Invitations President Nelson has given since he became Prophet
Throughout his ministry, President Nelson has used general conference, social media and other means to extend invitations
This article was originally published in January 2022 and has been updated.
To counteract the speed with which evil is intensifying, positive spiritual momentum is needed now more than ever, President Russell M. Nelson told a worldwide audience during April 2022 general conference.
“Spiritual momentum can help us withstand the relentless, wicked attacks of the adversary and thwart his efforts to erode our personal spiritual foundation,” said President Nelson, the 17th President of the Church and a world-renowned heart surgeon and medical researcher before entering full-time Church service in 1984.
Echoing previous invitations he has extended since becoming Prophet on Jan. 14, 2018, President Nelson suggested five specific actions that can help maintain positive spiritual momentum.
“My dear brothers and sisters, with all the pleadings of my heart, I urge you to get on the covenant path and stay there. Experience the joy of repenting daily. Learn about God and how He works. Seek and expect miracles. Strive to end conflict in your life.”
President Nelson promised: “As you act on these pursuits, I promise you the ability to move forward on the covenant path with increased momentum, despite whatever obstacles you face. And I promise you greater strength to resist temptation, more peace of mind, freedom from fear, and greater unity in your families.”
Throughout his ministry, President Nelson has used general conference, social media and other means to extend invitations to Latter-day Saints worldwide — invitations to act in faith.
As October 2022 general conference approaches, here is a look back at some of those invitations.
‘Stay on the covenant path’
In a press conference in January 2018 following his ordination as President of the Church, President Nelson said: “Now, to 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.”
Whether one is moving along the covenant path, has slipped from the path or can’t see the path from where they are, President Nelson said to priesthood holders during the April 2019 general conference: “I plead with you to repent. Experience the strengthening power of daily repentance — of doing and being a little better each day.”
Increase spiritual capacity, ‘hear Him’
During his first general conference as the Prophet, President Nelson urged Latter-day Saints to increase their spiritual capacity to receive revelation. “In coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting and constant influence of the Holy Ghost,” he said.
In light of the home-centered, Church-supported curriculum emphasized during the October 2018 general conference, President Nelson invited individuals and families to remodel their homes into “a sanctuary of faith” and “center of gospel learning.” He promised, “Changes in your family will be dramatic and sustaining.”
To help women increase their spiritual capacity, President Nelson invited them during the October 2019 general conference to prayerfully study Doctrine and Covenants 25 and “all the truths you can find about priesthood power.”
“As your understanding increases and as you exercise faith in the Lord and His priesthood power, your ability to draw upon this spiritual treasure that the Lord has made available will increase,” he promised.
In a February 2020 social media post, President Nelson extended an invitation tied to the 200th anniversary of the First Vision. Heavenly Father personally introduced His Beloved Son Jesus Christ to Joseph Smith, with a specific charge to “hear Him.”
“I invite you to think deeply and often about this key question: How do you hear Him?” President Nelson wrote.
Heavenly Father knows that when His children are surrounded by uncertainty and fear, “what will help us the very most is to hear His Son,” President Nelson said during April 2020 general conference. “Because when we seek to hear — truly hear — His Son, we will be guided to know what to do in any circumstance.”
Gather Israel and ‘let God prevail’
The doctrine of the gathering of Israel has captured President Nelson’s attention for the more than 36 years he had served as an Apostle, he said during the October 2020 general conference. “Anytime we do anything that helps anyone — on either side of the veil — to make and keep their covenants with God, we are helping to gather Israel.”
One of the Hebraic meanings of the word “Israel” is “let God prevail,” President Nelson said. Following an invitation for Latter-day Saints to lead out in abandoning attitudes and actions of prejudice, he asked: “Are you willing to let God prevail in your life? Are you willing to let God be the most important influence in your life?”
The gathering is “the most important thing taking place on earth today,” President Nelson told youth during a worldwide devotional in June 2018, inviting them to enlist in the Lord’s youth battalion to gather Israel. “This gathering should mean everything to you. This is the mission for which you were sent to earth.”
He encouraged the youth to read daily from the Book of Mormon to learn more about the gathering. He also extended five invitations he promised “will change you and help change the world”: hold a seven-day fast from social media, make a weekly sacrifice of time to the Lord, stay on the covenant path, pray daily that all of God’s children might receive gospel blessings, and stand out and be a light.
During his address in the general women’s session in October 2018, President Nelson extended “a prophetic plea” to the women of the Church to participate in the gathering of Israel. He invited the women to hold a 10-day fast from social media, read the Book of Mormon before the end of the year, attend the temple regularly and participate fully in Relief Society.
Build bridges of understanding
Amid protests, riots and violence across the United States in late May and early June 2020, President Nelson posted a statement on social media condemning racism and pleading for peace.
