Bridges of Cooperation: Parallelism in Russell M. Nelson’s “Be One” Celebration Address

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President Russell M. Nelson

In his address at the recent “Be One” celebration that commemorated the 40th anniversary of the revelation on the priesthood, President Russell M. Nelson made use of parallelism to emphasize the need to treat everyone as equals.

After reviewing the Lord’s “essential doctrine of equal opportunity for His children”, by referencing Matthew 22:36-40 and D&C 38:24-25, President Nelson shared three sequential parallelisms to stress the importance of applying this doctrine into our lives. These parallelisms were arranged to build in intensity, climaxing with the third parallelism. This building in intensity was created through form — the first two being less clearly parallel and the third being unmistakably parallel — and content — the first two providing a case study and doctrinal basis and the third providing a summary statement containing universally understandable metaphors.

This paper presents a diagram and detailed analysis of each parallelism.


President Nelson’s first parallelism describes the process of faithful people joining the Church throughout the world and becoming one, as “[d]ifferences in culture, language, gender, race, and nationality fade into insignificance”:

A: On every continent and across the isles of the sea,
B: faithful people are
C: being gathered
D: into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
A: Differences in culture, language, gender, race, and nationality fade into insignificance as
B: the faithful
C: enter the covenant path and come
D: unto our beloved Redeemer.

A=A: By mentioning “every continent”, “the isles of the sea”, and “culture, language, gender, race, and nationality”, President Nelson is addressing all forms of prejudice throughout the world.

B=B: Faith is the first principle of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, followed by repentance. Likewise, faith is the first step in overcoming prejudice, as the light of the Gospel heals our minds and hearts.

C=C: “[B]eing gathered” and entering into “the covenant path” is a commitment to follow Christ and live by his teachings. This enables us to forgive and see the divinity in others.

D=D: Overcoming prejudice is made possible by Jesus Christ, whose priesthood and ordinances are available in His restored church. No form of prejudice is beyond His healing reach.


In his second parallelism, President Nelson declares that prejudice is fully overcome through comprehending “the true Fatherhood of God”. This understanding opens our eyes to the divinity of the human family.

Ultimately, we realize that
A: only the comprehension of
B: the true Fatherhood of God
A: can bring full appreciation of
B: the true brotherhood of men
B: and the true sisterhood of women.

A=A: “[C]omprehension” leads to “appreciation”. The more we comprehend that God is the literal father of the human family, the more we appreciate each other.

B=B: If God is our father, then we are all brothers and sisters.


Lastly, in his third parallelism, President Nelson encourages us to develop a mindset of “cooperation” that brings people together.

That understanding inspires us with passionate desire to
A: build bridges
B: of cooperation
A: instead of walls
B: of segregation.

A=A: “[B]ridges” is antithetical to “walls”.

B=B: “[C]ooperation” is antithetical to “segregation”.

The power of this final parallelism — from its combined form and content — drew an approving applause from the audience.


Conclusion:

In calling on the people of the world and the membership of the Church to overcome prejudice of any kind, President Nelson effectively used parallelism to enhance his message, making it more memorable and powerful.

His Gift To Us: Chiasmus in Russell M. Nelson’s “The Sabbath Is a Delight”

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Russell M. Nelson (lds.org)

In a previous article, we wrote about chiasmus in Russell M. Nelson’s “Becoming True Millennials,” a Worldwide Devotional address for young adults delivered in January 2016. In this article, we discuss chiasmus in “The Sabbath is a Delight,” his April 2015 General Conference address. This was his final General Conference address before becoming President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in July 2015. As such, throughout this article we refer to him as Elder Nelson.

In order to more fully appreciate chiasmus in this address, we need to introduce a new term: “spiral chiasmus.” In Chiasmus and Culture, a volume of scholarly essays published in 2014, Anthony Paul describes four types of chiasmus: cross-shaped, mirroring, circling, and spiral. A spiral chiasm occurs when “the formal symmetry sets up a more dynamic process of movement …, returning to the starting point, with the piquant difference that this starting point is no longer exactly what it was at the start — or where it was.” The value of this type of chiasm is its “capacity to open up thought” and generate “new possibilities” (p. 24, 36). In the same volume, Ivo Strecker describes the potential of spiral chiasmus to “shatter expectations and conventions (and establish new ones)” (p. 87).

