What did President Nelson say in a national interview featured in The Atlantic?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is featured in a major article published today in The Atlantic.

Written by McKay Coppins, himself a Latter-day Saint, the article includes interviews with President Russell M. Nelson and President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

The article, titled “The Most American Religion,” notes that Church members “spent 200 years assimilating to a certain national ideal — only to find their country in an identity crisis. What will the third century of the faith look like?”

Not since President Gordon B. Hinckley appeared on CBS’  “60 Minutes” on April 7, 1996, has a Church president sat for an interview with such a high-profile national journalist. Years later, Mike Wallace, who conducted the interview, narrated a tribute to President Hinckley at his 95th birthday celebration.

Coppins, who also shares the story of his life and faith in the article, ends the magazine-length feature by detailing an interaction with President Nelson at the end of their interview.

“As we neared the end of our conversation, the prophet closed his binder and became quiet,” he wrote. “’Judgment day is coming for me pretty soon,’ he said. It was a strange sort of confession — both startling and obvious, at least from an actuarial standpoint — and I didn’t know how to respond.”

After a pause, President Nelson “began to contemplate what he would have to answer for in his imminent ‘interview’ with God. ‘I doubt if I’ll be judged by the number of operations I did, or the number of scientific publications I had,’ he told me. ‘I doubt if I’ll even be judged by the growth of the Church during my presidency. I don’t think it’ll be a quantitative experience. I think he’ll want to know: What about your faith? What about virtue? What about your knowledge? Were you temperate? Were you kind to people? Did you have charity, humility?’”

President Nelson told him, Coppins wrote, the Church exists to “make life better for people.”

Read the full article on TheAtlantic.com.