To celebrate his 100th birthday, President Nelson invites all to reach out to ‘the one’

‘Through each of us ministering to just one within our reach, we can spread the love of Jesus Christ throughout the world,’ President Nelson writes

In 100 days, President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will celebrate his 100th birthday on Sept. 9 — and he is inviting Latter-day Saints worldwide to participate.

“I am soon approaching my 100th birthday,” President Nelson wrote in a social media post on Saturday, June 1. “One of the places where the Savior used the number 100 in the scriptures was the parable of the lost sheep. Though 99 of his flock were safely by his side, the shepherd went in search of the one who was lost.

President Russell M. Nelson speaks during a worldwide Relief Society devotional on March 17, 2024. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

“At age 99, I have no need of physical gifts,” he continued. “But one spiritual offering that would brighten my life is for each of us to reach out to ‘the one’ in our lives who may be feeling lost or alone.”

What could this spiritual offering look like? President Nelson invited all to prayerfully consider a few questions over the coming months:

  • “Who do you know who may be discouraged?”
  • “Who might you need to reconcile with or ask for forgiveness?”
  • “Has one name been on your mind lately, though you haven’t quite known why?”

As these questions are brought to the Lord, “He will inspire you to know how to reach out and lift one who needs help,” President Nelson wrote.

“What a beautiful example the Savior has shown us — that through each of us ministering to just one within our reach, we can spread the love of Jesus Christ throughout the world,” he concluded his social media post, using the hashtag #99plus1.

President Nelson’s life and ministry

President Nelson was born Sept. 9, 1924, in Salt Lake City to Marion C. and Edna Anderson Nelson. At age 93, President Nelson was set apart as the 17th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Jan. 14, 2018, after serving 34 years in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

President Russell M. Nelson explains a surgical procedure to a nurse. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

President Nelson is now the oldest President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as well as the longest-living apostle in this dispensation. He was a world-renowned heart surgeon and medical researcher before entering full-time Church service in 1984.

In 1945, he married Dantzel White; they are the parents of 10 children. She died in 2005. In 2006, he married Wendy L. Watson, who has since been at his side in his ministries as an Apostle and now Church President.

As the leader of more than 17 million Latter-day Saints worldwide, President Nelson has traveled to 35 nations, changed Church organization, utilized technology, led the Church through a pandemic and built bridges of understanding.

He has issued several faith-building invitations for Latter-day Saints to come closer to the Savior and help others do the same by thinking celestial, being a peacemaker, gathering Israel, letting God prevail, ending personal conflicts, increasing spiritual capacity and focusing on the temple.

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With a focus on covenants and ordinances in the house of the Lord, President Nelson has accelerated the pace at which temples are being built — announcing a total of 168 temples in his six years as Church President.

President Nelson’s previous 5 birthdays

To celebrate President Nelson’s 95th birthday in September 2019, more than 20,000 Latter-day Saints and friends of the faith gathered in the Conference Center on Temple Square for a musical event that honored President Nelson as “a heart healer.”

President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints speaks during a celebration of his 95th birthday in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. | Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

“If I have learned anything certain in my 95 years of life, it’s that Jesus the Christ is the Son of God. His Church has been restored in these latter-days to prepare the world for His Second Coming,” President Nelson said as he closed the event with his testimony. “He is the light and life of the world. Only through Him can we reach our divine destiny and eventual exaltation.”

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With his 96th birthday approaching, President Nelson promised his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren that “great spiritual growth, faith and joy” can be theirs as they keep the commandments of God.

President Nelson and Sister Nelson participated in a massive virtual birthday celebration held via videoconference due to pandemic restrictions. The family celebration included 276 participants in 61 locations — each wishing their father, grandfather and great-grandfather the happiest of birthdays.

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In a Church News article honoring President Nelson’s 97th birthday, senior Church leaders shared lessons they have learned from him.

“He is an exemplary follower and servant of the Lord Jesus Christ,” said President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency. “He is a great role model for Church leaders. He is unfailingly kind and compassionate. He is always very open and easy to approach. He is a visionary leader who helps all to see the end from the beginning and to work for our ultimate destination.”

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President Nelson’s 98th birthday was more than just another day in the office as he participated in meetings and other duties at the Church Administration Building on Temple Square. He expressed appreciation for the many cards and well-wishes he received.

A happy birthday banner, silver balloons of the numbers 98 and cake adorn President Russell M. Nelson’s desk as he stands behind it and smiles in celebration of his 98th birthday on Sept. 9, 2022. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

President Henry B. Eyring, second counselor in the First Presidency, said of President Nelson: “Every time we walk out of the office, President Oaks and I say: ‘It happened again.’ You’ll just see revelation come. You’ll see him ask for counsel, and then the decision will come, and everybody in the room knows it is right and from God. He just quietly says, ‘I think this is what the Lord would want us to do.’ It’s just time after time.”

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President Nelson turned 99 years old on Sept. 9, 2023. He celebrated his birthday the day before with his family and other Church leaders at the Church Administration Building.

As the Church celebrated this landmark birthday, the Church News published an excerpt from President Nelson’s new book “Heart of the Matter, What 100 Years of Living Have Taught Me.”

President Russell M. Nelson, celebrating his 99th birthday, poses with birthday cards the day before his birthday, on Sept. 8, 2023. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
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