2004: Year in review

The passing of two beloved members of the Quorum of the Twelve and the calling of two vigorous and experienced men to succeed them signaled a time of transition in the Church, even as time-tested values and ideals were reaffirmed during 2004. Here are other highlights from the year:

Jan. 3: The Church sent a shipment of medicine and pharmaceutical supplies to Bam, Iran, large enough to treat between 90,000 to 100,000 people injured in a devastating 6.6-magnitude earthquake, the Church News reported.

Jan. 10: The need for the Church and its members to stand "strong and immovable" in a "world that is marching toward self-destruction" was emphasized by President Hinckley as he addressed priesthood and auxiliary leaders in a pre-recorded worldwide training meeting, broadcast by satellite to 76 countries in 56 languages.

Jan. 11: A landmark in the era of the Church's temple building was reached Jan. 11 with the dedication of the Accra Ghana Temple, the first temple in West Africa, and the 117th worldwide. A member meeting and cultural program were held Jan. 10.

Jan. 25: The first meetinghouse of the Church in Cambodia, a two-story structure in Phnom Penh, was dedicated by Bishop Richard C. Edgley, first counselor in the Presiding Bishopric.

Late January: Membership in the Church passed the 12 million mark.


Feb. 8: After extensive renovation, the Anchorage Alaska Temple was rededicated by President Gordon B. Hinckley, who originally dedicated it Jan. 9, 1999.

Feb. 18-23: In a continuing partnership with the Wheelchair Foundation, LDS Charities provided 500 wheelchairs to people with disabilities in Ghana.

Feb. 22: After extensive renovation, the Sao Paulo Brazil Temple was rededicated by President Hinckley. The original dedication by President Spencer W. Kimball was Oct. 30, 1978.

Feb. 24: Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve dedicated additions to four buildings on the campus of BYU-Idaho in Rexburg: a 39,500-square foot addition to the Ezra Taft Benson Agricultural and Biological Sciences Building, a 10,000-square-foot addition to the Mark Austin Technical and Engineering Building, a new wing of the David O. McKay Library, and the Joseph Fielding Smith Building Annex.

Feb. 25: At a ceremony in the Auckland, New Zealand, City Library, Elder Spencer J. Condie of the Seventy presented 28 rolls of microfilm — containing birth, death and marriage records as early as 1899; immigration records; and genealogies of Niuean property owners — as a gift to the people and government of the Pacific island of Niue. Vital records in Niue were destroyed a month earlier by super tropical cyclone Heta.

Feb. 26: During a celebration in BYU's Harris Fine Arts Center, Ira A. and Mary Lou Fulton, Latter-day Saint philanthropists from Arizona, donated $5 million to establish the Mary Lou Fulton Chair in Theatre and Media Arts, the largest single academic chair in BYU's history.

Feb. 26: The homes of 10 LDS families in the South Pacific Island chain of Vanuatu were destroyed by tropical storm Ivy when winds up to 125 miles an hour ripped through the islands.

Feb. 28: Fifty-six non-Haitian missionaries from the Port-au-Prince Haiti Mission were removed from the country and temporarily transferred to other missions outside the country because of ongoing civil uprisings and violence in Haiti.

MARCH 2004

March 24: The Illinois House of Representatives passed a resolution expressing regret for the expulsion of the Latter-day Saints from the state of Illinois following the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith 160 years ago.

March 26-27: The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, as part of its celebration of 75 years of continuous network broadcasting, presented three concerts in the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa, Calif.

March 27: Addressing the General Young Women Meeting in the Conference Center, President Hinckley told the young women of the Church that they "are the sum of all the generations that have gone before, the promise of all that will come hereafter." Also speaking was the general Young Women presidency — Susan W. Tanner, Julie B. Beck and Elaine S. Dalton.

APRIL 2004

April 3: The Sixth Quorum of the Seventy was created in a division of the Fifth Quorum of the Seventy.

