Ultimately, purpose is more important than hope
Hope of Israel
President Russell M. Nelson: Words cannot describe how grateful we are to this seminary choir. Gosh, you did that well! Many Thanks! Thank you very much. When I look around this conference center and see all the adorable members of the Church, I feel like I finally have the big family I always hoped for. 22,000 of you are here tonight, and many thousands more have joined us on this broadcast.
My wife and I are really overjoyed to be with you tonight. We love to be with you, the youth of Latter-day Saints, and with your teachers and parents.
We wish we could hear from each of you what you experienced as you read the Book of Mormon daily and prayed to hear what the Lord wanted you to do as you prepared for our worldwide gathering.
I would like to thank the seminar choir once again for singing our opening song so soulfully. In this hymn - "We Thank God, O God, for the Prophet" - our hearts always turn to the Prophet Joseph Smith. How much we owe him! He is the Prophet of this last dispensation! Imagine that! He was your age when he was inspired by the words of the apostle James: "But if one of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God for it."1
These words made young Joseph feel compelled to go to a nearby wood, where he then poured out his heart to God.
The heavens opened! Joseph saw the father and son and found out for himself whom to turn to get answers to his questions.
Now, I beg each of you to do the same as the teenager Joseph. Address your questions directly to your Heavenly Father with your questions in prayer. In the name of Jesus Christ, ask him to guide you. You can find out for yourself - even now, at your age - how to receive personal revelation. And nothing has a bigger impact on your life!
I promise to you - not the one sitting next to you, but to you - wherever in the world and wherever you may be on the covenant path - even if you are in the moment Not align with the path -, I promise you that if you sincerely and persistently do the spiritual work that is necessary to develop the crucial spiritual ability that you learn to hear the whispers of the Holy Spirit, then you will get yours lifelong all Guidance you'll ever need. You will receive the answers to your questions in the Lord's way and on His own schedule. Also, keep in mind what your parents and Church leaders advise. They too strive for revelation for you.
When you know that God is directing your life, you will feel joy and peace despite the challenges and disappointments that can and will come.
We'd like to talk to you guys today the largest Challenge, the largest Thing and the biggest Speak work on earth. And we want to you invite you to be part of it!
I asked my wife, Wendy, to explain some of the things that are related to this important message. Please, Sister Nelson.
Sister Wendy W. Nelson: My dear brothers and sisters, who we love and believe in so much, let me begin by telling you about something my husband and I saw once while driving an off-road vehicle through the rolling hills of Utah.
It was a beautiful autumn day. We really enjoyed being under tall, straight trees that rose into the sky in golden yellow splendor.
Then we turned a corner and I saw a tree that reminded me of myself and how I often feel.
Do you know this feeling? You look around and everyone else is tall and straight, so to speak, and soaring into the sky.
They know about everything. They are perfectly dressed, always seem to be saying the right thing, have no problems, are completely obedient - and never seem to have made a mistake in their life.
What are we against it!
My dear brothers and sisters, it is time we stopped comparing ourselves to others. It is time to get rid of these false images of ourselves and others. In truth, we are not as hopelessly flawed as we may think, and others are not as perfect as they may seem - all except, of course, our Savior, Jesus Christ.
The only thing that really matters is that we do exactly what we commit ourselves to our Heavenly Father to do in the premortal existence, even by covenants wanted towhile we are here on earth.
I would therefore like to ask you: why would you born?
I wish you could watch a ten minute video of your premortal life on YouTube.
The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that if you could look up to heaven for five minutes, you would know more about something than if you spent a lifetime studying it.2 So imagine if you could look at your premortal life for ten minutes!
Of course, we know that the Lord in His wisdom has covered these memories with a veil. But just imagine for a moment how it would affect your life right now if you were allowed to look at ten minutes of your premortal life.
I believe if you could see how you lived with your heavenly Parents and with Jesus Christ, if you could look at what you did in the premortal life and see your commitment to others, even through covenants have, including your mentors and teachers, if you could see how you have courageously responded to attacks on the truth and valiantly stood up for Jesus Christ, I believe then each and every one of you would have greater strength, would be more determined, and would have the eternal perspective that helps him Alles its confusion and Alles to overcome one's doubts, toil and problems. All!
I believe if you could remember who you wanted to help here on earth or what painful experiences you had declared yourself ready for, you would independently Say of the really difficult situation you are or will be presently in, “Oh, now I remember. Now I understand. These difficult circumstances make sense to me now. And with the help of the Lord I can do it! "
I would like to ask you to think about something else. I like to imagine that when each of us came to earth, a scroll was pinned to the spirit with the title: "What I must do on earth."
