Preparing for Conference, Looking Back

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North Star Board & Northern Lights Editors

One thing pretty much everyone agrees on, no matter your background, is how fast change seems to be happening all around us - both in society and in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. What would you have thought two years ago if someone had predicted home-centered church was coming - and home/visiting-teaching and the Boy Scouts were going away?  

Not everyone looks to these evolutions in our faith community with excitement or joy, of course. Too many of our precious brothers and sisters keep their distance from the Church and the gospel message they used to love. Even policy adjustments that might otherwise decrease barriers can still be experienced with ongoing confusion or disappointment.    

To our brothers and sisters who feel this way, we want you to know that we love you. If there’s any way we can lift your load, draw you closer, or help bring you joy, we want to know!  

As we look back, we feel our own peaceful confirmation at being led by a man we believe to be a prophet of God. In an interview following the dedication of the Concepción Chile Temple last fall, Sister Wendy Watson Nelson said of her husband: “I see the Lord pouring strength into him…every day to be strong. I've seen him be able to now do those things that have been in his heart. …I've seen him become younger. I've seen him become happier…because he's doing what he came to earth to do.”

Could the same be said of us, either now or in the future? Is there greater strength or happiness awaiting us as we also “do what we came to earth to do”?   

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Sister Nelson continued, “He is only reporting to the Lord, and he is fearless with that focus” - highlighting “his passion for preserving the agency of others”: “This is not a man who will say, ‘you must.’ In fact, he said to me the other day, ‘I don't even want to use the word “must” in any of my talks. I don't like that word.’ That is Russell Marion Nelson. He will never force the human mind.” 

We love that. This has been our experience with the gentle Lord as well. We’re grateful for this living, prophetic witness of Christ and the tender grace He offers each of us. As we look back and reflect on everything that has “come to pass” in recent years, we’re grateful that there is continuing, inspired guidance available to help us in these turbulent times.  

Are we willing to follow the prophet's lead - or convinced by others who offer themselves as a corrective to their leadership? Are we focused on bringing messages of repentance and faith to the world - or distracted by voices insisting on additional changes within the Church?

We pray the world will heed the continuing voice of prophetic warning and witness, and that we can add our own voices as a “cloud of witnesses” to this same message of goodness to the world. As we look to the future, may we unite our faith as a community that greater joy and peace can come to the many families and people dearly, desperately needing it - from the One who we know for ourselves provides comfort, hope and healing that lasts.