“We teach throughout the world that if our families will follow the example and the teachings of the Savior of the world, they are more likely to be happy, successful, and people of integrity,” Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles told local community leaders at a gathering in Nairobi, Kenya, during one of many activities and meetings while he fulfilled assignments that began in Madagascar and Malawi and ended in South Africa and Kenya.
During a week of meetings and events in both South Africa and Kenya, Elder Nelson reminded parents they should be good examples to their children. “You are their link to all the glorious prospects that are potential for them, so they listen to your message with real intent,” he said. He said real intent “means to listen with intention to obey.”
Elder Nelson taught that we should pattern our lives, both as individuals and as families, after the example of the Lord Jesus Christ, who loved people. “And when He loved people He served them. We have the opportunity in our homes and our families, [in] schools, [and] at church. When we love somebody we show it by doing something nice. So learn to serve, find a need, and fulfill a need. Surprise people with a good deed that they hadn’t planned on.”
Each Soul Has Great Worth
Elder Nelson said that “the single purpose of forming families and having those families sealed together in holy temples is so [that] we would be qualified to dwell in the presence of God after we graduated from mortality.”
He stressed that each soul is of great worth to God. “Don’t minimize your worth,” he said. “You are precious in the sight of the Lord. You [are] part of His glorious plan for His children.”
He quoted Moses 1:39, which says the work and glory of God is “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” He said, “Both of these goals were enabled by the Atonement of His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ. The Atonement of Jesus Christ made immortality a reality for all who have ever lived. … We get that gift, and all mankind gets that gift, whether we love God or not. Immortality is unconditional. It comes to all who have ever lived.”
However, he noted, “The second great objective of God, our Eternal Father, is that His children might have eternal life. That possibility was also enabled by the Atonement of Jesus Christ, but it takes more. We have to qualify for it, and we qualify by faith in God, repentance, being baptized by immersion, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. The end to which we endure is glorious, and it includes the endowment of the temple, so when you think of enduring to the end, finish spelling the word. Turn ‘end’ to ‘endowment,’ ” he said.
Go for Lofty Goals
He encouraged members not to lose sight of lofty goals. “You may say, ‘We don’t have much money; we have conditions of poverty.’ I can promise you that you’ll stay in [poor conditions] if you don’t follow the pattern of the Lord, who said that if you want to prosper you need to keep the commandments.”
In a meeting with civic officials, Elder Nelson traced the history of Church efforts to help those in need. “In 1985 when there was a very severe famine [in Africa], Church members throughout the world went without meals for a full day and contributed what they would have spent on food to a humanitarian fund for Africa. That started our humanitarian fund.” Today, Church contributions in Africa total millions of dollars each year.
The Book of Mormon Teaches Truth
Elder Nelson taught that “the Book of Mormon was given to the world as a gift, as an enabling tool to allow the promised gathering of Israel to take place.” He said one of the great truths that scripture teaches is that all things bear witness of the Creator.
“Someone once said that there is no God, that man happened by chance. Well, as a [former heart surgeon], I know that is not true. Every organ in the body is so well designed and so marvelous in its function and its ability to heal itself and repair itself and to take care of itself,” that our own bodies bear witness that there is a God, he said.
That is one reason, he said, why we need to keep our spirit, which resides in our body, free from contamination. “[Your brain is] recording everything you see and do. That’s why we caution you about pornography. It’s poison for the spirit. Now the body has a wonderful way of getting rid of most poisons. If you have a contaminated salad or soup or anything to eat, the body has a wonderful way to get rid of it, and in due time you’re well again. Or if you inhale something that’s not good, you can exhale and get rid of it. But there’s no elimination device in the brain for a memory, except repentance.”
“The only safeguard a person can have against the temptations of Satan,” Elder Nelson said, “has to come from inside. [A person must learn to say] ‘No, I will not watch this, I will not listen to this, I will not touch this.’ That great spiritual ability to deny yourself of all ungodliness can only come from within.”
Education Is Essential
Elder Nelson also taught that “education is one of your prime objectives. The glory of God is intelligence. Fill your mind with truth, more every day than there was the day before. Expose yourself to good books, to good thoughts, to good music,” he said.
“Education is the difference between simply wishing you could do something of value and being able to do something for your fellow men.”