Elder Jeffrey R. Holland was called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on June 23, 1994. Born Dec. 3, 1940, and raised in St. George, Utah, where he was a student leader and high school varsity athlete. He married Patricia Terry in 1963, and they are the parents of three children.
Elder Holland received degrees from Brigham Young University and Yale University. In 1980, he was inaugurated as the ninth president of Brigham Young University, and he helped establish the BYU Jerusalem Center. He is also a former Church commissioner of education.
Prior to his call as an Apostle, he served in area presidencies in the North America West, North America Southeast and Europe North areas. He was also a counselor in the Young Men general presidency and assistant executive director of the Curriculum Department.
In honor of Elder Holland’s birthday today, here are nine of his quotes from the past year.
1. Happier days lie ahead
Despite the trying times in Europe, Elder Holland spoke with optimism and hope that “happier days lie ahead.”
“The prayers of the righteous will prevail, and we will have peace and prosperity for the rising generation.”
— Member meeting in Helsinki, Finland, Nov. 14, 2022
2. The Church blesses children
“I can not run anymore,” he said. “But these children can run toward truth and happiness and the future — toward every good thing that you and God in Heaven want for them. But they won’t be able to do it on their own. Not now. Not soon. Only later, with maturity and with help.
“And so I repeat: Of the many, many testimonies that I bear and convictions that I have, not the least of them in this restored gospel of Jesus Christ is the precious place that a child holds and what this Church does for that child. This morning it is these children — your children. May it ever be so that they are safe and protected in our care and in this gospel.”
— Member meeting in Hannover, Germany, Nov. 6, 2022
3. The Atonement is for everyone
“Don’t think that the Atonement counts for everybody else but you. You are not an exception. He’s done what He’s supposed to do for everyone,” Elder Holland said of the Savior. “Everyone gets counted.”
— Young adult devotional in Ephraim, Utah, Oct. 23, 2022.
4. Being a follower of Jesus Christ
“To be a follower of Jesus Christ, one must sometimes carry a burden — your own or someone else’s — and go where sacrifice is required and suffering is inevitable. A true Christian cannot follow the Master only in those matters with which he or she agrees. No. We follow Him everywhere, including, if necessary, into arenas filled with tears and trouble, where sometimes we may stand very much alone.”
5. The gospel as a maypole
“We always braided the maypole every May 1. And if the maypole is the gospel, then everything else weaves around and becomes part of that configuration.
“But if the maypole is something else, then prophets, seers and revelators have trouble. If it’s material wealth, if it’s social standing, if that’s what you’re braiding to, then we have trouble because some of our colors aren’t going to work.”
— Video: How Elder Holland sees the gospel as a maypole, Sept. 29, 2022
6. Love God
“[M]y first obligation is to love God. That’s the first commandment. I have to be honorable with Him and in my relationship with God. And then when I do that, I’m entitled, I’m enabled, I’m magnified in order to love my neighbor and help my neighborhood, but it’s got to be in that order, that the two should go together. They’re not incompatible, but it is in that order.”
— Church News podcast interview, part 2, May 26, 2022
7. The giver of every good gift
“My plea today to our youth, and to you parents and adults who advise them, is to begin your search for happiness by embracing the bounty we have already received from the giver of every good gift. At precisely the moment many in the world are asking deep questions of the soul, we ought to be answering with the ‘good news’ of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
8. Stay with God
“[W]hen you are being hammered on the anvil of adversity, when your soul is being refined with severe lessons that perhaps can be learned no other way, don’t cut and run. Don’t jump ship. Don’t shake your fist at your bishop or your mission president or God. Please stay with the only help and strength that can aid you in that painful time.
“When you stumble in the race of life, don’t crawl away from the very Physician who is unfailingly there to treat your injuries, lift you to your feet and help you finish the course.”
— BYU devotional, Jan. 18, 2022
9. The meaning of Christmas
“Christmas is joyful not because it is a season or decade or lifetime without pain and privation, but precisely because life does hold those moments for us, but also holds an answer to them.”
— Facebook post, Dec. 24, 2021