In case you missed it: President Nelson discusses the new temple in Ephraim, Elder and Sister Stevenson’s counsel to young adults, plus 7 more stories

During the week of May 2-8, a Church News video featured President Russell M. Nelson discussing the “prayerful foresight” that went into deciding to build a new temple in the Ephraim, Utah, area. During a worldwide devotional, Elder Gary E. Stevenson and his wife, Sister Lesa Stevenson, taught young adults about to find spiritual strength and peace. Both President Nelson and his wife, Sister Wendy W. Nelson, participated in commencement exercises. President Nelson received an honorary doctorate from the University of Utah and Sister Nelson was the commencement speaker at Utah Valley University.

In honor of the United States National Day of Prayer on Thursday, May 6, President Nelson and three members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles posted thoughts on social media about the importance of prayer. A letter from the First Presidency on May 6 expanded the senior service mission opportunities worldwide. And in a Church News podcast, England London Mission leaders President David Checketts and Sister Deborah Checketts discussed missionary work during the pandemic.

As the second wave of COVID-19 cases continues to sweep across India, local leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are trying to address “a wide range of needs.” A Church News feature on the Assembly Hall highlights its unique purpose and history. And the Young Women general presidency and advisory council explain how to support youth leaders in planning Young Women camp.

Find out more about these nine article below.

1. Video: President Nelson describes the decision to build a second temple in Ephraim, Utah, area

The Manti Utah Temple of The Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints is pictured in Manti on Saturday, May 1, 2021.
The Manti Utah Temple of The Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints is pictured in Manti on Saturday, May 1, 2021. Credit: Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

Thinking about the “hardy pioneers who labored and sacrificed” to build the Manti Utah Temple, President Nelson announced on May 1 plans to preserve the “pioneer craftsmanship, artwork and character” of the temple and to construct a second temple in the area in Ephraim, Utah.

A new Church News video, titled “Prayerful Foresight,” features President Nelson talking about the temple announcements, his appreciation for the Church’s pioneer legacy and his “deep gratitude for the Lord’s responding to our pleadings.”

Watch the video here

2. Elder and Sister Stevenson teach young adults components of proper balance

Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Lesa Stevenson, teach at the Worldwide Devotional for young adults on Sunday, May 2, 2021. The event was broadcast from the Pioneer Center at This Is The Place Heritage Park in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Lesa Stevenson, teach at the Worldwide Devotional for young adults on Sunday, May 2, 2021. The event was broadcast from the Pioneer Center at This Is The Place Heritage Park in Salt Lake City, Utah. Credit: Screenshot

Speaking to young adults around the world, Elder Gary E. Stevenson and his wife, Sister Lesa Stevenson, taught how vision and balance can lead to spiritual strength and peace.

They described four components of achieving proper balance in life and Elder Stevenson extended three invitations to those watching.

Learn more about their counsel to today’s young adults

3. President and Sister Nelson participate in commencement exercises

Sister Wendy Nelson is receives her honorary degree from UVU President Astrid Tuminez and UVU board of trustees Elaine Dalton at Utah Valley University's graduation in Orem on Friday, May 7, 2021. Sister Nelson, the wife of Church President Russell M. Nelson, is a professor of marriage and family therapy, author and a former nurse and psychologist.
Sister Wendy Nelson is receives her honorary degree from UVU President Astrid Tuminez and UVU board of trustees Elaine Dalton at Utah Valley University’s graduation in Orem on Friday, May 7, 2021. Sister Nelson, the wife of Church President Russell M. Nelson, is a professor of marriage and family therapy, author and a former nurse and psychologist. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

President Nelson, a world-renowned former heart surgeon, received an honorary doctoral degree from the University of Utah on Thursday, May 6. 

A five-minute video interview with President Nelson, prepared for the virtual commencement, honored his legacy as a University of Utah student, research professor and director.

Then on Friday, May 7, Sister Nelson was the keynote speaker at Utah Valley University’s 80th commencement. 

Compassion, creativity and productivity increase exponentially as contention falls away, said Sister Nelson while addressing graduates.

By eliminating contention “hearts can change, conversations can change, relationships can change,” she said. “And that’s only the beginning.”

Read more of Sister Nelson’s advice to graduates

4. What President Nelson and 3 Apostles tweeted on the U.S. National Day of Prayer

In honor of the United States National Day of Prayer on Thursday, May 6, 2021, President M. Russell Ballard shared this photo on his Facebook account asking his social media followers to pray for one’s country and leaders.
In honor of the United States National Day of Prayer on Thursday, May 6, 2021, President M. Russell Ballard shared this photo on his Facebook account asking his social media followers to pray for one’s country and leaders.

For almost 70 years, the United States has held an annual day of prayer.

