As evil intensifies, President Russell M. Nelson told Latter-day Saints across Nevada, “there is nothing that will protect us more than regular time in the temple.”
“Every time a temple is dedicated, more light comes into the world,” said President Nelson, leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “Every time we go to the temple, our lives are reinforced by that light and by the covenants we make with God.”
Speaking from Church headquarters in a devotional broadcast to Nevada and parts of California and Arizona on Sunday, Nov. 13, President Nelson thanked members for their faith, devotion to truth and examples of gospel living.
“From the time that Brigham Young sent pioneers to colonize what was then the greater Utah Territory, Saints in Nevada have been among the most stalwart. This continues to the present day. …
“Your strength in keeping your covenants is an inspiration — as many of you live in areas where people of the world come to ‘let their hair down’ — and often let the Lord down,” he said.
President Nelson was accompanied by his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, and President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, both of whom spoke during the devotional. Elder Paul B. Pieper, General Authority Seventy and president of the North America Southwest Area, conducted the devotional. Elder Pieper’s wife, Sister Melissa Pieper, was also in attendance.
President Nelson acknowledged that with the announcement of two more temples to be built in Nevada — Elko and Lone Mountain — the number of temples in Nevada will soon double. “In a way, it is much easier to build a temple than it is to prepare the people for the temple,” he said.
President Nelson emphasized three topics about temple preparation, what he described as “my ABCs of personal preparation for a temple.”
President Nelson began by making a promise: “Engaging in family history research and preparing your ancestors’ qualifying information for their temple blessings will enrich your lives in unexpected ways. It will expand your view of life. It will bless your earthly family with greater harmony. And it will protect you from attacks of the adversary. Family history research will help you feel part of something greater than yourself.”
He invited youth to learn about their ancestors, find their qualifying information and prepare to take them to the temple.
“There are few sights I love more than seeing young men and young women, their hair still wet, coming out of the temple early in the morning after participating in proxy baptisms,” he said.
B: Be prepared to enter, serve and worship in the temple
Quoting part of the First Presidency message in the new “For the Strength of Youth” guide, President Nelson said: “There may be times when you don’t feel strong or capable. That’s normal. Especially in those moments, turn to the Savior. He is the ‘strength of youth.’”
President Nelson encouraged all to study the new guide individually and as families, particularly the temple recommend questions included throughout.
“Make sure you are living so that you can enter the temple at any time,” President Nelson said. “If you have made mistakes and need to repent, don’t wait another minute to call your bishop. He will lovingly guide you as you take the necessary steps to be worthy to enter the temple.”
He added: “Young men and young women, would you be willing to take the assignment to teach your family members the truths in the ‘For the Strength of Youth’ booklet? This important new guide contains vital principles that will help each person to prepare for the temple.”
In the latter part of the latter days, Satan is unleashing “every vile distraction and sin he can muster.” President Nelson asked members to be cautious about media, in which “blatant lies abound about life, love, and even the Church and its members.”
“I plead with you to make an intentional, conscientious effort to use the internet righteously and wisely. Use it to strengthen your testimony. Seek for the truth and then share it. Use it to help gather Israel. Use it to build healthy, righteous relationships with family and friends.”
If someone wanders into a dark corner of the internet, even unintentionally, they should close their eyes, put down their device and exit the site — immediately. “Then, plead with the Lord for your heart and your mind to be pure and cleansed,” President Nelson said.
For anyone whose mind and heart have been poisoned by anything online, “work with your bishop, even if you think you don’t need his help. He will help you to access the Lord’s merciful, redeeming and healing power to cleanse you from sin.
“Pray always for the ability to discern truth from error. Pray to have the strength to treat your body and mind like your own private and personal temple.”
Children are instinctively receptive to truth, President Nelson said. “So, parents and teachers, please take advantage of every opportunity to teach them correct principles.
“As you regularly use the ‘Come, Follow Me’ curriculum, gospel discussions will become a natural part of your family life. Tell stories from the scriptures. Teach your children how to pray. Teach them that God is their Heavenly Father and He will help them. Let them see you going to the temple.
“And when a loved one dies, teach your children … that because of Jesus Christ, we can be with each other again, as we keep our sacred covenants.”
President Nelson concluded by emphasizing the importance of the temple to the gathering of Israel and the vital role of each individual and their choices.
“Will you pray about the simple things you can do right now to help gather scattered Israel?” he asked. “Any time you do anything to help someone find or stay on the covenant path, you are helping to gather Israel.”
