This year on social: Family stories, scriptural insights and other uplifting messages from Church leaders in 2021

President M. Russell Ballard shares what the Lord will value most during the final judgment in a social media post Sep. 26, 2021. Credit: Screenshot from Instagram

In 2021, leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continued to use their social media channels to inspire, encourage and uplift. Here’s a selection of their key social media posts from the past year.

On Sep. 15, President Russell M. Nelson launched a Spanish Instagram account to better connect with worldwide Church, the first Spanish-only social media account by a senior Church leader.

Family stories

President Henry B. Eyring, second counselor in the First Presidency, shared a story on May 1 about a time when a young granddaughter “illustrated the power of innocence and humility to connect us with God.”

Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Ruth L. Renlund, decided last year to focus more on their physical health. While hiking in southern Utah, he realized that “the hike was much easier than the last time we were there — there was less of me to haul around, and it was exhilarating to feel stronger and healthier.”

“Getting rid of unhealthy debris — physical, mental, or emotional — in our lives is a powerful way to grow closer to our Savior,” he wrote in a social media post April 9.

On Sep. 10, Sister Reyna Isabel Aburto, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, shared five lessons that she learned when her daughter was experiencing mental health challenges over the space of a few years.

“New doors will constantly open for each of us — and we should be prepared to walk through them,” wrote Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in a social media post May 16. He shared two pictures commemorating milestones in his son and daughter-in-law’s lives: their oldest child’s marriage, and their youngest child’s departure on a mission.

President Russell M. Nelson taught how gratitude strengthens hope in Christ through a story about his family on Thanksgiving, Nov. 25.

Sister Michelle D. Craig, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency, described the moment after the First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional when her granddaughter Scarlett met Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

“I think Jesus would have done something like that — taken the time to truly see the one,” she said on Dec. 13.

Forty years ago, Brother Jan E. Newman, second counselor in the Sunday School general presidency, returned home from the Belgium Brussels mission. Twelve years ago, he and his wife, Lucia Newman, completed their assignment to preside over the Nebraska Omaha Mission. On July 13, he invited those who have returned from their own missions to contemplate the blessings of missionary service.

On Jan. 14, President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, wrote about a family storybook he and his wife, Sister Kristen Oaks, had created with accounts from extended family and ancestry, and encouraged parents to share stories with their children that show faith in Jesus Christ and connect them to their ancestors. 

Sunday School General President Mark L. Pace shared three actions that have “made all the difference in our marriage” on June 2.

Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles posted about an experience performing baptisms in the Bountiful Temple with his family members.

“Going to the temple is a wonderful experience because it brings so much joy,” he wrote on May 6. “I pray you will also have the chance to attend the temple with your family soon.”

On May 1, Brother Milton Camargo, first counselor in the Sunday School general presidency, wrote about how he gained a testimony that the home can be one of the holy places the Lord revealed in Doctrine and Covenants 45.

When Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles visited the River Ribble in England in October, he reflected on two impactful events that occurred there: meeting Elder Jeffrey R. Holland as a young missionary and where Elder Heber C. Kimball, Elder Cook’s great-great grandfather, baptized the first English converts.

Brother Ahmad S. Corbitt, first counselor in the Young Men general presidency, grew up in West Philadelphia, four miles from where Will Smith lived.

“As awesome as it may be to have shared a similar zip code with a talented actor and a famous DJ, there’s a more important reason that I’m sharing this story,” Brother Corbitt wrote in a May 15 social media post. “Remembering where we come from is a true and eternal principle. When we look with spiritual eyes, we see how God’s hand and His love lead us in our journeys.”

Gospel insights

After trying to take apart an old flower arrangement, Young Women General President Bonnie H. Cordon discovered that the flowers were held together with coils, wires and lattice.

“Sometimes we have to be pulled apart to see the strength we are made of,” she wrote on May 27.

When Elder Ronald A. Rasband was first called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, he began researching the names of Jesus Christ in the scriptures in order to be a “true witness” of Him. 

