President Nelson doesn’t offer challenges or invitations to Church members lightly. His wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, once explained that he honors people’s agency so much that “he doesn’t even want to use the word must in a talk.”
That respect for agency was evident during last general conference, as President Nelson conveyed his deep feelings by using phrases like “I urge you” and “I plead with you”—exhorting us to choose for ourselves to listen and act upon these specific invitations.
By my count, President Nelson called upon us to act ten different times during his three conference talks last October:
- Record your impressions from conference
- Learn how to protect others from abuse
- Ponder your covenants
- Cherish your covenants
- Take charge of your testimony
- Overcome the world through covenants
- Prepare for the Lord’s return
- Increase your efforts to seek God’s help
- Help gather Israel
- Focus on the temple
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Listed below is a heading for each invitation, followed by President Nelson’s exact words in a box, and then a list of simple questions and action items.
1. Record your impressions from conference
“Please make notes of thoughts that catch your attention and those that come into your mind and stay in your heart. Prayerfully ask the Lord to confirm that what you have heard is true” (Saturday morning). “I pray that you have recorded your impressions and will follow through with them” (Saturday afternoon).
- What phrases or concepts caught my attention most during this conference?
- What ideas of action—related or unrelated to what was being said—have popped into my head?
- Take notes as you study the addresses from this conference. Review your notes and ponder the things that stood out to you. Whatever rises to the top is where to direct your focus as you move forward with actions.
- One great resource for recording thoughts is the General Conference Addresses, Journal Edition, which contains the text of all the October 2022 conference addresses in one spiral-bound paperback. Extra-wide, lined margins give you space to record your impressions and document insights you receive.
2. Learn how to protect others from abuse
“I invite you to study them [the Church’s online resources for preventing abuse]. … I urge each of us to be alert to anyone who might be in danger of being abused and to act promptly to protect them” (Saturday morning).
- Why might Church leaders feel so strongly about protection from abuse?
- Why do I feel it is important?
- When have I seen or experienced the effects of abuse?
- What specific steps can I take to make sure I’m part of the solution?
- Take a few minutes to review the information provided by the Church that President Nelson mentioned.
- Get further information and ideas from this article: “Latter-day Saint mom: What the Church’s child abuse training taught me about protecting children.”
- Actively and consciously look for signs of abuse as you interact with others, both in and out of Church settings.
3. Ponder your covenants
“Making and keeping covenants actually makes life easier! [Covenant-making individuals are offered] increased access to the power of Jesus Christ. Please ponder that stunning truth!” (Sunday morning).
- Do I believe this statement is true? Why or why not?
- What about this truth is “stunning”?
- How have I experienced my covenants making my life easier and not harder?
- Purposefully set aside time to think deeply and prayerfully about this concept.
- Read more about President Nelson’s emphasis on covenants in this article: “Have you paid attention to the Hebrew word President Nelson keeps teaching about?”
4. Cherish Your Covenants
“Cherish and honor your covenants above all other commitments” (Sunday morning).
- What covenants have I made?
- What does it mean to cherish and honor them?
- How do I show the Lord that my covenants are important to me?
- What other commitments in my life have I allowed to come first, and why is that?
- What sacrifices or adjustments could I make?
Prayerfully come up with one or two actions you can take each day to focus on your covenants in ways that show the Lord and yourself that they take precedence over all other commitments. Ideas might include:
- Consciously ponder your covenants as you put on and wear temple garments. This article may offer helpful insights: “What the Church has actually said about wearing temple garments.”
- Do something to put the Lord first before picking up your phone in the morning, such as praying and reading scriptures.
- Pray for and act upon opportunities to lift others during the day as part of your baptismal covenant.
- Be more mindful about the media you consume and how it supports or undermines your covenants.
5. Take Charge of Your Testimony
“I … plead with you now—to take charge of your own testimony of Jesus Christ and His gospel. … Make the continual strengthening of your testimony of Jesus Christ your highest priority” (Sunday morning).
- Why is having a strong testimony important to me?
- How can I take more responsibility for my own testimony?
- What steps am I taking to strengthen it daily?
- How can I better confront or address my doubts?
- Ponder these statements that President Nelson offered as ways we can implement his invitation:
- “Work for it.”
- “Nurture it so that it will grow.”
- “Feed it truth.”
- “Don’t pollute it with false philosophies of unbelieving men and women.”
- Then “watch for miracles to happen in your life.”
- In the carousel below, read and ponder the quotes for when you have unanswered questions:
6. Overcome the world through covenants
“My plea to you this morning is to find rest from the intensity, uncertainty, and anguish of this world by overcoming the world through your covenants with God” (Sunday morning).
- What kind of rest do I most wish I had right now?
