2018: The Year in Review
Contributed By Valerie Johnson, Church News staff writer
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 is a brief look at some of these significant happenings in 2018.
- was held January 12 in the Conference Center. Learn more. , the 16th President of the Church, died on January 2.
- President Russell M. Nelson was Learn more. on January 16. President Dallin H. Oaks and President Henry B. Eyring were called as his First and Second Counselors, respectively, in the First Presidency.
President Russell M. Nelson with his counselors, President Dallin H. Oaks (left) and President Henry B. Eyring (right), at a live broadcast Tuesday, January 16, from the annex of the Salt Lake Temple to all members of the Church.
- The Church added new resources to its online suicide-prevention resource, suicide.ChurchofJesusChrist.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 January 17. Learn more.
- The Church released an official statement regarding Learn more. .
- Elder Von G. Keetch, a General Authority Seventy since 2015 and Executive Director of the Church’s Public Affairs Department, following a brief illness. His funeral was held on February 2.
- The Church Learn more. in January. Five missions were opened in July 2018, while 19 merged with adjoining missions.
- Church members in Learn more. in this island nation.
- The Church announced the Learn more. —the Hamilton New Zealand Temple Visitors’ Center and the Park City Family Tree Center—and changes to the London Temple Visitors’ Center.
- Jon Huntsman, Learn more. and generosity toward the Church, died on February 2.
- President Nelson, in one of his first public addresses since being sustained as President of the Church, spoke on unity during the Learn more. on February 4.
- Some 500 Church members, missionaries, and visitors walked the Trail of Hope on February 3 to commemorate the exodus of the early Latter-day Saint pioneers from Nauvoo, Illinois, 172 years earlier. Learn more.
- Following an Learn more. , on February 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 Learn more. at Celtic Manor in Newport, Wales, on February 9.
Sister Jean B. Bingham and Sister Joy D. Jones have a dialogue with a Muslim council member at the World Women’s Interfaith Conference 2018.
- During the . 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. Learn more. , South Korea,
- In a February 14 Learn more. 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 Learn more. on February 16, charging lawyers, law students, educators, and business professionals to defend divinely inspired religious freedoms.
- President Nelson spoke to a group of Learn more. , Nevada, on February 17 on how to find happiness and meaning.
President Russell M. Nelson and his wife, Sister Wendy W. Nelson, greet young adults after a devotional held in Las Vegas on February 18.
- Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles Learn more. for the preaching of the gospel on February 18.
- On February 23, Elder Rasband spoke to Church members in the Philippines in a Learn more. , the first of its kind in the Asian nation by an Apostle.
- Learn more. and changes to the camp program were announced in March.
- abuse.ChurchofJesusChrist.org, which focuses on helping victims heal. Learn more. on March 26 to Church leaders in the United States and Canada on how to prevent abuse and respond to it. The Church also published
- On March 31 and as part of the 188th Annual General Conference, President Nelson was sustained as the new prophet and president of the Church during . Also on that day, , while Sister Bonnie H. Cordon was called as the , with Sister Michelle Craig and Sister Becky Craven as her counselors.
Elder Ulisses Soares 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 of the Church at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on March 31, 2018. Photo by Spenser Heaps, Deseret News.
- During the April 1 final day of general conference, it was to be built in the coming months and years. . President Nelson also announced to replace home and visiting teaching, as well as
- President Nelson embarked on a world ministry tour, visiting , on April 12; , on April 14; , on April 16; , on April 17; , on April 19; Bangkok, Thailand, on April 20; Hong Kong on April 21; and , 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.
President Russell M. Nelson holds a child with his wife, Wendy, by his side in Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, April 20, 2018.
- After sustaining significant water damage in August 2017 from flooding from Hurricane Harvey, the by President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, on April 22. Learn more.
- On April 29, Elder Renlund returned to Learn more. , where he served as a missionary four decades ago.
- Learn more. as a Tabernacle organist in April, concluding his 36-year career.
- Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles Learn more. on the subject of supporting religious freedom on May 1.
- Sister Bingham Learn more. 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, Learn more. on May 4.
- Elder Patrick Kearon of the Presidency of the Seventy spoke to Learn more. , calling them to act on President Nelson’s invitation to minister.
- The Church announced on May 8 that it would be ending its relationship with the Boy Scouts of America. In place of existing programs, Learn more. , to go into effect beginning in January 2020.
- Emeritus General Authority Seventy Learn more. died at 87 on May 12.
- In a unified global call for increased civility, harmony, and respect, Learn more. in pledging to explore ways to serve together and lift those in need on May 17.
