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SALT LAKE CITY — In a time of turmoil, the leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reached out with a message of hope.
Russell M. Nelson, president of the church, addressed the issue of faith in God in an op-ed, a rare publication from a modern-day church president, published by invitation in the Arizona Republic Sunday.
He spoke of the need for faith in God in a time when that belief is rare and can be mocked.
“I fear that many are standing on the edge of a spiritual and emotional precipice,” President Nelson said in his op-ed.
“If our hearts are open to [God] — if we believe in the divinity of the Father and His Son — we can rise from the ashes of our lives and become the men and women we were sent to earth to become."
The op-ed ran in print the same day President Nelson was scheduled to address an estimated crowd of roughly 70,000 at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. President Nelson, who traveled the world in his time as an apostle, has kept up an exhausting pace as church leader, >ministering to members of the church worldwide.
President Nelson “seeks to minister to the church’s 16 million members while also striving to lift and influence countless others, not of his faith, through the church’s vast humanitarian and educational outreach services,” Deseret News opinion editor Boyd Matheson said an earlier op-ed that ran on KTAR.
Faith in God can heal emotional and spiritual wounds, President Nelson said in his op-ed. The 94-year-old church leader wrote of his time as a preeminent heart surgeon, when he pioneered heart technologies and physically healed hearts.
“But my skills could not heal heartache, or erase grief, or salve emotional wounds,” he said in the op-ed. “The most able minds cannot offer redemption from sin or heal our hearts from emotional pain. They cannot generate enduring hope or joy. They cannot promise life after death or the potential of being with loved ones beyond the grave. They cannot generate peace of mind. But God can.”
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Because I will be visiting and speaking with members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and friends of other faiths in Arizona later this week, I received an invitation from the Arizona Republic to share some thoughts with their readership. I am always grateful for an opportunity to share my thoughts and feelings. . I wrote that for the last 35 years I have traveled the world, meeting with millions of men and women in more than 130 countries. I’ve witnessed the effects of poverty and wealth, seen the impact of education and the lack thereof, met the high in station and the humblest of souls, and been gratified by humanitarian outreach from so many who care deeply about the human condition—including the Church I now have the privilege of leading. . But the most profound thing I’ve witnessed is the unrivaled difference that belief in God and His Son, Jesus Christ, has in a person’s life. There is simply nothing to compare with the refining, ennobling strength and meaning that come into the life of a devoted believer and servant. . The Savior has the capacity to heal you from sin and sadness, from despair and heartache. I have felt this personally again and again. . I am including a link to the article in my bio and invite you to read it if you would like. As you do, I encourage you to consider sharing how making God the center of your lives has filled your own heart with hope.
He invited those reading to turn their hearts to God so they can experience healing and peace.
“If our hearts are open to Him — if we believe in the divinity of the Father and His Son — we can rise from the ashes of our lives and become the men and women we were sent to earth to become,” President Nelson said in his piece.
President Nelson’s full op-ed is available to read on the Arizona Republic.