On Feb. 14, he shared several of the connections of Christlike attributes to the names of the Savior — for example, charity is reflected in “the good shepherd,” and humility is found in the “Lamb of God.”

Primary General President Camille N. Johnson reflected on the Savior’s invitation to “come unto me as a little child” after visiting children participating in the filming of the Book of Mormon videos on Oct. 7.

As Sister Rebecca L. Craven, second counselor in the Young Women general presidency, picked this year’s first lemon from her lemon tree, she was initially proud, but then remembered the much larger size of lemons grown in New Zealand.

“However, think about how different the circumstances were for those lemons,” she reflected in a May 31 post. “Likewise, each of us grows in our own circumstances. … Regardless of external influences, like those two lemons, we’re all made of the same stuff inside.”

On June 5, Relief Society General President Jean B. Bingham wrote about how God has a personal mission and plan for all of His daughters, regardless of marital status.

Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles posted about his recent travels to Brazil, his native country. 

“To my friends in Brazil and everywhere, please remember to put the Lord first,” he wrote on Nov. 5. “When we seek first the kingdom of God in our lives, everything seems to work better.”

Everyone was born to do three things, wrote Sister Sharon Eubank, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, in a social media post July 23.

There is a “real grief that comes with feeling you are not able to do what you were born or created to do,” she said, but “if you are doing any one of those things, you are fulfilling what you were born to do.”

On Nov. 29, Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles affirmed the eternal human dignity of each person as a beloved child of God, and also the right to exercise moral agency: “The right of choice to live our lives according to the truth as we understand it.”

During the final judgment, wrote President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in a Sep. 26 social media post, the Lord will care less about the “number of meetings we attend, the number of meetings we conducted, or all the visits we made. 

“Instead, the Lord will be deeply appreciative of those seeking and helping others along the covenant path.”

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shared a video on April 19 in which he uses the analogy of an acrobat spinning plates to illustrate an essential time management principle.

“As we pray sincerely for God’s help to identify what matters most, He will guide and assist us to focus our efforts day by day,” he said.

Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles emphasized the importance of friendship on July 30, International Friendship Day.

“Friendships are such an important part of our lives,” he said. “As we make and live our covenants with God, we find camaraderie and belonging with each other.”

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles wrote a post on Oct. 15 about overcoming self-doubt and criticism, and pointed out several successful individuals who endured criticism about their abilities, such as Walt Disney, Fred Astaire and Vincent Van Gogh.

“Perhaps we all see ourselves as a little less than we are,” Elder Uchtdorf suggested. “You may be just the person God is looking for.”

Other posts

President Nelson issued a personal statement after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine on Jan. 19, saying that receiving the vaccine was “part of our personal efforts to be good global citizens.”

Sister Amy A. Wright, second counselor in the Primary general presidency, gave the closing prayer for the Saturday morning session of the October 2021 general conference. In an Oct. 2 social media post, she described her experience preparing for and giving the prayer.

“Far from being a weakness, reconciling adverse positions through respectful negotiation is a virtue,” President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, wrote in an Nov. 12 social media post following his message at the Joseph Smith Lecture on Religious Liberty at the University of Virginia.

On Nov. 26, Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles wrote about his Thanksgiving this year, which was spent at the Provo MTC packaging 375,000 meals for those in need alongside the missionaries.

Brother Bradley R. Wilcox, second counselor in the Young Men general presidency, gave a piece of advice on Aug. 24 to young people reluctant to return to gathering in chapels for Sunday worship: “Don’t just go back to church to be lifted. Go back to lift!”

He shared the story of an artist from Texas who exemplifies this principle by painting pictures for the members and missionaries in her ward, even though she is battling cancer.

On Sep. 22, Young Men General President Steven J. Lund shared his three “secrets” to getting the most out of general conference: Preparing ahead of time, avoiding the temptation to sleep by having a good snack on hand, and making a record of the “prophets’, seers’, and revelators’ warnings, blessings, and things you should do.”

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