Thursday, November 2, 2017

President Russell M. Nelson on the certainty of knowledge and faith

President Russell M. Nelson (b. Sept 9, 1924) was an internationally-renowned heart surgeon when he was called to serve as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1984. He was set apart as president of the Quorum of Twelve on July 15, 2015.
"While the world is filled with uncertainty, there need not be uncertainty in your heart and mind about what is true and what is not. Uncertainty is born of imperfect or unknown information. As an Apostle, I plead with you to learn God’s irrevocable laws. Learn them by study and by faith. That means, among other things, '[living] by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God' (D&C 84:44).
"Pray to discern between God’s laws and the philosophies of men, including those cunning counterfeits of the adversary. Through eons of time, Lucifer has honed his craft. He is skilled at distraction, distortion, deception, and misdirection. I plead with you to avoid his cunning snares as you would avoid a plague!
"Entrapments designed by Satan can only bring to you misery, spiritual captivity, and death. (See 2 Nephi 2:27.) This is true every time. The sad consequences of yielding to Lucifer’s lures are predictable, dependable, repeatable, and regrettable.
"Conversely, I promise that as you keep God’s commandments, as you live by His laws, you will become increasingly free. This freedom will unveil to you your divine nature and allow you to prosper personally. You will be free from the bondage of sin. You will be free to be you—an effective, righteous leader. You will be prepared to lead by precept and by example wherever you are needed. Happily, the blessings of keeping God’s commandments are also predictable, dependable, and repeatable."
- Russell M. Nelson, "Prophets, Leadership, and Divine Law," Worldwide Devotional for Young Adults, BYU, January 8, 2017
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

Using the example of medical situations from his professional expertise, President Nelson established earlier in this talk that some things are "predictable, dependable, and repeatable." The certainty of those things provides a firm direction and help for our lives. Knowing the good things that are predictable helps us choose them as priorities in our lives; knowing the bad things helps us avoid them.

We sometimes need divine help to know the difference between God’s laws Satan's counterfeits. I was intrigued by the idea that "Through eons of time, Lucifer has honed his craft. He is skilled at distraction, distortion, deception, and misdirection." We must rely on both knowledge and inspiration to make wise choices in avoiding his traps!

Prophetic promises are so valuable to notice and then to cling to. President Nelson urges us to keep God's commandments, and explains the promised consequences of freedom that follow such choices. Those blessings are always "predictable, dependable, and repeatable."

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2017)

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