The First Presidency joined together with leaders of the NAACP Thursday, May 17, to call for increased civility, harmony, and respect. Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News.
- The Learn more. on May 20 by President Eyring, accompanied by Elder Cook.
- In a Facebook Live event hosted in Sydney, Australia, Learn more. 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, Learn more. .
- The Church received a Learn more. —the first religious organization to ever receive this honor—on May 24.
- Elder Holland meeting in Argentina on May 30. Then on May 31, the Apostle underscored the importance of strong families in society as he . Learn more. during a
- Learn more. 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, Learn more. 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, . 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 Learn more. He was accompanied by his wife, Elder Rasband, and Sister Melanie Rasband.
- The Church announced June 18 plans to newmusic.ChurchofJesusChrist.org. Learn more. . In addition, members are invited to participate in the revision process by submitting original music at
The Church has announced it is revising the hymnbook and children’s songbook and invites members to participate.
- In a June 20 letter, the First Presidency announced Learn more. .
- The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square performed in California; British Columbia and Vancouver in Canada; and Seattle, Washington, during the from June 19 to July 2.
- A reduction in the number of key indicators and changing references to home and visiting teaching to ministering were among the Learn more. announced on June 22.
- The Learn more. was held in the Provo June 24–26 for 112 new mission presidents and their wives.
- Emeritus General Authority Seventy Learn more. died on June 25 at the age of 91.
- Sister Cordon presented a Learn more. on June 27 to support the center’s work with victims of child sexual abuse.
- Elders Gong and Soares Learn more. 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. Photo by Steve Griffin, Deseret News.
- The First Presidency announced on June 29 a Learn more. . These resources take a home-centered, Church-supported approach to gospel living, learning, and teaching.
- On July 2, in an effort to help prevent suicide, the Church released a suicide.ChurchofJesusChrist.org to help Church members approach those who are considering suicide. Learn more. on
- Elder Holland Learn more. , on July 2, calling upon nongovernmental 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 which inspired President David O. McKay as a missionary, to a Scottish museum on July 5.
- Learn more. 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— on July 10. Learn more.
- Church members and missionaries worked together in Learn more. 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 Learn more. .
Polynesian Cultural Center performers reenact laying the hukilau nets during the PCC’s new canoe celebration, Huki: One ‘Ohana Sharing Aloha. Photo courtesy of the Polynesian Cultural Center.
- Learn more. on July 15, the 89th anniversary of the program.
- The Church announced on July 15 a Learn more. 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 Learn more. in the Conference Center on July 20.
- After a deadly July 22 shooting during a ward sacrament meeting in Fallon, Nevada, the tightly knit community Learn more. .
- After a two-year renovation, the Learn more. by Elder Holland on July 28.
- The First Presidency announced, effective August 1, changes to the way Learn more. are administered. Previously overseen by members of the Presidency of the Seventy, the areas are now administered by Area Presidencies.
- In a regional Face to Face event held in Asia. A few days later, on August 15, Elder and Sister Stevenson in a Face to Face event broadcast from Osaka. Learn more. 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 August 11. It was the first
From left, Elder Kazuhiko Yamashita, General Authority Seventy, and his wife, Sister Tazuko Yamashita; Sister Lesa Stevenson and Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; and the two youth hosts, Miyu Nakiatania and Mashahiro Yoshikawa, during the Face to Face event held in Japan on August 15.
- Thanks to a joint project announced August 14 between FamilySearch and the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc., the Learn more. are now available online.
- On August 16, the Church issued a statement from President Nelson on the use of
- President Nelson traveled to Canada to speak in devotionals in , August 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 Learn more. during a devotional on August 24, addressing topics dealing with Church leadership, mental illness, Church history, and the Church’s policies relating to children raised by gay couples.
- Learn more. in his first official visit as an Apostle when he visited São Paulo, Brazil, on assignment with President Ballard on August 24.
President M. Russell Ballard and Elder Ulisses Soares, accompanied by Elder Soares’s wife, Sister Rosana Soares, and members of the Brazil Area Presidency and their wives, participate in a live Facebook event, “Family Home Evening with President Ballard, Elder Soares, and the Brazil Area Presidency.”
- On August 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, Learn more. 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 Learn more. in operation today.
- Learn more. since it was organized in August 1878.
- Sixty years after its dedication, Learn more. for an extensive, three-year renovation. It is expected to be rededicated in 2021.
- The Learn more. became available in the Church History Library’s online catalog in August.
- FamilySearch launched an email campaign, Learn more. , to help recipients to identify and link to their Nauvoo ancestors, in August.