Again quoting the new “For the Strength of Youth” guide, President Nelson said, “Of all possible choices, the one that matters most is the choice to follow Jesus Christ.”
In his 98 years of living, President Nelson said he has “never met anyone who was happier because he or she violated covenants made with God. I have never met anyone who found joy by rejecting the Savior of the world.
“In summary, we will build temples. You will build people prepared to enter them.”
Sister Nelson: Focus on what matters
Sister Nelson began her remarks by referencing a charge President Nelson gave during October 2022 general conference about the gathering of Israel:
“One crucial element of this gathering is preparing a people who are able, ready and worthy to receive the Lord when He comes again, a people who have already chosen Jesus Christ over this fallen world, a people who rejoice in their agency to live the higher, holier laws of Jesus Christ. I call upon you, my dear brothers and sisters, to become this righteous people.”
In responding to President Nelson’s call to become this people, how one spends their time each day matters, Sister Nelson said.
“My dear brothers and sisters, although some days it may not feel like it, we are the stewards of our time. How are we investing our time? How are we using it?” she asked.
Sister Nelson recalled a “wake-up call” she received several years ago after spending about 10 days dejunking the garage, sorting through 30 years of her former professional life. At the end of the arduous project, she felt a nudge that interrupted her rejoicing — she had missed her regular weekly time in the temple.
“I felt as though I was losing power, such as strengthening power, protecting power, discerning power, healing power,” she recalled. At the very time she needed this power available only by serving and worshiping in the temple, “I was too busy, too preoccupied with ‘good’ things to go to the very place I needed to go.”
She made a plan to return to the temple. As she took her seat for an endowment session, these words came to her mind: “We are not well pleased with your focus of late.”
Pondering the impression for several days, she was led to Matthew 23:23 “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye … have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”
“Brothers and sisters, weightier matters matter,” Sister Nelson said. “I testify that as we take care of the weightier matters, we will be blessed with what we need, even miracles. …
“Every time I make a sacrifice to the Lord by going to the temple or by doing family history research, I am blessed with the time and energy and ideas — which I was previously completely out of — and with some left over. Miraculously, there is always enough and to spare. …
“As you and I take care of the weightier matters, we can become a righteous people who are able, ready and worthy to receive the Lord when He comes again.”
President Ballard: ‘Pure in heart’
President Ballard, who has served with President Nelson as an Apostle for 37 years, recalled representing the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at the open house of the Las Vegas Nevada Temple in 1989. After touring the temple, one reporter said to President Ballard: “I have never felt like I feel today. I feel a warmth in my heart.”
President Ballard quoted Jesus’ words, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).
The heart is symbolic of thoughts, feelings and actions, President Ballard said. “They who are pure in heart and have broken, or open, hearts are receptive to the warm glow of spiritual light radiating from the source of all truth and righteousness. …
“Those who live with God will be the pure in heart. Those who go to the temple with pure hearts in mortality will enjoy a taste of that celestial fellowship today.”
How does one develop a clean and pure heart? The Savior said, “Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit” (Doctrine and Covenants 19:23) and “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, all can repent and be cleansed. “Brothers and sisters, we need to become and then remain pure in heart,” President Ballard said.
“I invite you to prepare for and receive a temple recommend. And then be sure that your temple recommends are renewed regularly. Temple recommend interviews with God’s servants help keep our attention focused on our Savior Jesus Christ and allow for course corrections if necessary.”
To the children and youth, President Ballard said: “How precious you are to the Church. May you remain clean and pure so when you go to your bishop and receive a recommend, you do so worthily because you have worked to keep your hearts clean and pure to go to the temple. May you each follow the invitation from Jesus Christ to follow Him.”
In conclusion, President Ballard invited all to “talk of Christ, to rejoice in Christ, and to preach of Christ” (2 Nephi 25:26).
“How great shall be our joy in this life and in the next as we each do missionary work and bring more of our Heavenly Father’s children to know the gospel of Jesus Christ and to receive the blessings of the ordinances and the covenants of the temple.
“I testify to you, my beloved brothers and sisters, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and loving Him and living true to His teachings and commandments will bring peace, joy and happiness to our lives.”
Nevada is home to some 182,500 Latter-day Saints in 42 stakes and 362 congregations. The first stake in Nevada, formed in Carson City in 1856, was among the earliest stakes in the West.