SEATTLE, Washington — The president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was in Seattle Saturday, where he spoke to church members in the baseball stadium belonging to the Seattle Mariners.
It is by far the largest audience that President Russell M. Nelson has ever addressed in person. More than 49,000 Latter-day Saints gathered at Safeco Field tonight to hear his message of faith and hope, delivered right from the infield.
With a warm welcome, President and Sister Nelson, along with President Henry B. Eyring, were greeted with enthusiasm at the ballpark — an unusual setting for a church meeting, but it was needed to accommodate the number of local church members.
Speaking from just beyond second base, the infield was filled with 2,000 teenage Latter-day Saints, with church members from throughout western Washington, filling the stands to hear from President Nelson.
President Nelson said he had been to Seattle many times and had many happy memories in the city. In 1985, he was made an honorary member of the Seattle Surgical Society.
“I have been one of you ever since,” he said.
In his devotional, he stressed the importance of maintaining strong relationships with people across the world instead of dividing one another.
“We care deeply for our friends and neighbors the world over and are eager to build bridges of cooperation rather than walls of segregation,” he said.
He compared the journey of life to a rafting trip. Mostly, the ride is peaceful, but at times there are rough rapids, he said.
He also said church members need to consider the words of Christ and do what God would want members to do.
“Happiness lies in holding onto the restored gospel of Jesus Christ,” he said.
Joining President Nelson in Seattle was his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson. She said “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” was running through her head as she spoke, and she was craving a hot dog.
Speaking about when President Nelson was sustained in a solemn assembly ceremony earlier this year, Sister Nelson said she did not feel anxious.
“I felt an overwhelming feeling of peace,” she said. “It was a peace that surpassed my understanding.”
Latter-day Saints said hearing from their church leaders in person was an uplifting experience.
President Nelson will travel to Vancouver, British Columbia tomorrow and hold a similar devotional there.