Elder Quentin L. Cook: ‘Bishops — Shepherds Over the Lord’s Flock’

Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Notable quotes:

“The bishop has a paramount role in serving as a shepherd to guide the rising generation, including young single adults, to Jesus Christ.”
“Thoughtful leaders have always sacrificed for the rising generation. This is where the bishopric members spend the majority of their Church-service time.”
“Bishops, we sustain you! Bishops, we love you! You are truly the Lord’s shepherds over His flock. The Savior will not forsake you in these sacred callings.”

Summary points:

  • As President Russell M. Nelson has taught, a bishopric’s “first and foremost responsibility is to care for the young men and young women of [their] ward.”
  • In interviews and other associations with youth, bishops can provide vision and build faith in Jesus Christ. 
  • The Savior will not forsake bishops in their sacred callings.

Talk summary:

Supporting the rising generation in a time of unusual challenges and temptations is an essential responsibility given to parents and bishoprics. Bishops and their counselors can appropriately be called “shepherds over the Lord’s flock” — with an emphasis on being shepherds for the rising generation. 

The bishop and his counselors also have a seminal role in caring for the children and youth in the ward. Time spent with a young priest, young woman or young adult can help them understand the Atonement of Jesus Christ and provide a vision that will have a profound and lasting influence. “You can extend powerful invitations to change behavior, prepare them for life and inspire them to stay on the covenant path.”

To help bishops focus their time and energy ministering to youth and their families, it is recommended that bishops not have assigned ministering families. Bishoprics have also been counseled to delegate appropriate meetings and counseling time with adults. 

To youth, “allow the bishop to be your friend and counselor. … As President Nelson has invited you, please qualify yourself to be part of the Lord’s youth battalion.” The Church has more than 30,000 bishops and branch presidents serving across the world. To each of them, “please know how much we love and appreciate you.”

In the news:

  • Elder Cook encouraged BYU-Idaho students during a Jan. 27 campus devotional to focus on the Savior and find themselves on the “Sunny Side of the Street.”
  • Days after the new Church magazines were released in January, Elder Cook spoke to the Church News about their global focus and relevant messages. 
  • Speaking to BYU students in a campus devotional on Nov. 10, 2020, Elder Cook emphasized learning what is essential and avoiding detours and stumbling blocks. 
  • During a devotional on Nov. 1, 2020, for young adults in the North America West Area, Elder Cook spoke about strengthening faith to face life’s challenges.

About the speaker:

  • Elder Quentin L. Cook was sustained a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on Oct. 6, 2007.
  • He married Mary Gaddie on Nov. 30, 1962, and they are the parents of three children. 
  • While Elder Cook was in high school, his brother was pondering whether to serve a mission. They both decided to search for the answer through prayer and received a positive answer that shaped Elder Cook’s testimony for the rest of his life.
  • He currently serves as chairman of the Priesthood and Family Executive Council.

Recently on social:

  • “We are to esteem our brothers and sisters as ourselves. We are to practice virtue and holiness. We are to be one. If we are not one, we are not His,” Elder Cook wrote in a post in February.
  • When Elder Cook and his wife were in their 20s and experiencing a period of social unrest similar to the current turbulence in the world, they heard counsel from Elder Harold B. Lee, which Elder Cook shared on his social media pages.
  • On Nov. 8, Elder Cook taught about the significance of small, daily choices in a social media post.