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Prophet Blesses Australian Saints to Be a ‘Light and Attraction’ to Fellow Citizens

President Nelson emphasizes the power of the Book of Mormon

President Russell M. Nelson reminded a capacity crowd of 8,000 Latter-day Saints Sunday night at the International Convention Centre in Sydney of the power and importance of the Book of Mormon in their personal lives and in the growth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Australia.

The prophet noted that Church growth in Australia has tripled since his call as an Apostle in 1984.

“Often I am asked, ‘What’s the reason for this growth?’” 94-year-old President Nelson said during the third stop in his nine-day Pacific ministry to seven countries. “[I] answer, ‘Because the Book of Mormon is true.’ Think of its two purpose statements — one, for the convincing of Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ and, two, that God will remember His covenant made with the House of Israel and that Israel will be gathered in these latter days. The instrument by which that gathering of Israel will take place is the Book of Mormon. Without the Book of Mormon, there would be no gathering of Israel.”

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President Nelson spoke to the assembled Saints about the unique contribution of the Book of Mormon to the world’s treasure chest of spiritual knowledge. He detailed what the book is, what the book is not, what the book affirms, what the book refutes and what the book clarifies. (The prophet spoke on this same topic at a recent general conference in October 2017. See “The Book of Mormon: What Would Your Life Be Like without It?”)

Noting the Book of Mormon teaching that men and women are free to choose their path in life, President Nelson said his experience from nearly 10 decades of life shows that “if you want to be happy, you choose the ways of the Lord. And if you want to be really miserable, choose the paths and the temptations of the adversary.”

He concluded his remarks with a blessing for all Australian Latter-day Saints to increase their love for Jesus Christ and to be good neighbors and citizens in their communities.

“I bless you to love the Lord Jesus Christ and to feast upon His words, particularly as they are divinely given to you in the Book of Mormon,” said President Nelson, who himself dedicated Australia for the preaching of the gospel in November 1993. “I bless you that you will apply those teachings into your lives so you can be a light and attraction to your friends and neighbors who are not yet with you in the church.”

President Nelson flew from Samoa to Sydney on Sunday with his wife, Wendy, and Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Susan.

In her remarks at the Sunday evening devotional, Sister Nelson shared deeply personal experiences with prayer and accepting the will of God in her life. She then asked and encouraged the audience, “Brothers and Sisters, what does the Lord want to have happen with your life? He knows what will be best for you and for me. Even though we know this, sometimes we have a hard time emulating the Savior’s prayer, ‘Thy will be done.’ … The heavens will open when we pray, ‘Thy will be done’ — and when we are so eager to know the mind and will of the Lord that we are willing to have him bring us something even better than our heart desires.”

Elder Gong shared several experiences from Latter-day Saints around the world who have been blessed through prayer with inspiration in their lives. “In each of our circumstances — I know that those circumstances are so varied across our Saints here in Australia — I pray that you will have faith in the continuing revelation that comes to the Church as the Church. And I pray that you will find and feel and be grateful for the revelation that will come to you in your lives, suited to your needs, in your joys and in your sorrows, when you are on your knees, when you’re waiting and expecting and living for the blessings of the Lord, which He will honor in His time and in His way.”

Sister Gong spoke of the value of learning from others and applying those lessons in the context of what it means to follow Jesus Christ.

“We live in a unique time,” Sister Gong said. “This is a time where many things that are precious and true are less understood and less valued — characteristics like courage, sacrifice, repentance, chastity, fidelity, integrity, meekness. These are not things unique to the gospel of Jesus Christ — we share them with other faith communities. But they are increasingly rare in our society today. I believe it is by coming together and learning from one another that we are able to learn what these principles should mean in our lives. [We should] open our hearts to our brothers and sisters and their lived experience, especially in the gospel of Jesus Christ, that our testimonies may be deepened.”

Prior to the devotional, the Church leaders met and answered the questions of young adults.

President Nelson’s Pacific ministry visits began Friday in Kona, Hawaii, where he held a devotional meeting. From there he traveled on Saturday to Apia, Samoa, where he spoke to Latter-day Saints at an outdoor meeting. He also met with Samoan government and faith leaders.

Pacific Ministry

The Pacific ministry runs May 16–25, 2019. On Monday, the senior Church leaders will travel to Wellington and Auckland, New Zealand. Other scheduled stops include Suva, Fiji; Nuku‘alofa, Tonga; and Papeete, Tahiti, where the prophet will attend a 175th anniversary cultural program celebrating the arrival of the first missionaries to French Polynesia.

Global Church

The Church, headquartered in Salt Lake City, has more than 16.3 million members worldwide and more than 200 temples either in operation, announced, under construction or being renovated around the world.

Nearly 154,000 Latter-day Saints reside in Australia. The country has five operating temples, located in the cities of Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

President Nelson was sustained as the 17th president of the Church in January 2018. Since that time, he has traveled to Europe, Africa, Asia, North America and South America to minister to Latter-day Saints and meet with government and religious leaders, as well as the media.

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