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Top LDS news stories of 2010: Humanitarian aid, temples, missionary work lead the list

Published: Saturday, July 4 2015 6:32 p.m. MDT

Worldwide humanitarian relief efforts, temples and missionary work lead the list of noteworthy Mormon-related events of 2010.

In voting among Deseret News editors and writers, the LDS Church's efforts to send aid to countries such as Haiti, Chile, Guatemala, Honduras and others after natural disasters made it this year's top story. At No. 2 were the announcements, groundbreakings and dedications of building temples.

The No. 3 story involved the expansion of missionary work into countries like Angola and Burundi, the formation of a new stake in Uganda and the increase in missions worldwide.

1. Humanitarian aid

During 2010, the LDS Church provided humanitarian assistance and emergency response to hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.

When a magnitude 7.0 earthquake rocked Haiti and left Port-au-Prince in crumbled ruins last January, the church responded with planes loaded with food, emergency provisions, as well as medical professionals and supplies. The church supplied 600 temporary housing kits and 1,500 tents. Hundreds of homeless also found shelter in the LDS chapels.

In February, a magnitude 8.8 earthquake in Chile claimed more than 700 lives and left many more without power, water and food. The church responded with more than 100 tons of food and supplies to impacted areas.

Many were left decimated by flooding, mudslides, a volcano eruption and Tropical Storm Agatha in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras in the spring. The church responded in a timely manner to provide food, clothing and other supplies.

The church shipped an estimated 400,000 pounds of food, blankets and other relief aid in September to flood-ravaged Pakistan. In November, the church also joined with other nongovernmental organizations in response to major cholera outbreaks in Haiti and Papua New Guinea.

2. More temples

The church continued to build temples in 2010.

Temples were dedicated in Vancouver, British Columbia; Gila Valley, Ariz.; Cebu, Philippines; and Kiev, Ukraine. The Laie, Hawaii, temple was rededicated after it was renovated. The church also announced plans to refurbish the Ogden Temple in the near future. The temple in Phoenix was redesigned for a lower height.

Ground was broken on temples in Gilbert, Ariz.; Kansas City, Mo.; Calgary, Alberta; and Brigham City, Utah.

At the October general conference, President Thomas S. Monson announced temples will be built in Hartford, Conn.; Indianapolis; Tijuana, Mexico; Urdaneta, Philippines; and Lisbon, Portugal. Plans to build a temple in Payson, Utah, were announced earlier in the year.

The Nigeria Temple was also reopened after a period of civil unrest.

3. Missionary efforts

The church continued to expand its missionary efforts in 2010.

Two African countries — Angola and Burundi — were dedicated for the preaching of the gospel by apostles Elder D. Todd Christofferson and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland in November.

The first stake was organized in Uganda.

Members of the newly formed Addis Ababa Ethiopia District — two families and two single adults — traveled more than 2,600 miles to Accra, Ghana, to attend the temple for their first time.

Ten new missions were organized in Africa, South America, Central America, Mexico, Philippines and the United States, while 14 other missions in Europe, Asia, Australia, Caribbean and the U.S. were combined with neighboring missions. The total number of missions in the world is now 340.

4. Activities in China

The First Presidency announced in the fall that talks between church leaders and a high government official in the People's Republic of China are expected to result in "regularized" activities for the church in that nation.

According to a church news release, the Chinese official, the highest-ranking representative from Beijing to meet with church leaders, visited the First Presidency in the Church Administration Building in Salt Lake City on Aug. 24. That occasion followed meetings in February and May in Beijing, initiated by the Chinese representative and attended by Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve and Elder Donald L. Hallstrom of the Presidency of the Seventy.

Church spokesman Michael Otterson emphasized that the term "regularizing" does not mean the church anticipates sending missionaries to China. The pending developments were the result of 30 years of building mutual trust with the Chinese.

5. Family history developments

A new FamilySearch Library opened in Riverton, Utah, in June.

Some mourned the closure of 24 family history centers in south Salt Lake Valley, but rejoiced when they stepped into the new facility and witnessed its high-tech benefits.

The library occupies 10,000 square feet of the first floor of the church's Riverton Office Building, a former Intel-owned edifice replete with wirings and inner workings to accommodate the latest in computer hardware and software.

And it conveniently duplicates nearly all the offerings of the church's larger, well-known Family History Library in downtown Salt Lake City.

Family history researchers and enthusiasts from around the nation and other parts of the world converged in Salt Lake City in April to attend four genealogy conferences that offered more than 200 workshops.

The centerpiece of the conferences was the National Genealogical Society Conference in late April. It was the first time in 25 years the conference has been held in the Utah capital.

An updated version of FamilySearch was also released in 2010.

6. 'Protection of Marriage'

Earlier this month, the LDS Church joined with other faiths in signing "The Protection of Marriage: A Shared Commitment," an open letter to express commitment toward the preserving of marriage as the union between one man and one woman. Presiding Bishop H. David Burton signed on behalf of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Leaders from Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Evangelical, Jewish, Lutheran, Mormon, Orthodox, Pentecostal and Sikh communities signed the letter.

7. Advances in technology

The church used the Internet and new technology to reach a wider audience in 2010. Last January, a new website for LDS youths (youth.lds.org) was rolled out; Store.lds.org, a new church online shopping site, opened for business in September, replacing the old LDS Catalog; a new handbook of instructions was released and made accessible for members online; Familysearch.org was improved; church websites mormon.org and lds.org were redesigned and launched; a new website called combatpornography.org was created; Elder Quentin L. Cook became likely the first apostle to post a blog; and missionaries in Rochester, N.Y., started a pilot project online to do missionary work in cyberspace. Technologically speaking, the first solar-powered LDS meetinghouse was unveiled in Farmington, Utah, last April.

8. Tabernacle Choir

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir celebrated 100 years of musical recording in September and was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in November. The choir capped the year off with its annual Christmas Concert featuring artist David Archuleta. There was such a demand to see the concert that tickets were scalped and hundreds were left standing in the cold due to overbooking.

9. Bishop slain

Members worldwide mourned the slaying of Bishop Clay Sannar, the 40-year-old leader of the Visalia 2nd Ward in California's Central Valley. He was shot and killed Aug. 29 at the ward meetinghouse following Sabbath services by a man who waited outside the bishop's office.

10. Smart testifies

In November, Elizabeth Smart returned to Salt Lake City from her LDS mission in Paris to testify and attend the trial of Brian David Mitchell, who was found guilty of kidnapping and raping Smart eight years ago. After the verdict, she planned to return to Paris to complete her mission.

Also

Prophet's biography: In September, President Thomas S. Monson's biography, "To the Rescue," by Heidi Swinton, was published by Deseret Book.

Olympics: Mormon athlete Torah Bright won gold in the women's halfpipe snowboarding event at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, B.C.

Cooperation with Catholics: Cardinal Francis George, archbishop of Chicago and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops — arguably the most prominent Catholic in the U.S. — spoke at BYU regarding how Mormons and Catholics can cooperate.

S.L. Temple replica: A replica of the Salt Lake LDS Temple was produced and displayed at the South Visitors' Center on Temple Square last May, offering tourists a look at the rarely seen interior of the sacred edifice.

Duty to God: A new Duty to God program for Young Men was introduced during the April priesthood session of general conference.

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