Latter-day Saint leaders, Salt Lake mayor discuss keeping each other safe during pandemic and the holidays

Boyd Matheson, opinion editor for the Deseret News, President Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society general president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Elder Craig C. Christensen, General Authority Seventy of the Church of Jesus Christ, and Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, clockwise from top left, hold an online meeting to discuss COVID-19 and Thanksgiving on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020.

Boyd Matheson, opinion editor for the Deseret News, President Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society general president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Elder Craig C. Christensen, General Authority Seventy of the Church of Jesus Christ, and Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, clockwise from top left, hold an online meeting to discuss COVID-19 and Thanksgiving on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. | Microsoft Teams

SALT LAKE CITY — The realities of a pandemic are so unique, exhausting and overwhelming that sometimes even the nation’s top scientists, doctors and political leaders cannot offer enough to persuade some people to make the sacrifices necessary to keep the community safe.

“There’s a lot of fatigue going on and you start to see an erosion of grace,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall. “But the beauty of the non-politics of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and many other churches in our community, who are leading … in asking members to wear masks out of love for each other, out of respect for their health, and a desire for us to be able to come back together sooner by getting through this in a more rapid fashion. It is so important and meaningful.

“To have a politician like myself tell people that that’s what they should do only goes so far, and to have faith leaders step up is incredible.”

Mendenhall’s comments came as part of a conversation with Deseret News Opinion Editor Boyd Matheson; Elder Craig C. Christensen, Utah Area President and General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; and Relief Society General President Jean B. Bingham. The discussion ranged from finding new ways to celebrate Thanksgiving to keeping each other safe day to day, and the critical importance of partnerships between churches, government and private businesses during times of crisis.

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“The poor mayor has had to deal with a lot of those challenges,” Elder Christensen said, “but we were right there with her. We’re going to do whatever it takes to support her so she can lead the way she’s been leading.”

Elder Christensen said this year hasn’t just brought a pandemic. Utahns have also had to deal with an earthquake, hurricane force winds and economic struggles.

“One thing our members love to do is to serve, and serve as a community side by side with other faith groups,” Elder Christensen said. “It’s been amazing to see how kind of natural disasters and pandemics have bonded the community.”

Matheson, who also hosts KSL’s “Inside Sources,” noted that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints chose to bring missionaries back to the U.S., close temples and ask congregations to attend meetings virtually or worship at home before any government shutdown was imposed. Elder Christensen said it was all in an effort to keep the commandment to love “our fellow man.”

“We view keeping our fellow men and women safe as part of our responsibility,” Elder Christensen said. “So we were the first to suspend and close temples. And we’ve …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Utah News

      

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