Editor's note: "This week from the pulpit" highlights recent messages by General Authorities and General Officers of the Church.
Right now, many pulpits stand empty behind closed doors, but the door to inspirational social media content is wide open. This week, Church leaders took advantage of this online tool to highlight the spiritual progress Saints around the world are making. In a time when social, economic, and even spiritual progress may feel difficult if not impossible, it is good to be reminded that people do still triumph over difficulty—no matter how small the victory may appear.
On Facebook, Young Women General President Bonnie H. Cordon shared pictures of young women participating in the “My 150” service project. Elder Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles wrote a post about how even though missionary work has changed, that change in many ways has been productive. Sister Becky Craven, second counselor in the Young Women general presidency, shared an adorable picture of a homemade sacrament tray her grandson provided for his family.
It may sometimes feel like the world has hit the pause button indefinitely, but that doesn't have to be the case in our personal lives. May these messages inspire us to reevaluate our definition of progress and to recognize the good that we do each day.
Elder Uchtdorf—video on the future of missionary work
On Sunday, June 14, 2020, Elder Uchtdorf shared a video in which he discussed the change the pandemic has brought to the work of full-time missionaries.
“We are learning much and the Lord has lessons in store for all of us as we seek to hear Him and find new ways to share His gospel,” Elder Uchtdorf wrote in a post on Church Newsroom. “Now is our turn to make the best we can out of this. I hope that we will not yearn to move back to something that didn’t work well in our lives before COVID-19, but rather look to the future with hope. May we each use this time to become more refined, edified, empowered, and refreshed to move forward.”
Read a summary of Elder Uchtdorf’s remarks here or watch the video below.
Elder Bednar—keynote speaker at the Religious Freedom Annual Review
Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was the keynote speaker at the Religious Freedom Annual Review hosted by BYU Law School. He spoke about how the government restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 crisis are a wake-up call for religious freedom issues. The address, given June 17, 2020, was broadcast on YouTube. The video is also available below.
“I believe it is vital for us to recognize that the sweeping governmental restrictions that were placed on religious gatherings at the outset of the COVID-19 crisis truly were extraordinary. In what seemed like an instant, most Western governments, and many others, simply banned communal worship,” said Elder Bednar.
He also spoke about how communal worship is necessary to the spiritual health of members of many different faiths around the world, saying that “being in each other’s presence is a unique and irreplaceable experience.”
Elder Bednar exhorted listeners to recognize that government restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 crisis “breached the boundaries” of religious freedom.
“While believers and their religious organizations must be good citizens in a time of crisis, we cannot allow government officials to treat the exercise of religion as simply, ‘nonessential.’ Never again must the fundamental right to worship be trivialized below the ability to buy gasoline,” he said.
Read a summary of Elder Bednar’s remarks here.
Sister Michelle D. Craig, Priesthood power and the quest for a better world
In continuation of the Church News series, “Women of Covenant,” Sister Michelle D. Craig, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency, wrote about her goal to hold tightly to her covenants as she embarks on a “quest for things of a better world.”
“I can go on this quest with confidence because I have the Holy Ghost to help me. I also have my covenants, which bring priesthood power into my life,” wrote Sister Craig.
Sister Craig also wrote that she feels she has spent most of her life not understanding how the covenants she made at baptism and in the temple bring God’s power into her life. Through study and experience, she appreciates how cleaving to covenants bind her to the Lord and bring “the priesthood power that I need every single day.”
She knows the same can be true for all Latter-day Saints.
“Each of us is on a trek. We may not be trekking with a handcart through the plains of Wyoming, but we are trekking nonetheless. We trek through days and long nights of health challenges, helping with homework, working to make ends meet. We trek through relationship challenges, financial challenges, and mental and physical health challenges. We trek through overwhelming assignments and our daily list of things to do. Some of us may be trekking through grief, or even loneliness or boredom. Our challenges are different, but we all have them,” wrote Sister Craig.
She closed her remarks by testifying that “keeping our covenants does not mean that these challenges will be removed, but it does mean that the Lord promises to be with us.”
Read Sister Craig’s full remarks at Church News.