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In case you missed it: Letter on Easter and Christmas church services, new seminary curriculum, plus 7 more stories

Here are 9 stories from the Church News the week of Jan. 28 to Feb. 3

During the week of Jan. 28 to Feb. 3, the First Presidency released a letter instructing the adjustment of meetings on Easter Sunday and Sundays near Christmas. The Church News reported on President Jeffery R. Holland, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, speaking of faith and tribulation, at the funeral service for a young woman who died in an accident. At a Seminaries and Institutes of Religion teacher training, in which Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was in attendance, new life preparation lessons were announced for the youth.

Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, along with Young Men General President Steven J. Lund and Young Women General President Emily Belle Freeman, addressed youth in a worldwide discussion about being a disciple of Jesus Christ. On the 30th anniversary of the Church receiving legal recognition by the Cambodian government, Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Apostles met with the Cambodian prime minister and announced a donation for a cardiac clinic. Watch a video of Elder Renlund speak of the power of learning about Jesus Christ and His gospel in “the language of your heart.”

The Church welcomed visitors for the Red Cliffs Utah Temple open house, breaks ground for the Knoxville Tennessee Temple and announced two temple sites in Peru. Brother Michael T. Nelson, second counselor in the Young Men general presidency, instructed students about agency, in a BYU–Idaho devotional. A new Church News podcast episode features BYU women's soccer coach Jennifer Rockwood and guest host Sheri Dew to talk about the mantle of being a BYU athlete.

Read summaries and find links to the nine stories below.

1. See what the First Presidency’s Sunday meeting schedule adjustments are for Easter, Christmas

President Dallin H. Oaks hugs President Russell M. Nelson.
President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, left, hugs President Russell M. Nelson, as they and President Henry B. Eyring, second counselor in the First Presidency, exit following the First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

In a Jan. 26, 2024, letter sent to general authorities and officers; Area Seventies; stake, district and mission presidencies; bishoprics and branch presidencies; the First Presidency — President Russell M. Nelson and his counselors, President Dallin H. Oaks and President Henry B. Eyring — wrote that services and meetings should be limited to just sacrament meeting on Easter Sunday and on a Sunday either before or after Christmas.

Read more about it here.

2. Why the righteous are not spared tribulation, President Holland explains at funeral of Latter-day Saint teen

President Jeffrey R. Holland, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, comforts Kyle Beagley after the funeral for his daughter Kirsten, in the Castle Dale Stake Center in Castle Dale, Utah, on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024. | Adam Fondren, for the Deseret News

“Faith always points forward,” said President  Holland, speaking at the Saturday, Jan. 27, funeral service for a young woman in Emery County, Utah, who died in an accident. 

Take the memories and lessons — “the embers” from the fire of life — and with faith look forward to “the promises that God has given,” said the acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  

Read the full story here.

3. Church announces new life preparation lessons for seminary students

A seminary teacher speaks in front of his class in Salt Lake City.
Andy Shepherd, Salt Lake Highland Seminary principal, talks with his class in Salt Lake City on Friday, Jan. 26, 2024. The Church announced that seminary will now be offering new thematic lessons once or twice a week to help better prepare youth. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

In response to the evolving needs of today’s youth, Seminaries and Institutes of Religion of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced new life preparation lessons to help better prepare youth for the complexities of the modern world.

Chad H. Webb, the Church’s administrator of seminaries and institutes, outlined the new lessons to instructors, administrators and other Church Educational System employees during the 2024 Seminaries and Institutes Annual Training Broadcast on Friday, Jan. 26.

Read the full article here.

4. Elder Stevenson, President Lund and President Freeman lead worldwide discussion for youth on discipleship

Elder Gary E. Stevenson, President Emily Belle Freeman and President Steven J. Lund stand under umbrellas in front of the Salt Lake Temple renovation on a rainy day.
From left, Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Young Women General President Emily Belle Freeman and Young Men General President Steven J. Lund stand under umbrellas in front of the Salt Lake Temple renovation on a rainy day as part of a worldwide discussion with youth in a prerecorded video broadcast on Jan. 28, 2024. | Screenshot from ChurchofJesusChrist.org broadcast

In its current state of renovation, the Salt Lake Temple’s granite walls are hidden behind rows of scaffolding, crews are working to strengthen the excavated foundation, and construction equipment is all over the temple grounds.

Against that backdrop on a windy and rainy day, Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Young Men General President Steven J. Lund and Young Women General President Emily Belle Freeman discussed the 2024 youth theme, found in 3 Nephi 5:13, “I am a disciple of Jesus Christ.”

Read the full article here.
Related Story
What Latter-day Saint youth learned about discipleship from the worldwide discussion

5. Elder Renlund ministers in Cambodia, meets country’s leaders and announces donation for cardiac hospital

Elder Renlund and Hun Manet shake hands at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, left, shakes hands with Hun Manet, the prime minister of Cambodia, at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on Monday, Jan. 22, 2024. The meeting represents the highest-level contact a Church leader has had with a member of the Cambodian government. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Elder Renlund became the first leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to meet with Cambodia’s prime minister and announced a more than $2 million donation for a cardiac hospital there, ChurchofJesusChrist.org and the Church’s Cambodian Newsroom reported.

