To bring hope and healing during a time of global instability and uncertainty, President Russell M. Nelson recently prescribed a “fast-acting and long-lasting” spiritual remedy to the world. 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 in a Nov. 20 video message, 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.”
Since becoming President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in January 2018, President Nelson has issued multiple invitations to help Church members strengthen themselves spiritually.
At the close of the most recent general conference, President Nelson invited those listening or reading his words to “embrace a new normal” by turning one’s heart, mind and soul to Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.
“Embrace your new normal by repenting daily,” he said. “Seek to be increasingly pure in thought, word and deed. Minister to others. Keep an eternal perspective. Magnify your callings. And whatever your challenges, my dear brothers and sisters, live each day so that you are more prepared to meet your Maker.”
Here is a look at some of President Nelson’s other invitations over the last three years:
Stay on the covenant path
In a press conference in January 2018 immediately 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 the priesthood brethren 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.”
He said in a later address to all members that same conference: “I plead with you who have distanced yourselves from the Church and with you who have not yet really sought to know that the Savior’s Church has been restored. Do the spiritual work to find out for yourselves, and please do it now. Time is running out.”
Increase spiritual capacity and seek to ‘hear Him’
During his first general conference as 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.
President Nelson invited women in the most recent general conference to prepare temporally, emotionally and spiritually, and embrace the future with faith. “I promise that as we create places of security, prepare our minds to be faithful to God, and never stop preparing, God will bless us,” he said.
Designating 2020 as “a bicentennial year” commemorating the 200th anniversary of Joseph Smith’s First Vision, President Nelson invited Church members to ponder a few questions: “How would my life be different if my knowledge gained from the Book of Mormon were suddenly taken away?” “How have the events that followed the First Vision made a difference for me and my loved ones?”
“Immerse yourself in the glorious light of the Restoration,” he said.
In the Sacred Grove, 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 on social media in February.
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 the 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.”
After reading “The Restoration of the Fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: A Bicentennial Proclamation to the World,” President Nelson said, “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 doctrine of the gathering of Israel has captured President Nelson’s attention for the more than 36 years he has 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?”
President Nelson encouraged all to make a list of all that the Lord has promised He will do for covenant Israel. “Ponder these promises. Talk about them with your family and friends. Then live and watch for these promises to be fulfilled in your own 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 challenged 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.
Though temples have been closed in recent months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, “You can still draw upon the power of your temple covenants and endowment as you honor your covenants,” President Nelson said during the April 2020 general conference. “Please use this time when temples are closed to continue to live a temple-worthy life or to become temple worthy.”