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Year in religion: from St. John's Bible to the 'Mormon Moment'



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SALT LAKE CITY — From many more missionaries to the Mormon Moment, from immigration to a Bible that's a work of art — these religion stories and others made the KSL TV Year-End Review for 2012.

When The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints President Thomas S. Monson announced age changes for young members who wish to serve missions — 18 for men, 19 for women — the conference audience gasped, then came an avalanche of reaction that hasn't stopped.

"I'm absolutely ecstatic," said Lindsay Castleton. "I've been dreaming about this day my whole life."

The Newsweek cover, the Book of Mormon musical, high school basketball star Jabari Parker, and Mitt Romney's run for the presidency... national writers coined the phrase, "The Mormon Moment." We asked, is it over?

"I think it's a beginning to, hopefully, a long awakening and understanding of who and what Mormons are," said Fiona Givens, an LDS author.

NBC looked at the lives of Latter-day Saints. "Rock Center with Brian Williams" aired an hour-long special, " Mormon in America," and the Jackson family of Utah was featured.

"For the most part, we're becoming more and more accepted in mainstream," Al Jackson said.

Elder William Walker, executive director of the Temple Department, was interviewed by Barbara Walters for her two-hour special on ABC on the subject of heaven.

When Hurricane Sandy devastated parts of the East Coast, some 8,000 LDS members and missionaries became "Helping Hands" for weeks to clean homes and clear out debris.

In response to another disaster, LDS Charities donated a million dollars to provide humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees living in camps in Jordan. Service missionary couples are overseeing the distribution.

Bishop John Wester hosted the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which came to Utah for a three-day event on immigration reform.

"These are real human beings," Wester said. "This is not just some abstract political debate. These are real human beings."

Wester addressed 1,000 or more students at Utah Valley University, spending hours on campus at the school's first Interfaith Conference.

After 68 years in Utah, 6 Catholic nuns of Mount Benedict Monastery are saying goodbye to the Odgen community they love. Fewer women are choosing the monastic life, so they will return to their order in Minnesota.

And leaders of the Episcopal Cathedral of St. Mark brought to Utah a replica of one of the most stunningly beautiful pieces of religious artwork in our time, the St. John's Bible. People of all faiths turned the pages with appreciation and reverence.

LDS church President Thomas S. Monson celebrated his 85th birthday in August and Monday night at the Vatican, Christopher Gray, a 1997 graduate of the Madeleine Choir School, was Deacon of the Mass, singing the Gospel for the Pope at Midnight Mass.

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Carole Mikita

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