It is a rare thing for a church leader to describe something so personal. I try to empathize with the experiences Elder Nelson described in his past two conference talks, and I have not. It feels too terrifying to me. I’m grateful for it, though. I can empathize with the end of the story. When I went to the temple for the first time and crossed into Manti’s Victorian parlor, I was greeted by people who I loved and who had spent decades away. I didn’t know at the time that those greetings would stay with me, and ultimately form a foundation of faith. There are ways to heal the fractures in our lives.
Today, after this introduction, Elder Nelson quickly pivoted to a cosmological framework that grew popular in the latter half of the twentieth century, and on which church leaders doubled down on in the last decade, viz., priesthood as the complete authority and power of God, by which he created the world. I find this all fascinating as a historian, of course. As a believer, though, it is the Christian inversion of power that I find compelling, regardless if it is nested in this particular cosmology or not. How do we attain power? By “faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, charity, and diligence.” May we all sound a resounding Amen.