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The following is excerpted from the Deseret News. To read the full article, click here

JERUSALEM, Israel — Hours after the United States Armed Forces ordered a strike on Syria, President Russell M. Nelson cut short his stay in Jerusalem, leaving the central location of his global ministry tour following conference sessions at the BYU Jerusalem Center.

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At a time of rising tensions, the message of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is more important than ever, he said Saturday morning from the Holy City.

“The message of the Lord Jesus Christ is a message of hope, it is a message of love, it is a message of joy,” said President Nelson. “It is underlined in this time of a little heightened tension.”

The United States, together with British and French allies, launched airstrikes Friday night against Syrian military targets in retaliation for a suspected chemical attack by the regime of President Bashar al-Assad near Damascus a week earlier that killed more than 40 people. Damascus is only 135 miles from Jerusalem.

Amid the tensions in the region and rapidly diminishing available airspace, President Nelson — accompanied by his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and his wife, Sister Patricia Holland — left Jerusalem with plans to commence the Africa portion of their tour sooner than expected.

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