- As each of our beloved prophets has passed on, it is only natural to feel a sense of sorrow and loss. But our sadness is tempered by the joy and hope that come as we experience one of the great blessings of the Restoration: the calling and sustaining of a living prophet on the earth.
THE PASSING OF A PROPHET
- On January 2, 2018, our dear prophet Thomas S. Monson passed to the other side of the veil. He will forever have a place in our hearts. President Henry B. Eyring offered sentiments at President Monson’s passing which succinctly describe our feelings: “The hallmark of his life, like the Savior’s, will be his individual concern in reaching out to the poor, the sick—even all individuals—worldwide.”
THE APOSTOLIC INTERREGNUM
- The most recent interregnum period began when President Monson passed away on January 2 and ended 12 days later on Sunday, January 14. On that Sabbath morning, the Quorum of the Twelve met in the upper room of the Salt Lake Temple in a spirit of fasting and prayer, under the presiding direction of President Russell M. Nelson, the senior Apostle and President of the Quorum of the Twelve.
CALLING OF A NEW PROPHET
- In this sacred and memorable meeting, following a well-established precedent in unity and unanimity, the Brethren were seated by seniority in a semicircle of 13 chairs and raised their hands first to sustain the organization of a First Presidency and then to sustain President Russell Marion Nelson as President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This sustaining was followed by the Quorum of the Twelve gathering in a circle and placing hands upon the head of President Nelson to ordain and set him apart, with the next most-senior Apostle acting as voice.
- President Nelson then named his counselors, President Dallin Harris Oaks, President Henry Bennion Eyring, with President Oaks as the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and President Melvin Russell Ballard as the Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Following similar sustaining votes, each of these Brethren was set apart to his respective office by President Nelson. This was a deeply sacred experience, with an outpouring of the Spirit. I offer to you my absolute witness that the will of the Lord, for which we fervently prayed, was powerfully manifest in the activities and events of that day.
Elder David B. Haight described a previous occurrence of what we participated in today:
- “We are witnesses to and participants in a most sacred occasion—a solemn assembly to act upon heavenly things. As in olden times, there has been much fasting and prayer offered by the Saints throughout the world that they may receive an outpouring of the Spirit of the Lord, which is so much in evidence … on this occasion this morning. A solemn assembly, as the name implies, denotes a sacred, sober, and reverent occasion when the Saints assemble under the direction of the First Presidency.”
- Brothers and sisters, we can rejoice—even shout, “Hosanna!”—that the Lord’s mouthpiece, a prophet of God, is in place and that the Lord is pleased that His work is being done in the way that He has divinely prescribed.
PRESIDENT RUSSELL M. NELSON
- This divinely ordained process leads to another divinely called prophet. Just as President Monson was one of the grandest inhabitants to grace this earth, so is President Nelson. He has been profoundly prepared and specifically tutored by the Lord to lead us at this time. It is a great blessing to now have dear President Russell M. Nelson as our loving and devoted prophet—the 17th President of the Church in this final dispensation.
Elder Stevenson tells a few stories from the life of President Nelson. He speaks about his demeanor, the way he treated others, and how he has been an inspiration for many around the world for his life before being called to be an apostle and after.
Receiving a testimony for ourselves of the divine calling of President Nelson is needed. We don't need to question the Lord's process of calling a new President of the Church. The Lord has a process in place for calling his prophets and apostles and we can gain a testimony of the divine way through prayer and fasting. I know that the Lord calls his prophets and knows the way that things will progress. President Nelson is suppose to be the Lord's mouthpiece today and I gladly sustain and support him in all he does.