In case you missed it: Elder Holland, Elder Bednar at temple groundbreakings and 7 more stories

During the week of Nov. 2-Nov. 8, President M. Russell Ballard spoke at Ensign College, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland presided at the Red Cliffs Utah Temple groundbreaking, Elder David A. Bednar presided remotely in the Bentonville Arkansas Temple groundbreaking and six Apostles spoke to young adults in regional devotionals.

The first of two virtual Luz de Las Naciones performances was streamed, and the Church provided an update on assigning missionaries beyond home countries.

The Church News also published articles about its third podcast episode, the St. George Utah Temple renovation and temple building “upon the isles of the sea.”

Here are summaries and links to those nine articles below:

1. President Ballard speaks at Ensign College

President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, speaks during an Ensign College devotional broadcast on Nov. 3, 2020.
President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, speaks during an Ensign College devotional broadcast on Nov. 3, 2020. Credit: Screenshot, ChurchofJesusChrist.org

In the same devotional where President M. Russell Ballard referred to students as “modern sons and daughters of Helaman in the great battles of the last days” and invited them to use social media to share the gospel, the Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was also recognized for his service and leadership. 

After introducing President Ballard — who has given more than 40 years of full-time Church service — as Ensign College’s devotional speaker on Nov. 3, President Bruce C. Kusch announced that the M. Russell Ballard Service and Leadership Scholarship has been established at Ensign College. 

Read more about the scholarship and President Ballard’s call for ‘modern stripling warriors’

2. Elder Holland presides at Red Cliffs Utah Temple groundbreaking

Sister Patricia Holland and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Quorum of the Twelve of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, dig their shovels into the dirt at the groundbreaking service for the Red Cliffs Utah Temple in St. George, Utah, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020.
Sister Patricia Holland and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Quorum of the Twelve of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, dig their shovels into the dirt at the groundbreaking service for the Red Cliffs Utah Temple in St. George, Utah, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020. Credit: Nick Adams, for the Deseret News

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland “came home” to the land of his childhood and to his red-soil roots on Saturday, Nov. 7, to dedicate the site of a new temple of The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints in Utah’s Dixie.

There, with his wife, Sister Patricia T. Holland, and their family, Elder Holland’s thoughts turned to the future temple — the Church’s second in St. George — and of “coming home” to the House of the Lord.

Here’s more on what Elder Holland said at the Red Cliffs Utah Temple groundbreaking

3. Elder Bednar presides at Bentonville Arkansas Temple groundbreaking

Elder David A. Bednar, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, presides remotely at the Bentonville Arkansas Temple groundbreaking and offers the dedicatory prayer on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020.
Elder David A. Bednar, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, presides remotely at the Bentonville Arkansas Temple groundbreaking and offers the dedicatory prayer on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Almost 40 years ago, Elder David A. Bednar and his wife, Sister Susan Bednar, moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas. They shared a packing truck with some friends who were also poor graduate students and set out for “Ozark country” where Elder Bednar was to take a position as an assistant professor at the University of Arkansas.

The couple returned to Arkansas, if not physically due to precautions over COVID-19, then in spirit on Saturday, Nov. 7, as Elder Bednar, now a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, presided remotely at the groundbreaking ceremony to begin construction of the Bentonville Arkansas Temple.  

Read what Elder Bednar said about the ‘tremendous growth’ of the Church in Bentonville

4. 6 Apostles speak to young adults

Young adults participate in a devotional hosted by Elder Gary E. Stevenson and his wife, Sister Lesa Stevenson on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020.
Young adults participate in a devotional hosted by Elder Gary E. Stevenson and his wife, Sister Lesa Stevenson on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. Credit: Screenshot ChurchofJesusChrist.org

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Elder David A. Bednar, Elder Quentin L. Cook, Elder Gary E. Stevenson, Elder Dale G. Renlund and Elder Gerrit W. Gong spoke to young adults in a series of devotionals broadcast throughout the six geographical areas of the Church in the United States and Canada on Sunday, Nov. 1.

