As 2020 comes to a close, here is a look back at what happened this year in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Jan. 1 — President Russell M. Nelson issues an invitation on social media for Latter-day Saints. “We invite you to be a major part of sharing the message of the ongoing restoration of the Savior’s gospel.”
Jan. 1 — “The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles” marks its 20th anniversary.
Jan. 13-16 — The seminar for new MTC leaders is held in Provo, Utah.
Jan. 14 — Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Ruth Renlund, speak to missionaries in a devotional broadcast to missionary training centers.
Jan. 15 — Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles ministers to Church members impacted by the Taal Volcano eruption.
Jan. 17 — The Church announces changes to the temple ceremonial clothing, which is set to go into effect on March 31.
Jan. 20 — Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks at the 36th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Luncheon hosted by the NAACP in Salt Lake City.
Jan. 29 — President Nelson reaches out to China, and the Church sends protective equipment through Project HOPE, to battle the novel coronavirus developing there.
Jan. 29 — Church issues a statement regarding missionary precautions in relation to the novel coronavirus.
Feb. 2 — The Church issues a statement that due to economic concerns in Liberia, its missionary force would be reduced.
Feb. 2 — President Nelson and Elder Christofferson speak to Latter-day Saints in Venezuela in a virtual devotional.
Feb. 4 — The Church transfers missionaries out of the China Hong Kong Mission.
Feb. 9 — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks at a multiregional devotional for young adults at Stanford Memorial Church.
Feb. 12 — Saints: Volume 2 becomes available.
Feb. 19 — The Church releases a new online General Handbook to replace the previous ones.
Feb. 21 — The Church releases information about missionary work, temple work and worship services for members and missionaries in several Asian countries; Taiwan Taipei Temple and Seoul Korea Temple are first to close.
Feb. 26 — President Nelson issues a second invitation to Latter-day Saints in 2020: “I invite you to think deeply and often about this key question: How do you hear Him?”
Feb. 27 — The First Presidency discourages leaders, members from international travels to April general conference; Church statement reports 14 missions across 17 countries undergoing changes; Fukuoka Japan Temple and Sapporo Japan Temple close.
Feb. 29 — Elder Stevenson and his wife, Sister Lesa Stevenson, are keynote speakers for RootsTech’s Family Discovery Day.
March 3 — Elder Christofferson announces that 600 tons of food would be donated to 200 food pantries in New York and 40,000 pounds of food to local food pantries in Central Virginia.
March 5 — The Rome Italy Temple is the first in Europe to close following Italian government directives to close large gathering places; a total of 17 countries cancel or limit Sunday worship services in affected areas.
March 11 — The First Presidency announces the public will not be admitted to the Conference Center for April general conference; missionaries scheduled to enter MTCs in Provo, Utah, or Preston, England, are to be trained remotely; stake and leadership conferences, other large gatherings are to be postponed in affected areas; large gatherings are suspended on Church-owned college campuses; and the Asunción Paraguay Temple is the first in Latin America to close after country suspends large-scale public events.
March 12 — The Church announces that all Church gatherings are temporarily suspended due to COVID-19. Also, the First Presidency suspends Church gatherings worldwide; senior missionaries, missionaries with health conditions are to return home from 22 European missions; and temple closures total 13.
March 13 — The Church temporarily suspends proxy temple work worldwide; the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square cancels concerts and makes changes to broadcasts; RootsTech London is postponed until fall 2021; the Church closes all public areas in and around Temple Square.
March 13 — President Oaks speaks at the Church History Symposium on his extensive study of the Prophet Joseph Smith.
March 13 — The second season of the Book of Mormon Videos series begins its release.
March 14 — President Nelson shares a message of hope on social media channels.
March 15 — Church members worldwide worship at home for the first time.
March 16 — The Church announces adjustments to missionary work (missionary elders may be released at 21 months, missionaries with health issues may be released, missionary calls will continue); the Church releases additional information regarding temple adjustments (limit of 8 guests for living ordinances, distribution centers continue to operate where temples are open); many Church historic sites and more temples close.
March 17 — All four Church-owned schools begin broadcast-only devotionals.
March 17 — The Relief Society marks its 178th anniversary.
March 18 — A 5.7-magnitude earthquake strikes the Salt Lake City area, causing minor damage to the Salt Lake Temple, including the statue of the angel Moroni losing its trumpet, and other Church buildings.
March 18 — The Church announces temples will only accept appointments for living ordinances from those in the local temple district, among other adjustments; Church distribution retail stores reduce hours, close doors in 73 locations; Nonnative missionaries in 26 African missions and the Micronesia Guam Mission return home; Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple open house and dedication postponed.
March 19 — The First Presidency announces April general conference to be held from a small auditorium with pre-recorded music and only those praying or speaking in attendance.
March 20 — The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve say “substantial numbers of missionaries” will return to home countries, service terms adjusted, no MTCs will receive new missionaries and all will be trained online.
March 22 — A total of 88 temples are closed; five Church-chartered commercial planes fly more than 1,600 nonnative missionaries in the Philippines back to Salt Lake City; the Church releases self-isolation guidelines for missionaries and their families.
March 23 — All 10 MTCs close, and nonnative missionaries in Mexico, Vietnam and India return to home countries; Utah Area presidency asks families to not congregate at airports as missionaries return home; The Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple and Bountiful Utah Temple are the first in Utah to close.
March 25 — The First Presidency announces all temples to close; 111 of 168 temples were closed at time of the announcement.
March 26 — President Nelson extends an invitation for a worldwide fast; the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles announce shortened length of service for missionaries returning to the U.S. and Canada.
March 29 — Latter-day Saints and others worldwide follow President Nelson’s invitation to fast.
March 31 — The First Presidency announces options for missionaries to return to original or temporary assignment when conditions allow or delay service.
April 4-5 — The 190th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is held; President Nelson reads a new proclamation — “The Restoration of the Fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: A Bicentennial Proclamation to the World.” He also announces a new symbol for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and eight new temples and calls for a second worldwide fast; a solemn assembly and Hosanna Shout are held; nine new General Authority Seventies and a new Young Men general presidency are called.
April 10 — President Nelson invites Church members to join with members of other faiths on Good Friday in a second worldwide fast.
April 10 — LDS Business College holds a virtual commencement event, the last before the institution’s name is changed to Ensign College.
April 11 — Ground is broken for the Richmond Virginia Temple.
April 13 — FSY conferences in the U.S. and Canada in 2020 are postponed.
April 14 — The First Presidency announces more than 110 COVID-19 relief projects in 57 countries.
April 17 — Project Protect issues a call for volunteers in Utah to sew 5 million clinical face masks.
April 23 — The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square unveils a new logo.
April 27 — Tabernacle Choir’s 2020 European tour is postponed a year.
April 30 — New missionary assignments are made following April 30 deadline; Church properties for camps and conferences to close, treks and Church pageants canceled for 2020; Church donates $5.5 million to COVID-19 relief efforts across the U.S.; 280 relief projects in 80 countries have been initiated.
May 1 — President Jean B. Bingham and Sister Sharon Eubank speak during BYU’s annual Women’s Conference, which transitioned to an online-only event; a Sister to Sister event is held online with Sister Reyna I. Aburto, Sister Becky Craven and Sister Lisa Harkness.
May 6 — President Nelson addresses reintegration of Church worship and activities in a video on social media.
May 7 — The First Presidency announces ‘phased reopening of temples’; 17 temples opened May 11 for limited living husband-wife sealing ordinances.
May 8 — The Church reiterates travel guidelines for missionaries and families.
May 11 — The Church announces that an additional 17 temples will reopen for limited husband-and-wife sealing ordinances on May 18.
May 11 — The First Presidency issues a letter encouraging reverent art of the Savior to be placed in foyers and entryways in all Church meetinghouses.
May 12 — Elder Holland announces a new president for BYU–Hawaii — John S.K. Kauwe III — during a devotional.
May 14 — Elder Christofferson speaks in an address broadcast to missionaries in home MTCs.
May 18 — The angel Moroni statue and capstone are removed from the Salt Lake Temple; a time capsule in the capstone is opened later in the month.
May 19 — The First Presidency announces some meetings, activities to resume.
May 19 — The First Presidency announces an increase in the number of quorums of the Seventy, adding four quorums for Area Seventies to the existing eight.
May 23 — Ground is broken for the Layton Utah Temple.
June 1 — President Nelson condemns racism in a social media post following the death of George Floyd on May 25 and subsequent protests and riots.
June 2 — Deseret Industries announces its stores will begin reopening with limited hours, new policies for collecting donations.
June 4 — The First Presidency announces October general conference to be broadcast but closed again to public.
June 4 — Elder Rasband speaks on nine truths in the Bicentennial proclamation, in a missionary devotional broadcast.
June 4 — Ground is broken for the Alabang Philippines Temple.
June 8 — President Nelson and senior NAACP leaders publish an op-ed calling for racial reform, in Medium.
June 12 — The First Presidency announces attire changes for male full-time missionaries.
June 13 — Ground is broken for the Auckland New Zealand Temple.
June 17 — Dates for the Washington D.C. Temple open house and dedication are postponed.
June 20 — ProjectProtect concludes after six weeks with nearly 6 million masks sewn and collected.
June 26-27 — The 2020 Mission Leadership Seminar is transmitted worldwide via technology.
July 10 — The Utah Area presidency urges Latter-day Saints in the state to wear masks in public.
July 18 — The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square celebrates 90 years of broadcasting.
July 18 — Ground is broken for the Feather River California Temple.
July 20 — The First Presidency announces changes to temple endowment ceremony.
July 27 — The first 12 temples enter phase 2 of reopening plan and begin performing all living ordinances.
July 19 — The first Youth Music Festival is broadcast worldwide.
Aug. 1 — The Church’s new Africa Central Area begins operations.
