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In case you missed it: Behind the scenes with President Ballard, donations, devotionals, plus 3 more stories

Here are 9 stories from the Church News the week of Feb. 4 to Feb. 10.

During the week of Feb. 4 to Feb. 10, Church News released a behind-the-scenes video about the late President M. Russell Ballard recording experiences for 2024 Family Discovery Day.

A group of 150 young single adults in the Salt Lake area served at the Bishops’ Central Storehouse to commemorate 10 years of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has worked with the World Food Programme and World Food Program USA. They were visited by President Jeffrey R. Holland, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, members of the Relief Society general presidency and a member of the Church’s Presiding Bishopric.

Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles visited with and gave a special message to the cast members of the Polynesian Culture Center in Laie, Hawaii, and also spoke at a BYU–Hawaii devotional. Sister J. Anette Dennis, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, addressed missionaries at the Provo MTC in a devotional on Tuesday, Feb. 6. Brother Jan E. Newman, second counselor in the Sunday School general presidency, warned students of the “Dead See Scroll” of social media during Brigham Young University’s weekly devotional on Tuesday, Feb 6. The First Presidency released a groundbreaking date and exterior rendering for the San Luis Potosí Mexico Temple.

The Parliament of Ghana expressed its appreciation to the Africa West Area presidency for the Church’s donations of food and emergency supplies. A new Church News podcast features Jen Allen, director of events at FamilySearch International, and Jonathan H. Wing, senior product manager at FamilySearch International, to discuss what to expect at this year’s RootsTech family history convention. Two former BYU distance runners have qualified to compete in the 2024 Paris Olympic Summer Games.

1. Video: A behind-the-scenes look at the late President Ballard recording experiences for 2024 Family Discovery Day

President Ballard, bottom left, with his back to the camera, looks a the Kirtland Temple, which is surrounded by trees and buses. “Remember: 2024 Family Discovery Day — Behind the scenes with the late President M. Russell Ballard” is written on the bottom.
President M. Russell Ballard, then acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, looks at the Kirtland Temple, owned by the Community of Christ, in Kirtland, Ohio, in June 2023. He traveled to Kirtland, Ohio, and Nauvoo and Carthage, Illinois, to record his experiences for the 2024 Family Discovery Day on March 2, 2024. | Screenshot from YouTube

In 2023, President Ballard looked at an assignment that had come before the General Authority Assignment Committee of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The assignment was for a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to share his family history during 2024 RootsTech Family Discovery Day. 

President Ballard, who died on Nov. 12, 2023, and was then acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, volunteered for the assignment. He traveled to sites connected to the Church’s history in Nauvoo and Carthage, Illinois, and Kirtland, Ohio, in June of 2023 to film his family story.

Watch the video here.
A sneak peak at RootsTech 2024.

2. How a decade of collaboration is allowing the Church to feed millions worldwide

Mary Harden boxes food during a service day.
Mary Harden boxes food during a service day, hosted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of its relationship with the United Nations World Food Programme and World Food Program USA, at Bishops’ Central Storehouse in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024. | Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Bishop L. Todd Budge, second counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, was left impressed by a sea of more than 150 young single adults from the Salt Lake area who worked diligently to assemble and package 900 boxes of food at the Bishops’ Central Storehouse on Thursday, Feb. 8. President Holland and Elder Soares made a brief appearance during the service project to greet the young people and leaders of the World Food Programme and World Food Program USA, to whom they expressed appreciation for the camaraderie and opportunity to serve together.

President Camille N. Johnson, the Church’s Relief Society general president, and Sister Kristin M. Yee, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, also attended and had fun participating in the service project.

Read more about it here.

3. Elder Rasband’s message of love for young adults in Hawaii

Around 100 people in the cast at the Polynesian Cultural Center sit for a portrait with Elder Ronald A. Rasband in Laie, Hawaii.
Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, center, and his wife, Sister Melanie Rasband, visit with the cast and crew of “Ha: Breath of Life” at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie, Hawaii, on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024. With them are Elder Mark A. Bragg, General Authority Seventy, and his wife, Sister Yvonne Bragg, and Sister Haylie Chase, a member of the Young Women general advisory council. | Didier Pedron

The Polynesian Cultural Center showcases traditions, ancestors, family, journeys, love and growth. Through crafts, colors, clothing, patterns, presentations, songs and dances, the young adult employees — many of whom are BYU–Hawaii students — share the spirit of aloha with visitors every day.

While on assignment to Hawaii, Elder Rasband spent a few minutes with around 100 cast members in a devotional before an evening performance on Thursday, Feb. 8, and gave them a special message from the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve.

Also, on Friday, Feb. 9, he spoke about maintaining integrity during a BYU–Hawaii devotional.

Read about Elder Rasband at the PCC here.
Read about Elder Rasband’s devotional at BYU–Hawaii here.

