President Russell M. Nelson, leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has spent much of his life going to hospitals — as a renowned heart surgeon caring for patients, as a mindful minister tending to ill congregants, and as a father, grandfather and great-grandfather welcoming new babies into his vast family.

“This treasured experience brings me unspeakable joy every time,” the 96-year-old prophet-president wrote Sunday on Facebook. “I love holding these precious children in my arms and embracing them for the first time.”

I love going to the hospital to welcome new babies to our family! This treasured experience brings me unspeakable joy...

Posted by Russell M. Nelson on Sunday, September 20, 2020

Sadly, the coronavirus has halted that cherished routine — as it has with so many others.

“[Wife] Wendy and I have resorted to greeting our new family members virtually,” he said. “We have missed holding these babies in our arms and look forward to the day when we can do so again.”

In his post, Nelson then pivots to the Utah-based faith’s coming General Conference and the chance for virtual viewers to “feel the depth of the Lord’s love for you.”

“Gratefully, even a pandemic cannot and will not stop the Lord from embracing us. His love is constant,” he said. “...You and I have a special opportunity to feel his love during the upcoming General Conference.”

The two-day spring gathering was available only via television, radio and the internet due to COVID-19. Speakers addressed a worldwide audience from a mostly empty auditorium in downtown Salt Lake City’s Church Office Building, with only cameras and recording devices there to capture their words. All choir music was prerecorded.

(Photo courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Russell M. Nelson hold his son, Russell, in 1972.