October 2023 General Conference

President Nelson Issues Conference Invitation to ‘Think Celestial,’ ‘Put Jesus Christ First’

Church president and prophet teaches ‘what we do in this life really matters,’ and ‘the Savior’s Atonement is what makes our Father’s plan possible’

Nelson Conference October 2023
Nelson Conference October 2023
President Russell M. Nelson speaks during a pre-recorded message shown during the Sunday afternoon session of October 2023 general conference on October 1.© 2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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In his general conference message delivered Sunday, October 1, Church President Russell M. Nelson, who celebrated his 99th birthday on September 9, invited listeners to “think celestial,” and “put Jesus Christ first.”

Sharing “one of the most crucial lessons” learned from his near-century-long life, he said, “I have learned that Heavenly Father’s plan for us is fabulous, that what we do in this life really matters, and that the Savior’s Atonement is what makes our Father’s plan possible.”

Speaking from a seated position in the pre-recorded message shown at the end of the Sunday afternoon session, the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, regarded by Church members as a modern, living prophet, shared how intense pain from a recent back injury has increased his awareness of Jesus Christ’s suffering in Gethsemane and caused him to reflect on the greatness of the Savior.

“I have felt even deeper appreciation for Jesus Christ and the incomprehensible gift of His Atonement,” he said. “Think of it! The Savior suffered “pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind” so that He can comfort us, heal us, rescue us — in times of need.”

Christ’s infinite Atonement makes God’s plan for his children perfect. “It allows each of us to choose how we will live here on earth and where we will live forever,” he said.

When making a choice or being confronted with a dilemma, temptation, trial or opposition, President Nelson invited listeners to take an eternal view, “think celestial,” and “put Jesus Christ first,” “because your eternal life is dependent upon your faith in Him and in His Atonement. It is also dependent upon your obedience to His laws.”

“When you are confronted with a dilemma, think celestial!” he said. “When tested by temptation, think celestial! When life or loved ones let you down, think celestial! When someone dies prematurely, think celestial. When someone lingers with a devastating illness, think celestial. When the pressures of life crowd in upon you, think celestial! As you recover from an accident or injury, as I am doing now, think celestial!”

Thinking celestial will gradually change our heart, he said. “As you think celestial, you will find yourself avoiding anything that robs you of your agency,” such as addictions that replace God as the source for solace.

Thinking celestial helps us obey the law of chastity. “Immorality is the one of quickest ways to lose your testimony” and “no unchaste person will attain the celestial kingdom,” he taught.

Thinking celestial helps us view trials and oppositions in a new light. “Never take counsel of those who don’t believe,” President Nelson said. “Seek guidance from the voices you can trust — from prophets, seers, revelators and from the whisperings of the Holy Ghost.”

Thinking celestial, paying tithing, “choosing to live a virtuous life,” and spending time in the temple all build faith, he said.

Concluding his talk with the announcement of 20 new temple locations, the worldwide Church leader testified that “the Lord is directing us to build these temples to help us think celestial.”

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