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"He Looked Up to the Heavens": The Impressions Presidents Bingham, Jones Had While Watching President Nelson Film the Proclamation

by | May 22, 2020

On April 5, 2020, during the Sunday morning session of general conference, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints watched a prerecorded video of President Russell M. Nelson in the Sacred Grove.

In the video, President Nelson delivered “The Restoration of the Fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: A Bicentennial Proclamation to the World,” testifying of the Restoration of the gospel and how God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, appeared to the boy Joseph Smith in an answer to prayer.

But who was there to witness that recording and what were the thoughts and impressions of those in attendance? According to Church News, President Nelson invited two general officers of the Church to join him—President Jean B. Bingham and President Joy D. Jones. In a new Church News video, the presidents add their testimony to the prophet’s and share the “profound privilege” it was to be there on that solemn occasion.

“I remember prior to the filming beginning when President Nelson looked up—just for a moment—but he looked up to the heavens. And at that moment I thought, 'The heavens truly are just as open as they were when the Prophet Joseph was in that grove.' It was a tender experience to witness and to feel the Spirit that was there as President Nelson spoke those beautiful words. But I felt, even in the grove—even though it was a handful of people standing there with him—he was speaking to the world,” says President Jones.

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In President Bingham's April 2020 general conference talk, "United in Accomplishing God's Work," she shared how she was able to sit down with President Nelson in the reconstructed home of Joseph and Emma Smith in Harmony, Pennsylvania, close to the location where the Aaronic priesthood was restored. During that conversation, President Nelson spoke about women’s role in the Restoration.

“One of the most important aspects that I am reminded of when I come to this restoration of the priesthood site is the important role that women played in the Restoration,” said President Nelson, noting how Emma Smith helped with transcribing the Book of Mormon and Lucy Mack Smith went to the grove to pray, which influenced Joseph’s decision to pray there. “Those are just two of the women who had key roles in the restoration of the priesthood and in the Restoration of the Church. No doubt, we could say our wives are just as important today as they were then. Of course they are.”

In the Church News video, President Bingham added her testimony of the prophet, reaffirming that the keys of the kingdom have been restored on the earth today.

“I thought, 'This is an absolutely remarkable experience to be listening to this proclamation about the Restoration that has impacted every single person who lives upon the earth delivered by our 95-year-old prophet who is strong and vital and has all the keys of the kingdom,'” she said. “That was a marvelous experience that I will never forget.”

WATCH THE VIDEO OR READ A NEW SERIES ON WOMEN OF COVENANT AT Church News.

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Danielle Christensen

Danielle is a features writer and editor for LDS Living. Previously, she served as web producer for Church News, where she managed their website and social media platforms. Danielle is a graduate of Brigham Young University in English and has been published with Deseret NewsChurch NewsBYU Magazine, and Spires Intercollegiate Arts and Literary Magazine.

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