What Have the Prophets and Apostles Been up to During Quarantine?

quorum of the twelve apostles and first presidency 2018
via churchofjesuschrist.org

Well, folks, we are heading into month six of the COVID-19 pandemic/lockdown. I’m sure you’ve felt a range of emotions and found some super creative ways to pass the time. I know I have! Seeing a post from our prophet, President Nelson, this week made me wonder what our prophets and apostles have been up to during this crazy time.

Luckily, the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles all use their social media accounts quite frequently. Let’s check them out and see what they’ve been doing!

Related: 4 Ways You Can Prepare for the Re-Opening of Latter-Day Saint Temples

Ulisses Soares

Elder Soares took some time to remember his Brazillian ancestors. He even made a video about it! I think it’s a great idea to remember our ancestors and do some family history while we’re staying home.

Gerrit W. Gong

Elder Gong decided to really start “blooming” and did some gardening with his wife! I’m glad I’m not the only one who took up gardening during the pandemic. He wrote a great post about learning to slow down when times get hectic.

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The expression “bloom where you’re planted” has always been true—but perhaps it is especially true now. This phrase symbolizes faith and flexibility. Sister Gong and I recently decorated our car with this phrase for a drive-by greeting for returning missionaries. One of the things which has been most tender to me about this unique time is that I have experienced this season in a different way this year. Because I have not been traveling on Church assignments, I have learned to garden with my wife. When I am in the garden with her, I grow in love for gardens and for her. I’ve gotten to smell the flowers and hear the birds in a different way. There is so much for each of us to learn and experience in situations like this. Many of us have learned to use technology in new ways to communicate with others. There are new patterns, new ways to think about what it means to be connected. I hope we will remember the lessons we had here and will remember to cherish the time we had together and the time not rushing around. I testify that the Father and the Son are in the details of our lives. Sometimes we may feel alone, lost, isolated, or separate, but we are not. We should always remember our Lord Jesus Christ knows us. He loves us. And we are never lost to Him. He is aware of us in the darkest hours and in the brightest days. With His help, we can truly learn to bloom where we are planted.

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Dale G. Renlund

Elder Renlund has put a big focus on the temple, even though they’re closed right now. He was part of a super neat video that taught me how I can focus on my temple covenants during this time. How will you apply his teachings?

Gary E. Stevenson

Meanwhile, Elder Stevenson has been pondering the fact that the Restoration of the gospel is still happening today. This is a great thing to remember, especially when changes happen in the Church. God is always revealing things to His prophets and apostles!

Ronald A. Rasband

Elder Rasband is busy preparing for a Face to Face event that will be happening on September 13th. On his Instagram, he left an invitation to those who will be tuning in. While it’s tailored to young adults, everyone can gain inspiration from this event! Will you be watching?

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My dear young adult friends, like you, I have felt the effects of our world’s difficult circumstances during the last few months. In these difficult times—and always—the answer is our Savior, Jesus Christ. His atoning sacrifice enables us to access His power, which can give us strength to endure. I also know that the timing of President Russell M. Nelson’s announcement of “The Restoration of the Fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: A Bicentennial Proclamation to the World” and the events of our world are not a coincidence. If you have not yet taken the opportunity to study this proclamation, I encourage you to study it. Ponder your questions about the Savior and the Restoration of His gospel. Now, I have two invitations for you. First, I invite you to leave a question you may have about the proclamation or the Restoration in the comments below. Sister Rasband and I will answer some of your questions in the upcoming Face to Face event for young adults on September 13, 2020. Second, I invite you to think about your life and ponder, how does the restored gospel of Jesus Christ help me overcome the challenges of today’s world? Read through the proclamation as you think about your answer, and then post your answer on social media using #SacredGrove. I love you, and I can’t wait to be with you in September for our Face to Face event.

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Neil L. Andersen

It looks like this apostle has been going through some old family photos! Elder Andersen shared an adorable photo of himself riding a horse as a young boy. He left some great words of encouragement that you won’t regret reading.

