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December 4, 2016

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December 2, 2016

First Presidency sends Christmas message to members worldwide (Deseret News - Utah) (December 2, 2016)
As we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ this Christmas, we think of that sacred time when “The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6) came to earth as a newborn babe....

Elder Stevenson opens the Festival of Lights in Washington, D.C. (Deseret News - Utah) (December 2, 2016)
Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles joined His Excellency Kenichiro Sasae, ambassador of Japan, to officially open the Festival of Lights at the Washington D.C. Temple and Visitors’ Center on Nov. 29. Together they switched on more than 650,000 lights around the temple grounds and encouraged dignitaries from the diplomatic corps, government, business and diverse religious faiths to reflect that glow by becoming personal beacons of light and hope.

4 places to see D.C.’s best Christmas lights (Washington Post) (December 2, 2016)
Festival of Lights Washington D.C. Temple, 9900 Stoneybrook Drive, Kensington, Md.; through Jan. 1, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. (lights illuminated at dusk), free (tickets are required for concerts). Returning for its 39th year, this celebration at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints temple includes nightly concerts, a display of Christmas trees and creches, and a life-size outdoor Nativity scene. Visitors can wander the temple grounds while trying to figure out how to take good pictures of lights with an iPhone. Fun fact: Basically every kid who grew up in the D.C. area thought at one point that the temple was Disney World. Light count: More than 650,000

South America's best days belong to the future (Deseret News - Utah) (December 2, 2016)
Latter-day Saints across South America can draw great strength from a rich regional Church history of devotion and remarkable growth. But the continent’s “golden years” are not relegated to history books. South America’s best years are yet to come. That was the hopeful message delivered by Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles during his recent assignment (Nov. 9 – Nov. 20) to the South America South Area.

20 years after serving in the country, Elder Cook returns to the Philippines (Deseret News - Utah) (December 2, 2016)
Two decades ago as a newly called General Authority, Elder Quentin L. Cook served in the Philippines. Twenty years later, Elder Cook — now of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles — returned to the country, where he observed meaningful Church growth, youth engagement in family history work and an increasing number of temple marriages among young adults.

UTubers: YouTube stars post videos for LDS Church's #LightTheWorld day of service (Deseret News - Utah) (December 2, 2016)
Dec. 1 marks the beginning of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' monthlong "Light the World" Christmas initiative. To celebrate, several UTubers posted videos online to share their light. The Piano Gal, Sara Arkell, shared the story of Matt and Amber from YouTube channel "Matt and Amber Plus 3," who found out on Christmas Eve of 2013 that their baby boy would be stillborn.

FamilySearch observes 10 years of online indexing by volunteers (Deseret News - Utah) (December 2, 2016)
FamilySearch International, the Church’s internet family history service, is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its web-based, volunteer-driven indexing initiatve, which began in 2006. The observance is in conjunction with International Volunteer Day on Dec. 5.

Wright Words: Meet a former heroin addict, dealer, who is now a returned LDS missionary (Deseret News - Utah) (December 2, 2016)
On Thanksgiving day, Kayden Carlos stepped off a plane in Salt Lake City after completing a two-year assignment for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Maryland Baltimore Mission. For some, his tearful and cheerful family reunion at the bottom of the airport escalators seemed like the classic final scene of an honorable Mormon mission. But for Carlos, the traditional removal of his cherished black name tag isn’t the end of the real mission that matters most.

LDS Chapel hosting concert, live Nativity and crèche display (Ahwatukee Foothill News - Arizona) (December 2, 2016)
The Ahwatukee chapel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is throwing a Christmas party for the community. The chapel, 2955 E. Frye Road, Ahwatukee, is hosting its nondenominational Ahwatukee Community Christmas Celebration 6:30-8:30 p.m. Friday. Besides music from local choirs and ensembles, there will be a live Nativity, crèche exhibit and free hot chocolate and cookies.

December 1, 2016

LDS Church kicks off 'Worldwide Day of Service' (KSL - Utah) (December 1, 2016)
Did you hear it? See it? Experience it? Or follow it on social media? Almost two dozen Utah musicians hit various venues across the valley Wednesday to kick off The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Worldwide Day of Service.

LDS Church encourages service with #LIGHTtheWORLD campaign (BYU Daily Universe) (December 1, 2016)
Christmas is a season of serving and giving, and the LDS church is seeking to unite others in service this year.

Light the world with his light (Deseret News - Utah) (December 1, 2016)
Many religious traditions associate God with light. The foundational text of Jewish kabbalistic mysticism, for example, is the “Zohar,” meaning “splendor” or “radiance.” One of the great texts of the Islamic tradition, al-Ghazali’s early 12th-century “Niche of Lights” (published by BYU’s Islamic Translation Series in a dual-language edition) argues that God is more truly “light” than is physical light itself.

President Eyring, Elder Holland reflect on blessing of second temple in New England (Deseret News - Utah) (December 1, 2016)
Both President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles share a fondness for New England.

Mormon mother from Ghana recounts life and growth of LDS Church in West Africa (Deseret News - Utah) (December 1, 2016)
The Africa West Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which covered Ghana and Nigeria, was organized on July 1, 1980, according to the 2013 LDS Church Almanac.

