of '47 Parade in downtown Salt Lake City.

Aug. 9: The night before the dedication of the Panama City Panama Temple, President Monson attended a cultural celebration in the Figali Convention Center in Panama City. "I love to see young people have these great memory-building experiences," he said.

Aug. 10: President Monson dedicated the Panama City Panama Temple in four sessions.

Aug. 23: President Monson attended the Twin Falls Idaho Temple cultural celebration, staged in the rodeo arena of the Filer, Idaho, fairgrounds.

Aug. 24: The Twin Falls Idaho Temple, the fourth temple in the state, was dedicated in four sessions by President Monson.

Sept. 1: President Monson attended the 64th anniversary of his graduating class from West High School in Salt Lake City.

Sept. 14: Speaking at the Salt Lake City North Stake Conference Broadcast originating in the Conference Center, President Monson counseled members of the Church from 77 stakes to respond to the Savior's plea, "Come, follow me."

Oct. 4: President Monson announced five new temples during the Church's 178th Semiannual General Conference: Philadelphia, Pa.; Calgary, Alberta, Canada; Cordoba, Argentina; Kansas City, Mo.; and Rome, Italy. President Monson also spoke about his time as president of the Church. "Much has transpired as the work of the Lord has moved forward uninterrupted," he said.

Oct. 7: The Church leader celebrated his 60th wedding anniversary with his wife, Sister Frances Johnson Monson. The evening before, they were joined in a celebration by family and close friends.

Oct. 24: President Monson dedicated the new, four-story N. Eldon Tanner Building Addition at BYU. "Bless all students that they might recognize that they walk on hallowed ground when entering this building. May each one appreciate the past, contemplate the future and work diligently in the present," he said.

Oct. 31: In a ceremony marking the beginning of construction, President Monson broke ground for the expanded Huntsman Cancer Institute Hospital in Salt Lake City.

Nov. 15: President Monson watched a youth cultural celebration in Mexico City, Mexico. "Write in your journal tonight or tomorrow what you saw this evening; how you felt this evening. ... May you never forget this experience," he told the youth.

Nov. 16: President Monson rededicated the expanded and refurbished Mexico City Mexico Temple, the country's first and largest temple.

Dec. 5: President Monson spoke at the funeral of Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin — a man the Church president counted as a "brother" and a "beloved friend."

Dec. 7: Speaking at the First Presidency Christmas Devotional in the Conference Center, President Monson said, "In our busy lives, with ever so many others competing for our attention, it is essential that we make a conscious, committed effort to bring Christ into our lives and into our homes."

Dec. 19: President and Sister Monson hosted an open house for all the General Authorities and their wives.

Dec. 23: On the 203rd anniversary of the birth of Joseph Smith, President Monson was presented by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir with its new CD released in Joseph's honor, "Praise to the Man."

Jan. 5. 2009: President Monson offered the benediction at the ceremony to inaugurate Jon M. Huntsman Jr. to his second term as governor of Utah.

Jan. 11: Quoting from Charles Dickens, one of his favorite authors, President Monson spoke of "great expectations" held for LDS college-age young adults during a Church Educational System fireside. "The race of life is so important, the prize so valued, that great emphasis must necessarily be placed on adequate and thorough preparation," he said.

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