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December 9, 2016

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December 9, 2016

Choir Christmas concert artist meets the press (Deseret News - Utah) (December 9, 2016)
While Rolando Villazón was recording his solo parts for the recent release of Handel’s Messiah by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square, music director Mack Wilberg realized, “We have to bring Rolando to Salt Lake City, and the very best way of doing that would be to invite him to be part of our Christmas concert.”

Guest soloist and narrator evokes Christmas energy and compassion in performance with choir, orchestra (Deseret News - Utah) (December 9, 2016)
When internationally acclaimed operatic tenor Rolando Villazón was a boy growing up in Mexico, Christmas was his favorite time of year, not just for the presents, food, family togetherness and singing. “The most important above all was this beautiful energy that I suddenly felt,” he told the audience Dec. 8 at the opening performance of this year’s Christmas concert of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square. “Everybody I knew felt more gentle, more genuine, more full of compassion. … It was a very wonderful and warm sensation that gave me hope as a little child when I was looking at that and saying, ‘That’s the world I would like to live in, with this kind of people.”

Fire destroys beloved meetinghouse in Idaho (Deseret News - Utah) (December 9, 2016)
Latter-day Saints in this eastern Idaho community are grieving the loss of a beloved meetinghouse destroyed by fire on Dec. 6. Flames gutted the Palisades Ward building, leaving behind little more than a few exterior brick walls and decades worth of memories.

Orrin Hatch May Prove a Crucial Ally for Donald Trump (Wall Street Journal - Utah) (December 9, 2016)
In the weeks since Donald Trump was elected, a senior member of Congress has emerged as an important source of counsel: Sen. Orrin Hatch (R., Utah), the longest-serving Senate Republican and the chairman of a committee that will handle much of Mr. Trump’s agenda. Mr. Hatch was one of the first senators to endorse Mr. Trump for president and campaigned for him in Utah and other states where many residents share Mr. Hatch’s Mormon faith.

Elder Dale G. Renlund recalls a beloved Christmas memory (Deseret News - Utah) (December 9, 2016)
My parents immigrated to the United States from Sweden. Because we lived in humble circumstances, the gifts we received at Christmas were simple, frequently handmade and personal. In keeping with Swedish tradition, Santa Claus (Jultomten) came on Christmas Eve bringing gifts for the children.

Find Resources for Teaching 2017 Mutual Theme Now Online (Church News) (December 9, 2016)
Resources for teaching the 2017 Mutual theme for the youth of the Church—which focuses on the importance of praying and asking God in faith—are now live on LDS.org. Youth leaders can find the poster, music album, and other materials at youth.lds.org.

Reach Out in “Small and Simple” Ways This Christmas Season (Church News) (December 9, 2016)
During Christmastime, many families, wards, and individuals search for acts of service to participate in as part of their holiday celebration. This desire to serve gets to the heart of the Christmas season and draws us closer to our Savior, Jesus Christ.

"Helping Hands" offers relief across Peru (Deseret News - Utah) (December 9, 2016)
The Putumayo province in northern Peru is renowned for its massive rivers, indigenous culture and remarkable Amazonian biodiversity. Unfortunately, Putumayo, in 2016, has also been defined by flooding and suffering. Heavy rains and mudslides have inundated much of region over the past year, impacting scores of families living in the rural regions. Many have lost their homes. Others have witnessed the destruction of agricultural property essential to feeding their families and earning a living.

Footprints Show How Children “Stood Tall” in 2016 (Church News) (December 9, 2016)
This year the Friend invited children all over the world to “Stand Tall” by following in the Savior’s footsteps. The invitation was inspired by President Thomas S. Monson’s message “Following in the Savior’s Footsteps.” “Let us learn of the Savior Jesus Christ,” he said. “Let us follow in His footsteps. Let us live by His teachings. Then we will be prepared for any service He calls us to do.”

Mesa temple lights up for the holidays (Ahwatukee Foothill News - Arizona) (December 9, 2016)
Again this holiday season, the bright lights are shining at the Mesa temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For the 37th straight year, the lights were turned on the Friday after Thanksgiving and will be on from 5 to 10 p.m. through Dec. 31.