Church Leader Discusses Refugees’ Plight and Humanitarian Aid With European Commissioner (LDS Newsroom) (December 1, 2016)
During his recent visit to the European Union institutions in Brussels, Belgium, Elder Patrick Kearon of the Seventy, and President of the Europe Area of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, met with Christos Stylianides, European Commissioner on Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management.

Mormons with doubts shouldn't give up faith without 'intellectual and spiritual kicking and screaming' (Deseret News - Utah) (December 1, 2016)
Elder Bruce C. Hafen met his wife, Marie, in a 1960s BYU class called "Your Religious Problems," where students grappled with criticisms of the history and doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its founder, Joseph Smith.

Temple Square Visitors Help ‘Light the World’ during the Christmas Season (LDS Newsroom) (December 1, 2016)
Thousands of people visit Temple Square in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City the day after Thanksgiving for the lighting ceremony every year. It’s an annual tradition for many families, who gather near the Salt Lake Temple to watch millions of sparkling lights illuminate the popular tourist attraction during the Christmas season—a time when faithful Christians around the world celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. There is no cost to visit Temple Square and walk around the 35 acres of decorated landscape.

November 30, 2016

Hartford Connecticut Temple Dedicatory Prayer (Church News) (November 30, 2016)
The following is the dedicatory prayer of the Hartford Connecticut Temple offered by President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, on November 20, 2016.

Free Library in Philadelphia Features Church Exhibit (Church News) (November 30, 2016)
The banners promoting the exhibit hang prominently outside the Free Library in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “An American-Born Faith: Writings from the First Century of Mormonism,” they read, advertising an exhibit about the Church and its history.

Trump, Romney have second meeting over dinner about secretary of state post (Deseret News - Utah) (November 30, 2016)
A second meeting over dinner Tuesday night between President-elect Donald Trump and Mitt Romney suggests one of Trump’s toughest critics during the campaign is still in the running to become secretary of state. “It sends a signal that Romney is a serious candidate, that this was about more than a courtesy interview,” said Chris Karpowitz, co-director of BYU’s Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy.

Church No Longer Providing Self-Pack Services (Church News) (November 30, 2016)
Many members throughout the U.S. and Canada may remember receiving a cannery assignment once a year and showing up to self-pack bulk food items such as wheat, flour, sugar, or even hot chocolate mix in #10 metal cans.

BYU Bachelor of General Studies Offers Former Students Path to Graduation (Church News) (November 30, 2016)
When Marisol Mayberry looks at her college degree she—like many graduates—looks back on her path to education and is proud of what she has accomplished. Although it wasn’t easy, the time, sacrifice, and knowledge gained have become an important part of her identity. “I learned to balance my life,” she said. “I learned to be more proactive in what I wanted out of life, that I can achieve goals in all aspects—spiritual, emotional, educational.”

1860s photo album of early LDS Church leaders set for auction (Deseret News - Utah) (November 30, 2016)
An 1860s photo album featuring several early leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Apostle Ezra T. Benson’s presentation gold pocket watch from 1856 will be up for auction Saturday, Dec. 3, at Heritage Auctions in Dallas. The photo album includes 100 photos, 61 of which are either photos of early church leaders or photos of Salt Lake City at the time. Photos include early LDS Church Presidents Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff and Lorenzo Snow as well as several former members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and other leaders such as Orson Pratt, Heber C. Kimball and his wife Vilate Kimball, George A. Smith, Willard Richards, Orson Hyde, Ezra T. Benson, George Q. Cannon and Eliza R. Snow.

Study shows Mormons’ brains light up when they ‘feel the spirit’ (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (November 30, 2016)
The MRI scan of Auriel Brunsvik Peterson's brain, taken during a religious experience, was lit up like a Christmas tree. Peterson, 29, has been a devout Mormon her entire life. But seeing that image was the first time her belief was more than abstract. "I finally have a small shred of physical evidence ... that I am feeling something and I'm not crazy," she said. It showed that "you are experiencing something euphoric and life changing and ... something special and something different."

November 29, 2016

Temple Square lights (Deseret News - Utah) (November 29, 2016)
An audible cheer filled Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake City on Nov. 25 as visitors to Church headquarters witnessed the annual “flip of a switch” and thousands of Christmas lights turned on.

U. study: Spiritual experiences associated with brain's reward center (Deseret News - Utah) (November 29, 2016)
Auriel Peterson lay in the MRI machine with a prayer in her heart. The recently returned LDS missionary tried to tune out the cranking sounds of the machine, muffled by her headphones. She tried not to focus on the fact that she was in a lab surrounded by computers and medical equipment.

Norby family marks 8-month anniversary of Brussels bombing (Deseret News - Utah) (November 29, 2016)
Tuesday marked the eight-month anniversary of two bombs exploding in Belgium's Brussels Airport. Richard Norby was one of four missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who was injured in the blasts.