An administrative change in the general presidencies of the Sunday School and Young Men was announced at general conference. Members of the Seventy were relieved of the responsibility of serving in auxiliary general presidencies.

As a result, Elders Merrill J. Bateman, John H. Groberg and Val R. Christensen were released as the Sunday School general presidency, and Elders F. Melvin Hammond, Lynn G. Robbins and Donald L. Hallstrom were released as the Young Men general presidency. Called to succeed them were A. Roger Merrill, Daniel K. Judd and William D. Oswald as the Sunday School general presidency, and Charles W. Dahlquist II, Dean R. Burgess and Michael A. Neider as the Young Men general presidency.

In other action at the conference, Elder Groberg was called as a member of the Presidency of the Seventy, succeeding Elder Dennis B. Neuenschwander who was released from the presidency. In addition, 35 new Area Authority Seventies were sustained and 13 were released.

April 6: Marjorie Pay Hinckley, 92, wife of President Gordon B. Hinckley, died at her home in Salt Lake City, Utah, of causes incident to age. They were married April 29, 1937. Just two days before her death, in the closing moments of the 174th Annual General Conference, President Hinckley told how Sister Hinckley had collapsed from weariness while returning in January from the dedication of the Accra Ghana Temple and visits with members on the island of Sal and St. Thomas. "She . . . had a difficult time ever since," President Hinckley said.

More than 2,600 people filed past Sister Hinckley's coffin in the main reception hall of the Relief Society Building on April 9. Hers was among the most widely broadcast funerals in the Church; the service's proceedings were telecast live April 10 to Church meetinghouses and member homes by Church satellite system.

April 9: Typhoon Sudal, with winds of 150 mph, devastated the western Pacific island of Yap, and within eight days following the disaster, the elders and couple missionaries on the island provided more than 500 man-hours of support to Church members and others in need — rebuilding and repairing houses and shelters, and clearing downed trees.

April 16: Latter-day Saint Humanitarian Services, in cooperation with the Wheelchair Foundation, delivered 500 wheelchairs to the Kingdom of Tonga in a brief ceremony in the Havelu Tonga Stake Center attended by Princess Salote Mafile'o Pilolevu Tuita.

April 20: The Mormon Tabernacle Choir program "Music and the Spoken Word," was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters' Broadcasting Hall of Fame during a convention in Las Vegas, Nev. The radio program has been broadcast continuously for 75 years.

April 29-30: Some 17,000 women participated in the annual Women's Conference at BYU, leaving behind thousands of items for the needy.

MAY 2004

May 1-2: The first Church satellite broadcast of a regional conference originating in Canada was telecast from Toronto in seven languages to 99 meetinghouses in Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritime provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. President Thomas S. Monson of the First Presidency and Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve addressed the conference.

May 3: U.S. District Judge Dale A. Kimball ruled that Salt Lake City did not violate the Constitution by trading away public access on the Church's Main Street plaza, adjacent to Temple Square, and dismissed religious conspiracy claims filed by the American Civil Liberties Union. The ruling has since been appealed.

May 15: In an effort to make the blessings of Church music more accessible to members, the Church launched the Church Music Web site, www.lds.org/churchmusic, the Church News reported.

May 16: The 175th anniversary of the restoration of the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthood was commemorated in a satellite broadcast that originated from the Conference Center in Salt Lake City and included counsel from President Hinckley; President Boyd K. Packer, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve; and Presiding Bishop H. David Burton.

May 23: President Hinckley dedicated the Church's 118th temple — described as "a new temple in an old shell" — in Copenhagen, Denmark. The brick exterior of the temple is the original exterior of an LDS meetinghouse that was dedicated in 1931.

May 25, 28-29: After dedicating the Copenhagen Denmark Temple, President Hinckley traveled to England, France and Spain and spoke at member meetings in Chorley, England, on May 25; Paris, France, on May 28; and Madrid, Spain, on May 29. The Madrid meeting was attended by 7,935 from Spain and Portugal, which President Hinckley said was probably the largest gathering of Latter-day Saints ever held in these two countries.

