President Nelson issues a statement on his health, saying ‘little challenges with balance should be the least of our worries’

‘My heart is good, my spirit is strong as are my legs, and my brain still works,’ writes President Russell M. Nelson, 98

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints responded in great numbers with love, support, empathy and appreciation after President Russell M. Nelson publicly acknowledged that he is using a walker to help with balance issues.

“You may have heard a rumor that someone saw me somewhere using a walker or a wheelchair. Well, it’s not a rumor,” wrote the 98-year-old Church leader wrote on his social media pages on Tuesday afternoon, May 16.

“From time to time, I’m having a little challenge with my balance. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised when little issues arise as I near the century mark.

“Gratefully, my heart is good, my spirit is strong as are my legs, and my brain still works.

“I love you my dear brothers and sisters, and am grateful every day to serve the Lord and you. 

“Little challenges with balance should be the least of our worries. Onward and upward!”

Born Sept. 9, 1924, in Salt Lake City, President Nelson is the oldest President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the faith’s history. He is also the Church’s longest-living Apostle in this latter-day dispensation.

President Nelson was ordained and set apart as the Church’s 17th president on Jan. 14, 2018, becoming the second prophet — the first being Joseph Fielding Smith — to be called as President of the Church while over the age of 90.

Since then, President Nelson has traveled 115,000 miles to 35 nations on six continents — meeting with government and religious leaders and Latter-day Saints in large and small settings — and has led the Church through the COVID-19 pandemic, ministering instead through videoconferences and online broadcasts. Asking Latter-day Saints to gather Israel on both sides of the veil, President Nelson has also announced a total of 133 temples, bringing the total number of announced, dedicated or under construction temples to 315.

President Nelson offered his addresses during October 2022 and April 2023 general conference while seated, something he also wrote about on his social media pages.

“What a marvelous first session of general conference we have had!” President Nelson wrote in a message posted on FacebookTwitter and Instagram in October 2022. “I felt spiritually renewed as I listened to those who spoke. They were absolutely inspiring, and I am certain the next four sessions will be equally wonderful.

“Some noticed that I sat on a chair to deliver my message this morning. What a help that was! The other day it occurred to me that I have been alive during nearly half of the number of years since The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized in 1830. That is a lot of years — even though I don’t feel old. My wife Wendy insists that she still can’t get me to act my age. But I will admit that sometimes even small adjustments — such as a chair — help those of us who ‘age on stage.’

“I may not ski black diamond runs anymore, but whether standing or seated, I delight in speaking and hearing words of truth. And this weekend will be filled with them. I hope you will join me in savoring the beautiful messages that still lie ahead.”

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President Nelson’s social media post this week had high interest and engagements — with tens of thousands of people liking, sharing and commenting about the message in multiple languages. 

  • “Use it another 20 years,” commented Brenda Angle. “We want you to stay on this side of the veil as long as God allows.”
  • “Thank you for being a shining example to all, including when it comes to following sound medical advice,” wrote Julie Shaw.
  • “This is so pure & genuine & human,” wrote Angelica Garcia. “You are relatable to so many. I join many others as they hear your voice narrate this post. You are a mighty oak!”
  • Keaton Leishman replied with a single word, “GOAT.” (“GOAT” is a common acronym on social media for “greatest of all time.”)

Others expressed appreciation, noting that the post helped them or their loved ones through similar health challenges.

  • “You have no idea how much these simple words helped my mother today as she has been having health issues. Thank you thank you. #Onward&Upward,” posted Quanda Dee DeGraffenreidt.
  • “Sometimes I have a problem with balance too!” wrote Linda Walden Ballard. “I guess I’m not only in ‘good company’ I’m in GREAT company.”
  • “We love you President Nelson. Thank you for showing us how important it is to listen to our doctors,” wrote Cindy Stoddard Syre. “We pray for you every day.”

Editor’s note: This was originally published on Tuesday, May 16, and was updated Friday, May 19.

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