President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints turns 99 years old on Sept. 9.
“I guess I shouldn’t be surprised when little issues arise as I near the century mark,” he wrote on social media a few months ago regarding his use of a walker to help with a “small challenge” with balance. “Gratefully, my heart is good, my spirit is strong as are my legs, and my brain still works.”
“Little challenges with balance should be the least of our worries. Onward and upward!”
And onward and upward he continues to go.
In his 99 years on the Earth, he’s held many titles, including medical doctor, American, researcher, captain, professor, father, husband, but “most importantly,” the prophet posted in a social media video, “I’m a child of God, a child of the covenant, and disciple of Christ.”
Here are 9 facts about and 9 quotes from President Nelson to commemorate his 99th birthday:
9 facts about President Russell M. Nelson:
- He was set apart as the 17th president of the church on Jan. 14, 2018.
- While being a prophet of the church, he has made an estimated 99 changes and announcements.
- President Nelson is the oldest president of the church and became the longest-living apostle in Latter-day Saint history in 2022.
- He has received different awards, including the first Gandhi-King-Mandela Peace Prize from Morehouse College in Atlanta and the “Heart of Gold” award from the American Heart Association.
- As a heart surgeon of 30 years, he worked on an estimated 7,000 people.
- President Nelson has received six different degrees: his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Utah; a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota; an honorary doctorate degree as a doctor of science from Brigham Young University; a doctor of medical science from Utah State University; and a doctor of humane letters from Snow College.
- He learned Mandarin Chinese when President Spencer W. Kimball talked about preparing to teach the gospel.
- Though he didn’t serve a full-time mission because of war, he served as a missionary at Temple Square for 10 years.
- He had 10 children with his first wife Dantzel White and 57 grandchildren before she died in 2006. In 2007, he married Wendy L. Watson. “Exaltation is a family affair,” is the Nelson family motto.
9 quotes from President Russell M. Nelson:
- “When the Savior clearly states what the name of His Church should be and even precedes His declaration with, ‘Thus shall my church be called,’ He is serious.”
- “I am asking us to interact with others in a higher, holier way. Please listen carefully. ‘If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy’ that we can say about another person — whether to his face or behind her back — that should be our standard of communication.”
- “Let us never lose sight of what the Lord is doing for us now. He is making His temples more accessible. He is accelerating the pace at which we are building temples. He is increasing our ability to help gather Israel. He is also making it easier for each of us to become spiritually refined. I promise that increased time in the temple will bless your life in ways nothing else can.”
- “The Lord will bless you with miracles if you believe in Him, ‘doubting nothing.’ Do the spiritual work to seek miracles. Prayerfully ask God to help you exercise that kind of faith. I promise that you can experience for yourself that Jesus Christ ‘giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.’”
- “When the focus of our lives is on Jesus Christ and His gospel, we can feel joy regardless of what is happening — or not happening — in our lives.”
- “If we will truly receive the Holy Ghost and learn to discern and understand His promptings, we will be guided in matters large and small.”
- “Nothing is more liberating, more ennobling, or more crucial to our individual progression than is a regular, daily focus on repentance. Repentance is not an event; it is a process. It is the key to happiness and peace of mind. When coupled with faith, repentance opens our access to the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.”
- “Sometimes we speak almost casually about walking away from the world with its contention, pervasive temptations, and false philosophies. But truly doing so requires you to examine your life meticulously and regularly.”
- “Our ultimate quest in life is to prepare to meet our Maker. We do this by striving daily to become more like our Savior, Jesus Christ. And we do that as we repent daily and receive His cleansing, healing, and strengthening power.”