“Our sustaining of prophets is a personal commitment that we will do our utmost to uphold their prophetic priorities. Our sustaining is an oath-like indication that we recognize their calling as a prophet to be legitimate and binding upon us.” – President Russell M. Nelson, “Sustaining the Prophets,” General Conference, October, 2014
Many people believe that the most powerful person on earth is the president of the United States. This is incorrect. The most powerful man on earth, filling the most globally-significant position of trust, is the Lord’s living prophet.
This man is a prophet, a seer, and a revelator for the whole earth. He is the Savior’s intermediary tasked with delivering the Lord’s current will to mankind, teaching His doctrine, and presiding over the gathering of Israel prior to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. This man serves as the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is the burgeoning Kingdom of God that will stand through the Millennium. Today, Russell M. Nelson is the individual called of God to lead His earthly Church, speak in His holy name, and hold the keys of Priesthood authority to perform saving Gospel ordinances.
Russell M. Nelson is not a name familiar to most people. Yet, this humble man is the one chosen by Jehovah to preside over His affairs. He is the Lord’s captain and commanding officer. He is the one selected, as Peter of old, to sit in the presidency of the Savior’s Church and administer His ordinances of salvation.
It is my desire to help you understand who President Nelson is, what he has been teaching, and why your attention should be riveted on him more than on any other person currently living. I also wish to bear my personal witness that Russell M. Nelson is indeed a prophet in every sense of the word; an inspired man like Moses, Abraham, or Isaiah. Not only is he a prophet, he is the prophet called by the resurrected Redeemer to speak to the world on His behalf at this hour.
Before speaking specifically about President Nelson, a word about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints over which he presides is in order. A century after Christ, the Church He established fell into disarray and apostasy. The New Testament writers frequently warned of impending apostasy. Indeed, some lamented that the various branches of the Church were already accepting false teachers and falling into wickedness. One cannot read the New Testament without encountering these warnings and prophesies.
During His earthly ministry, the Lord ordained twelve apostles to lead His Church. He set Peter at their head to serve as the prophet and presiding authority. In his capacity as president of the Church, Peter received revelation as needed and directed the affairs of the Church. To cite one example, Peter received the revelation that it was time to take the Gospel to the gentiles. This pattern of continuing revelation was to mark the Lord’s Church, as was leadership via a duly ordained prophet and body of twelve apostles.
Eventually, Peter, the Lord’s prophet, was taken and murdered. James, Philip, Andrew, Paul, and the rest of the apostles, except John who was not slain but went on to higher work, were martyred for their testimony of the divinity of Jesus Christ. In the wake of their murders and the consequent dissolution of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, who was left to lead the Lord’s Church? Who was left with the Priesthood authority to preside over the Church and officiate in essential ordinances? The sad answer is that no one was called by the Lord to fill these indispensable offices. No one was ordained in the proper way by others holding the same apostolic authority. Tragically, the Lord’s line of Priesthood authority ended with the death of the last apostle.
Inasmuch as Peter and the other apostles received their authority directly under the hands of the Savior, it was necessary that either they or Jesus personally extended the same authority to others. The resurrected Lord did not do so, as all sects admit the apostolic line ended. Furthermore, there is no record that Peter and his associates conferred their authority on successors either. Hence, the keys of the Priesthood authority – that power and authority necessary to officiate in saving ordinances like baptism and conferring the Holy Ghost – was lost and could only be restored by divine manifestation.
Though the bishop of Rome and others subsequently claimed authority to lead the Church, the apostasy overtook it as the New Testament writers prophesied would happen. As a brief historical note, the bishop of Rome was not an apostle, lacked apostolic authority to govern the Lord’s Church, and tried to make his claim while John, an authentic apostle and successor to Peter, was yet alive – thus making him an impostor. His claim, and those of his direct papal successors, is, thus, null and void. No other claimant to this sacred authority last held by John can be identified, nor was the body of twelve apostles perpetuated as established by the Savior.
