Wednesday, July 4, 2018

President Russell M. Nelson on loyalty to God and country

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.
"Citizens of many countries claim membership in the Church. Regardless of their flag or form of government, they find that allegiance to the Lord does not preclude their being loyal citizens of their nations. Fidelity to God enables one to develop a more profound patriotic allegiance and become a better citizen.
"In addition to their national citizenship, members of the Church are also citizens of God’s kingdom. (See Eph. 2:19.) Their commitment to it, however, may be variable. The great majority seek 'first to build up the kingdom of God, and to establish his righteousness.' (JST, Matt. 6:38.) Some allow their allegiance to God and His kingdom to slip below that of other interests in life. They have not yet determined which way they face. (See Joel 3:14.)"
- Russell M. Nelson, "Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods," General Conference April 1996
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was founded in the United States and continues to be headquartered in that country. We recognize the place the USA has played in enabling the great latter-day Restoration. However, membership in the Church is growing dynamically throughout the world. One of the great messages of the Restoration is a declared allegiance to the laws and governments of the lands we live in, throughout the world—"being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law" (Article of Faith 12). President Nelson teaches that our obedience to the principles of the Gospel help us to be more loyal to our country:

But regardless, as grateful as we are for principles of freedom and liberty, and the privileges afforded us by our nation, we must never forget where our greatest loyalty lies: in our devotion to God and His kingdom, and not to any other interest. We must never forget in our "valley of decision" (Joel 3:14) which direction we are facing!

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

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