President Nelson Teaches Missionaries in Brazil an Effective Way to Talk about the Book of Mormon

Contributed By Sarah Jane Weaver, Church News editor

  • 31 August 2019

President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, with Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Mary Cook, wave to missionaries after speaking during a Brazil Brasilia Mission meeting in Brasilia, Brazil, on Friday, August 30, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

Article Highlights

  • He also asked the elders and sisters to remember the importance of joy

BRASILIA, Brazil

President Russell M. Nelson has an effective way to talk about the Book of Mormon with those who are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“Ask if they know about the mission of Jesus Christ to the people of South America,” he told missionaries serving in Brazil.

Speaking to 5,825 missionaries from 35 missions on Friday morning, President Nelson added that once a person has committed to reading the sacred book of scripture, he suggests he or she doesn't start at the beginning. Instead, he said, open to 3 Nephi 11 and read Jesus Christ’s “important words” spoken to the Nephites—words that promote baptism, prayer, the doctrine of Christ, the sacrament, and seeking the kingdom of God.

Brasilia—the capital city of Brazil known for its unique city plan and architecture—is the fifth stop on President Nelson’s five-country Latin American Ministry Tour. Traveling with his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, and Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Mary Cook, President Nelson has visited Guatemala, Colombia, Ecuador, and Argentina, meeting with dignitaries and addressing large devotional congregations in each place.

Elder Marcos A. Aidukaitis, a General Authority Seventy and President of the Church’s Brazil Area, and his wife, Sister Luisa Aidukaitis, also addressed the missionaries.

The Lord loves the people in this “very special part of the world,” said President Nelson. “It’s so easy to teach them here. They’re exceptionally receptive.”

During the meeting, which was attended in person by those serving in the Brazil Brasília Mission and broadcast across Brazil, President Nelson asked the missionaries to emulate the Savior. “Only He could accomplish the Atonement,” he said. “But there is no limit to His attributes we can develop for ourselves.”

Missionaries can love as He loved, pray as He prayed, and endure to the end as He did, he said.

He also asked the elders and sisters to remember the importance of joy (3 Nephi 27:30). “Teach with a smile on your face,” he said. “If you are frowning, who wants to be like you?”

President Nelson spoke of the miracle that has happened in the Church in South America in his lifetime.

In 1925 in Argentina, Elder Melvin J. Ballard dedicated South America for the preaching of the gospel. Six months later he prophesied that the Church in South America would grow as from an acorn to a large oak tree.

“When I was born, there were no members of the Church in Brazil,” said President Nelson, who will turn 95 next week. Today there are 1.4 million Church members, 273 stakes, seven temples, and 35 missions in Brazil.

President President Russell M. Nelson speaks during a Brazil Brasilia Mission meeting in Brasilia, Brazil, on Friday, August 30, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

Sister Wendy Nelson speaks during a Brazil Brasilia Mission meeting in Brasilia, Brazil, on Friday, August 30, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

Sister Nelson promised the missionaries that she and President Nelson pray for them “every day, twice a day.”

It is not by accident these missionaries were assigned to serve in Brazil, she said. “You are here because the Lord wants you here. If you don’t know that, ask your Heavenly Father and He will tell you.”

She also asked the countrywide missionary congregation to not fear. “When we think of the strengthening, ennobling power of the Atonement we can do anything.”

Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks during a Brazil Brasilia Mission meeting in Brasilia, Brazil, on Friday, August 30, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

The Savior establishes His Church, said Elder Cook. “We are His hands.”

He shared the story of one of his companions from the British Mission. The young man was from rural Utah. His family farm was in foreclosure and his sister deferred her university scholarship so she could support her brother on his mission. “The first night he prayed, it was as powerful as anything I have experienced,” said Elder Cook.

Elder Cook also spoke of Wilford Woodruff, who President Gordon B. Hinckley called the greatest missionary in the Church.

