Dear Elders and Sisters #13 A Visit from President Russell M. Nelson
The most exciting thing that happened at the MTC this week was a visit from President Russell M. Nelson, and it was extremely exciting! The missionary choir, of 1,100, sang “Praise to the Man” (an MTC favorite). One specific idea from the rehearsal really touched my heart and has stayed on my mind for several days. It was that Joseph Smith knew from early in his ministry that he would likely seal his testimony with his blood. Even with this knowledge looming over him, he did not let it hinder his efforts to accomplish the mission the Lord had given him.
While Joseph was translating the Book of Mormon the Lord revealed many things to Joseph, including the promise of Eternal Life, if he was “firm in keeping the commandments…even if you should be slain (D&C 5:22)” A month later the Lord spoke of his potential martyrdom again, “And even if they do unto you even as they have done unto me, blessed are ye, for you shall dwell with me in glory” (D&C 6:30). In the final blessing given to him by his father, Joseph Smith Sr., he said, “You shall even live to finish your work.” Joseph burst into tears and cried out, “Oh, my father, shall I?” “Yes,” was the reply, “you shall live to lay out the plan of all the work which God has given you to do.” (Church History in the Fulness of Times Student Manual, 273)
President Russell M. Nelson
Sister Nelson spoke first and was brilliant as ever. Her theme was that we have been given some blessings and some knowledge that the rest of the world hasn’t, and it is therefore our duty and privilege to get to share those things. My favorite part of her talk however is when she confessed to having taken a picture of the choir while they were singing. She said, “If I am ever discouraged again, I am going to take out my picture of 1,000 missionaries singing in a choir, and I know it will make me happy again!” Awesome!
I could not write fast enough to keep up with President Nelson, and he’s 92 years old! He said that when he was born in 1924 there were less than 600,000 members of the church. He believes we are on course with our 15,000,000 now, and suggested that some in the room might see that same exponential growth in their life-times. The Lord, he said, expects us to maintain his quickened pace. His 35 minute talk was absolutely full of “One-line Sermons.” So, instead of trying to interpret or expand on what he said, I am going to give them to you just as he said them. Most are not exact quotes, but they all should be pretty close—those with quotation marks are exact.
- The Church was restored to (1) Help gather scattered Israel, (2) That those [gathered] families should be sealed in the Holy Temples, and (3) To prepare the world for the Second Coming.
- Learn of Them [The Father and the Son], choose to obey the commandments, and qualify for Eternal Life with them.
- You are not sales-persons. You are on a journey to become more like the Lord.
- We are under covenant to love our neighbors. (WOW this one was huge for me!)
- (Speaking of the missionary age change, specifically all of the challenges that would come with it) It was revealed to us that the age adjustment should be made….so that more of our youth could serve.
- “Exact obedience brings blessings.”
- Our greatest desire for each of you is that you will have the New and Everlasting Covenant written on the fleshy tables of your heart.
- Speaking of pornography he said:
- It is an epidemic. Many of you have been affected.
- Remember the scripture story of Jesus and the woman taken in adultery, “…Neither do I condemn thee: Go, and sin no more.” (John 8:11)
- To the one who is earnestly trying but stumbles, remember the scripture, “As often as my people repent will I forgive them their trespasses.” (Mosiah 26:30)
- With the Lord’s help, you can overcome temptation and past transgressions
- “The Savior is not disappointed with anyone who earnestly seeks to repent.”
- “Each person is precious to God.”
As we sat in the room with President Nelson and he shook some of our hands, I received an additional witness of his calling as an Apostle of Jesus Christ. That this is Christ’s Kingdom on the earth, and that you are his authorized representatives. What a wonderful time—truly the best time ever—to be a missionary.
Be safe, love the people, and follow the Spirit! Remember there are millions of people praying for you every day.
Brother and Sister Eggett