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Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson, second from left, salutes as the University of Utah unveils the newly refurbished Enos A. Wall Mansion in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016. The mansion, which will be named the Thomas S. Monson Center after the current president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, will be home to the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, left, Ann M. Dibb, President Monson's daughter, second from right, and President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, right, and also attended the event.

Temple news

• Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles presided at the Kinshasa Democratic Republic of Congo Temple groundbreaking ceremony on Friday, Feb. 12.

• On Saturday, Feb. 20, members across Colombia participated in the ceremonial groundbreaking of the Barranquilla Colombia Temple 50 years after the country was dedicated for preaching of the gospel.

• In the wake of the worst tropical storm to ever make landfall in Fiji, President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, rededicated the Suva Fiji Temple on Sunday, Feb. 21.

• The Provo City Center Temple, the 150th operating temple in the Church and the second in Provo, Utah, was dedicated on March 20, salvaged from the ashes and scorched walls of the pioneer-era Provo Tabernacle as if to symbolize the spiritual rebirth and renewal that comes from receiving temple blessings and returning frequently.

• Four and a half years after President Thomas S. Monson announced during general conference that a temple would be built in Durban, South Africa, hundreds of local members and civic and Church leaders gathered to the site of the future temple for a groundbreaking ceremony on April 9.

• Close to 13,000 people toured the Sapporo Japan Temple during the open house before it was dedicated on Aug. 21 by President Russell M. Nelson, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, with Elder Gary E. Stevenson, of the Quorum of the Twelve Aposltes, participating.

• More than 4,000 business, academic, government, religious and judicial leaders visited the Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple during its open house before it was dedicated on Sept. 18 by President Henry B. Eyring with Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles participating.

• Serving approximately 44,000 Church members in northern Colorado and southern Wyoming, the Fort Collins Colorado Temple was dedicated on Oct. 16 by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency with Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles participating.

• President Dieter F. Uchtdorf rededicated the Freiberg Germany Temple on Sept. 4.

• The Star Valley Wyoming Temple, the first temple in the state, was dedicated on Oct. 30 by Elder David A. Bednar. Former Vice President Dick Cheney was one of the special guests who toured the temple during its open house.

• Following a three-week open house, the Hartford Connecticut Temple was dedicated by President Henry B. Eyring on Nov. 20.

• Ground was broken on Dec. 3 for the Winnipeg Manitoba Temple, the ninth temple in Canada.

Major events

• Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women general president; and Brother Stephen W. Owen, Young Men general president answer questions from the youth of the Church during a worldwide Face to Face event held Jan. 20.

• Elder Steven E. Snow, General Authority Seventy as well as Church Historian and Recorder, announced the launch of a new online database called Early Mormon Missionaries, developed by the Church History Library, in partnership with FamilySearch and the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University.

• Some 22,000 attendees swarmed the Salt Palace Convention Center for RootsTech 2016 Family Discovery Day on Feb. 6, which featured talks and discussions from General Authorities, officers and prominent members.

• United States Vice President Joe Biden met with leaders of the Church during a visit to Temple Square on Feb. 26 where he was presented his family history.

• During the first Face to Face event directed to young single adults of the Church, leaders discussed important topics facing members today. Joining Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the panel discussion on March 8 was Sister Carole M. Stephens, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, and Elder Donald L. Hallstrom of the Presidency of the Seventy.

• Counted among the dozens of victims of the March 22 Belgium terrorist attacks were four full-time missionaries injured in a bomb blast at the Brussels Airport. More than 30 people died and 270 were injured in two attacks, one at the airport and another at a nearby train station.

• On March 26, about 350 sisters from across the globe who came to Salt Lake City as refugees or immigrants comprised a special choir to provide the music for the General Women’s Session. During the session, Sister Linda K. Burton, Relief Society general president, asked women to “serve the refugees living in your neighborhoods and communities” as part of the Church’s “I Was a Stranger” relief effort.

• Church members sustained 11 new General Authority Seventies, 62 new Area Authority Seventies, and a new Primary general presidency during the Saturday afternoon session of the Church’s 186th Annual General Conference on April 2.

• Some 2,500 individually submitted videos of singers were combined with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in history’s largest virtual performance of “Hallelujah!” from Handel’s Messiah.

Seminary instructors around the world implemented a new initiative — Doctrinal Mastery — in their classrooms to help the youth of the Church make connections between the doctrine of the gospel and how to apply it in their everyday lives.

• The Mormon Tabernacle Choir toured Europe June 29-July 15 for the first time since 1998, concluding with recreating a 1955 Paris photograph.

• The refugee community joined the Days of ’47 Parade for Pioneer Day on July 25.

Elder Per G. Malm, General Authority Seventy, died on July 26.