- How do my covenants help me find rest and overcome the pains, stresses, and sins of mortality?
Ponder these statements that President Nelson offered as ways we can implement his invitation:
- “Let [God] know through your prayers and your actions that you are serious about overcoming the world.”
- “Ask Him to enlighten your mind and send the help you need.”
- “Each day, record the thoughts that come to you as you pray; then follow through diligently.”
- “Spend more time in the temple and seek to understand how the temple teaches you to rise above this fallen world.”
7. Prepare for the Lord’s Return
Become and help prepare “a people who are able, ready, and worthy to receive the Lord when He comes again; a people who have already chosen Jesus Christ over this fallen world; a people who rejoice in their agency to live the higher, holier laws of Jesus Christ” (Sunday morning).
- How prepared do I feel to meet the Savior?
- In what ways am I helping to gather Israel and prepare the earth for the Second Coming?
- Which of God’s laws have brought me joy and peace?
Choose one way you could better prepare yourself or others to meet the Lord. Here are some ideas:
- Determine to more effectively study Come, Follow Me individually or with your family.
- Share the Book of Mormon or its teachings with someone else. (Elder Rasband even taught about how to share the Book of Mormon from our phones: “One way is by opening the Gospel Library app, going to the ‘Scriptures’ collection, and then tapping ‘Share Now’ at the top. Or from within the Book of Mormon app, you can tap the ‘Share’ icon, which displays a digital code that a friend can easily scan using his or her phone.”)
- Listen to “Joy to the World,” and think about how the words could refer to Jesus Christ’s Second Coming as well as His first:
8. Increase Your Efforts to Seek God’s Help
“Our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, stand ready to help you. I urge you to increase your efforts to seek Their help” (Sunday afternoon).
- In what areas of my life do I need the most guidance or support?
- How have I been seeking for help with it from the Lord?
- What could I do to improve my efforts in this area?
- Offer meaningful prayers asking for help—as you do, ask God to offer help or direction in ways you can recognize.
- Take time each night to think about and write how you saw the hand of the Lord that day.
- Ponder the love the Savior has for you as you watch this recording by the Tabernacle Choir:
9. Help Gather Israel
“Let us never lose sight of what the Lord is doing for us,” particularly as we gather Israel (Sunday afternoon).
- How has the Lord provided means for us to more effectively gather Israel?
- What role to temples play in Him hastening this work?
- How is He making it easier for us to become spiritually refined as individuals?
Join the greatest cause on earth by participating in the gathering of Israel. Aspects to choose from may include:
- Read from the Book of Mormon every day.
- Do some family history indexing.
- Watch someone’s children so she or he can attend the temple.
- Share your beliefs with those you interact with.
- Help someone else to feel they are seen and loved.
- Magnify your calling.
- Read this article by Elder Gerald Lund: “‘The most important thing taking place on earth today’: Why the gathering of Israel matters.”
10. Focus on the Temple
“May you focus on the temple in ways you never have before” (Sunday afternoon).
- In what ways am I already focusing on the temple?
- What are some new ways I can approach having a temple-focused life?
- In this same address, President Nelson added, “I promise that increased time in the temple will bless your life in ways nothing else can.” How has the temple made a difference in my life or the lives of those I love?
Explore one or two new ways you can create a greater temple focus in your life. Perhaps this includes:
- Spend time gathering family names to take to the temple. (This video is a great reminder of the importance of doing family history for temple work.)
- Participate in a temple ordinance you haven’t done recently.
- Attend a temple while traveling or on vacation.
- Place images of temples in your home.
- Take youth (your own or others’ children) to do baptisms in the temple.
- Help prepare a loved one to enter the temple for the first time.
- Read this article about some unique blessings of temple worship:
“8 blessings of the temple endowment people aren’t talking about”
Promises and Blessings Will Come
As you ponder and act upon President Nelson’s invitations, you are showing the Lord you want Him to prevail in your life, and you can expect to experience the following promises and blessings offered by our prophet:
“As you let God prevail in your life, I promise you greater peace, confidence, joy, and yes, rest. With the power of the holy apostleship vested in me, I bless you in your quest to overcome the world. I bless you to increase your faith in Jesus Christ and learn better how to draw upon His power. I bless you to be able to discern truth from error. I bless you to care more about the things of God than the things of the world. I bless you to see the needs of those around you and strengthen those you love” (Sunday morning, emphasis added).
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Pre-order the April 2023 General Conference Addresses, Journal Edition
The General Conference Addresses Journal Edition will have all the text of the April 2023 general conference addresses in one spiral-bound paperback. Extra-wide, lined margins give you space to record your impressions and to document the insights you receive. Create an enduring record to make the inspired teachings of general conference an ongoing part of your gospel learning.