Wednesday, December 24, 2008

LDS Church Highlights Significant Events Of 2008; Change In Presidency Ranked Most Significant, Proposition 8 Only Ranked Fourth

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has issued a press release entitled "2008: A Historic Year for the Church", in which they describe those events significant to the Church's mission. While not specified, the list appears to be ranked in order of importance.

Read the full press release HERE. I present a condensed version below.

(1). Church Leadership: The passing of Gordon B. Hinckley and subsequent accession of Thomas S. Monson appears to have been the most significant event. Included in this category was the accession of Dietrich Uchtdorf as Second Counselor, and D. Todd Christofferson to the Quorum of The Twelve, as well as the death of another apostle, Joseph B. Wirthlin.

(2). Publishing and Church History: The publication of the inaugural volume of the "Joseph Smith Papers" was characterized as a landmark literary event. It's the first of an expected 30 volumes, which will include journals, correspondence, discourses and written histories, as well as legal and business documents. Also in this category was the distribution of the 140 millionth copy of the Book of Mormon.

(3). Temples: The dedication of newly-constructed temples and the announcement of future temples continued throughout the year. Four temples were dedicated - Rexburg Idaho, Curitiba Brazil, Panama City Panama and Twin Falls Idaho. The Mexico City Mexico Temple was also re-dedicated. In addition, nine future temples were announced; Rome Italy; Gila Valley, Gilbert and Phoenix all in Arizona, Calgary Alberta, Kansas City Missouri, Cordoba Argentina, Philadelphia Pennsylvania, and Trujillo Peru.

(4). Protecting Marriage: The Church encouraged members in California and Arizona to support broad-based coalitions to define marriage as between and man and a woman. Both ballot measures passed in November. This galvanized and polarized the nation.

(5). Humanitarian Efforts: Leading examples include providing relief to victims of hurricanes and other natural disasters such as the flooding in Myanmar, and sending dozens of semi-truck loads of supplies to the Gulf Coast to aid those affected by Hurricane Gustav and Hurricane Ike.

(6). Commemorating the Priesthood Revelation: The Church formally commemorated the 1978 decision to extend priesthood eleigibility to black men, who were heretofore denied by Biblical injunction. Thousands packed the Salt Lake Tabernacle to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the revelation.

(7). Correcting Misconceptions: Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve basically urged Mormons to start blogging and exploiting the Internet more vigorously. I started Mormonism-Unveiled in response to that call.

(8). Mormon Tabernacle Choir: Dr. Mack Wilberg was appointed as the new director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, replacing former director Dr. Craig Jessop, who led the choir for over eight years.

It appears that the LDS Church wanted to limit the list to newsworthy events of positive impact. Consequently, events like Mitt Romney's campaign, the FLDS crisis, David Archuleta's American Idol stint and Chad Hardy's excommunication, though receiving national publicity, were excluded from consideration.

Mormon Media Observer somewhat followed the Church's reasoning. According to the Mormon Times, Mormon Media Observer's list, in order of priority, was the death of President Hinckley, Mitt Romney's campaign, Proposition 8, FLDS-LDS confusion, and Latter-day Saints' increase online.

I have found two other sources which have put together lists of top LDS events. MormonMentality published a Top Five list and named Gordon Hinckley's death as the top LDS event of 2008. Voice Of Deseret took it one step further - he not only published a Top Eight list, naming the Prop 8 campaign as the top LDS event, but is also running a poll on which you can vote.

My Top Five: Prop 8, Mitt Romney's campaign, the death of Gordon Hinckley, the accession of Thomas Monson, and the FLDS crisis.

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