This wholesale apostasy necessitated not a mere reformation, but a full restoration of the Gospel with its authority, ordinances, and gifts. This pattern of apostasy, loss of authority, and later restoration by divine manifestation through a newly called prophet, occurred several times in Biblical history, so it should not be surprising to any diligent student of the Bible that yet another apostasy, followed by a restoration, happened after the death of the apostles. John, in fact, prophesied of a future restoration. He foretold:
“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people” (Revelation 14:6).
Surely one cannot believe that the Apostle John, a legal administrator of the Gospel, would speak of the need for an angel to come declaring the Gospel if that Gospel was intended to exist in an unbroken line as is generally supposed. The fact is, as John knew and spoke of, and as Peter and Paul and others testified, that the Lord’s Church would be lost from the earth and would need to be restored by Heavenly intervention and the appearance of angels.
Thankfully for the world, the Lord fulfilled His promise and the “everlasting gospel” was restored to the earth in 1830 through the instrumentality of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith began his unassuming life as a poor, hard-working farm boy. He became interested in the salvation of his soul, talked to pastors, attended various churches, and prayed to God to know which of all the contending sects was correct and which he should join.
In answer to his simple, faith-filled prayer, the Lord personally appeared to Joseph Smith in a grove of trees near Palmyra, New York. Both the Father and the Son appeared in a powerful manifestation that forever changed the world. The Lord explained to Joseph that all the churches had gone astray. They professed His name, but lacked His authority. The Lord therefore called Joseph to be His prophet to restore His Gospel in its authoritative fullness.
In subsequent years after this First Vision, an angel named Moroni did appear and delivered sacred teachings and writings to Joseph Smith. The most significant of these was an ancient record of the former inhabitants of America, who were Israelites led to this land by the Lord around 600 B.C. They worshiped Christ, had prophets, and were some of the “other sheep” the Savior spoke of during His ministry (John 10:16). Their record, which came to be called The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, was a direct fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy that the “stick of Judah” (the Bible) and the “stick of Joseph” (The Book of Mormon), would “be one” in the Lord’s hand (Ezekiel 37:15-19).
In a modern revelation, the Lord confirmed:
“And again, the elders, priests and teachers of this church shall teach the principles of my gospel, which are in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, in the which is the fulness of the gospel” (Doctrine and Covenants 42:12).
Together, as one, the Bible and The Book of Mormon come together to testify of Jesus Christ, clarify His doctrines, encourage mankind to repent and turn to Him for salvation, expose His enemies and false doctrines, and inspire His disciples to serve Him and preach the Gospel in all the world. While The Book of Mormon is derided, falsely, as a non-Christian book, it in fact speaks of Jesus Christ more frequently than the Bible. It powerfully confirms the Bible’s testimony that only in and through Jesus Christ can we be saved. We find such teachings as the following littered throughout the pages of this holy book:
“[W]e labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved after [i.e. notwithstanding] all we can do. . . .
“And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins. . . .
“. . . the right way is to believe in Christ and deny him not; for by denying him ye also deny the prophets and the law.
“And now, behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out” (2 Nephi 25:23-29).
Thus, as John prophesied, an angel flying in the heavens proclaimed the “everlasting gospel” to the inhabitants of the earth once more in 1830. Joseph Smith was the instrument for bringing forward companion scripture to the Bible. Together, these two sacred volumes confound false doctrines and point our souls to Jesus Christ, our Master.
Not only was additional scripture given to support the Bible’s witness, but the same sacred authority that Jesus gave to His ancient apostles was restored to the earth. Peter, James, and John, the last ones to hold the Priesthood authority before the apostasy, appeared to confer their authority on Joseph Smith and a man named Oliver Cowdery, both of whom witnessed often of this event. Through these and other divinely inspired events and endowments of authority, the Lord’s Church was restored once more, being called, by Him, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
It is this Church organization, restored in our time with its Priesthood authority, saving ordinances, spiritual gifts, and pristine doctrines which break through the confusion of centuries of apostasy, that is headed today by President Russell M. Nelson. It is this Church which contains a prophet, a Quorum of Twelve Apostles, Quorums of Seventy elders, ordained patriarchs, teachers, and deacons, and so forth, just as we find in the Bible’s record of the early Church. This truly is the Lord’s Church and matches the Biblical description to a T.