Quoting Wilford Woodruff and the experience he gained in Zion’s Camp with the Prophet Joseph Smith, Elder Cook spoke of the opportunity Wilford Woodruff had in Zion’s Camp walking 1,000 miles with the Prophet Joseph Smith and gaining knowledge that could not come another way.

“We gained an experience that we never could have gained in any other way,” said Wilford Woodruff of Zion’s Camp. “We had the privilege of beholding the face of the Prophet, and we had the privilege of traveling a thousand miles with him, and seeing the workings of the spirit of God with him, and the revelations of Jesus Christ unto him and the fulfillment of those revelations.”

Elder Cook said members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve feel the same way about the opportunity to observe President Nelson. “We honor and sustain him,” he said.

Quoting Wilford Woodruff and the experience he gained in Zion’s Camp with the Prophet Joseph Smith, Elder Cook spoke of the opportunity Wilford Woodruff had in Zion’s Camp walking 1,000 miles with the Prophet Joseph Smith and gaining knowledge that could not come another way.

“We gained an experience that we never could have gained in any other way,” said Wilford Woodruff of Zion’s Camp. “We had the privilege of beholding the face of the Prophet, and we had the privilege of traveling a thousand miles with him, and seeing the workings of the spirit of God with him, and the revelations of Jesus Christ unto him and the fulfillment of those revelations.”

Elder Cook said members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve feel the same way about the opportunity to observe President Nelson. “We honor and sustain him,” he said.

President Russell M. Nelson and his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, with Elder Quinton L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Mary Cook, greet Brazil Brasilia Mission missionaries in Brasilia, Brazil, on Friday, August 30, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

Brazil Brasilia Mission missionaries listen during a meeting with President Russell M. Nelson in Brasilia, Brazil, on Friday, August 30, 2019. Photo by Jeffrety D. Allred, Deseret News.

President Russell M. Nelson in Brasilia, Brazil, on Friday, August 30, 2019. Photo by Jeffrety D. Allred, Deseret News.

Missionaries wait for President Russell M. Nelson in Brasilia, Brazil, on Friday, August 30, 2019. Photo by Jeffrety D. Allred, Deseret News.

President Russell M. Nelson greets missionaries in the Brazil Brasilia Mission in in Brasilia, Brazil, on Friday, August 30, 2019. Photo by Jeffrety D. Allred, Deseret News.

Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Mary Cook, attend a Brazil Brasilia Mission meeting in Brasilia, Brazil, on August 30, 2019. Photo by Jeffrety D. Allred, Deseret News.

Sister Josilane Silva smiles while waiting for President Russell M. Nelson during a missionariy meeting in Brasilia, Brazil, on Friday, August 30, 2019. Photo by Jeffrety D. Allred, Deseret News.

Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Aoostles and his wife, Sister Mary Cook, greet missionaries in the Brazil Brasilia Mission meeting on August 30, 2019. Photo by Jeffrety D. Allred, Deseret News.

Elder Gabriel Blanch smiles while waiting for President Russell M. Nelson in Brasilia, Brazil, on Friday, August 30, 2019. Photo by Jeffrety D. Allred, Deseret News.

Sisters Gabriela Lima, Isabella Moreti, Marina Rosa, and Melissa Campuzano gather before a meeting with President Russell M. Nelson in Brasilia, Brazil, on Friday, August 30, 2019. Photo by Jeffrety D. Allred, Deseret News.

Missionaries wait for President Russell M. Nelson duirng a Brazil Basilia Mission meeting in Brasilia, Brazil, on Friday, August 30, 2019. Photo by Jeffrety D. Allred, Deseret News.

Sisters Evelin Rosa and Caroline Aldous talk before meeting with President Russell M. Nelson in Brasilia, Brazil, on Friday, August 30, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

The National Congress of Brazil, Brasilia, is pictured on Friday, August 30, 2019. Photo by Jeffrety D. Allred, Deseret News.

President Russell M. Nelson and his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, walk through a group of missionaries after speaking during a Brazil Brasilia Mission meeting in Brasilia, Brazil, on Friday, August 30, 2019. Photo by Jeffrety D. Allred, Deseret News.