In honor of President Russell M. Nelson, who turns 97 on September 9, 2021, here are ten inspiring excerpts from his addresses and messages since he became an apostle in April of 1984:
“Decisions for Eternity”, General Conference, October 2013:
“The wise use of your freedom to make your own decisions is crucial to your spiritual growth, now and for eternity. You are never too young to learn, never too old to change. Your yearnings to learn and change come from a divinely instilled striving for eternal progression. Each day brings opportunity for decisions for eternity.”
“Thanks Be to God”, General Conference, April 2012
“God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, but we are not. Each day, ours is the challenge to access the power of the Atonement so that we can truly change, become more Christlike, and qualify for the gift of exaltation and live eternally with God, Jesus Christ, and our families. For these powers, privileges, and gospel gifts, thanks be to God!”
“A Plea to My Sisters” General Conference, October 2015
“Fifty-eight years ago I was asked to operate upon a little girl, gravely ill from congenital heart disease. Her older brother had previously died of a similar condition. Her parents pleaded for help. I was not optimistic about the outcome but vowed to do all in my power to save her life. Despite my best efforts, the child died. Later, the same parents brought another daughter to me, then just 16 months old, also born with a malformed heart. Again, at their request, I performed an operation. This child also died. This third heartbreaking loss in one family literally undid me.
I went home grief stricken. I threw myself upon our living room floor and cried all night long. Dantzel stayed by my side, listening as I repeatedly declared that I would never perform another heart operation. Then, around 5:00 in the morning, Dantzel looked at me and lovingly asked, ‘Are you finished crying? Then get dressed. Go back to the lab. Go to work! You need to learn more. If you quit now, others will have to painfully learn what you already know.’”
“Jesus Christ—the Master Healer”, Ensign, Nov. 2005
“I recognize that, on occasion, some of our most fervent prayers may seem to go unanswered. We wonder, ‘Why?’ I know that feeling! I know the fears and tears of such moments. But I also know that our prayers are never ignored. Our faith is never unappreciated. I know that an all-wise Heavenly Father’s perspective is much broader than is ours. While we know of our mortal problems and pain, He knows of our immortal progress and potential. If we pray to know His will and submit ourselves to it with patience and courage, heavenly healing can take place in His own way and time.”
“The Book of Mormon: What Would Your Life Be Like without It?” General Conference, October 2017
“Whenever I hear anyone, including myself, say, “I know the Book of Mormon is true,” I want to exclaim, “That’s nice, but it is not enough!” We need to feel, deep in “the inmost part” of our hearts, that the Book of Mormon is unequivocally the word of God. We must feel it so deeply that we would never want to live even one day without it. I might paraphrase President Brigham Young in saying, “I wish I had the voice of seven thunders to wake up the people” to the truth and power of the Book of Mormon.”
Closing Remarks, General Conference, October 2019
“In some respects, it is easier to build a temple than it is to build a people prepared for a temple. Individual worthiness requires a total conversion of mind and heart to be more like the Lord, to be an honest citizen, to be a better example, and to be a holier person.”
“Disciples of Jesus Christ—Defenders of Marriage”, BYU Commencement, August 2014
The day is gone when you can be a quiet and comfortable Christian. Your religion is not just about showing up for church on Sunday. It is about showing up as a true disciple from Sunday morning through Saturday night—24/7! There is no such thing as a “part-time” disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus invited anyone who wants to be His disciple to take up His cross and follow Him. Are you ready to join the ranks?
Or will you be ashamed of the gospel? Will you be ashamed of your Lord and His plan? Will you yield to voices of those who would have you join them on the popular side of contemporary history?
No! The youth of Zion will not falter! I believe you will be courageous and proclaim God’s truth with clarity and kindness, even when His truth is politically unpopular!
“A More Excellent Hope”, BYU Devotional, January 1995
Hope emanates from the Lord, and it transcends the bounds of this mortal sphere. Paul noted that “if in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (1 Cor. 15:19). Only with an eternal perspective of God’s great plan of happiness can we ever find a more excellent hope. “What is it that ye shall hope for?” asked Mormon. He then answered his own question: “Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ” (Moro. 7:41; see also Alma 27:28).
Have you heard the old statement that “hope springs eternal” (Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man, Epistle 1, line 95)? It can only be true if that hope springs from him who is eternal. . . .A more excellent hope is mightier than a wistful wish. Hope, fortified by faith and charity, forges a force as strong as steel. Hope becomes an anchor to the soul. To this anchor, the faithful can cling, securely tethered to the Lord. Satan, on the other hand, would have us cast away that anchor and drift with the ebb tide of despair. If we will cling to the anchor of hope, it will be our safeguard forever. As declared in scripture: “Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast” (Ether 12:4; see also Ether 12:9; Heb. 6:19).
“Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods”, Ensign, May 1996
“Sadly, many individuals don’t know where to find God, and exclude Him from their lives. When spiritual needs arise, they may look to the left, the right, or round about. But looking to other people on the same level cannot satisfy spiritual shortages. When the immortal spirit is starved, hunger persists for something more filling. Even when material success comes, there is a hollow ache—if living well falls short of living worthily. Inner peace cannot be found in affluence accompanied by spiritual privation.”
“Drawing the Power of Jesus Christ into Our Lives”, April 2017
“When you reach up for the Lord’s power in your life with the same intensity that a drowning person has when grasping and gasping for air, power from Jesus Christ will be yours. When the Savior knows you truly want to reach up to Him–when He can feel that the greatest desire of your heart is to draw His power into your life–you will be led by the Holy Ghost to know exactly what you should do. When you spiritually stretch beyond anything you have ever done before, then His power will flow into you.”