4. ‘You truly are angels,’ Sister Dennis tells missionaries

Sister J. Anette Dennis and two missionaries talk at the Provo Missionary Training Center.
From left, Sister Nora Wosink; Sister J. Anette Dennis, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency; and Sister Abigail Byington speak following a devotional at the Provo Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024. | Laura Seitz, Deseret News

The power of God will change lives through missionary work, said Sister J. Anette Dennis, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, while addressing missionaries at the Provo MTC in a devotional on Tuesday, Feb. 6.

She shared how missionaries helped her husband find his way to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when he was a teenager.

“You might never know the difference you will make in the life of someone and how that will affect generations to come,” she told the missionaries. She said teaching about the gospel of Jesus Christ helps people begin to get on the path back toward Heavenly Father.

Read more about her address here.

5. Beware the ‘Dead See Scroll’ of social media, Brother Newman tells BYU students

Brother Jan E. Newman speaks to BYU students from the podium in the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah.
Brother Jan E. Newman, second counselor of the Sunday School general presidency, speaks to BYU students during the weekly devotional in the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah, on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024. | Abby Shelton,BYU

Social media lures users into endless scrolling — which is one of the reasons Brother Jan E. Newman, second counselor in the Sunday School general presidency, likes to refer to it as the “Dead See Scroll.”

The Dead Sea, a salt lake located between Jordan and Israel, has living water which flows into it, but “nothing comes from it,” Brother Newman noted to those gathered in the Marriott Center on Brigham Young University campus for the weekly devotional on Tuesday, Feb 6. “Social media is much like that. We so often put in our time and attention, and nothing of value comes out. We can often lose ourselves in this salty sea, void of life, that drains us of our self-worth, robs us of our purpose, and effortlessly floats us away in its toxic brine.”

Read the full article here.

6. First Presidency releases groundbreaking date, rendering for the San Luis Potosí Mexico Temple

Exterior rendering of the San Luis Potosí Mexico Temple shows a one-story building, arched entryway and single, central spire topped by a dome.
Exterior rendering of the San Luis Potosí Mexico Temple. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ has set a March 9, 2024, groundbreaking date for the San Luis Potosí Mexico Temple, releasing an exterior rendering of the house of the Lord along with the groundbreaking announcement.

Elder Sean Douglas, a General Authority Seventy and second counselor in the Church’s Mexico Area presidency, will preside at the groundbreaking and offer the dedicatory prayer over the site and construction.

Read more about it here.

7. ‘The miracle of your intervention continues’: Parliament of Ghana expresses gratitude for Church’s donations

Elder S. Gifford Nielsen holding a letter of gratitude.
Elder S. Gifford Nielsen, General Authority Seventy and president of the Africa West Area (left), holds a letter of appreciation given to the Church by seven Members of Parliament on Feb. 6, 2024. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

After severe flooding in the Volta Region of Ghana at the end of 2023 displaced over 40,000 people, local government leaders expressed their appreciation to the Africa West Area presidency for the Church’s donations of food and emergency supplies.

On Tuesday, Feb. 6, seven members of the Parliament of Ghana visited area offices in Accra to meet with area leaders and present a letter of appreciation, according to a news release published Tuesday from the Church’s Africa Newsroom. The seven leaders, representing the Volta Parliament Caucus, had all experienced flooding in their constituencies.

Read the full article here.
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8. Episode 174: RootsTech 2024 theme ‘Remember’ reaches across nationalities, religions and generations

Jonathan Wing from FamilySearch stands on a stage in a picture promoting the Church News podcast.
The Church New podcast on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024, explores what to expect at the 2024 RootsTech convention and the theme “Remember” with Jonathan H. Wing, senior product manager at FamilySearch International. | Screenshot from YouTube

“Remember” is the theme of RootsTech 2024, a three-day global online and in-person family celebration conference happening February 29 through March 2, 2024, in Salt Lake City. Hosted by FamilySearch International, the event will also include a never-before-seen video featuring the late President Ballard, recorded before his death.

This episode of the Church News podcast explores what to expect at this year’s RootsTech convention and the theme “Remember” with Jen Allen and Jonathan H. Wing.

Listen to the Church News podcast here.
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RootsTech 2024: Organizers offer sneak peek of what to expect at world’s largest family history celebration

9. Two former BYU runners finish first and second at Olympic Marathon Trials in Florida

Conner Mantz celebrates with Ed Eyestone and Clayton Young after finishing the 2024 U.S. Olympic Team Marathon Trials.
Conner Mantz, left, celebrates with BYU men’s cross-country coach Ed Eyestone, middle, and Clayton Young after Mantz and Young finished first and second in the 2024 U.S. Olympic Team Marathon Trials in Orlando, Florida on Feb. 3, 2024. | Kevin Morris

Two former Brigham Young University distance runners have qualified to compete in the 2024 Paris Olympic Summer Games.

Conner Mantz and Clayton Young — friends, training partners, former BYU runners and Latter-day Saint returned missionaries — clinched the two guaranteed spots on the Olympic team for Paris by placing first and second, respectively, at the 2024 U.S. Olympic Team Marathon Trials in Orlando, Florida, on Saturday, Feb. 3.

Read the full article here.
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