“During the Savior’s earthly mission, He constantly ministered to those who were excluded, marginalized, judged, overlooked, abused and discounted. As His followers, can we do anything less? The answer is no! We believe in freedom, kindness and fairness for all of God’s children! ...
“We need to work tirelessly to build bridges of understanding rather than creating walls of segregation,” President Nelson wrote. “I plead with us to work together for peace, for mutual respect and for an outpouring of love for all of God’s children.”
In a joint op-ed column published June 8, 2020, President Nelson and senior leaders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People called for racial reform, asking “people everywhere to join us in a journey of understanding and overcoming.”
“We invite all to pray to God that the people of this land will heed the divine call to abandon attitudes of prejudice against any group of God’s children,” wrote the leaders. “We also invite people of goodwill everywhere to look for ways to reach out and serve someone of a different background or race. Everyone can do something.”
To bring hope and healing during a time of global instability and uncertainty, President Nelson prescribed a “fast-acting and long-lasting” spiritual remedy in a worldwide video message on Nov. 20, 2020. He extended two invitations related to the “healing power of gratitude.”
“First, I invite you — just for the next seven days — to turn social media into your own personal gratitude journal. Post every day about what you are grateful for, who you are grateful for and why you are grateful,” he said, inviting all to use the hashtag #GiveThanks.
“Second, 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.”
Increase faith in Christ
Faith in Jesus Christ is the greatest power available in this life, said President Nelson during the April 2021 general conference.
“My dear brothers and sisters, my call to you this Easter morning is to start today to increase your faith,” he declared. “Through your faith, Jesus Christ will increase your ability to move the mountains in your life, even though your personal challenges may loom as large as Mount Everest.”
President Nelson offered five suggestions to help Latter-day Saints develop that faith and trust:
- First, study. Become an engaged learner.
- Second, choose to believe in Jesus Christ.
- Third, act in faith.
- Fourth, partake of sacred ordinances worthily.
- Fifth, ask Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, for help.
Strengthen spiritual foundation
When the major renovation to the Salt Lake Temple is complete, there will be no safer place during an earthquake in the Salt Lake Valley than inside that temple, said President Nelson during October 2021 general conference. He called on Latter-day Saints to implement “extraordinary measures” to strengthen their personal spiritual foundations.
“My dear brothers and sisters, these are the latter days. If you and I are to withstand the forthcoming perils and pressures, it is imperative that we each have a firm spiritual foundation built upon the rock of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
“So, I ask each of you: ‘How firm is your foundation? And what reinforcement to your testimony and understanding of the gospel is needed?’ …. Please believe me when I say that when your spiritual foundation is built solidly upon Jesus Christ, you have no need to fear.”
‘Resolve to be resolute’
On Jan 1, as many were setting aside time to write down resolutions for the coming year, President Nelson posted three suggestions on social media:
“First,” he wrote, “resolve to strengthen your spiritual foundation. This may involve setting a specific time and place to study the scriptures, praying more often, making temple worship a bigger priority, and letting God prevail in all aspects of your life.”
His second suggestion was to resolve to be kind to others. “When the Savior Jesus Christ visited the Americas, as recorded in the Book of Mormon, one of the first things He taught was the need to eliminate contention in our lives. So, please be compassionate, be understanding, be slow to judge and be quick to forgive,” President Nelson wrote.
“Third, resolve to be resolute. The Lord loves effort. The Lord loves consistency. The Lord loves steadfastness. While we surely will come up short from time to time, our persistent efforts to hear Him and follow the inspiration He gives us will help us to ‘wax strong in the Spirit’ (Mosiah 18:26).”
Focus on eternal identifiers, nurture testimony
In a worldwide devotional in May, President Nelson taught young adults three fundamental truths that will help them make righteous choices for eternity — the truth about who they are, the truth about what Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have offered them, and the truth related to their conversion.
“Who are you?” President Nelson asked. “First and foremost, you are a child of God, a child of the covenant, and a disciple of Jesus Christ. …
“I plead with you not to replace these three paramount and unchanging identifiers with any others, because doing so could stymie your progress or pigeonhole you in a stereotype that could potentially thwart your eternal progression.”
He emphasized that each individual must work out their own conversion and extended an invitation that he later reiterated on social media: “I plead with you to take charge of your testimony. Work for it. Own it. Care for it. Nurture it so that it will grow. Feed it truth. Don’t pollute it with the false philosophies of unbelieving men and women and then wonder why your testimony is waning.
“Engage in daily, earnest, humble prayer,” President Nelson continued. “Nourish yourself in the words of ancient and modern prophets. Ask the Lord to teach you how to hear Him better. Spend more time in the temple and in family history work. As you make your testimony your highest priority, watch for miracles to happen in your life.”