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Invitations President Nelson has given since he became President of the Church

Invitations President Nelson has given since 2018 include ‘hear Him,’ ‘let God prevail,’ ‘be a peacemaker’ and ‘think celestial’

To those confronting a dilemma, facing temptation, recovering from an injury or losing someone to death prematurely, President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day offered two words of counsel: “Think celestial.”

In his October 2023 general conference talk, given remotely, President Nelson invited all to have an eternal perspective and “take the long view” when making choices.

“Put Jesus Christ first because your eternal life is dependent upon your faith in Him and in His Atonement,” he taught. “It is also dependent upon your obedience to His laws. Obedience paves the way for a joyful life for you today and a grand, eternal reward tomorrow.”

President Russell M. Nelson speaks through video message during the 193rd Semiannual General Conference.
President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints speaks through video message during the 193rd Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Throughout his ministry as 17th President of the Church, President Nelson has used general conference, social media and other means to extend invitations to Latter-day Saints worldwide — invitations to act in faith and come closer to Jesus Christ. Here is a look at some of his other invitations.

‘Stay on the covenant path’ 

In a January 2018 press conference 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.”

President Russell M. Nelson, the 17th president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sits with his counselors, President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor, left, and President Henry B. Eyring, second counselor, right, at a press conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

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 warned.

In light of the home-centered, Church-supported curriculum emphasized during 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 that changes would 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.”

President Russell M. Nelson extends an invitation on Feb. 26, 2020, to “hear Him.” This invitation launched a series of #HearHim videos by Church leaders.
President Russell M. Nelson extends an invitation on Feb. 26, 2020, to “hear Him.” This invitation launched a series of #HearHim videos by Church leaders. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

President Nelson extended an invitation in a February 2020 social media post tied to the 200th anniversary of the First Vision. He explained that Heavenly Father personally introduced His 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. President Nelson spoke more about this invitation during April 2020 general conference.

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Gather Israel and ‘let God prevail’

The gathering of Israel 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, and he offered 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. 
  • Stand out and be a light.
Kevin Dickson, 17, sings at the end of the Worldwide Devotional for Youth at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday, June 3, 2018.
Kevin Dickson, 17, sings at the end of the Worldwide Devotional for Youth with President Russell M. Nelson and Sister Wendy Nelson at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday, June 3, 2018. | James Wooldridge, Deseret News

During his address in the general women’s session of October 2018 general conference, 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. 

One of the Hebraic meanings of the word “Israel” is “let God prevail,” President Nelson taught during October 2020 general conference. He asked Church members across the globe: “Are you willing to let God prevail in your life? Are you willing to let God be the most important influence in your life?” He encouraged members as they study their scriptures to make a list of God’s blessings to covenant Israel.

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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.

“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.”

President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, share a laugh with the Rev. Theresa Dear, left, and Dr. Amos Brown, right, at the 110th annual national convention for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Detroit, Michigan, on Sunday, July 21, 2019. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

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.”

A few months later, in October 2020 general conference, President Nelson called upon Latter-day Saints to lead out in abandoning attitudes and actions of prejudice

COVID-19: Worldwide fasts and vaccinations

As the COVID-19 pandemic unfurled across the globe in March 2020, President Nelson invited Church members and others around the world to fast and pray for “physical, spiritual and other healing” in response to the spread of the virus. A few weeks later, in April 2020 general conference, President Nelson called for a second worldwide fast.

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President Nelson and his counselors in the First Presidency, President Dallin H. Oaks and President Henry B. Eyring, repeatedly urged Latter-day Saints to protect themselves and others by being vaccinated. 

On Jan. 19, 2021, President Nelson, President Oaks and President Eyring were among the eight senior Church leaders who received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. “The Church urges its members, employees and missionaries to be good global citizens and help quell the pandemic by safeguarding themselves and others through immunization,” the First Presidency wrote in a statement.

The First Presidency issued additional statements on Aug. 12, 2021, and Sept. 22, 2021, related to COVID-19 conditions and again urged Church members to be vaccinated.

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#GiveThanks

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.”

