A brief look at the news of the Church in 2019

For those “Oh, I forgot that happened this year,” moments and the “I thought it had been longer than that,” events, here’s a chronological look back at key Church events during 2019.

January

On Jan. 2, the Church announced the creation of four new missions and the dissolution of 12 missions, which went into effect on July 1.

The First Presidency issued a statement on the importance of temples on Jan. 2.

Just days after losing his daughter Wendy Nelson Maxfield to cancer, President Russell M. Nelson spoke to Latter-day Saints in Paradise, California, on Jan. 13, a community that had been savagely destroyed by Camp Fire two months earlier.

President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints looks over destroyed homes with his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, in Paradise, California, on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019, two months after the Camp Fire destroyed 1,400 homes and hundreds of businesses.
President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints looks over destroyed homes with his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, in Paradise, California, on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019, two months after the Camp Fire destroyed 1,400 homes and hundreds of businesses. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News, Deseret News

Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Ruth Renlund, spoke to young adults during a worldwide devotional on Jan. 13.

After a prolonged period of construction, the Rome Italy Temple opened for a public open house from Jan. 28 through Feb. 16, excluding Sundays. Elder David A. Bednar and Elder Ronald A. Rasband, both of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, led tours for dignitaries and led a virtual tour through the temple.

Bob Woodward, Washington Post reporter who broke the Watergate story in 1973 and current associate editor at the Post, speaks to Elder D. Todd Christofferson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles during "Integrity and Trust: Lessons from Watergate and Today" at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., on Monday, Jan. 14, 2019.
Bob Woodward, Washington Post reporter who broke the Watergate story in 1973 and current associate editor at the Post, speaks to Elder D. Todd Christofferson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles during “Integrity and Trust: Lessons from Watergate and Today” at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., on Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. Credit: Laura Seitz, Deseret News, Deseret News

Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke to famed journalist Bob Woodward during a Jan. 14 forum entitled “Integrity & Trust: Lessons from Watergate and Today.” 

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles presided at the Jan. 16 groundbreaking for the Urdaneta Philippines Temple — which will be the Philippines’ third temple.

The 2019 MTC Leadership Seminar was held for new MTC presidents and their companions at the Provo Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, Jan. 14-17.

On Jan. 25, the Church announced the St. George Utah Temple would close for extensive renovations. 

Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles met with Church members in the United Kingdom, France and Austria during a European assignment Jan. 18-Jan. 27.

The groundbreaking of the Bangkok Thailand Temple — to be the country’s first temple — was held on Jan. 26.

An online mission planning tool to help prospective missionaries, which includes Mission Release Date Planning and Submission Planning tools, was released on Jan. 30.

Elder Bednar visited Jerusalem for the first time in January 2019.

Elder David A. Bendar, seated with folded arms to the left end of the table, holds an impromptu meeting with students in the cafeteria of the BYU Jerusalem Center during his visit there in late January 2019. Sister Susan Bednar is seated in front of him.
Elder David A. Bendar, seated with folded arms to the left end of the table, holds an impromptu meeting with students in the cafeteria of the BYU Jerusalem Center during his visit there in late January 2019. Sister Susan Bednar is seated in front of him.

Missionary training centers in the Dominican Republic, Spain and Chile closed in January 2019.

February

President Dallin H. Oaks of the First Presidency spoke to young married Latter-day Saints in Chicago, Illinois, who he called “the rising generation … raising the next generation,” in a devotional address on Feb. 2.

Sister Sharon Eubank, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, delivers a donation check for more than $93,000 from the church’s 2018 Light the World campaign to Joseph Carbone, right, president and founder of Eye Care 4 Kids, at Eye Care 4 Kids in Midvale, Utah, on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019.
Sister Sharon Eubank, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, delivers a donation check for more than $93,000 from the church’s 2018 Light the World campaign to Joseph Carbone, right, president and founder of Eye Care 4 Kids, at Eye Care 4 Kids in Midvale, Utah, on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. Credit: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News, Deseret News

The Church donated more than $2.3 million in proceeds collected through the Giving Machines during the 2018 Christmas season, in mid-February.

Elder Rasband spoke to CES educators on the worldwide crisis of teen suicide, during “An Evening with a General Authority” devotional on Feb. 8.

Accompanied by President Oaks, President Nelson enlisted thousands of Latter-day Saints in the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, to help gather Israel on both sides of the veil, in a devotional on Feb. 10.

