As 2014 comes to close, we took a look back at some of the biggest moments in LDS news and events. If you enjoyed our list, make sure to check out the list compiled by Mormon Newsroom for their top stories in 2014.
The Best LDS News Stories of 2014
January 4, 2014 – Mother of Six Appointed Executive Mayor of Lukhanji Municipality
Recently Nozibele Makanda, a mother of six and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, was appointed Executive Mayor of Lukhanji Municipality located in the centre of the Eastern Cape Province.
January 10, 2014 – Church Instructs Leaders on Same-Sex Marriage
After a federal district judge in Salt Lake City issued an order legalizing same-sex marriage in Utah on December 20, 2013, with similar instances occurring throughout the country, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles sent instructions and guidance to congregational leaders throughout the United States. The statement stressed that “Changes in civil law do not, indeed cannot, change the moral law that God has established.” An emphasis on civility amongst all parties was also strongly encouraged.
February 14, 2014 – New Members Announced for Young Women General Board
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced new members of the Young Women general board, who will help meet the global needs of the organization. The nine-member Young Women general board will include four board members from Utah, where the headquarters of the Church is located, as well as five women who live in Africa, Brazil, Japan, Peru and New York City. Adding international board members was a first for the Church.
February 21, 2014 – Mormon Volunteers Building Homes for Typhoon Haiyan Victims
Typhoon Haiyan devastated Southeast Asia when it hit in early November 2013. Over 6,000 people were killed, with another 1,000 or so missing. It was one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded. Three months later, members of the Church in the Philippines, one of the most affected areas, came together to build new shelters for those who lost their homes.
March 2, 2014 – Church Dedicates 142nd Temple
The Gilbert Arizona Temple, located east of Phoenix, was dedicated in three sessions, and broadcast to Church meetinghouses throughout the state. Choirs composed of Latter-day Saints from within the temple district (district is a geographical area around the temple) provided the inspirational music for the cornerstone ceremony and dedication.
During the traditional cornerstone ceremony where the final block is cemented in place, President Monson said to those gathered, “There is sunshine in my soul today,” referring to the rainstorm during the cultural celebration Saturday evening.
March 11, 2014 – Kevin J Worthen J.D. Named Brigham Young University’s 13th President
Kevin J Worthen, J.D. was named as the 13th president of Brigham Young University (BYU), replacing Dr. Cecil O. Samuelson, effective 1 May 2014. Worthen is the former dean of the J. Reuben Clark Law School and the current advancement vice president of BYU. He replaced Dr. Cecil O. Samuelson, who served as the 12th president of BYU for 11 years.
A weeklong, Christ-focused social media initiative that includes memes and a prominently placed YouTube video began on Palm Sunday and extended through Easter. In the effort (titled “Because of Him,” with an accompanying #BecauseofHim hashtag), The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints proclaimed its belief that Jesus Christ is the divine Son of God who overcame sorrow and death for men and women everywhere.
The Fort Lauderdale Florida Temple was dedicated in three sessions, and broadcast to Church meetinghouses throughout the state and a few congregations in Georgia. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf presided. Choirs composed of Latter-day Saints from within the temple district (a geographical area around the temple) provided the inspirational music for the cornerstone ceremony and dedication.
Due to civil unrest in the area, missionaries serving in parts of Ukraine were transferred to other areas.
Members and guests of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in French Polynesia celebrated the 170th anniversary of the arrival of the faith’s first missionaries in the South Pacific.
Three Mormon missionaries arrived in Tubuai, French Polynesia on 30 April 1844. Addison Pratt, Noah Rogers and Benjamin Grouard had journeyed for close to a year by land and sea from the Church’s headquarters in Nauvoo, Illinois. A fourth missionary, Knowlton F. Hanks, passed away during the trip after a month of being at sea. On 15 May 1844 Elders Rogers and Grouard arrived in Tahiti while Elder Pratt remained in Tubuai.
June 11, 2014 – Church Responds to Church Discipline Questions
As Kate Kelly, one of the leaders of Ordain Women (a movement to ordain women to the priesthood) faces disciplinary actions, the Church released an official statement to news media regarding Church discipline.
June 13, 2014 – Mormon Helping Hands Serving at 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil
At the request of Brazil’s Ministry of Sports, around 1,000 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Brazil volunteered their time to help Brazil host the 2014 FIFA World Cup. They were trained to receive visitors at airports and work at tourist sites and other popular locations during the World Cup.