According to an Associated Press report, President Harry S. Truman signed a Congressional resolution calling for an annual National Day of Prayer in April 1952 as U.S. soldiers were fighting in Korea. The purpose was for the public to gather in houses of worship to pray for world peace. The first Thursday in May has been designated as the National Day of Prayer since 1988.

In honor of the event this year, President Nelson, President M. Russell Ballard, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and Elder D. Todd Christofferson posted thoughts on Twitter about the importance of prayer.

Read their social media posts about prayer

5. First Presidency expands senior service missionary opportunities worldwide

A senior service missionary answers the phone at the Latter-day Saint employment resource center.
A senior service missionary answers the phone at the Latter-day Saint employment resource center. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Based on area presidency direction and approval, eligible members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints anywhere in the world may now be considered for a senior service mission.

letter from the First Presidency released May 6 details the expanded senior service mission opportunities. 

“We are deeply grateful for the faithful service of senior missionaries around the world and for the significant contributions they make in building the kingdom of God,” wrote President Russell M. Nelson and his counselors, President Dallin H. Oaks and President Henry B. Eyring

“We continue to encourage members to serve either full-time missions away from home as their circumstances permit or senior service missions if they are unable to leave home.”

Learn more about the expanded opportunities for senior service missionaries

6. Episode 29: England London Mission leaders President and Sister Checketts discuss missionary work

Some of the most memorable reports of how the global COVID-19 pandemic affected The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints revolve around missionary work. Elders and sisters in the England London Mission responded to the constraints brought on by COVID-19 — including quarantining in their flats — with creativity and determination. 

Mission President David Checketts and his companion, Sister Deborah Checketts, have served nearly half of their three-year leadership assignment during the global pandemic.

While the struggles have been difficult, the blessings have been bountiful, they report. In this episode of the Church News podcast, they are joined by their friend and guest host Sister Sheri Dew.

Listen to them recount the miracles and blessings they have witnessed during the pandemic

7. Local Church leaders in India face ‘sleepless nights’ as they respond to COVID-19 surge

A COVID-19 patient, in pink shirt, interacts with the paramedics before he was given oxygen for his breathing difficulties outside a government run hospital in Jammu, India, Friday, May 7, 2021. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi faced growing pressure Friday to impose a strict nationwide lockdown, despite the economic pain it will exact, as a startling surge in coronavirus cases that has pummeled the country's health system shows no signs of abating.
A COVID-19 patient, in pink shirt, interacts with the paramedics before he was given oxygen for his breathing difficulties outside a government run hospital in Jammu, India, Friday, May 7, 2021. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi faced growing pressure Friday to impose a strict nationwide lockdown, despite the economic pain it will exact, as a startling surge in coronavirus cases that has pummeled the country’s health system shows no signs of abating. Credit: AP photo/Channi Anand)

As the second wave of COVID-19 cases continues to sweep across India, local leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are trying to address “a wide range of needs,” said Elder Robert K. William, an Area Seventy in the nation.

“There are no beds available,” he wrote in an email to the Church News. “The medical system is almost jammed with too many to take care.”

Local Church leaders, amid “having sleepless nights,” are trying their best to arrange hospital beds or ICU care for the members, said Elder William. “It is very difficult to get beds at this point of time.”

Read more about Church members in India

8. Assembly Hall: ‘A sacred memorial to the past, with an eye to the future’

Sister Kate Johnson and Sister DaMinikah Rodriguez give a virtual tour of Assembly Hall in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, April 28, 2021.
Sister Kate Johnson and Sister DaMinikah Rodriguez give a virtual tour of Assembly Hall in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. Credit: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

On April 3, 1983, President Gordon B. Hinckley, then second counselor in the First Presidency and just off a weekend of general conference responsibilities, presided at the rededication of the Assembly Hall on Temple Square, and offered the rededicatory prayer.

He gestured to the intricate craftsmanship that highlighted the building’s interior. “This is a work of art and a work of engineering,” President Hinckley said. “The work has prepared for the future while preserving the integrity of the past. We ought to be proud of this.”

Read more about the unique purpose and history behind this iconic building

9. How to support youth in planning Young Women camp

Three young women hike together over a hill during a Young Women camp.
Three young women hike together over a hill during a Young Women camp. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

“A fountain of pure water” and “a thicket of small trees” (Mosiah 18:5) — Mormon used these words to describe the place where Alma hid after fleeing from King Noah. Those trees and that water became “beautiful … to the eyes” of the people who joined Alma there. Why? Because in that place, Alma and his people “came to the knowledge of their Redeemer” (Mosiah 18:30). 

The location of your Young Women camp — whether it is in a forest, in a park, on a beach, in a meetinghouse or virtual — can become beautiful to the eyes of all who gather there. Like Alma and his people, young women need a place where they can gather together, separate from worldly influences, to feel the Spirit of the Lord, grow in unity and love, and strengthen their faith and testimonies of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. 

Learn more about how to support youth camp leaders