The First Presidency announced on Feb. 15 that missionaries can now communicate with their families once a week through phone calls and video calls, in addition to email and letters.

Sister Sarah Emmett of the Layton Utah Mission visits with her parents, Marie and Chad Emmett, during video chat on Monday, Feb. 18. The First Presidency announced Friday, Feb. 15, that missionaries worldwide are authorized to communicate with their families each week on preparation day by text messages, online messaging, phone calls and video chats, in addition to letters and emails.
Sister Sarah Emmett of the Layton Utah Mission visits with her parents, Marie and Chad Emmett, during video chat on Monday, Feb. 18. The First Presidency announced Friday, Feb. 15, that missionaries worldwide are authorized to communicate with their families each week on preparation day by text messages, online messaging, phone calls and video chats, in addition to letters and emails. Credit: Chad Emmett

Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles surprised missionaries with the news they can now phone home once a week during his visit to Mexico, Feb. 8-17.

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shares a tender embrace with Rusana Gondim Rodrigues and Raimundo Ferreira Rodrigues in a Sao Paulo, Brazil, in the hallway of a meetinghouse on Feb. 17, 2019. Their son, Elder Joao Gondim, who was serving in the Portugal Lisbon Mission, collapsed and passed away unexpectedly after the missionary had been playing in a soccer match.
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shares a tender embrace with Rusana Gondim Rodrigues and Raimundo Ferreira Rodrigues in a Sao Paulo, Brazil, in the hallway of a meetinghouse on Feb. 17, 2019. Their son, Elder Joao Gondim, who was serving in the Portugal Lisbon Mission, collapsed and passed away unexpectedly after the missionary had been playing in a soccer match.

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s nine-day assignment to Brazil mid-February included devotionals with members and missionaries and comforting the family of a missionary who had died while serving in the Portugal Lisbon Mission a month earlier.

Elder Christofferson hosted a Home Evening broadcast with Latter-day Saints in Central America on Feb. 15.

Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial in Gisozi, Rwanda, during his Feb. 14-25 visit to the Church’s Africa Southeast Area.

Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles visited with Church members during his Feb. 14-24 visit to the Carribean Area and met with grieving missionaries in the Dominican Republic Santo Domingo East and West missions following the loss of Elder Brennan Conrad, who died on Feb. 20.

Elder Renlund met with Church members “off the beaten path” in Chile and Argentina during a Feb. 15-24 visit to the South America South Area.

Latter-day Saint Charities released its 2018 annual report on Feb. 19.

RootsTech kicked off on Feb. 27 with Elder Bednar’s announcement of the Church donating $2 million to the forthcoming International African American Museum Center for Family History, which will be located in Charleston, South Carolina.

After Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, left, announced a $2 million donation from the church to the International African American Museum Center for Family History, Their president and CEO Micael Boulware Moore gives him knuckles at Rootstech in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019.
After Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, left, announced a $2 million donation from the church to the International African American Museum Center for Family History, Their president and CEO Micael Boulware Moore gives him knuckles at Rootstech in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019.

Elder Bednar, Elder Stevenson and Elder Renlund shared their united testimony of the “truthfulness, the divinity and the reality” of temple and family history work in a leadership instruction meeting for ward and stake leaders, held in conjunction with RootsTech, on Feb. 28.

March

The Church released “The SafetyZone,” a 12-part video series designed to increase the safety of full-time missionaries, on March 1.

The Church's new missionary safety video series is patterned after a fictitious studio show called "The SafetyZone," with hosts talking about safety principles and showing "highlight" clips.
The Church’s new missionary safety video series is patterned after a fictitious studio show called “The SafetyZone,” with hosts talking about safety principles and showing “highlight” clips.

During RootsTech’s Family Discovery Day on March 2, Elder Bednar and his wife, Sister Susan Bednar, encouraged Latter-day Saints in their family history endeavors.

Sister Jean B. Bingham and Sister Bonnie H. Cordon traveled to West Africa to meet with Latter-day Saints during an 11-day tour March 3-13.

In order to reflect the full name of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the websites LDS.org and Mormon.org were renamed to ChurchofJesusChrist.org and ComeUntoChrist.org, respectively, on March 5.

The Tabernacle Choir on Temple Square released the album “Let Us All Press On” on March 8, featuring “Our Prayer to Thee,” a hymn with text written by President Nelson and performed by the choir during the October 2018 general conference.