Let's talk about what you think this scroll says. Let's talk about five things that the gospel of Jesus Christ makes sure to appear on your scroll.
First, you came to earth to receive a mortal body. And that, my friends, is a big deal.
Second, you came to be tested.
By the way, have you noticed that this test often involves learning how to control physical desires and passions, which can sometimes get quite out of control? If you are currently grappling with the lingering effects of an addiction or a more serious sin that you have not yet turned back from, I urge you to speak to your bishop today to free yourself from your burden. He holds priesthood keys that can help you.
A third task for the time on earth: Choose to follow Jesus Christ and stand up for him, just as you did in the premortal existence.
Fourth, choose to repent daily and partake of the sacrament weekly. Then you will be spiritually healed, strengthened, and made great, and ultimately sanctified and exalted, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
The fifth item on your list is to recognize and fulfill your mission in earth life. My dear friends, in the premortal life each one of you and me was given a wonderful mission that we should fulfill here on earth.
We have opportunities to fulfill our missions on earth, but we do have to it not. Nobody forces us to it. Thanks to our freedom of choice, we can choose how we use our time and energy and our talents and resources. For what we choose is even part of our test.
We have a choice. If we choose everything to do what it takes to complete the wonderful missions we have been sent to earth?
While this question is still simmering in the back of your head, let's change the subject and talk about why you are here on earth - namely right at that timewhich is such an extraordinary time in world history.
Why are you on earth right now?
Why weren't you born in the late 19th century, or thirty years from now?
I would like to tell you about an experience that personally showed me what an important time we live in.
We often talk about living in the latter days. We are Latter-day Saints, after all. But perhaps the term “the last” applies even more to these days than we ever thought.
This fact became clear to me through something I experienced within the 24 hours that began on June 15, 2013 when I was in Moscow with my husband.
While meeting with priesthood leaders, my husband had the privilege of meeting with nearly a hundred sisters. I like our sisters in Russia very. They are amazing!
As I went to the lectern, I said something I hadn't even planned to do before. I said to the women: “I want to get to know you based on your parentage. Please stand up when the tribe of Israel is named, which represents the lineage proclaimed in your patriarchal blessing. "
"Benjamin?" Some women stood up.
"Dan?" A few more.
"Ruben?" A few more stood up.
“Naftali?” A few more.
While the names of the twelve tribes of Israel were mentioned - from Ascher to Simeon - and the women stood up, we were all amazed at what we witnessed, felt and recognized.
How many of the twelve tribes of Israel do you think were represented this Saturday in Moscow in this small gathering with fewer than 100 women?
Eleven! Eleven of the twelve tribes of Israel were represented in this one room. The only tribe missing was Levi. I was amazed. It was a moving spiritual experience for me.
Immediately after these meetings, my husband and I flew straight to Yerevan, Armenia. The first people we met when we got off the plane were the mission president and his wife. Somehow she had heard of the Moscow experience. She said with great joy: "I belong to Levi!"
Imagine how excited my husband and I were when we met with the missionaries the next day, including one from the Levi tribe who happened to be from Gilbert, Arizona!
When I was a little girl attending Primary in Raymond, Canada, I learned that the twelve tribes of Israel would be gathered in the last days, before the Savior's Second Coming. I found this fact exciting and at the same time so impressive that I could barely grasp it. So can you imagine what it was like for me to encounter members from all twelve tribes of Israel within 24 hours?
I have since learned that I shouldn't have asked the sisters to tell me what tribe they belong to, because patriarchal blessings are sacred and the ancestry it proclaims is a personal matter. Nevertheless, I am extremely grateful that I was able to see the fruits of the gathering of Israel in person. The impression this experience left on my heart and mind has never faded.
My dear brothers and sisters, these are truly the latter days! It has been in world history never given a time like this. No way! In the premortal life we made a commitment to do a great work here on earth. And with the help of the Lord we can do it too! In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
President Nelson: Thanks, Wendy. I love you! Isn't she wonderful?
My dear young brothers and sisters, these are really the last days, and the Lord hastened his work to gather Israel. This collection is the most important thing that takes place on earth today. Nothing can be compared to its extent, nothing can be compared to its importance, nothing can be compared to its grandeur. And if you choose to, if you want, you can be an important part of it. You can be a big part of something big, something huge, something sublime!
