This year was full of events and stories that led us to push our thinking, look beyond the obvious and hone in on principles. Here are the conversations, perspectives and opinions that helped shape our 2019.

In January, the record-long government shutdown encouraged the editorial board to promote a solution that would end the shutdown and be considered a “win” for both Republicans and Democrats.

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In our opinion: A solution to end the shutdown and give both Republicans and Democrats a win

“Republican senators should propose a bill that includes at least part of the money for the wall — say half of the $5.7 billion President Trump wants — as well as a strong codification of DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that exists today only because President Obama issued an executive order,” The board wrote.

In February, the Jussie Smollett scandal and each subsequent development led to questions and conversations about the corrosive effects and danger of instant certainty.

“Instant certainty is the bane of this generation,” the editorial board wrote. “It is a barrier to trust and the enemy of truth. Worse, it seems unnaturally disposed to celebrity worship at the expense of less well-known innocent victims.”

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In our opinion: Jussie Smollett scandal exposes the corrosive effects of instant certainty

A guest opinion from a former Cosmo the Cougar encouraged and promoted understanding of the LGBT community.

BYU’s Cosmo the Cougar performs with the BYU Cougarettes during the 2017 homecoming football game against Boise State in Provo on Oct. 6, 2017.
17FTB Cosmo with Cougarettes 0010 BYU's Cosmo the Cougar performs with the BYU Cougarettes during the 2017 Homecoming Football game vs Boise State. October 6, 2017 Photography by Nate Edwards/BYU © BYU PHOTO 2017 All Rights Reserved photo@byu.edu (801)422-7322 | Nate Edwards, BYU

Charlie Bird asked for love and compassion toward LGBT individuals in faith communities and beyond. The piece sparked conversation about LGBT Latter-day Saints and encouraged others to listen to them.

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Guest opinion: Everyone loved me as Cosmo the Cougar, but would they love who I was behind the mask?

“By actively showing love and acceptance, we can create a space in which people can remove their masks, no longer subject to the isolation and hopelessness that comes with feeling obliged to hide who they really are,” Bird wrote.

On the heels of conversations about tolerance came news of a Texas city council banning Chick-fil-A from the nearby airport.

This led to a conversation about the limits of tolerance the issue of separating a business from the view of its owners. The editorial board warned against blurring lines of religion and tolerance to the point of confusion:

“The more the country blurs that line, the less likely it is to find the compromises that will truly guarantee fairness for all.”

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In our opinion: Removing Chick-fil-A from a Texas airport is not the tolerant step America needs right now

Soon after came an announcement from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that a 2015 policy regarding baptism for children of LGBT parents would be reversed.

The news ignited conversation from Latter-day Saints and others, leading to questions about the role of revelation in religious life. The editorial board addressed the news with a look into paradox, revelation and the notion of “proving contraries.”

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In our opinion: Paradox, revelation and the LGBT baptism policy

“In some respects, this process may not be entirely dissimilar to the arduous work of democracy,” the board wrote. “Proving the paradox of individual liberty and communal responsibility, for example, describes some of America’s most important political moments.”

Comments inferring a correlation between Latter-day Saint policies and LGBT youth suicide led to an insightful guest opinion about the danger of inaccurate claims.

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Guest opinion: The church and LGBT youth suicide: Inaccurate claims may do more harm than good

The authors asked the question, “What’s fact and what’s speculation?” and then dove into the numbers and data surrounding the claims, also exploring what more can be done to prevent further loss.

“Some LGBTQ youths seriously struggle with their faith experiences,” the authors wrote. “Others derive protection from their faith experiences and communities. Both are authentic lived realities. Both should be heard and understood.”

Harvard’s rejection of a Florida student for past comments was a hot debate.

Jay Evensen used the story as an example of the pitfalls of growing up in the modern world.

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Jay Evensen: Harvard's rejection of Florida student shows pitfalls of maturation in the modern world

“Mistakes similar to the ones you and I may have made decades ago in relative obscurity are today published indelibly on a web that is, indeed, worldwide,” Evensen pointed out.

Two mass shooting in one weekend — in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, — prompted discussion about gun control, public safety and mental health.

Dayton police look for evidence after a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio on Sunday, Aug, 4, 2019. (Marshall Gorby/Dayton Daily News via AP) | Marshall Gorby, Dayton Daily News via Associated Press

The Deseret News editorial board challenged Congress to make progress on these fronts within 21 days.

