In case you missed it: The Hollands at RootsTech, the Uchtdorfs’ counsel to missionaries, plus 7 more stories

During the week of Feb. 21-27, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and his wife, Sister Patricia Holland, went back to their roots in St. George, Utah, as part of RootsTech Connect Family Discovery Day. Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf and Sister Harriet Uchtdorf addressed the Church’s global missionary force, and Elder David A. Bednar, Elder Dale G. Renlund and Elder Gary E. Stevenson participated in the 2021 Temple and Family History Leadership Instruction meeting.

Elder Neil L. Andersen and Sister Kathy Andersen offered counsel to French-speaking young single adult Latter-day Saints around the world. Latter-day Saint Charities donated $20 million to support COVID-19 vaccination efforts, and the BYU Committee on Race, Equity & Belonging released findings from its diversity and equity survey.

In the Church News podcast, Matthew J. Grow, the managing director of the Church History Department, discussed how to connect with the people in the Doctrine and Covenants and offered 12 resources for studying this year’s course of study in “Come, Follow Me.” A Church News article about stake prison ministries offered tips on how to get one started, while another article shared the story behind BYU Vocal Point’s recent collaboration with Christian gospel singer Brian Courtney Wilson.

Below are summaries and links to these nine articles.

1. Elder and Sister Holland return to southern Utah for RootsTech Family Discovery Day

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Patricia Holland, record a presentation in St. George, Utah, as part of RootsTech Connect Family Discovery Day Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Patricia Holland, record a presentation in St. George, Utah, as part of RootsTech Connect Family Discovery Day Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Sitting beside his wife and three children on the grounds of the old red-brick Dixie Academy in St. George, Utah, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles recalled how he met Sister Patricia Holland.

The old Dixie Academy was one of many stops Elder and Sister Holland made while driving around their hometown of St. George with their three children and was part of Elder and Sister Holland’s presentation at RootsTech Family Discovery Day on Saturday, Feb. 27. 

Find out more about Elder and Sister Holland’s family and what they shared about connection

2. Elder Uchtdorf’s devotional on technology in missionary work is ‘almost like a worldwide Zoom meeting’

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his wife, Sister Harriet R. Uchtdorf, address missionaries during a devotional, broadcast on February 23, 2021.
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his wife, Sister Harriet R. Uchtdorf, address missionaries during a devotional, broadcast on February 23, 2021. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Fittingly, technology served as both the medium and main topic as the Uchtdorfs spoke with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ full-time missionary force spread across the globe in a devotional that the member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles called “almost like a worldwide Zoom meeting.”

In the devotional posted Thursday, Feb. 25, on the missionaries’ online portal, Elder Uchtdorf — who chairs the Church’s Missionary Executive Council — saluted the elders and sisters of the COVID-19 pandemic era as those who learned to use technology and social media in new and effective ways to proclaim the gospel worldwide.

Read more of the Uchtdorfs’ invitations, warnings and promises to missionaries

3. What 3 Apostles taught at RootsTech about temple and family history work during the pandemic

Elder David A. Bednar and Elder Kevin S. Hamilton lead a videoconference discussion with a youth panel during the Feb. 25, 2021, Temple and Family History Leadership Instruction broadcast. The six youth, from middle and bottom rows from left to right, are Hanae in Japan, Sharmaine in the Philippines, Simon in France, Henry in Brazil, Zoï in Germany, and Gabriel in Guatemala.
Elder David A. Bednar and Elder Kevin S. Hamilton lead a videoconference discussion with a youth panel during the Feb. 25, 2021, Temple and Family History Leadership Instruction broadcast. The six youth, from middle and bottom rows from left to right, are Hanae in Japan, Sharmaine in the Philippines, Simon in France, Henry in Brazil, Zoï in Germany, and Gabriel in Guatemala. Credit: Screenshot, churchofjesuschrist.org

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a virtual RootsTech Connect and temple and family history leadership session this year. “Consider how technology has made possible a leadership session involving people from all over the world,” said Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. This session “is truly global, and at the same time, it is local,” he continued.

In addition to Elder Bednar — who chairs the Church’s Temple and Family History Executive Council — and Elder Kevin S. Hamilton, other members of that committee led small group discussions with ward and stake representatives, families and youth regarding experiences, perspectives and best practices in temple and family history work. They included Elder Gary E. Stevenson and Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Elder Terence M. Vinson of the Presidency of the Seventy; Elder Shayne M. Bowen and Elder Adeyinka A. Ojediran, General Authority Seventies; and President Joy D. Jones, Primary general president.