May 26: The deed and the keys to the oldest existing building in the Church, the restored Gadfield Elm Chapel, located in the quiet countryside of Worcestershire, England, were turned over to the Church and dedicated as "a property of the Church" by President Hinckley. The chapel was sold in 1842 to help finance Church emigration.

May 30: The Kiev (Kyiv) Ukraine Stake, the first stake in Ukraine and in the Europe East Area, was created by Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Twelve.

JUNE 2004

June 4: Area presidencies in the United States and Canada were to be discontinued, effective Aug. 15, 2004, the First Presidency announced in a letter to priesthood leaders June 4. The 11 affected areas were to be supervised directly by the Presidency of the Seventy, under the direction of the Quorum of the Twelve. Each member of the presidency was assigned to a specific area.

The First Presidency also announced that Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve would serve as president of the Europe Central Area, effective Aug. 15. In addition, the First Presidency announced that Elder Dallin H. Oaks and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve completed their assignments as area presidents in the Philippines and Chile, respectively. They began their service in August 2002 and were the first members of the Twelve in nearly half a century to be assigned to live abroad.

June 13: The Manhattan New York Temple, built from the existing shell of the New York New York Stake Center and comprising the first, second, fifth and sixth floors of the building, was dedicated by President Hinckley, the Church's 119th temple.

June 19: A new Web page, titled "Serving in the Church," was launched by the Church on its Web site, www.lds.org, the Church News reported. The new page was designed to be a companion to the "Home and Family" and "Church Music" sites. All three sites are designed to increase spirituality in the lives of members.

June 19: The role of a bishop in the Church was the focus at the Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting featuring the First Presidency and other General Authorities.

June 21: President Hinckley dedicated the $100 million Huntsman Cancer Hospital in Salt Lake City and addressed an audience of 1,000.

June 22: The Wheelchair Foundation, working with the Church, donated 100 wheelchairs — the first of a 1,000-wheelchair shipment — in Bogota, Colombia, to physically disabled residents who needed but could not afford them.

June 22-24: Timely counsel and direction were given by President Hinckley and his counselors in the First Presidency, President Thomas S. Monson and President James E. Faust, to the 115 newly called mission presidents at the annual mission presidents seminar held at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah.

June 23: The Church completed its purchase of the Triad Center, a mixed-use office and retail complex in downtown Salt Lake City that will enable the Church to proceed immediately with plans to move LDS Business College and BYU Salt Lake Center to downtown, announced Presiding Bishop H. David Burton.

June 23: President Hinckley was one of 13 to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, awarded by U.S. President George W. Bush, the nation's highest civil award, in a White House ceremony on the day of the Church leader's 94th birthday.

June 25: The first of 500 wheelchairs, donated by a continuing partnership of the Church and the Wheelchair Foundation, were delivered in Moldova. Twenty children were selected as the first recipients.

June 26: In the shadow of Carthage jail, 160 years to the day that Joseph Smith was incarcerated, members of the Church and Carthage community joined in expressions of acceptance.

JULY 2004

July 7: For the first time since the Book of Mormon was first published in 1830, a commercial edition of the book was to be printed and distributed by a major trade publisher, it was announced. Published by Doubleday, the edition appeared in bookstores on Nov. 16.

July 11: An estimated 41,000 Filipino saints, meeting in 72 stake centers throughout the country, participated in the first satellite areawide conference of the Church in the Philippines.

July 17-18: A yearlong celebration, commemorating 75 years of broadcasting by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, culminated with a gala concert July 17 in the Conference Center and the anniversary broadcast July 18 of "Music and the Spoken Word." Renowned CBS broadcaster Charles Osgood was featured guest at both events, which also featured the Orchestra at Temple Square.

