What President Nelson Has Urged Us to Do Centers Around the Savior

There has been much discussion, among members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, about the statement from President Russell M. Nelson, a man we uphold as a prophet, from Aug. 12, 2021 in which he discussed ways to “limit the spread of these viruses [COVID-19 and its variants].” He said, “We urge the use of face masks in public meetings whenever social distancing is not possible. To provide personal protection from such severe infections, we urge individuals to be vaccinated.” He further promised “we can win this war [against the ravages of COVID-19] if everyone will follow the wise and thoughtful recommendations of medical experts and government leaders.” (see 12 August 2021 – First Presidency Message) I am trying my best to follow that counsel, and I hope everyone else is doing the same.

In the time since that statement, I have witnessed a lot of zealous reminders from Church members and local leaders about the importance of following the prophet in this regard. The topic of following our living prophet has, in turn, got me thinking about the other things President Nelson has urged, encouraged, or otherwise pled with us to do in recent years. I have searched through many of his recent talks and noted those items here as a reminder to myself as much as anyone. The list is by no means comprehensive, but I hope that it will remind us to be righteously zealous in our efforts to follow the prophet in all these matters.

And, of course, the analyst side of me could not stop at simply listing the things President Nelson has urged us to do. I had to take it a step further and categorize the statements. And I’m glad I did. It turns out, that the things he is encouraging us to do generally fall into one of five categories, all centered around the Savior Jesus Christ: Seek Him, Hear Him, Follow Him, Be Worthy of Him, and Serve Him.

Seek Him

-“How eager each of us should be to seek refuge [in the temple].”

-“Take your questions directly to your Heavenly Father in prayer.”

-“We must look forward to the future with complete faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.”

-“Lay hold upon every good gift, beginning with the gift of the Holy Ghost, which gift can and will change your life.”

Hear Him

-“Our Father knows that when we are surrounded by uncertainty and fear, what will help us the very most is to hear His Son.”

-“I plead with you to increase your spiritual capacity to receive revelation.”

-“Let us unite in thanking God through daily prayer.”

-“Study [The Restoration of the Fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: A Bicentennial Proclamation to the World] privately and with your family.”

Follow Him

-“I urge you to continue to make your home a truly holy place.”

-“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.”

-“If you have stepped off the path, may I invite you with all the hope in my heart to please come back.”

-“I exhort you on this Easter Sabbath to come unto Christ.”

Be Worthy of Him

-“Repent from selfishness, unkindness, pride and prejudice”

-“The booklet entitled For the Strength of Youth should be your standard”

-“Identify the debris you should remove from your life so you can become more worthy”

-Apply “the healing power of gratitude”

Serve Him

-“We can better serve and love one another as brothers and sisters.”

-“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.”

-“We will implement a newer, holier approach to caring for and ministering to others.”

A Message from the First Presidency – January 16, 2018

  • “We must look forward to the future with complete faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, whose Church this is.”
  • “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.”
  • “If you have stepped off the path, may I invite you with all the hope in my heart to please come back.”

Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives – President Russell M. Nelson – April 2018

  • “I urge you to stretch beyond your current spiritual ability to receive personal revelation. … 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.”
  • “I exhort you on this Easter Sabbath to “come unto Christ, and lay hold upon every good gift,” beginning with the gift of the Holy Ghost, which gift can and will change your life.”

Ministering – President Russell M. Nelson – April 2018

  • “We will implement a newer, holier approach to caring for and ministering to others. We will refer to these efforts simply as “ministering.””

Hope of Israel – President Russell M. Nelson – June 3, 2018

  • “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.”
  • “The gathering of Israel ultimately means offering the gospel of Jesus Christ to God’s children on both sides of the veil.”
  • “There is nothing happening on this earth right now that is more important than [to help gather Israel]. There is nothing of greater consequence. Absolutely nothing. This gathering should mean everything to you. This is the mission for which you were sent to earth.”
  • “The booklet entitled For the Strength of Youth should be your standard. It is the standard that the Lord expects all His youth to uphold. Now, as His humble servant, I plead with you to study this booklet again.”
  • “I plead with each of you to do as the teenaged Joseph did. Take your questions directly to your Heavenly Father in prayer. Ask Him, in the name of Jesus Christ, to guide you.”

Hear Him – President Russell M. Nelson – April 20200

  • “Our Father knows that when we are surrounded by uncertainty and fear, what will help us the very most is to hear His Son.”
  • “We can also hear Him in the temple. The house of the Lord is a house of learning. There the Lord teaches in His own way. There each ordinance teaches about the Savior. There we learn how to part the veil and communicate more clearly with heaven. There we learn how to rebuke the adversary and draw upon the Lord’s priesthood power to strengthen us and those we love. How eager each of us should be to seek refuge there.”
  • “In preparation for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, we, the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles, issue the following proclamation. Its title is “The Restoration of the Fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: A Bicentennial Proclamation to the World”…Study it privately and with your family members and friends. Ponder the truths and think of the impact those truths will have on your life if you will hear them, hearken to them, and heed the commandments and covenants that accompany them.”

