When I talk about prophets, many outside of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints think of Old Testament prophets such as Abraham, Moses, Noah and Isaiah. The Latter-day Saints think of modern prophets right along with these prophets of the Old Testament. We believe that God still speaks to prophets, whom He has chosen to direct His Church and prepare the earth for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. This is big stuff. This is the type of thing people don’t talk about nowadays. They don’t sit around the water cooler at work and talk about religious beliefs, much less about when Jesus Christ will return to earth and reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I think that there have been too many human resource meetings, laws, and general nervousness of offending others. We don’t know what we can or are allowed to say, especially at work, so nobody says anything; Not to their neighbors, not to their co-workers, and not even to their family. Political correctness has been taken to the extreme so we cannot chat with others about our faith or belief in God. Yet somehow among all our political correctness, nobody seems to have a problem with a very popular Broadway play which mocks my faith. But I digress. That will have to be the subject for another post.
So where can we talk about our faith? Not in school. Not at work. Enter the blogosphere where people can actually talk about real things that mean more than the weather or what crazy political scandal is in today’s headlines.
For me, aside from my family, nothing is as important in my life as the Gospel of Jesus Christ and my membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Yes, it’s a long name for our church, but it’s the full and correct name.) I’m not kidding either. All other things: my career, my belongings, my meager assets, my small business, my sweet 1978 Chevy Nova, my awesome big screen TV, it all means nothing compared to the gospel, its teachings of Jesus Christ, the words of the living prophet, and the blessings, ordinances, and covenants that God has given to me an my family. It’s my eternal perspective. When I interview someone applying for a job with my company, I usually ask them, “What are your one and five-year goals?” Well, how about my 60-year goal? (I don’t imagine I’ll be alive then, so I’ll say 60 years.) What do I see myself doing in 60 years? With my eternal perspective, I think that the only thing besides my family that will really matter at that point, is how I lived my life here on earth. How did I treat my fellow man? Did I love my wife and children? Going back to the teachings of Jesus on the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus was teaching us how to live in a more heavenly way, so that we could return to our Heavenly Father again. Great is our reward in Heaven He said.
Well life is much different than back in Jesus’s day. We have new and unique challenges. God has always called prophets to teach His children and to stand as a watchman on the tower. It is the same today. I believe the Lord’s chosen prophet in 2018 is Russell M. Nelson. I wrote about how you could know who the true disciples of Christ were in this previous blog “By their fruits ye shall know them.” I won’t go into the details of the restoration of Jesus Christ’s Church, but you can read more here.
So as a believing, active member of The restored Church of Jesus Christ, being able to see and hear the prophet in person is a big deal. With members of the Church spread all over the world, and numbers in the millions (around 16 million) and over 30,000 congregations, this prophet who is now 94 years old, can’t get out and see everybody. However, after seeing him, you’d think that he probably could because you’ve probably never seen a 94-year-old person as sharp and energetic as he is.
The rest of this post is taken from my notes on September 15, 2018. They are the things I thought to write down; my thoughts and my impressions, during his visit to Safeco Field in Seattle. Me and my family, and nearly 50,000 other members of The Church of Jesus Christ, all gathered to hear the prophet’s words and his counsel to us in this part of the Lord’s vineyard. Don’t take this as word-for-word quotes. This is what I heard. Sometimes we hear what we need to hear, and as President Eyring taught, sometimes those words were not even spoken.
We first heard from President Henry B. Eyring, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, and an ordained Apostle of Jesus Christ. He suggested that we seek personal revelation from God to clarify and personalize the words spoken by the prophet. We shouldn’t just blindly follow, but we need to have our own witness from God of the truths taught. Let the Spirit testify to our hearts that which the prophet says is true.
He said that it will take personal revelation when the prophet asks us to do things a different way and to embrace when things in the future will change. This was a foreshadowing of some of the big changes announced in General Conference, such as a new 2-hour meeting schedule among other things.
He said that our prayers had been heard. The Lord had directed him to help us hear that revelation which we were seeking, and for which we had been praying.
Another truth he taught was that you can pray silently with determination to obey. I think this has a lot to do with another recent post where I talked about hardening hearts. We can’t harden our heart toward the prophet and then expect revelation. Obedience is one of the keys to receiving revelation.
