“The reason why prophets are needed is because Heavenly Father wants His children to have the opportunity to come home to Him,” said President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as he continued his global ministry tour in Jerusalem, Saturday, April 14, 2018.
The remarks were made before a gathering of members and friends of the Church, along with students at the Brigham Young University Jerusalem Center at a district devotional.
“As the new president to the Church, I felt that there were two messages that I would like to convey to our people,” President Nelson said. “One is that Jesus is the Christ and He has a message for all of God’s children. And the second is that His is a global invitation. We invite all of God’s children to come unto their Savior.”
Jerusalem is President Nelson’s second destination on his worldwide tour to cities in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Hawaiian Islands. The tour began in London, England, Thursday, April 12.
President Nelson is traveling with his wife, Wendy, and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Patricia. This is the new president’s first official trip outside of the United States since he was named the Church’s 17th prophet in January.
Elder Holland was instrumental in the establishment of the Jerusalem Center when he was president of BYU. He spoke Saturday of the tremendous symbolic importance of President Nelson’s presence at the center and in a city with such significant biblical heritage.
“This is a legendary land,” Elder Holland said. “It’s a spine-tingling thrill for me to realize that I’m in the company of President Russell M. Nelson, a modern prophet in every sense that they were ancient prophets [in Jerusalem in biblical times] with the same authority and the same priesthood and teaching the same gospel.”
Elder Holland continued, “Our living testimony today is we have a living prophet this very hour on this soil standing in this land teaching that same doctrine. The significance of that for Latter-day Saints and for the world cannot be overstated. That’s at the heart of the thrill I feel today.”
During their visit to the Holy Land, the senior Church leaders shared their feelings and witness of the Savior. “Gethsemane is a significant name because it means place of the oil press,” President Nelson said. “On the Mount of Olives, olives were brought to be pressed for their precious oil, so symbolically, under the weight of the sins of all mankind, Jesus was pressed. He sweat drops of blood, His precious oil, as our Redeemer, our Savior. So Gethsemane is very important. It’s where the agony of the atonement began,” he continued.
The Church leaders left Jerusalem ahead of schedule. Due to concerns pertaining to tension in the region and available airspace, they departed after today’s district conference. They will commence the Africa portion of their trip sooner than planned.