This week on social media, Church leaders shared what they were happy about on their birthdays, how to be immersed in the word of the Lord and become holy, how to see more miracles and lessons from the scriptures.
On his 96th birthday, President Russell M. Nelson posted a photo of himself as a young boy on Facebook. In the Sept. 9 post, he wrote that in the many years since the photo was taken, “I have been blessed richly with opportunities to meet and come to love God’s children all over the world. I have also witnessed many miracles and mercies from the Lord.”
President Nelson thanked all who have wished him a happy birthday and expressed his love for all who read the post.
“The Lord loves you, and I am a witness that He is in the details of our lives.”
On Sept. 8, he also posted on Twitter a short message about the Savior.
“Jesus descended below all things in order to rise above all things. He expects us to follow His example. Yoked with Him, we can rise above all challenges, no matter how difficult they may be,” he wrote.
Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles also celebrated a birthday this week. On Sept. 8, he turned 80 years old. To celebrate, his grandchildren surprised him with a “Happy Birthday” banner in his home.
“I have missed my grandchildren this year as the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented Sister [Mary] Cook and me from seeing them as much as we would like,” he wrote in a Sept. 8 Instagram post.
While many things in 2020 have not gone according to plan — Elder Cook would have like to spent his birthday with his children and grandchildren — he is grateful to be able to connect in other ways.
“The gospel of Jesus Christ connects us as families from generation to generation — even in times when we cannot see each other face to face,” he wrote.
On his birthday, Elder Cook recorded a devotional for all missionaries. “There is nothing else I would rather do on my birthday than share a message with these emissaries of the Lord,” he wrote. “I am grateful for the peace we experience as we unite together in the Lord’s work even while facing difficult circumstances.”
Sister Michelle Craig, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency, posted twice on Facebook this week.
On Sept. 6, Sister Craig wrote about what immersion means to her. She was inspired by a quote from President Nelson given during the April 2020 general conference: “Daily immersion in the word of God is crucial for spiritual survival, especially in these days of increasing upheaval. As we feast on the words of Christ daily, the words of Christ will tell us how to respond to difficulties we never thought we would face.”
After reading the definition of the word “immerse,” which is a state of being deeply engaged or involved, Sister Craig asked herself if she is deeply engaged or involved in studying the word of God.
She was reminded of John 2:7 when Christ changed water to wine. He instructed his disciples to “fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.”
“We must do our best to fill our own water pots up to the brim,” Sister Craig wrote. “We need daily immersion — with living water, with the word of God.”
Just as everyone is in different stages of life or circumstances, there is no one way to be immersed in the word of God. “As we discover what we can do to fill our hearts and souls ‘to the brim,’ we, like the water in the pots, can be transformed into something better as we ‘respond to difficulties we never thought we would face.’”
On Sept. 9, Sister Craig published a note on Facebook in which she focused on another word: holiness.
In her note, “No One Ever Drifted Into Holiness,” Sister Craig explained that holiness, like other spiritual gifts, “is developed and refined as we are intentional and deliberate in making it a part of our lives. Holiness to the Lord: it is what the gospel of Jesus Christ is all about, what we are all about.”
She thought about ways that she could be intentional in seeking holiness every day, and made a holiness journal. Each morning, she prayerfully asked what she could do to increase her holiness. “I thought about those things that I could do to have an increase of the Spirit in my life and those things that I was doing to offend the Spirit.”
Sister Craig’s daughter also tried out this experiment and shared her experience.
“‘Being holy’ initially sounded so out of reach when I first started this challenge. However, by earnestly praying to be able to incorporate into my life, I felt completely filled with His love for me and felt such a desire to help the people in my life feel His love as well,” she wrote.
In anticipation of a Face to Face event held on Sunday, Sept. 13, Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Melanie Rasband, answered one of thousands of submitted questions in a video posted on Sept. 6.
“We’re so excited to be with you for our Face to Face with Young Adults coming up soon,” Sister Rasband said in the Facebook video.
The question they answered came from a young adult in Illinois: “How can I know that the Restoration is ongoing when we don’t see the same types of miracles that we saw in biblical times or in the days of the Prophet Joseph Smith?”
“Oh, but we do,” Sister Rasband said. “Just in our own family this last week, we’ve heard of three different miracles. They’re there, all around us.”
The answer to this question can be found in the scriptures and the words of the prophets, Elder Rasband said. He cited two brief references “to help strengthen you like it has us.”
The first is from Moroni 7:37: “For it is by faith that miracles are wrought.”
“And it really is,” he said. “Read that scripture. It’s wonderful.”
Second, he quoted President Nelson’s April 2018 general conference talk: “Our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, will perform some of His mightiest works between now and when He comes again. We will see miraculous indications that God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ preside over this Church in majesty and glory. But in coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting and constant influence of the Holy Ghost.”
“There’s your key, our young friends,” Elder Rasband said. “To be influenced and guided by the Holy Ghost, you will experience miracles in your own life.”
President Joy D. Jones, Primary general president, recently met a young girl who told her, “We don’t do Primary anymore!”
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, she hasn’t been to her Primary class in about five months. But President Jones reminded her that this pandemic is temporary and she’ll return to Primary one day.
“In that moment, I realized that we need to remind our children that, although the pandemic has certainly felt long, in the longer scheme of things it is temporary,” she wrote in a Sept. 6 Facebook post. “And, while we are in this current situation, we can look for the positive outcomes all around us.”
Now is the time and perfect opportunity to plant gospel seeds in children. “Those seeds are nourished as we give children the opportunity to serve others, to tell a scripture story, or share their testimony.”
Parents don’t need to produce big, complex experiences for their children, but being intentional “will help us find simple ways to create shared experiences within the tasks of our everyday life” President Jones wrote. “There is so much our children can do, even during this pandemic.
Even during the difficult time of the COVID-19 pandemic, the principles Church leaders hope each member understands “are the same fundamentals of faith in Jesus Christ and obedience to His gospel that we have always taught,” President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, wrote in a Sept. 10 Instagram post.
As each person is obedient to the commandments, The Lord has promised, “My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
“Peace and exaltation are the promised effects of keeping commandments and trusting in the Lord,” President Oaks wrote.
“The way forward is clear: ‘Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths’” (Proverbs 3:5–6).