If we from the collection As we speak, we are simply expressing this fundamental truth: Every single child of our Heavenly Father on both sides of the veil deserves to hear the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. It then decides for itself whether it wants to learn more.
It is those of ancestry of any of the various tribes of Israel who are most likely to have their hearts turned to the Lord. He said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me. "3 It is easiest for those of the house of Israel to know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior. You will wish to be gathered into his flock. They want to become members of His Church, make covenants with Him and Heavenly Father, and receive the ordinances they need.
The Lord told the Prophet Joseph Smith that this is our time, the eleventh hour and the last time, when he specifically calls workers into his vineyard for the purpose of gathering the elect from the four corners of the earth.4
My question tonight to each of you between the ages of 12 and 18 is: Would you like to be a significant part of the biggest Challenge that biggest Thing and des biggest Work on earth today?
Would you like to help gather Israel in these precious last days? Would you, the elect, be willing to help find the elect who have not yet heard the message of the restored gospel? Would you like to be one of the “quick messengers” the prophet Isaiah spoke of?5
If you take part in the gathering of Israel, you will have to make some sacrifices. You may even have to make some changes in your life for that. In any case, you have to spend part of your time and energy and your God-given talents for this. Are you interested?
Just think how exciting it all is and how urgent it is: every prophet since Adam has seen our time. And every prophet has over our Time spoken to gather Israel and prepare the world for the Savior's Second Coming. Just think about it! Of all people who have ever lived on planet earth are we those who are allowed to participate in this last, great collection. Isn't that exciting?
Our Heavenly Father has held back many of his noblest spirits for this final stage - or perhaps I should say his best team. These noble spirits - these best players, these heroes - are you!
I testify that the gathering is now and that it is real. In the year I was born the total membership of the Church was less than 600,000, and there were no members at all in South America. Today there are over 16 million members worldwide, with nearly 3 million in South America.
I want to tell you about something I experienced in 1979 when I was president of the Sunday School. I had been invited to attend a Church leadership meeting attended by Church President Spencer W. Kimball. He asked us to pray that the doors to all nations would be opened so that the gospel of Jesus Christ could be brought to all the peoples of the earth. He specifically mentioned China and asked us to pray for the Chinese people. He also said, “We should be of use to the Chinese people. We should learn his language. We should pray for it and help it. "
I went home to my wife Dantzel (who died over 13 years ago) and said, “President Kimball asked us in the congregation to learn Chinese! And I have it Not hear say, 'Everyone except Brother Nelson!' So, do you want to learn Mandarin with me? ”Of course she agreed, and we took Mandarin lessons.
Six weeks after President Kimball's invitation, I attended the annual meeting of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery. It took place in Boston. That morning I prayed for the Chinese people in my hotel room, just as President Kimball asked us to do. I went to the first meeting of the day and sat where I always sat at such conferences - in the front of the room. However, as the meeting progressed, I became increasingly uncomfortable in my seat. When the light was turned off for a slide show, I rose inconspicuously from my seat and quietly walked to the back of the room - where I usually never sat. When the lights came back on, I found I was sitting next to a Chinese doctor. He introduced himself as Professor Wu Ying-Kai from Beijing!
After a pleasant conversation with him, I invited him to visit Salt Lake City and give a lecture at the University of Utah Medical School. He gladly accepted the invitation and did an excellent job. Then he returned to China.
A little later he invited me to come to the medical faculty of Shandong University in Jinan, China, as a visiting professor for surgery. As a result, two other universities in China invited me as guest lecturers.
These wonderful experiences in my professional life - before my calling to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles - culminated when I was asked by Chinese surgeons to perform open-heart surgery to save the life of their most famous opera star. I complied with this request and I am grateful that the operation went well. Incidentally, it was the last in my professional life.
I have been praying for the Chinese people for almost 40 years. I enjoy my connection with medical colleagues and other friends in China. It is a great pleasure for me to have now been officially named an “old friend of China”.
I bear my testimony that when we finish what the Prophet of God asks us to do, whatever it may be, Paths open and life is no longer the same.
I hope you are now asking, “How can I help gather Israel as a young person?” My wife and I asked these and a few more questions to a group of young people aged 12-18, many of whom are here tonight .
First we asked, “What is the gathering of Israel? And what does it mean to you? ”Their answers varied, but most of them let us understand that they weren't quite sure what this was all about. Tonight you should know that the gathering of Israel ultimately means that the gospel of Jesus Christ will be offered to those children of God on both sides of the veil who have neither made the required covenants with God nor received the necessary ordinances.