LGBT activist plans ad blitz targeting Mormon church’s tax-exempt status (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (December 9, 2016)
A prominent gay-rights activist and former U.S. presidential candidate hopes to build "the biggest, loudest and most comprehensive" legal case ever mounted for revoking the tax-exempt status of the Mormon church. Republican political operative Fred Karger, a longtime critic of LDS Church involvement in California's 2008 Proposition 8 campaign, said Thursday he has amassed a network of lawyers, researchers, investigators and like-minded organizations to help take his fight to the IRS.

December 8, 2016

At Library of Congress, Apostle Speaks on Book of Mormon’s Lasting Legacy (LDS Newsroom) (December 8, 2016)
Since its initial publishing 186 years ago, the Book of Mormon has made an indelible mark not only on the lives of its serious readers but also on American popular culture at large.

Elder Christofferson Offers Prayer in U.S. Senate (LDS Newsroom) (December 8, 2016)
Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints offered the morning prayer in the United States Senate. Customarily every Senate session begins with prayer, dating back to the Senate’s beginnings in the late 1700s. Usually the Senate chaplain offers the prayer, but Congress often invites guest chaplains from various faiths to pray.

LDS Church making presence known in nation's capital (Daily Herald - Utah) (December 8, 2016)
Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been in the public eye this week in Washington, D.C. Christofferson joined FamilySearch International, the world’s largest genealogy organization, on Tuesday in presenting the newly indexed database of the historic Freedmen’s Bureau Records to the Smithsonian National African American Museum of History and Culture in the nation’s capital.

LDS Church earns Glassdoor Best Places to Work ranking (Daily Herald - Utah) (December 8, 2016)
As an employer, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently earned a top spot on the 2017 Glassdoor Best Places to Work. At No. 19, the LDS Church sits just under other big-name corporations like Facebook, Google, In-N-Out Burger, LinkedIn, Adobe and Nestle Purina Pet Care. Based in Salt Lake City, it is the only Utah-based corporation to crack the top 50 list. While it's a bit odd for a worldwide religious entity to rank on this list, the LDS Church actually employs thousands of workers with various organizational duties.

Mormon Tabernacle Choir director offers an inside look at finding and arranging Christmas music (Deseret News - Utah) (December 8, 2016)
When traveling in Europe, most tourists are drawn to the famous landmarks, historic sites or other notable attractions. Not so much for Mack Wilberg. The director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir would rather walk into an old music shop and spend a few hours searching for the "rare gems," something that sounds fresh, he said. "People laugh at me," Wilberg said in an interview with the Deseret News. "For me, it's like being a kid in a candy shop. I just want to devour it all."

Nu Skin Longtime CEO to Leave for Role in Mormon Church (Wall Street Journal) (December 8, 2016)
Nu Skin Enterprises Inc. said Wednesday that Chief Executive and President Truman Hunt will leave the company in mid-2017, after about 17 years in the role, to take a three-year leadership assignment with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Defending the Faith: Judge Joseph Smith and the legal status of women (Deseret News - Utah) (December 8, 2016)
Although the Prophet Joseph Smith’s Dec. 23 birthday is appropriately overshadowed by the celebration of Christmas, it’s also appropriate to reflect briefly on his life and contributions. Happily, a recently published article — John S. Dinger's “Judge Joseph Smith and the Expansion of the Legal Rights of Women: The Dana v. Brink Trial,” in the Journal of Mormon History, Vol. 42, No. 4, October 2016 — opens a fresh window on him.

Preparing an emergency supply of food (WANE - Indiana) (December 8, 2016)
The need for an emergency supply of food may pop into your mind every now and then. But, do you have such a supply in your home? In this special report, Chief Meteorologist Nicholas Ferreri turns to a source you might not think of for tips on how to prepare your pantries – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, also known as The Mormon Church. The Mormons place a high importance on being self-reliant and having extra food on hand.

December 7, 2016

Church Presents Historic Freedmen’s Bureau Database to African American Museum (LDS Newsroom) (December 7, 2016)
FamilySearch International, the world’s largest genealogy organization, has given a newly indexed database of the historic Freedmen’s Bureau Records to the Smithsonian National African American Museum of History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

New Temples to Define Next Chapter of Church History in Southern Africa (Church News) (December 7, 2016)
While many of the 25 countries that make up the Africa Southeast Area are writing their maiden chapters of local Church history, the area enjoys a long and rich Latter-day Saint past. The first missionaries arrived in South Africa in 1853, just a little over two decades after the Church was restored. The first baptisms were performed on the continent that same year, and Mormon congregations have existed ever since.