President Nelson became the first Church leader to meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican on March 9. He was joined by President M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints meets with Pope Francis at the Vatican in Rome, Italy, on Saturday, March 9, 2019.
President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints meets with Pope Francis at the Vatican in Rome, Italy, on Saturday, March 9, 2019. Credit: The Vatican, The Vatican

With every member of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in attendance, President Nelson dedicated the Rome Italy Temple on March 10.

The Rome Italy Temple is seen through the window of the Rome Temple Visitor's Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. In the foreground is a statue of Christ.
The Rome Italy Temple is seen through the window of the Rome Temple Visitor’s Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. In the foreground is a statue of Christ. Credit: Ravell Call

The Pocatello Idaho Temple groundbreaking was held on March 16.

In a video released by Seminaries and Institutes of Religion of the Church on March 22, it was announced that seminary curriculum would change from a school year calendar to an annual calendar to align with “Come, Follow Me.”

Elder Soares returned to his childhood neighborhood during a visit in which he presided over the São Paulo Brazil Cumbica Stake conference March 23-24.

Astrid A. Tuminez, a Latter-day Saint convert who grew up in the slums of the Philippines, was inaugurated as Utah Valley University’s first female president on March 27.

April

Church leaders announced that children of LGBT parents can be blessed as infants and baptized in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints without First Presidency approval, during a leadership session of the 189th Annual General Conference on April 4. Additionally, the Church will no longer consider same-gender marriage by a Church member as apostasy for purposes of Church discipline.

President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, center, and his counselors, President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, left, and President Henry B. Eyring, second counselor in the First Presidency, right, enter the Conference Center in Salt Lake City for the morning session of the 189th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 6, 2019.
President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, center, and his counselors, President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, left, and President Henry B. Eyring, second counselor in the First Presidency, right, enter the Conference Center in Salt Lake City for the morning session of the 189th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 6, 2019. Credit: Steve Griffin, Deseret News, Deseret News

The 189th Annual General Conference was held on April 5-6. President Nelson announced eight new temples to be built, and 10 new General Authority Seventies, including the Church’s first African-American General Authority, and a new Sunday School general presidency were called.

Elder Uchtdorf ministered to Church members during an April 11-29 visit to Germany and Austria.

Elder Renlund dedicated the Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple on April 14.

Following a devastating fire that severely damaged the Notre Dame Cathedral, President Nelson offered words of comfort to Pope Francis in a letter on April 15.

Flames and smoke rise from Notre Dame cathedral as it burns in Paris, Monday, April 15, 2019. Massive plumes of yellow brown smoke is filling the air above Notre Dame Cathedral and ash is falling on tourists and others around the island that marks the center of Paris. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Flames and smoke rise from Notre Dame cathedral as it burns in Paris, Monday, April 15, 2019. Massive plumes of yellow brown smoke is filling the air above Notre Dame Cathedral and ash is falling on tourists and others around the island that marks the center of Paris. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus) Credit: Thibault Camus, Associated Press, Associated Press

In an April 19 press conference, President Nelson announced renovation plans for the Salt Lake Temple and that it would close for four years beginning Dec. 29. 

Elder Andersen met with Church members in Argentina and Chile during his visit to the South America South Area April 18-29.

Elder Stevenson met with Church members all across Brazil during a nine-day visit from April 19-28.

Sister Sharon Eubank, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, spoke at a UN summit on refugees and preventing religious discrimination on April 29. 

May

Sister Joy D. Jones, Primary general president, offered a prayer at the White House Rose Garden during the National Day of Prayer in Washington D.C. on May 2.

During BYU’s annual Women’s Conference, Sister Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society general president; Sister Bonnie H. Cordon, Young Women general president, and Sister Jones participated in the first-ever “Sister-to-Sister” event on May 3.

Sister Bonnie H. Cordon, Young Women general president, left holds a bag of popcorn before giving it to Sister Joy D. Jones, Primary general president, right, who is joined in her reaction by Sister Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society general president, during a "Sister to Sister" event at Women's Conference at BYU's Marriott Center in Provo, Utah, on Friday, May 3, 2019.
Sister Bonnie H. Cordon, Young Women general president, left holds a bag of popcorn before giving it to Sister Joy D. Jones, Primary general president, right, who is joined in her reaction by Sister Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society general president, during a “Sister to Sister” event at Women’s Conference at BYU’s Marriott Center in Provo, Utah, on Friday, May 3, 2019. Credit: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News, Deseret News

Groundbreakings were held for the Praia Cabo Verde, Yigo Guam, and San Juan Puerto Rico temples on May 4.