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Growing up on a farm, I would often get on a horse to watch cattle or work on irrigation for hours. The slowness and solitude of those moments gave me time to ponder and contemplate my life. I had to think through what I was doing, think through who I wanted to become, and think through the things I needed to work on in my life. That time alone with myself was a very strong blessing for me. . We are now many months into the worldwide pandemic of COVID-19, which offered most of us time with ourselves to contemplate our lives. I hope that when we have settled our concerns about the health of our family, employment, and the disruptions right before us, we will offer a prayer asking, “What am I to do? What am I to learn? How am I to grow in this unusual time?” . Each of us who seek answers to those questions with sincerity will feel that all the world is in the hands of the Lord. All things are in His control. This life is a time for becoming, not just for experiencing. It is a time of being taught from on high. As we are righteous, compensatory blessings always come—even in the most difficult times of our lives.

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D. Todd Christofferson

Elder Christofferson invited us to read our scriptures with the extra time we’ve been given. He shared a powerful testimony about how we can be supported during this time if we do so. BRB, grabbing my scriptures!

Quentin L. Cook

Elder Cook asked us to think of this time as an alarm clock awakening us unto God! I have definitely felt the Spirit calling me to repent and grow closer to my Heavenly Father these last few months. What about you?

David A. Bednar

According to a recent Instagram post from Elder Bednar, he has been exercising during the pandemic! I wish I could say the same. This apostle always does a fantastic job with metaphors and this one was no different. Check out this inspiring post!

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Each time I finish my physical exercise routine, what I am especially grateful for and enjoy the most is a very large glass of refreshing water. Life springs from water. Life is sustained by water. Water is the medium required to perform the various functions associated with all known forms of life. Our physical bodies are approximately two-thirds water. Whereas a person can survive for many days or even weeks without food, an individual will usually die in only three or four days without water. Through normal activity each day, you and I lose a substantial amount of the water that constitutes so much of our physical bodies. Thirst is a demand by the cells of the body for water, and the water in our bodies must be replenished daily. It frankly does not make sense to occasionally “fill up” with water, with long periods of dehydration in between. The same thing is true spiritually. Spiritual thirst is a need for living water. As water is necessary to sustain physical life, so the Savior and His doctrine, principles, and ordinances are essential for eternal life. And a constant flow of living water is far superior to sporadic sipping. You and I need His living water daily and in ample supply to sustain our ongoing spiritual growth and in order to “Hear Him” more readily and completely. The scriptures contain the words of Christ and are a reservoir of living water to which we have ready access and from which we can drink deeply and long. You and I must look to and come unto Christ, who is “the fountain of living waters” (1 Nephi 11:25), by reading, studying, searching, and feasting upon the words of Christ as contained in the holy scriptures. By so doing, we can receive both spiritual direction and protection during our mortal journey. If you and I will ask, seek, and knock (see Matthew 7:7), always keeping ourselves worthy to “Hear Him,” then the gates of the spiritual reservoir will open to us, and the living water will flow. I witness, I testify, and I promise that this is true.

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Dieter F. Uchtdorf

I was brought to tears by Elder Uchtdorf’s recent article titled, “Don’t Mask Your Heart.” He has been using a lot of technology these past few months to stay close with his family. It is crucial that we maintain these eternal bonds!

Jeffrey R. Holland

Elder Holland has been utilizing something he calls “character time.” He was blunt, as per usual, in his most recent post when he called us to repentance. We should be using this time to “search our souls,” he said!

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During this COVID-19 pandemic, it has been interesting for me to have so many meetings, trips, and public speaking assignments canceled and to spend more time with myself. That is something that I don’t get a lot of opportunity to do. For any of us, it’s an interesting experience to be the only person in the room and ask yourself whether you like the company. Personally, I’d say that there are some things I like about Jeff Holland, but some other things need work and improvement. I like to call this time alone with yourself “character time.” It’s a good exercise to ask hard questions and hope you like what you’re able to answer. In my normal life, I would have a few moments each day to pray and be in the scriptures. Now, I’ve had day after day where I can spend hours praying and being in the scriptures. That is a luxury that I didn’t know I’d ever have again. I hope when things go back to normal—whatever normal is going to be—that I don’t forget the feelings and experiences I’ve had during these months of reflection and solitude. The scriptures testify of God’s hope that we will turn to him voluntarily—His hope that we will choose to be reflective, righteous, and contemplative in a way that will all lead to His grand purpose and to our improvement. There are many ways that we can learn to be more careful, more thoughtful, more grateful, more spiritual—and I believe that for many of us, the COVID-19 pandemic is one of those ways. We would be foolish to miss out on this sacred opportunity to search our souls, do a little repenting, and look for how we can be better and kinder.

