Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Russell M. Nelson on the religious life

Elder Russell M. Nelson (1924- ) has served as a member of the Quorum of Twelve since 1984. This excerpt is from an address given at the 1993 Parliament of the World's Religions, Chicago, Illinois, 2 September 1993.
"As we repent and live in accordance with the commandments of God, the Atonement of Jesus Christ becomes a force for permanent change in our lives. We become more pure in heart and true disciples of the Master. Personal prayer, contributions of tithes and offerings, honoring the Sabbath day, and partaking of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper are all regular practices that protect us from the bondage of sin and bring us true freedom and joy.
"The daily practice of our faith is not confined solely to religious rites. We reach out to aid the communities in which we live. For example, parent-teacher associations, public schools, and similar worthy civic activities receive our support."
- Russell M. Nelson, "Combatting Spiritual Drift—Our Global Pandemic," address given at the 1993 Parliament of the World's Religions, Chicago, Illinois, 2 September 1993; see Ensign, Nov 1993, pp. 102-108
Click here to read the full talk

A "Parliament of the World's Religions" was held in Chicago in 1993, the first gathering of its kind in a century. Several thousand religious leaders from around the world, from both Christian and non-Christian groups, were invited to participate in discussions about how the different sects and traditions could collaborate in addressing the world's critical issues. Elder Nelson represented the LDS Church at the event, and delivered an insightful address in which he identified elements of "spiritual drift" in the world and then explained ways the Church is attempting to confront those challenges, both in doctrine and practice.  He commented, "The dismal dusk of today’s spiritual drift provides a rare opportunity for the radiance of religion to light the way to a new tomorrow."

After providing an institutional history and doctrinal foundation of the Church, Elder Nelson shared the thoughts excerpted above in a section on "individual application." In other words, here's how the Church and Gospel can impact MY life. And the key lies in allowing the Atonement to impact one's life. True freedom and joy, and protection from "the bondage of sin," come when we remember:
  • Personal prayer
  • Contributions of tithes and offerings
  • Honoring the Sabbath day
  • Partaking of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper
I appreciated Elder Nelson's wonderful summary of the essence of the Church and the Gospel. It might be a fruitful exercise for each of us to consider what we might have said, given the opportunity that he had in that great council of religious leaders!

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