Editor’s note: “This week from the pulpit” highlights recent messages from General Authorities, General Officers, and leaders of the Church. This story has been updated throughout the week.
The new year is only a few weeks in, but Church leaders are keeping as busy ever. From Elder David A. Bednar’s address at Brigham Young University to Elder Gerrit W. Gong’s worldwide devotional for young adults, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have been hard at work in 2021. Here are some brief highlights from the messages they and more Church leaders have been sharing throughout the week.
Elder Bednar and the Temple Around the Clock
Between Tuesday, November 10, 2020, and Friday, November 13, 2020, the “fire of the covenant and the power of godliness were evident in miraculous ways in several temples located in North America,” said Elder David A. Bednar during a recent devotional on Brigham Young University campus.
In November, government officials in a large jurisdiction announced that religious organizations should suspend all public gatherings and meetings to limit the spread of the coronavirus. In this announcement, there was also a three-day warning that all operations would cease by midnight on Friday, November 13. These restrictions would be in effect for a minimum of three weeks and likely longer.
Temple leaders and workers were disappointed that ordinance work would be paused yet again as it had earlier that year during the pandemic. Many members had been waiting to enter the temple for living ordinances with reduced capacity and COVID-19 safety precautions. They would now have to face another heartbreaking delay for an unknown length of time.
Temple leaders and workers in one temple prayed for direction and sought inspiration. They decided to keep the temple open day and night, not turning the lights off until midnight on Friday, November 13, in order to accommodate as many patrons as possible. Elder Bednar described the efforts that many put forth to help the temple remain open, from extending worker schedules to rescheduling appointments to calling for more volunteers.
The Apostle then quoted one individual’s experience:
“Serving in the temple during the middle of the night, as the Nauvoo pioneers of old, was one of those treasured once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.
“Our entire shift was in awe of the light that showed in the eyes of the patrons that came and their gratitude—and touched by the sacrifice and the privilege it was for us as workers to serve them in this way.”
Read more about Elder Bednar’s devotional at Church News.
The First Presidency and Many Apostles Receive COVID-19 Vaccine
President Russell M. Nelson and Sister Wendy Nelson were vaccinated Tuesday, January 19, against COVID-19. President Dallin H. Oaks and his wife, President Henry B. Eyring, and five Apostles and most of their wives also received the vaccine.
In a Facebook post, President Nelson expressed his gratitude for those who made the vaccine possible, noting that “we have prayed often for this literal godsend.”
“As a former surgeon and medical researcher, I know something of the effort needed to accomplish such a remarkable feat. Producing a safe, effective vaccine in less than a year is nothing short of miraculous,” he wrote.
A Missionary’s Divine Call
A Facebook post shared on Sunday, January 17, related Elder Ronald A. Rasband’s experience learning from then-Elder Eyring about how mission calls are assigned. Elder Rasband described how he and President Eyring knelt in prayer to know “perfectly” where each missionary should be called to serve.
Elder Rasband previously shared greater details about this process in his address “The Divine Call of a Missionary,” given during the April 2010 general conference. In it, he reflected on how missionaries are called through revelation and the promptings of the Spirit:
“At the end of the meeting Elder Eyring bore his witness to me of the love of the Savior, which He has for each missionary assigned to go out into the world and preach the restored gospel. He said that it is by the great love of the Savior that His servants know where these wonderful young men and women, senior missionaries, and senior couple missionaries are to serve. I had a further witness that morning that every missionary called in this Church, and assigned or reassigned to a particular mission, is called by revelation from the Lord God Almighty through one of these, His servants,” he said.
Other Social Media Posts from General Authorities and General Officers
Elder David A. Bednar
Elder Dale G. Renlund
Elder Gerrit W. Gong
Sister Michelle D. Craig