July 21: Elder Neal A. Maxwell, 78, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve since July 1981, died at his home in Salt Lake City after battling leukemia since 1996. He had served as a General Authority since 1974.

July 21: A 9,000-square-foot replica of Smoot Hall, the original home of Brigham Young Academy (now Brigham Young University) in Provo, Utah, was dedicated by President Hinckley at This Is the Place Heritage Park in Salt Lake City.

July 24: Queen Noor of Jordan commended the Church for its humanitarian efforts throughout the world as she participated in presenting new wheelchairs, donated by the Church and the Wheelchair Foundation, to 25 children with special needs. A total of 500 wheelchairs were to be donated to the people of Jordan.

July 31: Elder David B. Haight, 97, who lived longer than any other apostle in this dispensation, died at his home in Salt Lake City of causes incident to age. His death was the second loss of a member of the Quorum of the Twelve within 10 days. Elder Haight had served as a General Authority since 1970.

July 31: The Church sent 10,000 blankets and 240,000 pounds of coats, hats, sweaters and other winter clothing to Peru, where residents of the high Andes mountains were facing severe winter weather. In addition, the Church provided 12,000 food boxes to the African nations of Lesotho and Swaziland, where residents were facing another year of famine caused by a prolonged drought.


Aug. 1: Mexico became the first nation, outside the United States, to reach one million members of the Church, an achievement believed to have been attained on Aug. 1, according to the Church Member and Statistical Records Department.

Aug. 7: The final performance of the "City of Joseph" pageant in Nauvoo, Ill., was presented. The pageant had been performed every summer since 1976 (except for 1993 when flooding of the nearby Mississippi River forced its cancelation).

Aug. 13: More than 1,000 homes of Church members between Fort Meyers and Orlando, Fla., were damaged by Hurricane Charley which hit Florida with 145 mph winds. Some 1,500 Church members, with more than a half million dollars in relief supplies, turned out to help in clean-up and repair efforts.

Aug. 16-20: More than 22,000 Church members, from all 50 states and 12 other countries, attended the 82nd annual Campus Education Week at BYU, believed to be the largest single-event continuing education program in the world.

Aug. 22: Ground was broken by President Hinckley for the Sacramento California Temple, located in Rancho Cordova, Calif.

Aug. 30: Eighty wheelchairs, the first of 500 wheelchairs to be donated by a continuing partnership of the Church and the Wheelchair Foundation, were delivered in Maputo, Mozambique.

Aug. 31: After more than 50 years of hosting travel tours to various sites in the United States, Canada, Central and South America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, BYU's Department of Travel officially closed due to the threat of terrorism.


Sept. 1: A detailed and comprehensive guide for missionaries designed to wean them away from memorized, rote presentations of the past and encourage them to rely on spiritual promptings was made available in a colorful 230-page publication.

Sept. 5: Two Florida stakes — the Cocoa Florida Stake and the Stuart Florida Stake — were among the areas hardest hit by the initial blow of Hurricane Frances, less than a month after the state was battered by Hurricane Charley. Some 120 homes of LDS families were severely damaged by this latest hurricane, which left more than a dozen dead and $6.8 billion in damages.

The Church initially sent in first aid kits and 2,000 hygiene kits, along with 30 chain saws, 20 generators, shovels, hammers, nails, flashlights and 30,000 feet of rope. More than a thousand LDS volunteers helped in cleanup and repair efforts Sept. 11.

Sept 7-17: The season's third major hurricane, Hurricane Ivan, ripped through the Caribbean and the U.S. Gulf Coast. The Church moved quickly, sending emergency supplies, including medicine, to areas hit hardest by the hurricane, hygiene kits and medical supplies to Grenada, where 90 percent of the homes on the island were damaged, and to Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.

Sept. 12: Marking a pivotal moment in the Church and the beginning of how stake conferences will be held throughout the world, President Hinckley, speaking from Salt Lake City, addressed a historic stake/district conference Sept. 12 throughout Venezuela.