The Healing Power of Gratitude – Nov 2020

  • “There is, however, a remedy — one that may seem surprising — because it flies in the face of our natural intuitions. Nevertheless, its effects have been validated by scientists as well as men and women of faith. I am referring to the healing power of gratitude.”
  • “No matter our situation, showing gratitude for our privileges is a fast-acting and long-lasting spiritual prescription.”
  • “To help us experience the healing power of gratitude…let us unite in thanking God through daily prayer. Jesus Christ taught His disciples to pray by first expressing gratitude to God, and then petitioning Him for the things we need. Prayer brings forth miracles.”
  • “As I pray, I hope you will feel inspired to do the same, pouring out your heart in gratitude for the countless blessings God has given you, and petitioning Him to heal our hearts, our families, our societies and the world at large.”
  • “Our Father in Heaven …Wilt Thou also help us repent from selfishness, unkindness, pride and prejudice of any kind, so that we can better serve and love one another as brothers and sisters, and as Thy grateful children.”

President Russell M. Nelson – April 2021 General Conference

  • “I invite you to pray to identify the debris you should remove from your life so you can become more worthy”
  • “Your commitment to make your home your primary sanctuary of faith should never end. As faith and holiness decrease in this fallen world, your need for holy places will increase. I urge you to continue to make your home a truly holy place “and be not moved” from that essential goal.”
  • “Do not minimize the faith you already have.”

As a bonus, I looked back at President Nelson’s two General Conference talks in 2017, the year before becoming president of the Church and found them insightful.

Drawing the Power of Jesus Christ into Our Lives – April 2017

  • “It is doctrinally incomplete to speak of the Lord’s atoning sacrifice by shortcut phrases, such as “the Atonement” or “the enabling power of the Atonement” or “applying the Atonement” or “being strengthened by the Atonement.” These expressions present a real risk of misdirecting faith by treating the event as if it had living existence and capabilities independent of our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.”
  • “I urge you to study “The Living Christ.” …There is nothing easy or automatic about becoming such powerful disciples. Our focus must be riveted on the Savior and His gospel. It is mentally rigorous to strive to look unto Him in every thought. But when we do, our doubts and fears flee.”
  • “When you reach up for the Lord’s power in your life with the same intensity that a drowning person has when grasping and gasping for air, power from Jesus Christ will be yours. When the Savior knows you truly want to reach up to Him—when He can feel that the greatest desire of your heart is to draw His power into your life—you will be led by the Holy Ghost to know exactly what you should do.”

The Book of Mormon: What Would Your Life Be Like without It? – Oct 2017

  • “I urge you to think about today: First, what would your life be like without the Book of Mormon? Second, what would you not know? And third, what would you not have?”

And since President Nelson mentioned making the “For the Strength of Youth” pamphlet the standard by which we live our lives, here is a reminder of some passages from it.

For the Strength of Youth Pamphlet

  • “You should not date until you are at least 16 years old.”
  • “Young women should avoid short shorts and short skirts.”
  • “Young men should also maintain modesty in their appearance.”
  • “Do not attend, view, or participate in anything that is vulgar, immoral, violent, or pornographic in any way. Do not participate in anything that presents immorality or violence as acceptable.”
  • “Our words, like our deeds, should be filled with faith, hope, and charity.”
  • “Do not use profane, vulgar, or crude language or gestures, and do not tell jokes or stories about immoral actions.”
  • “Do not listen to music that encourages immorality or glorifies violence through its lyrics, beat, or intensity. Do not listen to music that uses vulgar or offensive language or promotes evil practices.”
  • “Do not drink coffee or tea. Never use tobacco products or any form of alcohol.”
  • “Sunday is not a day for shopping, recreation, or athletic events. Do not seek entertainment or make purchases on this day.”
  • “Do not allow the media, your peers, or others to persuade you that sexual intimacy before marriage is acceptable. It is not.”
  • “Before marriage, do not participate in passionate kissing, lie on top of another person, or touch the private, sacred parts of another person’s body, with or without clothing. Do not do anything else that arouses sexual feelings. Do not arouse those emotions in your own body.”
  • “Do not participate in discussions or any media that arouse sexual feelings. Do not participate in any type of pornography.”
  • “Pay it [tithing] first, even when you think you do not have enough money to meet your other needs.”
  • “Young men should be willing to do what is needed to be prepared to serve a full-time mission.”
  • “Do not waste your time and money in gambling. Gambling is wrong and should not be used as a form of entertainment.”
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