I was blessed to be able to attend a Leadership Training Meeting this week where Elder Russell M. Nelson, the visiting General Authority, was presiding.
Strictly speaking I wasn’t meant to be there, but I went, first of all to take notes for a friend who couldn’t go, and also because, who wouldn’t want to be there, really? 😉
Elder Nelson was the final speaker. He was preceded by the Area President, James J. Hamula and his wife, and Sister Wendy Nelson. I won’t share the preceding speakers’ remarks, at least not today.
It was such a privilege to hear an apostle of the Lord in the Latter Days. He is such an engaging and charming speaker.
His address was basically based on this question:
What message represents the message from the Brethren?
And here it is, in four parts:
1. They pray that we may increase our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
That we not focus our attention on the programs, but on Him whose Church this is. That we make sure that He would be comfortable if he were present amongst us, in our meetings, in our homes.
That we recognize that the temple is a symbol of our membership, a sign that we believe in life after death, our link to eternity.
2. They pray that we will strengthen our families.
He urged us to understand that the family, the most essential part of the Plan of Happiness, is under attack in the sociology of the world. He emphasized that Satan is at war with God, and has been since the beginning.
“Heavenly Father wants us to choose to come home.”
He shared how since the Restoration, the kinds of adversities faced by the members have evolved. In the early days of the Restoration the attack was focused on Joseph Smith. Then the attack was on the Book of Mormon and the Book of Mormon ‘is irrefutable. Absolutely irrefutable!’. The focus of the attack was then turned to the leaders and prophets, and now, ‘they are going right for the heart of the Church – the family!’
“There is a plague on this Earth more destructive than any other the world has ever seen, and that is pornography.”
And how do we combat this plague? Elder Nelson reinforced the idea of a family with both the father and the mother, focused on the temple and the sacred ordinances performed therein. I thought about that for a while, and let me tell you, there is nothing vague about that statement at all.
3. What the Brethren are hoping will happen in this Church.
That the Ward Council will hold its proper place in the Church!
4. The Brethren hope that prospective Elders will be rescued, along with their prayerful wives and pleading children.
Elder Nelson stated the need for the work of reclamation, the need to rescue that army of prospective elders. He hopes that there will be focused, meaningful appointments everyday, in reaffirming our love and our need for these brethren. That to rescue one person could mean the rescue of a whole pyramid of posterity.
In his closing remarks, Elder Nelson urged:
“Wherever your influence is greatest, focus on the Lord. Teach your children principles, don’t respond to behavioral issues with behavioral solutions.”
To say that that statement hit me like a ton of bricks would be an epic understatement! How badly I needed to hear that, no-one will ever understand!
He finished off his address by evoking an apostolic blessing (and this is my favorite part), that:
- We would be faithful, devoted, devout disciples of Jesus Christ.
- We would be blessed to feast on the words of Jesus Christ.
- We would have love at home.
- We would have the blessing of healing.
- We would be blessed with his testimony.
This part in particular gave me goosebumps. I have been facing challenges lately that relate very specifically to the blessings he pronounced, and to hear these words uttered by the mouth of a prophet, seer and revelator was nothing short of miraculous for me.
I feel so blessed to have been in the presence of so wonderful a man, foreordained to help lead the people of the Lord in such perilous times. I left the meeting feeling the sweet, calming witness of the Spirit that the words I’d heard were truly from a loving Father in Heaven for the guidance and strengthening of His children.
How blessed we are to live in a world where prophets and apostles once again administer to the people of the world!