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Was 2018 a bit of a blur? Refresh your memory with this Church news overview of the last year

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has seen many changes, announcements and historic events, all within the span of 365 days. Here's a look at some of these significant happenings in 2018.

January

The casket bearing the late Church President Thomas S. Monson is brought into the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Jan. 12, 2018.
The casket bearing the late Church President Thomas S. Monson is brought into the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Jan. 12, 2018. Photo: Ravell Call, Deseret News

President Thomas S. Monson, the 16th President of the Church, died on Jan. 2. His funeral was held on Jan. 12 in the Conference Center.

• President Russell M. Nelson was ordained and set apart as the 17th President of the Church on Jan. 16. President Dallin H. Oaks and President Henry B. Eyring were called as his first and second counselors, respectively, in the First Presidency.

• The Church added new resources to its online suicide-prevention resource, suicide.lds.org. Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke about the updated resources at a news conference at the Utah State Capitol on Jan. 17.

• The Church released an official statement regarding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) on Jan. 26.

• Elder Von G. Keetch, a General Authority Seventy since 2015 and executive director of the Church’s Public Affairs Department, died on Jan. 26 following a brief illness. His funeral was held on Feb. 2.

• The Church announced adjustments to its 421 missions in January. Five missions were opened in July 2018, while 19 merged with adjoining missions.

• Church members in Taiwan celebrated six decades of the Church’s presence in this island nation.

At the height and splendor of the cultural night celebrating six decades of the Church's presence in Taiwan, there were 6,000 Latter-day Saints in attendance, drawn to Taichung from all corners of the land.
At the height and splendor of the cultural night celebrating six decades of the Church's presence in Taiwan, there were 6,000 Latter-day Saints in attendance, drawn to Taichung from all corners of the land. Photo: Arnie Chen

February

• The Church announced the closure of two visitors’ centers — the Hamilton New Zealand Temple Visitors’ Center and the Park City Family Tree Center — and changes to the London Temple Visitors’ Center.

• Jon Huntsman, remembered for his life of service and generosity towards the Church, died on Feb. 2.

• President Nelson, in one of his first public addresses since being set apart as President of the Church, spoke on unity during the Salt Lake Granger West Stake Conference on Feb. 4.

President Russell M. Nelson and Sister Wendy W. Nelson greet Mark Santini following the Feb. 4, 2018, Salt Lake Granger West Stake Conference. Santini spoke at the conference.
President Russell M. Nelson and Sister Wendy W. Nelson greet Mark Santini following the Feb. 4, 2018, Salt Lake Granger West Stake Conference. Santini spoke at the conference. Photo: Jason Swensen

• Some 500 Church members, missionaries and visitors walked the Trail of Hope on Feb. 3 to commemorate the exodus of the early Latter-day Saint pioneers from Nauvoo, Illinois, 172 years earlier.

• Following an earthquake in Hualien, Taiwan, on Feb. 6, all Church missionaries were reported as safe.

• Sister Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society general president, and Sister Joy D. Jones, Primary general president, joined other women of faith during the World Women’s Interfaith Conference at Celtic Manor in Newport, Wales, on Feb. 9.

USA's Jerica Tandiman competes during a woman's 1000 meters race of the Speed Skating World Cup in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
USA's Jerica Tandiman competes during a woman's 1000 meters race of the Speed Skating World Cup in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn) Photo: Michael Sohn

• During the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, two Latter-day Saints competed. Additionally, Church members in Gangneung, South Korea, offered a place to warm up, recharge a cell phone or explore family history at the Helping Hands Center.

• In a Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, 14-year-old Alaina Petty of the Coral Springs Florida Stake was one of 17 people killed. Maddy Wilford, a Laurel in the Coral Springs Ward, was one of several students injured in the tragedy.

• Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles delivered the keynote address at the 2018 J. Reuben Clark Law Society Conference on Feb 16, charging lawyers, law students, educators and business professionals to defend divinely inspired religious freedoms.

• President Nelson spoke to a group of young adults in Las Vegas, Nevada, on how to find happiness and meaning, on Feb. 17.

• Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles dedicated the island nation of Barbados for the preaching of the gospel on Feb. 18.

• On Feb. 23, Elder Rasband spoke to Church members in the Philippines in a seven-minute Facebook Live event, the first of its kind in the Asian nation by an Apostle.

