In case you missed it: President Nelson featured in The Atlantic, Elder Bednar at BYU-I commencement, General Handbook updates

During the week of Dec. 14-Dec. 20, President Russell M. Nelson participated in a national interview with The Atlantic; President M. Russell Ballard was featured in a Church News video about his late wife, Sister Barbara Ballard; and Elder David A. Bednar spoke during BYU–Idaho fall commencement exercises.

The Church released updates to the General Handbook and a statement offering congratulations to U.S. President-elect Joe Biden. Ground was broken for the Mendoza Argentina Temple.

The Primary general presidency announced a new service initiative for children, Seminaries and Institutes of Religion announced changes for seminary, and the Church Historian’s Press announced online publication of additional Eliza R. Snow discourses and Emmeline B. Wells diaries.

Here are summaries and links to those nine articles below:

1. President Nelson featured in article by The Atlantic

President Russell M. Nelson records a video message on the healing power of gratitude, which was shared on social media on Nov. 20, 2020.
President Russell M. Nelson records a video message on the healing power of gratitude, which was shared on social media on Nov. 20, 2020. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

The Atlantic article, titled “The Most American Religion,” notes that Church members “spent 200 years assimilating to a certain national ideal — only to find their country in an identity crisis. What will the third century of the faith look like?”

Not since President Gordon B. Hinckley appeared on CBS’ “60 Minutes” on April 7, 1996, has a Church president sat for an interview with such a high-profile national journalist. Years later, Mike Wallace, who conducted the interview, narrated a tribute to President Hinckley at his 95th birthday celebration.

Read what President Nelson said in this national interview

2. President Ballard opens up about losing Sister Ballard

President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said the best thing that ever happened to him was meeting and marrying his wife, Sister Barbara Bowen Ballard.

Two years after her death on Oct. 1, 2018, President Ballard speaks of her love and influence — and of his loneliness without her — in a Church News video, titled “Simply Beautiful.”

Watch President Ballard detail how they met and the legacy she left behind

3. Elder Bednar speaks to BYU–Idaho graduates

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks to BYU–Idaho graduates during online commencement exercises on Dec. 16, 2020.
Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks to BYU–Idaho graduates during online commencement exercises on Dec. 16, 2020. Credit: Screenshot byui.edu

In a year where the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted students’ experiences on campus, Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained to Brigham Young University–Idaho graduates that they will be better because of the constraints, limitations and deprivations they have experienced.

Speaking during the BYU–Idaho fall commencement exercises on Wednesday, Dec. 16, the Apostle spoke to his virtual audience, which included 2,747 graduates, about the blessings they have received and the blessings that will come to future students because of their response to the challenges of this year.

Elder Bednar explains what the Nauvoo exodus has to do with students graduating from BYU–Idaho

4. General Handbook includes new policy on prejudice

The Church released six rewritten chapters of the General Handbook on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020. Sections of 11 other chapters have been added or revised.
The Church released six rewritten chapters of the General Handbook on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020. Sections of 11 other chapters have been added or revised. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Under the direction of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, six newly rewritten chapters of the Church’s General Handbook were released on Friday, Dec. 18. Sections of 11 other chapters have been added or revised. 

General Handbook: Serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” now includes new or updated policies on prejudice, medical marijuana and other medical care, as well as administrative updates to chapters on stake leadership, ministering, providing for temporal needs and temple work. 

Read more about the latest handbook revisions and a watch a video of Church leaders talking about them

5. Ground broken for Mendoza Argentina Temple

Elder Allen D. Haynie delivers remarks prior to offering the dedicatory prayer during the Dec. 17, 2020, groundbreaking ceremony of the Mendoza Argentina Temple.
Elder Allen D. Haynie delivers remarks prior to offering the dedicatory prayer during the Dec. 17, 2020, groundbreaking ceremony of the Mendoza Argentina Temple. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

A small gathering of Latter-day Saint leaders gathered Thursday at the future temple site in the north/central city of Mendoza. Attendance was limited due to local COVID-19 social distancing guidelines.

Elder Allen D. Haynie, a General Authority Seventy and a member of the South America South Area Presidency, offered the dedicatory prayer and presided over the ceremony. He was joined at the gathering by several local community leaders — including Mendoza Mayor Ulpiano Suarez; the Mayor of the Department of Las Heras, Mayor Daniel Orozco; and the Secretary of the Environment and Territorial Planning of Mendoza, Humberto Daniel Mingorance.

Here’s how local Latter-day Saints feel about a fourth temple in Argentina

6. New service initiative for children

Children raise their hands during Primary.
Children raise their hands during Primary. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Beginning in January, the Church magazine for children, the Friend, will be made available as a global publication in 148 countries and in 48 different languages. And in the magazine throughout the new year, the Primary general presidency will issue a series of challenges to children around the world in an effort to help them draw closer to the Savior by following His example. 

In each monthly edition throughout the new year, examples of children who are serving others in their communities and families will be accompanied by scripture stories of how Christ helped and served others. There will also be an invitation or challenge from the Primary general presidency encouraging children to take practical actions to follow His example.

Read more about this initiative and listen to what Primary General President Joy D. Jones says on this week’s Church News podcast

7. Seminary to further align with ‘Come, Follow Me’

Seminary and Institutes of Religion of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced changes for seminary in 2021, including a further alignment with “Come, Follow Me” and a new reading requirement for seminary course credit.
Seminary and Institutes of Religion of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced changes for seminary in 2021, including a further alignment with “Come, Follow Me” and a new reading requirement for seminary course credit. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Seminary and Institutes of Religion of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced changes for seminary in 2021, including a further alignment with “Come, Follow Me” and a new reading requirement for seminary course credit.

Learn more about changes to the course of study and reading requirements

8. Church congratulates U.S. President-elect Joe Biden

Voters cast their ballots at Trolley Square in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020.
Voters cast their ballots at Trolley Square in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. Credit: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a statement Monday afternoon, offering congratulations to United States President-elect Joe Biden.

The statement came as electoral college electors for all 50 states and the District of Columbia cast their ballots for the President of the United States — affirming the election results. There is an elector for each member of a state’s federal delegation and three for the District of Columbia.

Read the full statement from the Church

9. Additional Eliza R. Snow, Emmeline B. Wells writings released

Portrait of Eliza R. Snow, right, Emmeline B. Wells, center, and Elizabeth Ann Whitney
Portrait of Eliza R. Snow, right, Emmeline B. Wells, center, and Elizabeth Ann Whitney Credit: Church History Library

The Church Historian’s Press recently announced the online publication of additional Eliza R. Snow discourses (October 1873-May 1875) and volumes of Emmeline B. Wells’ diaries (1881-1888). The first groups of Eliza’s discourses and Emmeline’s diaries were released earlier this year, and more will be added in the coming months and years. 

The latest release of Eliza’s discourses and Emmeline’s diaries provide insight into their teachings, service and personal lives as they strive for unity and to let “great things be done by the women of Zion.”

What these women learned about unity and persistence amid hardship in late 19th century