There has been much to celebrate this week for Latter-day Saints.
For the first time since the pandemic, all temples around the world have resumed some level of operations. On social media, President Russell M. Nelson reflected on the decision to close temples early last year due to COVID-19, saying that it was excruciating and that he “couldn’t help but wonder how the Prophet Joseph Smith and all of my predecessors would feel about the action we were taking.”
The prophet continued: “But now, with the temples open, our work for those on both sides of the veil can be resumed. To have all our temples reopened, at least to some degree, is a cause for rejoicing.”
President Nelson then expressed his gratitude for “many scientists, health care workers, and leaders who have stemmed the tide of this virus such that we can now safely gather in larger numbers.” He also encouraged members to participate in temple work as their local circumstances allow.
Latter-day Saints in the United States also celebrated the birth of their country this week. Read about a patriotic service in honor of the Fourth of July and find recent social media posts from Church leaders below.
By Rachel Sterzer Gibson, Church News
America now faces a critical choice on whether to continue the legacy of the Founding Fathers or to cast it aside—“to be a nation under God or without God,” said Elder Tad R. Callister, an emeritus General Authority.
Speaking during the Patriotic Service of America’s Freedom Festival at the LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah, on July 4, Elder Callister, a former lawyer, highlighted the Founding Fathers’ divinely appointed mission and the need for a moral and religious people to uphold the Constitution today.
Intermittent rain threatened to shorten or cancel the Sunday night event, but the program—which included patriotic hymns and musical selections performed by the Millennial Choirs and Orchestras such as “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “America, The Beautiful,” “How Great Thou Art” and “God, Bless America”—commenced after a short delay.
Elder Callister began his remarks “on this memorable day of gratitude” by asserting that the Founding Fathers did not coincidentally appear at the same time. The burst of talent embodied in the Founding Fathers was not produced by a series of random births or genetic aberrations, he said.
Read more of Elder Callister’s remarks at Church News.
By Scott Taylor, Church News
Many Latter-day Saints likely assume the Church’s General Authorities and General Officers can have— because of their callings and their positions—front-row seats at any Church event of their choosing.
Not so, as evidenced by the two General Authority Seventies participating in the June 12 groundbreaking ceremony for the Syracuse Utah Temple. In reality, General Authorities and General Officers wait to be assigned by senior leaders and invited to participate at most major Church events.
Elder Kevin R. Duncan, the executive director of the Temple Department for the past two years, has been assigned to join the four temple dedications held during his tenure. However, his presiding at the Syracuse groundbreaking marked the only time he has attended any of the 28 such ceremonies during that two-year time.
In fact, the Syracuse groundbreaking was his first since 1980, he said, recalling standing in the pouring rain as a full-time missionary at the groundbreaking of the Santiago Chile Temple. “That was the only one I had ever been to,” he told me, adding with a smile, “I just go where I’m assigned.”
Read more reflections about the Syracuse temple groundbreaking at Church News.