Latter-day Saints revere President Russell M. Nelson as a modern prophet, so it was notable when the church president used the word promise 12 times in his general conference talk Sunday.

President Nelson made two explicit promises and issued two explicit invitations. He also shared additional implicit promises and invitations and others made by Jesus Christ and other prophets.

For example, he said one revelation promised that “those who serve and worship in the house of the Lord ... can expect to receive answers to prayer, personal revelation, greater faith, strength, comfort, increased knowledge and increased power.”

The promises and invitations he made continue President Nelson’s emphases on following Jesus Christ, living like him and loving others. They also can help church members better understand doctrine and help others better understand the church and its members.

First promise

“Time in the temple will help you to think celestial and to catch a vision of who you really are, who you can become, and the kind of life you can have forever. Regular temple worship will enhance the way you see yourself and how you fit into God’s magnificent plan. I promise you that.”

Second promise

He closed his talk with another vow.

“My dear brothers and sisters, here is my promise,” he said. “Nothing will help you more to hold fast to the iron rod than worshipping in the temple as regularly as your circumstances permit. Nothing will protect you more as you encounter the world’s mists of darkness. Nothing will bolster your testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ and his Atonement or help you understand God’s magnificent plan more. Nothing will soothe your spirit more during times of pain. Nothing will open the heavens more. Nothing!”

First invitation

President Nelson first reminded listeners that during an 1836 visitation to Ohio’s Kirtland Temple — the first temple in church history — Christ promised Joseph Smith “I will manifest myself to my people in mercy in this house.”

“This significant promise applies to every dedicated temple today,” President Nelson said. “I invite you to ponder what the Lord’s promise means for you personally.”

Latter-day Saints go to the temple to find peace in Christ, seek revelation from heaven and access spiritual power to help them in their daily lives.

“The temple is the gateway to the greatest blessings God has in store for each of us, for the temple is the only place on earth where we may receive all of the blessings promised to Abraham,” President Nelson said.

It is why, he added, the Lord is directing church leaders to make temple blessings more accessible to church members by building more temples. President Nelson announced 15 new temples during the conference, bringing the total number of dedicated and announced temples to 350.

Second invitation

President Nelson also mentioned three others who Latter-day Saint scriptures say visited Kirtland the same day. Moses, Elias and Elijah came to earth to restore specific priesthood keys that represent the spiritual rights and authority to act in God’s behalf and organize his church.

They restored:

  • The keys of the gathering of Israel, which means giving all God’s children the opportunity to hear the gospel.
  • The keys of the gospel of Abraham, which means all who join the church inherit the promise God made to Abraham about celestial inheritance and eternal life.
  • The keys of the sealing power, which make priesthood ordinances and covenants eternally binding and make it possible, in temple ordinances, to bind a husband and wife together eternally, and children to parents for eternity.

“The power of these priesthood keys is infinite and breathtaking,” President Nelson said. He added, “The significance of these keys being returned to the earth by three heavenly messengers under the direction of the Lord cannot be overstated.”

Then he issued an invitation to consider carefully three statements:

  • The gathering of Israel is evidence that God loves all of His children everywhere.
  • The gospel of Abraham is further evidence that God loves all of His children everywhere. He invites all to come unto him — ”black and white, bond and free, male and female; … all are alike unto God.”
  • The sealing power is supernal evidence of how much God loves all of his children everywhere and wants each of them to choose to return home to him.

Other promises and invitations

President Nelson also issued additional implicit invitations and promises throughout his talk.

There is a promise, for example, implied in this statement about the 168 temples President Nelson has announced: “The temple is the gateway to the greatest blessings God has in store for each of us, for the temple is the only place on earth where we may receive all of the blessings promised to Abraham. That is why we are doing all within our power, under the direction of the Lord, to make the temple blessings more accessible to members of the church.”

Invitations can be found in other places, such as when he encouraged church members to study Joseph Smith’s dedicatory prayer for the Kirtland Temple.

“Understanding the spiritual privileges made possible in the temple is vital to each of us today,” he said.

Print and video versions of all 32 talks at the weekend conference are now online at ChurchofJesusChrist.org.

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About the church

President Nelson announced 15 new temples. He has announced 168 temples during his church presidency. The church now has 189 dedicated and operating temples and 350 dedicated and announced temples.

President Nelson has assigned Elder Ronald A. Rasband to dedicate the Manti Utah Temple on April 21.

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Behind the Scenes

The Deseret News published 182 photos from general conference this weekend in five photo galleries. I’ve enjoyed scrolling through those galleries and want to thank the photographers, Scott Winterton, Marielle Scott and Megan Nielsen, whose shots of people in the windy snowstorm on Saturday make it clear she was out in the same elements.

Some of the memorable images include Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf kissing the head of his dear friend and quorum leader, President Jeffrey R. Holland, after the Saturday morning session.

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles bends down to kiss Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, on the head as they exit following the Saturday morning session at the Conference Center.
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, bends down to kiss Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, on the head as they exit after the Saturday morning session at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 6, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

The white dresses worn by women in the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square during that morning session.

Members of the Tabernacle Choir sing during the Saturday morning session at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 6, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Wind whipping snow at attendees headed into the Conference Center on Saturday, or the overnight snow that gilded flowers and grass that morning.

Conferencegoers file in while it snows before the Saturday afternoon session of the 194th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 6, 2024. | Megan Nielsen, Deseret News

Church photographers also captured some of the images in our galleries, including one with President Nelson joining hands with his counselors, Presidents Dallin H. Oaks and Henry B. Eyring.

Here are the five galleries of images from conference: