“What’s in a name? When it comes to the name of the Lord’s Church, the answer is ‘Everything!’” said President Russell M. Nelson.
During the Sunday morning session of general conference, President Nelson echoed an official statement issued in August, explaining that the Lord had “impressed upon [his] mind the importance of the name He decreed for His Church, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
What’s in a Name?
So why is this so important to the Lord? The nicknames commonly used for the Church, such as “LDS Church” or “Mormon Church,” have what President Nelson called a “glaring omission”: the absence of Jesus Christ’s name. To remove the Savior’s name from the name of His Church, President Nelson explained, is a way of “subtly disregarding all that Jesus Christ did for us” and unintentionally removing Him as the focus of our lives.
Embracing such nicknames in the past may have been the result of not wanting to offend others, but President Nelson warned that in doing so “we have failed to defend the Savior Himself, to stand up for Him.”
President Nelson acknowledged that it would not be easy to correct widespread errors in the way people refer to the Church, but he said this effort is not inconsequential. It is the command of the Lord.
“I promise you that if we will do our best to restore the correct name of the Lord’s Church, He whose Church this is will pour down His power and blessings upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints, the likes of which we have never seen,” President Nelson said. “We will have the knowledge and power of God to help us take the blessings of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people and to prepare the world for the Second Coming of the Lord.”
Achieving a New Balance in Gospel Instruction at Home and at Church
At the opening of the Saturday morning session of conference, President Nelson announced a new balance and connection between gospel instruction in the home and in the Church.
He stressed that “we are each responsible for our individual spiritual growth,” and the organizational changes at church are meant to further “fortify our members and their families.”
“As Latter-day Saints, we have become accustomed to thinking of ‘church’ as something that happens in our meetinghouses, supported by what happens at home. We need an adjustment to this pattern,” said the prophet. “It is time for a home-centered Church, supported by what takes place inside our branch, ward, and stake buildings.”
Acknowledging the complex world in which we live, President Nelson said, “The adversary is increasing his attacks on faith and upon us and on our families. … To survive spiritually, we need counterstrategies and proactive plans.”
The new Come, Follow Me curriculum is intended to be a tool in what President Nelson called a home-centered, Church-supported plan to help individuals and families “learn doctrine, strengthen faith, and foster greater personal worship.”
An Invitation to Women
Speaking to the women of the Church during the general women’s session, President Nelson said, “You, my dear sisters, are a key to the success of this new, balanced gospel-teaching effort.”
He spoke of the special spiritual gifts of women, their valuable perspective, and their ability to change the world.
President Nelson gave a “prophetic plea” to the women of the Church “to shape the future by helping to gather scattered Israel,” which he called “the greatest work on earth today!”
He then extended four invitations to help women fulfill this work, declaring, “We simply cannot gather Israel without you.”
The Close of a Historic Conference
President Nelson closed the historic conference reiterating the need “to honor the Lord Jesus Christ every time we refer to His Church” and to “remodel” our homes into centers of gospel learning.
He invited members who have reasonable access to a temple to attend regularly, pleading with them to look at how they’re spending their time and to see temple attendance as a way to “invest time in your future and in that of your family.”
“After we receive our own temple ordinances and make sacred covenants with God, each one of us needs the ongoing spiritual strengthening and tutoring that is only possible in the House of the Lord. And our ancestors need us to serve as proxy for them,” he said.
President Nelson shared the need to renovate and update the Salt Lake Temple and other pioneer generation temples, and announced plans to construct 12 new temples. He then closed the conference expressing gratitude for the faith and sustaining efforts of members around the world.
“I leave my love and blessings upon you, that you may feast upon the word of the Lord and apply His teaching in your personal lives. … I bless you with increased faith in Him and His holy work, with faith and patience to endure your personal challenges in life.”