Since the appearance of Peter, James, and John to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, the Priesthood has been handed down in an unbroken line of succession. Seventeen men have been called as prophets in this final Gospel Dispensation. Today, the office of prophet is held by President Nelson.
The vibrant and fit Russell Marion Nelson will turn ninety-six years old on September 9th of this year. In terms of worldly accomplishments, President Nelson is much respected. He was a world-renowned heart surgeon who helped pioneer the art of heart surgery. He was elected the president of the Society of Vascular Surgery in 1975 and has held other prestigious medical titles and posts. He holds a PhD as well as other honorary degrees from multiple universities. He is an author of numerous books. He served in the Korean War as an Army surgeon, speaks six languages, has visited over 130 nations, and fathered ten children.
In spite of his remarkable professional and personal achievements, the Lord called him into the apostleship for other less tangible reasons. President Nelson’s ability to receive revelation is, simply, remarkable. Since becoming the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he has instituted radical changes in Church format and focus not seen in generations. He has introduced numerous programs, alterations, and proclamations via revelation. He has been called “Moses in a business suit.”
In an uncharacteristically good CNN article penned in 2019 after President Nelson announced a certain change in Church presentation, we find the following description of how readily this prophet receives and follows revelation:
“When the messages come during the dark of the night, Russell M. Nelson reaches for his lighted pen and takes dictation from the Lord.
““Ok dear, it’s happening,” the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints tells his wife, Wendy Nelson.
““I just remain quiet and soon he’s sitting up at the side of the bed, writing,” she said in a recent church video.
“Sometimes the spirit prompts the prophet’s wife the leave the bed, though she’d rather sleep. One such morning, Wendy Nelson told Mormon leaders, her husband emerged form the bedroom waving a yellow notebook.
““Wendy, you won’t believe what’s been happening for two hours,” she recalled Russell Nelson saying. “The Lord has given me detailed instructions on a process I am to follow.”
“Nelson’s nighttime messages have “increased exponentially,” his wife said. . . .
“One of the things the Spirit has repeatedly impressed upon my mind since my new calling as President of the Church,” Nelson said, “is how willing the Lord is to reveal His mind and will.”
In the Bible, the Apostle James testified that if anyone wanted knowledge, they could merely ask God in prayer and He would give it to them (James 1:5). President Nelson has put this principle into action and has become a veritable conduit for Heavenly communication. The CNN article then continued with an observation about why President Nelson is unique among world religious leaders:
“Lots of religions talk about revelations. They fill much of the New Testament’s last book and many parts of the older Hebrew Bible, from the burning bush that inspired Moses to the “still, small voice” who whispered to Elijah.
“But many modern believers consider both Bibles to be closed canons, the last words we’ll hear from God before the final trumpet blows. . . .
“Latter-day Saints, as they prefer to be called, believe in continuing revelation. Their canon is open, ready to be revised or supplemented by its top cadre of leaders, first among whom is the church’s president, who is considered a “prophet, seer and revelator.” . . . .
““There’s no mistaking it, this is Moses in a business suit,” [historian Kathleen] Flake said of the Mormon presidency, “someone who can lead people, write Scripture and talk to God.””
Yes, it is a unique point of Latter-day Saint doctrine that the windows of Heaven are not closed. God speaks to His children today just as He did anciently. Jesus Christ leads His Church by revelation through prophets just as He in days past through Peter, Moses, Samuel, Jeremiah, and other seers. Today, the Lord’s will is made known through modern prophets when it is needed in this work of gathering the souls of men into the Good Shepherd’s fold. Often, however, the occasion for announcements, alterations to programs, or renewed emphasis on eternal principles, comes during what we call General Conference.
Twice annually, the apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, led by the prophet-president, gather with Church members to expound doctrine and clarify the current will of the Lord. It is in these General Conferences that we can most easily see what the Lord wants His Twenty-First Century followers to be focused on.
