In case you missed it: 8 senior leaders received COVID-19 vaccines, April general conference will be virtual, plus 7 more stories

During the week of Jan. 18-24, the First Presidency and five members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles received COVID-19 vaccinations and also released a statement encouraging members to safeguard “through immunization.”

The First Presidency also announced that April 2021 general conference will be virtual.

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught BYU students that miracles come by inviting the “fire of the covenant” into their lives. In the Church News podcast, the Sunday School general presidency offered insights to studying “Come, Follow Me” and the Doctrine and Covenants this year.

A new site and name for the Deseret Peak Utah Temple in Tooele County were announced, and four revised General Handbook chapters are now available in more than 20 languages.

Four new paintings of Restoration events have been installed in the Sacred Grove Welcome Center. The Church News published articles about 10 sites in 10 U.S. states — plus one in England — that are connected to Church history and a look back on when the Tabernacle Choir performed at past presidential inaugurations.

Below are summaries and links to those nine articles:

1. Senior Church leaders receive COVID-19 vaccine, encourage members to safeguard themselves, others ‘through immunization’

President Russell M. Nelson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination on Tuesday morning, Jan. 19, 2021.
President Russell M. Nelson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination on Tuesday morning, Jan. 19, 2021. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

After eight senior leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination in Salt Lake City on Tuesday morning, the First Presidency issued a statement on vaccinations.

“In word and deed, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has supported vaccinations for generations,” the leaders wrote in the statement. “As a prominent component of our humanitarian efforts, the Church has funded, distributed and administered life-saving vaccines throughout the world. Vaccinations have helped curb or eliminate devastating communicable diseases such as: polio, diphtheria, tetanus, smallpox and measles. Vaccinations administered by competent medical professionals protect health and preserve life.”

Read the First Presidency’s statement here

2. First Presidency announces April 2021 general conference to be conducted virtually

Church leaders are seated before the start of the Saturday afternoon session of the 190th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Oct. 3, 2020.
Church leaders are seated before the start of the Saturday afternoon session of the 190th Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Oct. 3, 2020. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced that the April 2021 general conference will be virtual only.

It marks the third straight virtual general conference. The April 2020 and October 2020 conferences were conducted by broadcast only, and no gatherings were held in public venues.

Learn how to participate in conference

3. At BYU devotional, Elder Bednar declares miracles have not ceased

Elder David A. Bednar speaks at the BYU campus devotional in the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah, on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021.
Elder David A. Bednar speaks at the BYU campus devotional in the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah, on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021. Credit: Jaren Wilkey, BYU Photo

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is occasionally asked why Latter-day Saints don’t experience the types of miracles that defined the early days of the Restoration.

The Apostle’s reply is always the same: “We do!” 

On Tuesday, Jan. 19, Elder Bednar taught a vast Brigham Young University devotional audience — some gathered at the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah, many others virtually — that daily, life-altering miracles are continually happening in the lives of people honoring their covenants and faithfully receiving the “power of godliness.”

Read more about Elder Bednar’s teachings on recognizing miracles

4. Sunday School general presidency on Doctrine and Covenants and seeking revelation

This episode of the Church News podcast features the Sunday School general presidency: President Mark L. Pace and his counselors, Brother Milton Camargo and Brother Jan E. Newman. They offer insights about gospel study, the Doctrine and Covenants and “Come, Follow Me,” and share their testimonies of the power of the scriptures. 

Listen to what President Pace, Brother Camargo and Brother Newman said about studying the Doctrine and Covenants

5. See the new name and location announced for the former Tooele Valley Utah Temple

A rendering of the Deseret Peak Utah Temple.
A rendering of the Deseret Peak Utah Temple. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The temple formerly known as the Tooele Valley Utah Temple has a new name and a new site location — the Deseret Peak Utah Temple, planned for northwest Tooele, Utah.

See the locator map and read more about the announcement

6. Recently revised General Handbook chapters now available in more than 20 languages

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: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has updated four additional chapters and portions of a fifth chapter of its digital administrative handbook in more than two dozen languages, with the updates now available.

The updates are translations of content first published in English on July 31, 2020, when the Church announced that language translations would follow.

Learn more about these handbook updates here

7. See the 4 new paintings in the Sacred Grove Welcome Center

Four new paintings depicting early events of the Restoration have been on display at the Sacred Grove Welcome Center since March 2020.
Four new paintings depicting early events of the Restoration have been on display at the Sacred Grove Welcome Center since March 2020. Credit: Terry Spallino

Many who have virtually toured the Sacred Grove and Smith Farm in Palmyra, New York, in recent months may have seen four new paintings recently commissioned by the Church. 

The paintings depict four key Restoration events that took place on the site and are displayed in a new exhibit in the Welcome Center, to the right of the panoramic window offering an expansive view of the Smith farm. They were installed in March 2020, shortly after Church historic sites closed due to COVID-19. 

Find out about the artists behind the four paintings

8. 10 notable but not well-known Church history sites in the U.S. — plus 1 in England

Joseph Smith Lane in Topsfield, Massachusetts. Five generations of Joseph Smith Sr.'s family lived in Topsfield.
Joseph Smith Lane in Topsfield, Massachusetts. Five generations of Joseph Smith Sr.’s family lived in Topsfield. Credit: Kenneth Mays

Two islands in Maine, Wisconsin pineries, the site near where “Come, Come Ye Saints” was written, and a recently restored home in Nauvoo, Illinois, are part of a list of 10 sites in 10 states across the United States — plus one in England — that are connected to events in Church history but are not as well-known.

See photos and read about the events at these sites here

9. The 7 times the Tabernacle Choir went to Washington for the inauguration

The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square performs at the presidential inauguration of Lyndon B. Johnson on Jan. 20, 1965. It was the first of seven appearances by the choir at inauguration ceremonies for U.S. presidents.
The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square performs at the presidential inauguration of Lyndon B. Johnson on Jan. 20, 1965. It was the first of seven appearances by the choir at inauguration ceremonies for U.S. presidents. Credit: Deseret News archives

The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square has participated in seven U.S. presidential inaugurations for six different presidents.

It was in 1981 at President Ronald Reagan’s inauguration when the choir sang “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” that he dubbed the group “America’s Choir,” according to the choir’s website.

Read about the choir performing at presidential inaugurations