Learn what they had to say about participating in temple and family history work during the pandemic

4. In devotional to French-speaking young adults, Elder Andersen extends 6 belief-related admonitions

Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and his wife, Sister Kathy Andersen, participate in a devotional for French-speaking young adult Latter-day Saints around the world on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021.
Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and his wife, Sister Kathy Andersen, participate in a devotional for French-speaking young adult Latter-day Saints around the world on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

In the 12 years since Elder Neil L. Andersen was called as an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, he has experienced sacred moments, “unspeakable experiences and feelings that I never anticipated in my life, assuring me of the reality of Jesus Christ,” he related in a devotional broadcast on Sunday, Feb. 21.

Speaking in French to listeners in Africa, Tahiti, France, Canada, Haiti and the French islands of the Caribbean and other locations, Elder Andersen was joined by his wife, Sister Kathy Andersen, who also speaks French, in reinforcing and encouraging young adults’ faith.

Read more about his belief-related injunctions for young single adults

5. Latter-day Saint Charities to donate $20 million to support UNICEF’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts

Latter-day Saint Charities has supported global immunization initiatives led by UNICEF and the WHO. This woman receives a vaccination in Chad.
Latter-day Saint Charities has supported global immunization initiatives led by UNICEF and the WHO. This woman receives a vaccination in Chad. Credit: UNICEF

Latter-day Saint Charities will donate $20 million to United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund to help ensure safe, fast and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines across the globe, Church leaders announced Friday.

This donation makes Latter-day Saint Charities, the humanitarian arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the single largest private sector donor to date to support UNICEF’s Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator and the vaccines arm of the ACT Accelerator called the COVAX Facility.

Find out more about the Church’s donation and efforts to accelerate the end of the pandemic

6. BYU releases findings from its diversity and equity survey designed to ‘root out’ racism on campus

A campus sign at the entrance of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.
A campus sign at the entrance of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Credit: Nate Edwards, BYU

Brigham Young University formed its Committee on Race, Equity & Belonging last summer as part of a broad effort to root out racism, heal wounds and build bridges of understanding across the vast campus community.

On Friday, BYU released key findings from its national diversity and equity campus climate survey that included data from nearly 20,000 respondents.

Learn more about the survey and BYU’s efforts to build bridges of understanding

7. Episode 19: Director of Church History on connecting to the people in the Doctrine and Covenants

 In Episode 19 of the Church News podcast, guest Matthew J. Grow, managing director of the Church History Department, discusses how learning Church history and exploring resources like The Joseph Smith Papers, the “Saints” book series and “Come, Follow Me” can help members connect more to the historic and spiritual record — and discover that these early Saints are more like us than we may have thought before.  He also pointed out several resources from the Church historians to help those studying the historical context of the Doctrine and Covenants this year.

Listen to his insights on Church history

8. Starting a prison ministry: What some stakes are doing to help their local inmates

Nearly 2.3 million individuals are currently serving time in jails or prisons in the United States, according to the Prison Policy Initiative. There are many ways Latter-day Saints can minister to those who are incarcerated.
Nearly 2.3 million individuals are currently serving time in jails or prisons in the United States, according to the Prison Policy Initiative. There are many ways Latter-day Saints can minister to those who are incarcerated. Credit: Aaron Thorup, Deseret News

God views those who are incarcerated as His beloved sons and daughters, with a divine nature and eternal destiny, who can be saved and exalted through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, Elder Dale G. Renlund said. 

Love and compassion for those affected by crime is what Doug Richens, Church manager of Prison Ministry, has seen in recent weeks as the February Liahona magazine published several articles on how the gospel blesses the lives of incarcerated members.

Many around the world have reached out wanting to know how they can get involved — including stakes in Alabama and Illinois that have now begun prison ministries in their areas. 

Learn what these two stakes are doing to help those who are incarcerated

9. The story behind BYU Vocal Point’s unique collaboration with popular Christian gospel singer Brian Courtney Wilson

Brian Courtney Wilson sings with BYU Vocal Point at June Audio Recording Studios in Provo on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021.
Brian Courtney Wilson sings with BYU Vocal Point at June Audio Recording Studios in Provo on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. Credit: Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

Celebrated contemporary gospel singer Brian Courtney Wilsonr ecently traveled to Provo, Utah, to record a newly arranged version of “Fear Is Not Welcome” with Brigham Young University’s male a cappella group Vocal Point. The seven-man student ensemble enjoys a broad following of its own. Its performance of “Nearer, My God, to Thee” has been viewed over 29 million times on YouTube.

Read more about their unique collaboration