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BYU Devotional: The love and laws of God

President Russell M. Nelson, prophet and 17th president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, addressed students, faculty, staff and young adults around the world at Tuesday's BYU Devotional in the Marriott Center.

Recently returned from an international assignment and preparing for General Conference, President Nelson expressed there was no other group he and Sister Nelson would rather be with than the young adults of the Church.

President Nelson said he felt impressed to share five truths in his address.

Truth #1: You are sons and daughters of God

President Nelson clarified that the young adults of the Church are not only children of divine parents, but also that this generation was chosen for this specific time period to gather God's elect.

"I would not be surprised if, when the veil is lifted in the next life, we learn that you actually pled with our Heavenly Father to be reserved for now," President Nelson said. "I would not be surprised to learn that premortally, you loved the Lord so much that you promised to defend His name and gospel during this world’s tumultuous winding-up scenes."

Truth #2: Truth is truth

President Nelson testified that God is the arbiter of truth and that truth is based upon the laws that God has established for His children to depend on, and to protect and nurture His children.

Although some may claim that truth is relative, President Nelson said that eternal laws operate and affect our lives whether we believe in them or not.

Truth #3: God loves everyone with a perfect love

President Nelson said that God's greatest desire is to have His children return home to Him, and the entire reason for mortality is to qualify to live with Him forever.

Because God can see things we cannot, in His love He has given us laws to guide and protect us in mortality. Just as children might not always understand or agree with family rules set by parents to protect their children and foster growth, divine laws are God's gifts to His children.

Divine laws are unchangeable, absolute truths. Doctors or pilots do not have the power to change laws of biology or physics, but their understanding of the laws safeguards lives.

Truth #4: Jesus Christ appoints prophets and apostles to communicate his love and teach his laws

Sometimes leaders of the Church are criticized for holding firm to the laws of God, defending the Savior's doctrine and resisting social pressures. But President Nelson said the commission of ordained apostles is to teach truth to every person in the world.

"Sometimes we are accused of being uncaring as we teach the Father's requirements for exaltation in the celestial kingdom. But wouldn't it be far more uncaring for us not to tell the truth – not to teach what God has revealed?"

Marriage and LGBT issues are areas in which teaching truth has become unfashionable in recent years. Though many governments around the world have accommodated same-sex marriage, President Nelson reminded the audience that “God has not changed His definition of marriage.”

President Nelson’s chief illustration for this truth was the November 2015 implementation and subsequent modification earlier this year of the policy that prevented the children of gay and lesbian parents from being blessed or baptized without First Presidency approval.

“Our concern then, and one we discussed at length and prayed about fervently over a long period of time, was to find a way to reduce friction between gay or lesbian parents and their children,” President Nelson said. “We wanted to facilitate harmony in the home and avoid pitting children and parents against each other.”

But even a new Church policy does not cut off dialogue on the topic with each other or continued prayer to God for additional guidance, and so it was with the November 2015 policy.

“We knew that this policy created concern and confusion for some and heartache for others. That grieved us,” President Nelson said. “Whenever the sons and daughters of God weep – for whatever reasons – we weep. So, our supplication to the Lord continued.”

Truth #5: You may know for yourself what is true and what is not

President Nelson pled with those in attendance to seek confirmation from the Holy Ghost that what he had spoken was true and from the Lord.

"Ask your Heavenly Father if we truly are the Lord’s apostles and prophets. Ask if we have received revelation on this and other matters. Ask if these five truths are – in fact – true."

In closing, President Nelson offered a blessing upon listeners to be able to discern between right and wrong, between the laws of God and the conflicting voices of the world, with power to detect the adversary's deceptions, with greater capacity to receive revelation and to feel the infinite reach of God's perfect love.

Read the full text of President Nelson’s address, “The Love and Laws of God.”

Devotional Highlights: The Love and Laws of God | Russell M. Nelson

Next Forum: Kao Kalia Yang, author/poet, activities, teacher

Kao Kalia Yang, author and poet, will deliver the first Forum address of the Fall Semester on Tuesday, Sept. 24, at 11:05 a.m. in the Marriott Center.

Her remarks will be broadcast only in the Marriott Center and to designated campus locations.

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