In his first public address as the 17th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, delivered almost five years ago, President Russell M. Nelson humbly directed attention away from himself to Jesus Christ and then characteristically looked forward.
“The Lord always has and always will instruct and inspire His prophets,” he declared. “The Lord is at the helm! We who have been ordained to bear witness of His holy name throughout the world will continue to seek to know His will and follow it.”
Speaking in a live telecast from the annex of the Salt Lake Temple on Tuesday morning, January 16, 2018, President Nelson spoke of beginning his tenure as President of the Church with “the end in mind.”
“The end for which each of us strives is to be endowed with a power in a house of the Lord, sealed as families — faithful to the covenants made in a temple that qualify us for the greatest gift of God, that of eternal life.”
As millions across the globe — both inside and outside of the Church — focused on President Nelson, he expressed gratitude for the Lord, for his Brethren, and for the prayers of Latter-day Saints. He spoke with a humility that would in every way define his leadership.
Instead of sharing his impressive and broad resume, he invited Church members to think about “the majestic manner by which the Lord governs His Church.” Instead of quoting the educated or the famous, President Nelson quoted a 4-year-old boy who had prayed that he would “be brave and not scared.” And instead of directing the focus on Church members to a personal agenda or platform, he simply asked them to stay on or return to the covenant path.
President Nelson, then 93, was set apart as the 17th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on January 14, 2018, after serving 34 years in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He brought a lifetime of preparation to his new position. A world-renowned surgeon and man of perfect pitch who played the organ during quorum meetings, President Nelson had visited 133 countries — participating in the dedications of 31 of those countries and opening doors for the Church in Eastern Europe and China. At headquarters, he had served as the chairman of each of the Church’s three governing committees — the Missionary Executive Council, the Temple and Family History Executive Council and the Priesthood and Family Executive Council.
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How has President Nelson’s ministry impacted you so far?