Sister Wendy Nelson, the prophet’s wife, next spoke to us.
She said that she had received a unique experience never to be forgotten, 2 days after President Nelson had become the prophet. She said that it was too sacred to share, but she added that nighttime messages from the Lord come more frequently to President Nelson now that he has been called as prophet. In one example, she was awakened and felt the prompting from God to move out of the bedroom. The Lord gave President Nelson detailed instructions for 2 hours that night she said. She continued and said that he will quite often hold up a half-page or full-page of notes of instructions that he’s received. She also said that she has seen 30 years fall away from him as he is speaking at the pulpit. She testified that he was foreordained to prepare the world for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
We then heard from the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, and President of The Church, Russell M. Nelson
He said that he had never spoken at a baseball stadium before to his memory. He also said that it was by our faith that the forecasted rain showers had been postponed. (I had actually been worried about the possibility of rain.)
He said that Jan. 25, 1985, he was made an honorary member of Seattle surgical society and that he loved Seattle and the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.
He shared an experience rafting with his family on the Colorado River and how he was thrown out of the raft. He then talked about how we are all metaphorically on a rafting trip through life. The only safety is holding on to the raft which is the restored gospel. Sometimes there are rapids. Sometimes it’s nice and calm.
He spoke about how The Book of Mormon is the word of God and how it was written for our day. It testifies of the divinity of Jesus. It is the instrument by which the gathering of Israel will be gathered.
If we read The Book of Mormon every day, he promised us that we would be immunized against the evils of the day and and that we would draw close to the Lord. We need to continue to read The Book of Mormon each day.
He said that the honors of men fade away compared to God’s gift of eternal life. One time on a flight, he thought he might die in the airplane when the engine went out. At that moment he realized nothing mattered except him being sealed to his family in the temple by the holy priesthood. Few things have eternal significance. Eternal covenants mean everything. Repenting daily is needed. Don’t let your occupation distract you from Jesus Christ and the gospel.
The Lord uses the unlikely to accomplish the impossible. Many years ago, President Benson asked him to open Eastern Europe for the preaching of the gospel. This was back when the Berlin wall was up and the iron curtain. The Lord did his work. God blesses our best efforts. In 1992 he was able to report that the Church was established in all the countries in Eastern Europe. The Lord can do His own work. Hold on tightly to His gospel and He will work miracles in your life.
We are happiest when we are thinking of someone other than ourselves. Why is the Church needed? To gather scattered Israel. The elect of the Lord will be gathered. Families can be sealed in holy temples. Prophets have foreseen our day before the Savior returns. Look and act like true followers of Jesus Christ.
Then he said something that he’s said before and it really has impressed upon me, that when he speaks, he is preaching not only to us here on earth, but to those on the other side of the veil. They too are listening to hear what the prophet of the Lord has to say. He said, “We invite all of God’s children on both sides of the veil to enjoy the blessings of the temple.” He then blessed us with joy in living the gospel.
It was not a very long meeting. I’m sure I, like many others, wanted it to last longer. I find that more and more, I desire holiness and the Spirit in my life. In our stake conference this weekend, our Stake President echoed those feelings. After singing More Holiness Give Me, our stake president said, “If we desire, God will show us how this can be and how He can be more in our life.”
My desire and prayers recently have been to have more holiness in my life and to have the Spirit be with me more often. I’m trying even harder to rid my life of sin and my weaknesses. I can only accomplish this with the help of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. But with Him, All Things Are Possible.
My friends, since we can’t talk at the water cooler, here on this blog, with sincerity of heart, I testify that President Russell M. Nelson is the Lord’s ordained prophet.
More holiness give me, More strivings within, More patience in suff’ring, More sorrow for sin, More faith in my Savior, More sense of his care, More joy in his service, More purpose in prayer.
More gratitude give me, More trust in the Lord, More pride in his glory, More hope in his word, More tears for his sorrows, More pain at his grief, More meekness in trial, More praise for relief.
More purity give me, More strength to o’ercome, More freedom from earth-stains, More longing for home. More fit for the kingdom, More used would I be, More blessed and holy— More, Savior, like thee.
You can read more about President Nelson’s visit by visiting Mormon Newsroom and clicking here.