Facing upward to the Lord provides lofty perspective

Teach children as the Lord would

Serve with pure love- Elevate attitudes

Counseling listeners to honestly evaluate their priorities in terms of the first commandment, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me," Elder Russell M. Nelson encouraged those needing to change direction "to issue a self-command to `about face.' "

Speaking in the Saturday morning session, Elder Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve said: "Trees reach up for the light and grow in the process. So do we as sons and daughters of heavenly parents. Facing upward provides a loftier perspective than facing right or facing left. Looking up in search of holiness builds strength and dignity as disciples of Deity."

Elder Nelson recalled military orders including: "Attention!" "Right face!" "Left face!" "About face!" But he couldn't remember hearing the command to "face upward."

"Yet scriptures tell us to `look to God and live. (Alma 37:47.)' "

Then he noted that the first commandment "may be better known than obeyed" and shared a way he tests his own allegiance to the commandment. "When confronted with a challenging choice," he said, "I ask myself, `Which way do you face?' "

In addition to their national citizenship, members of the Church are also citizens of God's kingdom, Elder Nelson said, but to some their commitment may be variable. "The great majority seek `first to build up the kingdom of God, and to establish his righteousness.' (JST Matt. 6:28.) "Some allow their allegiance to God and His kingdom to slip below that of other interests in life. They have not yet determined which way they face."

While General Authorities may come from many different countries, they are not called to represent those countries, explained Elder Nelson. "Each leader has been called to face the people as a representative of the Lord, not the other way around."

Speaking of "facing our families," Elder Nelson counseled, "Facing upward is crucial for successful parenting. Parents cannot counsel children adequately from personal experience, fear or sympathy. But when parents face children as would the Creator who gave them life, parents will be endowed with wisdom beyond that of their own. They will teach them that decisions of a moral and spiritual character cannot be based upon freedom to choose without accountability to God for those choices."

The same principle applies to relationships with neighbors, friends and associates, he said. Approaching them with "the pure love of Christ (Moro. 7:47)" will lead to "joy in feeding the poor, clothing the naked or doing volunteer work of worth. Service to neighbors takes on new stature when we first look to God."

Speaking about "Attitudes of effective disciples," Elder Nelson said, "Attitudes are elevated while lowering our heads in humble prayer."

He continued: "The Lord said, `Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not. (D&C 6:36.)' I have learned that such faith gives emancipating power. Facing God first lets us decide firmly what we shall not do; then we are free to pursue what we ought to do."

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