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Elder Cook shares story of the first time he saw his wife and other messages on optimism from Church leaders this week

by | Jan. 28, 2021

Editor’s note: “This week from the pulpit” highlights recent messages from General Authorities, General Officers, and leaders of the Church. This story may be updated throughout the week.

As troubling world events continue to swirl, Church leaders are sharing messages on optimism and endurance. Elder Quentin L. Cook teaches how we can live on “the sunny side of the street,” and Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf reminds us that no matter how dark the night, the sun will always rise again. Sisters Michelle D. Craig and Becky Craven (in separate posts) both used Doctrine and Covenants 64:33–34 to encourage members to “be not weary in well doing.” Here is a closer look at some of those messages, as well as other highlights from Church leaders this week.

Elder Cook BYU–Idaho Devotional: “On the Sunny Side of the Street”

The title of Elder Cook’s message is reminiscent of the first time he saw his future wife, Mary. He shared how they were in seventh grade when Mary sang the song “On the Sunny Side of the Street” at a school concert. Elder Cook adopted that title for his remarks, explaining, “Many people across the world seem despondent and discouraged. Part of this is because of the devastating effects of [the] COVID-19 pandemic, but part is deeper and more of a concern. My desire today is for you to understand how seminally important it is for you to seek the sunny side of the street and also to be united with our Savior.”

Elder Cook gave several suggestions for living on the sunnier side of life.

First, he said that being of good cheer is a decision each of us can make, and that “gratitude is the first step towards optimism and cheer.”

He also taught the importance of ministering to our happiness and endurance. To illustrate his point, Elder Cook shared a story in which his grandfather told his grandkids that while they may not have had to endure the physical challenges the early pioneers of the Church did, they would “face emotional and spiritual challenges that most of [their] pioneer ancestors could have never imagined in their wildest imaginations.” 

To combat those challenges, Elder Cook gave offered this counsel:

“We need each other. In addition to our sharing our testimonies of the gospel with one another, our duty is to love and serve and strengthen and nourish and support and sustain each other, especially in our families. Please remember that in the last days, your very survival may depend on your willingness to work together, to love and serve.”

In closing his remarks, Elder Cook emphasized the need to focus on the Savior if we want to be optimistic. He said, “I testify that if we are determined to live on the sunny side of the street, with the light of the Savior as our focus and our guide, we will be on the covenant path. As we love, follow, and worship the Savior, we will have peace in this world and eternal life in the world to come.”

Watch Elder Cook’s full address here: BYU–Idaho Devotionals

Elder Uchtdorf: The Sun Will Rise Again

On Facebook, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf posted a photo of him and his grandson, Eric, skiing. He shared how several years ago, he had fallen while skiing and was unable to stand back up. It wasn’t until then-12-year-old Eric came to him, offered his hand, and said, “You can do it, Opa, now,” that Elder Uchtdorf was able to stand (see Elder Uchtdorf’s October 2013 general conference address, “You Can Do It Now!”). He reflected on this experience and current world events while skiing once again with Eric.

“This time as we spent time together again on the ski slopes, we pondered on the pandemic and its effect on individuals, families, and communities. Eric now is a returned missionary. He and other missionaries were so frustrated when everything closed down, but they learned to make the best of it,” Elder Uchtdorf wrote.

“A lesson I learned early in my life is that no matter how dark the night, there is always the assurance that the sun will rise again (see Psalm 30:5). We can take the resolve to continue forward and upward with patience and steadfastness. We can do it now!”

Recently, as I was skiing with my grandson, we were reminded of an experience some years ago when I took a fall on a...Posted by Dieter F. Uchtdorf on Friday, January 22, 2021


Sisters Craig and Craven on How to “Be Not Weary in Well Doing”

Sister Michelle Craig and Sister Becky Craven are counselors in the Young Women General Presidency. On Facebook, they both shared thoughts on the new youth theme for 2021, found in Doctrine and Covenants 64:33–34: “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great. Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind.”

Sister Craig said, “I have loved this scripture for many years. In different seasons of my life, it has given me encouragement and reassurance that being consistent in small acts of discipleship is essential—even when I’m tired, even when I’m lonely, even when my list of things to do is impossibly long.”

Sister Craven’s thoughts on the theme were accompanied by a picture of her and her granddaughter making a silly face. She explained that her grandkids remind her to have fun and keep going. She finds similar inspiration in the youth theme.

“I don’t know about you, but sometimes it’s easy to feel tired and weary with everything happening around us,” Sister Craig said. “To me, God’s reminder to ‘be not weary’ is His way of saying, ‘Becky, don’t get bogged down with what’s going on around you. Keep moving forward.’”

See the full posts below.

At a time when some of us may be feeling weighed down and a bit weary, the new youth theme for the year is a great pep...Posted by Michelle D. Craig on Monday, January 25, 2021


Over the holidays, it was so fun to spend some time with my grandchildren. They LOVE taking silly pictures with me on my...Posted by Becky Craven on Sunday, January 24, 2021

Other Social Media Posts from General Authorities and General Officers


One of the best places to connect with the Spirit is in the temple—the house of the Lord. Of course, the same can be...

Posted by M. Russell Ballard on Sunday, January 24, 2021

I was recently privileged to participate in a virtual For the Strength of Youth (FSY) conference for Bolivia, Colombia,...Posted by Dale G. Renlund on Friday, January 22, 2021


What a year we had in 2020! And how blessed we are to have the support of one another—sisters and brothers in the gospel...Posted by Jean B. Bingham on Sunday, January 24, 2021



Lead image: Screenshot from devotional.
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Emily Abel

Emily first found her love for storytelling as an editorial intern at LDS Living. She recently returned as an editor and loves that her job is to highlight the meaningful in life. Emily is a graduate of Utah State University in English. Hiking trails, dance studios, and behind the cover of a good book are some of her favorite places to be.

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