News Story

Church Leader Shares Message of Hope as Community Honors Miners

Speaking of the recent “hard days and weeks” and “likely difficult days to come,” a senior leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints delivered a message of hope and encouragement tonight to families and friends gathered at a memorial service honoring those who lost their lives in the recent Crandall Canyon mine tragedy.

Elder M. Russell Ballard, an apostle in the Church, expressed love and sympathy to the bereaved families on behalf of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles — the highest governing bodies of the Church.

“You have been in our thoughts and in our prayers — collectively and individually — and you will continue to be,” said Elder Ballard.

Acknowledging the difficulty the families had faced “because of the long days of uncertainty mingled with hope,” and identifying with the “anguish” they felt, Elder Ballard shared a personal account of his grandson who died in an airplane crash.

“Only one who has experienced something like what you are experiencing can truly appreciate what you are feeling,” he said. “Often the greatest power that faith can have in our lives is when it gives us the ability to endure the challenges of life as they unfold before us. Through our faith in the Lord we can find the courage to cope, and we will move on”

Elder Ballard added: May we as a community of believers unite our faith in behalf of the families of your dear loved ones we remember here tonight.”

Additional speakers at the memorial service included Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr.; Huntington Mayor Hilary Gordon; the Most Rev. John C. Wester, bishop of the Diocese of Salt Lake City; Pastor Larry Sweeten, the Liberty Faith Fellowship; Pastor Carl Sitterud, Desert Edge Christian Church; and Colin King, a family spokesperson.

Mormons from the area near the mine joined the rescue efforts by providing hundreds of meals for the rescue workers and the families of the trapped miners and the rescue workers. Two LDS Family Services mental health counselors, one bilingual in English and Spanish, were on-site at the Huntington mine collapse providing assistance to the trapped miners’ families.

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