Editor's note: "This Week from the Pulpit" highlights recent messages by General Authorities and General Officers of the Church.
As of recent, younger generations like "millennials" and "generation zs" have developed stereotypes that now surround them. This week, President M. Russell Ballard spoke to BYU students, mostly composed of "millennials" and "generation zs," about the good they are doing and will do in the world. He seemed to dispel the stereotypes of the younger generations and encourage them.
This week, leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints traveled across the United States and the world to give inspired messages, including President Ballard's hopeful message to younger generations, Elder D. Todd Christofferson's meeting with Virginia's governor, and Elder Dale G. Renlund's trip to the Caribbean. Here are a few summaries of their messages shared this last week.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson, New York Latter-day Saint Professional Association
During a recent trip to the Northeastern United States, Elder D. Todd Christofferson's spoke at the New York Latter-day Saint Professional Association’s annual fundraising banquet on February 27, 2020, at The Riverside Church in Manhattan.
Church News reported that Elder Christofferson spoke to both Latter-day Saints and members of the interfaith community about the positive attributes that individuals gain as a result of their faith. He also emphasized how these attributes can allow individuals to contribute to society.
“Religious faith, freely exercised, promotes civic virtue and is vital to strong, flourishing communities,” said Elder Christofferson.
According to Newsroom, Elder Christofferson presented the Visionary Leadership Award to Mariano Rivera, a 2019 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee and a former member of the New York Yankees. Rivera has established a charity that provides educational opportunities for underserved youth in the United States and Panama.
Elder Christofferson spoke of Rivera’s altruistic nature. “He has donated 10 percent of his baseball salary to the foundation, plus all of his substantial earnings from endorsement deals. The Giving Back Fund ranked him 25th on its list of most-generous celebrity donors,” said Elder Christofferson. “When you think of all the celebrities around, that is quite an achievement.”
Later that evening, Elder Christofferson announced that 600 tons of food would be donated to food pantries across New York state and 40,000 pounds of food would be donated to local food pantries in Central Virginia, Virginia.
Photo from Intellectual Reserve
Elder D. Todd Christofferson, Meeting with Governor of Virginia
Church News reported that during his trip, Elder Christofferson also met with Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia and presented him with a copy of the Book of Mormon and information about Northham’s family history.
In regards to his conversation with the Governor, Elder Christofferson said, “We talked about the service work that members of the Church do here.” He continued, “We told him that we want our people to be the best citizens he has.”
READ A SUMMARY OF ELDER CHRISTOFFERSON'S REMARKS AT Church News
Photo from Intellectual Reserve
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, BYU-Idaho Devotional
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf and Sister Harriet Uchtdorf traveled to Idaho to speak to both BYU-Idaho students and Rexburg Church leaders. Thousands of BYU-Idaho students attended the devotional, cramming into the forum to hear the Uchtdorfs speak.
Church News reported that Elder Uchtdorf reminded students about the importance of their time here on Earth and urged them to fulfill their divine destiny.
“What better time than now to choose to become the person we were designed to become? This is good advice not only for us individually, but to all of us collectively as well,” Elder Uchtdorf said concerning each student’s destiny.
Elder Uchtdorf warned students about the consequences of focusing too much on things of the world while pursuing their divine destiny.
“Many set their hearts on the pleasures of this world,” he said. “This preoccupation with the things of the world hardens hearts to the things of the Spirit. Many, therefore, focus on accumulating the approval, fame, power and possessions that seem so alluring, instead of gathering all matters of knowledge temporal and spiritual and building up treasures that will not rust or can be stolen by thieves.”
READ A SUMMARY OF ELDER UCHTDORF'S REMARKS AT Church News
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Leadership Conference
Church News reported that Elder Uchtdorf also spoke at a Leadership Conference for local Rexburg Church leaders. He taught those in attendance to invite others to all Church activities, member or not. “Invitations,” Elder Uchtdorf said, “make the difference.”
The Apostle instructed that by inviting others, we can show the love of Christ. “If we invite the people around us to ‘come and see’ we can overcome biases,” promised Elder Uchtdorf.
READ A SUMMARY OF ELDER UCHTDORF'S REMARKS AT Church News
Photos by Jason Swenson, Church News
President M. Russell Ballard, BYU Devotional
Despite a decades-wide age gap between President M. Russell Ballard and college students, the Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles works hard to understand and communicate with those in a different generation than himself.