Aug. 4 — Church members are reported safe following explosions in Beirut, Lebanon, that killed more than 135 people. Later that month, Latter-day Saint Charities donates $2 million to Lebanon relief.
Aug. 14 — The First Presidency announces changes to the Church’s magazines; beginning January 2021, the Church’s four magazines will be replaced with three global magazines — the Friend (for children), For the Strength of Youth (for youth) and the Liahona (for adults).
Aug. 16 — On social media, President Nelson praises the service efforts of all who have contributed to the “largest humanitarian project of the Church.”
Aug. 21 — Choir leaders announce cancellation of the annual Christmas concert featuring the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, Orchestra at Temple Square, and Bells at Temple Square.
Aug. 23 — In a video message, Elder Holland invites youth to return to seminary and institute.
Aug. 25 — The First Presidency announces a new online system for temple prayer rolls.
Aug. 27 — The Church announces the youth theme for 2021: “A Great Work.”
Sept. 1 — LDS Business College becomes Ensign College.
Sept. 6 — President Nelson celebrates his 96th birthday with a virtual family gathering.
Sept. 10 — Elder Cook and his wife, Sister Mary Cook, speak to missionaries in home MTCs in a devotional broadcast.
Sept. 10 — The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square celebrates 110th anniversary of the first record produced.
Sept. 11 — The First Presidency outlines guidelines for safely increasing Church activity; stake conferences to begin virtually in November; weekly worship can resume immediately.
Sept. 13 — Elder Rasband and his wife, Sister Melanie Rasband, answer young adults’ questions in a Face to Face meeting.
Sept. 23 — “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” marks its 25th anniversary.
Sept. 26 — Ground is broken for the Brasília Brazil Temple.
Oct. 3-4 — The 190th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is broadcast from the Conference Center Theater to the public. President Nelson announces six new temples.
Oct. 4-6 —President Eyring speaks at the 27th Annual International Law and Religion Symposium at BYU.
Oct. 6-8 — Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Susan Gong, test positive for COVID-19; all members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are tested (results come back negative).
Oct. 10 — Ground is broken for the Moses Lake Washington Temple.
Oct. 14 — Elder Bednar speaks on the essential role of religion, in the G20 Interfaith Forum.
Oct. 17 — Sister Eubank speaks on protecting the unique role of faith in society, at the G20 Interfaith Forum.
Oct. 22 — Church announces annual Christmas concerts on Temple Square will be held virtually, public invited to submit videos.
Oct. 27 — President Oaks condemns racism in a BYU devotional address.
Oct. 30-31 — ExpoGenealogía, a virtual family history event in Spanish, is hosted in Mexico.
Oct. 31 — Elder Gong presides at the Taylorsville Utah Temple groundbreaking.
Nov. 1 — Six Apostles speak in devotionals for young adults throughout North America.
Nov. 4 — Church starts ‘deliberate, cautious’ process in assigning missionaries beyond home countries.
Nov. 4 — Ground is broken for the Salta Argentina Temple.
Nov. 5-8 — FamilySearch Gerações, a virtual family history event in Portuguese, is hosted in Brazil.
Nov. 9 — The Church announces Giving Machines will not be used this season, but the #LightTheWorld service campaign will move forward.
Nov. 12 — The Utah Area Presidency issues four temporary adjustments to meetings and activities; the Church announces plans for Temple Square lights and virtual Christmas devotionals and performances.
Nov. 13 — The Church partners with the Black 14 Philanthropy to deliver 180 tons of food to people in need in eight states.
Nov. 15 — The Young Women conclude the celebration of the organization’s 150th anniversary with a Face to Face event.
Nov. 15 — President Nelson offers comfort to wildfire victims in the Western United States.
Nov. 20 — President Nelson shares a worldwide message on “the healing power of gratitude” and invites all to #GiveThanks.
Nov. 21 — Ground is broken for the McAllen Texas Temple.
Nov. 26 — Elder and Sister Christofferson speak in a worldwide Thanksgiving devotional for missionaries.
Nov. 27 — Ground is broken for the Antofagasta Chile Temple.
Nov. 29 — President Nelson expresses his gratitude on social media for all those who participated in his invitation to #GiveThanks.
Dec. 2 — Ground is broken for the Bengaluru India Temple.
Dec. 5 — Elder and Sister Renlund test positive for COVID-19.
Dec. 5 — Ground is broken for the Okinawa Japan Temple.
Dec. 6 — The annual First Presidency Christmas Devotional is broadcast from the Conference Center Theater on Temple Square and closed to the public.
Dec. 7 — The First Presidency announces the first four temples moving to Phase 3, reopening for proxy work.
Dec. 12 — Ground is broken for the Harare Zimbabwe Temple.
Dec. 14 — Church leaders congratulate U.S. President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
Dec. 15 — The Church announces changes for seminary in 2021.
Dec. 16 — President Nelson is featured in an article published in The Atlantic.
Dec. 17 — Ground is broken for the Mendoza Argentina Temple.