Elder Holland Gives Hope, Love to Liberian Members
By Heather Whittle Wrigley, Church News and Events
As far as travel is concerned, Liberia is at the end of the world. The Harmattan trade wind blows through this West African nation four months out of the year, creating sandstorms that can block the sun and delay flights for days.
Last week, however, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles made that trip to bring to the Saints of Liberia a message—“You are known, remembered, and loved.
On Saturday, February 11, 2012, Elder Holland met with missionaries and priesthood leaders. In separate meetings with leaders from the Monrovia and Bushrod Island Districts, Elder Holland offered a message of hope.
Liberia is home to some 3.7 million people—about 2,000 of those are members of the Church. Between 1996 and 2003, civil war resulted in considerable destruction in the capital city of Monrovia and other parts of the country. Many members fled the nation. Peace has gradually been restored since that time.
Elder Holland instructed leaders on maturing districts so they can become stakes. He then reviewed the qualifications for members to attend the temple and partake of the ordinances offered there.
In addressing priesthood leaders, Elder Holland emphasized that Church policies should prevail over cultural traditions.
For example, in Liberia a funeral often involves a lavish event where large numbers of family and friends are fed, at great expense to the family. Another local custom dictates that young men pay a costly “bride price” in order to marry, leading many to avoid marriage.
In cases where Church policies and cultural traditions clash, Elder Holland said, always choose the Church.
In his concluding remarks, Elder Holland compared the gospel to a pearl of great price, kept in a lovely box.
While the box is important, he said, it is not the main message. He said we should remember the fundamental principles of the gospel—God’s love for His children; the Savior’s birth, Atonement, and Resurrection; our faith in the Lord; and the plan of salvation.
On Sunday, February 12, Elder Holland again met with members in Monrovia and Bushrod, this time in district conferences.
He quoted 1 Corinthians 12:27: “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” All parts of the body of Christ are important, Elder Holland said, expressing the love the Church has for the members in Liberia.
Following his time in Liberia, on Monday Elder Holland traveled to nearby Ghana, where he will meet with missionaries and members.
Check back on Church News and Events for more of Elder Holland’s trip later this week.