I believe people may not realize the grand scale of the most powerful sermon in General Conference and, perhaps, the most powerful sermon ever given by President Russell M. Nelson.
When I say that, I am not exaggerating or trying to hook you in; I am simply stating the importance of a sermon given by a chosen Prophet of God. This sermon was and is meant for everybody, as it outlines the path we must take to return to our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ in the Celestial Kingdom.
It came as a hopeful plea from a man who has dedicated his entire life to Jesus Christ. President Russell M. Nelson has announced, including the 20 new temples from October 1st, 153 new temples since 2018- more temples than any other Prophet.
President Nelson’s address focused on a few topics: Family, Marriage, The Plan of Salvation, The Celestial Kingdom, and Our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Let’s begin with Family.
President Nelson taught, “When someone you love attacks truth, think Celestial and don’t question your testimony. The Apostle Paul prophesied that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. There is no end to the adversaries’ deceptions. Please be prepared. Never take counsel from those who do not believe. Seek guidance from voices you can trust from prophets, seers, and revelators, and from the whisperings of the Holy Ghost, who will show unto you the things what ye should do.”
I would bet that we all have family members who have attacked the church and the truths that it teaches or maybe have left the church entirely. Those family members may put us on edge or push us to question our faith and our membership in the church. However, when these things happen, President Nelson offers his prophetic counsel to “think celestial.”
What does that mean? It comes from the Plan of Salvation that was given by God through modern-day Prophets and Apostles. God has outlined 3 different kingdoms we can inherit according to our wothiness: Celestial, Terrestrial, and Telestial. The aim and mission of the Church of Jesus Christ is to help its members, and the world, to return to the Celestial Kingdom where God and Jesus Christ reside.
With that brief explanation in mind, we can begin to understand what President Nelson was teaching when he said to think Celestial. When we exercise our agency, we are deciding which kingdom we would like to inherit. For example, President Russell M. Nelson said, “Thus, if we unwisely choose to live telestial laws now, we are choosing to be resurrected with a telestial body.” We decide whether or not we will spend eternity with Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father in the Celestial Kingdom.
You may wonder, if there are telestial laws, what laws do we need to follow to end up in the Celestial kingdom? President Nelson answers this question throughout the entirety of the talk.
“The Lord has clearly taught that only men and women who are sealed as husband and wife in the temple, and who keep their covenants, will be together throughout the eternities. He said, “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 … have an end when men are dead.”
Thus, any marriage that begins with a vow will surely end, just as they say, “till death do us part.” Marriage in the temple is the only way we can be sealed to our spouse and offspring for time and all eternity. As such, This marriage sealing is required for us to obtain the highest degree of glory in the celestial kingdom.
Now, let’s focus a little more on the eternal truth that President Nelson clearly stated, that marriages in the temple will be eternal through a temple sealing, but only between a husband and a wife. There is no other relationship that God ordains other than this union. Even further, President Nelson taught, “Physical intimacy is only for a man and a woman who are married to each other.” Regardless of the “love” they feel for each other, homosexual intimacy will not lead to celestial glory.
I truly cannot think of a more painful thing than being separated from your family and spouse in the eternities. When people talk of hell, and what it may be like, I can promise you that that would surely be mine. One of the greatest gifts of the gospel of Jesus Christ is living with our families for time and all eternity. The traditional, “ till death do us part” is something I consider more of an insult than a vow of love. It is practically telling the person, “I love you…but only enough till you die. After that, I don’t want to be with you.” That is not love. Love in its purest form is found only within an eternal marriage. With that sealing, and only with that sealing, we are able to kneel across from the altar and be able to say, “I love you with a love that never ends. I covenant, with God and Jesus Christ, to spend eternity with you and our children.” That is eternal love.
Scrolling through social media, I saw many people full of rage towards our dear President Nelson and his prophetic words. It is appalling to see how many of God’s children have fallen into the deceptions and snares of satan; the father of evil is who turns their hearts away from the Savior and fills them with anger at the thought of eternal families.
Do not let your heart be taken by satan. Do not follow his enticing voice to raise up anger against the one and only true Prophet of God. Do not let him convince you that it is worth the risk to date a member of the same sex. Do not believe his lies that marriage till death is enough. Do not waste your life listening to him instead of listening to God through His Prophet. The anger, pain, and sorrow you feel is not a result of President Nelson’s address but is from satan.
Let me reiterate this quote from President Nelson: “When someone you love attacks truth, think celestial, and don’t question your testimony. The Apostle Paul prophesied that “in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils. There is no end to the adversary’s deceptions. Please be prepared. Never take counsel from those who do not believe. Seek guidance from voices you can trust—from prophets, seers, and revelators and from the whisperings of the Holy Ghost, who ‘will show unto you all things what ye should do.’”
We are in the latter times spoken of by Paul. God is warning you through President Nelson to repent and join the gathering of Israel. God and Jesus Christ need you fully in their own church. The time is now.
To conclude, I echo the words of God’s chosen prophet on the earth today, “I plead with you to repent. Come unto Christ and receive His promise of complete forgiveness as you fully repent of your sins.” As someone who has seen the atonement of Jesus Christ bless my life in countless ways, I can promise you without a doubt that it is never too late to be forgiven by God through the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ. Please, turn your heart to Him. Please read this talk in its entirety and I promise it will bless your life as much as it did mine.
Your prayers and questions will be answered and you feel the peace that only comes through Jesus Christ; it is my prayer that you will come unto Jesus Christ. I know that if you do that you will find love without end from both your Father in Heaven and His Son that you cannot find anywhere else. I know it because I have lived it. I have been that wandering sheep in the wilderness for more years than I would like to admit. I plead with you to avoid the mistakes I’ve made and to come unto Jesus Christ now. Avoid the pain, the sorrow, the grief, the anger, and all other negative things that are found when not following Jesus Christ. And for those that have made the same mistake as I, please believe me as I say that you can come fully back into the Church. It may take years of repentance or painful feelings of Godly sorrow and regret, but it is beyond worth it. The second you choose to repent, I promise that Jesus Christ will enter your life and be by your side through every step of the process.
I add my personal witness to President Nelson’s: God and Jesus Christ love you. I have felt it every day of my life and I promise you can feel it too if you come unto Him.
One day soon, Jesus Christ will return in all His power and glory to the earth. When that day comes, I know He will wrap us in His arms and say, as tears stream down our cheeks, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”
Written by: Josh Nelson
Guest Contributor at the Cougar Chronicle
The Cougar Chronicle is an independent student-run newspaper and is not affiliated with Brigham Young University or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.