In “The Sabbath Is a Delight,” Elder Nelson makes use of two spiral chiasms, one from the New Testament teachings of Christ and one of his own creation to help us assess our individual Sabbath observance. This article presents a detailed treatment of each of these chiasms, followed by a less-detailed analysis of several additional chiasms and parallelisms from his address. For an in-depth explanation of our methodology read our article, “Recognizing Parallelisms and Chiasmus in the Scriptures,” under the Methodology tab.


Diagram and Analysis:

#1: To shatter cultural conventions (and establish new ones) concerning Sabbath observance during his mortal ministry, the Lord declared a memorable spiral chiasm that is recorded in Mark 2:27

What did the Savior mean when He said that
A: “the sabbath was
B: made for man,
B: and not man
A: for the sabbath”?

A=A: “[S]abbath” contrasts with “sabbath.” The key to understanding this chiasm is recognizing that the two sabbaths mentioned are not the same sabbath. The first is made for man, the second is not made for man, but is used to control and limit his actions and to stifle his good works and communion with the Lord. In contrast, a sabbath made for man removes this burden and aides his spiritual and physical development.

B=B: “[M]an” equals “man.” Under the influence of either sabbath, the same man is observed. Under one he is liberated, under the other he is limited. This spiral chiasm invites us to ponder the differences between these two forms of sabbath observance and their effect on man and society. Which is preferred? Which should we work toward? Certainly, a sabbath where man selfishly focuses on himself is no more what the Lord had in mind than a sabbath where man is restricted and burdened. This spiral chiasm opens our minds to new possibilities concerning sabbath observance and encourages us to develop a sabbath observance that truly benefits man.

After referencing this declaration from the Lord, Elder Nelson (in the form of a parallelism) offers his authoritative commentary on the Lord’s meaning.

A: I believe He wanted us to understand that the Sabbath was His gift to us,
B: granting real respite from the rigors of daily life
C: and an opportunity for spiritual and physical renewal.
A: God gave us this special day,
B: not for amusement or daily labor but for a rest from duty,
C: with physical and spiritual relief.

A=A: “Sabbath was His gift to us” equals “God gave us this special day.” Recognizing that the Sabbath is a gift from God helps us develop an appropriate Sabbath observance. Our priority should be to use it for His purposes and for the furthering of His “work and glory” (see Moses 1:39).

B=B: “[R]eal respite from the rigors of daily life” equals “rest from duty.” Elder Nelson clarifies that the Sabbath is not a day for amusement or labor, but is a day for setting aside our rigorous routines.

C=C: “[S]piritual and physical renewal” equals “physical and spiritual relief.” The rest invited by the Sabbath is intended for both physical and spiritual rejuvenation.


#2: In addition to providing insight into the Lord’s spiral chiasm, Elder Nelson introduces his own spiral chiasm to spur further thought and insight. What is the relationship between “faith” and “love”? How does the Sabbath help us develop “a love for God”? This spiral chiasm introduces a spiral pattern for application that increases our love for and faith in God and His Sabbath day.

A: Faith in God engenders
B: a love for the Sabbath;
B: faith in the Sabbath engenders
A: a love for God.

A=A: “Faith in God” complements “love for God.” Faith in God means we believe in His promised blessings and live accordingly. Love for God develops as we experience His blessings and understand His intentions toward us. Faith in and love for God help us endure His chastening hand, knowing that the challenges we endure are for our benefit; we look for ways to grow in the midst of our challenges. The Sabbath is intended for believers — those who already have a faith in God. It is not intended to govern those who do not have a faith in God. In other words, observing the Sabbath is voluntary rather than compulsory and is intended for a society that recognizes religious freedom. However, choosing to observe the Sabbath will help us develop faith in and love for God, so individuals who are curious about God are invited to observe the Sabbath as part of their effort to understand and come to know Him.

B=B: “[L]ove for the Sabbath” complements “faith in the Sabbath.” Faith in God helps us appreciate or love the day of rest He has provided for us. This appreciation leads us to exercise faith in the promises of the Sabbath. Receiving the blessings of Sabbath observance helps us develop a love for God. This, in turn, helps us develop greater faith in God, a greater love for the Sabbath, and greater faith in the promises of the Sabbath. Viewed this way, the Sabbath becomes a vehicle for developing greater faith in and love for God.


