Latest from Mormon Land: LDS Church gives millions to an agency that helps millions

Also: San Diego Temple to close; a lesson from “Field of Dreams”; books by the incoming Young Women president; missionary dies in Latin America; and the faith changes its web presence.

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Kiera McGrotty of the American Red Cross places a sign on the meetinghouse door of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints before a blood drive in Fenton, Mo., in March 2021.

The Mormon Land newsletter is The Salt Lake Tribune’s weekly highlight reel of developments in and about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Support us on Patreon and get the full newsletter, exclusive access to Tribune subscriber-only religion content and podcast transcripts.

Help from — and for — the Red Cross

The American Red Cross, which helps hundreds of millions of people every year, strives to “always [be] there in times of need.” And the church aims to be there for the Red Cross.

To that end, the Utah-based faith announced an $8.7 million donation last week to “assist with the purchase of biomedical equipment, mobile blood donation centers and programs to assist those with cancer or sickle cell disease.”

“The church’s incredible financial support and the steadfast commitment of your members,” Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross, said in a news release, “make a difference for people in need every day.”

The church gave $5.1 million to the relief agency last year and remains the largest contributor to its blood drives.

The latest ‘Mormon Land’ podcast: Goodbye, mormon.org

(churchofjesuschrist.org) The website of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The church went to great lengths to ensure its internet presence matches the edict against the “Mormon” term. On this week’s show, a technology expert discusses what it took to change domain names, and why officials went to the time, trouble and expense to do so. Read the story. Listen to the podcast.

‘Game of ball’ — like life — ‘is glorious’

(Universal Pictures) A scene from "Field of Dreams," starring Kevin Costner.

This is it. The end of this series, our final at-bat, one last swing at lessons from baseball.

Ninth inning • When watching “Field of Dreams,” men cry and some women wonder why.

Moviegoers who watch sappy films to enjoy a good cry can have Leonardo and Kate in “Titanic.” Baseball fans will opt for “Field of Dreams” instead.

While it pales next to “Shoeless Joe,” the W.P. Kinsella novel on which the 1989 movie is based, Phil Alden Robinson’s Oscar-nominated flick about a baseball-loving Iowa farmer still stands as a diamond gem. And when Ray Kinsella is asked by his ghost-dad if his cornfield-turned-ballfield is heaven, the Kevin Costner character looks at his verdant creation, his gleaming home and his happy family and says “maybe this is heaven.”

And, indeed, maybe it is — home, family, baseball. Walt Whitman was right. “The game of ball is glorious.”

So there you have it. Baseball is motivating and liberating. It shows us how to work, how to play, how to rest. It teaches responsibility and resilience. It showcases the beauty of diversity and the necessity of adversity. Firmly planted in eternal hope, it is inspired and inspiring. America’s pastime is much more than a way to pass time.

So play ball. Live life.

The write stuff

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Incoming Young Women General President Emily Belle Freeman.

President-in-waiting Emily Belle Freeman, who will oversee the church’s worldwide Young Women program come August, is a popular writer.

So what has the Boston native, Utah-reared author written? Here are a few of her titles:

From Grace to Charity” (2023); “Grace to Become” (2022); “The Unexpected Deliverer,” with David Butler (2021); “Grace Where You Are” (2020); “Celebrating a Christ-Centered Easter: Children’s Edition” (2018); “Even This: Getting to the Place Where You Can Trust God With Anything” (2017); “Love Life and See Good Days” (2016); “The Peter Potential: Discover the Life You Were Meant to Live,” with David Butler (2014).

Missionary dies

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Maria Jose Chavez Garcia, who died while serving a mission in Honduras.

A 20-year-old missionary serving since August in the Honduras San Pedro Sula West Mission died last week.

Maria Jose Chavez Garcia, from Cuilapa, Guatemala, fell ill and was admitted to a hospital, church spokesperson Sam Penrod said in a news release, where she was diagnosed with leukemia. “Doctors began emergency treatment, but she suffered complications” and died April 11.

This was the second publicly reported death of a full-time Latter-day Saint missionary this year.

From The Tribune

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) The Rev. Lawrence Edward Carter Sr. presents President Russell M. Nelson with the church leader’s oil portrait, which was inducted in the International Hall of Honor at Morehouse College’s Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel on Thursday, April 13, 2023.

• President Russell Nelson wins praise and peace prize from a historically Black college as a “tireless” champion of “radical inclusivity.”

• “The life I’m living is primary. It’s not secondary,” Matilyn Mortensen, host of the popular “This Is Not a Back-Up Plan” podcast, tells our guest columnist Natalie Brown.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Matilyn Mortensen, host of the popular podcast "This Is Not a Back-Up Plan," at a podcasting booth at the J. Willard Marriott Library on the University of Utah campus, Wednesday, April 5, 2023.

Temple updates

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) The San Diego Temple will close in July 2023 to undergo extensive renovations.

• The San Diego Temple, a favorite of many Latter-day Saints, will close in July to undergo “extensive renovations.” A completion date has yet to be announced.

California is home to 12 existing or planned temples.

• Apostle Gary Stevenson is scheduled to dedicate the Okinawa Temple on Nov. 12 after a Sept. 23-Oct. 7 open house.

This will be Japan’s fourth Latter-day Saint temple.