Here is what the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and their wives told young adults

5. St. George Utah Temple renovation hits one year

Andy Kirby, director of historic temple renovations for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, talks to members of the media outside the unfinished entrance of the St. George Utah Temple on Friday, Nov. 6, 2020, in St. George. The new entrance replaces an older one built in the 1970s and reflects the aesthetic of the original temple. The historic temple is undergoing renovations that are expected to be completed in 2022.
Andy Kirby, director of historic temple renovations for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, talks to members of the media outside the unfinished entrance of the St. George Utah Temple on Friday, Nov. 6, 2020, in St. George. The new entrance replaces an older one built in the 1970s and reflects the aesthetic of the original temple. The historic temple is undergoing renovations that are expected to be completed in 2022. Credit: Nick Adams, for the Deseret News

From foundation to steeple, from demolitions to additions and from building to landscaping, the St. George Utah Temple is getting a drastic makeover on the inside and outside.

One year after project managers, construction leaders and architects began the historic renovation of the pioneer temple — the longest-operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — they gathered Friday, Nov. 6, at the temple site to give an update on the project.

Take a closer look — inside and out — at St. George Utah Temple renovations

6. Sarah Jane Weaver interviews Oregon stake presidents

In Episode 3 of the Church News podcast, Sarah Jane Weaver interviews Oregon stake presidents about ministering after wildfires.
In Episode 3 of the Church News podcast, Sarah Jane Weaver interviews Oregon stake presidents about ministering after wildfires. Credit: Screenshot

In November 2018, Camp fire, the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California’s history, claimed 88 lives and destroyed more than 18,000 structures in and around Paradise, California. This year, fires in Oregon have once again destroyed thousands of homes and uprooted the lives of thousands of families as their devastating flames have torn across the state’s forest and communities.

For Chico California Stake President John Meyer and Medford Oregon Stake President John Clason, their ministries have been shaped and defined by these tragedies and changed the way they look at service and the importance of ministering to God’s children.

Listen to what President Meyer and President Clason said about ministering after wildfires

7. Church starts ‘cautious’ process assigning missionaries beyond home countries

Italy Milan missionaries — from left, Sisters Cassandra Auger, Morgan Gray, Ryan Woodbury and Halle Wilson — model face masks sent from home outside an apartment in Pordenone, Italy, in May 2020.
Italy Milan missionaries — from left, Sisters Cassandra Auger, Morgan Gray, Ryan Woodbury and Halle Wilson — model face masks sent from home outside an apartment in Pordenone, Italy, in May 2020. Credit: Photo courtesy of Sister Gail Browning

After the COVID-19 global pandemic resulted in most full-time missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints being returned to their home countries, the Church is slowly starting to send a limited number of missionaries to assignments outside their home countries.

The latest statement on missionary integration was released Wednesday morning, Nov. 4, by Church spokesman Daniel Woodruff, who acknowledged the many missionaries who accepted reassignments to serve in their home countries. “We are grateful for their faith and optimism in these extraordinary circumstances,” he said.

Read more from the Church’s statement on sending missionaries abroad

8. Prolific temple building ‘upon the isles of the sea’

Members of Kiribati's Onotoa Branch gather together for a 2019 event. Members in Kiribati are celebrating the Church's recent announcement to build a temple on the island nation.
Members of Kiribati’s Onotoa Branch gather together for a 2019 event. Members in Kiribati are celebrating the Church’s recent announcement to build a temple on the island nation. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Almost four decades ago, President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke to a worldwide general conference audience about participating in dedications of temples in Samoa and Tonga weeks earlier. “Through ancient prophets the Lord promised that in the latter days he would remember his people upon the isles of the sea,” he said.

Millennia ago, the ancient prophet Nephi recorded these divine words: “Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea … . And I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth?” (2 Nephi 29:7).

Here’s how prophesy is being realized with recent temple announcements in Kiribati and Vanuatu

9. ‘The show goes on’ for Luz de Las Naciones

Colorful costumes and talented performers have become hallmarks of the Church's annual "Luz de Las Naciones" celebrations.
Colorful costumes and talented performers have become hallmarks of the Church’s annual “Luz de Las Naciones” celebrations. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Many in the Utah Area Latino community wondered if the ongoing pandemic would prompt the cancelation of this year’s Luz de Las Naciones. But el espectáculo debe continuar — the show must go on.

“This year’s theme is ‘Unidos en Esperanza,’ or  ‘United in Hope,’” said Elder Jorge T. Becerra, a General Authority Seventy. “The program expresses our unwavering belief in the divinity of Jesus Christ. Many Latter-day Saints look forward to this annual celebration. We hope many will join us on these memorable evenings to once again enjoy Luz de Las Naciones.”

Watch the first virtual performance held on Saturday