Elder Holland rededicated the Memphis Tennessee Temple on May 5.

A Worldwide Devotional for Young Adults was held on May 5.

The First Presidency discontinued a policy on May 6 of the year-long wait period for temple sealing following civil marriage.

The Church announced that all missionaries are preapproved for admission to BYU-Pathway Worldwide’s PathwayConnect program, on May 6.

President Nelson drove a ceremonial spike during the Golden Spike Sesquicentennial Celebration and Festival, marking 150 years since the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads met, on May 10.

President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, center, hoists his hammer after driving a golden spike during the 150th anniversary celebration of the transcontinental railroad at the Golden Spike National Historical Park at Promontory Summit on Friday, May 10, 2019.
President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, center, hoists his hammer after driving a golden spike during the 150th anniversary celebration of the transcontinental railroad at the Golden Spike National Historical Park at Promontory Summit on Friday, May 10, 2019. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News, Deseret News

Ground was broken for the Quito Ecuador Temple on May 11.

The Church released a statement on May 13 expressing opposition to the Equality Act and reemphasized its stance for “fairness for all.”

The Church donated a $4 million grant to nine national refugee resettlement agencies in the United States on May 14 and 15.

President Nelson, accompanied by Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, embarked on a nine-day ministry to the Pacific from May 16-24. During his ministry, President Nelson announced a $100,000 donation from the Church to help rebuild and renovate mosques damaged in a deadly attack in Christchurch on March 15.

President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints meets Linwood mosque victim Ahmed Jahangir and imams in Auckland, New Zealand, on May 21, 2019. Two imams represented the Al Noor and Linwood mosques, where innocent worshippers were gunned down March 15 in Christchurch.
President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints meets Linwood mosque victim Ahmed Jahangir and imams in Auckland, New Zealand, on May 21, 2019. Two imams represented the Al Noor and Linwood mosques, where innocent worshippers were gunned down March 15 in Christchurch. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred

On May 16, it was announced that several Church apps’ names would change to reflect the full name of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Sister Cordon and Sister Lisa Harkness, first counselor in the Primary general presidency, visited the Africa Southeast Area from May 16-28.

President Ballard visited India for the first time on a 10-day trip to the Asia Area May 17-26.

Elder Renlund spoke about ministering “Isa, Isa” following a 10-day visit to the Philippines May 17-26.

President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency rededicated the Oklahoma City Oklahoma Temple on May 19.

A rendering of the new temple annex for the St. George Utah Temple. The temple will close Nov. 4 for extensive renovations.
A rendering of the new temple annex for the St. George Utah Temple. The temple will close Nov. 4 for extensive renovations.

Renovation plans and renderings for the St. George Utah Temple were released on May 22, and a closing date for Nov. 4 was announced.

Elder Rasband reiterated President Nelson’s promise of a temple in Russia during a May 22-June 3 tour of the Europe East Area.

Elder Holland spoke to Latter-day Saints in Mexico during a May 24-June 3 trip to the Mexico Area.

Elder Christofferson visited Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire during a May 24-June 2 trip to the Africa West Area.

Elder Rasband met with members and leaders in Belarus during the end of May and beginning of June.

June

Elder Soares dedicated the Fortaleza Brazil Temple on June 2.

The Tierra del Fuego Argentina Stake was organized on June 2, making it the Church’s southernmost stake.

The First Presidency hosted a Vietnamese delegation in Salt Lake City, June 4-6.

Senior Church leaders hosted a delegation from Vietnam, headed by the Vietnamese Committee for Religious Affairs, in Salt Lake City on June 4-6. President Russell M. Nelson and his counselors in the First Presidency, President Dallin H. Oaks and President Henry B. Eyring, met with Mr. Vu Chien Thang, chairman of the Committee for Religious Affairs in Vietnam; Mr. Nguyen Hu’u Tuan, director of the Department of Personnel and Organization, Ministry of Home Affairs; Mr. Nguyen Duc Vinh, director of International Relations Department; Mr. Nguyen Phong Thinh, head of General Administration-Statistic Office; and Mr. Dao Huy Cuong, Protestant Department specialist.
Senior Church leaders hosted a delegation from Vietnam, headed by the Vietnamese Committee for Religious Affairs, in Salt Lake City on June 4-6. President Russell M. Nelson and his counselors in the First Presidency, President Dallin H. Oaks and President Henry B. Eyring, met with Mr. Vu Chien Thang, chairman of the Committee for Religious Affairs in Vietnam; Mr. Nguyen Hu’u Tuan, director of the Department of Personnel and Organization, Ministry of Home Affairs; Mr. Nguyen Duc Vinh, director of International Relations Department; Mr. Nguyen Phong Thinh, head of General Administration-Statistic Office; and Mr. Dao Huy Cuong, Protestant Department specialist.