Man Indexes Nearly 1 Million Names Before Passing Away & Teaches His Family a Lesson They Will Never Forget (LDS Living) (November 29, 2016)
Even when various health struggles prevented Jerry Williamson from serving in Church callings, he found another way to dedicate himself to the work. Since he enjoyed family history and indexing, he set a goal to index one million names. And he came incredibly close.

Utah County businessman sentenced to prison for posing as Mormon official to dupe companies (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (November 29, 2016)
A Utah County businessman was more ashamed of his drug addiction than his million-dollar frauds, his attorney told a 3rd District judge Monday. That's why it took so long for the "good Mormon" to admit he had a drug addiction for the past six years while he was defrauding friends and companies, attorney Rebecca Skordas said during the sentencing hearing for Alan Dean McKee in 3rd District Court.

November 28, 2016

Church Launches 'Light the World' Christmas Initiative (LDS Newsroom) (November 28, 2016)
A global effort to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and encourage people to serve others during the Christmas season is being launched by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Primary leaders encourage children to 'Light the World' (Deseret News - Utah) (November 28, 2016)
The Primary general presidency is inviting Latter-day Saint children worldwide to participate in the Church’s Christmas initiative, “Light the World.” The month-long campaign encourages members to share the light of Jesus Christ through small, but meaningful acts of service on each of the 25 days before Christmas.

'Mormon Helping Hands’ volunteers assist New Zealanders displaced by quake (Deseret News - Utah) (November 28, 2016)
Many families displaced by a 7.8 earthquake in rural and remote North Canterbury Nov. 14 have found temporary refuge in the closest Maori maraes outside the damaged areas. (A marae is a communal place that serves religious, social and humanitarian purposes in Polynesian societies.)

Elder Neil L. Andersen Delivers Thanksgiving Message at Provo MTC (Church News) (November 28, 2016)
Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke on gratitude during trials as he delivered a Thanksgiving day devotional held in the Provo Missionary Training Center the morning of November 24. He addressed hundreds of missionaries gathered in the Provo MTC, as well as the other Missionary Training Centers around the world.

Time-Lapse Video: Christmas Lights Brighten Temple Square (LDS Newsroom) (November 28, 2016)
Millions of Christmas lights on Temple Square were turned on Friday, November 25, 2016, ushering in the celebratory season of remembering Jesus Christ's birth. Temple Square grounds staff turn on the lights each year the day after Thanksgiving. This year the lights will stay illuminated every morning and evening between now and January 3, 2017.

The Global Gift of Gratitude (LDS Newsroom) (November 28, 2016)
Conservative thinker Arthur C. Brooks opened an email one day containing feedback for his recent book. "Dear Professor Brooks," the message began, "you are a fraud." Though the correspondent proceeded to criticize every chapter of the new book, Brooks says his “dominant thought wasn't resentment. It was, 'He read my book!' And so I wrote him back … mostly just expressing gratitude for his time and attention."

Mormon missionaries at Provo’s MTC beat homesickness by giving back (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (November 28, 2016)
Mormon missionaries at the Provo Missionary Training Center have some advice for those missing family or friends this holiday weekend: The best way to beat homesickness is to focus on those in need. And so in the spirit of service — and in an effort to put what they were missing from their minds — some 1,500 sisters and elders spent their Thanksgiving packaging nutritious meals for area children.

In their grief, ward's youth attend temple to honor friend who perished in car accident (Deseret News - Utah) (November 28, 2016)
The temple is the holiest place on earth, and at a time of shocking and bitter tragedy, it may be the most comforting. Thus it was that on Sunday, Nov. 20, Young Men and Young Women leaders of the South Mountain 8th Ward, Draper Utah South Mountain Stake, felt the spiritual prompting to arrange a session at the Draper Utah Temple for the youth under their watch care to be baptized for the dead.

Matt Marcantano celebrates Mormon religion, experience at CM (Boston Herald - Massachusetts) (November 28, 2016)
Matt Marcantano stands out on the football field. With a rocket of an arm and a talented corps of wide receivers, Catholic Memorial’s senior quarterback executes a pass-heavy offense that is unlike many of his opponents’. Marcantano also doesn’t mind scrambling, using his legs to gain yards when his targets are covered.

Ed Kimball, who wrote warts-and-all biographies of his father, Mormon leader Spencer Kimball, dies (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (November 28, 2016)
Without the work of Edward L. Kimball, few Mormons would know the details of the groundbreaking 1978 revelation that changed the course of their faith's history. It was Kimball who penned candid and meticulously researched biographies of his father, the late LDS Church President Spencer W. Kimball, who ended a centurylong ban on black men and boys being ordained to the all-male priesthood. Edward Kimball, an intellectual heavyweight himself, died Monday in Provo. He was 86.

BYU-Idaho gets its first female veep; will a woman ever land the top job at a Mormon university? (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (November 28, 2016)
Brigham Young University-Idaho recently gained its first female vice president, but it has a long way to go to catch up with its much larger sister school in Utah. The flagship campus of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has had women in veep roles for years and, it turns out, even contemplated female candidates for its top post. Earlier this month, BYU-Idaho announced the appointment of Amy LaBaugh as student life veep, a move celebrated widely by LDS feminists and earning much praise for the Mormon-owned campus in Rexburg.

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