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Stories By Valerie Johnson

Elder Terence M. Vinson's 'A gift from Father: Accepted or Rejected' "Whether in Sydney, Salt Lake or Sierra Leone; whether in Nuku'alofa, Newfoundland or Nigeria, our Savior's birth inspires people to do good things," Elder Terence M. Vinson said during the First Presidency's Christmas Devotional.
Elder Vinson delivers an address during the First Presidency's Christmas  Devotional on Dec. 2, 2018.
Not your typical dinner: What Thanksgiving at the Provo MTC looks like and why it matters to 350,000 people More than 1,500 missionaries are spending the holiday season in the Provo MTC, away from home and family. But if the ringing bells and cheers echoing through a parking garage are any indication, this Thanksgiving is a happy one.
Missionaries currently serving at the Missionary Training Center in Provo work together to fill apple oats breakfast bags as they participate in an annual service project with Feeding Children Everywhere to address the issue of domestic hunger. Working in a covered parking ramp the group assembled and distributed 350,000 meals to The Utah Food Bank on Thursday, Nov. 22, 2018.
Elder Uchtdorf shares message of Thanksgiving with missionaries in the Provo MTC Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, along with his wife, Sister Harriet Uchtdorf, shared messages about gratitude with more than 1,500 missionaries gathered in the Provo MTC in a Thanksgiving morning devotional on Nov. 22.
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles greets missionaries following a Thanksgiving morning devotional in the Provo MTC on Nov. 22, 2018.
How Elder Marlin K. Jensen came to know Joseph Smith was a true prophet Elder Jensen shared how he came to know the truths of his deeply held beliefs and reflected on his years as Church Historian/Recorder during a devotional at BYU Hawaii.
Elder Marlin K. Jensen at a devotional of the Mormon History Association Conference in 2012.
5 countries in 9 days: Here are some favorite moments from President Nelson's South American ministry tour Over the course of nine days, President Nelson and his traveling party visited members and held devotionals in five countries in South America, concluding with the dedication of the Concepción Chile Temple.
President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and his wife Sister Wendy Nelson hug their grandson Elder Nicholas Nelson, a missionary serving in the Uruguay Montevideo Mission,  prior to a missionary meeting in Montevideo, Uraguay on Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018.
Here's the miraculous history of the Tahiti temple that President Hinckley dedicated 35 years ago The dedication of the Papeete Tahiti Temple 35 years ago was "a fulfillment of the dreams of thousands who have looked forward to this glorious day," said President Hinckley, then second counselor in the First Presidency.
Papeete Tahiti Temple was rededicated Nov. 12, 2006.
This Week on Social: What 6 women leaders have been saying about revelation, finding peace and serving Home should be a place of refuge and Christ-centered learning, women leaders of the Church said on social media this week.
In an Oct. 22, 2018, Facebook post, Sister Reyna I. Aburto, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, said, "Our home can be a place of refuge where we long to be at the end of each day."
What I know now that I didn't know before President Nelson's Book of Mormon challenge One of the things I like to do with anything I read is ask why the authors wrote what they did, and ask for whom they wrote it.
Sister Valerie Johnson, a missionary in the Florida Jacksonville Mission from March 2013-September 2014, poses for a photo with a pamphlet in Waycross, Georgia.
This week on social: Church leaders share thoughts on divine differences and extra measures of faith Following messages from the previous week about general conference, the social media accounts of leaders of the Church posted thoughts and lessons about things they have learned from their families or from recent experiences.
In an Oct. 18 Instagram post directed to young adults contemplating dating and marriage, Elder David A. Bednar, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, expressed his gratitude for his wife, Sister Susan Bednar, and for their “divinely designed differences and perspectives." Such differences "help us to learn from each other,” the post read.
Elder Funk shares 4 ways busy college students can lighten their burdens To the many students who are laboring with all their might with school, work and Church callings, Elder Randy D. Funk, General Authority Seventy, reminded them of the Savior’s words found in Matthew 11:28-30.
A scene from the Church's Bible videos depicts the Savior.
Take a look at these photos from the Saturday afternoon session of general conference Latter-day Saints around the world raised their arms to the square to sustain the leaders of the Church during the Saturday afternoon session of the 188th Semiannual General Conference of the Church on Oct. 6.
Attendees leave the Conference Center after the Saturday afternoon session of the 188th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018.
What general conference looked like over 100 years ago and how it's changed What did general conference look like 50 years ago? 100 years ago? This semiannual tradition of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has seen many changes over the years ever since a group of 27 Church members gathered in June of 1830.
Crowds gather for General Conference in April of 1911. Note the sign above the entrance to Temple Square "Beware of Pickpockets" The old Deseret News building is seen across the street. Deseret News Archives
This week on social: Beautiful photos of Sister Craven with new granddaughter, Elder Renlund and Bolivian Church member A simple question from a small boy in Mexico City, travel logistics going wrong in Bolivia, the birth of a new grandchild and excitement for general conference coming up — see the topics that inspired social media posts from Church leaders this week
After spending a week in a mountain cabin with her family, Sister Becky Craven, second counselor in the Young Women general presidency, said that living in sweat pants and wearing no makeup for seven days straight was “quite rejuvenating!”

According this Sept. 27 Facebook post, the time in the fresh mountain air was given to reflection on how much Heavenly Father loves His children. She is grateful for the amazing world she lives in.

“But of all of God’s creations, the most beautiful of all are His children,” the post read.
The blooper in general conference that turned into this powerful message During the October 2014 general conference, Elder David F. Evans, General Authority Seventy, had the opportunity to pray. Before thousands of individuals, Elder Evans said they were “so grateful for this opportunity to have our strength faithened."
Elder David F. Evans, General Authority Seventy, left, shakes hands with a BYU-Hawaii student following a devotional held in the George Q. Cannon Activities Center on Sept. 25, 2018.
This week on social: Sister Eubank's thoughts on Typhoon Mangkhut and facing storms with confidence Following an announcement of more details on the new youth initiative, and natural disasters around the world, Church leaders offered support and guidance through social media.
On the morning of Sept. 15, wind and rain pounded on Sister Eubank’s hotel room in Manila. Even from that distance, she felt the effects of Typhoon Mangkhut, which had descended on northern Luzon in the Philippines. She awoke early that morning to pray for those in the path of Mangkhut and Hurricane Florence, sharing a thought from Sister Grace Teh, the wife of Elder Michael John U. Teh.
How BYU-Idaho President Henry J. Eyring evaluates doubts about the Church Who does President Henry J. Eyring turn to when he begins to question the Church? One might think the BYU-Idaho president would immediately call his father, President Henry B. Eyring, second counselor in the First Presidency.
Students walk out of the BYU-Idaho Center in Rexburg, Idaho, following the first devotional of Fall semester on Sept. 18, 2018.
On its 2 year anniversary, see how the Philadelphia temple was centuries in the making The Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple, the Church’s 152nd temple in operation, was dedicated two years ago today by President Henry B. Eyring, then-first counselor in the First Presidency.
Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple
This week on social: What a plane ticket, a road trip and an errand teach about staying closer to God Sharing personal revelatory experiences, Church leaders posted about a variety of things they learned this week.
On Sept. 12, 2018, the Facebook page of Sister Michelle D. Craig, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency, posted about President Russell M. Nelson’s invitation for the youth to keep on the covenant path.
The scripture Elder Bednar was inspired to share on 9/11 with BYU-Idaho students Very little can be said about the terrorist attacks on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, that hasn’t already been said. Thousands of people were killed as millions of people across the country and around the world watched in horror as the attacks unfolded.
BYU-Idaho President Bednar talks about the changes that have taken place at the BYU-Idaho campus. He was president of the university from 1997 until his October 2004 call to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
This week on social: Pleas from Church leaders on suicide prevention, how to face the future with hope This week, Church leaders' social media accounts offered words of encouragement to those who are struggling with hopelessness and other negative feelings, and gave personal experiences of times they have felt the same.
In a screenshot from Elder Ronald A. Rasband's Instagram account, people are encouraged to "follow the Savior’s example by reaching out to those around us who may be experiencing pain, loneliness, and despair." September is National Suicide Prevention Month.