As the year comes to a close, it’s an opportunity to reflect on what has happened in the Church in the last 12 months.
In 2023 the Church dedicated 11 temples and announced 36 new missions. Leaders also ordained a new Apostle.
Also in 2023 Church members mourned the loss of President M. Russell Ballard and the wives of a First Presidency counselor and two Apostles.
Here is a brief look back at the news of the Church in 2023:
- In his first official communication of 2023, President Russell M. Nelson on Jan. 1 shared three lessons he has learned as a deep sea fisherman to help others in the coming year.
- The new leaders of 134 missions around the world, including six new missions, were announced on Jan. 6.
- The Querétaro Mexico Temple groundbreaking was held on Jan. 7.
- Then-Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Patricia Holland, spoke to young adults in a worldwide devotional on Jan. 8.
- On Jan. 10, FamilySearch announced the new name for the Family History Library in Salt Lake City — the FamilySearch Library.
- Leaders of UNICEF USA, senior Church leaders, and the Church’s Welfare and Self-Reliance Services Department celebrated 10 years of collaboration to help children and families around the world, on Jan. 12.
- Jan. 14 marked five years since President Nelson was set apart as the 17th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
- Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles dedicated the San Juan Puerto Rico Temple on Jan. 15.
- Sister Mary Hales, wife of the late Elder Robert D. Hales, died at age 90 on Jan. 15. President M. Russell Ballard, then acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, spoke at her funeral on Jan. 21.
- In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 16, Sister Kristin M. Yee of the Relief Society general presidency and Sister Tracy Y. Browning of the Primary general presidency participated in a drive-thru food drive in St. Louis, Missouri.
- On Jan. 23, the First Presidency announced plans to resize, reconstruct and relocate the Anchorage Alaska Temple. Construction will begin in early 2024.
- Members of the Church Educational System’s Executive Committee — including Elder Christofferson; Relief Society General President Camille N. Johnson; the Church commissioner of education, Elder Clark G. Gilbert; and Elder Paul V. Johnson of the Presidency of the Seventy — all participated in the BYU–Hawaii weekly campus devotional on Jan. 24.
- During the Seminaries and Institutes of Religion annual training on Jan. 27, Elder Gilbert highlighted five prophetic themes for educators to utilize. During this training, changes to seminary credit requirements and updates to the official seminary objective statement were announced.
- Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles participated in a worldwide devotional for youth with then Young Women General President Bonnie H. Cordon and Young Men General President Steven J. Lund, on Jan. 29.
- Between Jan. 29 and Feb. 3, five members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke to young adults in U.S. college settings. Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf spoke at the Weber Institute of Religion (Jan. 29); Elder David A. Bednar spoke at Ensign College (Jan. 31); Elder Gary E. Stevenson spoke at the Utah Valley Institute of Religion (Feb. 3); Elder Dale G. Renlund spoke at the Tempe Arizona Institute of Religion (Jan. 29); and Elder Ulisses Soares spoke at BYU–Hawaii (Jan. 29).
- In the first devotional of its kind for Portuguese-speaking members in the Utah Area, Elder Soares and his wife, Sister Rosana Soares, and Elder Carlos A. Godoy of the Presidency of the Seventy and his wife, Sister Monica Godoy, spoke to around 3,500 devotional attendees in Provo, Utah.
- Following devastating earthquakes that hit Turkey and Syria on Feb. 6, the Europe Central Area presidency issued a statement of empathy and support in response. On Feb. 10, the Church reported it was sending an initial shipment of food, clothes, blankets, medical supplies, medicines, shelters, water, sanitation kits and other items to the victims of the back-to-back quakes of 7.8 and 7.6 magnitude.
- Elder Uchtdorf and his wife, Sister Harriet Uchtdorf, visited India on a Church assignment for the first time, Feb. 6-17.
- In a devotional for 14 stakes in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, called on covenant Church members to be united and kind, on Feb. 11. Earlier that day in a meeting with Illinois and Wisconsin mission leaders and stake presidents and their wives, President Oaks clarified the Church’s position on the Respect for Marriage Act.
- The Church History Library announced that the journals of President Spencer W. Kimball were open and available online for public viewing for the first time, on Feb. 15.
