My name is Jacob Paulsen and in the last two weeks, I was able to witness something that changed my life.

My wife and I were both born and raised in Southern Wyoming and as such we have connections to The University of Wyoming. My father received his master’s degree from UW and both my father in law and mother in law have received multiple degrees from UW.

Now living in Colorado, I work as a volunteer to coordinate with local and regional media outlets when news stories involving The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are covered.

Several weeks ago I received a phone call informing me that there may be some media interest in an upcoming food donation that the church was involved with in partnership with The Black 14 Philanthropy organization.

I had to dust off my Wyoming roots and do a little research to refresh my memory.

Before it was a non-profit organization to support schools, university, black student athletes and underserved communities the Black 14 were just 14 University of Wyoming football players.

In 1969, these 14 football players approached their football coach Lloyd Eaton and asked permission to wear black armbands during the upcoming home game against BYU.

As this time, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which owns and operates BYU, had a policy that excluded black people from the priesthood of the church and many athletes on other teams had worn black armbands to silently protest against that policy.

The church, through revelation to the prophet, changed it’s policy less than a decade later but in 1969 these 14 players were caught by surprise when they went into Eaton’s office to request permission to wear the armbands.

Coach Eaton immediately dismissed them from the team. The loss of these players was a devastating blow to the team. At the time of the incident the Cowboys were undefeated and ranked 16th in the AP Poll. It was all downhill from there and many feel that 50 years later the team has yet to fully recover.

Black 14 Member & future New England Patriots player Tony McGee drinks water during practice at Bryant College in Smithfield, R.I. on Sept. 3, 1981. (Photo by Frank O’Brien/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

In 1971, when my father and mother in law attended UW they have memories of walking through picket lines to get to the church owned institute where they took religious classes near the campus. The wound was fresh and in many ways for some The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints became to target of the frustration and scorn of UW football.

The Church didn’t kick the players off their team. Coach Eaton did based on the school’s “no protesting” policy.

In the mid 1980s my father attended UW to complete his masters degree. He finished his undergrad at BYU and while living in Southern Wyoming spent several summers in Laramie to finish his masters degree.

He tells me he may be one of very few people in this country who can say (or dares to mention it out loud), that he has a degree from both BYU and UW. Nearly 15 years after the incident the wounds hadn’t healed for many at the University of Wyoming.

Fast forward a few decades. In the fall of 2019, appx 50 years after the incident, The University of Wyoming invited back the Black 14 to speak to students, attend a special dinner, receive an official apology letter, and receive jerseys and letterman jackets.

At a football game attended by the eight players that returned the student body that consists of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints wore Black 14 T-shirts during the game.

In 2020, members of the Black 14 saw the need for food to be donated to help those who are suffering during this pandemic as we enter the holiday season.

Working with Gifford Nielson, President of the Church’s North America Central Area, the Black 14 made an arrangement that many may consider a miracle.

The church agreed to donate and deliver 360,000 pounds of food across the US to cities and local charities selected by surviving members of The Black 14.

John Griffin, a member of the Black 14 who resides in Denver selected Catholic Charities of Denver to be one of those recipients. So on November 17th at 9:00 AM a Deseret Industries semi-truck pulled into the Salvation Army Warehouse in Aurora.

Representatives of The Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Denver Rescue Mission, and John Griffin and his family. Nov 17th, 2020 Aurora, CO

Catholic Charities who lacked a large enough storage facility called on The Salvation Army to receive and store the food donation long enough for it to be distributed to various food banks and organizations across the metro including the Denver Rescue Mission, Salvation Army, and various Food banks and ministries.

From here I don’t need to tell the rest of the story. The local media has done so for me. Below I include some of the video news coverage and a link to The Denver Post.

I end my part of this story by telling you that time can not only heal wounds but also turn hearts toward each other. As I look back at my own family’s history as proud members of a Church that provides vast relief to people affected by tragedy; and the many UW degrees proudly displayed in homes on both sides of my family; it all has come full circle for me as the charity of Christ conquers all.

CBS Denver Nov 17th, 2020

9News Denver Nov 26th, 2020

KWGN 2 News Nov 17th, 2020


On Saturday, May 4, members of The Church of Jesus Christ joined with Catholic friends to lay sod, and to perform other landscaping work, at various gravesites throughout Fort Logan National Cemetery.