Elder Renlund shares his testimony on temples in new 'Special Witnesses of Christ' video (Deseret News - Utah) (December 7, 2016)
In a new video posted on Mormon Channel's YouTube page, Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shares his testimony of temple blessings and eternal families.

At BYU devotional, Sister Oscarson shares lessons from the life of Joseph Smith (Deseret News - Utah) (December 7, 2016)
A study of the Prophet Joseph Smith’s life yields important lessons and doctrinal truths, Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women general president, taught during the campus devotional held in the Marriott Center at Brigham Young University on Dec. 6.

Payson Veterans home renamed for Medal of Honor recipient and Latter-day Saint killed at Pearl Harbor (Deseret News - Utah) (December 7, 2016)
One Pearl Harbor hero's legacy of courage, service and sacrifice continues to inspire his family and his home state of Utah. Capt. Mervyn Sharp Bennion, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate from Vernon, Tooele County, was in command of the battleship USS West Virginia on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, as Japanese airplanes attacked the U.S. fleet in Hawaii.

Mormon tabernacle near Pearl Harbor became a refuge for GIs after the attack (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (December 7, 2016)
On Sunday, Aug. 17, 1941, thousands of Mormons gathered on a stunning city square less than 10 miles from Pearl Harbor to dedicate what would be the last tabernacle the LDS Church would ever build. Hawaiian believers as well as visitors from the U.S. mainland marveled at the open-air design, the gleaming white concrete, the lush landscaping, crisp acoustics and shimmering reflecting pools. Its illuminated, 141-foot-high bell tower made the Mormon edifice the second tallest in Honolulu — and visible across the city.

Fire destroys LDS Church in Swan Valley (Local News 8 - Idaho) (December 7, 2016)
A church in Swan Valley is being called a total loss after a fire tore through the building Tuesday afternoon. The fire at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints chapel started around 2 p.m. after someone saw smoke coming from the building. Local church leaders said the fire started in the clerk’s office and was initially contained to the attic. After about 15 minutes, the main structure caught fire and it spread fast to the rest of the building.

4 Mormon Health Habits To Copy Even If You're Not An LDS Church Member (Medical Daily) (December 7, 2016)
Outside of former Massachusetts governor and presidential candidate Mitt Romney, few people have a lot of knowledge about Mormons. But some of the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, founded in the United States in the mid-1800s, can apply to more than just followers of this religion because of their health benefits. According to the Washington Post, Mormons tend to live longer, with a life expectancy of more than 86 years for women and 84 years for men in one long-term study — compared to life expectancies in the early 80s for women and mid-70s for men who were not Mormons. Want to live like the Latter-day Saints? These are four of their lifestyle practices.

December 6, 2016

Thousands respond to LDS Church's 'Light the world' campaign (Deseret News - Utah) (December 6, 2016)
After only one day of the Church’s Christmas campaign, a simple search online with the hashtag #LIGHTtheWORLD brings up thousands of photos and descriptions of people sharing service.

World's tallest Mormon temple lights up the sky (Your4State.com) (December 6, 2016)
It's hard to miss while driving on the Capital Beltway: the tallest Mormon temple in the world. While the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints illuminates every night of the year right outside of Washington, D.C., the month of December brings something extra special.

Mormon coach honored at Navy (Deseret News - Utah) (December 6, 2016)
Navy head football coach Ken Niumatalolo — who was featured in the Church-produced documentary “Meet the Mormons” — was named the American Athletic Conference Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season.

LDS Father Killed in Plane Crash in Colombia (Church News) (December 6, 2016)
A Church member was among the 71 people killed in a November 28 plane crash on a hillside near Medellin, Colombia. Adriano Wulff Bitencourt, 45, of the Chapeco Brazil Stake died in the charter flight that was traveling from Santa Cruz, Bolivia, to Medellin. The plane included several members of the Brazilian professional soccer club Chapecoense that was scheduled to play in the finals of the prestigious Copa Sudamericana soccer tournament in Colombia.

