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The Miraculous True Story Behind President Nelson’s Viral Thanksgiving Video

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As the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic continued to grip the world in 2020, President Russell M. Nelson released a video about gratitude ahead of Thanksgiving. With over 12 million views and a viral #GiveThanks challenge, the video had unprecedented reach and influence. But there’s more to this story and how it came to be that can strengthen our faith today.

In her recent devotional at Brigham Young University—Hawaii, Sheri Dew shared the miraculous true story behind the video.

At a communications meeting in September 2020, Dew and the team suggested President Nelson release a message of hope for church members as the pandemic raged. He liked the idea and told them to “sprinkle a little fertilizer” on it and present their ideas the following week. However, the next day, President Nelson called the group back together. He told them their original idea was good, but it wasn’t right.

During the night, President Nelson had received an impression about the video he needed to release as the Lord’s prophet. It needed to be a message for the world and be about gratitude. It also needed to have a prayer for the world. He told the team the exact day and time the video needed to be released, and even how long it should be. Dew had never heard President Nelson be so specific about communication details.

“If this group had relied on their own expertise, they would never have recommended a video as long as the one President Nelson specified nor would they have suggested releasing it on a Friday, the worst day to release one,” Dew said. “But a prophet had spoken and so we went to work.” The resulting video can be viewed below.

The video’s reach dwarfed anything the Church had done prior. “Never in the history of the earth had so many people heard a prophet’s voice,” said Dew.

Watch Dew share the story below.


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Aleah Ingram
Aleah Ingram
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.

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