• Several Church members competed in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. New Zealand’s Valerie Adams won silver in the shot put, and Sarah Robles from the United States won bronze in weightlifting. Sami Hill was part of the United States water polo team that won gold. Taylor Sander, a former Brigham Young University hitter, was part of the American men’s volleyball team that won silver.

Joseph Smith Sr. family descendants gathered for a family reunion on Aug. 6 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the families coming together to beautify, enlarge, landscape and increase access to the Smith Family Cemetery.

• A recently renovated and restored mansion named the Thomas S. Monson Center dedicated on Aug. 24 as an “embassy” to the world.

• The Church launched preventingsuicide.lds.org on Sept. 8 to coincide with National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month in September and World Suicide Prevention Day Sept. 10.

LDS Paralympians won two gold medals, a silver medal and a bronze medal. Jason Smyth of Northern Ireland won his third gold medal in the 100-meter T13 division. Eagle Mountain, Utah, resident David Blair won gold in the discus F43/F44 class. Josh Wheeler was part of the United States’ wheelchair rugby team that won silver. Australian shot-putter Todd Hodgetts won bronze.

• The Thomas S. Monson Lodge at the Hinckley Scout Ranch was dedicated on Oct. 5.

• The Church launched MormonandGay.lds.org in October in an effort to help those affected by same-sex attraction and their friends and families.

• Cast members of BYUtv’s Studio C spoke to LDS teens in Face to Face event broadcast on Oct. 19.

• A delegation of Latter-day Saint leaders and Jewish dignitaries from the United States gathered at a historic site in Jerusalem to mark the 175th anniversary of Elder Orson Hyde’s dedicatory prayer on the land on Oct. 24.

Free Library in Philadelphia features an exhibit about the Church and its history which runs through Feb. 16, 2017.

• The Church launched the #LIGHTtheWORLD Christmas initiative on Dec. 1, encouraging members to serve others throughout the holiday season.

• A newly indexed database of the historic Freedmen’s Bureau Records was given to the Smithsonian National African American Museum of History and Culture in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 6.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson offered the invocation at the United States Senate on Dec. 7, the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

• Mexican-French tenor Rolando Villazón joined the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Orchestra on Temple Square and Bells on Temple Square for their annual Christmas concert Dec. 8-10. Choir and orchestra members donated tickets to refugees so they could attend the concert.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson and his wife, Sister Kathy Christofferson, met with youth throughout Latin America in the first Face to Face event originating outside of the United States. The broadcast, held on Dec. 10, was conducted in Spanish.

Humanitarian aid

• On July 17, the Church donated $3 million to help combat hunger across the globe.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf visited refugees in Athens, Greece, on July 22.

• On Aug. 29, the Church donated $2 million to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to help welcome and assist newly arrived refugees, and the International Rescue Committee which provides similar services.

Members responded to historic flooding in southern Louisiana through ‘Mormon Helping Hands.’ President Russell M. Nelson and Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Elder Richard J. Maynes of the Presidency of the Seventy; Bishop Dean M. Davies, first counselor in the Presiding Bishopric; and Sister Neill F. Marriott, second counselor in the Young Women general presidency, visited the ‘Helping Hands’ Sept. 3-4 as they relieved suffering in Louisiana.

Members in North Carolina rallied together in clean-up efforts following Hurricane Matthew on Oct. 8.

Church members in Christchurch, New Zealand, provided aid after an earthquake on Nov. 14.

Young adults in Vanuatu assembled 1,000 hygiene kits during a three-day conference beginning Dec. 9.

Church growth

• During a trip to Asia Feb. 18-28, Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles joined with members in Bangkok, Thailand, for the 50th anniversary of the dedication of the country in 1966.

Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé dedicated a Bishops’ Storehouse in the cradle of the Restoration in Palmyra, New York, on April 16.

• President Dieter F. Uchtdorf created the Prague Czech Republic Stake — the first stake in the country — on Sunday, May 15.

During a historic ceremony on May 31, government leaders in Vietnam granted official recognition to the Church in Vietnam.

Members celebrated 100 years of the Church in Tonga with a week of commemorative events beginning Aug. 8, including a youth performance before Tongan royalty.

The 115th bishops’ storehouse in the United States and Canada was dedicated in Twin Falls, Idaho, on Aug. 27.

Gala concert on Sept. 17, honored 25 years of the Church’s presence and recognition in Ukraine.

Returned missionaries who served in South Korea celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Church’s arrival in the country in October.

• On Oct. 15, close to 6,000 members in Taiwan celebrated the 60th anniversary of missionary work beginning in the country.

Vietnamese Church members and returned missionaries who served in Vietnam gathered in Taylorsville, Utah, in November to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the country being dedicated for missionary work.

Church members in Colombia provided service in 2016 to celebrate 50 years of the Church’s arrival in their country.

FamilySearch celebrated a decade of online indexing by volunteers on Dec. 5.

rsterzer@deseretnews.com vjohnson@deseretnews.com

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