Since his call to the apostleship in April, 1984, President Nelson has delivered 91 General Conference addresses. Twenty-one of those talks were given since he was sustained as the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in January of 2018. What has been President Nelson’s general theme or message as the prophet?
Since 2018, there has been a flood of light and revelation. It is difficult to point to one single teaching that has predominated. However, we can narrow it down to several that often rise to the top. I mention six, in no particular order:
1. The Gathering of Israel
3. Receiving revelation
4. Home-centered, Church-supported worship
6. Staying on the Covenant Path
1. The Gathering of Israel
President Nelson has made it clear that the gathering of Israel, that is, bringing the Lord’s sheep into His Church, is the most important work in all the world. During a worldwide youth devotional on June 3, 2018, the prophet told the youth of the Church:
“My dear young brothers and sisters, these surely are the latter days, and the Lord is hastening His work to gather Israel. That gathering is the most important thing taking place on earth today. Nothing else compares in magnitude, nothing else compares in importance, nothing else compares in majesty. And if you choose to, if you want to, you can be a big part of it. . . .
“When we speak of the gathering, we are simply saying this fundamental truth: every one of our Heavenly Father’s children, on both sides of the veil, deserves to hear the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. They decide for themselves if they want to know more.
“Those whose lineage is from the various tribes of Israel are those whose hearts will most likely be turned to the Lord. He said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” Those who are of the house of Israel will most easily recognize the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior and will desire to be gathered into His fold. They will want to become members of His Church, make covenants with Him and Heavenly Father, and receive their essential ordinances.”
President Nelson went on to call the gathering of Israel “the greatest challenge, the greatest cause, and the greatest work on earth today.” To accomplish this great work, the prophet invited the youth to join what he termed the “youth battalion of the Lord.” He also called it “Zion’s army.”
Both youth and adults have been called to enlist in the titanic effort to bring people into the Church. In the October, 2018 Conference, President Nelson specifically invited the women of the Church to engage in this great work, stating: “I’m extending a prophetic plea to you, the women of the Church, to shape the future by helping to gather scattered Israel.”
It is our work as members of the Church to gather Israel; that is, to gather those who, according to the promises given to Abraham, have a right to hear the Gospel. As full-time missionaries, in our daily lives, and in our all-important roles as fathers and mothers, it is our job to hunt out the true believers – even in our own homes – and share with them the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ so that they may choose to embrace it, repent, and be baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There is no greater work in all the world!
In 1964, the home teaching program was instituted. Under this program, members of the Church were organized with companions to go meet with other ward members and their families once a month. Home teaching was one of the mainstays of the Church. True to form, however, President Nelson announced the end of home teaching during his first General Conference presiding over the Church, replacing it with a simper system called “ministering.” He remarked:
“We have made the decision to retire home teaching and visiting teaching as we have known them. Instead, we will implement a newer, holier approach to caring for and ministering to others. We will refer to these efforts simply as “ministering.””
In another address in the same Conference, President Nelson explained the need for this “holier” system of ministering:
“Brethren, we hold the holy priesthood of God! We have His authority to bless His people. Just think of the remarkable assurance the Lord gave us when He said, “Whomsoever you bless I will bless.” It is our privilege to act in the name of Jesus Christ to bless God’s children according to His will for them. . . .
“To all brethren holding the priesthood, I invite you to inspire members to keep their covenants, fast and pray, study the scriptures, worship in the temple, and serve with faith as men and women of God. We can help all to see with the eye of faith that obedience and righteousness will draw them closer to Jesus Christ, allow them to enjoy the companionship of the Holy Ghost, and experience joy in life!
“A hallmark of the Lord’s true and living Church will always be an organized, directed effort to minister to individual children of God and their families. Because it is His Church, we as His servants will minister to the one, just as He did. We will minister in His name, with His power and authority, and with His loving-kindness. . . .
