Church News and Events

Elder Nelson Promises Young Adults Blessings for Faithfulness

Contributed By Hikari Loftus, Church News and Events

  • 20 April 2011

Elder Russell M. Nelson, center, attends commencement activities at Brigham Young University-Hawaii.

Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Paul V. Johnson of the Seventy, Commissioner of the Church Educational System, addressed BYU–Hawaii graduates on April 9, 2011, promising that their continued obedience and faithfulness would affect many lives, especially their own.

Looking to the Past, Present, and Future.

“Prophetic visions of the past, of the present, and for the future come to you as a gift, to guide you to all that our loving Father in Heaven has in store for His faithful children,” Elder Nelson said as he reminded graduates of the prophetic vision President David O. McKay had the day he founded BYU–Hawaii, saying: “From this school, I’ll tell you, will go men and women whose influence will be felt for good toward the establishment of peace internationally.” He also said the college would be a factor in missionary work and would influence millions.

Elder Nelson then offered his vision of the graduates and their futures, warning that he had “good and bad news” to share. 

“You enter a world caught in a steep, slippery slide of diminishing moral values,” Elder Nelson said. “Against that backdrop, your character and integrity will let you stand out and shine like a lighthouse. If you are true and faithful, you will stand out in stark contrast to the surrounding masses mired in mediocrity. You will be anchored to eternal truth.”

Elder Nelson promised students that their faith and optimism would make them leaders in their communities, in their countries, and in the kingdom of God on earth. “It will be your privilege to proclaim the gospel to the world, teaching people of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, ” he said. 

Elder Nelson also emphasized the importance of obedience. 

“As you adhere to the standards of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you will be in great demand. . . . You will gain protection and spiritual strength in complete obedience,” Elder Nelson said. After all, he continued, those who do not stand for something will likely fall for anything. 

Elder Nelson encouraged graduates, quoting President Joseph F. Smith, to marry and marry in the faith, in the temple,1 and then warned against pornography, infidelity, and immorality.

“Young men, it is time for you to be men—men of God—who with women of God pursue progressive steps of love, courtship, marriage, and family,” Elder Nelson said. 

Elder Nelson closed by invoking an apostolic blessing upon those in attendance.

“I bless you with a deep desire to be devoted disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, that you will feast upon His words and apply them in your daily lives,” he said. “I bless you with continuing success in your occupational and educational endeavors, that you will be able to provide for your needs and be able to share your bounty with the poor and the needy. I bless you with health and strength to fulfill the measure of your creation.”

What Decisions Will You Make?

Elder Johnson related the story of his mission president, Gøsta Berling of Norway, who sustained heart valve damage as a child due to rheumatic fever. As Brother Berling grew older, heart surgery became necessary. A world-renowned physician performed surgery to insert a mechanical heart valve. Brother Berling subsequently served as a mission president and translated the Doctrine and Covenants into Norwegian.

Elder Johnson noted that President Berling had a great influence on his life and the lives of many others. He also noted that the surgeon who extended President Berling’s life was someone who made the most of his gifts and education, performed at the top of his profession, and was never sidetracked from the gospel of Jesus Christ or his family. That surgeon, he said, was Elder Russell M. Nelson. 

“If we develop our character, the Lord will use us to bless the kingdom and the world by blessing individuals. A surgeon’s act in 1971 on a person I did not know at the time continues to be a blessing to me,” Elder Johnson said.

Elder Johnson continued by asking what kinds of decisions the graduates would make in their lives and how they would use their education and the spiritual lessons they had learned.

“Whether you make contributions to the world in an operating room, a boardroom, a classroom, or most importantly, your own living room, you can and will make a difference in the world and the kingdom if you move forward with a righteous life,” said Elder Johnson.


  • 1. See Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 275.