Sunday, January 28, 2018

President Russell M. Nelson on the magnificence of man

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.
"Think, if you will, of the most magnificent sight you have ever seen. It could be a meadow in springtime filled with beautiful wildflowers. Or perhaps you have been awestruck, as I have, at the magnificence of a single rose with its special beauty and perfume. I have come to appreciate the magnificence of an orange—each droplet of juice neatly packaged in an edible container, joined with many other packets, grouped in sections, and all neatly wrapped in a disposable, biodegradable peel.
"Some would say the most magnificent sight they have ever beheld is looking heavenward on a summer night, seeing stars beyond number dotting the sky. Those who have traveled in orbit through space say that their view of planet earth was one of the most magnificent sights ever observed by man.
"Some might choose the view of the Grand Canyon at sunrise—others, the beauty of a mountain lake, river, waterfall, or desert.
"Some might select a peacock with its tail in full fan or a handsome horse. Others would nominate the beauty of butterfly wings, or a hummingbird seemingly suspended in midair while feeding.
"These magnificent sights are wondrous beyond measure. They are all 'great deeds' of our divine Creator.
"You may be surprised at what I am going to suggest now. Ponder the magnificence of all you see when you look in the mirror. Ignore the freckles, unruly hair, or blemishes, and look beyond to see the real you—a child of God created by him, in his image....
"The magnificence of man is matchless. Remember, glorious as this physical tabernacle is, the body is designed to support something even more glorious—the eternal spirit that dwells in each of our mortal frames. The great accomplishments of this life are rarely physical. Those attributes by which we shall be judged one day are spiritual. With the blessing of our bodies to assist us, we may develop spiritual qualities of honesty, integrity, compassion, and love. Only with the development of the spirit may we acquire 'faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, [and] diligence' (D&C 4:6).
"Pattern your lives after our great Exemplar, even Jesus the Christ, whose parting words among men included this eternal challenge: 'What manner of men ought ye to be? ... even as I am' (3 Nephi 27:27).
"We are sons and daughters of God. He is our Father; we are his children. Our divine inheritance is the magnificence of man. May we honor it and magnify it."
- Russell M. Nelson, "The Magnificence of Man," BYU devotional, March 29, 1987
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This message was very touching to me. I truly appreciate the magnificent sights of the world; nature's miracles will never cease to amaze me. I have been awestruck, as President Nelson suggests, both by grand vistas and by the intricacy of a fragrant blossom. But all of that pales in comparison to the image of "a child of God created by him, in his image."

As we learn to "pattern [our] lives after our great Exemplar" we become even more magnificent, and begin to claim our divine inheritance.

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

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