I just sat facing President Nelson during a Sacrament meeting today and what I experienced will change my life. Here’s how it happened:
On Saturday, I was with a few of my friends and coworkers in the mountains when I received an email from our bishop that went out to all ward members:
“It will be our honor and privilege to have our prophet, President Russell M Nelson, and his wife, Sister Wendy W Nelson, attend and speak in our Sacrament meeting tomorrow Sunday, September 23rd at 11:00 am.” said the email.
We found out last minute. The bishop found out last minute. It was a surprise to all of us.
My first internal reaction upon reading the email was: “Sweet. I’ve never been anywhere near one of our prophets before.”
My second internal reaction upon reading the email was: “I want to know if this man really is a prophet of God.”
I don’t know why, but as I was hauling through the most beautiful fall mountain landscape, all of the sudden I got this burning desire to receive a witness as to whether or not this was God’s prophet on the earth today.
Throughout my life, I’ve never really asked God to give me a witness of any of the prophets. Maybe that makes me a bad member of the church or a drone or something. I don’t know. I’ve just sort of accepted and sustained the prophets for who they were. I rarely ask God definitive questions about the church because historically, I’ve never really felt like I received a direct answer. Maybe I’m not close enough to the spirit, but I’ve always felt like I needed to put in a great deal of effort and research to get the answers to the questions I asked.
So, as of late, I would just go straight to the research and skip the going to God in prayer part.
But out in those mountains on Saturday, these distinct words would not leave my mind:
I try not to sensationalize things… but I’m telling you, I feel like God wanted me to ask Him in prayer if this great and yet fallible man that would sit in front of me was his authorized prophet on the earth today.
So I said a specific prayer on Saturday asking God to reveal to me during sacrament meeting whether President Nelson was his prophet and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was on the right track.
I didn’t have as much faith as Joseph Smith did as he entered into the sacred grove. I didn’t expect an answer to my prayer. I figured that I would have to continue trudging along as I always do, hoping that the Lord is in charge and that I’m in the right place.
But something happened to me that has only happened one other time in my life, a time in which I was deciding to go on a mission or not. It was a crucial time for me, one of those fork in the road moments.
Maybe God saw that today, Sunday September 23, was another one of those crucial times in my life because in some indescribable way, God spoke to my soul through the power of the Holy Ghost.
I don’t ever understand what people are talking about when they talk about a burning in the bosom. I’ve always experienced the Holy Ghost the way Joseph Smith described it… as pure intelligence pouring into you and enlightening your mind.
But within seconds of the meeting starting, I locked my eyes on President Nelson and something happened that had nothing to do with my mind or intellect.
This feeling, this burning, this light, this warmth welled up inside of me.
The words in my mind followed:
“This is the answer to your prayer. This is my prophet and this Church is my Church.”
I couldn’t speak. Just water in my eyes. Within 5-10 seconds, I knew as well as anything tangible that I had received an answer to my prayer… and that is an anomaly for me.
I never feel like I receive answers to my prayers. But I can’t deny what happened today.
There are so many voices, and so many platforms casting a great deal of doubt. I’ve felt, as of late, as Joseph Smith did when he said: “In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself: What is to be done?”
WHO IS RIGHT? It literally feels as if the confusion is greater than ever. The speed at which things are changing and moving forward has caused so many to rise up and vocalize their opposition.
But this simple experience, a simple ask… gave me the knowledge and comfort I’d been seeking.
I couldn’t sing. Too many emotions.
I looked up. Neither could the bishop or his counselors. Maybe they were experiencing something that the Lord saw fit to bless them with.
When the meeting was over, we stood and sang, “We Thank Thee O God For A Prophet.”
President and Sister Nelson walked down directly off the stage… and guess where they went. Directly to the youth. Go figure.
My daughter shook the prophet’s hand, and he made his way tearfully out the door.
I learned more today in 10 seconds by asking God in sincere prayer, than I’ve learned through years of listening to scholars and critics.
I think if the prophet could have the youth, and anyone else who is struggling to find answers, know just one thing, it would be this:
P.S. If you’re interested in how and what President Nelson taught during Sacrament meeting, you can read about it here 👉 How President Nelson Gave Us The Blueprint For How Sacrament Talks Should Be Given