President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a video message about the “healing power of gratitude” amid the months-long pandemic.
He offered a prayer “for the world and everyone in it.”
“During my 96 years of life, I have seen a Great Depression, a world war, the rise of terrorism, hunger, and poverty throughout the world,” he said. “I have also witnessed the advent of space travel, the internet, medical advancements galore, and countless other discoveries that delight me.”
Prior to becoming a global faith leader, President Nelson was a pioneering heart surgeon. As a surgical resident in Minnesota in 1951, he helped research and develop the first heart-lung machine used in an open-heart operation. He performed the first open-heart surgery in Utah in 1955. He served as president of the Society for Vascular Surgery, director of the American Board of Thoracic Surgery, chairman of the Council on Cardiovascular Surgery for the American Heart Association and president of the Utah State Medical Association. He authored numerous chapters in medical textbooks and other publications. He also lectured at and visited professionally many organizations throughout the United States and other nations.
“As a man of science and a man of faith, the current worldwide pandemic has been of great concern to me. As a man of science I appreciate the critical need to prevent the spread of infection. I also honor the devoted service of healthcare professionals and grieve for the many whose lives have been upended by COVID-19,” he said. “As a man of faith, however, I view the current pandemic as only one of many ills that plague our world, including hate, civil unrest, racism, violence, dishonesty and lack of civility.
President Nelson is a father to nine daughters and one son, grandfather to 57 and great-grandfather to 127. His first wife, Dantzel, died nearly 16 years ago. He and his second wife, Wendy, have been married since 2006.
First, I invite you – just for the next seven days – to turn social media into your own personal gratitude journal. Post every day about what you are grateful for, whom you are grateful for, and why you are grateful. At the end of seven days, see if you feel happier and more at peace. Use the hashtag #GiveThanks. Working together, we can flood social media with a wave of gratitude that reaches the four corners of the earth. Perhaps this will fulfill, in part, the promise God gave to Father Abraham, that through his descendants “all families of the earth [shall] be blessed.”