I was personally impressed by a sister's notes taken on Elder Nelson's
talk, which she turned into a RS visiting teacher's message, so I
thought I'd share it with Zion-L, with her permission, of course. Sister
Meijerink-Sensor is originally from the U.S. but married a Dutchman and
moved to the Netherlands where she now resides, so she has kind of a
foot in both worlds. This isn't meant to be an argumentative message,
just a contemplative one.
A conference talk by the Apostle Elder Russell M. Nelson
Studied and annotated for use as a Relief Society Visiting Teaching
JanaLynn H. Meijerink-Sensor October 2002
Much has been printed about Elder Nelson’s talk entitled above by the
media of the United States in the days following the General
Conference. It was labeled as anti-war. It was called the Church’s
standpoint. It was rebutted and clarified. Indeed, at first glance, one
could put that anti-war stamp on it. Careful reading would bring you to
a pro-peace opinion. A study of Elder Nelsons words uncovers the full
message: Saints, get your focus tightly fixed upon the Kingdom of God.
As an Apostle of an international church Elder Nelson addresses a far
greater menace than earthly madmen and dictators. “Peace is a priority
that pleads for our pursuit,” is the subtopic of the talk. As we LDS
study these words knowing the correct principles and pondering the
footnoted scriptures that support the message we are given a template
to follow in that pursuit even, regrettably, to armed defense. The
message is clear: peace is to be built and made by those that follow
the commandments and no other.
We can say these are the latter-days, but since we know not the hour or
day of His coming, which latter day it is could be today or not. Thus
we have to be in a state of readiness and preparedness always. Now is
not too soon or too late to begin. It could be that we will be judged
upon our peacemaking efforts.
Peace versus Contention
This is a telling sub title. Most of us struggle not with war but with
contention for peace in our lives. Contention can build. The
scriptures in the footnotes describe a world state mirroring our
present. History continues to repeat itself, perhaps because in our
fallen state we are so slow to learn and to apply a divine precept or
two. So involved are we here below that we forget to look upwards. Even
as we struggle through our earthly travails we have a promise from
Doctrine and Covenants 45:
35 And I said unto them: Be not atroubled•, for, when all these things
shall come to pass, ye may know that the promises which have been made
unto you shall be fulfilled.
Yes, we are fallen folks and do not see the present situations clearly.
Some of the challenges we face are step stones to glory and some, often
that we make ourselves, are stones we trip on as we fumble without
God’s Light. There are diverse Scriptural pre-cursors listed by Elder
Nelson: secret combinations, brother against brother, Cain and Abel,
Esau and Jacob, Joseph and his brothers.
All fueled by jealousy and perceived inequalities and different
perspectives The footnotes direct us to Proverbs 29 which addresses the
intent of the heart, vision, discipline, and contention. Only if we
have righteous direction will we enjoy peace. We are introduced to the
rock upon which this talk is based: Keep the Commandments.
Conversion, that mighty change of heart, is paramount to magnify
properly our calling upon the earth. A strong testimony is not enough.
“Self-determination to live on a loftier level” takes great strength and
a tight focus upon the Kingdom of God. Only this brings the contentment
and joy which we are promised by the Father and His Son.
We as Saints must be so concentrated on the right. We are not left
clueless for this challenge. Doctrine and Covenants 59 gives us an
appropriate template by which we can pattern our lives and earn even on
contentment ant peace.
Elder Nelson repeats the Golden Rule; refers to the Law and the
Prophets. We are reminded that the path to the way of God is narrow. We
are as Saints expected to live even higher than the Golden Rule and
adhere to a higher law
The time of Mosaic Law is over. Christ’s atonement should have been
the last blood shed for atonement. Instead of maiming each other in the
Name of God, we are to minister to each other in humility and respect.
worth of souls is great in the eye of God.
We are bidden to seek reconciliation, we are forbidden to hold grudges.
We should guard against provocation; we should have charity. Charity
casts out fear and guides the Saint. We are asked to suspend judgment
and follow Christ’s example. Only God can judge the work of man rightly
Here in Mosiah chapter 4 is what we should be anxiously engaged upon:
14 And ye will not suffer your achildren• that they go hungry, or
naked; neither will ye bsuffer• that they transgress the laws of God,
and fight and cquarrel one with another, and serve the devil, who is the
master of sin, or who is the devil• spirit which hath been spoken of by
our fathers, he being an enemy to all righteousness.
15 But ye will ateach• them to bwalk in the ways of truth and
csoberness; ye will teach them to dlove• one another, and to serve one
another. 16 And also, ye yourselves will asuccor• those that stand in
need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that
standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the bbeggar• putteth up
his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.