Elder Cook spoke at the semiannual Jewish-Latter-day Saint Dialogue in the BYU Jerusalem Center on June 5.

Sister Jean B. Bingham meets with members in their home in Sierra Leone during a recent 11-day trip from June 5 through June 16, 2019, to the West African country.
Sister Jean B. Bingham meets with members in their home in Sierra Leone during a recent 11-day trip from June 5 through June 16, 2019, to the West African country. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc., Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

During a June 5-16 trip to the Africa West Area, Sister Bingham observed how the Gospel Literacy program is helping Church members in Sierra Leone read.

Elder Gong addressed “faith, hope and goodwill” and Sister Eubank spoke on practical, tactical and “small and simple” strategies at a G20 Interfaith Forum in Japan on June 8.

Ground was broken for the Lima Peru Los Olivos Temple, the city’s second temple, on June 8.

President Nelson spoke to 15,500 people in the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, on June 9. Earlier that day, he met with Barbara Poma, the owner of the Pulse nightclub, a gay club in Orlando that was attacked in June 2016.

President Russell M. Nelson and his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, smile and wave to the Amway Center attendees following the June 9, 2019, devotional in Orlando, Florida.
President Russell M. Nelson and his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, smile and wave to the Amway Center attendees following the June 9, 2019, devotional in Orlando, Florida. Credit: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News, Deseret News

Elder Cook expressed gratitude for official Church recognition in Kuwait during a meeting with country officials on June 10.

Elder Holland spoke in an annual global training broadcast to seminary and institute instructors on June 12.

President Oaks rededicated the Oakland California Temple on June 16.

The newly renovated Oakland California Temple, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in Oakland, Calif., on Monday, May 6, 2019.
The newly renovated Oakland California Temple, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in Oakland, Calif., on Monday, May 6, 2019. Credit: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News, Deseret News

The first chapter of the second volume of “Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days” became available in the Gospel Library on June 20, with subsequent chapters released each month thereafter. The volume will be released in February 2020.

The 2019 Mission Leadership Seminar was held at the Provo MTC June 23-25.

The First Presidency announced a cost increase for missionaries beginning in 2020 from $400 USD a month to $500 USD, in a letter on June 27.

June 27 marked the 175th anniversary of the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith.

July

The Argentina MTC closed as of July 2019.

On July 8, rhe Hong Kong Temple closed for renovations until 2022. Renderings of the expected renovations were released on Aug. 6.

HUD secretary Ben Carson visited the Church’s Welfare Square on July 11.

July 14 marked the 90th anniversary of the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square’s weekly broadcast “Music and the Spoken Word.”

The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square rehearses for "Music and the Spoken Word" in Salt Lake City on Sunday, July 14, 2019. The choir celebrated the 90th anniversary of "Music and the Spoken Word" being on air.
The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square rehearses for “Music and the Spoken Word” in Salt Lake City on Sunday, July 14, 2019. The choir celebrated the 90th anniversary of “Music and the Spoken Word” being on air. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News, Deseret News

The Church announced on July 19 that beginning in 2020, stakes in the United States and Canada will sponsor biennial For the Strength of Youth conferences modeled after BYU’s Especially for Youth conferences.

Sissel performed with the Tabernacle Choir during their annual Pioneer Day concert July 19-20.

People tour the Children's Pioneer Memorial at This Is the Place Heritage Park in Salt Lake City after its dedication on Saturday, July 20, 2019.
People tour the Children’s Pioneer Memorial at This Is the Place Heritage Park in Salt Lake City after its dedication on Saturday, July 20, 2019. Credit: Spenser Heaps, Deseret News, Deseret News

President Ballard dedicated the Pioneer Children’s Memorial at This is the Place Heritage Park on July 20.

President Nelson spoke at the 110th annual national convention for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Detroit, Michigan, on July 21.

Sister Eubank hosted a group of spouses of American governors who teamed up to assemble hygiene kits at the Latter-day Saint Humanitarian Center on July 25.

July 28 marked 175 years since the Church was established in French Polynesia.

