President Nelson's Talk in Samoa
May 2019 Address
Talofa lava my dear brothers and sisters. We are truly grateful for your wonderful and warm welcome. We are grateful for Elder and Sister Gong, Elder and Sister Haleck, or Samoan leaders, members and friends. Thanks to the choir for their beautiful music. Special thanks His Highness, the honorable head of state and his wife. We appreciate your gracious reception and for his remarks tonight. And thank you for your great faith. I wondered if you could do it. You turned off the rain.
As I look at this vast audience, many memories come to mind. My first assignment to Samoa was in 1976. President Spencer W. Kimball was here. I was then with him as his doctor. And I was serving as the president of the Sunday School for the Church. I think there were nearly 12,000 people there. They all sang to President Kimball. The song had I think 100 verses. It went on and on and on. Someone passed President Kimball a translation of the words the people were singing. Every verses ended with these words: “We want a temple in Samoa.” Do any of you remember that? Am I the only one? That was a long time ago. So, when President Kimball came to the pulpit, he said, “If I understand your Samoan language, I think you said you want a temple in Samoa.” And I’ll never forget his response. He pounded the pulpit and said, “You will NOT have a temple in Samoa.” And then with a twinkle in his eye, he added, “Until you have converted enough people to make the temple function and when you have converted your memorized form of genealogy into a written form that can be applicable in the temple.”
So with that challenge, the saints of Samoa went to work. Converts came into the Church. Temple names were prepared for the temple. And the next year, a temple was announced for Samoa. Samoa became the first country in the world to be covered totally by stakes of Zion, no mission districts. And as you know, the Samoan temple was dedicated August 5th, 1983. And with great joy at Conference time, I announced a temple to be built in Pago Pago, American Samoa. (Audience clapping) Yeah, I wanted to clap too!
Well in 1976, I fondly remember local leaders. I remember Tofilau Percy Rivers, Sam Atoa, Wayne Schute, and many other very dear friends I returned in May 1992. The area president then was Elder Quentin L. Cook. We came right after the devastation caused by hurricane Val. As our airplane came close to the ground, we could see the palm trees all lying on the ground like match sticks. And many of the home and schools and churches and the roof blown off the top of their building. I remember giving to the prime minister Eti Ausana a relief check for $25,000 to help with the restoration of the schools. He spoke at our regional conference. He praised the work of the Latter-Day Saints and their selfless citizenship. I returned again in 1997. The president of the area then was Elder Spencer J. Condie. We held many conderences with the saints and with missionaries. Now I promised Elder Condie and Elder Cook that I would bring their greetings to you tonight, ok? Greetings.
Well do I remember being here on October 24, 2997, when I first met President. O. Vincent Haleck and his wife Peggy. And now he is your area president. Our first Samoan general authority. How we love President and Sister Haleck. Many Samoans have ancestral connections to China and Germany. So, it’s really nice tonight to have Elder Gong and his Chinese ancestry. We love having him sit with us as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. They bring blessings to the Church wherever they go.
Now, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is growing. Officially established 189 years ago. It is a restoration of the New Testament church of the Lord. Its purposes are being fulfilled. What are those purposes? We are to gather Israel, on both sides of the veil. This promise laced all through the pages of the Old Testament. And we’re going to make it happen. Next, those families of gathered Israel are to be sealed in the holy temples so that those families can be together with Heavenly Father and with the Lord and with their families forever.
This Church, when restored in its fullness, will prepare the world for the Second Coming of the Lord. Now that holy work is opposed to Satan. His efforts to oppose the Lord will increase in the months and years ahead. So the Lord asked me to let you know tonight that we have a solemn duty to prepare our people for the difficult days ahead. The apostle Paul taught this lesson in 2 Timothy 3, “In the last days, perilous times will come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those who are good, they will be traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof,” or as he described, the circumstances that we will face in the future and to some extent already.
Paul offered these wonderful words of advice, “From such, turn away.” Then he continued his prophecy. He said that, “all that will live Godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. Evil me and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” Now, Church members in the Samoan islands will not be immune from being persecuted. I find it interesting that the prophet Isaiah also foresaw the same nature of Satan’s opposition. In the Book of Isaiah, chapter 5, we read these words, “Wo unto them that call evil good.” I’ve heard that scripture so many times I didn’t realize until recently that I was living in that day. More and more people all over the world are calling evil good and good evil. They put darkness for light. Well, the Book of Mormon comes to our rescue. Listen to this amazing prophecy of the prophet Mormon. This is in the Book of Moroni, chapter 7. “For behold my brethren, it is given to unto you to judge that you may know good from evil. The way to judge is plain. That you may know with a perfect knowledge as the daylight is from dark night.” And then he gave a lesson that applies to us here tonight. “The spirit of Christ is given to every person that he or she may know good from evil. I show unto the way to judge, for everything that inviteth to do good and to persuade to believe in Christ is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ.Wherefore, you may know with a perfect knowledge that is of God.”
So, you dear beloved brothers and sisters who are willing to take upon you the name of Jesus Christ, prepare to be persecuted, even every day.
Now, let me go back to the counsel given by the apostle Paul. He gave us this great promise by revelation. He said, “From a child you have known the holy scriptures, which are able to make you wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction and righteousness.” This is why we want you to be anchored in the scriptures. Not only at church, but at home.
Please protect your families from the deception that you will see in the future. That’s why we are all busily engaged in this holy work. We have to fortify our people against the attacks of the adversary. We have to fortify our people. The Lord will bless you as you do your very best. Don’t be discouraged. He will give you revelation. He will give you the strength to help you in all your righteous desires.
So, (sigh) there are difficult days ahead. Please protect your children. Help them to know the Lord, to love Him, to keep His commandments, and be free from the shackles of addiction and bondage. Now to assist you in that regard, I would like to leave a blessing with you. Invoking the keys of the holy apostleship that Elder Gond and I hold, we bless you to feast upon the words of the Lord Jesus Christ. We bless you to apply those teachings in your lives. We bless you to make your homes your primary sanctuaries of faith, that there really will be love at home. We bless you to be good citizens among your fellow friends and neighbors here in Samoa so that they will want to be more like you as you strive to be more like the Lord. Should there be illness among you or your loved ones, I invoke a blessing of healing upon those individuals, consistent with the will of the Lord for those people. I so bless you and bear my testimony that God lives, Jesus is the Christ, this is His church, we are His people. I leave my blessing and testimony with you, with my expression of love for each and every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
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