Elder Bednar turns 68 today. Here’s how the Apostle spent his most recent year

June 15 marks Elder David A. Bednar’s 68th birthday. A member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since Oct. 7, 2004, Elder Bednar was born on June 15, 1952, in Oakland, California.

In celebration of his birthday, here’s a look at his recent year of ministry.

Mission Leadership Seminar

During the 2019 Mission Leadership Seminar at the Provo Missionary Training Center on June 25, 2019, Elder Bednar addressed the “character of Christ.”

“The character of Christ, the consistent capacity to turn outward and minister to others in the midst of affliction, is the very foundation of the infinite and eternal atoning sacrifice,” he said.

One of the greatest indicators of righteous character “is the capacity to recognize and appropriately respond to other people who are experiencing the very challenge or adversity that is most immediately and forcefully pressing upon us,” he added.

The Savior of the World is the “source, the standard, and the ultimate criterion of moral character and the perfect example of charity and consistency,” Elder Bednar testified to mission leaders.

Throwing the first pitch

Elder David A. Bednar and President Jeremy Guthrie congratulating each other for a successful first pitch.
Elder David A. Bednar and President Jeremy Guthrie congratulating each other for a successful first pitch. Credit: Courtesy of Houston Astros

On July 22, 2019, Elder Bednar threw a perfect strike in a ceremonial opening pitch at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. The catcher was President Jeremy Guthrie, current mission president of the Texas Houston South Mission and former Major League Baseball pitcher.

Also, 150 missionaries from the Texas Houston South Mission followed their mission president onto the field to perform the National Anthem.

Visiting General Authorities and their wives outside the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple on Sept. 1, 2019. From left, Elder Kevin R. Duncan, Elder David A. Bednar, Sister Susan Bednar, Sister Rebecca Alonso, Elder José L. Alonso, Sister Norma Gavarret, Elder Eduardo Gavarret, Sister Cari Lu Alvarado, and Elder Jorge M. Alvarado.
Visiting General Authorities and their wives outside the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple on Sept. 1, 2019. From left, Elder Kevin R. Duncan, Elder David A. Bednar, Sister Susan Bednar, Sister Rebecca Alonso, Elder José L. Alonso, Sister Norma Gavarret, Elder Eduardo Gavarret, Sister Cari Lu Alvarado, and Elder Jorge M. Alvarado. Credit: Jason Swensen

Temple dedication in Haiti

On September 1, 2019, Elder Bednar dedicated the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple — the island nation’s first temple and second in the Caribbean Area.

“On this day of dedication, I think not only of today, but also of the future, and what this temple will cause to happen in this country,” he said before the first of three dedicatory sessions.

BYU–Idaho devotional

On September 22, 2019, Elder and Sister Bednar addressed 15,000 BYU–Idaho students in a devotional about hearing and feeling the power of the Holy Ghost.

“You should pay very close attention to the thoughts that come to your mind and the feelings that come to your heart by the power of the Holy Ghost,” the Apostle told the students. “The messages you receive in your mind and in your heart are from God to you individually and personally.”

Elder Bednar, who was BYU-Idaho president from 1997 until his call to the apostleship in 2004, also taught students that faith in Jesus Christ is a principle of both action and power.

October 2019 general conference

In his October 2019 general conference address, “Watchful unto Prayer Continually,” Elder Bednar warned listeners of evil’s beguiling disguises.

“One of the ultimate ironies of eternity is that the adversary, who is miserable precisely because he has no physical body, invites and entices us to share in his misery through the improper use of our bodies,” he said.

He encouraged listeners to stay awake and alert to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. “I promise that the blessings of effective preparation and spiritual protection will flow into your life as you are watchful unto prayer vigilantly and continually.”

