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President Nelson and wife speak on individual’s identity as child of God

By Genelle Pugmire - | May 16, 2022

Courtesy Intellectual Reserve

President Russell M. Nelson speaks during a special young adult devotional Sunday, May 15, 2022.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Conference Center in Salt Lake City was filled to capacity Sunday with young adults ages 18-30, both single and married, who had come to hear President Russell M. Nelson and his wife, Wendy W. Nelson, speak in a special devotional.

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles conducted the meeting and was visibly taken aback, having to pause before speaking as he looked from the pulpit up into the filled room of more than 20,000. It would have been the first time the center was at capacity since the end of 2019.

The Nelsons spoke to the nature of who all men, women and children are and how they find joy in a world of chaos, war and pain.

Speaking of the timeline of eternity, Nelson indicated that this life is “hardly a nanosecond,” but added, “What a crucial nanosecond it is.” He noted that is because our earthly choices determine what kind of life one will live forever.

In speaking to who they are, Nelson told those listening in the Conference Center and around the world there are three absolute truths: 1. Each person will die; 2. Because of Jesus Christ, all will be resurrected and become immortal; and 3. We will be judged for the choices we make now.

Courtesy Intellectual Reserve

More than 20,000 young adults filled the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday, May 15, 2022, for President Russell M. Nelson's devotional.

“Make no mistake about it: Your potential is divine. With your diligent seeking, God will give you glimpses of who you may become.” Nelson said.

To help them live their best lives, the prophet encouraged those listening to follow three more fundamental truths:

Know who you are

Nelson noted that among all the labels a person has, the most important one is a “child of God.”

“For Latter-day Saints, the next most important are ‘child of the covenant’ and ‘disciple of Jesus Christ,'” Nelson added.

“Tonight, I plead with you not to replace these three paramount and unchanging identifiers with any others, because doing so could stymie your progress or pigeonhole you in a stereotype that could potentially thwart your eternal progression,” Nelson said.

The prophet noted that people tag themselves or others with a variety of labels. Nelson said all of these labels or descriptors are minor and can become divisive.

“The adversary rejoices in labels because they divide us and restrict the way we think about ourselves and each other,” Nelson said. “How sad it is when we honor labels more than we honor each other. … Any abuse or prejudice towards another because of nationality, race, sexual orientation, gender, educational degrees, culture or other significant identifiers is offensive to our maker. Such mistreatment causes us to live beneath our stature as His covenant sons and daughters.”

Among the labels he included was being American — as he talked to a worldwide audience — and designating a difference between sexual orientation and gender.

However, these lesser labels used almost constantly should never replace or take priority over one’s true identity as a child of God, child of the covenant and disciple of Christ, Nelson told listeners.

“Make no mistake about it: Your potential is divine,” he said. “With your diligent seeking, God will give you glimpses of who you may become. … As you embrace these truths, our Heavenly Father will help you reach your ultimate goal of living eternally in His holy presence.”

Know what Heavenly Father and His son have offered you

“In short, they have offered you everything,” Nelson said. “Heavenly Father’s plan for His children allows us to live where and how He lives and ultimately to become more and more like Him. His plan literally makes the richest blessings of all eternity available to us, including the potential for us to become ‘joint-heirs with Christ.'”

God will do “everything He can, short of violating your agency, to help you not miss out on the greatest blessings in all eternity,” Nelson said.

Know the truth related to your conversion

Nelson said he wants everyone, particularly young adults, to own their spirituality and to have constant religious growth.

“If you have questions — and I hope you do — seek answers with the fervent desire to believe,” he said. “Learn all you can about the gospel and be sure to turn to truth-filled sources for guidance. We live in the dispensation when ‘nothing shall be withheld.’ Thus, in time, the Lord will answer all our questions.”

If young adults do these things, the prophet promised them “spiritual growth, freedom from fear and a confidence that you can scarcely imagine now. You will have the strength to have a positive influence far beyond your natural capacity. And I promise that your future will be more exhilarating than anything you can presently believe.”

Prior to President Nelson’s address, his wife spoke about one question that can change your life.

Sister Nelson invited the audience to ask this question: “What would a holy young adult do?”

Answering that question can change lives, she said. In preparing for the devotional, she challenged 30 young adults from various places in the world to take three days and act upon that question and to report their findings to her.

She said the response was amazing and noted some of the examples of when just one thing a day was done as if they were a “holy young adult” changed perspectives and lives.

“(It) can increase your confidence, decrease your anxiety, motivate you, lift your mood and your sights, increase your productivity, increase your focus and clarity of thinking, help you resist temptation, help you detect deception, increase your gratitude, decrease the stress in your life, increase your capacity to love and help you make better decisions,” she said.

Sister Nelson encouraged young adults to, as the Doctrine and Covenants teaches, “practice … holiness before (God) continually.”

“As you live your life in crescendo, trying to be just a little more holy day by day — and quickly repenting when you mess up — you will find joy in this life and eternal life in the world to come. And you will begin to experience, in a most profound and unforgettable way, exactly what our savior Jesus Christ promised when He said, ‘I am able to make you holy.'”

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