• “Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days” debuted in the February editions of the Ensign and Liahona magazines. The first chapter of volume one was printed in the edition. Subsequent chapters were published in the magazines over the next several months.

March

A new Young Women Camp Guide and changes to the camp program were announced in March.

The First Presidency issued a letter and resource document to Church leaders in the United States and Canada on how to prevent abuse and respond to it, on March 26.

• On March 31 and as part of the 188th Annual General Conference, President Nelson was sustained as the new prophet-president of the Church during the March 31 solemn assembly. Also on that day, Elder Gerrit W. Gong and Elder Ulisses Soares were called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, while Sister Bonnie H. Cordon was called as the new Young Women general president, with Sister Michelle Craig and Sister Becky Craven as her counselors.

Elder Ulisses Soares, left, and Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles chat before the start of the Saturday afternoon session of the 188th Annual General Conference at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on March 31, 2018. The two were sustained as new apostles in the morning session earlier that day.
Elder Ulisses Soares, left, and Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles chat before the start of the Saturday afternoon session of the 188th Annual General Conference at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on March 31, 2018. The two were sustained as new apostles in the morning session earlier that day. Photo: Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

April

• During the April 1 final day of general conference, it was announced that the high priest and elders quorums would combine. President Nelson also announced a new ministering initiative to replace home and visiting teaching, as well as seven new temples to be built in the coming months and years.

• President Nelson embarked on a world ministry tour, visiting London, England, on April 12; Jerusalem, Israel, on April 14; Nairobi, Kenya, on April 16; Harare, Zimbabwe, on April 17; Bengaluru, India, on April 19; Bangkok, Thailand, on April 20; Hong Kong on April 21; and Laie, Hawaii, on April 22. He was joined by his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Patricia Holland.

Russell M. Nelson, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaks with Ella Bautista after the Jerusalem District Conference at the BYU Jerusalem Center in Jerusalem on Saturday, April 14, 2018.
Russell M. Nelson, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaks with Ella Bautista after the Jerusalem District Conference at the BYU Jerusalem Center in Jerusalem on Saturday, April 14, 2018. Photo: Jeffrey D. Allred

• After sustaining significant water damage in August 2017 from flooding from Hurricane Harvey, the Houston Texas Temple was rededicated by President M. Russel Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, on April 22.

• On April 29, Elder Renlund returned to Stockholm, Sweden, where he served as a missionary four decades ago.

Clay Christiansen retired as a Tabernacle organist in April, concluding his 36-year career.

May

• Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles addressed a committee of Parliament in the United Kingdom on the subject of supporting religious freedom on May 1.

President Donald Trump, right, shakes hands with Narayanachar Digalakote, Priest at the Sri Siva Vishnu Temple in Lanham, Md., left, during a National Day of Prayer event in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Thursday, May 3, 2018. Jean B. Bingham, General President of the Relief Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, looks on from center. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
President Donald Trump, right, shakes hands with Narayanachar Digalakote, Priest at the Sri Siva Vishnu Temple in Lanham, Md., left, during a National Day of Prayer event in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Thursday, May 3, 2018. Jean B. Bingham, General President of the Relief Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, looks on from center. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) Photo: Susan Walsh

• Sister Bingham offered a prayer in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 3 in honor of the National Day of Prayer.

• Elder Gong, in his first public address as an Apostle outside of general conference, spoke during BYU Women’s Conference on May 4.

• Elder Patrick Kearon of the Presidency of the Seventy spoke to young adults in a worldwide devotional, calling them to act on President Nelson’s invitation to minister, on May 6.

• The Church announced on May 8 that it would be ending its relationship with the Boy Scouts of America. In place of existing programs, a new Church activity program for children and youth was announced, to go into effect beginning in January 2020.

• Emeritus General Authority Seventy Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone died at 87 on May 12.

• In a unified global call for increased civility, harmony and respect, the First Presidency joined leaders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in pledging to explore ways to serve together and lift those in need, on May 17.

• The Jordan River Utah Temple was rededicated on May 20 by President Eyring, accompanied by Elder Cook.

Thousands of youth arrive at the Jordan River temple in South Jordan on Saturday, May 12, 2018.
Thousands of youth arrive at the Jordan River temple in South Jordan on Saturday, May 12, 2018. Photo: Laura Seitz

• In a Facebook Live event hosted in Sydney, Australia, President Ballard conducted a Family Home Evening broadcast viewed by as many as 100,000 in Australia, New Zealand and other surrounding Pacific nations.