August

The 2020 youth theme was announced on Aug. 1. It is centered on 1 Nephi 3:7.

FamilySearch released a new online editing tool for indexed records on Aug. 6.

The Church released a statement on the Word of Wisdom, clarifying that the commandment forbids vaping and e-cigarettes, on Aug. 15.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is asking all adults in the U.S. and Canada serving or interacting with children and youth to complete a new training course on preventing and responding to abuse.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is asking all adults in the U.S. and Canada serving or interacting with children and youth to complete a new training course on preventing and responding to abuse. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

The Church launched a training course on preventing and responding to child abuse on Aug. 16.

Sister Cordon, Sister Eubank and Sister Harkness visited the North America Northwest Area Aug. 16-18.

Ground was broken for the Belém Brazil Temple, one of 11 in the country, on Aug. 17.

Sister Jones and Sister Michelle Craig, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency, meet with Church members in Taiwan, Malaysia and Indonesia during an Aug. 17-24 visit to the Asia Area.

The Church announced on Aug. 19 the location of the headquarters for the new Africa Central Area, which will be in Nairobi, Kenya.

Elder Soares visited Japan and South Korea for the first time during a trip to the Asia North Area Aug. 21-Sept. 1.

President Ballard and Elder Rasband met with U.S. Vice President Michael R. Pence in Salt Lake City on Aug. 22.

President M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, left, speaks with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence during a brief meeting Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019, at Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City. At right are Elder Jack N. Gerard, a General Authority Seventy, and Elder Ronald A. Rasband, member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
President M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, left, speaks with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence during a brief meeting Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019, at Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City. At right are Elder Jack N. Gerard, a General Authority Seventy, and Elder Ronald A. Rasband, member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

President Nelson, accompanied by Elder Cook, embarked on his Central and South America Ministry, Aug. 24-Sept. 2.

The 68th United Nations Civil Society Conference — the first to be held in the U.S. outside of U.N. headquarters in New York City — was held in Salt Lake City Aug. 26-28.

Renderings for the Richmond Virginia Temple were released on Aug. 28.

An image of the Church News app.
An image of the Church News app. Credit: Church News

The Church News released a mobile app in conjunction with Spanish and Portuguese versions of the website, on Aug. 30. 

September

Elder Bednar rededicated the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple on Sept. 1.

Elder Rasband joined Boy Scouts of America leaders in celebrating the Church’s 106-year-old relationship with the BSA during a Scouting gala on Sept. 3.

President Nelson’s 95th birthday was celebrated with musical performances and personal tributes in an event held in the Conference Center on Sept. 6.

Sister Wendy Nelson and President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, listen to performers during a celebration of President Nelson’s 95th birthday at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019.
Sister Wendy Nelson and President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, listen to performers during a celebration of President Nelson’s 95th birthday at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. Credit: Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

The First Presidency expressed gratitude on Sept. 12 for the Church’s official recognition in Mali  on Jan. 22.

FamilySearch donated 400 years of digitized Filipino records to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines on Sept. 18.

Sister Bingham; Sister Cristina Franco, second counselor in the Primary general presidency; and Sister Becky Craven, second counselor in the Young Women general presidency; met with members in San Jose, California, Sept. 13-15. Sister Bingham and Sister Craven then traveled to Guatemala and Honduras, Sept. 20-22.

President Oaks spoke to nearly 8,500 Church members during a devotional in rural northeastern Arizona on Sept. 14.

Elder Andersen dedicated the Lisbon Portugal Temple on Sept. 15.

Elder Soares spoke to young adults in a Face to Face broadcast on Sept. 15.

In a special BYU devotional on Sept. 17, President Nelson explained how love motivated the policy changes toward LGBT parents and children.

President Russell M. Nelson delivers a devotional address at the Marriott Center at Brigham Young University on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019.
President Russell M. Nelson delivers a devotional address at the Marriott Center at Brigham Young University on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019. Credit: Jaren Wilkey, BYU photo

The Church announced on Sept. 19 that the Guatemala MTC would close in January 2020.

Ryan Wood, who plays the part of Abinadi, shares a laugh with Sister Reyna I. Aburto, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency and member of the Book of Mormon Video Library steering committee, on a filming set at the Church's Motion Picture Studio on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019.
Ryan Wood, who plays the part of Abinadi, shares a laugh with Sister Reyna I. Aburto, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency and member of the Book of Mormon Video Library steering committee, on a filming set at the Church’s Motion Picture Studio on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019. Credit: Scott G Winterton

Beginning Sept. 20, the new Book of Mormon Videos series was released, one episode each Friday until Dec. 27.

