This week on social: Church leaders reflect on the lessons taught by the Olympics and Pioneer Day

Elder Ronald A. Rasband shared a picture from this year’s Pioneer Day Parade, in which he was the grand marshal, on social media on July 23, 2021. Credit: Screenshot from Instagram

Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints took to social media this week to write about pioneers, the need to ensure the dignity of the vulnerable and disadvantaged, and the tender mercies of the Lord.

As the 2020 Tokyo Olympics begin, President Russell M. Nelson took to social media on July 23 to encourage all to “embrace the Olympic ideals of excellence, friendship and respect.”

In his post, President Nelson reflected on his work to help develop the artificial heart-lung machine. “We knew that our real competition was against disease and death.”

He extended an invitation to “reflect personally on what we can do to eliminate contention from our own lives.”

Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who was the Days of ’47 Parade grand marshal this year, reflected in a social media post on the significance of Pioneer Day not only to members of the Church in Utah, but also to all members of the Church worldwide.

“Whether you’re a sixth-generation Latter-day Saint — like I am — or a first-generation Latter-day Saint, someone in your family is a pioneer,” he wrote. “Someone in your heritage first made the important and life-changing decision to join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

In a July 20 social media post, Sister Amy A. Wright, second counselor in the Primary general presidency, wrote of her desire as a young mother to have a baby girl, but was instead blessed with a niece who has “filled her heart with joy.”

“As we strive to keep our covenants to the best of our ability, the Lord always compensates for our losses,” she said.

Sister Wright also shared an experience from the life of one of her pioneer ancestors, an experience that she and her family often draw upon for guidance and comfort. 

When Primary General President Camille N. Johnson and her husband were serving as mission leaders in the Peru Arequipa Mission, they worked with “modern-day pioneers” as many of the missionaries were the first and only members in their families or the first to serve full-time missions.

“My pioneer ancestors and these marvelous missionaries share a faithful determination and love for the Savior Jesus Christ, which I find inspiring,” she wrote in a social media post July 23.

“We will be judged not so much by what we say but by how we treat the vulnerable and disadvantaged,” wrote Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in a social media post.

He affirmed the need to work to ensure the dignity of all Heavenly Father’s children and to go about doing good as Latter-day Saints. “As we become more like the Savior, we develop more empathy, understanding and charity.”

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.”

As Young Men General President Steven J. Lund drove to a youth conference in rural Utah, he watched his car thermometer drop from 101 degrees to 72, thanks to a tiny rain cloud directly over the youth group.

“It was clear to me that Heavenly Father could not love them more or bless them more openly,” he wrote in a social media post.

At times, God’s love may seem like “nothing to mere bystanders, but everything to the one. Unfortunately, we will miss it if we aren’t looking up and watching for His hand.”

Sister Reyna Isabel Aburto, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, shared a post about children and how they can provide help, support, guidance and comfort, regardless of their young age.

She invited her followers to “include your children in your conversations, listen to them and learn from them.”

On July 22, Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles used examples from the New Testament to show how the Savior “meets us where we are” by realizing specific needs and giving individual expectations.

“As we meet these expectations, our faith and capacity will be expanded and our personal relationship with the Savior strengthened,” he wrote.

President Henry B. Eyring, second counselor in the First Presidency, recalled a visit to the temple with his daughter. While serving as proxy in the baptistry, his daughter was asked if she could stay longer to complete the ordinances for all of the people whose names were prepared, to which she agreed.

“I remember still her firmness when she was asked if she could do more and she said in a determined little voice, ‘Yes,’” he recalled in a social media post.

Though years have passed, she is still saying “yes” to the Lord when asked to do more, even though it is hard. “That is what temple service can do to change and lift us.”

Sister Susan H. Porter, first counselor in the Primary general presidency, recalled a time in her life when she was the mother of four young children and her husband was serving as bishop of their ward. During this time of sacrifice and loneliness, she came to understand that Heavenly Father was mindful of her and her family, and was strengthening them throughout the struggle.

“You may not think it, but each of us can truly have an immense influence in helping others to increase their faith in Jesus Christ,” wrote Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on social media.

In the post, he emphasized the importance of helping others to make and keep sacred covenants: “It is the greatest cause on earth, but it’s also doable. It flows naturally from being bound to the Savior ourselves.”

In a July 18 social media post, Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught about keeping the Sabbath day holy, drawing from the words of President Russell M. Nelson’s April 2015 general conference address.

As Sunday School General President Mark L. Pace studied the sections of the Doctrine and Covenants of this week’s “Come, Follow Me” assignment, he read a passage that was “highlighted by the Holy Ghost — just for me.”

“What a blessing as we each read the scriptures to have this sweet communion with the teachings of Jesus Christ, through the influence of the Holy Ghost,” he wrote in a social media post.

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