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M. Russell Ballard

Elder Ballard shared his testimony of fasting. Remember the incredible experience of fasting with the entire world? While COVID-19 may not be over yet, I know that this fast brought (and continues to bring) miracles. What miracles have you seen from fasting?

Henry B. Eyring

President Eyring has such a powerful testimony of the Savior. On all of his social media accounts, he has posted countless times about the love Jesus Christ has for all of us. I am so grateful for these reminders!

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At this time, many are praying to Heavenly Father for relief, for help in carrying their burdens of grief, loneliness, and fear. Heavenly Father hears those prayers and understands your needs. He and His Beloved Son, the resurrected Jesus Christ, have promised help. • The burdens you must carry in life are made lighter by the Savior’s Atonement. When He was about to be crucified, the Savior described the way He helps lighten loads and gives strength to carry them. He knew that His disciples would grieve. He knew that they would fear for their future. He knew they would feel uncertain of their capacity to move forward. • He promises us: “Peace I leave with you, 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). • I bear my witness that the Lord has asked each of us, His disciples, to help bear one another’s burdens. We have promised to do it. I bear my testimony that the Lord, through His Atonement and Resurrection, has broken the power of death. I give my witness that the living Christ sends the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, to those we are pledged to help Him comfort.

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Dallin H. Oaks

Of all the prophets and apostles, President Oaks has been the quietest on social media. I’m sure he is using this time to get some rest and time with his cute family. The one thing he has posted since General Conference was a beautiful testimony of the scriptures.

Russell M. Nelson

Oh, how I love President Nelson. I especially love this picture of him vacuuming in his home. Even the prophet has to do chores! He has posted quite a bit on social media during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, I especially love his thoughts on the sacrament.

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The other day a family friend asked my wife, Wendy, what it has been like to have the sacrament in our home. Wendy wrote the following in response: • “Knowing that our dining table will become the sacrament table on Sunday, both of us take special care on Saturday to make sure our home is clean and tidy. My husband finds such JOY as he folds the laundry and vacuums. And I am happy to find joy in his joy! • “The highlight for me is hearing my husband bless the sacrament. I can feel how much he loves the Lord and how grateful he is for the Savior’s Atonement by how tenderly he pronounces each word. I can feel how sincere he is about the privilege he and I have—in that sacred moment right in our home—to renew our baptismal covenants and to make a new covenant with God about how we will live the next week. I am moved to tears every time.” • Wendy and I have loved these special times together, but we have also missed partaking of the sacrament with the Saints. Just days ago, the First Presidency announced plans to authorize the resumption of our Sabbath meetings in a careful, phased manner. Sacrament meetings will slowly begin to be held, based on local restrictions. • Some nations have escaped the pandemic so far. Others are experiencing a continuing increase. For them, a home-based Sabbath will be needed much longer. And I am especially concerned for those who desire to partake of the sacrament but do not have a worthy priesthood bearer in their home. They should let their bishop know that they would like to have his delegated representatives come to their home to administer the sacrament. If they wish to provide their own bread and water, based on their specific needs, they may do so. • Partaking of the sacrament is a sacred and sanctifying privilege. Doing so makes it possible for us to draw more fully upon the Lord’s power. We wish for all who desire to partake of the sacrament to have that opportunity. • I love you, my dear brothers and sisters, and I assure you that the Lord is watching over each of you.

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I am overwhelmed with gratitude for living prophets who guide our church today. Social media is incredible! Even during the months between General Conferences, we are never left without guidance from our leaders. Follow them and you will never be led astray.

Did any of the prophets and apostles activities give you inspiration? Let us know how you’ll be spending the next month of quarantine in the comments below! Stay safe!

Brooklyn Gittins is an enthusiastic member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She has written for food and lifestyle blogs but is currently sharpening her skills as a writing intern for Third Hour. She enjoys spending time with her husband, petting dogs, and eating buttered noodles.