The location of the Tooele Valley Utah Temple was announced on Sept. 25.

The Church released the location and rendering of the Feather River California Temple on Sept. 26.

An introductory video outlining the new Children and Youth Program was presented during the second hour of Church meetings on Sept. 29.

David M. Beasley, executive director of the World Food Program, met with Church representatives and toured the Bishops’ Central Storehouse and Welfare Square on Sept. 30.

October

President Nelson announced on Oct. 2 that women, youth and children can serve as witnesses of sealing and baptismal ordinances performed in and out of temples.

The 189th Semiannual General Conference was held Oct. 5-6. On Saturday, it was announced that Young Men presidencies are to be discontinued by 2020. During the women’s session, a new Young Women theme was announced, class names were discontinued and President Nelson announced eight new temples. On Sunday, President Nelson announced updated temple recommend interview questions and that 2020 would be a bicentennial to celebrate 200 years since the First Vision.

Attendees leave the Sunday afternoon session of the 189th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019.
Attendees leave the Sunday afternoon session of the 189th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

New safety guidelines for Church members were released by the Church on Oct. 10.

Elder Holland spoke about the miracles that made the BYU Jerusalem Center possible during the 30th anniversary of the center’s dedication on Oct. 11.

President Ballard rededicated the Raleigh North Carolina Temple on Oct. 13.

The 2019 Temple Leadership Seminar for new temple presidents and matrons was held in Salt Lake City, Oct. 15-17.

Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé dedicated the Gilbert Arizona Welfare and Self-Reliance Facility on Oct. 18.

During an Oct. 18-20 trip to New England, President Ballard and Elder Christofferson visited the birthplace of Joseph Smith and spoke at a Boston, Massachusetts, devotional in which President Ballard invited the approximately 12,000 attendees to pray for the country.

President M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Elder D. Todd Christofferson, of the church's Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, walk at the Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial in Sharon, Vt., on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019.
President M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Elder D. Todd Christofferson, of the church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, walk at the Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial in Sharon, Vt., on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

The groundbreaking of the Saratoga Springs Utah Temple was held on Oct. 19.

Sister Eubank and Sister Craven ministered to Church members in the Pacific during an Oct. 19-27 visit.

Elder Uchtdorf returned to Germany to rededicate the Frankfurt Germany Temple on Oct. 20.

Elder Rasband spoke to nearly 1,700 people during a devotional at the Tempe Institute of Religion in Arizona, on Oct. 20. During his Oct. 19-20 visit to Arizona, he met with government leaders and the editorial board of the Arizona Republic newspaper. That same weekend, Elder Soares visited welcome centers for refugees in Austin, Texas, on Oct. 18.

Elder Cook returned to his mission in England during an assignment to the country on Oct. 20.

The First Presidency met with Cuba’s Ambassador to the U.S., José R. Cabañas, at Temple Square on Oct. 23.

Elder Cook spoke about religious freedom at Pembroke College at the University of Oxford on Oct. 23.

Whitney Peterson, a FamilySearch content strategist specializing in the British Isles, gives historical background for the St. Pancras Old Church to Elder David A. Bednar and his wife, Sister Susan Bednar, on Oct. 25, 2019, in London.
Whitney Peterson, a FamilySearch content strategist specializing in the British Isles, gives historical background for the St. Pancras Old Church to Elder David A. Bednar and his wife, Sister Susan Bednar, on Oct. 25, 2019, in London. Credit: Scott Taylor

Elder Bednar spoke at the RootsTech London conference — the first of its kind held outside of the United States — which was held Oct. 24-26.

Elder Uchtdorf spoke to thousands of young adults at a devotional in the Stanford Memorial Church in Palo Alto, California, on Oct. 27.

The location of the Moses Lake Washington Temple was announced on Oct. 29.

November

Elder Christofferson rededicated the Asuncion Paraguay Temple on Nov. 3.

The First Presidency met with His Excellency Dr. Mohammad Al-Issa, secretary-general of the Muslim World League, at Temple Square on Nov. 5.

President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints greets His Excellency Dr. Mohammad Al-Issa, secretary-general of the Muslim World League, on Nov. 5, 2019.
President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints greets His Excellency Dr. Mohammad Al-Issa, secretary-general of the Muslim World League, on Nov. 5, 2019. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

The location of the Washington County Utah Temple — the second temple in St. George, Utah — was announced on Nov. 6.