• In a detailed, multi-pronged article released May 22, Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé affirmed that providence and principles of self-reliance define and direct the Church’s finances.

• The Church received a Good Neighbor Award from the United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce — the first religious organization to ever receive this honor — on May 24.

Elder Holland with Rabbi Skorka at the meeting with Jewish leaders in Buenos Aires.
Elder Holland with Rabbi Skorka at the meeting with Jewish leaders in Buenos Aires. Photo: Alejandro Gutierrez

• Elder Holland met with key leaders of the Jewish Community of Buenos Aires during a meeting in Argentina on May 30. Then on May 31, the Apostle underscored the importance of strong families in society as he spoke to members of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies in Argentina.

June

• “Be One,” a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the revelation on the priesthood, was held in the Conference Center on June 1.

• In a special youth devotional on June 3, President Nelson invited youth to enlist in the Lord’s battalion to help gather Israel through taking a weeklong break from social media, sacrificing their time, repenting, praying and standing out from the world.

• Following the June 3 eruption of Guatemala’s Fuego Volcano that killed at least 38 people, two Latter-day Saints were listed among the missing. The Church helped care for the more than 1,100 people displaced by the volcano, and Church humanitarian response officials partnered with local organizations to fly in needed resources to government-operated relief centers.

• President Nelson met with Canadian Saints in the province of Alberta in a June 8-10 trip that included three devotionals in Edmonton, Calgary and Raymond. He was accompanied by his wife, Elder Rasband and Sister Melanie Rasband.

• The Church announced June 18 plans to publish new, unified editions of both Hymns and the Children’s Songbook. In addition, members are invited to participate in the revision process by submitting original music.

• In a June 20 letter, the First Presidency announced new guidelines for bishops for interviewing youth.

• The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square performed in California, British Columbia and Vancouver in Canada, and Seattle, Washington, during the Classic Coast tour from June 19-July 2.

Chris Petallano, a member of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus, high fives Ian Christensen, with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (since named the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square0, during the latter's soundcheck at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, Calif., on June 25, 2018.
Chris Petallano, a member of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus, high fives Ian Christensen, with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (since named the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square0, during the latter's soundcheck at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, Calif., on June 25, 2018. Photo: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

• A reduction in the number of key indicators and changing references to home and visiting teaching to ministering were among the updates made to “Preach my Gospel: A Guide to Missionary Service,” announced on June 22.

• The 2018 Mission Leadership Seminar was held in the Provo June 24-26 for 112 new mission presidents and their wives.

• Emeritus General Authority Seventy Elder W. Mack Lawrence died on June 25 at the age of 91.

• Sister Cordon presented a $50,000 donation from the Church to Utah’s Children’s Justice Centers on June 27 to support the center’s work with victims of child sexual abuse.

• Elders Gong and Soares reflected on their first months as Apostles during a news conference on June 28.

Elder Ulisses Soares and Elder Gerrit W. Gong answer questions during an interview in the North Visitors Center on Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Thursday, June 28, 2018.
Elder Ulisses Soares and Elder Gerrit W. Gong answer questions during an interview in the North Visitors Center on Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Thursday, June 28, 2018. Photo: Steve Griffin, Deseret News

• The First Presidency announced on June 29 a series of resources to help Church members study the scriptures at home. These resources take a home-centered, Church-supported approach to gospel living, learning and teaching.

July

• On July 2, in an effort to help prevent suicide, the Church released a series of videos on suicide.lds.org to help Church members approach those who are considering suicide.

• Elder Holland addressed the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London, England, on July 2, calling upon non-governmental organizations, governments and faith groups to refocus their efforts in responding to the personal and family crises suffered by refugees and internally displaced people. As part of that trip, he presented a replica of the stone inscribed with “What e’er thou art, act well thy part,” which inspired President David O. McKay as a missionary, to a Scottish museum on July 5.

• Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf met with Chancellor Angela Merkel on July 6, marking the first time a senior Church leader has met with a chancellor of Germany.

• President Joseph F. Smith’s Bible — the one he was studying during the time he received the revelation known as the Vision of the Redemption of the Dead, now found in Doctrine and Covenants 138 — was donated to the Church on the 100th anniversary of the revelation on July 10.