July 1, 2014 – Apostle Throws Out the First Pitch at Dodgers Game
Elder David A. Bednar threw out the ceremonial first pitch during the Annual Mormon Night at Dodger Statium. The pitch was caught by Elder Jerryl L. Garns, an Area Seventy, right over hte plate.
July 23, 2014 – FamilySearch Volunteers Break International Indexing Record
FamilySearch indexing volunteers broke a record during the first Worldwide Indexing Event. FamilySearch International, the largest genealogy organization in the world, was hoping an unprecedented 50,000 contributors would participate in the 24-hour effort to submit genealogy records, beginning at 6 p.m. MDT on 20 July 2014. A total of 66,511 indexers and arbitrators went online to submit records, surpassing the goal by 16,511 people.
August 7, 2014 – Public Invited to Tour the Phoenix Arizona Temple
The First Presidency announced open house and dedication dates for the Phoenix Arizona Temple. The public was invited to visit the temple during an open house from Friday, 10 October, through Saturday, 1 November 2014, excluding Sundays.
August 19, 2014 – Apostle Calls for Uplifting Social Media Messages to Sweep the Earth
Elder David A. Bednar called for Mormons to use social media to “sweep the earth” with authentic and uplifting messages at BYU’s Education Week. He also announced the new Church feature film, ‘Meet the Mormons.’
September 5, 2014 – Five Faiths Urge Supreme Court to Hear Utah Same-Sex Marriage Case
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints joined four other faiths to file a “friend-of-the-court” brief on Thursday, 4 September with the Supreme Court of the United States. The amicus brief urges the Court to hear Utah’s same-sex marriage case.
September 21, 2014 – Ogden Utah Temple Rededicated by President Thomas S. Monson
The Ogden Utah Temple was rededicated by President Thomas S. Monson after undergoing extensive renovation. The temple’s entire exterior was reshaped and new stone and art glass were added.
October 6, 2014 – Church Responds to Supreme Court Announcement
When the Supreme Court decided not to hear same-sex marriage cases, the Church released a statement declaring the decision “will have no effect on the doctrinal position or practices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is that only marriage between a man and a woman is acceptable to God.”
October 22, 2014 – Church Updates Temple Garment Video
A new video about the Church’s sacred temple clothing goes viral and is then updated after it was discovered criminal charges were brought against a Church member shown in the video.
In 10 days, the film about six LDS families made $4,520,644, making it the 37th biggest documentary of all-time.
October 29, 2014 – Church Continues to Monitor and Respond to Ebola Situation
As the growing concern across the world about the Ebola virus grew, the Church reported they are “monitoring the situation carefully.” They also provided updates on how the Church is responding in regards to humanitarian efforts, Church members, and missionaries.
November 4, 2014 – Ellen DeGeneres makes Provo woman’s wisdom teeth dreams come true
Provo’s Jayci Underwood came out of wisdom teeth surgery disappointed she wasn’t pop star Nicki Minaj and would never know Ellen DeGeneres. The video of the conversation went viral and got Ellen’s attention herself.
November 11, 2014 – Church Provides Context for Recent Media Coverage on Gospel Topics Page
When a gospel topics page recognizing that Joseph Smith practiced plural marriage goes viral and takes news media by storm, the Church released a statement about the purpose of the gospel topics pages and in the information found therein. Watch the viral video and the segment on the Ellen show at the link below.
November 16, 2014 – Church Joins Global Faith Leaders at Vatican Summit
President Henry B. Eyring and other Church leaders spoke at a Vatican Summit to discuss marriage and family.
December 10, 2014 – “He Is the Gift” Christian Initiative Being Viewed by Millions
The “He Is the Gift” video gains more than 11.2 million combined views on Facebook and YouTube. And Christmas.mormon.org, which contains (among other things) the video and pages recounting the Christmas story, has been viewed 2 million times since the campaign launched at the beginning of December.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra and Temple Square entertained children and adults who are young at heart for their annual Christmas concert this year. Guest artists Broadway star Santino Fontana and the “Sesame Street” Muppets™ joined the choir for several concerts, including performances in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City from December 11-13, 2014. The artists also appeared on the weekly “Music and the Spoken Word” broadcast and mini-concert on Sunday, December 14.