Friday, October 26, 2018

President Russell M. Nelson on our personal responsibilities for spiritual growth

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.
"The long-standing objective of the Church is to assist all members to increase their faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and in His Atonement, to assist them in making and keeping their covenants with God, and to strengthen and seal their families. In this complex world today, this is not easy. The adversary is increasing his attacks on faith and upon us and our families at an exponential rate. To survive spiritually, we need counterstrategies and proactive plans. Accordingly, we now want to put in place organizational adjustments that will further fortify our members and their families.
"For many years, Church leaders have been working on an integrated curriculum to strengthen families and individuals through a home-centered and Church-supported plan to learn doctrine, strengthen faith, and foster greater personal worship. Our efforts over these recent years to hallow the Sabbath—to make it a delight and a personal sign to God of our love for Him—will be augmented by the adjustments we will now introduce.
"This morning we will announce a new balance and connection between gospel instruction in the home and in the Church. We are each responsible for our individual spiritual growth. And scriptures make it clear that parents have the primary responsibility to teach the doctrine to their children. (See Doctrine and Covenants 93:40; Moses 6:58–62.) It is the responsibility of the Church to assist each member in the divinely defined goal of increasing his or her gospel knowledge."
- Russell M. Nelson, "Opening Remarks," General Conference October 2018
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

There was much eager anticipation as President Nelson opened the most recent general conference. His remarks were brief, as has become the pattern; but he introduced the topic that would dominate the rest of the conference and be explained and elaborated upon by those who followed him.

Key to the conference was this opening doctrinal reminder of the Church's purpose and objectives, and the key responsibility of families and individuals. "We are each responsible for our individual spiritual growth" is a concept we must never forget. The Church is here to help and encourage, but so much depends on our individual efforts and priorities.

Well might we ask, "How am I doing in my pursuit of that 'divinely defined goal of increasing [my] gospel knowledge'?" That knowledge comes from both study and application. We should be making clear and steady progress! As we eagerly anticipate the beginning of this new phase of Church curriculum, we can be preparing now by ensuring we are doing all we can with the resources we currently have.

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

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