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Elder Christofferson on why we need meaningful work, Church leaders' messages on personal development

by | Jun. 18, 2021

Editor’s note: “This week from the pulpit” highlights recent messages by Church leaders.

As the summer months are in full swing, Church leaders have encouraged us to seek opportunities that will help us grow and bring us happiness. In Ensign College’s first in-person devotional since early 2020, Elder D. Todd Christofferson taught students that meaningful work is a “key ingredient” to their happiness. 

During the Church’s first broadcast for single adults, Elder Neil L. Andersen, President Jean B. Bingham, and Sister Sharon Eubank talked with single members about what they do to increase their faith and joyfully live the gospel. In a Church News articlethe Young Men and Young Women general leaders taught that summer youth activities provide character-building experiences and teach youth how to develop enriching relationships. And in a BYU–Pathway devotional broadcast, President Clark G. Gilbert offered his testimony that whatever our endeavors in life may be, “the Lord is with [us], and He will help [us] find hope and strength in these tumultuous times.”

Read more thoughts from Church leaders below.


Elder Christofferson teaches Ensign College students a ‘key ingredient’ to happiness

By Rachel Sterzer Gibson, Church News

During Ensign College’s first live, in-person devotional since the early 2020 onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught students of a “key ingredient” to their happiness—meaningful work.

“I pray that you will be blessed with work—meaningful work—physical, mental, and spiritual, throughout your life and on into eternity . . . ,” Elder Christofferson said. “I pray for your happiness, now and forever.”

Speaking from the auditorium of the Church Office Building on Tuesday, June 15, Elder Christofferson began his remarks by sharing his experience hearing a presentation by Arthur Brooks, who teaches a course on happiness at Harvard University.

Among other things, Brooks spoke about the influence of a “portfolio of habits”—faith, family, friends, and meaningful work—on an individual’s happiness.

Brooks explained that there are two elements that make work meaningful: earned success and service to others. Earned success is success based on diligent effort, where an individual uses skills that match their interests and passions that leads to upward mobility in life. Service to others means that one’s work makes life better for others.

See more of Elder Christofferson’s remarks at Church News.


Face to Face: What 9 single adults learned as they accepted President Nelson’s invitation to increase their faith

By Sydney Walker, Church News

Starting her own business in 2006 was, in hindsight, a “disastrous timing,” Michelle Brignone said. As she fasted and prayed for help to keep her business afloat during the Great Recession in the United States the following year, she acted in faith and spent more time serving in the temple.

“My service in the temple did not save my business, but it did save me,” Brignone told Relief Society General President Jean B. Bingham.

In a video segment filmed on the grounds of the Washington D.C. Temple and shown during a Face to Face event on Sunday, June 13, Brignone said she learned that the Savior won’t always remove a mountain or personal challenge; however, “He will absolutely help you scale it or maneuver around it. . . . He won’t allow the mountain to block your path.”

President Bingham asked Brignone a question President Russell M. Nelson posed during the April 2021 general conference: “What would you do if you had more faith?”

“If I had more faith, I would be more fearless,” said Brignone, acknowledging that fear sometimes holds her back. “Faith and fear cannot coexist.”

Watch the full devotional below or read more about it at Church News.


Summer youth activities are making a comeback, and Young Men, Young Women general leaders want them to be a priority

By Sydney Walker, Church News

Youth conferences. Young Women camps. High-adventure retreats. Treks. All these memory-makers—and several other forms of Church-sponsored summer youth activities—are making comebacks in 2021.

With COVID-19 rates diminishing in many parts of the world, and in areas deemed safe, young women and young men are recreating, learning, and worshipping together at traditional summer events. They are strengthening relationships and developing leadership skills as they step away from daily routines and distractions. 

“The Children and Youth program invites us to become like our Savior, to draw closer to Him by following His example in all areas of our life,” said Young Women General President Bonnie H. Cordon. “We hope every setting is a chance to represent our Savior in how we act and what we contribute. To see others as the Savior would. To act as He would with kindness and love.”

Read more about what the Young Men and Young Women general leaders are saying about summer activities at Church News.


Joseph Smith remains a timeless champion of religious freedom and minority rights, teach Elder and Sister Renlund at BYU conference

By Jason Swensen, Church News

The Prophet Joseph Smith was an indefatigable advocate and champion of religious freedom—along with its absolute centricity in a democratic government.

That was the message affirmed by Elder Dale G. Renlund and his wife, Sister Ruth L. Renlund, on Tuesday, June 15, in their joint keynote address at the Brigham Young University Law School’s 2021 Religious Freedom Annual Review.

The theme of this year’s review is “Religion’s Role in Overcoming Divides and Strengthening American Democracy.”

A variety of presenters during the two-day event are expected to address questions on how religion can help overcome divides and strengthen democracy in the United States.

The Renlunds’ prerecorded remarks centered on how Joseph Smith—a one-time candidate for his country’s presidency—contributed to strengthening American democracy by calling for reforms to ensure liberty and justice for all.

Read a summary of their remarks at Church News or watch it below.

BYU–Pathway president promises students can find calm by turning to the Savior amid turmoil

By Rachel Sterzer Gibson, Church News

Elizabeth Meeks is a BYU–Pathway student from Arizona. Soon after the semester started, she contracted a particularly bad case of COVID-19 and struggled to focus or think clearly. She wondered if she would need to drop her classes.

Marcus Blanc is a BYU–Pathway student from Haiti. When the pandemic hit, he unexpectedly returned home early from his mission to find his country experiencing economic uncertainty, high crime rates, and civil unrest. He struggled to access a computer or the internet.

BYU–Pathway Worldwide President Clark G. Gilbert shared the experiences of both students during his last devotional as president of the Church’s online learning program. President Clark, who was sustained during April general conference as a General Authority Seventy, will be replaced by Brian K. Ashton on August 1.

During the devotional broadcast on Tuesday, June 15, President Gilbert spoke of BYU–Pathway students all across the world—like Meeks and Blanc—whose lives have been impacted by the pandemic and have wondered whether they can keep going with the world being in such commotion.

Read a summary of his remarks at Church News or watch the full devotional below.


Elder and Sister Jaggi on the healing power of modern mountains—the temple

By Valerie Walton, Church News

Elder Jeremy R. Jaggi and his wife, Sister Amy Jaggi, have spent a lot of time outdoors—walking, biking and enjoying nature, as well as hiking and climbing many different mountains. In particular, the red rock canyons of Capital Reef, Bryce Canyon, and Zions national parks in Utah have been difficult, yet satisfying.

“With sheer surfaces, narrow crevices, and sliding rocks, some mountains are just hard to climb,” said the General Authority Seventy during a BYU–Idaho devotional broadcast on Tuesday, June 15. “Climbing mountains is symbolic of our sometimes overwhelming yet joyful journey towards deity.”

Elder and Sister Jaggi, standing side-by-side at the pulpit, spoke on the Lord’s commandment to “Arise, and get thee into the mountain” (1 Nephi 17:7) and the importance of attending the temple.

Read more of their remarks at Church News.


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Lead image: Jeffrey Allred, Deseret News
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