Approximately 80 volunteers worked over several hours to beautify gravesites for the several hundred individuals who were buried at the cemetery in recent months.

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Steve Collis, Dilpreet Jammu, Elder Thomas Priday, Pastor Del Phillips, Dr. Don Sweeting, and Deacon Geoff Bennett (Left to Right. Not pictured: Rabbi Black)

Yesterday marked the beginning of a new day in Colorado. Governor Jared Polis shared remarks with a standing-room only crowd after signing a proclamation declaring April 12 Colorado Religious Freedom Day. Heralding in the news with prayer and speech were religious leaders representing Jewish, Catholic, Sikh, and Christian faiths. Elder Thomas T. Priday of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints conducted. An interfaith choir directed by Kent Jones filled the air and hearts of participants with songs of patriotism and gratitude. Local Muslim leaders, who supported the efforts of the day were unable to attend because of their Friday Congregational Prayer, look forward to joining next year.

Rabbi Black of Temple Emanuel opened the event with a prayer soliciting unity. Elder Priday read the proclamation declaring Colorado Religious Freedom Day. Pastor Del Phillips, of the The House Worship Center, and Mayor Hancock’s Faith council, followed with opening remarks. “We not only advertise religious freedom, we practice it. The practice of religious freedom is personified by the presence of so many people here…. We must have the freedom for many types of faith to coexist,” he said. Pastor Phillips further reminded all of the crucial need for a unified front for tolerance. “If men and women of faith don’t know how to demonstrate tolerance, we can’t expect those not of faith to find faith, to respect faith, and to respect houses of worship.” He closed with the reminder for all to “remember when you enter your private space of worship, you are not the only one praising God and praying for Colorado.”

Pastor Del Phillips, of The House Worship Center kicks the event off with rousing remarks.

Following Pastor Phillips was Dilpreet Jammu of the Colorado Sikhs. He focused on the equality of mankind, the attributes we share, and the duty to accompany our prayers with action. “We share far more than we differ. All humans are equal. Our actions matter more than words and belief. What matters is you are a human being and you are hungry. If you are suffering, it is my duty to help you.” He reminded faith leaders of their opportunity to promote civility and mutual respect. Jammu also taught about the power of prayer to provide dignity. He said, “Prayer has the greatest power when it is made manifest. You cannot pray away hunger or pray for compassion without action.” He called all to “move beyond words to actions,” and invited those in attendance to Lunger, a meal they will be sharing with all in need, regardless of faith belief.

Deacon Geoff Bennett of Catholic Charities spoke next. Highlighting the power of unity in action, he invited all to do as is said at the end of each service and “Go live this faith outside of our walls.” Without watering it down, he said, we should “practice proudly and recognize that our faith is what brought us together and makes us who we are.” He called for us to see that it is all about relationships and working together. Highlighting the joint efforts of Catholic Charities and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Deacon Bennett shared the good works that have been accomplished by working together, to include furnishing an apartment building built in Broomfield for the homeless, and feeding those in need. Deacon Bennett invited everyone to “celebrate each other and work together so our faith becomes contagious.”

Governor Polis’ remarks, noted the day of religious freedom that would heretofore stand in Colorado. He told those gathered “to reflect on and never take for granted what we have.” He said, “We have a welcoming environment for all faiths, whether they have it or not. Our diversity is what gives us strength. We are all better off because of our diversity before the almighty.”

Governor Polis acknowledges Colorado Religious Freedom Day

Steve Collis, chair of Holland & Hart’s nationwide religious institutions and First Amendment practice group, gave the final remarks. He taught that a lack of religious freedom is what has led to persecution in the past. He said that religious liberty is more controversial today, and we should treat it with reverence. “We all have religious views,” whether or not we identify with a specific religion. Answers to the questions “Is there a God? “Why am I here?” or “What happens after I die?” are all religious in nature, even if the answer is “I don’t know.” Using an example from the early days of the United States, Collis shared the story of the Quakers. Given their bedrock belief against conflict, they sought exemption from the War of Independence. Instead of forcing them to their civic duties, George Washington assured them that the “conscientious scruples of their members must be respected.” They were able to contribute to the effort without conflict. In like manner, today we need to show civility and respect for others’ beliefs. In direct tones, Collis reminded listeners that “if we lose religious liberty, everyone loses, including those who think they have won.”