“Brethren, there are doors we can open, priesthood blessings we can give, hearts we can heal, burdens we can lift, testimonies we can strengthen, lives we can save, and joy we can bring into the homes of the Latter-day Saints—all because we hold the priesthood of God. We are the men who have been “called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of [our] exceeding faith,” to do this work.”
As can be seen, this higher and holier system of ministering does not give us a pass or an excuse to relax, but, rather, increases our level of responsibility and the urgency with which we must serve. President Nelson has emphatically pleaded with us to become purer that we may have more spiritual power to bless those around us. Jesus went about doing good, blessing people, healing the sick, uplifting the downtrodden, and spreading light, and it is the duty of those who hold His Priesthood to also do good to our fellow brothers and sisters. We can and should minister to all within our sphere of influence, as our prophet has clearly directed.
3. Receiving Revelation
In October, 2018, President Nelson delivered an address titled “Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives,” in which he taught:
“Our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, will perform some of His mightiest works between now and when He comes again. We will see miraculous indications that God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, preside over this Church in majesty and glory. But in coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost.
“My beloved brothers and sisters, I plead with you to increase your spiritual capacity to receive revelation . . . Choose to do the spiritual work required to enjoy the gift of the Holy Ghost and hear the voice of the Spirit more frequently and more clearly.”
He also stated:
“One of the things the Spirit has repeatedly impressed upon my mind since my new calling as President of the Church is how willing the Lord is to reveal His mind and will. The privilege of receiving revelation is one of the greatest gifts of God to His children.”
In the April, 2020, General Conference, President Nelson again pleaded with us to make the necessary sacrifices to receive revelation. Said he:
“We also hear Him more clearly as we refine our ability to recognize the whisperings of the Holy Ghost. It has never been more imperative to know how the Spirit speaks to you than right now. In the Godhead, the Holy Ghost is the messenger. He will bring thoughts to your mind which the Father and Son want you to receive. He is the Comforter. He will bring a feeling of peace to your heart. He testifies of truth and will confirm what is true as you hear and read the word of the Lord.
“I renew my plea for you to do whatever it takes to increase your spiritual capacity to receive personal revelation.
“Doing so will help you know how to move ahead with your life, what to do during times of crisis, and how to discern and avoid the temptations and the deceptions of the adversary. . . .
“What will happen as you more intentionally hear, hearken, and heed what the Savior has said and what He is saying now through His prophets? I promise that you will be blessed with additional power to deal with temptation, struggles, and weakness. I promise miracles in your marriage, family relationships, and daily work. And I promise that your capacity to feel joy will increase even if turbulence increases in your life.”
It was during this talk that President Nelson said the Restoration of the Gospel is an “ongoing process.” Indeed, he had previously remarked:
“We are witnesses to a process of restoration. If you think the Church has been fully restored, you are just seeing the beginning. There is much more to come.”
4. Home-centered, Church-supported worship
In October, 2018, President Nelson made a major change to Church worship. For decades, the Saints have met for three hours every Sunday. Acting under inspiration, President Nelson reduced the three-hour block to two. Simultaneously, he introduced a program for home-centered, church-supported worship. A family study manual, Come Follow Me, was unveiled. Instead of three hours in meeting houses, allotment was made for a two-hour worship meeting to supplement and support each individual family’s own home meeting. In these home meetings, families are expected to read and discuss the scriptures.
As part of the announcement for this change, President Nelson explained:
“As Latter-day Saints, we have become accustomed to thinking of “church” as something that happens in our meetinghouses, supported by what happens at home. We need an adjustment to this pattern. It is time for a home-centered Church, supported by what takes place inside our branch, ward, and stake buildings.”
I personally love this change and the greater emphasis on home-centered Gospel study. When I was fourteen, my family moved to Port Lions, Alaska. We were the lone members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in our small fishing village. It was too costly and difficult to travel by boat or plane into the nearest location that had a formal congregation. Consequently, my Dad received permission from Church authorities to hold meetings in our home. And so, for ten years, my family held Church in our home for three hours every Sunday. We had all the meetings and even performed primary programs. My Mom also taught seminary to me and my siblings. It was a bonding experience like no other. So, when the announcement for home-centered, Church-supported worship was handed down, I could only say, “It’s about time!”