President M. Russell Ballard poses with the Jackson family and President Joseph F. Smith's bible, which the family is donating to the Church.
President M. Russell Ballard poses with the Jackson family and President Joseph F. Smith's bible, which the family is donating to the Church. Photo: Savannah Hopkinson

• Church members and missionaries worked together in several Church-sponsored Helping Hands projects to aid those affected by flooding and heavy rains in southwestern Japan in July.

• After more than 5,000 performances by several thousand employees, the Polynesian Cultural Center replaced its popular Rainbows of Paradise canoe show on July 12 with a soft launch of Huki: One ‘ohana sharing aloha.

“Music and the Spoken Word” commenced its 90th season on July 15, the 89th anniversary of the Tabernacle Choir on Temple Square’s birthdate.

Guest performers Laura Michelle Kelly and Matthew Morrison take the stage as they join the Tabernacle Choir for their annual Pioneer Concert at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City with Narrator, Oscar "Andy" Hammerstein III on Friday, July 20, 2018.
Guest performers Laura Michelle Kelly and Matthew Morrison take the stage as they join the Tabernacle Choir for their annual Pioneer Concert at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City with Narrator, Oscar "Andy" Hammerstein III on Friday, July 20, 2018. Photo: Scott G Winterton

• The Church announced on July 15 a partnership between Church stakes and the NAACP in areas like Baltimore, Atlanta and New Jersey to provide joint self-reliance courses.

• Guest performers Laura Michelle Kelly and Matthew Morrison and narrator Oscar “Andy” Hammerstein III joined the Tabernacle Choir for its annual Pioneer Day concert in the Concert Center on July 20.

• After a deadly July 22 shooting during a ward sacrament meeting in Fallon, Nevada, the tightly knit community offered heartfelt support while mourning the death of Charles E. “Bert” Miller.

• After a two-year renovation, the St. George Tabernacle was rededicated by Elder Holland on July 28.

August

• The First Presidency announced, effective Aug. 1, changes to the way Church areas in the United States and Canada are administered. Previously overseen by members of the Presidency of the Seventy, the areas are now administered by area presidencies.

Youth in the Philippines participate in the Face to Face event with Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Lesa Stevenson.
Youth in the Philippines participate in the Face to Face event with Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Lesa Stevenson. Photo: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

• In a regional Face to Face event broadcast from the Manila Missionary Training Center to the Asia Area, Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Lesa Stevenson, spoke to youth on Aug. 11. It was the first Face to Face event held in Asia. A few days later, on Aug. 15, Elder and Sister Stevenson spoke to youth in Japan in a Face to Face event broadcast from Osaka.

• Thanks to a joint project announced Aug. 14 between FamilySearch and The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc., the entire collection of Ellis Island New York Passenger Arrival Lists from 1820 to 1957 are now available online.

• On Aug. 16, the Church issued a statement from President Nelson on the use of the name of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

• President Nelson travelled to Canada to speak in devotionals in Winnipeg, Montreal, and Hamilton, Aug. 17-19. Joining him were Sister Nelson, Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and his wife, Sister Kathy Andersen.

• President Oaks spoke to young married couples in the Los Angeles area during a devotional on Aug. 24, addressing topics dealing with Church leadership, mental illness, Church history and the Church’s policies relating to children raised by gay couples.

President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, greets members of a capacity congregation of young married couples from nine stakes in the Los Angeles area before a devotional, held in the Los Angeles California Santa Monica Stake Center on Friday, Aug. 24, 2018.
President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, greets members of a capacity congregation of young married couples from nine stakes in the Los Angeles area before a devotional, held in the Los Angeles California Santa Monica Stake Center on Friday, Aug. 24, 2018. Photo: Bruce Johnson

Elder Soares returned to his home country in his first official visit as an Apostle when he visited Sao Paulo, Brazil, on assignment with President Ballard on Aug. 24.

• On Aug. 29, Sister Reyna I. Aburto, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, and Sister Lisa L. Harkness, first counselor in the Primary general presidency, met with survivors of the Fuego Volcano eruption that occurred on June 3.

• Deseret Industries celebrated 80 years since its first location opened in August of 1938 in downtown Salt Lake City. Deseret Industries has 44 store locations in seven western states in operation today.

The Primary celebrated 140 years since it was organized in August 1878.

