I have to come to know for myself just how blessed we are to have Pres. Nelson as the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. God has put him in this place for this time of the earth’s history. Perhaps it is because of his extensive knowledge and his scientific background. Perhaps because of his love for the Chinese people and his ability to speak Mandarin. Perhaps for some reason none of us know. I can’t help but think that part of the reason for this is because of Sister Wendy Nelson, his wife. She is a modern-day Esther, who surely has been raised for “such a time as this.” This husband and wife team display a wonderful example of true partnership in marriage.
Over a week ago they spoke together to the youth of the worldwide church. This was a historic moment. According to this press release, this was the second time a prophet has called a meeting to specifically address all the youth of the church. The first one was with Pres. Hinckley in November 2000. As far as I know, it is the first time the president of the church and his wife have spoken together to a worldwide audience. We have seen “dress rehearsals” of these gem-filled events with the Nelsons speaking together in past years, from previous CES Devotionals in the Januarys of 2016 and 2017.
These are from the CES (Church Educational System) Devotional Archives. The Nelsons did these for college-age young adults. They are amazing in themselves. If you missed them, go watch, read, and ponder.
Sister Nelson’s talk, “Love and Marriage” from January 2017, is here.
Pres. Nelson’s talk, “Prophets, Leadership, and Divine Law,” from January 2017, is here.
Sister Nelson’s talk, “Becoming the Person You Were Born to Be,” January 2016, is here.
Pres. Nelson’s talk, “Becoming True Millennials,” January 2016, is here.
In his most recent address, on June 3, 2018, Pres. Nelson gave these challenges to the youth of the church, ages 12 to 18:
1. Hold a seven-day fast from social media.
2. For three weeks in a row, make a weekly sacrifice of time to the Lord.
3. Keep on the covenant path.
4. Pray daily that all of God’s children might receive the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
5. Stand out and be different from the world.
I am excited to use these challenges as a topic for mentor meetings with each of my three Mutual age youth, to talk with each of them on what their plan is to accept these challenges.
Over a year ago, I listened to these words at the RootsTech 2017 conference from Pres. and Sister Nelson, back when Pres. Nelson was Elder Nelson.
At the time I was feeling bereft of my friends I left in Utah when I moved. I missed all the meetings I had been a part of that kept me intellectually stimulated: the book discussions, the homeschool conferences, the once-a-week family school I was a part of, and my girlfriend lunches. Missing all of these boiled down to one thing: I missed deep, meaningful conversations. So my ears perked up when I heard Sis. Nelson say these words in her 2017 RootsTech presentation:
Sister Nelson: It is my testimony that however fabulous your life is right now, or however discouraging and heartbreaking it may be, your involvement in temple and family history work will make it better. What do you need in your life right now? More love? More joy? More self-mastery? More peace? More meaningful moments? More of a feeling that you’re making a difference? More fun? More answers to your soul-searching questions? More heart-to-heart connections with others? More understanding of what you are reading in the scriptures? More ability to love and to forgive? More ability to pray with power? More inspiration and creative ideas for your work and other projects? More time for what really matters?
She then made a promise that if we sacrifice time to do family history research, and then the subsequent temple work for our own family names, we will get the “more” of whatever we want. This was somewhat of an echo of her words from the 2016 RootsTech conference when she spoke with Sister Sheri Dew. In that presentation she said she gave up digital Scrabble time to do with research and temple work. So I put those words to the test. I had become a little slack on my regular habit of researching names and taking them to the temple to do the ordinance work. I redoubled my efforts to be consistent on a near daily basis.
I have seen this promise come true. After I started doing the work regularly again, I got the blessings of the “more” that I wanted. I do have more meaningful conversation in my life. I was blessed with a family school to attend with my kiddos like the one I had in Utah, with the monthly book discussions that go with that. I was blessed to rekindle connections with old friends I’ve had for over 20 years, where we meet weekly via video chat. I also felt inspired to create my movie discussions club. I feel much more socially fulfilled! So I can see blessings come from following the words that God inspires through his servants. I am looking forward to seeing what new blessings will come in my youth’s lives as they follow the challenge and as I do too.