Sept. 17: Hurricane Jeanne hit Haiti, killing nearly 2,000, including one Latter-day Saint. More than 200 member homes were destroyed in the storm that left 200,000 people homeless and more than 1,000 missing. The Church sent 400,000 pounds of humanitarian supplies to Haiti.

Sept. 18: A new DVD, titled, "The Restoration," which was prepared to help investigators understand the role of Joseph Smith in a continuing pattern of prophets, was released by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve.

Sept. 21: Chile's First Lady, Luisa Duran de Lagos, met with the First Presidency in Salt Lake City and personally thanked the Church for its humanitarian aid to her country in recent years.

Sept. 25: The First Presidency announced the creation of a new mission, the Philippines Laoag Mission, effective October 2004.

Sept. 25: President Thomas S. Monson addressed the annual General Relief Society Meeting and told the women of the Church, "No one need stand alone." He said a loving Father will give direction and provide peace and assurance.


Oct. 1: At a press conference in the Salt Lake Tabernacle on Temple Square, President Hinckley announced plans for a seismic retrofit of the historic Tabernacle with work to begin in January 2005 and completed by mid-2006.

Oct. 2: For the first time since 1984, two new members of the Quorum of the Twelve were sustained in general conference. They are Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, a member of the Presidency of the Seventy since Aug. 15, 2002, and Elder David A. Bednar, president of Brigham Young University-Idaho and an Area Authority Seventy.

Also, President Hinckley announced at the opening session of the conference two new temples: one in the Salt Lake Valley (with the location later specified as Corner Canyon in Draper, Utah), and a fourth temple to be built in Idaho in Twin Falls.

Oct. 12: President Hinckley received the first Dinstinguished Humanitarian Award from Catholic Community Services at a dinner in Salt Lake City.

Oct. 19: The First Presidency issued a statement favoring governmental measures that define marriage as the union of a man and a woman and that do not confer legal status on any other sexual relationship.

Oct. 25: Filming has commenced on a new giant-screen motion picture on the life of the Prophet Joseph Smith to be shown next year at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building's Legacy Theater in Salt Lake City, it was announced by Elder Donald L. Halstrom of the Seventy on the location of shooting at the Church's Motion Picture Studio in Provo, Utah.


Nov. 6: In a live satellite broadcast originating from Salt Lake City, President Hinckley and other General Authorities addressed Church members in Japan. It was the second such broadcast in which the Church president spoke to members in many stakes and districts in one nation, the first having been Sept. 12.

Nov. 8-23: Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve and Elder Merrill J. Bateman of the Presidency of the Seventy presided over stake and district conferences in the African nations of Ethiopia, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

Nov. 13: Thousands of Hispanic Church members gathered in the Conference Center for a dazzling cultural celebration, "Luz de las Naciones," the central theme of which was to declare Jesus Christ as the Son of the living God, according to Elder Jay E. Jensen of the Seventy, who spoke.

Nov. 20-21: President Hinckley spoke to nearly 12,000 Church members in Columbia, S.C., with proceedings carried to 11 meetinghouses in 11 other stakes in South Carolina and Georgia.


Dec. 5: All three members of the First Presidency spoke at the annual Christmas Devotional in the Conference Center, with music provided by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square. President Hinckley cited Isaiah's words, "Behold the Lamb of God," commenting that there is nothing in sacred literature more descriptive and beautiful concering the birth of the Lord.

Dec. 5: Ruby Olson Haight, widow of Elder David B. Haight of the Quorum of the Twelve, died just five months after her husband's passing.

Dec. 17-19: The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square presented their annual Christmas concert in the Tabernacle, featuring movie and television actor Peter Graves and vocalist Audra McDonald. The two appeared at the Sunday morning broadcast of "Music and the Spoken Word."

Dec. 23: President Hinckley was interviewed on CNN television by host Larry King on his show "Larry King Live," scheduled to be broadcast Dec. 26.