President Russell M. Nelson: ‘Prophets, leadership and divine law’

Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
As an apostle, Elder Ezra Taft Benson was assigned to help Saints in Europe devastated by World War II. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.


“While the world is filled with uncertainty, there need not be uncertainty in your heart and mind about what is true and what is not,” President Russell M. Nelson, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, told young adults during a worldwide devotional on Sunday night.

The devot was held in the Marriott Center on the Brigham Young University campus and was broadcast in more than 20 languages to countries worldwide. President Nelson’s wife, Sister Wendy W. Nelson, also spoke during the meeting and the Utah Valley University Institute Choir performed.

Sharing an experience he had while on assignment in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, after major flooding hit the area last September, President Nelson told of an impression he had while attending sacrament meetings for flood victims and volunteers.

“As I looked at that marvelous congregation of willing workers, the majority of whom were your age, I had the overwhelming impression that I was looking at men and women who would very soon be the leaders of this Church,” he said. “So tonight, as I picture you assembled throughout the world, I would like to underscore and speak to that impression. You are the future leaders of the Lord’s Church! Are you ready to take the reins of leadership?”

Almost a year after the last time he spoke at a worldwide devotional for young adults, President Nelson referred to the challenge he gave to “rise up as the true millennials you were born to be.”

President Nelson reminded the group of that challenge and focused his remarks on ways young adults can prepare to rise to that call.

“As members of His restored Church, we know that Jesus Christ as our Master, is our ultimate Mentor,” he said. “As a true millennial, you were born to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ. In fact, the only way to be a true millennial is to be one of His true disciples.”

President Nelson invited listeners to learn from the prophets, to understand the importance of divine law and to study the Savior.

Recognizing Satan uses every form of technology and communication he can to spread lies about life and the true source of happiness, President Nelson counseled young adults to look to the good examples of the latter-day prophets.

“If you are serious about rising up as a true millennial, I urge you to study the lives and teachings of these 16 prophets of God,” he said. “That study will change your life.”

President Nelson shared leadership principles he has learned from his interactions with President Joseph Fielding Smith, President Ezra Taft Benson, President Gordon B. Hinckley and President Thomas S. Monson.

“Prophets of God have many attributes in common,” President Nelson said. “One is that each prophet understands the importance of divine law. The knowledge of divine law and effective, righteous leadership go hand in hand. The more of God’s laws you know — and more importantly the way you live them — the more effective your righteous leadership will be.”

Divine law is incontrovertible and irrefutable, the leader taught.

“Divine law cannot be denied or disputed. And when God’s laws are obeyed, relevant blessings always result. Blessings are always predicated upon obedience to applicable law.

“Existentialists can expound; relativists can rationalize with their constricted views of reality — that truth is only a subjective experience. Laws are laws. God’s truth is really true. What God says is right, is right. And what He says is wrong, is wrong.”

That is why it is imperative that people know God’s laws, President Nelson taught.

“They control this universe and multitudes of others,” he said. “When divine laws are broken, consequences follow. Even though our hearts ache for those who break God’s laws, penalties must be paid. Divine law must be obeyed.”

Sharing the experience he had as President Spencer W. Kimball’s surgeon, President Nelson told of a time when President Kimball came to him after his implanted pacemaker for his heart suddenly failed. President Kimball first asked President Nelson for a blessing, and then — after the blessing promised a correction of the failed pacemaker — he told him to “do whatever you need to do to make that blessing a reality.”

President Nelson proceeded with an operation and was able to find and fix what was causing the pacemaker to malfunction.

“When I replaced that faulty wire, the pacemaker immediately worked again, allowing President Kimball’s heart to beat normally,” he said. “Not even for God’s prophet could the law relating to the transmission of electricity be ignored.”

President Nelson encouraged listeners to learn — by study and by faith — God’s irrevocable laws and to pray to discern between God’s laws and the philosophies of men. In a world with much uncertainty individuals can know what is true and what is not. Satan can only bring misery, spiritual captivity and death while keeping God’s commandments and living by His laws brings freedom.

In an effort to increase discipleship, President Nelson invited listeners to consecrate a portion of time each week to studying Christ — everything Jesus said and did in the Old Testament, His laws as recorded in the New Testament, His doctrine in the Book of Mormon and His words recorded in the Doctrine and covenants.

“This may seem like a large assignment. But I encourage you to accept it. If you proceed to learn all you can about Jesus Christ, I promise you that your love for Him, and for God’s laws, will grow beyond what you currently imagine. I promise you also that your ability to turn away from sin will increase. Your desire to keep the commandments will soar. You will find yourself better able to walk away from the entertainment and entanglements of those who mock the followers of Jesus Christ.”

Sister Nelson, who was a professor of marriage and family therapy for more than 25 years, shared “Aunt Wendy’s four truths about love and marriage.”

“I’d like to share four truths I believe will not only save you from unnecessary heartache, but will help you to be, and to choose, a righteous spouse and then to create a happy marriage and a productive family,” she said.

Truth #1: “The truths about love and marriage are brought to you by the Holy Ghost from our Heavenly Father,” she said. “He decreed marriage to be an irreplaceable component of His plan of happiness. The Spirit is the true messenger of these truths.”

In contrast, Satan perpetuates lies about love and marriage.

“The adversary rejoices every time he persuades a victim to embrace anything that defiles or degrades love and marriage,” she said. “However, truth is truth. Lies are lies. And no amount of clever marketing, campaigning, or advocacy can ever change that.”

Truth #2: Personal purity is the key to true love.

“The more pure your thoughts and feelings, your words and actions, the greater your capacity to give and receive true love,” she said.

Sister Nelson encouraged listeners — single or married — to prepare for true marital intimacy by choosing to increase his or her personal purity.

“As you work to become more pure, you’ll have the Holy Ghost with you more and more,” she said. “Your ability to receive personal revelation will increase, which means you’ll have clearer direction for your life.”

Truth #3: An important part of a husband’s and wife’s expression of love is partaking in “the wonders and joys of marital intimacy.”

“Marital intimacy is ordained by God,” she said. “It is commanded and commended by Him because it draws a husband and wife closer together, and closer to the Lord.”

True marital intimacy involves the whole soul of each spouse and represents how united a husband and wife are in all areas of their lives, Sister Nelson taught.

“They work together as partners,” she said. “They pray, play, struggle, grow and enjoy life together,” she said. “They sacrifice for each other, and enourage each other to be all they were born to be.”

Marital intimacy is sacred and a husband and wife can be drawn closer to God when joined in true marital intimacy.

Sister Nelson asked, “how can you prepare for such intimacy?”

Her response, “You will need to live righteously so the Spirit can be the companion to you and your spouse.”

Truth #4: For true marital intimacy, the Holy Ghost needs to be involved.

“It is simply not possible to have the kind of intimate experiences outside of marriage that you can have within, because the Spirit will not be present,” she said.

Sister Nelson spoke of “worldly sex” and compared it with “God-ordained marital intimacy” under the influence of the Spirit.

“With worldly sex, anything goes. With marital intimacy, exquisite care is taken to avoid anything and everything — from language to music to movies — that offends the Spirit, your spirit or your spouse’s.”

While “worldly sex” is lustful and kills love, marital intimacy generates more love, Sister Nelson taught.

“I testify that marriage is one of the greatest privileges God gives to His children, that marriage can be the source of unparalleled joy, and that personal purity is the key to that joy,” she said. @marianne_holman

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