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Some random thoughts heading into Super Bowl weekend in the United States:

  • There are many Latter-day Saint ties to the Super Bowl this weekend. The Kansas City Chiefs are coached by Andy Reid. There are some great pieces to read about him:

First, read the Deseret Magazine profile. It’s terrific. Then read this ESPN profile that ran a little over a year ago before Reid, one of the winningest coaches in NFL history, won his first Super Bowl.

The Chiefs also boast Daniel Sorensen, who wasn’t even drafted after his career at BYU but now is a key and reliable piece of the defense as a safety for a team trying to win its second consecutive Super Bowl. Sorensen makes smart plays while defending passes and throws his body around to stop the run. Here’s a strong profile about him.

And don’t forget that the man whose hands keep Tom Brady’s muscles pliable is a Latter-day Saint who has helped the 43-year-old quarterback play better and longer than any other quarterback in history. Here’s a profile: Who is Alex Guerrero? Inside the mind of the man who keeps Tom Brady in the game.

  • As I read “A scandal in Oxford: The curious case of the stolen gospel” this week, all I could think about was the true-crime whodunit I wrote about how a shady art dealer swindled BYU out of a Monet and a Homer.
  • The church is preparing to return some of the Hill Cumorah to its natural state after the final pageant this summer. Church officials have submitted an application with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation for a freshwater wetlands permit for a larger project that would include removing an RV campground, reducing the number of roads and paths and converting lawn areas used for pageant-goers back to woodlands and meadows, according to the Finger Lake Times. The church has discontinued the Hill Cumorah Pageant, and the final shows were scheduled for last summer, but the pandemic postponed them. The final pageant now is rescheduled for July 8-10 and 13-17.
  • The overall Latter-day Saint humanitarian response to the pandemic remains an underreported story, in my opinion. Every week across the world, multiple news outlets publish stories about how the church is helping here and there. In case you missed it, we reported last summer on the continental breadth of the response in the United States. It is the largest humanitarian aid project in church history.

The latest report on a portion of the response came Wednesday in the form of church volunteers helping to distribute food on Native American reservations in multiple states and a Minnesota outlet’s recent coverage on local church congregations teaming up with a nonprofit called New Hope to provide 100,000 meals around the Twin Cities.

My recent stories

Next Latter-day Saint general conference will be like the last: virtual only (Jan 21, 2021) 

How moving the Tooele temple halted a recount battle (Jan 21, 2020) 

What I’m reading ...

This week’s Church News podcast addressed the pressing issue of coping with anxiety.

This piece contains interviews with the director and actors for the new film, “Witnesses,” which will reach theaters this summer and is about the witnesses to the Book of Mormon.

I’ve been able to cover these donations in person in recent years when church leaders made them. Pandemic or no, the church donated $550,000 to help victims of child sexual abuse.

A Latter-day Saint missionary died in Haiti last week.

The incredible story of the soccer ball that survived the Challenger explosion.

Mack Wilberg and the Tabernacle Choir look forward to being together again, though they still don’t know when it will happen exactly.

The church sold a building related to the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Behind the scenes

Now-retired Brigham Young University Police Lt. Arnie Lemmon, with the recovered painting “Port Washington Point, Long Island, N.Y.,” by artist Mahonri Young. | Stuart Johnson, Deseret News