Russell M. Nelson as prophet, church president: Memorable quotes
When President Russell M. Nelson spoke the first Easter morning after becoming the 17th prophet-leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 2018, he reminded members who they believe actually leads the church and began what has been repeated efforts to prepare them for the future:
“Our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, will perform some of his mightiest works between now and when he comes again. We will see wonderful indications that God the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ, preside over this church in majesty and glory. But in the days ahead, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guidance, direction, comfort, and constant influence of the Holy Spirit.”
His steadfast testimony of Jesus Christ and the power of revelation and his constant invitation to all to build a foundation on God carried through the first five years of President Nelson’s service as president of the church.
The conference that April was dynamic and the effect was electric as the changes were announced, but that was just the beginning. The next six months brought additional testimonies and meaningful invitations. Then, 10 months into his administration as the church’s 17th president-prophet, he sat down with several reporters after dedicating the Concepción Chile Temple.
At the end of the interview, he leaned forward knowingly, smiled broadly, and said, “If you think the church is fully restored, you’re only seeing the beginning. There is much more to come.”
The smile grew a little wider as he paused at the end of each of the next few sentences.
“Wait until next year,” he said. “And then next year. Eat your vitamin pills. Take your break. It’s going to be exciting.”
This promise, embedded at the end of a video interview, spread like wildfire. It perfectly summed up the first year of his presidency and signaled more to come over what has now been four more years.
Five years into his administration — President Nelson was set apart and ordained on January 14, 2018 and spoke to the church for the first time two days later — he has inspired church members to build a foundation on Jesus Christ and led believers through a turbulent pandemic, among other global challenges.
Here’s a sampling of some of his runs over the past five years.
Speaking directly to the world
In addition to the church’s semiannual general conferences seen internationally by millions, President Nelson took his messages directly to the world, both in person—he literally circled the world—and digitally.
The trip was purposeful, though he knew he couldn’t visit every place.
“No matter where we go, we’re going to neglect more than we’re going to serve,” he told the Deseret News at the start of his first international ministry tour in April 2018, “but we’re going to do everything we can to two weeks. , and we’ll go home and rest for a while, then start another trip.”
He said he felt compelled to serve.
“God’s message is for everyone,” he said. “This is a global job. Whenever I feel comfortable in my home, I’m in the wrong place. I need to be where the people are. We must bring them the message of the Savior.”
Wherever he went, he talked about Jesus Christ.
President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and President M. Russell Ballard, president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican in Rome, Italy on Saturday, March 9, 2019.
In Quito, Ecuador, in October 2019, he said: “We must purify our language, elevate our thoughts and live our lives in obedience to God’s commandments. Please teach your children about the Lord Jesus Christ. His Atonement is the most important event in the history of the world and is the foundation of our religion. All other things about our religions are secondary to it.”
Preaching peace and optimism
The pandemic halted world travel, but President Nelson used video to speak directly to people two days after the pandemic was declared in March 2020. He said church leaders were praying for the sick and those who had lost loved ones. He also advised that the gospel of Jesus Christ “gives certain hope and help to a troubled world.”
“I love you, I pray for you, and I promise you will find comfort and peace as you continue to listen to him,” he said, adding “These unique challenges will pass with time. I remain optimistic about the future.”
Just before Thanksgiving that first year of the pandemic, he again released a video, describing gratitude and prayer as a healing medicine for spiritual and social problems.
“I see the current pandemic as just one of many ills plaguing our world, including hatred, civil unrest, racism, violence, dishonesty and lack of decency,” President Nelson said, then invited people to “take back social media in your personal. gratitude journal. Post daily what you are grateful for, who you are grateful for, and why you are grateful. At the end of the seven days, see if you feel happier and calmer. Use the hashtag #GiveThanks. By working together, we can flood social media with a wave of gratitude that reaches the four corners of the earth.”
In historic general conference talks, President Nelson focused members on “family-centered, church-supported” gospel study, taught about revelation, reorganized home teaching into ministry, asked people to learn how to listen God and announced more than 100 new temples.
