Best of 2018: How Church Members Made Their Mark on the World This Year

by | Dec. 26, 2018

Mormon Life

From Church members sharing their talents on TV to assisting in humanitarian efforts around the world, 2018 has proven to be another amazing year for Latter-day Saints. Here are some of our favorite moments from the year to celebrate! 

Latter-day Saints in the Media and on TV

Hugh Jackman reacted to Latter-day Saint artists' The Greatest Showman performances. 

At the end of December 2016, 20th Century Fox hosted a "This Is Me" challenge where artists could perform their own arrangement of this dynamic song to compete for tickets to attend the red carpet premiere.

Latter-day Saint musician and YouTuber Tiffany Alvord was one of the artists who performed for Hugh Jackman, Zandaya, Zac Efron, and songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.

About Alvord's performance, Hugh Jackman raved, "It just made me melt into this chair. . . . Well done. I absolutely loved it."

Zandaya said, "It felt very intimate but it also felt very big. Great job."

"You found the bigger meaning inside of it," Zac Effron added. "It was fun to watch the three of you play your own instrument and come together as one. It was really fantastic."

In spring 2017, BYU Cougarettes and BYU Vocal Point teamed up to create an incredible music video mashup of songs from The Greatest Shoman, to which Hugh Jackman tweeted, “Thank you @BYUCougars for the amazing effort!!” and tagged his co-stars. 

BYU Dean shared how his daughter landed a major role in The Greatest Showman.

Keala Settle is well-known for her role as the bearded lady in The Greatest Showman, but her father, David Settle, shared how that iconic role almost didn’t happen for his daughter. She initially turned down the invitation to audition for the role, but after some convincing and an incredible performance, she landed the part on the spot. 

A Latter-day Saint family won $100,000 on America’s Funniest Home Videos.

A hilarious post-wisdom-tooth-removal video won a Latter-day Saint family $100,000 when they sent it to America’s Funniest Home Videos. The lightsaber battle ending in tears is definitely worth the watch.

Latter-day Saints dominated dancing shows. 

2018 was an amazing year for Latter-day Saint dancers. Jensen Arnold was a top competitor on So You Think You Can Dance, placing second overall. Meanwhile, Charity Anderson, Andres Penate, and Jaxon Willard were killing it on World of Dance. 

► You'll also like: How Latter-day Saints Are Absolutely Dominating the Dance World

MLB player Bryce Harper gave President Nelson a jersey and shared his testimony to his fans. 

Bryce Harper attended general conference in October, met President Nelson and gave him a jersey,  spoke with Elder Uchtdorf, and shared his testimony with all 1 million of his followers. He shared his feelings surrounding the touching experience, and it was incredible to see a public figure with such influence testify of the gospel. 


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As I sit here in the Salt Lake City airport I’ve been pondering about the last couple days I was able to spend in Utah with all my family. Of course you all know my season came to an end this year quite early & that was very unfortunate, but with that being said I was sitting back & thinking this will be the first year me and my wife will be able to attend General Conference and hear from the amazing leaders of our Church. As we were flying in on Thursday, I was so excited & anxious to get to Utah to enjoy this great weekend with everybody. So many smiling and energetic faces ready to do the same as me. We had some free time on Friday so we were able to do a session in the beautiful Salt Lake Temple. This was my first session in this temple and what an experience we had. The spirit was on my mind so strongly & the craziness that this offseason will bring. But when I am feeling such things or in a frame of mind like that nothing feeds my soul more than learning & being more in tune with my Lord & Savior in His house upon the earth! Later in the day we had an incredible opportunity to meet with President Nelson & the “German Shepard” Elder Uchtdorf. I can’t begin to describe to any of you how much wisdom and knowledge these men have. President Nelson had me in shock. He had an overwhelming feeling around him of the spirit. He walked into the room and I immediately teared up and began to think if it was even appropriate for me to be in the same room as this man because of how incredible he is. He came over and shook my hand, my wife’s hand, and family’s hands and we talked for a couple minutes. By the end I couldn’t help but think when this man talks it is the truth. It is the word of God & everything that I want to be part of. My mind was racing & I didn’t really have much time to catch my breathe or really sit back and think about what I had just heard or what had just happened because up the elevator & down the hallway stood one of my biggest hero’s and the biggest spiritual gangster’s that I’ve seen, Elder Uchtdorf. When I walked into his office he greeted me with the biggest smile & just the most friendly vibe I’ve ever seen or felt. He was so personable ➡️

A post shared by  Bryce Harper (@bharper3407) on

► You'll also like: MLB Star Bryce Harper Announces Social Media Fast to 1.4 Million Followers

A relationship expert quoted Joseph Smith on Dr. Phil.

Dr. Phil featured an estranged father and son on a recent episode and invited a Latter-day Saint relationship expert to provide advice. Troy Dunn shared his advice and added gospel principles in hopes to help the family. 

“We believe in agency,” Dunn said. “So the concept of agency, for those who aren’t familiar with it, is what we believe and we believe that from the beginning of time everybody has the opportunity in life to choose their own path. He later said, “We teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves,” paraphrasing Joseph Smith. 

► You'll also like: P. Diddy, Criminal Minds, and Other Bizarre Places You Wouldn't Expect Prophets to Be Quoted, but They Were

Church member Maquel Cooper was a contestant on The Bachelor and shared her faith.

American Fork resident Maquel Cooper was one of several women featured on the well-known TV show The Bachelor. She shared how she hoped she could represent the Church in a positive way and let everyone know “[Latter-day Saints] are normal, [they’re] cool.” 

Image by Paul Herbert, American Broadcasting Companies, Inc., via Deseret News

Ellen DeGeneres hosted Latter-day Saints on The Ellen Show. 

Claire Ryann Crosby captured hearts all over the Internet when her singing videos started going viral. Claire has performed multiple times on Ellen’s show and continues to make adorable videos. 

Ellen also made a Latter-day Saint teacher’s day when she gave her a $15,000 check for her low-income orchestra class. 

Camilla E. Kimball was quoted on Today.

Today hosts quoted President Spencer W. Kimball’s wife during their “Words of Wisdom” segment. Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford dicussed Sister Kimball’s famous quote, “Never suppress a generous thought.” 

Jim Caviezel is playing Latter-day Saint Tim Ballard in a new movie. 

Tim Ballard, owner and operator of Operation Underground Railroad, recently announced that Jim Caviezel will be playing him in an upcoming movie about rescuing children from sex trafficking. 

► You'll also like: Rescuing Children from Sex Slavery: One Latter-day Saint's Inspired Mission

Tyke James competed on The Voice.

Tyke James is a Latter-day Saint living in Hawaii. He competed on the popular singing competition The Voice and said he started pursuing a singing career because “I realized that music was a powerful thing that God gave to mankind.” 

Taylor Swift gave a struggling Latter-day Saint family $15,500. 

When Saide Bartell sent out a plea for help and a GoFundMe page, the Taylor Swift fan had no idea her favorite pop star would see it and donate. Swift donated $15,000 to Bartell’s family and signed the donation, “Love Taylor, Meredith and Olivia Swift.” 

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