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Christmas Is Love (LDS Newsroom) (December 4, 2012)
The true joy of Christmas comes when we focus on Jesus Christ, said Thomas S. Monson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He spoke during the annual First Presidency Christmas Devotional in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, 2 December 2012.

Mormons reach growth milestones in Africa, world (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (December 4, 2012)
The LDS Church organized its 3,000th stake — a group of congregations like a diocese — over the weekend. This one was in the West African country of Sierra Leone. Despite ongoing political tensions and upheaval across the continent, Africa remains fertile territory for Mormon missionaries, reports LDS growth expert Matt Martinich.

Full-time service in Sandy's wake coming to an end for Mormon Helping Hands (Deseret News - Utah) (December 4, 2012)
After a solid month of daily service to victims of Hurricane Sandy’s fury, missionaries in the New York New York City South and New York New York City North missions of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are “moving toward the end of what we can do,” according to one of their missionary leaders. “We have to be very careful,” said President Kevin Calderwood, who as president of the New York New York City South Mission is responsible for 200 of the LDS missionaries who have been the heart and soul of LDS service efforts in the areas hardest hit by the storm. Sandy hit the northeastern United States on Oct. 29, resulting in 253 fatalities and an estimated $66 billion in damages.

The Other Half of Heaven: Debunking Myths about Heavenly Mother (Meridian Magazine) (December 4, 2012)
It is Gospel Doctrine 101 that we are the children of God. Our spirits are the children of a Heavenly Father and a Heavenly Mother in the most literal sense possible. We have within us the genes of Godhood, the potential to develop and grow into the glorious, exalted beings they are. We lived with them before coming to earth to gain physical bodies in their likeness, male and female. God’s whole work is to bring to pass our immortality and eternal life, bringing us back into God’s presence, redeemed and sanctified through our obedience and discipline. The laws and covenants that mark our progress on that journey home comprise the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The framework for that journey, and much-needed support, is provided by the Church.

Romney re-joins Marriott's corporate board (CNN Politics) (December 4, 2012)
Marriott International, Inc. announced Monday that former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney had rejoined their board of directors, a position he held prior to his White House bid. "It is an honor to once again be able to serve in the company of leaders like Bill Marriott and Arne Sorenson and to support the work of the tens of thousands of Marriott associates who make Marriott International the renowned success that it is," Romney wrote in a statement distributed by Marriott. The move is one of the first signs of Romney returning to his pre-election life. The former GOP nominee will be subletting space at the offices of his son Tagg's investment firm Solamere Capital in Boston, though he won't be joining the firm himself, aides said.

Doug Robinson: Utahn Homer Warner led a full life of service to all (Deseret News - Utah) (December 4, 2012)
By the time Homer Warner died last weekend, the only wonder was that he made it to the age of 90. Officially, he died of pancreatitis, but it might have been just simple exhaustion. When did this man ever rest? His life's summary is the obituary page's version of "War and Peace," and it only scratched the surface. What did he do? What didn't he do. During his lifetime he was a scientist, inventor, football player, Navy pilot, Scoutmaster, sailor, missionary, bishop, father, husband, editor, medical pioneer and founder of a scholarly journal.

Making the Case for Manti Te’o's Heisman Trophy Win (Rant Sports) (December 4, 2012)
Manti Te’o will be one of three young men sitting front row at the Heisman Trophy presentation this Saturday. Coming into the season, everyone who’d been paying attention to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish over the past year or two knew Te’o was going to be good. He was obviously going to be the leader of the Irish’s defense, but it’s hard to say that many saw the newly-crowned Nagurski and Butkus Award winner being as good or as vital to Notre Dame’s undefeated season as he has been. Te’o's chances of winning the Heisman Trophy are slimmer than most simply because defenders just don’t win it. It’s almost as if they have a stench to them when it comes time for the ballots to be cast. The Michigan Wolverines‘ Charles Woodson had to do everything but make julienne fries to do win as a defensive back and there’s nothing indicating that he can’t. Ndamkuong Suh, the Nebraska Cornhuskers‘ most decorated player ever placed fourth in the 2009 vote total and he was a one-man defensive line. Te’o may have an edge due to his back story, though.

Mormon Olympic hopeful from Ghana learned priceless lessons on mission (Deseret News - Utah) (December 4, 2012)
At the National Athletics Championship at the El-Wak Sports Stadium in Accra, Ghana, Allah Laryea-Akrong tenses at the line, crouched down, mind clear, on the verge of making it to the 2012 Olympics in London as a sprinter in the men's 100-meter event. The bang from the gun pierces the air, and mechanically Akrong is out of the blocks and sprinting to the finish line. He crosses first, breaking his personal record, only to realize he's missed the Olympic mark by two-hundredths of a second off the B standard qualifying time of 10.25 seconds. Akrong has clocked in at 10.27.

Brigham City mayor discloses affair in letter to residents (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (December 4, 2012)
In a confession letter to his constituents, Brigham City Mayor Dennis Fife bared his soul Monday about an extramarital affair he said he terminated several months ago. Before being elected as mayor to the Box Elder County city in November 2009, Fife said he served as a bishop in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and counseled one woman who continued to seek him out after he had been released from his church calling.

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