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Russell M. Nelson
Works at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Attended University of Utah
Lives in Salt Lake City, UT
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  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
    Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, 1984 - present
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Salt Lake City, UT
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Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Introduction

Elder Russell M. Nelson was called as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 7, 1984.

An internationally renowned surgeon and medical researcher, Dr. Nelson received his B.A. and M.D. degrees from the University of Utah (1945, 47). Honorary scholastic societies include Phi Beta Kappa and Alpha Omega Alpha. He served his residency in surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and at the University of Minnesota, where he was awarded his Ph.D. degree in 1954. He also received honorary degrees of Doctor of Science from Brigham Young University in 1970, Doctor of Medical Science from Utah State University in 1989, and Doctor of Humane Letters from Snow College in 1994.

His professional work included the positions of research professor of surgery and director of the Thoracic Surgery Residency at the University of Utah and chairman of the Division of Thoracic Surgery at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City.

Author of numerous publications and chapters in medical textbooks, Elder Nelson lectured and visited professionally throughout the United States and in many other nations prior to his call as a General Authority. A host of awards and honors have come to him, including the Distinguished Alumni Award, University of Utah; the Heart of Gold Award from the American Heart Association; a citation for International Service from the American Heart Association; and the Golden Plate Award, presented by the American Academy of Achievement. He has been awarded honorary professorships from three universities in the People’s Republic of China.

Dr. Nelson has served as president of the Society for Vascular Surgery, a director of the American Board of Thoracic Surgery, chairman of the Council on Cardiovascular Surgery for the American Heart Association, and president of the Utah State Medical Association.

He is listed in Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in America, and Who’s Who in Religion.

Elder Nelson has held numerous positions of responsibility in the Church. He served as stake president of the Bonneville Stake from 1964 to June 1971, when he was called as general president of the Sunday School. Prior to his call to the Quorum of the Twelve, he was serving as a regional representative assigned to the Kearns Utah Region. He had previously served as regional representative for Brigham Young University.

Born September 9, 1924, Elder Nelson is the son of Marion C. and Edna Anderson Nelson. He and his wife, the former Dantzel White, have ten children. Sister Nelson passed away in February 2005. In April 2006, he married Wendy L. Watson.

Education
  • University of Utah
    M.D., 1947
  • University of Minnesota
    Ph.D., 1954
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Birthday
September 9, 1924

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Russell M. Nelson

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God gave us this special day, not for amusement or daily labor but for a rest from duty, with physical and spiritual relief.
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Express your love to your wife, to your mother, and to the sisters. Praise them for their forebearance with you even when you are not at your best. Thank the Lord for these sisters who—like our Heavenly Father—love us not only for what we are but also for what we may become. Humbly I thank God for my mother, my sisters, my daughters, my granddaughters, and my special sweetheart, companion, and friend—my wife! May God bless us to honor each virtuous woman.
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There is no other individual to compare with Jesus Christ, nor is there any other exhortation equal to his sublime expression of hope: “I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect.”
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Life does not begin with birth, nor does it end with death. Prior to our birth, we dwelled as spirit children with our Father in Heaven. There we eagerly anticipated the possibility of coming to earth and obtaining a physical body. Knowingly we wanted the risks of mortality, which would allow the exercise of agency and accountability. “This life [was to become] a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God.” But we regarded the returning home as the best part of that long-awaited trip, just as we do now. Before embarking on any journey, we like to have some assurance of a round-trip ticket. Returning from earth to life in our heavenly home requires passage through—and not around—the doors of death. We were born to die, and we die to live. As seedlings of God, we barely blossom on earth; we fully flower in heaven.
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Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God, the Creator, the great Jehovah, the promised Immanuel, our atoning Savior and Redeemer, our Advocate with the Father, our great Exemplar. And one day we will stand before Him as our just and merciful Judge.
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Christmastime is cherished family time. Family time is sacred time. We can help our children to turn to the Savior. Music can aid us. Our children like to sing “I’m Trying to Be like Jesus.”
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Gratefully and positively, I affirm that there is life after life, first in the spirit world and then in the Resurrection, for each and every one of us. I know that God lives and that Jesus the Christ is His Son. He is the resurrection, and the life. He lives.
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The gift of resurrection is the Lord's consummate act of healing. Thanks to Him, each body will be restored to its proper and perfect frame. Thanks to Him, no condition is hopeless. Thanks to Him, brighter days are ahead, both here and hereafter. Real joy awaits each of us—on the other side of sorrow.
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We can change our behavior. Our very desires can change. How? There is only one way. True change—permanent change—can come only through the healing, cleansing, and enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
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Recently I heard a chorus of children sing the beloved song “I Am a Child of God.” I wondered, “Why haven’t I heard that song rendered more often by singing mothers or faithful fathers?” Are we not all children of God? In truth, not one of us can ever stop being a child of God!
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I’ll never forget an experience that Sister Nelson and I had about three decades ago with President Spencer W. Kimball and his beloved Camilla. We were in Hamilton, New Zealand, for a large conference with the Saints. I was not a General Authority at that time. I had been invited to participate in this and similar meetings in other Pacific Islands while serving as general president of the Sunday School. And as a doctor of medicine, I had attended President and Sister Kimball for many years. I knew each of them very well—inside and out.

A Saturday evening cultural program had been prepared for this conference by local youth of the Church. Unfortunately, President and Sister Kimball both became very ill, each with a high fever. After receiving priesthood blessings, they rested at the nearby home of the president of the New Zealand Temple. President Kimball asked his counselor, President N. Eldon Tanner, to preside at the cultural event and to excuse President and Sister Kimball.

Sister Nelson went with President and Sister Tanner and other leaders to the event, while President Kimball’s secretary, Brother D. Arthur Haycock, and I watched over our feverish friends.

While President Kimball was sleeping, I was quietly reading in his room. Suddenly President Kimball was awakened. He asked, “Brother Nelson, what time was this evening’s program to begin?”

“At seven o’clock, President Kimball.”

“What time is it now?”

“It’s almost seven,” I replied.

President Kimball quickly said, “Tell Sister Kimball we are going!”

I checked President Kimball’s temperature. It was normal! I took Sister Kimball’s temperature. It was also normal!

They quickly dressed and got into an automobile. We were driven to the stadium of the Church College of New Zealand. As the car entered the arena, there was a very loud shout that erupted spontaneously. It was most unusual! After we took our seats, I asked Sister Nelson about that sudden sound. She said that when President Tanner began the meeting, he dutifully excused President and Sister Kimball because of illness. Then one of the young New Zealanders was called upon to pray.

With great faith, he gave what Sister Nelson described as a rather lengthy but powerful prayer. He so prayed: “We are 3,000 New Zealand youth. We are assembled here, having prepared for six months to sing and dance for Thy prophet. Wilt Thou heal him and deliver him here!” After the “amen” was pronounced, the car carrying President and Sister Kimball entered the stadium. They were identified immediately, and instantly everyone shouted for joy! 

I had witnessed the healing power of the Lord! I had also witnessed revelation as received and responded to by His living prophet!
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Intolerance seeds contention; tolerance supersedes contention. Tolerance is the key that opens the door to mutual understanding and love.
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