Sunday, September 9, 2018

President Russell M. Nelson on living well as we prepare to meet God

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.
"Meanwhile, we who tarry here have a few precious moments remaining 'to prepare to meet God.' (Alma 34:32.) Unfinished business is our worst business. Perpetual procrastination must yield to perceptive preparation. Today we have a little more time to bless others—time to be kinder, more compassionate, quicker to thank and slower to scold, more generous in sharing, more gracious in caring.
"Then when our turn comes to pass through the doors of death, we can say as did Paul: 'The time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.' (2 Tim. 4:6–7.)
"We need not look upon death as an enemy. With full understanding and preparation, faith supplants fear. Hope displaces despair. The Lord said, 'Fear not even unto death; for in this world your joy is not full, but in me your joy is full.' (D&C 101:36.) He bestowed this gift: 'Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27.)'"
- Russell M. Nelson, "Doors of Death," General Conference, April 1992
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

This was a masterful discourse by then-Elder Nelson, in which he discussed the doctrine and understanding we have about the process of death and how it relates to our eternal life. His talk included this beautiful and tender observation: "Moreover, we can’t fully appreciate joyful reunions later without tearful separations now. The only way to take sorrow out of death is to take love out of life." But peace does come with understanding and perspective.

In this final part of his remarks, President Nelson spoke of the insights a death can bring to "we who tarry here." We are granted additional time, and we should recognize what a treasure and sacred gift each day is. We should use our "few precious moments" wisely:

It must be a singularly remarkable feeling to come to the end of mortality, which can happen at any moment, and be prepared, ready to say with Paul, "I have finished my course, I have kept the faith." President Nelson encourages each of us to ponder our own preparation, end our procrastination, and live each day in a more loving, compassionate, forgiving way—a more Christlike way. That is certainly how he has lived his life!

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

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