Sister Joy D. Jones, Primary general president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, enjoys a tender moment with a few of the Primary Choir children.
Sister Joy D. Jones, Primary general president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, enjoys a tender moment with a few of the Primary Choir children. Photo: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

• Sixty years after its dedication, the Hamilton New Zealand Temple was closed in August for an extensive, three-year renovation. It is expected to be rededicated in 2021.

• The journals of President Wilford Woodruff became available in the Church History Library’s online catalog in August.

FamilySearch launched an email campaign, My Nauvoo Ancestor Story, to help recipients to identify and link to their Nauvoo Ancestors, in August.

September

• On Sept. 1, President Nelson spoke to Church members in the Dominican Republic entirely in Spanish, marking what is thought to be the first time a president of the Church spoke for an entire devotional address in a language other than English.

• Almost a year after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, President Nelson spoke to Latter-day Saints in a devotional in San Juan on Sept. 2. Joining him in the two weekend devotionals in the Caribbean were Sister Nelson, Elder Renlund and his wife, Sister Ruth Renlund.

• On Sept. 5, the Church rolled out a new initiative in which missionary candidates receive their assignments online instead of in the mail.

• In conjunction with the launch of the first volume of “Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days,” Elder Cook, along with Church historians Kate Holbrook and Matt Grow, spoke to young adults in a Face to Face event broadcast from the grounds of the Nauvoo Illinois Temple on Sept. 9.

• President Nelson spoke in devotionals in Seattle, Washington, and Vancouver, British Colombia, on Sept. 15 and 16, respectively, joined by Sister Nelson and President Eyring. The meeting in Seattle’s Safeco Field drew the largest in-person crowd during President Nelson’s first year as Church president, with 49,089 in attendance — the largest non-sporting event ever held in the iconic baseball stadium.

President Russell M. Nelson, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaks to a crowd of more than 49,000 people at Safeco Field in Seattle, Wash., on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018.
President Russell M. Nelson, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaks to a crowd of more than 49,000 people at Safeco Field in Seattle, Wash., on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018. Photo: Kristin Murphy

• Following Hurricane Florence, which caused severe damage to communities in North and South Carolina in late September, Church members and missionaries worked together to clean up debris and repair damage caused by the storm.

• Members and missionaries in the Philippines and Hong Kong worked together to clean up debris following Super Typhoon Mangkhut, which struck mid-September. Thirty-eight Church chapels in the Philippines sheltered more than 2,000 people during the typhoon.

Elder Christofferson and Sister Sharon Eubank, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, participated in the G20 Interfaith Forum in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Sept. 26 and 27.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson, right, member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostlesof The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Yoshinobu Mlyke, center and Abdullah Al Lheedan, left, during the photo group at the G20 Interfaith Forum in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson, right, member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostlesof The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Yoshinobu Mlyke, center and Abdullah Al Lheedan, left, during the photo group at the G20 Interfaith Forum in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018. Photo: Gustavo Garello

• The Church announced Sept. 27 plans to supply families and community agencies with “finished goods” such as pasta, pancake mix and flour — rather than raw wheat, which can be difficult to process at home.

• At the end of September, the Church launched a new website, AddressingPornography.LDS.org, to offer a helpful and hopeful approach for Latter-day Saints wanting protection, help and healing from pornography use. It replaces OvercomingPornography.org.

October

Sister Barbara B. Ballard, wife of President Ballard, died peacefully on Oct. 1, in her home surrounded by her family, at the age of 86. Her funeral was held Oct. 8 and she was remembered for the love, service and light she gave others.

• The Church’s iconic choir announced a name change to The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square on Oct. 5.

• During the 188th Semiannual General Conference on Oct. 6 and 7, President Nelson reiterated the Church’s emphasis on the correct name of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, introduced the home-centered, Church-supported curriculum and schedule and announced 12 temples to be built around the world. This was also the first year that women of the Church gathered in the Conference Center and around the globe via broadcasts and digital streaming on the Saturday night of general conference for the annual women’s session. During this session, President Nelson invited the sisters to participate in a 10-day fast from social media, read the Book of Mormon before the end of the year, establish a pattern of regular temple attendance and participate fully in Relief Society.

Women gather outside before the start of the general women's session of the 188th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held in the Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City on Oct. 6, 2018.
Women gather outside before the start of the general women's session of the 188th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held in the Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City on Oct. 6, 2018. Photo: Laura Seitz

• Sixty-nine temple presidents and matrons gathered in Salt Lake City for the 2018 Seminar for New Temple Presidents and Matrons, Oct. 16-18.

