Following the Prophet with Exactness for Lent

I’ve seen a lot of people posting about challenges that they are undertaking for lent. Reading these posts reminded me of a recent challenge regarding following the prophet with exactness that I received and I decided that it would make for a great lent challenge.

Last weekend, there was a special devotional for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the State of California where President Nelson and his wife Sister Wendy Nelson spoke. Sister Nelson spoke on the importance of following the Prophet. She extended to us a 30 day challenge that she had previously extended to the Saints in Europe during a similar devotional and also to all members on the Church News podcast :

Well, I was intrigued with a statement made by my husband decades ago … that he stopped putting question marks behind what a prophet would say. Instead, he put exclamation points after everything a prophet would say, and that started me to think: Imagine in this time when the media, social and otherwise, is so filled to overflowing with ideas that are offered as truth that are just silly, just like the emperor’s new clothes. Imagine if we used the words of the prophets to help us detect specious notions, as well as their intentions.
In this war of words that rages all around us, I really think there’s only one way to keep ourselves safe, and that is to compare anything and everything we read, view or hear with the teachings of the prophets. If it’s not in harmony, we should run away, actually, we should run screaming into the hills. So I think there is a question we can use as a litmus test to discern what is true, what is not, and that question is, ‘What did the Prophet say?’ I started to think, ‘How would our lives improve if we used prophetic words as our standard of truth?’ And I started to think about — imagine if we did follow the prophets with exactness. Imagine if, for example, for 30 days, we put an exclamation mark after every statement from a prophet, and we put a question mark after everything else we read, see, or hear. What could happen in only 30 days? My guess is the amount of stress we experience would actually decrease, because false philosophies of man, false philosophies, partial truths, silliness, produce a kind of tension and anxiety that’s almost immobilizing. I think we’ll be amazed at what we could discover if, for 30 days, we chose to follow the prophets with exactness.

In light of Sister Nelson’s invitation, for the next 40 days I want to try to study the words of President Russell M. Nelson throughout his ministry as an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ and write about how studying his words is changing and blessing me. I am going to try hard to implement the things that I learn and feel prompted to do by the spirit. Others might be joining this endeavor as well and sharing posts on Nauvoo Neighbor or elsewhere.

President Nelson has over 100 General Conference talks so we will definitely not cover all of them. And it’s probably not realistic to post every single day. But I am really excited to take the opportunity to truly immerse myself in President Nelson’s teachings and to see how following those teachings helps me to draw closer to Christ.

I found this very thorough list of talks and devotionals that President Nelson has given if anyone is interested in following along or doing the same.

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