Latest from Mormon Land: Jesus appears (in new videos); church leaders issue environmental plea

See the smallest Book of Mormon; get a General Conference recap; and more.

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More Book of Mormon videos

Jesus appears … at least in the latest videos from the Book of Mormon series.

The nine shows taken from the church’s signature scripture cover the volume’s climactic moment: the resurrected Christ’s visit to the Americas.

The first installment of Season Four is available now. A new one will then be published every Friday from Oct. 7 through Nov. 25. All can be viewed on YouTube, the Book of Mormon app, Gospel Library (online and app) and Gospel Media (online and app).

Church President Russell M. Nelson said during the weekend’s General Conference that he and his wife Wendy “were inspired” by the new videos.

Nelson likely was particularly interested in the final episode, titled “Jesus Christ Declares the Name of His Church and His Doctrine” — given the president’s emphasis on the faith’s full name.

Some ‘light’ reading

The Book of Mormon may loom large in Latter-day Saint theology, but the text itself — all 291,652 words — can fit onto a palm-size microchip wafer.

Brigham Young University electrical engineering students recently proved that.

“You can read it just like you would read it out of your scriptures,” student Carson Zeller explained in a YouTube video, “as long as you have a microscope.”

The creators capped their big, er, uh, tiny project by coating the thin silicon wafer in gold — an ode, of course, to the gold plates — that will allow it to last for “millions of years.”

So if you’re up for some light reading, even of weighty scriptures, this would be the ultimate book.

Tending to the earth

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé speaks at General Conference on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022.

Two top church leaders recently preached a green gospel.

First, Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé, the ecclesiastical overseer of the church’s vast financial, real estate, investment and charitable operations, delivered an environmental entreaty at General Conference, urging members to “use the bountiful resources of the earth more reverently and prudently.”

Days later, at Utah Valley University, Caussé's second counselor, Bishop L. Todd Budge, echoed and expanded on that message.

“When it comes to taking care of the earth, we cannot afford to think only of today,” Budge said, according to a news release. “The consequences of our actions, for better or worse, accumulate into the future and are sometimes felt only generations later. Stewardship requires feet and hands at work in the present with a gaze fixed on the future.”

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Bishop L. Todd Budge, second counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, speaks at the opening session of Utah Valley University’s “Why It Matters” conference on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022, in Orem.

Budge also highlighted ways the church — or its various departments — has reduced its environmental footprint. For instance, it has:

• Slashed water use by more than 30 million gallons a year since 2018.

• Trimmed annual energy consumption by 17.8 gigawatt hours over the same time frame, the equivalent of heating more than 13 million households.

• Recycled 3,679 tons of paper, 303 tons of cardboard, 175 tons of plastic and 173 tons of metal.

In 2017, apostle Dallin H. Oaks warned about climate change, noting that “seacoast cities are concerned with the rising level of the ocean, which will bring ocean tides to their doorsteps or over their thresholds. Global warming is also affecting agriculture and wildlife.”

General Conference recap

That’s a wrap. The fall General Conference is history. Here are some highlights:

• President Russell M. Nelson took a forceful stand — while sitting — against the “grievous sin” of abuse. “Let me be perfectly clear: Any kind of abuse of women, children or anyone is an abomination to the Lord,” he said. “He grieves, and I grieve, whenever anyone is harmed. He mourns, and we all mourn, for each person who has fallen victim to abuse of any kind. Those who perpetrate these hideous acts are not only accountable to the laws of man but will also face the wrath of God.”

• About that sitting, the 98-year-old Nelson, the church’s oldest-ever president, delivered his three talks while seated on a stool at the podium. “My wife Wendy insists that she still can’t get me to act my age,” he joked on Facebook. “But I will admit that sometimes even small adjustments — such as a chair — help those of us who ‘age on stage.’”

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) A seated President Russell M. Nelson speaks at General Conference on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022.

• Even a slowed-down Nelson is still moving fast on temples. He announced 18 more in nine nations, bringing his total to 118 and the church’s list of existing or planned temples to 300.

• Apostle Dieter F. Uchtdorf unveiled a new and updated “For the Strength of Youth” pamphlet that stresses the “values, principles and doctrine” young Latter-day Saints can use to make decisions for themselves.

• Tracy Y. Browning, second counselor in the children’s Primary general presidency and the first Black woman in such a churchwide post, made history again, becoming the first Black woman to speak at conference.

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Tracy Y. Browning, second counselor in the children's Primary general presidency, speaks at General Conference on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022. Earlier this year, she became the first Black woman in a general presidency and now is the first to give a sermon at General Conference.

• Meanwhile, general authority Seventy Joseph W. Sitati, faith’s first Black African general authority, received emeritus status and gave his final conference address.

• Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the governing First Presidency, noted the church’s humanitarian aid reached nearly $1 billion in 188 countries worldwide last year.

You can find summaries of all the conference sermons and announcements at sltrib.com.

Readers’ choice for ‘dream headline’

After 400 or so entries and more than 4,300 total votes in four rounds of balloting, we now have our readers’ choice for the ultimate “dream headline” for General Conference:

• Gold medal: “We apologize.”

• Silver medal: Effective immediately: Democrats welcome in LDS Church but only if they do not act on it.

• Bronze medal: LDS Church to members: Stop paying tithing! Says it has plenty of funds; now’s the time to feed and educate your families.

Thanks to all who participated in this contest in the spirit in which it was intended: a fun preconference engagement exercise.

The latest ‘Mormon Land’ podcast: Aging apostles

• As the church’s top leadership continues to advance in age — 12 of the 15 apostles will be at least 70 come next month, with three in their 90s and four in their 80s — is it time to grant emeritus status in the upper hierarchy? Historian Gregory Prince examines the issue and the benefits it could bring. Listen to the podcast.

From The Tribune

• In what could be seen as a theological breakthrough, a Latter-day Saint law professor has suggested a way same-sex sealings could take place in temples without violating church teachings and practices.

• The church is the largest landowner in downtown Salt Lake City, and its recent development decisions may shed light on how the heart of Utah’s capital will grow.

• Author J.K. Rowling may know everything about the wizarding world of “Harry Potter,” but she knows little about the mystical world of early Mormonism — and it showed in a recent social media dust-up.

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