Elder Russell M. Nelson: Power #ldsconf

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.


  1. Kebtend says:

    “How do we attain power?” Apparently the first requisite is being a man.

  2. J. Stapley says:

    Kebtend, that is an interesting thing with the movement in the last couple of years to describe all authority and power as priesthood. This extends prieshtood power to men and women equally in the church. Sherry Dew’s recent book on women and the prieshtood is exasperating in many ways, but also fascinating on this (and several other) points.

  3. Kebtend says:

    Um, no it doesn’t extend power to men and women equally in the church. If they actually did that, that would be nice.

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