Also during Elder Renlund’s January ministry in the southeast Asian nation, he met with members of the Church and visited the site where the Church’s Phnom Penh Cambodia Temple is being built. 

Read the full story here.

6. Video: The power of learning about Jesus Christ and His gospel in the ‘Language of the Heart’

In the Church News video titled “Language of the Heart,” Elder Dale G. Renlund speaks of the power of learning the gospel in one’s own language.
In the Church News video titled “Language of the Heart,” Elder Dale G. Renlund speaks of the power of learning the gospel in one’s own language. | Screenshot from Youtube.com

In this Church News video, titled “Language of the Heart,” Elder Renlund speaks of the power of learning about Jesus Christ and His gospel in “the language of your heart.”

Elder Renlund spoke about weeping while worshipping in the English language after living in Sweden “because English had become the language of my heart.”

Watch the full video here.

7. Red Cliffs Utah Temple open house, Knoxville Tennessee Temple groundbreaking and 2 temple sites announced in Peru

Elder Hugo E. Martinez and Sister Nuria Martinez, speak during a media tour of the new Red Cliffs Utah Temple.
Elder Hugo E. Martinez, General Authority Seventy, and his wife, Sister Nuria Martinez, speak during a media tour of the new Red Cliffs Utah Temple on Monday, Jan. 29, 2024, in St. George, Utah. | Nick Adams, for the Deseret News

In welcoming media on Monday, Jan. 29, Elder Hugo E. Martinez, first counselor in the Church’s Utah Area presidency, and his wife, Sister Nuria Alvarez de Martinez, walked media representatives through the elegant grounds, hallways and ordinance rooms of the soon-to-be-dedicated Red Cliffs Utah Temple.

With an emphasis on temples being the house of the Lord and God’s love and desire for His children to come home, ground was broken for the new Knoxville Tennessee Temple on Saturday, Jan. 27. The temple will be the third for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Tennessee.

The First Presidency released site locations for the Cusco Peru and Iquitos Peru temples on Monday, Jan. 29, on ChurchofJesusChrist.org.

Read more about the Red Cliffs Utah Temple media day here and see the exterior and interior images.
Read more about the Knoxville Tennessee groundbreaking here.
Read more about the new temple sites in Peru here.
Related Story
See 1st interior images, video of new Red Cliffs Utah Temple

8. ‘Our choices reflect our desires,’ Young Men general leader teaches at BYU–Idaho devotional

Brother Michael T. Nelson speaking at the pulpit at devotional in the BYU-Idaho Center auditorium.
Brother Michael T. Nelson, second counselor Young Men general presidency, gives a BYU–Idaho devotional held in the I–Center on the Rexburg, Idaho, campus on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024. | Madeline Jex, BYU–Idaho

Brother Nelson taught BYU–Idaho students at a Tuesday, Jan. 30, devotional that their experiences on earth grant them the opportunity to choose the type of person they want to become and the type of life they want to live for eternity.

He said God taught His children many important truths in the premortal life, and they are rediscovering these truths through the Spirit as they learn the gospel.

Read more about his address here.

9. Podcast episode 173: BYU coach Jennifer Rockwood on the mantle of a BYU athlete and the remarkable 2023 women’s soccer season

BYU head women’s soccer coach Jennifer Rockwood joins the Church News podcast.
BYU head women’s soccer coach Jennifer Rockwood joins the Church News podcast to talk about her team’s remarkable 2023 season. | Screenshot from YouTube

This episode of the Church News podcast features BYU head soccer coach Jennifer Rockwood talking with guest host Sheri Dew, executive vice president of Deseret Management Corp. and a former member of the Relief Society general presidency. They look at the team’s remarkable 2023 season, the mantle of being a BYU athlete, and how living up to the standards of the gospel of Jesus Christ strengthens players on the field and throughout their lives. 

Listen to the Church News podcast here.
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Highlights from the last week to keep you informed

See recent humanitarian projects in Romania, Italy, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Portugal.

This week’s study guide includes Nephi’s teachings on Jesus Christ and the prophet Isaiah.

During the week of Feb. 25 to March 2, President Holland taught leaders in Washington, D.C., Elder Bednar and Elder Kearon ministered in West Africa, and more.

On the eve of RootsTech, the largest global family history conference, genealogist David Lambert gave FamilySearch CEO Steve Rockwood a priceless family treasure that he will always cherish.

Former BYU basketball star Jimmer Fredette and his wife, Whitney, demonstrated the ease of preserving memories on FamilySearch by sharing personal stories in a class at RootsTech.

The Emmy and Tony Award-winning performer delighted the audience with personal stories and a selection of songs.