This week on social media, Church leaders shared insights and experiences connected to their heritage and how it impacts their faith.
Sister Joy D. Jones, Primary general president, shared a video on Facebook on July 22 about the new Pioneer Children’s Memorial at This Is The Place Heritage Park. The video features President M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Sister Jones and Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and gives a quick look into the dedication and conveys the purpose behind the new memorial.
“This touching monument helps us remember 660 children who lost their lives crossing the plains,” Sister Jones said in the post. “It connects pioneer children to children today in a tender and beautiful way. Children, then and now, are powerful examples of faith and courage. They are a strength to their families and their communities.”
In an Instagram post on July 25, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shared a reflection he had while attending the dedication of the new Pioneer Children’s Memorial at This Is The Place Heritage Park in Salt Lake City on Saturday, July 20.
“I have been a child refugee twice in my life — once at age 4 and again at age 11,” Elder Uchtdorf's post says. “Fortunately, I survived those experiences, but many children today are not so lucky. I feel thankful for the many organizations, including the Church, who help refugees to find their path to a home where they can feel safe and where children can grow up in peace.”
He testified that we are all brothers and sisters and that reaching out to refugees with the love of the Savior is “the true pioneer spirit.”
In an earlier Instagram post, he told about his experience visiting the Salt Lake City German Speaking Ward’s last sacrament meeting before members would move forward by attending their English-speaking wards. He started his comments at the meeting in German — what he calls “the celestial language” — and then transitioned into speaking English for the remainder of the meeting. This change would symbolize the transition the ward members would be making in the coming weeks.
“Even if it is hard to make a change at times, let’s not look back in sadness,” he said in the July 21 post. “Let’s look back with gratitude for the experiences we’ve had and look forward with faith and hope to the future to all that God will grant us. Lift where the Lord puts you. Lift with a grateful heart, and I promise you that joy will follow.”
On Pioneer Day, Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles told a story in an Instagram post about a different type of pioneer than what usually comes to people’s minds. He shared photos of himself at the Pulehu Chapel in Hawaii near the place where the first convert baptism to the Church in Hawaii happened in 1851.
“On the 24th of July in Utah, we celebrate Pioneer Day and the entrance of the early Saints into the Salt Lake Valley,” he said. “Yet pioneers come in many additional shapes and sizes, both small and tall. ... A gospel pioneer may be one of the first people in a family or a village to be baptized, to make temple covenants, or to serve a mission. I am grateful to all the pioneers who came before us and to those who continue to build up the kingdom of God in this dispensation. Mahalo!”
Sister Michelle D. Craig, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency, shared a story and recipe for Swedish pancakes from her family history in a Facebook post on July 19.
“Her home was filled with love,” Sister Craig said of her maternal grandmother. “Everyone left an encounter with Grandma standing a little straighter and feeling a little (or a lot) happier. She found joy in service and working with her hands. The following recipe evokes memories of these qualities.”
In a Facebook post on July 25, Sister Jean B. Bingham, the Relief Society general president, shared a recent post from President M. Russell Ballard’s Facebook and said women have a divine purpose to fulfill and that women should encourage each other. In President Ballard’s post, he said, “It is so important that we should not question each other’s choices or the inspiration behind them. And we should refrain from asking hurtful and unsupportive questions.”
“How has a sister supported you recently?” Sister Bingham asked. “How can you cheer on the women in your life?”