Feature Stories

The story behind Pres. Nelson’s interaction with a little girl after the first session of conference

YouTube screenshot

Many watching the general conference broadcast noticed the beginning of an exchange at the end of the Saturday morning session. President Russell M. Nelson and his wife Sister Wendy W. Nelson were leaving the stand when they suddenly turned and exchanged waves with a little girl. They were seen motioning to her to come to them, but then the screen changed to an outdoor shot of the Conference Center. But what happened next with that little girl? Well, the story is too good to keep to ourselves.

Hayley Harrison is an eight-year-old from Layton, Utah, who had been looking forward to attending general conference for the first time. The night before conference, she told her mother, Angela, that she wanted to shake President Nelson’s hand.

Eight-year-old Hayley Harrison on her first visit to the Conference Center for general conference.

“I told her she would be able to see him and wave, but probably not shake his hand,” Angela wrote in an Instagram post. “She told me she was going to say a prayer, and ask that she could shake his hand.”

When asked why she wanted to shake the prophet’s hand, Hayley replied, “I wanted to shake President Nelson’s hand so I could feel God’s love for me. I thought shaking the prophet’s hand would be like shaking Jesus’s hand.”

So Hayley prayed, and on Saturday morning, she and her grandma went to the Conference Center and arrived early so that she could see the Christus statue and the replica of the Salt Lake Temple. She enjoyed the session of conference, and when the session was over, millions around the world watched the beginning of the fulfillment of Hayley’s answered prayer.

“President Nelson shook my hand and said hi to me,” Hayley recalls. “Sister Nelson said I was cute and had a pretty white dress.”

For her parents who watched the moment on television along with the rest of us, it was a powerful testament to the power of prayer.

“Her sweet prayer was answered,” her mom wrote. “A reminder to me that prayers are answered.”

Hayley says she went home and wrote in her journal about her experience. She calls it one she will always remember. Her mom says she hopes it will be something she never forgets.

“As a mother, it has been special to see Hayley have a testimony building experience,” Angela says. “An experience that is all her own and that will hopefully help her as she grows older.”

Watch the beginning of the interaction in the player below.

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