• After Hurricane Michael made landfall on Oct. 10 in Florida, local priesthood and Relief Society leaders mobilized to respond to the damage wrought. President Oaks and other Church leaders visited with members in Florida and North Carolina on Oct. 20 and 21.

• The Concepcion Chile Temple was dedicated by President Nelson on Oct. 28 at the conclusion of his South America Ministry Tour. The prophet visited Lima, Peru, on Oct. 20; El Alto, Bolivia, on Oct. 21; Asuncion, Paraguay, on Oct. 22; and Montevideo, Uruguay, on Oct. 25. Accompanying the Nelsons on the trip were Elder and Sister Stevenson.

• The Church published a new websiteAbuse.LDS.org — on Oct. 25 aimed at providing help, healing and protection for victims of abuse and those who want to help prevent abuse.

• The American Red Cross recognized The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as its first Mission Leader, a designation which recognizes organizational partners of the Red Cross which donate $3 million or more a year to aid in their efforts, on Oct. 26.

• The Church announced on Oct. 27 that while local celebrations of culture and history may be appropriate, larger productions such as pageants will be discouraged.

November

A missionary asks Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles a question during meeting in Costa Rica on Nov. 8, 2018.
A missionary asks Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles a question during meeting in Costa Rica on Nov. 8, 2018. Photo: Intellecutal Reserves, Inc

• In his first solo assignment as an Apostle, Elder Soares met with missionaries and members in Central America Nov. 2-11.

• Emeritus General Authority Seventy Elder Hartman Rector Jr. died on Nov. 6 at the age of 94.

• Three Apostles — Elder Holland, Elder David A. Bednar and Elder Cook — and other members of the executive committee of the Church’s Board of Education spoke to BYU-Pathway Worldwide students and educators in Salt Lake City and around the world via broadcast, in a special devotional on Nov. 8.

• Elder Andersen presided at the groundbreaking ceremonies for the Abidjan Cote d’Ivoire Temple on Nov. 8.

Flames continue to burn at the site of the charred remains of the Paradise 1st Ward meetinghouse in Paradise, California, on the day after the Nov. 8 fire destroyed the town.
Flames continue to burn at the site of the charred remains of the Paradise 1st Ward meetinghouse in Paradise, California, on the day after the Nov. 8 fire destroyed the town. Photo: James Dimmitt

• Scores of Latter-day Saints lost their homes to the Camp Fire when it swept into Paradise, California, on Nov. 8.

• In his first solo trip as an Apostle, Elder Gong met with members and missionaries in South America Nov. 9-18.

• Church members gathered in Hyde Park Chapel in London to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I on Nov. 11.

• The Church announced on Nov. 16 that beginning in January 2019, young Church-service missionaries will be called “service missionaries.” They will apply the same way as proselyting missionary candidates, through an online portal, and their mission calls will likewise come from the prophet.

• President Nelson and Elder Bednar — along with Sister Nelson and Sister Susan Bednar — spoke to Latter-day Saints in the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, on Nov. 18.

• In a first for the Church, Elder Holland met with British Prime Minister Theresa May on Nov. 21 during a groundbreaking weeklong trip to Great Britain.

The Joseph Smith Papers project also turned 10 years old this fall.

December

• President Nelson highlighted four gifts offered by Jesus Christ during the First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional on Dec. 2, his first as Church president.

President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints speaks during the First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018.
President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints speaks during the First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018. Photo: Qiling Wang

• The Barranquilla Colombia Temple, the second in the South American nation, was dedicated on Dec. 9 by President Oaks., accompanied by Elder Soares.

Kristin Chenoweth joined the Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square, as well as the Bells on Temple Square, for the annual Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert, Dec. 13-15.

Kristin Chenoweth sings with the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square during their opening Christmas concert in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018.
Kristin Chenoweth sings with the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square during their opening Christmas concert in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018. Photo: Jeffrey D. Allred

• On Dec. 14, the Church announced that beginning in January 2019, children will complete Primary and begin attending Sunday School and Young Men and Young Women as age groups, not as individuals following their 12th birthdays.

• The First Presidency updated the missionary dress and grooming guidelines for sister missionaries, giving them the option to wear dress pants during regular missionary activities, on Dec. 20.

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