Every child of our Heavenly Father deserves the opportunity to sign up for it decideTo follow Jesus Christ and to accept and receive his gospel with all the blessings that go with it - yes, all the blessings that God promised the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who, as you know, are also called Israel.
My dear extraordinary young people, you were sent to earth at this very moment, the most important time in world history, to assist in the gathering of Israel. Nothingwhat is happening on earth right now is more important. Nothing has far-reaching consequences - even Nothing.
This collection should be yours everything mean. This is the mission for which you were sent to earth.
So my question to you is, “Are you ready to join the Lord's Youth Battalion to help gather Israel?” Please think about it. Don't answer right away.
Let's go back to the other questions my wife and I asked our young friends. We asked, "What would you be willing to do if the prophet invited all 12-18 year olds in the Church to participate in the gathering of Israel?"
The youth responded with inspiring utterances such as: “If the prophet asked us to participate in the gathering of Israel, I would definitely join in. ”Another said:“ I would leave everything and help! ”And another:“ I would go and just go everything do what he asks me to do - for the prophet is a preacher from God. "
Other responses were, “I would be willing to do more family research. I would be more open and make more effort to share the gospel. I would be an example of Christian qualities to others. I would do more baptisms for the dead, change certain aspects of my life and the decisions I make, travel wherever the Lord needs me, learn a new language, meet new people, lend my Book of Mormon to people who do have never read. And I would be the friendliest person I can be. "
We also asked the youth what they would be willing to sacrifice to help gather Israel. Once again the young people excited us. They replied, “I would spend less time exercising so I could help someone who needs the truth. I would stop hanging out with friends and invite them to come to the temple instead. I would definitely spend less time on my smartphone. I would hang in front of the screen less. I would [even] be ready to sacrifice my Sunday afternoon nap! "
We asked, “If you had a desire to help gather Israel, what would you start or stop with?” For example, they replied, “I would study the scriptures more often and more carefully so that I could answer the questions, that others might ask me. I would spend less time on social media; I would do more simple member missionary work such as doing good to others on a daily basis. I would spend less time with my smartphone and when I was using it, I would post scriptures or other spiritual messages on social media. I would study the general conference talks because they are very important. I would eat healthy so that I can stay fit. I would stop believing that everything is about me. ”Thank you, brothers and sisters, for your answers to our questions.
Just think, my dear young brothers and sisters, as I prepare right now for the day when I will answer to the Prophet Joseph Smith, President Brigham Young, and others - and ultimately to the Lord - of my stewardship as today's prophet of God on earth must drop. I don't want to be asked, “Brother Nelson, why haven't you made it clearer to the youngsters what role? you play at the gathering of Israel? Why weren't you bolder when you asked them to participate? "
So I am calling now each Young lady and everyone Encouraged young men between the ages of 12 and 18 in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to join the Lord's youth battalion to help gather Israel.
What can you do with that? If you continue to read the Book of Mormon every day, you will become the doctrine of the collection6 and learn truths about Jesus Christ, his Atonement, and the fulness of his gospel that are not found in the Bible. The Book of Mormon is central to the gathering of Israel.7 In fact, the promised gathering of Israel would not take place without the Book of Mormon.
I now ask you to prepare for this and to implement five more points - five points that will change you and help you to change the world.
First, stop relying on social media all the time to reduce its worldly influence over you.
I want to tell you about a boy your age, the grandson of a dear friend of mine. He is popular with his friends and often takes responsibility in his school. Recently, his parents found content on his smartphone that was inappropriate for a follower of Jesus Christ. They insisted he stay off social media for a while. They swapped his smartphone for a clamshell phone and he panicked. How should he keep in touch with his friends now?
At first he was angry with his parents, but after just a few days he thanked them for taking his smartphone away from him. He said, "I feel free for the first time in a long time." Now he calls his friends on his clamshell to get in touch. He actually talks to them instead of just texting them!
What else has changed in this young man's life? He says that he now enjoys having been freed from the misconception of life that is conveyed to one through social media. He is active and engaged in life instead of staring at his smartphone all the time. He participates in outdoor recreational activities instead of playing video games. At home he is more positive and helps out more. He looks for opportunities to do good. He is more careful in the church, has a brighter face, is much happier and is actively preparing for his mission! All because he temporarily withdrew from the negative influence of social media.
