Since becoming the 17th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Jan. 14, 2018, President Russell M. Nelson has used general conference, social media and other means to extend several invitations to Latter-day Saints worldwide — invitations to act in faith.
President Nelson reiterated many of these invitations in a recent social media post on Jan. 1 for those making resolutions for the coming year. His suggestions included strengthening one’s spiritual foundation, letting God prevail, eliminating contention and being persistent in efforts to “hear Him.”
At the close of the October 2021 general conference, President Nelson — a world-renowned heart surgeon and medical researcher before entering full-time Church service in 1984 — pleaded with listeners worldwide to counter the lure of the world by making time for the Lord every day. “Nothing invites the Spirit more than fixing your focus on Jesus Christ,” he said.
To mark his four years as leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, following is a look at some of President Nelson’s historic 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 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.”
Increase spiritual capacity and ‘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 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?”
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.
To bring hope and healing during a time of global instability and uncertainty in November 2020, President Nelson 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, 2020, 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.”
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.”