17 Perhaps thou shalt asay•: The man has brought upon himself his
misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my
food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for
his punishments are just—
18 But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great
cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he
perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.
The few lines referring to civic duty expose the quandary in which some
of the Saints walk. As a people we oppose aggression, but we sustain
our loyalty to country. We are pro-obedience and pro-country. We do
defend our rights and liberties. We are commanded in Doctrine and
Covenants 59:6 Thou shalt not kill nor do anything like unto it.
We should hesitate to war (Alma 48):
23 Now, they were asorry• to take up arms against the Lamanites,
because they did not delight in the shedding of blood; yea, and this was
not all—they were bsorry• to be the means of sending so many of their
out of this world into an eternal world, cunprepared• to meet their
There are times when war is inevitable (from Alma chapter 43):
45 Nevertheless, the Nephites were inspired by a abetter• cause, for
they were not bfighting• for monarchy nor power but they were fighting
for their homes and their cliberties, their wives and their children,
and their all, yea, for their rites of worship and their church….
49 And it came to pass that they turned upon the Lamanites, and they
acried• with one voice bunto• the Lord their God, for their cliberty and
their freedom from bondage.
Note that a great prayer to God was part of the plan of defense.
Too, just exactly what kind of leaders are we following on earth? Here
is a fine example to seek: Moroni.
Strong, mighty, had perfect understanding, did not delight in
bloodshed, was at one with God, labored hard for the welfare and safety
of the people, never gave offense. Here is the sort of leader to
>From Alma 46 we see what part of the preparation for war should be:
13 And he fastened on his head-plate, and his abreastplate•, and his
shields, and girded on his armor about his loins; and he took the pole,
which had on the end thereof his rent coat, (and he called it the
btitle• of liberty) and he cbowed himself to the earth, and he prayed
mightily unto his God for the blessings of liberty to rest upon his
brethren, so long as there should a band of dChristians• remain to
possess the land—
We can see in Alma 48 how righteous battles are fought. God makes known
the plan. God delivers the righteous. God is a part of it all.
Peace is Possible
How true! But only when the seed of Abraham begin to act like the seed
of Abraham and choose for themselves, as Abraham did, the blessings of
the Fathers (See Abraham 1:2) for this is to whom the promises of peace
This is a personal quest and challenge.
1. the blessings and rights of the fathers.
2. ordination to administer the rights and blessings of the father
3. to be a follower of righteousness
4. to possess great knowledge
5. to be a patriarch
6. to be a prince of peace
7. to be open to instruction
8. to keep the commandments
9. the High Priesthood of God.
10. we are grafted into this heritage. Have we honored it? If we honor
our covenant we are untouchable and need not fear as the anointed ones.
There are a few million of us who should be, could be, ready to lead our
brothers and sisters into the peace and prosperity of Zionic life.
Promise after promise is given as the mantra “keep the commandments” is
As Saints, collectively, how can we build peace?
· Begin to raise our eyes up unto the glory of the Lord; be still
and know that he is God.
· Concentrate on the commonalities of our Brothers and Sisters
instead of the differences.
· Turn to the blessings of Abraham (Abr.1:2)
· Live as if the Gathering had come
· Live to higher standards
· Trust in the Lord
· Focus on the things of God
· Study the prophets
· Turn your hearts, and the children’s
If anything, Elder Nelson issued a Declaration of War. War against
Satanic distractions which keep us from the higher law. War upon our
weaknesses that keep us from seeing the Plan of Light. War on evils
which surround us. War on the stumbling blocks to a true Zion world.
Saints, lay up your ammunition: words of reconciliation, words of
prayer, works of charity, family history and temple work, compassionate
service to all.
Saints lay your fortifications well and put on the full armor. Begin in
the home and end in the kingdom of God.
My Sisters, I began this study to see what all the furor was about and
then decided to share my findings with you. I hope this is the start of
some great lessons. I hope this helps you study a bit harder. Most of
all I hope that this will bring you the great comfort and blessing it
Marc A. Schindler
Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada -- Gateway to the Boreal Parkland
“We do not think that there is an incompatibility between words and
deeds; the worst thing is to rush into action before the consequences
have been properly debated…To think of the future and wait was merely
another way of saying one was a coward; any idea of moderation was just
an attempt to disguise one’s unmanly character; ability to understand a
question from all sides meant that one was totally unfitted for action.”
– Pericles about his fellow-Athenians, as quoted by Thucydides in “The
Note: This communication represents the informal personal views of the
author solely; its contents do not necessarily reflect those of the
author’s employer, nor those of any organization with which the author
may be associated.
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