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In our opinion: After Dayton and El Paso, we're giving Congress 21 days to move the country forward

“No law or group of laws will guarantee that no more such tragedies take place, and legislation is not the sole answer to such a big problem,” the board said. “But a concerted, bipartisan effort, rallying the nation the way Pearl Harbor, the race to the moon or efforts to curb cigarette smoking energized previous generations, would make a difference.”

The shootings also prompted a reflection from three millennials about growing up with tragedy and being part of the “Columbine generation.”

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What do three millennials have to say about El Paso, Dayton and growing up with tragedy?

The three writers talked about the conversations happening with their peers, reactions to the recent shootings and making change happen.

During the summer, Utah Sen. Mitt Romney sat down with the Deseret News editorial board to discuss a range of topics.

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Q&A: Utah Sen. Mitt Romney talks Iran, gun control and the future of the Republican Party

Iran, gun control and the future of the Republican party were major topics that resulted in a Q&A with the freshman senator.

Health care has been a popular topic throughout the year, with news of rising drug prices and discussions about access to care.

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Jay Evensen: Think Sweden is a good example for health care? Think again

Many use Scandinavia as an example of a better welfare system. Jay Evensen countered this belief, saying, among other things, that “it’s not fair to use Sweden as an example because, for much of the time that it has offered universal care, it has been a mostly homogenous nation.”

As the seasons began to change, findings from the American Family Survey brought conversations about the state of family around the country.

The biggest takeaway from the survey is that Americans have more in common than they do in differences, and that reports about the crumbling of the American family are in many ways exaggerated.

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In our opinion: The American family is not crumbling

The editorial board discussed the dangers of a pessimistic attitude when looking at family life:

“Leaders tend to focus on and even emphasize the negative to better highlight what they can do to help, and while negative stories have a wider appeal than positive ones, they may lead to ill effects.”

With 2020 presidential candidates ramping up campaigns, Christian Sagers investigated one of the most popular words being thrown around: Socialism.

“Rather than idealize a system fraught with nuanced linguistic complexity, presidential candidates would do better to shed the word and concentrate on uniquely American solutions to our problem,” he wrote.

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Socialism isn’t what you think it is, but it’s still not what we need right now

Sagers also homed in on the issues young voters should be concerned with, and the ones presidential candidates should be talking about.

FILE - This Feb. 1, 2010, file photo shows the National Debt Clock in New York.
Mark Lennihan, Associated Press

“There is exactly one issue that will have the biggest impact on millennials for decades to come: reducing the national debt,” Sagers pointed out. “That should make finding the right candidate easy; nevertheless, I’ll distill it for you in case you’re pressed for time: Nobody qualifies.”

Further controversy surrounding Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh made headlines again this year.

Savannah Hopkinson encouraged healing the wounds and letting victims find peace.

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Let the Kavanaugh wound heal

Opinion editor Boyd Matheson responded to an op-ed in The Washington Post that compared the leadership of Brigham Young to that of President Donald Trump.

“A more complete history of such leaders — political, religious or business, with a perspective of the long view, including a little backstory perspective, is always more meaningful,” Matheson argued.

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What a Washington Post op-ed writer got wrong about Brigham Young

In Utah, a failed conversion therapy ban led to a proposed rule issued by a state agency. Debate about its nuances ensued.

A guest opinion shed light on the position of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints regarding conversion therapy and dug deeper than what most headlines were saying.

“Complex matters demand caution and prudence,” the authors reminded.

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Guest opinion: The church does not support conversion therapy, but that doesn’t fit in some headlines

Recently, a report from The Washington Post about the finances of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stirred reactions.

In a guest opinion, authors argued information about the church’s holdings should come as good news.

“Hopefully, by underscoring the church’s holdings, the Post article and the story’s whistleblower will draw some attention to an institutional model that’s actually working,” the authors wrote.

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The Washington Post says the Church of Jesus Christ has billions. Thank goodness

In response to the same article, opinion editor Boyd Matheson posed the question: Is the church rich, or enriching? He compared the financial approach of the church to that of Congress:

“A government that is deep in debt now, in the best of times, will be incapable of enriching or assisting its citizens without accumulating rainy-day resources today that can be deployed during an economic downturn in the future.”