- During a ministry visit in the Church’s Africa West Area, Elder Christofferson visited Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the president of Ghana, at the Presidential Palace in Accra on Feb. 21.
- The Church Historian’s Press announced on Feb. 21 that “The Prison Journal of Belle Harris,” the only known record of a woman who was imprisoned, in 1883, on charges related to polygamy, was published online and is available to view.0
- During the “Symposium on Women, Religion and Records,” on Feb. 25, historians reflected on the landmark work of Kate Holbrook, a writer, historian and champion of Latter-day Saint women’s history who died in August 2022 of cancer at age 50.
- The First Presidency welcomed Haji Allahshükür Hummat Pashazade, sheikh ul-Islam and grand mufti of the Caucasus, to Church headquarters March 1-3.
- President Ballard spoke at an event celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Melvin J. Ballard Center for Social Impact, at the Brigham Young University Marriott School of Business, on March 2.
- RootsTech 2023 was held March 2-4. Elder Bednar and Elder Gong led a panel of Church leaders in a council-type discussion for the 2023 Temple and Family History Leadership Instruction, a broadcast released on March 2. Elder Gong and his wife, Sister Susan Gong, gave a presentation at Family Discovery Day on March 4.
- President Ballard addressed missionaries, participated in area instruction meetings and met with Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, Catholic archbishop of New York, during a weekend ministry assignment March 10-12 on the East Coast of the United States.
- Primary General President Susan H. Porter and her counselors, Sister Amy A. Wright and Sister Tracy Y. Browning, spoke during the March 11 Friend to Friend broadcast — titled “We Are God’s Children.”
- Elder Soares and his wife, Sister Rosana Soares, visited Tongan Prime Minister Hu’akavemeiliku Siaosi Sovaleni in his offices in Nuku’alofa, Tonga, on March 16. They presented the leader with a statuette of a family.
- March 17 marked the 181st anniversary of the organization of the Relief Society.
- On March 21, Elder Holland announced that C. Shane Reese would serve as BYU’s 14th president, beginning later in the year.
- The Church’s 2022 Caring for Those in Need annual report was released March 22.
- President Nelson released a video encouraging forgiveness to mark the beginning of Holy Week, on April 2.
- The Church announced that then-Elder Holland would take two months off to focus on his health, on April 6.
- Following a delay due to a pair of cyclones targeting the area in March, groundbreaking services for the Port Vila Vanuatu Temple were held on April 8.
- President Nelson was named the inaugural laureate of the Gandhi-King-Mandela Peace Prize from Morehouse College on April 13.
- The Joseph Smith Papers volume “Documents, Vol. 14” was released on April 17 and is the 26th of 27 books in the Joseph Smith Papers series.
- Elder Uchtdorf spoke at two meetings in the BYU Jerusalem Center on April 21-22 and reflected on what it meant to be an Apostle in the Holy Land.
- The Port Moresby Papua New Guinea Temple groundbreaking was held on April 22.
- The First Presidency notified local leaders in an April 28 letter to expect changes to the 2024 version of “Come, Follow Me,” including a single resource instead of separate manuals for individuals and for Primary, Sunday School, and Young Women classes and Aaronic Priesthood quorum meetings.
- President Ballard sent a letter on May 1 titled “Blessing Young Single Adults.” The letter to local Church leaders outlines some of the ways they can best support and minister to young single adults in their wards, stakes and missions.
- President Oaks dedicated the Richmond Virginia Temple on May 6.
- Csaba Kőrösi, then president of the General Assembly of the United Nations, met with the First Presidency at Church headquarters in Salt Lake City on May 16.
- President Nelson issued a statement about his health on his social media pages May 16, writing that he is using a walker to help with balance issues.
- Elder Christofferson announced May 16 that Elder Alvin F. Meredith III, General Authority Seventy, will be the 18th president of Brigham Young University–Idaho.
- President Oaks and his wife, Sister Kristen M. Oaks, spoke to 18-to-30-year-olds around the globe in a devotional broadcast on May 21.
- The Yigo Guam Temple suffered damage during the downpour and 140 mph winds of Typhoon Mawar on May 24, and was closed until July 27.
- President Henry B. Eyring, second counselor in the First Presidency, turned 90 years old on May 31. In honor of this landmark birthday, he joined the Church News podcast to share life lessons he’s learned.