RootsTech London

Elder David A. Bednar and his wife, Sister Susan Bednar, speak in the ExCel auditorium during the concluding "An Evening with Elder and Sister Bednar" session of RootsTech London on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019.
Elder David A. Bednar and his wife, Sister Susan Bednar, speak in the ExCel auditorium during the concluding “An Evening with Elder and Sister Bednar” session of RootsTech London on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019. Credit: Scott Taylor

In October 2019, Sister and Elder Bednar traveled to England to participate in RootsTech London. While there, the Bednars also visited the church in which Elder Bednar’s great-great-great-grandparents were married in 1851. 

RootsTech London totaled nearly 10,000 participants representing 42 different countries. During the event, the Bednars hosted a “Young Adult Face to Face” unscripted question-and-answer session and the “Youth Experience,” in which they discussed family history with a panel of eight youth.

Central America visit with Sister Bednar

From Nov. 8-17, 2019, Sister and Elder Bednar met with members, government leaders and missionaries in Guatemala, Nicaragua and Honduras.

During a meeting with members in Guatemala, a 9-year-old girl from the Solola Guatemala Stake asked Elder Bednar a question while fighting back tears. Elder Bednar invited her up to the podium and gave her a card with his address. He asked her to do her best to live the gospel and, occasionally, “send me a letter and let me know how you are doing.” She embraced him in a big hug.

A young girl hugs Elder David A. Bednar after he answered her question in Solola, Guatemala, during the Apostle’s visit to the country in November 2019.
A young girl hugs Elder David A. Bednar after he answered her question in Solola, Guatemala, during the Apostle’s visit to the country in November 2019. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Elder Bednar called Central America a “thriving area of the Church,” adding, “When you look at these members, you can tell the Father’s Plan is a plan of happiness because it shows in their countenances.”

During a devotional with youth from the Managua Nicaragua Stake, Elder Bednar emphasized the importance of enjoying the blessings of a temple. “It is easier to build a temple than it is to build a people prepared to receive the temple,” he said, quoting President Russell M. Nelson.

Sometimes people think Church leaders only go to foreign lands to help the members. “But seeing the deep devotion and Christlike goodness in the faces of members blesses Susan and me in extraordinary ways,” Elder Bednar said.

Worldwide CES devotional

On Feb, 7, Elder Bednar taught Church Educational System employees and their spouses in a worldwide devotional about the role of the Holy Ghost in teaching.

During the annual “Evening with a General Authority” event, Elder Bednar explained inspiration from the Holy Ghost is rarely big, dramatic and sudden. Some may not even recognize they are receiving inspiration at the time. But, he said, “We should always be living ready for revelation — that we ‘may always have His Spirit to be with [us]’” (Moroni 4:3).

Historic first visit to Sudan

Just one day after the CES devotional, Elder Bednar became the first member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to visit the Republic of Sudan, meeting with government and religious leaders in the area from Feb. 8-12.

Elder Bednar, second from right, meets with a religious leader in Khartoum, Sudan, in February 2020.
Elder Bednar, second from right, meets with a religious leader in Khartoum, Sudan, in February 2020. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

“We are delighted to be here in Sudan,” Elder Bednar said in a video interview with Newsroom. “We are here during a tremendous time of transition. There is a new government in place, there are new reforms that are taking place in the country. It is early, and so it is continuing to progress.”

He added: “We wondered as we came what would be the reception of us as Christians, and everywhere we have gone, it has been quite remarkable to see how much Islam and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have in common.”

April 2020 general conference

In his April 2020 general conference address, “Let This House Be Built Unto My Name,” Elder Bednar spoke of temples.

“We do not come to the temple to hide from or escape the evils of the world. Rather, we come to the temple to conquer the world of evil,” he said.

He testified everything done and learned in the temple “emphasizes the divinity of Jesus Christ and His role in Heavenly Father’s great plan of happiness.”

‘Hear Him’ video

In a short video released on social media on April 21, Elder Bednar discussed how he hears the words of Christ through the scriptures.

“The scriptures are the prerecorded voice of the Lord,” Elder Bednar said, adding they allow him to hear the voice of the Lord “in a feeling.”

“The scriptures, for me, are the key in being able to have those thoughts and feelings.”