Steve Collis, of Holland & Hart calls for the need to maintain religious liberty.

Following Collis, the interfaith choir sang “America the Beautiful.” Kent Jones directed, and two soloists were featured, including a veteran Navy admiral who sang the fourth verse. The crowd of attendees were then invited to stand together and sing, “The Star Spangled Banner.” The refrains of our National Anthem echoed in the halls of the state house, as children, leaders, and legislators alike sang together.

The standing-room only crowd sings “The Star-Spangled Banner”

Dr. Don Sweeting, President of Colorado Christian University, gave the benediction. In solicitous tones of reverence and gratitude, he thanked God for the ability to be together, called on all for action, and prayed religious civility going forward.

CCU President Don Sweeting leads the group in a closing prayer.

All in all, the event was a smashing success and a wonderful sign of things to come. Next year’s Religious Freedom Day event will be Monday, April 13, 2020. For further information, see ColoradoReligiousFreedomDay.org


Join selected speakers and representatives from the Colorado community as we come together to discuss religious freedom.

For the second year running, religious leaders will convene at the Colorado State Capitol this April to unite faith communities and engage in the political sphere. Faith leaders and religious freedom experts will share perspectives on the state of religious rights in America today. All are welcome to attend.

Learn more at: www.coloradoreligiousfreedomday.org


Earlier in 2018, a group of talented missionaries put together a musical presentation called “Meet the Elders.” The presentation aimed to inspire and educate members of the church and their friends and neighbors about the life and goals of a missionary.

During the course of several weeks, the “Meet the Elders” program was presented 6 different times across the Denver Metro from Parker to Boulder. Now the studio recordings of the songs featured in the program have been released.

This music was performed by:

Elder Brenden Blackham
Elder Connor Brown
Elder Alex Hasse
Elder Jacob Fenske

It is being published here with their permission.

Use the links below to download the MP3 files for each individual song to your computer or mobile device.

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On August 11th, the Denver Colorado Stake comprised of a number of LDS congregations in the city, participated in the city of Denver’s annual city celebration of community and service — Denver Days.

Five years ago Mayor Hancock set aside the first week of August as a week to encourage neighbors to get to know their neighbors by hosting block parties, picnics, and service projects with the focus on small organic gatherings.

The church members teamed with Denver Parks and Recreation to mulch, weed, pick up trash, and paint a large city park adjacent to a Denver LDS Church Building. With the help of about 50 members from the stake and 20 missionaries from the Denver North Mission, we spread 24 yards of mulch, used 1 gallon of paint, and collected 165 gallons of debris.

One of the highlights of the morning was a visit from the Mayor of Denver, Mayor Michael B. Hancock. He spent about 30 minutes visiting with members, missionaries, and local LDS leaders including Stake President Peter Krumholtz, public affairs leaders, and Elder Thomas T. Priday of the area Seventy.

It was a morning of hard work and many smiles from all who participated, old and young!

In response to the service from church members, Denver Parks and Recreation sent the following kind words. (more…)


Each year the Colorado Rockies select one home game to be “Mormon Night At the Rockies.”

This year’s game was well attended as members of the church statewide were able to purchase discounted tickets.

The Colorado Mormon Choral sang the national anthem, conducted by Kent Jones. This has become a wonderful tradition each year.

Also 3 young men from Boy Scout Troop 372 of the Alameda Congregation in Aurora presented the colors. (more…)


In 1846 Mormon settlers as part of the Mormon Battalion established a temporary settlement about one-half mile east of Pueblo on the south side of the Arkansas River. In total 275 men, women, and children from 4 different detachments made up this settlement.

They might not have known it at the time but this settlement was the first branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Colorado and was the first Anglo settlement of any form in what is now the modern state of Colorado.

On June 2nd and June 3rd 2018, the Fort Vasquez Museum in Platteville Colorado will be hosting a series of formal presentations about the Mormon Colony at Pueblo and the history of the fur trade along the forts of Colorado’s Front Range.  (more…)