News Release

Elder Renlund Shares Messages of Hope, Love and Unity with Saints in Baltic Countries

Speaking in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, Elder Renlund counsels members to know who they are and Whose they are

In an historic three-day tour of the Baltics, Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, shared inspiring messages with missionaries and Latter-day Saints gathered in Tallinn, Estonia; Riga, Latvia; and Vilnius, Lithuania.

The Apostle from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was accompanied by his wife, Ruth, and Elder Alan T. Phillips, a General Authority Seventy and member of the Europe North Area Presidency, on the ministry visit May 21-23, 2024.

Tallinn, Estonia

“You are part of that stone cut from the mountain without hands that is rolling forward and will fill the earth,” Elder Renlund told Church members in Tallin, Estonia. Referencing Daniel in the Old Testament and the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, Elder Renlund encouraged members of the congregation to consecrate themselves to this future role.

Elder Renlund said that Church members should embrace their role in this “rolling forth” direction by establishing a solid foundation focusing on Jesus Christ. “It requires all of us to focus on love and build unity,” he said, “then blessings will come.”

He continued his counsel saying that “as disciples of Jesus Christ, we need to put Him first and foremost in our lives. We need to forgive one another, as He forgave. We treat others with compassion; we treat them with love.”

Sharing his Apostolic testimony, Elder Renlund said, “I have come to know Jesus Christ. I have come to know that He loves to restore what you cannot restore. He loves to heal wounds that you cannot heal. He loves to fix what is irreparably broken. He loves to compensate for any unfairness you have experienced in life. He absolutely loves to permanently mend even shattered hearts. I know; I absolutely know that He lives, and I am grateful to come here in His name and bear testimony.”

Speaking of the importance of Lehi’s dream in the Book of Mormon about the tree of life, Sister Renlund encouraged listeners to stay faithful. She said, “Lehi stood by the tree and beckoned or called to his family members to come and enjoy the fruit. Nephi and Sam came but not Laman and Lemuel, and yet, he continued to call them, and he stayed by the tree as he petitioned to them.”

Local Estonian member Karin Lindemann said she was “thoroughly inspired and moved by all the messages. Jesus Christ truly stands at the heart of everything we do. When we fully embrace this truth and integrate it into our lives, nothing can prevent the ‘stone cut without hands’ from becoming a great mountain,” she said.

Riga, Latvia

Speaking in Riga, Latvia, Elder Renlund encouraged Latter-day Saints there to follow the path of the Savior.

Elder Renlund described hiking in Iceland with his family on a trail marked with piles of stones along the path called cairns. Using markers such as cairns as a guide, he explained how we can follow five metaphorical markers in our path of discipleship:

Five Markers of Discipleship

  1. Know Who You Are and Whose You Are. Elder Renlund reminded the attendees that “you are children of God our Heavenly Father. You have a divine nature and an eternal destiny, and you are beloved by God your Heavenly Father. It is when we forget that, that we start losing our way. When we forget Who we are and Whose we are, we are in danger.”
  2. Know for Yourself That Jesus Is the Savior. Elder Renlund strongly testified, “I know that Jesus Christ lives. I absolutely know it, and when you know it, your life is changed . . . your life becomes different.”
  3. Know the Book of Mormon and the Restoration Are True. Elder Renlund shared his experience as an 11-year-old boy praying to know if the Book of Mormon was true. He recalled, “I remember while praying this very warm feeling came over me. This feeling of joy. This feeling of warmth as if I were being told, ‘I’ve been telling you all along that it’s true.’”
  4. Decide to Join the Savior in His Work. “The Lord doesn’t want us to just sit around and feel good about ourselves,” Elder Renlund said. “The Savior also wants us to help Him in His work.”
  5. Remain Steadfast in Keeping the Faith. Explaining that living as the Savior would have us live is not always easy, Elder Renlund said, “This is His kingdom . ... If we don’t fight for it, who will?”

Elder Phillips encouraged the Saints in attendance, saying,“If you bring your best efforts, Christ magnifies those efforts. As you lay your imperfect offering at His feet — like the inadequate loaves and fishes in the New Testament — He not only makes the offering sufficient, but He will gather up the fragments so that none are lost.”

Vilnius, Lithuania

Concluding the historic visit in Vilnius, Lithuania, the leaders taught about the importance of covenants in achieving salvation.

Elder Phillips encouraged the members in Vilnius to treat people as the Savior would. “Are you willing to mourn with those that mourn?” he asked. “Are you willing to strengthen those that need strengthening? And in today’s language, are you willing to listen? Are you willing to care? Will you be there for me?”

He then bore his testimony of the Savior to the congregation. “I testify that He can deliver us, that He can calm storms. He is the source of peace and strength. He removes burdens, forgives, rescues, heals and makes us whole.”

Elder Renlund shared the importance of making covenants and clarifying the role of salvation in this process. “We do not earn salvation,” he said. “Salvation comes because of the goodness of Jesus Christ. If we start thinking that we earn salvation, we start making some big mistakes. These mistakes are of two types. One type is that we feel like failures. That we’re not good enough. We get very down on ourselves, so we keep trying and trying and trying, thinking that we must earn salvation. Instead, we need to remember that the church is a hospital for sinners and not a museum for saints.

“The other mistake that we can make is if we think that we can earn salvation and start judging other people,” Elder Renlund continued. “We start looking and saying, ‘I’m better than he is’ and that is a horrible mistake. It’s something that is very displeasing to God. When we judge others, we are doing absolutely what is contrary to the will of God. Our judgment isn’t welcome, it isn’t helpful and it’s often misguided.

“If we treat anyone who comes into our buildings as somehow different, without love and compassion, we are proving to them that we are not the Lord’s disciples. What the Savior would have us do is to help Him in His work to bring joy to others, to be kind to others, to be loving to others.”

Though on a fast-paced schedule while traveling through Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the leaders took time after the devotionals to greet and shake the hands of each Church member and missionary in attendance. Several said they felt blessed to have had a chance to listen to an Apostle of the Lord in person.

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.