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The Life of Elder Jeffrey Roy Holland
Transcript of The Life of Elder Jeffrey Roy Holland
Things of Interest/Hobbies
The Life of Elder Jeffrey Roy Holland
By: Katy Bickerstaff, Phillip Fairbrother, Erin Gentry, Alyssa Settles, and Jocelyn Tucker
Specific Teachings That Mean Something to Me Personally
When I was in the MTC, I received a letter from a boy I had been dating at home. I had met him about 2 weeks after I had turned in my mission papers. In that letter he told me of a story his institute teacher had shared with him about Elder Holland. Here is what his letter said to me:
“Elder Holland and his son were driving in an unfamiliar area and they came to a fork in the road. Elder Holland asked his son which road they should take and they both felt prompted to take the road to the left. They only got a mile or two down the road and they found out it was a dead end. So they turned around and took the road on the right. Down the road, his son asked him, “Dad why were we both prompted to take the wrong road?” Elder Holland told him that if they had taken the right road first, they would have been unsure of their decision for many miles down the road. But because they took the wrong road first, they knew they were on the right one when they finally got there. I hope that made sense. Basically, I wanted you to go on a mission because I didn't want you to always wonder if you had made the right decision. If you ever feel that you've taken the wrong road, please write me and tell me about it and we’ll see what we can do about getting you on the right road. It’s not my place to tell you which road is the right one, that’s between you and the Lord, but whenever you come home, whether it’s 18 months or sooner, I’ll be here for you.”
Well, long story short, after reading that letter, I prayed, fasted, went to the temple, and received a priesthood blessing all within 48 hours. And I knew I was to go home and marry that boy. My Dave.
Due to a recent promotion, I spent all day Saturday and Sunday during conference at work. I was unable to listen to any of the talks live, and I was very tired. Watching conference is one of my favorite things because I love the spirit that I feel and the answers that I undoubtedly receive while I listen to church leaders. That made an already miserable situation of sorting through a mess left by my predecessor even more frustrating to me.
I had always struggled with understanding the need to define marriage so strictly, and oppose same sex marriage so adamantly. I have several friends who are gay and they are great people. Most importantly, isn't agency a doctrine of the gospel, and isn't taking someone’s right to marriage away the same as taking their agency?
What an amazing impact it had! I don’t know how I lost my way so quickly, but after hearing Elder Holland tell the story of the father of the afflicted child, I knew that I had turned to the wrong source for comfort and answers.
"'Straightway,' the scripture says - not slowly nor skeptically nor cynically but 'straightway' - the Father cries out in His unvarnished parental pain, 'Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief.'"
I don’t know how I had missed the importance of turning to my Heavenly Father first in prayer, but when I heard this quote from Elder Holland, I knew what I needed to do. As Elder Holland continued to teach, I began to feel the spirit strongly testify the truthfulness of his words, and as the spirit grew within me, I found myself crying tears of joy over the wonderful way in which my Father in Heaven works.
“The central joy of my life while I was growing up was sports. I played on every kind of team that could have been assembled.”
Elder Holland was a member of Dixie High School’s state championship football and basketball teams in 1958. He lettered in football, basketball, track, and baseball. After his mission, he was the co-captain of the Dixie College basketball team that won its conference championship. Karl Brooks, an administrator at Dixie College and a former mayor of St. George said: “He was into things. He was involved,” Brother Brooks says. “If there was a ball game going on, he was either playing or watching.”
Matt (Elder Holland’s son) says his “fondest memories from childhood are at the dinner table. Every night was a kind of family home evening filled with laughter, compliments, encouragement, interesting conversation, testimony, teaching, and expressions of love. You always knew Dad was happiest when he was at home with his family.”
“I pledge everything I have and everything I know how to give to witnessing and reaffirming the divinity of the Savior’s life and the restoration of his gospel. My greatest joy and my solemn obligation is to testify of Jesus Christ wherever I may go and with whomever I may be for as long as I shall live.”
Lessons Learned From His Example
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has taught us through his example how to love life and enjoy every stage. When going through the stressful and chaotic times, it is important to take time to be with your spouse, remind them of your love, and strengthen each other as you work toward the light at the end of the tunnel.
Elder Holland gave a fantastic talk titled, “An High Priest of Good Things to Come” in the October 1999 General Conference. Elder Holland discusses the story of a big move he needed to make with his family. His poor little car couldn't make it more than 34 miles before it broke down.
This happened twice. Young Sister Holland was strong and took care of her two small children while her husband walked the 34 miles back and forth to try to find help fixing his car. Now, Elder Holland certainly has different circumstances. He has wonderful possessions and no longer worries about an old car dying and having no other option.
He says, “Don’t give up, boy. Don’t you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead.”
"No matter what we are seeking, good things will come to us. Whether it’s a child, a marriage, a better career, or more spiritual insight, if we trust in God we can do all things. Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come. "
We can all learn of the importance of patience from his example. Elder Holland’s story helps us all to better understand the importance of having an eternal perspective.