One of his most resounding statements was encouraging people to let God prevail in their lives.
“The question for each of us, regardless of race, is the same,” he said. “Are you ready to let God prevail in your life? Are you willing to let God be the most important influence in your life? Will you allow his words, commandments, and covenants to influence what you do each day? Will you let his voice take precedence over all others? Are you willing to let whatever he needs you to do take precedence over any other ambitions? Are you willing to have your will swallowed up in it?
Another was his optimistic call to church members to sharpen their ability to receive revelation as a shield against a spiritually suffocating world.
“My beloved brothers and sisters, I am asking you to increase your spiritual capacity to receive revelation. Let this Easter Sunday be a defining moment in your life. Choose to do the spiritual work required to enjoy the gift of the Holy Spirit and to hear the voice of the Spirit more often and more clearly.”
Bridge instead of walls
Presiding over the church in an age of division, President Nelson has consistently and steadfastly taught its members to become leaders in abandoning racism and instead embrace building bridges of understanding.
He took the floor at the NAACP’s general conference and national convention to call for unity.
“Brothers and sisters, please listen carefully to what I am going to say,” he said at the October 2020 general conference. “God does not love one race more than another. His doctrine on this matter is clear. He invites all to come to him, ‘black and white, bond and free, male and female’. I assure you that your standing before God is not determined by the color of your skin. Favor or disfavor with God depends on your devotion to God and his commandments, not the color of your skin.
“I am sorry that our black brothers and sisters around the world are enduring the pain of racism and prejudice. Today, I call upon our members everywhere to be inclined to abandon prejudicial attitudes and actions. Please encourage respect for all God’s children.”
By then, he had already linked arms with the NAACP. In May 2018, he and NAACP President Derrick Johnson jointly called for racial harmony and an end to prejudice.
The following year, President Nelson walked the floor of Detroit’s Cobo Center at the NAACP’s national convention and spoke for the church about race, saying he wanted the church and NAACP members to become dear friends.
President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints embraces Dr. Amos Brown after his presentation at the 110th annual national convention for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Detroit on Sunday, July 21, 2019.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
“Simply put, we try to build bridges of cooperation instead of walls of division,” he said.
It was a phrase he used around the world, in the Vatican, in Tonga and elsewhere.
God’s love and the importance of temples
Another memorable lesson has been his repeated prayer with people to understand that God knows them individually and loves them completely.
“In all eternity, no one will know you or care for you more than him,” he said last year in a broadcast to young people. “No one will be closer to you than him. You can pour out your heart to him and trust him to send the Holy Spirit and angels to take care of you.”
That love comes because of each person’s true identity, he said.
“I believe that if God were to speak directly to you tonight,” President Nelson said, “the first thing he would make sure you understand is your true identity. My dear friends, you are literally spiritual children of God.”
Over the past five years, President Nelson has announced that the church will build 118 new temples, and he has explained that the temple is a place for Latter-day Saints to feel peace, imploring them to focus on the temple in ways that they do not have. the money.
“I promise that added time in the temple will bless your life in ways that nothing else can.”
At the most recent general conference, he said, “My message to you today is that because Jesus Christ overcame this fallen world and because he atoned for each one of us, you too can overcome this world saturated with sinful, selfish, and often exhausting.”
He also taught memorably about the ongoing renewal of the Salt Lake Temple, comparing it to the need for people to strengthen their spiritual lives.
“We are sparing no effort to give this venerable temple, which had become increasingly vulnerable, a foundation that will withstand the forces of nature in the Millennium,” said President Nelson. “In the same way, now is the time for each of us to take extraordinary measures—perhaps measures we have never taken before—to strengthen our personal spiritual foundations.
He said the temple will be the safest place in the Salt Lake Valley when the work is completed, similar to how the temple connects Latter-day Saints securely to Christ.
“Likewise, whenever there’s any kind of upheaval in your life, the safest place to be spiritually is to live within your temple covenants.”