This week on social: Church leaders and their connections with ancestors

Church leaders shared messages about the recent Friend to Friend broadcast, family history and lessons learned from the pandemic on social media this week.

On Feb. 21, President Russell M. Nelson, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, shared on social media the video message he gave to children as part of the Friend to Friend broadcast Feb. 20. He expressed his love for children and the need for parents, teachers and leaders to help children understand that they can do great things as part of the Lord’s work.

“They can help someone in need, learn the teachings of Jesus Christ and abide by them, and prepare now to go to the temple and be baptized for their ancestors,” the Prophet wrote.

AElder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles also participated in the virtual Friend to Friend event by teaching about baptismal covenants. On Feb. 21, he shared the video of the interview that took place in his office with the event and Thomas.

In a Feb. 21 social media post, President Joy D. Jones, Primary general president, invited parents to watch the Friend to Friend event with their children if they hadn’t already.

Sister Lisa L. Harkness, first counselor in the Primary general presidency, participated in the Portuguese version of the Friend to Friend event. On Feb. 21, she told of the humbling experience of learning Portuguese in a social media post.

“I could feel God’s great love for all His children as I practiced and rehearsed my lines,” she said.

Several Church leaders posted about their ancestors and the importance of family history in anticipation of RootsTech Connect 2021 Feb. 25-27, inviting their followers to participate in the three-day virtual event.

President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, related a story about his grandfather, Melvin J. Ballard, in a video he posted on his social media channels Feb. 24.

On Feb. 23, Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shared the story of his grandparents, who became members of the Church in Sweden in 1912 and were members of the first branch in Finland.

“I am forever blessed by the heritage of faith they exemplified and conveyed to me,” he said. 

Sister Michelle D. Craig, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency, also recounted the story of her grandparents and described the significance of connecting with ancestors in a social media post Feb. 24.

“When I have wondered who I am or who I am to become, I could look to my family and the answers were provided,” she wrote.

A granddaughter of Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles recently initiated a Zoom call with him to discuss his parents, whom she had never met. He was struck by her interest in their lives, and in his social media post Feb. 23, he testified of the power of sharing memories about ancestors with children and grandchildren.

Elder Bednar also posted about the RootsTech Connect 2021 leadership instruction and invited all to watch the discussion and take advantage of this resource.

Although the pandemic has altered plans for many, there are always opportunities to be found in the midst of trials, he said.

“Had it not been for the constraints of the pandemic, we would not have the chance to go into the homes of people all over the world, with leaders of the Church, and learn from ministering in action at its finest.”

In 1999, Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles participated in the launch of the Church’s FamilySearch website. On Feb. 23, he described the experience of listening to President Gordon B. Hinckley, then President of the Church, share words of counsel regarding the significance of family history in a video Elder Christofferson posted to his social media pages.

Sister Reyna Isabel Aburto, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, called RootsTech Connect “a much-needed opportunity for all of us to connect with each other around the globe, as well as with our family members who have passed on” in a social media post Feb. 24. 

Sister Mary Cook, wife of Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and some of their grandchildren shared a song a few years ago as part of that year’s RootsTech conference, a song that “combines both our love for music as well as our love for family,” he wrote in a social media post Feb. 19. 

“We all have a responsibility to the generations that preceded us and to the generations that will follow us.”

In a devotional for French-speaking young adults given by Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Kathy Andersen, shared their thoughts and feelings about the principle of believing. They encouraged young adults to believe in six things, which he summarized in a Feb. 21 social media post. 

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles identified lessons and blessings that the pandemic has brought about for him in a social media post on Feb. 22. These blessings include the ability to visit with members in their homes more frequently, being able to see raised hands and faces more easily during virtual meetings, and more time to spend with family.

“It is clear to me that the pandemic did not catch the Lord by surprise!” Elder Uchtdorf wrote. “But He has prepared us to learn important lessons about how to better serve Him and the people around us.”

In a social media post Feb. 26, Sister Sharon Eubank, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency and director of Latter-day Saint Charities worldwide, explained the acronym COVAX and the combined efforts of United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund and Latter-day Saint Charities to accelerate the end of the pandemic.

Those who make donations on tithing slips or otherwise “are helping others feel the love of God and the love of neighbors in the far reaches of the earth,” she said.