Hibbard father with terminal cancer passes away, leaves behind four children (Standard Journal - Idaho) (December 6, 2016)
A young father with T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma, who returned to his Hibbard home on Thursday, has died. Damian Secol, 35, passed away Friday afternoon. Doctors diagnosed Secol with the disease in July. He was later life-flighted to the Salt Lake City-based LDS Hospital, where chemotherapy treatments failed to help him. While there, he was able to bless his newborn daughter. He and his wife, Cassie, have four children under the age of 5.

How Trump Can Help Religious Charities (The Wall Street Journal) (December 6, 2016)
The House is scheduled to vote Friday on the National Defense Authorization Act. This legislation is passed annually to set the military’s budget and settle other policy issues. A significant hangup had been Democratic opposition to a provision known as the “Russell amendment,” which would have clarified conscience protections for religious groups that receive federal contracts. The amendment is named after Rep. Steve Russell (R., Okla.), who offered the amendment at the House Armed Services Committee.

December 5, 2016

Messages of Christ's Birth Shared at First Presidency's Christmas Devotional (LDS Newsroom) (December 5, 2016)
“Our hope is to capture the true spirit of Christmas for ourselves and for those we love,” said President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional.

Christmas Devotional: President Eyrings Shares Three Ways to Increase Personal Peace (Church News) (December 5, 2016)
In offering the concluding address at the annual First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional held in the Conference Center on Sunday, December 4, President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, shared the wish of President Thomas S. Monson and of the First Presidency: “that you will have in this season and always the feelings of joy, love, and peace that the Savior promised to His faithful and submissive disciples.”

Christmas Devotional: Remember Significance of Atonement This Season, Elder Oaks Says (Church News) (December 5, 2016)
Christmas is a celebration of the birth of the Savior and a time to remember Him and His teachings, Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught during the First Presidency's Christmas Devotional held in the Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City on December 4.

Christmas Devotional: Joy of Christmas Includes Christ's Gift of Redemption, Says Elder Christensen (Church News) (December 5, 2016)
Christmas “is not only a celebration of how Jesus came into the world, but also who He is—our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ—and why He came to earth,” said Elder Craig C. Christensen of the Presidency of the Seventy on December 4.

Christmas Devotional: Gifts from Heavenly Father Include Holy Ghost, Says Brother Holmes (Church News) (December 5, 2016)
God offers His priceless gifts freely to all at Christmas and throughout the year, said Brother Douglas D. Holmes, First Counselor in the Young Men general presidency, on December 4. “I pray we will not leave them unopened but receive them by turning these keys,” he said. “I testify that as we do, we will be filled, step by step and degree by degree, with love, joy, peace, purity, and power.”

Ground Is Broken for Winnipeg Manitoba Temple (LDS Newsroom) (December 5, 2016)
Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints joined with community leaders in Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada, on Saturday, December 3, 2016, to break ground for a new temple. This will be the ninth temple in Canada.

Primary Leader Participates in UNICEF Panel Discussion (LDS Newsroom Blog) (December 5, 2016)
A general officer of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints expressed appreciation to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for the opportunity to be a partner in its global efforts to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT). Sister Jean B. Bingham, first counselor in the Church’s Primary general presidency, participated in a UNICEF panel discussion in New York City Wednesday, November 30, 2016.

Church Releases Historical Background of Doctrine and Covenants (LDS Newsroom) (December 5, 2016)
In 2017, adult and youth members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will study the Doctrine and Covenants as part of the Church’s Sunday School curriculum. Stories behind sections of the Doctrine and Covenants have been released by the Church as a resource for the study of a book that Mormons regard as scripture. “Revelations in Context,” a series of narratives written by the Church History Department, includes insights behind the revelations, mostly given to Church founder Joseph Smith.

Bolivian Eye Clinic Renamed for President Monson (Church News) (December 5, 2016)
A public eye clinic in Bolivia's largest city now bears the name of the Church's 16th President, President Thomas S. Monson. The High Complexity Eye Bank Laboratory in La Paz was recently renamed for President Monson in recognition of the Church making a substantial donation of medical equipment to the facility, according to the Church’s Mormon Newsroom website in Bolivia.

Mormonism Online: In Your Own Words (LDS Newsroom Blog) (December 5, 2016)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints launched its “Light the World” Christmas initiative on November 25, 2016. The message focuses on celebrating and sharing the Light of Jesus Christ, the “light of the world” (John 8:12). Latter-day Saints around the globe are sharing this Christmas message online.

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."

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