The Come Follow Me program essentially prepared Church members worldwide for a day when they might be compelled to host worship services in their own homes. That day came sooner than many expected. When governments tyrannically forced churches into closure due to overblown and unfounded “Coronavirus” fears, the Church complied with the orders, unjust as they were, and authorized Priesthood holders to hold sacrament meetings in their homes while continuing the Come Follow Me program.
In a landmark address to the men of the Church in April, 2019, President Nelson highlighted the need for daily, constant repentance. He spoke of the power that lies in repentance. He taught:
“Recently I have found myself drawn to the Lord’s instruction given through the Prophet Joseph Smith: “Say nothing but repentance unto this generation.” This declaration is often repeated throughout scripture. It prompts an obvious question: “Does everyone need to repent?” The answer is yes.
“Too many people consider repentance as punishment—something to be avoided except in the most serious circumstances. But this feeling of being penalized is engendered by Satan. He tries to block us from looking to Jesus Christ, who stands with open arms, hoping and willing to heal, forgive, cleanse, strengthen, purify, and sanctify us.
“The word for repentance in the Greek New Testament is metanoeo. The prefix meta– means “change.” The suffix –noeo is related to Greek words that mean “mind,” “knowledge,” “spirit,” and “breath.”
“Thus, when Jesus asks you and me to “repent,” He is inviting us to change our mind, our knowledge, our spirit—even the way we breathe. He is asking us to change the way we love, think, serve, spend our time, treat our wives, teach our children, and even care for our bodies.
“Nothing is more liberating, more ennobling, or more crucial to our individual progression than is a regular, daily focus on repentance. Repentance is not an event; it is a process. It is the key to happiness and peace of mind. When coupled with faith, repentance opens our access to the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. . . .
“Brethren, we need to do better and be better because we are in a battle. The battle with sin is real. The adversary is quadrupling his efforts to disrupt testimonies and impede the work of the Lord. He is arming his minions with potent weapons to keep us from partaking of the joy and love of the Lord.10
“Repentance is the key to avoiding misery inflicted by traps of the adversary. The Lord does not expect perfection from us at this point in our eternal progression. But He does expect us to become increasingly pure. Daily repentance is the pathway to purity, and purity brings power. Personal purity can make us powerful tools in the hands of God. Our repentance—our purity—will empower us to help in the gathering of Israel.”
Repentance has certainly been necessary at any time in history, but it is especially important at this crucial juncture before the return of our Lord. If we heed the prophet’s words, we will have the purity and, thus, the power, necessary to defeat our enemies as true Christian soldiers.
6. Staying on the Covenant Path
In conjunction with repentance, President Nelson has spoken often of the “covenant path” of the Gospel. He has encouraged people everywhere to make formal covenants with the Lord through baptism, temple ordinances, etc., and then stay true to those covenants. In his first formal message as president of the Church, President Nelson said:
“[T]o each member of the Church I say, keep on the covenant path. Your commitment to follow the Savior by making covenants with Him and then keeping those covenants will open the door to every spiritual blessing and privilege available to men, women, and children everywhere.
“. . . The end for which each of us strives is to be endowed with power in a house of the Lord, sealed as families, faithful to covenants made in a temple that qualify us for the greatest gift of God – that of eternal life. The ordinances of the temple and the covenants you make there are key to strengthening your life, your marriage and family, and your ability to resist the attacks of the adversary. Your worship in the temple and your service there for your ancestors will bless you with increased personal revelation and peace and will fortify your commitment to stay on the covenant path.
“Now, if you have stepped off the path, may I invite you with all the hope in my heart to please come back. Whatever your concerns, whatever your challenges, there is a place for you in this, the Lord’s Church. You and generations yet unborn will be blessed by your actions now to return to the covenant path.. Our Father in Heaven cherishes His children, and He wants each of us to return home to Him. This is a grand goal of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – to help each of us to come back home.”
