There’s a growing list of celebrities who have taken to Instagram to celebrate the life of a prominent Mormon leader.
The death of the 83-year-old Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has drawn more than 1.5 million followers, and thousands of Mormons are planning to mark the occasion by taking selfies in church with the caption “the funeral.”
“My family has been very, very touched by Elder Holland’s life and the way he touched many people, and we are honored to have been able to help honor and honour him as we have in the past,” said his daughter, Sister Rachel Holland.
The elder was the church’s top elder in Idaho and served in the LDS church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
He was also known for being a fierce critic of homosexuality and for having strong moral beliefs that included forgiveness and compassion for the poor.
While the elder died at the age of 83, his life is not over.
He’s survived the funeral, which was held at the church in suburban Vancouver, Washington, where he was born and raised.
Sister Rachel Holland said her father was known for his faith and spirituality, and that it was “heartwarming” to see people show their appreciation for his life and accomplishments.
“This was a time of tremendous grief and loss for my family, and I think it was just wonderful to see the people who loved and cared about him express that in such a way,” she said.
“He touched so many people and made people feel special.
He touched everyone who had a part in his life.”
Sister Holland said she was particularly moved to see her father’s photo in the church calendar, which shows him holding a candlelight vigil for the family.
“It’s so touching,” she added.
“That it’s the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is amazing, because it shows the way that we can all live our lives with love and compassion and love each other and have compassion for those who are less fortunate than we are.”
The elder’s death comes as Utah is gearing up for the holiday season.
The Mormon church has declared October a day of rest and mourning for the church and its members, and the church is also hosting an event in the U.S. that commemorates the passing of Elder Holland.
“Our hope is that by the end of the year, people will be able to come together and celebrate the church, with family and friends, and with the community at large,” said Sister Rachel’s father, Elder Jeffrey Holland.
Elder Holland’s funeral service is scheduled for Monday, October 21 at the Tabernacle in downtown Salt Lake City.
He will be laid to rest next week at the Salt Lake Cathedral, where thousands of people are expected to gather to pay respects to the life and work of the church leader.