Latter-day Saint Life

Lemon Tarts, Wise Men, and More You Might Have Missed in Church Leaders' Messages Lately


Church leaders have been busy during the month of December, speaking at Brigham Young University, BYU-Hawaii, and Peru. Here are a few quick summaries of what they taught in each place.

Dec. 3, 2019, at BYU

Elder Renlund began his talk as any good doctor would by discussing physical health’s dependence on hormones and their receptors. He likened this factor in physical health to a different type of receptor dysfunction: “the inability to sense God’s love and feel His Spirit.” He emphasized that God’s love is unwavering, stating that “there has never been nor will there ever be a deficiency of God’s love.”

“But what do you do if you do not feel the love of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ?” Elder Renlund asked. “I know with certainty that the problem is not with Their love. The problem is with your receptors for Their love.”

Later in his talk, Elder Renlund answered his own questions with tools that are helpful in improving our reception to God’s love, specifically repentance, scripture study, and partaking of the sacrament, but not before stating, “The inability to sense God’s love can stem from sin or from not pressing forward on the covenant path. The inability can also be due to physical or mental illness. For instance, clinical anxiety and depression require professional help. God expects us to seek professional help when indicated.”

Do your kids dream of becoming superheroes? Sister Renlund explained that we “can have a superpower greater than that of any fictional power ever conceived. You can have God’s power in your life—the ultimate and very real superpower.”

This power comes by making and keeping covenants, which links our name with the name of Jesus Christ, Sister Renlund said. As we do this, it changes us, giving us the ability to do things we could not do otherwise.

Sister Renlund then shared an example of a doctor who was honored in June 2018 with an endowed chair at the University of Utah. An endowed chair is an academic position funded by significant donations and ensures that the doctor chosen to receive it will have funding for his or her research efforts indefinitely. This specific chair was being named for President Russell M. Nelson and his late wife, Dantzel W. Nelson. The doctor receiving the endowed chair was a man named Dr. Craig H. Selzman, who was not a member of the Church, but who was familiar with President Nelson’s work and contribution to the medical community. As Dr. Selzman was being appointed to the position, he shared that a few days earlier, he had experienced a frustrating day at work but that he found himself reflecting on President Nelson.

“He contemplated that Dr. Nelson had been known as a surgeon who was always a gentleman,” Sister Renlund recalled. “He was always in control of his emotions, always in control of his operating room, and always professional and kind and caring with his operating team. Dr. Selzman thought that since he would be holding a position named after Dr. Nelson, he should try to follow Dr. Nelson’s example.”

Likewise, Sister Renlund explained, a change can take place in us as we reflect on whose name we, through covenants, have linked ourselves to. “We will gain power—superhuman power—the godly power to turn toward our Savior and become more like Him,” she said.

Dec. 10, 2019, at BYU

If you are prepping for holiday cooking, chances are not all of your recipe attempts will turn out on the first try, but know you’re in good company. Sister Bingham shared that one of her family’s favorite holiday desserts is a lemon tart, but the first time she made the recipe, which has been passed down in her family for generations, it was a crumbly mess. Her first reaction was to think, “I’m never doing this again.” However, with the encouragement of her family and after years of practice, her lemon tarts are a success almost every time.

“In the process I learned that it takes a lot of time and careful attention to detail, as well as patience and persistence to make something that is of high quality,” she said. “Spiritual progress also takes time and attention to details as well as patience and persistence. And no matter how many mistakes we make, the Savior is there to help us learn how to do and be better. We don’t have to be perfect all at once. What matters is our effort. Our Heavenly Father does not expect perfection from us in this life but He does expect us to keep trying.”

Dec. 13, 2019 at BYU-Hawaii

University commencement ceremonies serve as a time to receive advice for life post-graduation and Sister Cordon’s recent speech to BYU-Hawaii graduates was no exception. However, it is rare that this advice centers around the Nativity, specifically the wise men and the shepherds.

Sister Cordon explained that two principles have deeply blessed her life:

1. Seek Christ first, prioritizing Him and His teachings.

2. Share the good tidings of the reality of His Atonement.

She explained that the wise men are tremendous examples of seeking Jesus.

“When they identified the signs, they left their native country and traveled to Jerusalem, seeking Jesus Christ,” she said. “I love that once they saw the signs of His birth, they intentionally and immediately set out to find Him.”

Sister Cordon then explained that the shepherds teach us what it means to become witnesses of Christ as they shared “good tidings of great joy.”

Dec. 14, 2019 in Arequipa, Peru

Together with his wife, Sister Rosana Soares, Elder Soares visited with Latter-day Saint youth on the eve of the Arequipa Peru Temple dedication. The apostle, who grew up in Brazil, recalled that there were no temples in Latin America when he was a youth. He called today’s youth “the hope of Zion and the hands of God,” promising them as they attend the temple they will “find answers to the promises to the most profound questions of our souls.”

Elder and Sister Soares sat down with several youth and asked them questions about their experiences visiting the temple open house, inviting their friends to attend and how they have prepared to serve in the temple.

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