- The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints addressed political participation, voting and the political neutrality of the Church in a June 1 letter.
- The Church updated and expanded its “Political Neutrality” topic page on ChurchofJesusChrist.org on June 1.
- President Ballard rededicated the Columbus Ohio Temple on June 4 after extensive renovations.
- The first Church facility to host For the Strength of Youth conferences in Asia opened outside of Manila, Philippines, with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting, a dedication and tours on June 7.
- Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé dedicated a new Global Distribution Services Center in Salt Lake City that will provide and distribute Church materials to members around the world, on June 8.
- President Nelson shared two social media posts, on June 11 and June 14, inviting individuals to become peacemakers, and then asked them to share with him examples of peacemakers in their lives.
- The Tabernacle Choir and the Orchestra at Temple Square arrived in Mexico City on June 13 to begin the first part of its multiyear tour centered on hope. They also filmed a music video that was part of the choir and orchestra’s concerts in the National Auditorium on June 17 and 18, and held their first concert at Toluca Cathedral.
- At the 10th Religious Freedom Annual Review, in the BYU Conference Center in Provo, Utah, the launch of a new religious freedom website was announced on June 15. Elder Clark G. Gilbert, General Authority Seventy and Church commissioner of education, gave remarks at the conference about “the stewardship of our first freedom.”
- Ground was broken for the Montpelier Idaho Temple on June 17. That same day, the Belo Horizonte Brazil Temple’s groundbreaking ceremony was held.
- Elder Stevenson dedicated the Helena Montana Temple on June 18.
- At the Memphis, Tennessee, branch of the NAACP on Juneteenth, June 19, the NAACP and the Church announced efforts to ensure the longevity and success of MyBaby4Me, a Memphis-based program that has been offering hope to dozens of new and expectant mothers and their families since November 2022.
- The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles issued a second edition of “Preach My Gospel,” announced by President Nelson on June 22.
- Members of the First Presidency, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and other leaders spoke on each chapter of the new edition of “Preach My Gospel: A Guide to Sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ” at the 2023 Seminar for New Mission Leaders held June 22-25.
- With help from a $2 million donation from the Church to the International African American Museum, the museum opened a Center for Family History, which is supported by the Church’s FamilySearch International, on June 23.
- More than 300 young members and friends of the Church participated in Tanzania’s first For the Strength of Youth conference in the Africa Central Area, June 26-30.
- After two decades, the Joseph Smith Papers project concluded with the release of its final volume, “Documents, Vol. 15,” on June 27, the 179th anniversary of Joseph and Hyrum Smith’s martyrdom.
- A new Church History Museum exhibit, “With This Covenant in My Heart: The Art and Faith of Minerva Teichert” — designed to show Teichert’s devotion to her faith and artwork — opened on July 6 and will run until Aug. 3, 2024.
- Relief Society General President Camille N. Johnson participated on a panel with global faith leaders at the Notre Dame Religious Liberty Summit in London, England, on July 13.
- Singers Adassa and Alex Melecio were the guest artists at The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square and Orchestra at Temple Square’s summer concert July 14-15, which included a tribute to Latin American pioneers with members of choir and orchestra from Mexico and also songs of hope.
- Sister Patricia T. Holland, former general officer and the wife of then-Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, died at age 81 on July 20. Her funeral was held on July 28.
- Elder Christofferson served as the grand marshal of the Days of ‘47 Pioneer Day parade in downtown Salt Lake City on July 24.
- The San Diego California Temple closed for renovations after July 29.
- Historians introduced the Brigham Young Papers project and first volume of journals on July 31.
- The August 2023 The Friend magazine was a special issue focused on helping children understand the covenant of baptism.
- In a social media post Aug. 1, President Nelson shared six ways to disagree peacefully and respectfully.
- The new Young Women general presidency of the Church — General President Emily Belle Freeman and her counselors, Sister Tamara W. Runia, first counselor, and Sister Andrea Muñoz Spannaus, second counselor — began service on Aug. 1.
- The Church announced that beginning Aug. 1, anyone with a Church account in certain parts of the world will be able to sign up for one annual subscription (per household) to one or more of the Church’s magazines.