President Ballard spoke to BYU students at Tuesday’s school-wide devotional. Church News reported that President Ballard shared three things that he wanted students to “always remember.”
“You are a child of your Heavenly Father, who loves you.”
“Your Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, loves you.”
“Like my grandchildren, I love and admire you—every one of you.”
President Ballard also noted that he has spent, “many hours listening, pondering, learning and praying about your generations, because I love my grandchildren and you.” He continued, “I have spent hours asking Heavenly Father to help me know how best to minister to you.”
President Ballard applauded “millennials” and “generation zs” for their many admirable qualities and their Christlike actions.
He also reminded students of their divine ancestry. “You are and have always been a son or daughter of God, with spiritual roots in eternity. You are, first and foremost, and always will be a spiritual child of God.”
READ A SUMMARY OF PRESIDENT BALLARD'S REMARKS AT Church News
Image by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Elder Tad R. Callister, LDSBC Devotional
Elder Tad R. Callister spoke to LDSBC students (recently renamed Ensign College) about one of his specialties: finding physical evidence to support the legitimacy of the Book of Mormon. While speaking to students, Elder Callister addressed and refuted counter-arguments and presented both physical and spiritual evidence to support that the Book of Mormon is true.
Church News reported that Elder Callister discussed many arguments against the Book of Mormon. These arguments included that Joseph Smith had plagiarized someone much smarter than himself, taken information from the Solomon Spaulding Manuscript, or that he had schizophrenia.
► You may also like: Watch: How Would You Defend the Book of Mormon in a Court of Law?
Elder Callister refuted each of these arguments and provided evidence for why they are false.
Some critics have also argued that there are many ‘anachronisms’ in the Book of Mormon. Elder Callister suggested that as time and science progresses; these ‘anachronisms’ might be clarified. “Time and science are great allies of the Book of Mormon,” Elder Callister said. “In fact, they are best friends.”
However, the best evidence for the Book of Mormon is from within. “There is none more certain or sure than that of the Spirit,” Elder Callister said. “It is the witness of all witnesses — the evidence of all evidences.”
READ A SUMMARY OF ELDER CALLISTER'S REMARKS AT Church News
A Case for the Book of Mormon. Before The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was officially organized, its keystone was in place. That keystone, the Book of Mormon, has been shared, studied, respected, and embraced by millions of people the world over. It has also been scrutinized, analyzed, dismissed, even ridiculed by critics for nearly 200 years. In this volume, best-selling author Tad Callister offers a comprehensive overview of many of the critics' claims and provides carefully reasoned explanations that shed new light on the discussion. He presents compelling evidence, both physical and spiritual, for the authenticity of the Book of Mormon and invites readers on a spiritual journey that promises a witness stronger than any intellectual argument could create. Available at Deseret Book stores and at deseretbook.com.
Elder Dale G. Renlund, Caribbean Area Annual Review
The Caribbean area is made up of over 24 nations and territories and more than 7,000 individual islands. Oftentimes, this area experiences natural disasters including hurricanes and earthquakes. On an area annual review in the Caribbean, Elder Dale G. Renlund likened these frequent storms to the “spiritual” storms that life may bring for Caribbean Latter-day Saints.
Church News reported that Church membership in the Caribbean is very small and members may feel isolated. Elder Renlund encouraged members to have a solid spiritual foundation in order to withstand the “spiritual” storms.
The apostle referenced the parable of the wise man and the foolish man. “If you are established on the rock of the Savior, you don’t fall,” Elder Renlund said.
Elder Renlund also focused on uniting the Caribbean members and reminding them that despite the small size of their islands, Heavenly Father cares and knows each one of them.
Elder Renlund said in regards to the beauty of the Caribbean islands, “What will make them even more beautiful is if people come to a knowledge of their Redeemer there. Even if you’re born and raised in a small place like Dominica, you can be baptized, you can receive the Holy Ghost, and we can help you get to the temple.”
READ A SUMMARY OF ELDER RENLUND'S REMARKS AT Church News
Image from Intellectual Reserve
General Authority and General Officer Social Posts
Want to know what else is on the minds of Church leaders? Here are some of the things they have shared with us all on social media this week: