Today, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles celebrates his 79th birthday. For this occasion, we’re taking a look back at some of his assignments and devotional addresses from this year.
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In a video released on March 22, Elder Holland — accompanied by Elder Kim B. Clark, then-General Authority Seventy and commissioner of the Church Educational System; Sister Bonnie H. Cordon, Young Women general president; and Chad H. Webb, Seminary and Institutes of Religion administrator — discussed how seminary study would align with the new “Come, Follow Me” curriculum and what that means for seminary students and teachers.
“We think this is a tremendous development at this time when our young people need evermore strength,” Elder Holland said. “We think is a wonderful alignment … with what the rest of the Church is doing. And we believe that it’s going to be wonderfully symbiotic with the … Church-supported — and now we add Seminary supported — home-centered, gospel study.”
On April 12, Elder Holland challenged BYU-Idaho graduates to not merely “recollect” all that their school stands for, but to “remember” the lessons of the Church-owned institution of learning.
“To quote Rudyard Kipling, you are all ‘captains and kings’ today, the featured stars of this drama, center stage, and rightly so,” he said. “We want this to be one of the greatest days of your life. Take photos. Sign autographs. Hang your diploma on the wall. Use all of these ways to preserve your memories of these years, and let those remnants of this day remind you what so many have done for you in order that you could be here today.”
Elder Holland rededicated the Memphis Tennessee Temple on Sunday, May 15, after the building had been closed for 18 months for renovations. “In a demandingly short period of time, this temple has been turned into a classic,” he said of the temple.
The importance of eternal families and creating close family relationships was a theme of many of the messages shared by Elder Holland while speaking to Church members on a tour through central Mexico May 24-June 3.
In a devotional broadcast to young single adults throughout Mexico, Elder Holland counseled them to think about what they can do for the Church instead of what the Church can do for them. “Move from reliance to self-reliance. Move to adulthood,” he said.
During a global broadcast to seminary and institute teachers on June 12, Elder Holland said that a student is not a container to be filled but “a fire to be ignited.”
“As teachers, we are to be spiritual arsonists. Our lessons are to be incendiary devices.”
During a Sunday night devotional on June 23 to 1,499 missionaries at the Provo Missionary Training Center and 164 couples there for training in the 2019 New Mission Leadership Seminar, Elder Holland delivered a message titled “Your purpose and the doctrine of Christ.”
“Your missionary message is that with a complete offering of His body, His blood and the anguish of His spirit, Christ atoned for the initial transgression of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and also paid the personal price for the accumulated sins of everyone else who would ever live in this world from Adam to the end of time,” Elder Holland said.
Speaking to about 11,000 students in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on the campus of Utah State University in Logan, Utah, on Sept. 22, Elder Holland charged young adults to “be of good cheer” despite the trials of the last days.
“We are indeed the most blessed people in the history of the world,” Elder Holland said. “Truly we live in a magnificent day, and it is directly linked to the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in this, the last and greatest dispensation in the history of the world.”
During the 30th anniversary of the dedication of the BYU Jerusalem Center, Elder Holland shared four lessons he learned from the miracles that took place to bring about the center.
First, the Lord can do His own work. Second, people were in the right place at the right time to bring about this large miracle. Third, in the work of the Lord, press forward with courage. Finally, the full potential of the BYU Jerusalem Center is still unrealized.
“I don’t know what it will mean a generation after we’re gone or what future purposes the Lord will have for it, but I hope students from all over the world can be blessed by it. My testimony to you is that the Lord wanted that center built and has it there for great purposes that we now see only dimly,” he said.
Weeks before the centennial of the dedication of the Laie Hawaii Temple, Elder Holland spoke to BYU-Hawaii students in a devotional address on Oct. 22 about their unique privilege to learn from both the temple and the university in the prophetic goal of establishing Zion.
“If you will persevere throughout your life as you have begun in your degree programs here and if you will be true to what Latter-day Saint temples and universities stand for — what Zion stands for — I promise you in the name of the Lord that your future will unfold as He intended it before the foundation of the world,” he told BYU-Hawaii students.
Elder Holland and his wife, Sister Patricia Holland, returned home to St. George on Oct. 24-25 to attend their 60-year Dixie High School reunion and participate in a Dixie State University alumni homecoming event.
“Home is home for everyone,” he said. “But … there’s something special about southern Utah. For us, it’s the heritage, the faith and hard, hard circumstances with which this area was settled.”
Elder and Sister Holland traveled to Southeast Africa Nov. 9-16, visiting South Africa, Angola and Mozambique. Elder Holland encouraged all to come unto Christ and be grateful for the gift of His grace, His Atonement, and His direction in our lives. “If we refuse the gift, we refuse the giver,” he said, quoting Doctrine and Covenants 88:33.