- Elder Holland was hospitalized for observation and treatment of ongoing health complications, according to an Aug. 3 statement from the Church. The Church announced on Sept. 10 that he returned home to recuperate.
- The 2023 Utah Area Young Single Adult Conference was held throughout the month of August, with different activities each weekend for young adults ages 18 to 31.
- Wildfires swept through Maui, Hawaii, Aug. 8-11 and killed at least 97 people. Bishop W. Christopher Waddell, first counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, announced a $1 million donation to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts in Maui on Aug. 20, while Church leaders and members gathered to support one another.
- Deseret Industries marked its 85th anniversary on Aug. 12.
- President Eyring dedicated the Saratoga Springs Utah Temple on Aug. 13.
- The First Presidency called Alexander Dushku to be a General Authority Seventy on Aug. 15. Elder Dushku was sustained at the October 2023 general conference.
- Roughly 600 prospective college students and their parents from 26 stakes throughout the Las Vegas area gathered in the Church’s Charleston Boulevard meetinghouse to hear Elder Gilbert, BYU President C. Shane Reese and BYU–Idaho President Alvin F. Meredith III highlight both the importance of education and the strengths and advantages of their respective institutions, in an Aug. 17 devotional.
- Hundreds of community members celebrated the 100th anniversary of Utah’s first Spanish-speaking Latter-day Saint branch, at the University of Utah Institute of Religion on Aug. 18, with Latin American food, music and dancing.
- The McAllen Texas Temple open house ran from Aug. 21 to Sept. 9; the temple will be dedicated on Oct. 8.
- Elder Renlund and the general presidencies of the Sunday School, Young Men and Young Women spoke at BYU Education Week, held Aug. 21-25.
- Missionary handbook updates, which include clarifications and answers to common questions from missionaries and their leaders, were announced on Aug. 21.
- President Nelson issued invitations to both youth and young adults throughout the Church to regularly attend and participate in seminary and institute, in videos published Aug. 24.
- The Church updated expectations for students at Brigham Young University, BYU–Idaho, BYU–Hawaii and Ensign College on Thursday, Aug. 24 — revising Student Ecclesiastical Endorsement questions, the Honor Code, and dress and grooming standards.
- Elder Bednar dedicated the newly restored home of Joseph and Emma Smith in Kirtland, Ohio, on Aug. 26.
- A new outpatient health clinic from Project HOPE, with funding and support from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, opened in Ukraine on Aug. 28.
- President Nelson, a pioneering heart surgeon, donated his medical journals — what he called the “tangible tracks” of his surgical career — to the University of Utah on Aug. 30.
- BYU–Idaho and Ensign College announced new three-year online bachelor’s degrees available through BYU–Pathway on Sept. 1.
- The September Friend to Friend broadcast called “Covenants and Blessings,” made available Sept. 2, taught children in the Church about making and keeping covenants with Heavenly Father, the blessings received from those covenants and what it means to be a child of the covenant.
- A Church member was one of several representatives of various faiths who spoke at an interfaith event hosted by Pope Francis in the Hun Theater in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, on Sept. 3.
- President Nelson turned 99 years old on Sept. 9. He celebrated his birthday on Sept. 8 with his family and other Church leaders in the Church Administration Building.
- Beginning Sept. 11, online group scheduling at temples became available for all proxy ordinances.
- The Church will publish a new biography about Joseph Smith, titled “Joseph the Prophet,” President Oaks announced during the seventh annual Joseph Smith Papers Conference on Sept. 15.
- For the first time in the history of the Church, three temples were dedicated on the same day on Sept. 17. Elder Bednar dedicated the Bentonville Arkansas Temple; Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles dedicated the Moses Lake Washington Temple; and Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles dedicated the Brasília Brazil Temple.
- In a Spanish-language devotional originating from Mexico City, Mexico, Elder Christofferson and Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and President Johnson addressed the importance of education and making it available to Latter-day Saints around the globe through BYU–Pathway Worldwide, on Sept. 17.
- President Oaks and Elder Christofferson officially installed President Christopher Shane Reese as the 14th president of Brigham Young University on Sept. 19.
- President Nelson commemorated the 200th anniversary of the angel Moroni’s first visit to Joseph Smith, in a Sept. 21 post on social media.
- An update on the new hymnbook was available on Sept. 29.
