Sunday, November 1, 2020

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland on conquering COVID

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland (born December 3, 1940) served as Church Commissioner of Education from 1976-1980, as the president of BYU from 1980-1989, as a Seventy from 1989-1994, and as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles since 1994.
"Even as we speak, we are waging an 'all hands on deck' war with COVID-19, a solemn reminder that a virus 1,000 times smaller than a grain of sand can bring entire populations and global economies to their knees. We pray for those who have lost loved ones in this modern plague, as well as for those who are currently infected or at risk. We certainly pray for those who are giving such magnificent health care. When we have conquered this—and we will—may we be equally committed to freeing the world from the virus of hunger, freeing neighborhoods and nations from the virus of poverty. May we hope for schools where students are taught—not terrified they will be shot—and for the gift of personal dignity for every child of God, unmarred by any form of racial, ethnic, or religious prejudice. Undergirding all of this is our relentless hope for greater devotion to the two greatest of all commandments: to love God by keeping His counsel and to love our neighbors by showing kindness and compassion, patience and forgiveness. (See Matthew 22:36–40; Mark 12:29–33; see also Leviticus 19:18; Deuteronomy 6:1–6.) These two divine directives are still—and forever will be—the only real hope we have for giving our children a better world than the one they now know."

- Jeffrey R. Holland, "A Perfect Brightness of Hope," General Conference April 2020, Sunday morning

Elder Holland shared this inspiring message about hope and faith in the early months of dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. Church meetings had been put on hold, temples closed, isolation encouraged, and many other impacts had begun as the world tried to figure out how to best deal with the threat. I appreciated Elder Holland's confidence and encouragement as he rallied the Church with his assurance that "all will be well" in the Lord's hands, even as he acknowledged the seriousness of the situation.
Elder Holland's hope and vision are beautiful. We will learn lessons from surviving and conquering the virus, but the critical thing is the broader vision of overcoming poverty, contention, oppression, racism, and prejudice. If we truly learn the lessons of life, we will focus more and more on the great commandments—loving God and loving our fellowmen.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2020)

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