SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – In his Sunday morning address to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Russell M. Nelson emphasized gospel covenant-keeping as the only way to achieve the highest degree of heaven and have lasting relationships with family members in the hereafter.
Nelson began his remarks talking about his daughter Wendy’s death in November 2018. “I held her hands, told her how much I loved her and how grateful I was to be her father,” Nelson recounted. “I said ‘You married in the temple, you faithfully honored your covenants. You and your husband welcomed seven children in your home and raised them to be disciples of Christ and valiant church members….your daddy is very, very fond of you. You have brought me much joy.'”
“She quietly responded ‘Thank you, daddy.’” It was a tender, tearful moment for us.”
Nelson then recounted his visit to Paradise, CA during the wildfires that devastated the area last year, just 40 hours after his daughter passed away. He recounted the story of a police officer who desperately searched for his family during the fires, who was frantically asking himself “Where is my family?”
“You will be faced with that heart-wrenching question, ‘Where is my family?’” said Nelson, metaphorically applying the officer’s experience to members’ spiritual lives. “The spirit in each of us naturally yearns for family love to last forever.”
President Nelson then urged members to make and keep sacred covenants in Latter-day Saint temples, and urged nonmembers to accept the restored gospel of Jesus Christ which is only found, he said, in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“Listen to these words spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ to His prophet: ‘All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise…are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead,’” said Nelson, quoting the Doctrine and Covenants.
“So, what is required for a family to be exalted forever? We qualify for that privilege by making covenants with God, keeping those covenants and receiving essential ordinances,” said Nelson.
“The anguish of my heart is that many people whom I love, admire, and respect decline His invitation. They ignore the pleadings of Jesus Christ when He beckons, ‘Come, follow me,’” said Nelson, adding that resisting the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ means settling for “second best.”
He then pleaded with estranged members and nonmembers to accept the church’s message.
“I plead with you who have distanced yourselves from the Church and who have not yet really sought to know that the Savior’s Church has been restored. Do the spiritual work to find out for yourselves, and please do it now,” Nelson said.
“Time is running out,” he added.