- The 193rd Semiannual General Conference was held Sept. 30-Oct. 1. After a fall that injured the muscles in his lower back, President Nelson participated remotely in the conference, announcing 20 new temple locations. Elder Holland also watched general conference remotely as he continued to recuperate from health challenges. Ten vocalists from eight countries and territories came to Salt Lake City to sing with the 360-voice Tabernacle Choir for the October 2023 general conference.
- Ground was broken for the Modesto California Temple on Oct. 7.
- Elder Uchtdorf dedicated the McAllen Texas Temple on Oct. 8.
- Elder Soares dedicated the Feather River California Temple on Oct. 8.
- Elder Alvin F. “Tripp” Meredith III was officially installed as the 18th president of Brigham Young University–Idaho by Elder Christofferson and Elder Rasband on Oct. 10.
- On Oct. 11, Elder Holland posted on social media about how he is coping with the recent death of his wife and drawing strength from his family and his faith in the Savior.
- In a devotional broadcast throughout Utah, Elder Christofferson; Elder Kevin W. Pearson, General Authority Seventy and president of the Utah Area; Young Women General President Emily Belle Freeman; and Elder Gilbert encouraged Latter-day Saint youth in the state to ‘dream big’ in regards to education, on Oct. 11.
- Following violence erupting in southern Israel, the First Presidency of the Church issued a statement condemning the violence on Oct. 12.
- Sister Kathleen Johnson Eyring, 82 — the wife of President Eyring — died in her home in Bountiful, Utah, on Oct. 15. Her funeral was held on Oct. 21.
- Elder Rasband dedicated the Bangkok Thailand Temple on Oct. 22.
- In a first-of-its-kind event, youth around the world gathered to bear testimony of Jesus Christ to fill the world with testimonies for a 24-hour time period on Oct. 22.
- The Morehouse College Glee Club and Spelman College Glee Club performed live with The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square for “Music & the Spoken Word” on Oct. 22.
- The Fort Worth Texas Temple groundbreaking was held on Oct. 28.
- Due to ongoing conflict in southern Israel, students taking part in the fall 2023 program at the BYU Jerusalem Center returned home on Oct. 31.
- President Eyring paid tribute to his late wife, Sister Kathleen Johnson Eyring, and expressed both gratitude and hope in a post on social media Nov. 1.
- On Nov. 1, the Church announced that 36 missions would be created worldwide, to go into effect July 2024.
- President Oaks spoke at the 21st annual “Luz de las Naciones” (“Light of the Nations”) on Nov. 3.
- President M. Russell Ballard, 95, died Sunday, Nov. 12, at home surrounded by loved ones. His funeral was held on Nov. 17.
- Elder Stevenson dedicated the Okinawa Japan Temple on Nov 12.
- President Jeffrey R. Holland was set apart as acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on Nov. 15.
- Elder Cook spoke at the Worldwide Devotional for Young Adults broadcast on Nov. 19.
- The Church released the dates and locations for the Light the World Giving Machines for 2023 on Nov. 19.
- On the eve of Giving Tuesday, in Times Square — the crossroads of the world — leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints participated in the global launch of the 2023 Light the World Giving Machines campaign on Nov. 27.
- The First Presidency announced new, unified standards for the creation and adjustment of ward and stake boundaries in a letter sent to ward, stake and other priesthood leaders on Nov. 30.
- During the First Presidency’s Christmas devotional on Dec. 3, President Nelson invited all to “Come, let us adore Him.”
- Elder Cook spoke at two London events commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on Dec. 6. He gave the keynote address in a session in the Portcullis House of the Palace of Westminster, and spoke at The Sanctuary, the Diocesan hub for the Coptic Orthodox Church in London.
- Elder Patrick Kearon, 62, was ordained an Apostle on Thursday, Dec. 7, by President Nelson and the other members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The next day, he spoke at BYU–Hawaii in his first address as an Apostle.
- President Holland rededicated the St. George Utah Temple on Dec. 10.
- Lloyd Newell, host of The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square’s weekly “Music & the Spoken Word” broadcast, announced Dec. 10 that he and his wife, Karmel Newell, have received a call to be mission leaders starting in July 2024.
- The Church announced on Dec. 13 that a new missionary training center would open in Bangkok, Thailand, in January 2024.