Tuesday, January 16, 2018

President Russell M. Nelson on divine calls and apostolic doctrine

President Russell M. Nelson (born 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 became president of that quorum on July 15, 2015. Following the death of President Monson, he was set apart as president of the Church on January 14, 2018.
"I have implicit faith in the Lord and in His prophets. I have learned not to put question marks but to use exclamation points when calls are issued through inspired channels of priesthood government....
"While nominally I come to you from the science of surgery and its mother of medicine, in a truer sense, I have been forged from the stern discipline of law—not the laws of men, as mastered by our brethren of the legal profession, but the eternal and unchanging laws of our Divine Creator. The surgeon soon learns the incontrovertibility of divine law. He knows that hopes and wishes are sometimes simply powerless sham. Desired blessings come only by obedience to divine law, and in no other way. My lifetime thus far has been focused on learning those laws. Only as the laws are known, and then obeyed, can the blessings we desire be earned. To this extent, there will be little difference for me in the activities of the past and those of the future. The endless laws of the Lord are the doctrines taught by His Apostles."
- Russell M. Nelson, "Call to the Holy Apostleship," General Conference, April 1984
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

It seems appropriate today to review the first remarks offered by a then 59-year-old Elder Russell M. Nelson as he was sustained by the Church to the office of the apostleship. He expressed natural feelings of inadequacy, but shared this remarkable statement of his faith in prophetic leadership and calls that come through Priesthood channels:

Throughout his life, President Nelson has expressed this same faith and confidence not just in callings but in any teaching or instruction from inspired channels: he has responded with exclamation points!

The second paragraph of the excerpt quoted above demonstrates the solid foundation on which President Nelson built his life and service, and his confidence in "the eternal and unchanging laws of our Divine Creator." He sees eternal law and truth expressed in all kinds of settings, and knew innately that "Only as the laws are known, and then obeyed, can the blessings we desire be earned." His life has been dedicated to learning, and to obeying. What a marvelous example!

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2018)

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