“Welcome Message,” President Russel M. Nelson, April 2021 General Conference – Saturday Morning Session
Not even having read this message yet, the only thing that I have done is prayed to understand the words of the Prophet. In reading the title, which appears mundane and unimpressive, there is a micro-sermon on inclusion. Everyone is welcome in this Church and to this conference.
I am part of a global family of disciples of the Christ. This was the take-home message at the end of my mission. The sister at the airport who I had never met during my two years as a missionary giving me a parting gift for my service to her country as an emissary of the Lord Jesus Christ; the YSA sister that I met once in Liberia on an exchange; these disciple of the Christ in the far-flung regions of this beautiful earth, connected by covenant, these are your brothers and sisters.
There is an invitation here to consider what has changed in my thinking since the start of the pandemic. This invitation (actually not, but made in the form of an observation) is two-fold:
- What things didn’t I know before the pandemic?
- What did I previously know but gained new insights on, or was brought to consider it in a different light? (“Some lessons that I knew before have been written on my heart in new and instructive ways.”)
Pres. Nelson starts his remarks by pointing to Christ and testifying of how he and his counselors see the Lord directing his work in very personal ways. Things are speeding up. The Lord is directing the “hastening of his work.” Pres. Nelson is telling us what is going on. This is different than in times past, where I’ve heard other say the Lord is directing his work. There is a speeding up process, steps forward in significant ways.
Testimonies are built in our homes. “Testimonies are best cultivated in the home.” I’m going to need to let that sit on me for a few days. If testimonies are best cultivated in the home, what does that mean? Living life in a gospel-oriented fashion. Facing challenges with gospel perspective and insight.
He talks about the renovation process or what it means to “dramatically increase the study of the Gospel in our homes” by referencing what is happening to the Salt Lake Temple right now.
The Lord needs a people worthy and willing to prepare the world for the Second Coming of the Lord.
But the core of his open is message was on repentance.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of repentance. Because of the Savior’s Atonement, His gospel provides an invitation to keep changing, growing, and becoming more pure. It is a gospel of hope, of healing, and of progress. Thus, the gospel is a message of joy! Our spirits rejoice with every small step forward we take.
Connecting repentance to joy… our spirits rejoice when they are growing, that growth happens when we are repenting. Oh this is so hard to grapple with personally!
Welcome to general conference and to the privilege of hearing the voice of the Lord.
Why would we want to hear the voice of the Lord, if it wasn’t to change?