Our 11 Favorite Mormon Moments from 2016

LDS Father's Message Forgiving the RM Who Killed His Son Goes Viral

After boyfriend and girlfriend Simon Olsen (18) and Hailie Godfrey (18) died on impact in a car crash in August, their story gained attention on social media not as a message of loss, but one of hope, love, and forgiveness. 

Within a day of the crash, Simon Olsen's father, Lane Olsen, posted a message on Facebook forgiving the returned missionary who killed his son, one that reached over 13,000 people and shared this beautiful testimony of the Plan of Salvation:

Today has been the worst day of my life! No parent should have to bury their child.
As a family our hearts go out to Tanner Evans, who was the driver that killed my son Simon and his girlfriend Hailie. . . .
With Tanner coming home last week from his mission we can't imagine the guilt and pain he is feeling. We hold no hard feelings and we love that family!
I spoke to his father Matt, and he says that he is devastated and their family is feeling the same pain and sadness.
I am so proud of my children. When my son Chandler Olsen found out who the driver was, he wanted to drive over and tell the family that we forgive them and have no hard feelings. My daughter Lexi Sparks posted on her FB wall to pray for him and his family. Gehrig Olsen is not angry either.
This is what Simon would of wanted, he loved everyone and would want everyone to be laughing and have no anger.
I'm sure Simon would say, "Guys relax I will you see all very soon, I'm skydiving in Heaven and practicing my basketball skills."
I'm humbled by the power of forgiveness for this is the only way to heal and move forward.
Please pray for all of us and especially the Evans family. This is not easy for any of us, but through God and faith we will get through this most trying time in our lives.
The outreach and love extended to our family has been overwhelming, we have had so many friends and family visit, call from all over the world and hundreds of texts and FB posts. We feel the power of your thoughts and prayers.
It is by this power that we are getting through this most challenging time. We appreciate those that have also donated in Simons behalf, your generosity is greatly appreciated.
Some people say that their is no God, others say we will not have an afterlife.
But I CHOOSE to BELIEVE, I CHOOSE to be HAPPY, I CHOOSE to live my life through my son. And I CHOOSE one day to embrace my son and cry tears of joy.
We love you all!

Indiana Jones, Lord of the Rings Star Shares Surprising Insights on What He Thinks About Mormons

After performing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for their 2013 Christmas concert and starring in a new BYUtv movie that premiered this Thanksgiving, John Rhys-Davies has had more exposure to Mormons and LDS culture than most in the movie industry.

Rhys-Davies, best known for his roles as Gimli in Lord of the Rings and Sallah in Indiana Jones, shared what he thinks about Latter-day Saints and some of their unique traditions.

"You're a strange community to us on the outside, but I find you very warm and very welcoming and very friendly—a considerate people," Rhys-Davies says.

"I like you. And you make it very clear you are willing to put up with me despite the fact that I am far less godly than you guys are . . .

"I'm not just blowing smoke at you—it's true. You are an odd lot. But you make me welcome and I like you . . . Some of the answers you have found are so interesting."

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Photo from digitalspy.com.

One particularly interesting Mormon practice that Rhys-Davies has come to admire is that of LDS missions.

"[You] send people away from home with no contact with home except on birthdays or Christmas or something like that—to go to an alien country and to have to go out and meet people and make contacts. I meet these young men and they must go home night after night with a sense of abject failure. And [then they] have to get up the next morning and try and do better. When they finally manage to go home they will have matured and nothing again in their lives will ever be as hard and difficult as that.

"The ones that survive—and I imagine most of them do—turn out very splendid and very successful and quietly confident men. Nothing can be as bad. If I can do that, I can do anything, and that's a very significant ritual you have evolved. Very impressive."

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