In case you missed it: Elder Holland’s testimony, Elder Cook speaks to YSA in Mexico, 2 temple groundbreakings

During the week of Nov. 30-Dec. 6, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland shared his testimony in a new Church News video and podcast, Elder Quentin L. Cook spoke to young single adults in Mexico, and a Christmas on Temple Square concert included Apostles and other Church leaders reading Luke 2 in multiple languages.

Elder Patrick Kearon of the Presidency of the Seventy spoke to Ensign College students and ground was broken for the Bengaluru India Temple and Okinawa Japan Temple. Elder Dale G. Renlund and his wife, Sister Ruth Renlund, tested positive for COVID-19.

The Church News published articles about the history of Utah’s 25 temples and significant anniversaries for three of the Church’s standard works.

Here are summaries and links to those nine articles below:

1. Elder Holland talks about the pandemic, his testimony

On Dec. 3, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland celebrated his 80th birthday. Days shy of this event, Elder Holland joined the Church News podcast to share his testimony, offer his hard-earned life advice, and encourage individuals to turn to God amid the trying times of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

During 2020, people across the globe have worried about their health and livelihood, he said. Many are turning to God. “If we haven’t been able to turn here, and we can’t turn there, we can turn up,” he said. “And I hope that one thing we’ve all done is come closer to God.” 

Listen to Elder Holland’s conversation with Sarah Jane Weaver in Episode 7 of the Church News podcast

2. Elder Cook speaks to young adults in Mexico

Elder Quentin L. Cook and his wife, Sister Mary Cook, wave to young adults who participated in the virtual Mexico YSA National Conference on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020.
Elder Quentin L. Cook and his wife, Sister Mary Cook, wave to young adults who participated in the virtual Mexico YSA National Conference on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. Credit: Screenshot

The challenge for young adults today is to find the time for spiritual growth, while acquiring the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in a very competitive world, Elder Quentin L. Cook said during the Mexico YSA National Conference on Sunday, Nov. 29.

In his remarks, titled “Strengthen Your Faith as You Face Life’s Challenges,” Elder Cook shared five principles for young adults to follow as they strengthen faith in Jesus Christ and while seeking diligently to acquire knowledge and skills.

Read a summary of Elder and Sister Cook’s remarks

3. Elder and Sister Renlund test positive for COVID-19

Elder Dale G. Renlund and Sister Ruth Renlund speak at a leaders meeting in the Philippines.
Elder Dale G. Renlund and Sister Ruth Renlund speak at a leaders meeting in the Philippines. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Ruth Renlund, have tested positive for COVID-19. They contracted the virus “despite carefully following recommended public health practices,” said Church spokesman Eric Hawkins in a statement released Saturday afternoon.

“Their condition is being carefully monitored, but gratefully, Elder Renlund currently has just mild symptoms and Sister Renlund is asymptomatic,” said Hawkins in the statement. “Other Church leaders are being tested and taking precautions because of this potential exposure.”

Read more from the Church’s statement about the Renlunds’ diagnosis

4. Christmas on Temple Square kickoff concert

Two sister missionaries from the Salt Lake Temple Square Mission take viewers on a tour of Temple Square during the virtual concert "Celebrating the Light of the World" on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020.
Two sister missionaries from the Salt Lake Temple Square Mission take viewers on a tour of Temple Square during the virtual concert “Celebrating the Light of the World” on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Temple Square’s kickoff Christmas concert “Celebrating the Light of the World” on Tuesday, Dec. 1, concluded with the account of the Savior’s birth in Luke 2 — read by Church leaders in various languages. 

Elder Gerrit W. Gong and Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles read in Mandarin and Portuguese, respectively, and Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé read in French. Young Men General President Steven J. Lund read in Dutch, Elder Michael T. Ringwood of the Seventy in Korean, and Sister Reyna I. Aburto, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, in Spanish. Other General Authorities and general officers participated.

Watch the virtual concert, tour of temple Square lights and Luke 2 reading by Church leaders

5. Elder Kearon speaks to Ensign College students

Elder Patrick Kearon speaks to Ensign College students during a devotional broadcast on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020.
Elder Patrick Kearon speaks to Ensign College students during a devotional broadcast on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. Credit: Screenshot ChurchofJesusChrist.org

In world full of upheaval due to the pandemic and the turmoil surrounding the recent election in the United States, Elder Patrick Kearon of the Presidency of the Seventy invited students at Ensign College to “avoid the poles” — the extremes — in public discourse and to become peacemakers.

During a devotional address broadcast to the college’s international student body on Dec. 1, the Church leader said the latest election cycle has been an example to many countries around the world of the damage that can be caused from polarization, tribalism or clannishness.

Read a summary of Elder Kearon’s devotional address

6. Bengaluru India Temple groundbreaking

A small group of leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints break ground for the Bengaluru India Temple on Dec. 2, 2020 in Bengaluru, India.
A small group of leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints break ground for the Bengaluru India Temple on Dec. 2, 2020 in Bengaluru, India. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

For years, Latter-day Saints in India have faced challenges in participating in temple worship and ordinances — great obstacles in distance, time, cost and documentation — as they have traveled several thousands of miles each way to the nearest temples in Hong Kong, the Philippines or Taiwan.

Those challenges will last only a couple of years longer, now that ground has been broken for the Bengaluru India Temple, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ first temple in the Asian nation of 1.3 billion people and various faiths, including Hinduism and Islam.

Read about the groundbreaking ceremony for the first temple in India

7. Okinawa Japan Temple groundbreaking

A small group of Latter-day Saint leaders participates in the groundbreaking of the Okinawa Japan Temple in Okinawa, Japan, on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020.
A small group of Latter-day Saint leaders participates in the groundbreaking of the Okinawa Japan Temple in Okinawa, Japan, on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Construction has officially begun on the fourth temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Japanese soil. Home to more than 130,000 Latter-day Saints in over 260 congregations, Japan will now have a temple on its island chain of Okinawa. 

Elder Takashi Wada, a General Authority Seventy serving as Asia North Area president, presided at the Okinawa Japan Temple’s Dec. 5 groundbreaking and offered the dedicatory prayer. A small group of Latter-day Saint leaders and invited guests attended due to local government COVID-19 restrictions.

What the Okinawa temple means to Saints on the small island

8. A look at Utah’s 25 temples

The Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple, left, and the Jordan River Utah Temple are pictured on Wednesday, March 25, 2020.
The Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple, left, and the Jordan River Utah Temple are pictured on Wednesday, March 25, 2020. Credit: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continue to spread across the globe, increasingly to the four corners of the earth and the isles of the sea. The Church’s 231 total temples — dedicated, under construction or announced — are found in 38 of the 50 United States and in another 60 nations and territories across the six inhabited continents.

Despite the global spread, 25 of those 231 temples are located in the state of Utah, which measures about 350 miles from north to south and 270 miles from east to west (563 kilometers by 435 kilometers).

Here’s how and why Utah became a focus for temple construction

9. Anniversaries for Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price

First edition of the Book of Mormon
First edition of the Book of Mormon Credit: Welden C. Andersen, Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

The year 2020 marks a few significant anniversaries for three of the four standard works of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Here is a look at some interesting facts about the first editions of the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price.

What you might not know about these 3 standard works