- On September 1, President Nelson Learn more. , 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, Learn more. on September 2. Joining him in the two weekend devotionals in the Caribbean were Sister Nelson, Elder Renlund, and his wife, Sister Ruth Renlund.
- On September 5, the Church rolled out a new initiative in which missionary candidates Learn more. instead of in the mail.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is rolling out an initiative in which missionary candidates receive their assignments online instead of in the mail. In Fruit Heights, Utah, 17-year-old Billy Elliott recently received his call to the Peru Chiclayo Mission.
- 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 on September 9. Learn more.
- President Nelson spoke in devotionals in Seattle, Washington, and , on September 15 and 16, respectively, joined by Sister Nelson and President Eyring. The meeting in 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.
- Following Hurricane Florence, which caused Learn more. in late September, Church members and missionaries worked together to clean up debris and repair damage caused by the storm.
Young women from the Apex North Carolina Stake clear out fallen branches from a yard in Wilmington. Photo by Chantelle Pacheco.
- Members and missionaries in the Philippines and Hong Kong worked together to clean up debris following Learn more. , which struck mid-September. Thirty-eight Church chapels in the Philippines sheltered more than 2,000 people during the typhoon.
- Learn more. and , First Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, participated in the in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on September 26 and 27.
- The Church announced Learn more. such as pasta, pancake mix, and flour—rather than raw wheat, which can be difficult to process at home, on September 27.
- At the end of September, the Church launched a new website, , to offer a helpful and hopeful approach for Latter-day Saints wanting protection, help, and healing from pornography use. It replaces overcomingpornography.org. Learn more.
- Learn more. , wife of President Ballard, died peacefully on October 1, in her home surrounded by her family, at the age of 86. Her funeral was held October 8, and she was remembered for the love, service, and light she gave others.
- The Church’s iconic choir announced a name change to Learn more. on October 5.
- During the 188th Semiannual General Conference on October 6 and 7, President Nelson reiterated the Church’s emphasis on the correct name of Learn more. 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 . 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. Learn more. , introduced the , and .
- Sixty-nine temple presidents and matrons gathered in Salt Lake City October 16–18 for the Learn more. .
- The Church released standard missionary interview questions October 20 to help ensure missionaries are worthy and physically, mentally, and emotionally prepared for missionary service. Learn more.
- After Hurricane Michael made landfall on October 10 in Florida, local priesthood and Relief Society leaders Learn more. . visited with members in Florida and North Carolina on October 20 and 21.
- The dedicated by President Nelson on October 28 at the conclusion of his South America ministry tour. The prophet visited , on October 20; , on October 21; , on October 22; and , on October 25. Accompanying the Nelsons on the trip were Elder and Sister Stevenson. was
President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hugs children after a devotional in Asunción, Paraguay, on Monday, October 22, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.
- The Church abuse.ChurchofJesusChrist.org—on October 25 aimed at providing help, healing, and protection for victims of abuse and those who want to help prevent abuse. Learn more. —
- On October 26 the American Red Cross recognized The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as its Learn more. , a designation which recognizes organizational partners of the Red Cross that donate $3 million or more a year to aid in their efforts.
- The Church announced on October 27 that while local celebrations of culture and history may be appropriate, larger productions such as Learn more. .
- In his first solo assignment as an Apostle, Learn more. November 2–11.
- Emeritus General Authority Seventy Learn more. died on November 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—Learn more. in Salt Lake City and around the world via a broadcast in a special devotional on November 8.
- Elder Andersen presided at the Learn more. on November 8.
- Scores of Latter-day Saints lost their homes to the Learn more. , on November 8.
Charred remains of the Paradise 1st Ward meetinghouse in Paradise, California, on the day after the November 8 fire destroyed the town. Photo by James Dimmitt.
- In his first solo trip as an Apostle, Learn more. November 9–18.
- The Church announced on November 16 that beginning in January 2019, young Church-service missionaries will be called Learn more. 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 Learn more. , on November 18.
- In a first for the Church, Elder Holland met with Learn more. on November 21 during a groundbreaking weeklong trip to Great Britain.
- Learn more. turned 10 years old this fall.
- President Nelson highlighted four gifts offered by Jesus Christ during the Learn more. on December 2, his first as Church President.
- The Learn more. , the second in the South American nation, was dedicated on December 9 by President Oaks, accompanied by Elder Soares.
- Learn more. joined the Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square, as well as the Bells on Temple Square, for the annual Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert, December 13–15.
- On December 14, the Church announced that beginning in January 2019, Learn more. and begin attending Sunday School and Young Men and Young Women as age-groups, not as individuals following their 12th birthdays.
- The First Presidency Learn more. , giving them the option to wear dress pants during regular missionary activities, on December 20.