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3 Reasons We Need the Church, Not Just Religion + More Insights from President Nelson

Throughout his service in the Church, President Nelson has provided profound insight into the purpose of the Church on the earth today. Here is a small portion of those insights, excerpted from the new book Teachings of Russell M. Nelson.

This is part of an ongoing series where we highlight the teachings of our prophet weekly.

The Church is the way by which the Master accomplishes His work and bestows His glory. Its ordinances and related covenants are the crowning rewards of our membership. While many organizations can offer fellowship and fine instruction, only His Church can provide baptism, confirmation, ordination, the sacrament, patriarchal blessings, and the ordinances of the temple—all bestowed by authorized priesthood power. That power is destined to bless all children of our Heavenly Father, regardless of their nationality. . . .

This Church, established under the direction of Almighty God, fulfills promises made in biblical times. It is part of the “restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:21). It has been restored and given a name by the Lord Himself.

He issued this solemn warning: “Let all men beware how they take my name in their lips.” “Remember,” He added, “that which cometh from above is sacred, and must be spoken with care” (Doctrine and Covenants 63:61, 64). Therefore, just as we revere His holy name, we likewise revere the name that He decreed for His Church. (“‘Thus Shall My Church Be Called,’” Ensign, May 1990)

We Need Each Other

A large church is something like a large person. Each requires a strong heart. Each one of you is an important part of the heart of the Church. I love a good, strong heart! I know that a heart works better if each part works in perfect harmony with the others. I also know that, if those fibers don’t work in unison, the heart can stop pumping. That is just one of many lessons we can learn from the workings of the human heart.

As the Church continues to grow, it will bless the lives of more and more people throughout the world. So a larger heart and greater resources will be needed. From where do those resources come? They come from you, the faithful, tithe-paying members here at the heart of the Church. You dear members bear much of the burden of its growth. We all share the responsibility to “go . . . into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).

Yes, we need to keep the heart of the Church strong in order to keep pace with growth elsewhere. We need to rescue those among us who are not presently participating as actively as they might. We need their strength, and, more importantly, they need the blessings that will thereby come to them and their families. (“The Doctrine,” North America Southeast Area Stake Conference Broadcast, January 26, 2014)

The Sacred Name of the Church

I would like to speak about a name. We are all pleased when our names are pronounced and spelled correctly. Sometimes a nickname is used instead of the real name. But a nickname may offend either the one named or the parents who gave the name.

The name of which I shall speak is not a personal name, yet the same principles apply. I refer to a name given by the Lord: “Thus shall my church be called in the last days, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (Doctrine and Covenants 115:4).

Note carefully the language of the Lord. He did not say, “Thus shall my church be named.” He said, “Thus shall my church be called.” . . . Before any other name is considered to be a legitimate substitute, the thoughtful person might reverently consider the feelings of the Heavenly Parent who bestowed that name.

Surely every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord is precious. So each word in this name must be important—divinely designated for a reason. (“‘Thus Shall My Church Be Called,’” Ensign, May 1990)

The Purpose of the Church

Why did our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, initiate the Restoration of the gospel? Why did They open this last dispensation? Because there are two great divine promises that are, as yet, unrealized. Promise number one is that the people of scattered Israel will be gathered. The other promise, yet to be realized, is that the Lord will come once again to rule and reign here upon planet earth.

Thus, the purpose of the Church is threefold. It is the means by which the gathering of Israel will occur. It is the means by which the families of gathered Israel will be sealed in holy temples. And the Church is the means by which people of the world will be prepared for the Second Coming of the Lord. The Church is the organization that will help heaven to fulfill those two great promises. (“Planning with Purpose,” Priesthood Leadership Conference, Munich, Germany, June 8, 2013)

Lead image of President Nelson hugging children after a devotional in Asuncion, Paraguay, on Monday, Oct. 22, 2018. Image by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

Read more profound insights from our prophet in Teachings of Russell M. Nelson.

Internationally renowned as a surgeon, teacher, and man of great faith, President Russell M. Nelson has dedicated his life to healing hearts and ministering throughout his medical career and his Church service. This definitive volume of his teachings presents excerpts from his speeches and writings spanning more than three decades as an Apostle of the Lord, including many from his recent world tour and other unpublished addresses. Alphabetically arranged by topic, these teachings on more than 100 subjects provide a perfect, easy-to-use resource for talks, lessons, and more.

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