All pictures provided by LDS.org
Ensign, December 1994, “Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles”, Don L. Searle, Associate Editor
What are Prophets and Apostles? Jeffrey R. Holland, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints webpage https://www.lds.org/prophets-and-apostles/what-are-prophets/bio/jeffrey-r-holland?lang=eng
YouTube, “Hoops in the Hangar”, AdamMathewsVideo,
(Jeffrey R. Holland, Our Consuming Mission, Teaching Seminary Preservice Readings Religion 370, 471, and 475, (2004), 112-14.) http://www.lds.org/manual/teaching-seminary-preservice-readings-religion-370-471-and-475/our-consuming-mission?lang=eng
"If sometimes the harder you try, the harder it gets, take heart. So it has been with the best people who ever lived. "
"The Inconvenient Messiah", Ensign, February 1984
"God is eagerly waiting for the chance to answer your prayers and fulfill your dreams, just as He always has. But He can’t if you don’t pray, and He can’t if you don’t dream. In short, He can’t if you don’t believe."
"This, the Greatest of All Dispensations", Ensign, July 2007
"No one of us is less treasured or cherished of God than another. I testify that He loves each of us—insecurities, anxieties, self-image, and all."
"The Other Prodigal", April 2002 General Conference
"It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines."
"The Laborers in the Vineyard", April 2012 General Conference
"Think the best of each other, especially of those you say you love. Assume the good and doubt the bad."
"How Do I Love Thee?", New Era, October 2003
"With any major decision there are cautions and considerations to make, but once there has been illumination, beware the temptation to retreat from a good thing. If it was right when you prayed about it and trusted it and lived for it, it is right now. Don’t give up when the pressure mounts."
"Cast Not Away Therefore Your Confidence", Liahona, June 2000
"Hope on. Journey on. Honestly acknowledge your questions and your concerns, but first and forever fan the flame of your faith, because all things are possible to them that believe."
"Lord, I Believe", April 2013 General Conference
"Wrong Roads and Revelation"
By: Matthew Holland
Speaking at a BYU devotional on September 13, 1983, Elder Holland, speaking of he and his wife, said: “We play the national anthem every morning—Pat on the saxophone and I on the accordion.”
Then in July, 2005, I was reading the New Era and the story “Wrong Roads and Revelations” was in there by Elder Holland’s son, Matthew. It was the same story Dave had shared with me years earlier in his letter.
We'll be married 14 years this next January.
Needless to say, my spirits were already low. I was right where the adversary wanted me, and he took advantage. One night the following week I was looking through my Facebook page and I caught a status post from a friend who I know has struggled with the church, and who has completely lost his faith. He posted the Mormon Extermination Order (Missouri Executive Order 44), replacing the word “Mormon” with the word “gay.” Certainly the adversary had his hand in the profound effect this statement had on me, and my faith wavered further in that moment than I can ever remember.
After spending an hour or so sulking in front of my computer, looking at articles and essays that sent me spiraling further down a road that I should not have been wandering, I got a call from my mother. I’m grateful for her responsiveness to the promptings of the spirit. She asked me how I was doing, and when I told her, she told me I needed to go watch conference. She was right.
I listened to a few talks, and after the first three or four I was still in a sour mood, finding it hard to recover the spirit that I had lost. Finally, I listened to Elder Holland’s talk.
I’m grateful for this talk, and for the profound effect that it had on me that night. Much like the 14 year old boy that Elder Holland mentions in his talk, I often find that I cannot say that I know different doctrines are true, but I believe that they are. That belief is insulated by my knowledge that our church leadership, namely the prophet, the first presidency, and the quorum of the twelve apostles is called by Heavenly Father to teach and reveal the truth in the latter days.
Elder Holland’s brother, Dennis, remembers that he was not surprised by the call to the Quorum of the Twelve. “All Jeff ever wanted to do was teach the gospel to students in a classroom. I was always sure that the Lord had the same goal in mind for him, but that the size of the classroom and the number of students were on a much grander scale than he was envisioning.”
Additional Reading About Elder Holland
This article was written when Elder Holland was put in as President of BYU:
This is a talk Elder Holland gave about the loving, inspired instruction and example we need to provide our children at home. He shared a great example from his personal life:
Sheri Dew hosts Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Patricia:
When Elder and Sister Holland were living in New Haven, Connecticut, she was called as the Relief Society president. Elder Holland was in school full time and was called as a counselor in the stake presidency. The stake center was fifty-five miles away and the stake was huge, covering portions of several different states. They had two children at the time, and in order to allow Sister Holland to stay home with them, Elder Holland worked every CES opportunity he could and additional jobs.
In order to survive physically and emotionally, they decided they would go on a date every Friday night. They took care of all their responsibilities during the week, and when Friday night came they spent the evening together. Their dates weren't fancy and didn't need to be. They had that time to be together and feel in control of their lives. Those dates got them through some very demanding times. Elder Holland says, “Love your lives, savor every stage of them, embrace the hard times and the lean years along with the good, and make sure you take time for yourselves, for each other, and for your marriage.”
Please note, the following is the full 15 minute talk Elder Holland gave at the most recent General Conference. This is part of our reading for the week. Feel free to skip through this slide if you don't want to watch the entire talk at this time.