SALT LAKE CITY — Five years ago Sunday, Thomas S. Monson became the 16th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The last six months have brought the celebration of President Monson's 85th birthday and his announcement during General Conference in October that changed the faith's missionary program.
On Feb. 3rd, 2008... Thomas Spencer Monson was ordained 16th Prophet and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
From an increase in missionary work to more temples, President Monson has kept his worldwide faith moving forward. Since 2008, he has announced 31 new temples. He attended many dedications.
A torrential downpour greeted him in Panama City for a temple that makes an international statement. It is visible to all ships that pass through the Panama Canal.
President Monson traveled to Kiev, Ukraine in August of 2010 to dedicate the first temple in the former Soviet Union.
"Now we look forward to the dedication," President Monson said at the time. "It will be a day you will ever remember. It's a day of freedom."
"He's very tuned into the idea that people would have a temple within 200 miles of where they live," said Elder William R. Walker, executive director of the temple department for the LDS Church. He keeps track of that and I think we're at about 85 percent of the church live within 200 miles of a temple."
Whether it's helping an individual, or those who have lost so much in natural disasters, or thousands in need of essentials in refugee camps, President Monson has encouraged Church members to give and work with other faiths.
"His love of people and the humanitarian needs, just go straight to my heart," said prominent community leader Pamela Atkinson.
President Monson looks to the future with faith, not fear. He has said that he has confidence, in the young people.
"It makes me want to stop focusing on my own problems and make my life terrific, like he said, through service to god and others," said 16-year-old LDS Church member Sydney Anderson.