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President Nelson Prescribes 2 Activities For Hope, Healing Amid Pandemic

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – 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 coronavirus pandemic.

He offered two activities to help overcome the spiritual and mental effects of the pandemic. First, focus social media efforts over the next week on those things that bring gratitude.

“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.”

The second activity was to pray daily.

Second, let us unite in thanking God through daily prayer. Jesus Christ taught His disciples to pray by first expressing gratitude to God and then petitioning Him for the things we need. Prayer brings forth miracles.

The video was released Friday at 11 a.m. on his Facebook page, the church website and YouTube page.

He offered a prayer “for the world and everyone in it,” expressing gratitude for those working to overcome the virus and asking for relief from political strife.

“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 his ministry, President Nelson was a cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon. He helped saved lives of hundreds of patients, but sadly, he watched some patients die despite his best efforts.

President Nelson talked about his roles as both a surgeon and faith leader.

“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.

There have been 56.6 million confirmed cases of coronavirus, and nearly 1.4 million deaths worldwide due to COVID-19, according to numbers compiled by the World Health Organization. Countless others have suffered from unemployment and mental health issues.

“There is no medication or operation that can fix the many spiritual woes and maladies that we face,” President Nelson said.

He said there is hope.

“There is however a remedy — one that may seem surprising because it flies in the face of our natural intuitions. Nevertheless, its effects have been validated by scientists as well as men and women of faith. I’m referring to the healing power of gratitude,” President Nelson said.

The video message was intended as a “fast-acting and long-lasting spiritual remedy” for those suffering from the effects of the pandemic.

“My dear friends, the challenges that we face as fellow global citizens are immense, but our ability to feel hope and seek healing in Jesus Christ remains strong,” he said a week earlier when the video message was announced.

Before his call to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1984, Nelson had a decades-long career as a surgeon. He completed his medical school education at the University of Utah before a medical residency at the University of Minnesota and earning his Ph.D.

While there, he was part of a research team that developed the heart-lung machine used in the first human open-heart surgery using a cardiopulmonary bypass.

After serving in the US Army Medical Corps during the Korean War, he taught at the University of Utah School of Medicine. He specialized in cardiothoracic surgery.

President Nelson served as the church’s Sunday School General President while continuing his surgical year. He was called as an apostle in 1984, and began serving as the president of the church in 2018 after the death of President Thomas S. Monson.

Coronavirus Resources

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How do I prevent it?

The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:

  • Avoid close contact with people who may be sick
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • If soap and water is not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

The CDC does not recommend wearing a facemask respirator to protect yourself from coronavirus unless a healthcare professional recommends it.

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