In case you missed it: Elder Rasband’s op-ed in the Hill, an inside look into the Mesa temple, plus 7 more stories

During the week of Oct. 10-16, as a refresher from October general conference, the Church News published an article highlighting 15 invitations issued by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles wrote an op-ed published by the Hill calling on world leaders to protect religious freedoms. And no fewer than five Church leaders — including Elder Rasband and Elder Gerrit W. Gong, both of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles — were on hand for the media tour and first look inside the newly renovated Mesa Arizona Temple.

The Church News published an updated, downloadable chart of the general authorities and general officers of the Church. A podcast episode featured Missionary Department leaders talking about how the Church has reimagined missionary work during the pandemic. And a Church News article explored how temple growth has fared during the pandemic.

An update on the status of missionary training centers around the world highlighted how more missionaries will now have the opportunity to receive on-site training. A feature on the new Joseph Smith Papers podcast explained why the Nauvoo Temple is essential to understanding the Restoration. And two weekly campus devotionals featured general Church leaders: Bishop W. Christopher Waddell at Brigham Young University and Brother Brad R. Wilcox at Ensign College.

Find links and summaries of these nine articles below.

1. 15 invitations from general conference

Attendees sing a congregational hymn during the Sunday morning session of the 191st Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Oct. 3.
Attendees sing a congregational hymn during the Sunday morning session of the 191st Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Oct. 3. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Standing at the Conference Center auditorium pulpit for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, President Russell M. Nelson told worldwide participants that he prayed intently that the October 2021 general conference “would be a time of revelation and reflection for all who seek those blessings.”

As a refresher, the Church News compiled 15 invitations extended by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Review the prophetic invitations

2. Elder Rasband’s op-ed for the Hill

Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks during "Freedom of Religion and Belief: Protecting Minorities" session at the G20 Interfaith Forum in Bologna, Italy, on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021.
Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks during “Freedom of Religion and Belief: Protecting Minorities” session at the G20 Interfaith Forum in Bologna, Italy, on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

In an op-ed column published by the Hill, titled “Religion and the G-20: with faith, we can move mountains,” Elder Rasband wrote about participating in the annual G20 Interfaith Forum in Bologna, Italy, and called on elected officials to protect the religious freedoms of faith organizations.

Read about his op-ed

3. Elder Rasband and Elder Gong lead a modern-day look inside the Mesa temple

The newly renovated Mesa Arizona Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, on Monday, Oct. 11, 2021.
The newly renovated Mesa Arizona Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, on Monday, Oct. 11, 2021. Credit: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

No fewer than five general Church leaders — including Elder Rasband and Elder Gong, both of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles — shared their testimonies of the Savior on the Monday, Oct. 11, media tour. The tour signaled the beginning of five weeks of open-house tours throughout the recently renovated 94-year-old Mesa temple.

See photos and learn more about the renovation

4. October 2021 general authority chart

Church leaders sustain other leaders during the 191st Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021.
Church leaders sustain other leaders during the 191st Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Changes to the leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced in October 2021, including the release of six General Authority Seventies, are reflected in an updated chart of general authorities and general officers.

View or download the chart

5. Podcast: ‘A season of miracles’ for missionary work

In Episode 52 of the Church News podcast, Elder Marcus B. Nash, executive director of the Missionary Department, joins David N. Weidman, managing director of the Church’s Missionary Department, to talk about missionary work, with Church News managing editor and former Arizona Phoenix Mission President Scott Taylor as guest host.
In Episode 52 of the Church News podcast, Elder Marcus B. Nash, executive director of the Missionary Department, joins David N. Weidman, managing director of the Church’s Missionary Department, to talk about missionary work, with Church News managing editor and former Arizona Phoenix Mission President Scott Taylor as guest host. Credit: Screenshot, YouTube

This episode of the Church News podcast explores all that has happened to missionary work during the past year and a half and looks forward to the future of missionary work in the Church of Jesus Christ, featuring Elder Marcus B. Nash, a General Authority Seventy and executive director of the Church’s Missionary Department, and David N. Weidman, managing director of the Church’s Missionary Department.

Listen to the podcast

6. Temple growth during the pandemic

President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints tours the Salt Lake Temple on Saturday, May 22, 2021.
President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints tours the Salt Lake Temple on Saturday, May 22, 2021. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

The sustained COVID-19 pandemic has resulted not only in the absence of temple dedications, rededications and accompanying open houses, but also the closure of all operating temples worldwide last year and the gradual and cautious phased reopening of them since.

But that’s not to say temple growth has ground to a stop during that time. Far from it.

Learn more about the Church’s work on and in temples

7. Expansion of missionary on-site training

The sun sets on the oval common area at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021.
The sun sets on the oval common area at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

The Provo Missionary Training Center — the largest of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ 10 MTCs worldwide — is expanding its on-site training in languages this month, with the resuming of training in 14 languages bringing the total number to 16 at the Provo MTC by the end of October. 

Also, the Peru MTC reopened to limited on-site training late last month, with the Mexico, Colombia and Brazil MTCs all joining in the on-site training of select missionaries within the next month. When that happens, nine of the Church’s 10 missionary training centers will have been opened to new missionaries training in person.

Find out more about the current operations for MTCs

8. New Joseph Smith Papers podcast

The Nauvoo Ilinois Temple in Nauvoo, Illinois, on Saturday, May 29, 2021.
The Nauvoo Ilinois Temple in Nauvoo, Illinois, on Saturday, May 29, 2021. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

The Nauvoo Temple is the focus of a Joseph Smith Papers miniseries podcast hosted by Church historian Spencer W. McBride, who is also an associate managing historian of the Joseph Smith Papers project. These podcasts are designed to “do deep dives into certain pivotal events in Joseph Smith’s life,” McBride said. “The Nauvoo Temple is absolutely essential to understanding Joseph Smith’s doctrinal teachings and to understanding the Restoration.”

Learn more about the Nauvoo Temple and the podcast series

9. Campus devotionals at BYU and Ensign College

Bishop W. Christopher Waddell, first counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, speaks during the weekly campus devotional in the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah, on Oct. 12, 2021.
Bishop W. Christopher Waddell, first counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, speaks during the weekly campus devotional in the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah, on Oct. 12, 2021. Credit: Nate Edwards, BYU Photo

Using the example of Apollo 13, Bishop Waddell, first counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, shared with BYU students and faculty on Tuesday, Oct. 12, three ways to “stay connected” to the only source of truth: Jesus Christ. On the same day, Brother Wilcox spoke to the Ensign College campus community about the sense of urgency involved in education, repentance and the gathering of Israel. 

Read a summary of Bishop Waddell’s address and Brother Wilcox’s remarks