Ten Giving Machines were opened to the public beginning Nov. 8 in conjunction with the Church’s annual #LightTheWorld campaign.

Elder Bednar met with Church members in Guatemala, Nicaragua and Honduras during a visit to Central America Nov. 8-17.

Elder Holland met with Church members in Angola, Mozambique and South Africa during a Nov. 9-16 visit to the Southeast Africa Area.

From left: Richard E. Turley, former managing director of the Family History Department, Elder Richard Maynes, General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Elder Kent F. Richards, emeritus General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, chat during the FamilySearch 125th anniversary celebration at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019.
From left: Richard E. Turley, former managing director of the Family History Department, Elder Richard Maynes, General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Elder Kent F. Richards, emeritus General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, chat during the FamilySearch 125th anniversary celebration at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. Credit: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

FamilySearch, formerly known as the Genealogical Society of Utah, celebrated its 125th anniversary on Nov. 13.

For the first time in 10 years, the Church revised its missionary handbook, which was released on Nov. 15.

President Eyring and Elder Stevenson met with Maryland’s governor on Nov. 15 and spoke at the Charlotte Leadership Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Nov. 16.

President Ballard spoke to high-ranking United Nations officials, religion reporters from the Associated Press and New York TImes, and others during the Nov. 15-17 weekend.

President Nelson embarked on a ministry tour to Southeast Asia, accompanied by Elder Christofferson, Nov. 15-22.

President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, and Elder D. Todd Christofferson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, wave to attendees after a devotional in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019.
President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, and Elder D. Todd Christofferson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, wave to attendees after a devotional in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Sister Reyna Isabel Aburto, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, and Sister Harkness ministered to refugees in South America during a Nov. 15-25 trip to the South America Northwest Area.

Elder Rasband met with Church members and missionaries in New Zealand, Australia and Fiji during a Nov. 16-24 visit to the South Pacific.

Elder Cook rededicated the Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple on Nov. 17.

Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles demonstrates features of the new Gospel Living app during a Face to Face event for Children and Youth on Nov. 17, 2019.
Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles demonstrates features of the new Gospel Living app during a Face to Face event for Children and Youth on Nov. 17, 2019. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Elder Gong and other general Church leaders discussed the new Children and Youth Program during a Face to Face event on Nov. 17.

The Church announced the creation of eight new missions on Nov. 21, which will go into effect on July 1, 2020.

The Church History Museum opened the “Sisters for Suffrage” exhibit on Nov. 21, celebrating the 150th anniversary of Utah women’s right to vote.

President Oaks addressed issues specific to immigrants during a unique devotional in Chicago, Illinois, on Nov. 23.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the Puebla Mexico Temple was held on Nov. 30. 

December

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced its annual Light the World campaign, which encourages everyone to minister to others the way the Savior did, one by one.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced its annual Light the World campaign, which encourages everyone to minister to others the way the Savior did, one by one. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

The annual Light the World campaign, encouraging everyone to serve others the way Christ did, officially launched on Dec. 1. In conjunction with the campaign, the film “The Christ Child,” was released.

The First Presidency released a statement on Dec. 2 encouraging Church members and friends to help create welcoming communities for refugees.

Elder Rasband and other dignitaries ushered in the Festival of Lights at the Washington D.C. Temple Visitors’ Center on Dec. 3.

The Church released artistic renderings of renovated interiors of the Salt Lake Temple on Dec. 4.

The First Presidency Christmas Devotional was held on Dec. 8.

Crowd members make their way into the Conference Center for the First Presidency Christmas Devotional of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019.
Crowd members make their way into the Conference Center for the First Presidency Christmas Devotional of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019. Credit: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

FamilySearch announced an expanded ability to document same-sex relationships, on Dec. 10.

Sites for the Orem Utah, Taylorsville Utah and McAllen Texas temples were announced on Dec. 11.

The annual Christmas with the Tabernacle Choir concert, with special guests Kelli O’Hara and Richard Thomas, was held Dec. 12-14.

Dancers perform with the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square and Orchestra at Temple Square during a Christmas concert at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019.
Dancers perform with the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square and Orchestra at Temple Square during a Christmas concert at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Elder Soares dedicated the Arequipa Peru Temple on Dec. 15.The First Presidency released a statement on Church finances on Dec. 17, followed by an explanation on how Church finances are handled, on Dec. 20.