Three months later, in his first General Conference as president of the Church, President Nelson built upon this teaching when he declared:
“Our message to the world is simple and sincere: we invite all of God’s children on both sides of the veil to come unto their Savior, receive the blessings of the holy temple, have enduring joy, and qualify for eternal life.
“Eventual exaltation requires our complete fidelity now to covenants we make and ordinances we receive in the house of the Lord.”
The rapid building of temples could very well be added to our list of President Nelson’s emphases considering the dozens of temples he has announced, including temples in China, Russia, India, and the Middle East. The purpose of temples, however, is to provide a sacred place in which to make covenants with the Lord. These covenants could be given on a mountain top or in a broom closet and it would make little difference if performed by God’s Priesthood authority and power. From the very beginning, President Nelson has attempted to focus our minds on the overarching importance of covenants.
Finally, in the same talk to the men referenced above, President Nelson yet again extended the invitation to return to and stay on the covenant path of discipleship:
“Whether you are diligently moving along the covenant path, have slipped or stepped from the covenant path, or can’t even see the path from where you are now, I plead with you to repent. Experience the strengthening power of daily repentance—of doing and being a little better each day.”
This is the grand message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that all of us, regardless of where we are in our journey, may repent, change, and be made whole. The Lord taught: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:17). The word “whosoever” is significant. The invitation to come unto Christ and be healed is not reserved for a select few, but for any and every soul. Everyone who desires, may come to Jesus the Christ and, through faith and ordinances, be saved.
President Nelson has caught the divine vision and is attempting to bring us to the Savior. He wants us to gather together into the Lord’s Church. He wants us to minister to one another as Christ did. He wants us to qualify ourselves to receive personal revelation for our lives. He wants us to make our homes places of Gospel light, learning, and love. He wants us to repent and turn our hearts to God. And he wants us to make and keep sacred covenants so that we may, with our families, qualify to return to our Father in Heaven’s home.
This wonderful man of God has delivered many powerful sermons, trekked around the world uplifting people, and spent his life in the service of others and of the Lord. Since 1984, President Nelson has devoted his life to full-time ministry. As the apostles of old who went into all the world, without thought of themselves, to share the Lord’s light, President Nelson has been a beacon of hope, light, and love to millions of human beings on all continents.
I share my testimony which I have through the burning witness of the Holy Spirit that Russell M. Nelson is not only a learned man with many accomplishments under his belt, but a humble, inspired man of God. He radiates hope, confidence, and power. He is surrounded by light and carries the presence of the Savior with him.
I know President Nelson is a chosen vessel to lead the Lord’s Church at this very moment in time. He is not only a prophet, seer, and revelator, but he is the prophet on earth – the one man called, ordained, and authorized to speak in the name of the Lord. No president, no king, no sheikh, no pope, no dictator, possesses the same level of authority or power that President Nelson does, for his Priesthood is binding on earth and in Heaven. No one’s words are as important in your as President Russell M. Nelson’s.
Rivet your eyes on the prophet of God. Don’t let your gaze fall. Focus on the captain of the Lord’s Battalion, the commander of Zion’s Army. I give my witness that the Lord speaks through him, that he holds the keys of the Priesthood with its saving ordinances, and that we can know the will of our Master by hearkening to the words of President Russell M. Nelson. We can trust and follow him because he trusts and follows so closely behind our Savior, Jesus Christ, the very Lord who called him to His glorious ministry. I sustain him, the office he holds, and the Lord who called him, now and forever.
“I express special gratitude to the Lord Jesus Christ. I am thankful for His loving-kindness and for His open invitation to come unto Him. I marvel at His matchless power to heal. I testify of Jesus Christ as the Master Healer. It is but one of many attributes that characterize His incomparable life.
“Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God, the Creator, the great Jehovah, the promised Immanuel, our atoning Savior and Redeemer, our Advocate with the Father, our great Exemplar. And one day we will stand before Him as our just and merciful Judge. . . .
“I testify that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ – the Master Healer – in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.” – President Russell M. Nelson, “Jesus Christ – the Master Healer,” General Conference, October, 2005
September 9, 2020