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Church of Jesus Christ recaps year of global charity, temple proliferation

By Genelle Pugmire - Daily Herald | Dec 26, 2023
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The unveiling of the Light the World Giving Machines in Cebu, Philippines, at Ayala Center Cebu Mall on Nov. 16, 2023. Participating in the event is Relief Society General President Camille N. Johnson, center left, and Primary General President Susan H. Porter, center right.
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The Layton Utah Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, currently under construction, on July 14, 2023.
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President Russell M. Nelson poses with his counselors in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Dallin H. Oaks and President Henry B. Eyring, at a small gathering in honor of his 99th birthday in his office at the Church Administration Building in Salt Lake City on Friday, Sept. 8, 2023. His birthday was Sept. 9.
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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Dec. 13, 2023, that a new Missionary Training Center will be located close to the new Bankok Thailand Temple.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released its year-end report of activities and global donations Tuesday, highlighting efforts undertaken to fulfill its mission of helping followers pattern their lives after Jesus, helping those in need, inviting all to receive Christ’s teachings and to uniting families forever.

According to the church, one of the biggest areas of focus in 2023 involved humanitarian aid. The church reported it gives more than $1 billion each year to help fight hunger, disease and other issues facing people in several countries.

For instance, in August, the church announced a donation of $44 million to support global hunger relief efforts, targeting children in 30 countries. That was followed in November with the launch of an effort, headed by the Relief Society, to improve the health and development of children under 5 and their mothers in 12 countries in Central America, Africa and Asia.

The church also donated $8.7 million to the American Red Cross for biomedical equipment, mobile blood donation centers and programs to assist people with cancer or sickle cell disease, and $3 million in support of a malaria immunization campaign in Africa.

Some of the other donations were used to provide greenhouses in Bosnia, warm clothing for people in Chicago, health care in Ghana, wheelchairs in Guatemala, an African American schoolhouse in Louisiana, fire relief in Maui, infant health and hurricane relief in Mexico, a shelter for people experiencing homelessness in Montreal, a prosthetics workshop in South Africa, boreholes for clean water in Gambia and a school in Zambia, the church said.

Local charities we not overlooked as food banks, neighborhood improvement groups and hospitals also received donations and were included in this year’s Light the World Giving Machine efforts.

“We want to empower families,” Relief Society General President Camille N. Johnson said, as quoted in the church’s report. “In many cases, loving parents lack the knowledge to provide adequate nutrition for their children. With greater understanding and resources, they are better equipped to make changes that can have a lasting impact.”

This year, the Giving Machines were found in 61 locations worldwide including Salt Lake City and Orem. Since 2017 when the machines started, more than $22 million has been donated for a variety of goods and services for those in need, according to the church. That figure does not include what is being collected in 2023.

Missionary work

In 2023, the church announced 36 news missions to accommodate the rising numbers of missionaries, including two in Utah County: Saratoga Springs and Spanish Fork.

With these additions, the church now has 450 missions with more than 72,000 full-time and service missionaries.

On Dec. 13, the church announced it would open a new Missionary Training Center in Bangkok, Thailand, effective Jan. 1.


Temples, which are unique to modern day Christianity, are a part of the growing nature of the church and are considered by the faith to be houses of the Lord.

On Dec. 10, President Jeffery R. Holland, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, rededicated the St. George temple, a legacy temple and the first to be built in Utah. Holland and his family have close ties to the temple, including his own marriage to the late Patricia Terry Holland.

“We need to try to be outside the temple the way we are inside the temple,” Holland said at the time, speaking of the sacred space where Latter-day Saints believe they learn the purpose of life and are united as families for eternity. “We need to remember the pledges and the promises and the hopes and the dreams. If we could take those outside the temple, we’d change the world.”

In the five years he has lead the church, President Russell M. Nelson has announced the construction of 133 temples across the globe with 315 already in operation. The church also announced a new program for manufactured temples called Design, Manufacture and Construct, or DMI. The first of this kind was built in Helena, Montana. According to the church, the new method expedites construction, costs less and supports conservation issues. According to the church’s Temple Department, it will allow for temples throughout the world and very little concern with supply chain and shipping issues.

In other church changes, Elder Patrick Kearon was named a new apostle in December, filling the leadership void left by the death in November of President M. Russell Ballard.

In addition to Ballard, the church also lost Sister Mary Crandall Hales (wife of Elder Robert D. Hales, who died in 2018), Sister Kathleen Eyring (wife of President Henry B. Eyring of The First Presidency) and Sister Patricia Holland.


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