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Increase faith in Jesus 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:

  • Study. Become an engaged learner.
  • Choose to believe in Jesus Christ.
  • Act in faith.
  • Partake of sacred ordinances worthily.
  • Ask Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, for help.
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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

“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,” he said.

President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints tours the Salt Lake Utah Temple in Salt Lake City on Saturday, May 22, 2021.
President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints tours the Salt Lake Utah Temple in Salt Lake City on Saturday, May 22, 2021. | Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

On Jan 1, 2022, as many were setting aside time to write down resolutions for the coming year, President Nelson shared three suggestions in a social media post:

  • Resolve to strengthen your spiritual foundation.
  • Resolve to be kind to others. 
  • Resolve to be resolute. 

“The Lord loves effort,” he wrote. “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).”

Maintain spiritual momentum

To counteract the speed with which evil is intensifying, positive spiritual momentum is needed now more than ever, President Nelson said during April 2022 general conference

Echoing previous invitations he had extended, President Nelson suggested five specific actions that can help maintain positive spiritual momentum:

  • 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.
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“As you act on these pursuits,” President Nelson said, “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.”

Focus on eternal identifiers, ‘take charge’ of testimony

In a worldwide devotional in May 2022, President Nelson taught young adults three fundamental truths that will help them make righteous choices for eternity. He told them that 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.”

Attendees take selfies after the May 2022 worldwide devotional for young adults at the Conference Center.
Attendees take a selfie after President Russell M. Nelson’s worldwide devotional for young adults at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday, May 15, 2022. | Mengshin Lin, Deseret News

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.”

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Focus on the temple and find rest

At the close of October 2022 general conference, President Nelson invited Church members around the globe to “focus on the temple in ways you never have before.”

Spending more time in the temple, he said earlier in the conference, is one way to find rest — or peace — from the challenges of today’s world. “My plea to you this morning is to find rest from the intensity, uncertainty and anguish of this world by overcoming the world through your covenants with God,” President Nelson said.

President Nelson reiterated an invitation he extended to young adults “to take charge of your own testimony of Jesus Christ and His gospel. He called upon Latter-day Saints everywhere to “become [a] righteous people.”

Attendees walk into the Conference Center for the Sunday morning session of the 192nd Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
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Patience, persistence and prayer

In his first official communication of 2023, President Nelson shared three lessons he has learned as a deep sea fisherman to help others in the coming year:

  • Be patient.
  • Be persistent.
  • Be prayerful.

“Call upon God for the strength you need as you labor diligently to become a better version of yourself — a better disciple of Jesus Christ, a brighter light in the world,” he wrote in a social media post on Jan. 1.

Be a peacemaker

How individuals treat one another at home, at church, at work and online really matters, President Nelson said during April 2023 general conference. “Today, I am asking us to interact with others in a higher, holier way. … 

“Contention is a choice. Peacemaking is a choice. You have your agency to choose contention or reconciliation. I urge you to be a peacemaker, now and always.”

President Russell M. Nelson and his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson wave to attendees at April 2023 general conference.
President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and his wife Sister Wendy Nelson wave to attendees upon leaving the Conference Center after the 193rd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Sunday, April 2, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Latter-day Saints can change the world one person and one interaction at a time. “How? By modeling how to manage honest differences of opinion with mutual respect and dignified dialogue,” President Nelson said.

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In two social media posts in June, President Nelson invited individuals to become peacemakers and then asked them to share with him examples of peacemakers in their lives.

Seek forgiveness and forgive others

Following April 2023 general conference, President Nelson released a video in honor of Palm Sunday. He spoke of the forgiveness the Savior offered while on the cross and shared his own story of seeking forgiveness.

“My dear friends, I invite you prayerfully to consider if there is someone whom you should forgive,” President Nelson said. “Will you free yourself from a grudge you may be harboring? I can think of no more fitting way to honor the Lord Jesus Christ this Easter. I promise that as you forgive, the Savior will relieve you of anger, resentment and pain. The Prince of Peace will bring you peace.”

In a social media post on World Forgiveness Day July 7, President Nelson invited all “to remember the principle of 70 times seven and extend forgiveness to someone who has wronged you.”

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This article was originally published in January 2022 and has been updated.

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