In case you didn’t hear, my Church called a new President. We really believe that God has given us a new prophet after the death of President Thomas S. Monson. It wasn’t any surprise to us that it is now President Russel M. Nelson as the prophet of God. A friend summed it up nicely when he said, “Only in the Mormon church would they replace a 90-year-old man with a 93-year-old man!” But unlike a popularity contest or a democratic vote, there’s a system set up as to whom our next prophet will be. There’s still room for change in that system, but I highly doubt we’ll ever see it deviate. Our church is quite proud of being a “house of order.”
I’m sure everyone has or will have their own experience about our new Prophet and that he is called from God (if not, I invite you to), but I wanted to write my own witness down in a place I would easily come back to and re-read. There was both a special virtual meeting for the members and a press conference to announce who would be our new Prophet/President. I actually watched it 15 minutes behind everyone else because I didn’t keep track of the time (I wish that wasn’t as common as it is. Just glad watching it right behind everyone was even possible). The whole member portion of the broadcast was fine, not really a surprise, but still interesting. It was nice hearing each of the called First Presidency address us. Elder Oaks has always been a powerhouse, and Elder Eyering is my daughter’s favorite. I loved President Uchdorf, too – who is now back in the quorum of the 12, just like when we rearrange a Young Women Presidency – but it seemed like he was everyone’s favorite and was utilized a LOT, so I’m excited to see a change. He will do well in his new assignment. As far as my previous feelings toward President Nelson: He trained the man who saved my grandfather’s life, so there’s that. But that’s not a testimony. That’s knowing he’s a world-renown surgeon and a pioneer in his field.
At the broadcast their messages to the members were all nice. I’m happy that Elder Oaks (President Oaks) let us all know that even though President Nelson is old, he’s still in excellent health and very active. Once again, he’s 93!
Then, there was a news conference where they took a few questions. It was such a juxtaposition to see the things interesting to the Saints and the things interesting to the news media. They wanted to know if his opinion was any different than the previous prophet. Members of the Church were not surprised to be reminded that it’s not President Nelson’s opinion that matters. It’s God’s opinion. Which is the same with President Nelson as it was for President Monson. I loved watching President Nelson put people first over and over in his answers. He talked about how he knew the newscasters before he ever answered their questions. Sometimes he’d even forget the questions. Knowing and Loving the people is important to him. President Monson always said, “Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved.” President Nelson exemplified this during the press conference.
One of the questions (an early question. No surprise. It’s what the Media has focused on) asked how President Nelson felt about LGBTQ agendas. When President Nelson’s response was that they are children of God and paused to let that soak in, my heart soared. I was thinking to myself, “of course that’s the question. But the answer wont change because it’s not his answer, it’s Gods.” And then hearing a reminder that everyone is a child of God… That is all it took for my testimony to find it’s roots. Not only did President Nelson zoom the focus back out to everyone – everyone is a child of God – but isn’t that always the answer? So many problems become minuscule when you remember that the person in question is important to Heavenly Father. The thing about testimonies is that it’s not just about the logical. My testimony of the newest prophet of God isn’t just coming from my head. That’s the amazing thing about testimonies. Once the roots settle, your whole body, mind, and soul just … know. I know that President Nelson is a prophet of our church, my church. I know that he was called of God. He’s not just some old guy giving old-world advice. He is our Prophet. He is called of God. I look forward to a continued re-training of my thoughts as I hear his messages at conference. Thinking of him as more than a surgeon, but as the man that God has called to lead his church. He is just what God can use right now. He’s clear and concise and simple.
But mostly, He’s my Prophet.