So, first of all, today I urge you to stop relying on social media all the time. To do this, abstain from social media for seven days. I admit there are positive aspects to social media too. But if you pay more attention to the social media newsfeed than to the whisperings of the mind, then you are putting yourself in spiritual danger - and you are also in danger of becoming very lonely and depressed. You and I know young people who have been seduced by social media into doing or saying something that they would never do or say in a real encounter. Bullying others is an example of this.
Another downside of social media is that it gives the wrong idea of reality. Everyone publishes their funniest, most suspenseful and exciting pictures, giving the wrong impression that everyone but you is leading a life full of fun, adventure and excitement. Much of what appears to you in the various social networks is displayed in a distorted manner or is even a fraud. So take a seven-day break from the cheating!
Set seven consecutive days and start! During these seven days, watch for changes in how you feel and what you think about - and even how you think. After the seven days, ask yourself whether there is one thing or another that you want to stop with and one or the other that you want to start with now.
This abstinence from social media is something you can do with the Lord alone. You are showing him that you are ready to turn your back on the world in order to join his youth battalion.
Second, I urge you to give the Lord some time three weeks in a row to show him that, more than anything, you want to be part of his youth battalion. Give up what you enjoy doing for three weeks and use that time to help gather Israel.
Every time, if you anything do what anyone On either side of the veil, you will help move one step closer to making covenants with God and receiving the baptism and temple ordinances that He needs, help gather Israel. As simple as that.
If you pray about this sacrifice of time, you will be instructed what you can do without that week and how you can instead help in the gathering of Israel. For example, a young golfer might skip a round of golf and use that time for temple baptisms.
Third, I urge you to work with the Lord - and perhaps your parents and the bishop - to review your lives to ensure that you are on the covenant path in all respects. If you have lost your way or there are some things you have to do without in order to become purer in your mind and heart, today is the ideal time to change.
If you are unsure how to repent, speak to your bishop or parents, or all three of them. They will help you understand the Atonement of Jesus Christ. They will help you to experience the joy that real Repentance always brings with it.
Please stay on the covenant path Not away for a minute longer. Please come back through true repentance and come back immediately. We need you with us in the Lord's youth battalion. Without you, something would be missing!
Fourth, I ask you to pray daily that all of God's children will receive the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are all experiencing it today, and will continue to see it, as Israel is gathered with great power. And you can be part of the driving force behind this collection!
Fifth, I ask you to stand out and be different from the world. You know as well as I do that you should be a light to the world. Therefore, the Lord wants you to look and sound like a true disciple of Jesus Christ, and to behave and dress accordingly. Of course you live in the world, but you have very different standards than the world that help you to remain unsullied from the world.
With the Holy Spirit as your companion, you can see right through the celebrity culture that has invaded our society. You can be smarter than previous generations ever were. If you are sometimes called "strange", you should be proud and happy that your light shines brightly in this ever darker world!
Set the standard for the rest of the world! Joyfully accept that you are different! The brochure entitled For a strong youth is your Scale. The Lord expects all youth in His Church to live up to this standard. As his humble servant, I implore you to study this booklet again. Prayerfully read it as if you have never read it before. Annotate them. Talk about it. Discuss the standards with your friends. Determine how you will use these standards, your Standards that can be implemented even more precisely in life.
You have your own copy. So if you choose to participate at the end of the meeting, please take a copy of the brochure For a strong youth and give it to a friend who may not know your standards or who don't live by them.
Pray about who will need this booklet. You will be guided. And it will be exciting.
In summary, let me review my five calls for you to join the Lord's Youth Battalion for the Gathering of Israel:
Stay out of social media for seven days.
Offer up some time to the Lord three weeks in a row.
Stay on the covenant path. When you have strayed from it, turn around and get back on the path.
Pray daily that all of God's children will receive the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Stand out. Be different. Be a light. Give a copy of the brochure to a friend For a strong youth.
My dear younger brothers and sisters, you are among the very best of the Lord ever sent to this world. You have the ability to be smarter, wiser and influence the world more than any previous generation!
To conclude, I ask you to stand up together with young people from all over the world and experience how exciting it is to be a member of the Lord's youth battalion in “Zion's troops” by singing our closing song “Hope of Israel” because in this one Song is all about you!
From the bottom of my soul I testify that this is the work of Almighty God. He lives. Jesus is the Messiah. This is his church restored to fulfill her divine destiny, and that includes the promised gathering of Israel.
your are the hope of Israel, "children of the promised kingdom"!8 I testify to this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
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