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Year-end picture
Renee Bright / KUER

It was a year of big — big fires, big ballot initiatives and big political upsets — that collectively defined Utah in 2018 as the state continued its growth spurt. The Beehive State added another 50,000 people this year, owing both to the state’s healthy economy and low unemployment. But Utah also weathered more troublesome headlines, whether through the rushed creation of a controversial Inland Port in northwest Salt Lake City or the publication of sexual abuse allegations implicating leaders in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Catholic Church.

KUER reporters picked out some of the top stories of this year and explain why they mattered.

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Five years ago today, U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby issued a ruling that struck down Utah’s same-sex marriage ban as unconstitutional. That case, Kitchen v. Herbert, and others like it, created precedent that eventually led the U.S. Supreme Court to legalize gay marriage nationwide. It also led to a rush at the Salt Lake County clerk’s office, where hundreds of LGBT couples had gathered to get married.

Salt Lake City Temple
Lee Hale / KUER

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is asking media organizations to stop using the terms "LDS Church," "Mormon Church" or even "Mormons" when referring to the faith or its members.

A tall white building against blue sky.
Lee Hale / KUER

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has quietly doubled down on a controversial policy toward gay members by including it in a recently updated manual for missionaries.

Lee Hale / KUER

A woman accusing a former Mormon leader of rape is now suing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She and her attorneys are asking for justice as well as policy changes to prevent further abuse.

The Mormon Church Diversifies

Mar 31, 2018

This Easter and Passover weekend, it's the Mormon Church that is making headlines. On Saturday, the church's first Latin-American and first Asian-American apostles were named.

The two men diversify the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, whose top leaders until today consisted solely of white men. One apostle, Dieter Uchtdorf, hails from Germany. They rank below the church president and his two counselors, acting as the core group of Mormon policymakers.

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Ulisses Soares and Gerrit W. Gong were named as the two newest members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The announcement came during the first session of the bi-annual General Conference in which Russell M. Nelson was formally sustained by church members as the newest president and prophet.

Bonus: Temple & State

Feb 14, 2018
KUER

Every legislative session a few bills pop up that generate a lot of buzz, but never quite make it to the finish line. For the last few years, that has been the case with proposed legislation to toughen the state's penalties for hate crimes. So what invisible forces propel some bills while squashing others? Some critics say it's the Mormon Church, whose membership includes almost 90 percent of the Utah Legislature. Others say their influence is overstated. And then there's Steve Urquhart, a former Republican state senator from St. George, who observed this phenomenon firsthand.

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Russell M. Nelson announced this morning that he will accept the call to serve as president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He also named Dallin Oaks and Henry Eying to serve with him as counselors in the First Presidency, the highest governing body in the church.

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The funeral for Thomas S. Monson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was held today at the Conference Center on Temple Square.

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Members of the Mormon faith are sharing their memories of LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson, who died Tuesday night at age 90 in Salt Lake. 

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Thomas S. Monson, president and prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, died Tuesday night at the age of 90.

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A petition by a former Mormon bishop has caused a stir this week. It calls for lay leaders in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to stop asking about the sexual practices of young people in one-on-one interviews. This week, the church weighed in.

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Today the Boy Scouts of America announced that their programs will soon be open to girls. As soon as next year Cub scout packs, which serve kids ages 7 to 11, can be coed, but this won’t change how Mormon Boy Scout troops operate.

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The funeral services for Mormon apostle Robert D. Hales - who died last weekend - were held at the historic Salt Lake Tabernacle today.

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The death of Mormon apostle Robert D. Hales over the weekend leaves a vacancy in one of the top councils of The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Here is what we know about how a successor is chosen.

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Elder Robert D. Hales died Sunday afternoon from causes incident to age, according to a statement from the LDS Church. He was in the hospital surrounded by his wife and family. 

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Videos showing leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints discussing current events in private meetings surfaced online over the weekend. The videos were likely leaked by a current or former employee of the LDS church.

Andrea Smardon / KUER

A new sexual abuse lawsuit was filed this week against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The plaintiff is the fourth member of the Navajo Nation to come forward since March with accusations of childhood abuse in the church’s Indian Placement Program.

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Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints launched the Rainbow Mormon Initiative on Sunday.

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On Sunday, a group of Mormons will be wearing rainbow ribbons to church to show support for their LGBT brothers and sisters.

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A Navajo woman is suing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, saying she was sexually assaulted while participating in the church’s Lamanite Indian Student Placement Program. This is now the third claim of sexual abuse that has been brought against the Mormon Church by members of the Navajo Nation since March.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The oldest of the LDS missionaries injured in the Brussels Airport terrorist attacks nearly a month ago has finally returned to Utah.

Andrea Smardon / KUER

Hundreds gathered at a park in Salt Lake City over the weekend to publicly resign from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The mass resignation came in response to LDS Church policy changes clarifying that those who are in a same-sex marriage should be considered apostates, and banning baptisms for children living with gay parents until they’re 18.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The LDS Church is standing behind its new rules targeting gay members and their children, but officials provided information Friday intended to clarify the policies.

Andrea Smardon / KUER

Many members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have considered resignation over the last few days. It’s a response to updated policies that say members in same-sex marriages can be kicked out, and that bar their children from being baptized unless they disavow same-sex relationships.

Elder Richard G. Scott Remembered as Man of God

Sep 28, 2015
Brian Grimmett

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints remembered and honored the late Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at his funeral service on Monday.

LDS Faithful say Goodbye to President Boyd K. Packer

Jul 10, 2015
Courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Faithful Mormons gathered at the Salt Lake Tabernacle on Temple Square today to say goodbye to Boyd K. Packer.  The President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the LDS Church died last week at the age of 90. 

Ray Luce

General Authorities of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have asked local church leaders to open up discussion about same-sex marriage with congregants. This comes in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that legalizes same-sex marriage nationwide.

Mike Renlund via Creative Commons

Former Republican State Representative Carl Wimmer says tension often exists between Utah lawmakers’ political ideologies and their affiliation in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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