Additional Chiasms and Parallelisms:

#3: The word “prophet,” especially in the title of the hymn “We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet,” usually refers to the president of the Church. However, in this context it refers collectively to all those who participated in General Conference — through music, prayer, and the spoken word.

A: Dear brothers and sisters, these two days of conference have been glorious.
B: We have been uplifted by inspiring music and eloquent prayers.
B: Our spirits have been edified by messages of light and truth.
A: On this Easter Sunday, we again unitedly and sincerely thank God for a prophet!


#4: Although Elder Nelson is the final speaker at this Conference, he invites the congregation to be open to the Spirit during his address in order to receive additional personal revelation.

A: The question for each of us is: because of what I have heard and felt during this conference,
B: how will I change?
B: Whatever your answer might be, may I invite you also to
A: examine your feelings about, and your behavior on, the Sabbath day.


#5: Elder Nelson uses a parallelism to invite the congregation to join him as he explores the meaning of “delight” as a description of the Sabbath (see Isaiah 58:13).

A: I am intrigued by the words of Isaiah,
B: who called the Sabbath “a delight.”
A: Yet I wonder,
B: is the Sabbath really a delight for you and for me?


#6: In this chiasm, Elder Nelson shares his own experience discovering the delights of the Sabbath day. As a medical doctor, it’s no surprise that this came about as a relief from his professional demands.

A: I first found delight in the Sabbath many years ago when, as a busy surgeon, I knew that the Sabbath became a day for personal healing.
B: By the end of each week, my hands were sore from repeatedly scrubbing them with soap, water, and a bristle brush.
B: I also needed a breather from the burden of a demanding profession.
A: Sunday provided much-needed relief.


#7: After detailing the origin and history of the Sabbath, Elder Nelson uses a chiasm to emphasize the modern-day covenant aspect of Sabbath observance.

In Hebrew, the word Sabbath means “rest.” The purpose of the Sabbath dates back to the Creation of the world, when after six days of labor the Lord rested from the work of creation. When He later revealed the Ten Commandments to Moses, God commanded that we “remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Later, the Sabbath was observed as a reminder of the deliverance of Israel from their bondage in Egypt. Perhaps most important, the Sabbath was given as a perpetual covenant, a constant reminder that the Lord may sanctify His people.
A: In addition, we now partake of the sacrament
B: on the Sabbath day
C: in remembrance of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
D: Again, we covenant
D: that we are willing to take upon us His holy name.
C: The Savior identified Himself as
B: Lord of the Sabbath. It is His day! Repeatedly, He has asked us to keep the Sabbath or to hallow the Sabbath day.
A: We are under covenant to do so.


#8: This chiasm details how Elder Nelson became self-reliant in his efforts to keep the Sabbath day holy. Initially, he followed the “lists of dos and don’ts” created by others, but then developed the ability to discern appropriate behaviors for himself.

A: How do we hallow the Sabbath day?
B: In my much younger years, I studied the work of others
C: who had compiled lists of things to do and things not to do on the Sabbath.
D: It wasn’t until later that I learned from the scriptures that my conduct and my attitude on the Sabbath constituted
D: a sign between me and my Heavenly Father.
C: With that understanding, I no longer needed lists of dos and don’ts.
B: When I had to make a decision whether or not an activity was appropriate for the Sabbath, I simply asked myself,
A: “What sign do I want to give to God?” That question made my choices about the Sabbath day crystal clear.


#9: This chiasm emphasizes that the Sabbath is not just an ancient tradition, but a practice that has been renewed in our day for our benefit. Following this chiasm, he details these modern-day benefits by quoting D&C 59:9–10, 13, 15–16, drawing special attention to the promise that the “fulness of the earth” is given “to those who keep the Sabbath day holy.”

A: Though the doctrine pertaining to the Sabbath day
B: is of ancient origin,
B: it has been renewed in these latter days
A: as part of a new covenant with a promise.


#10: After detailing his own experience of becoming self-reliant in keeping the Sabbath day holy, Elder Nelson invites members of the congregation to explore their own Sabbath observance.

A: How can you ensure that your behavior on the Sabbath will lead to joy and rejoicing?
B: In addition to your going to church, partaking of the sacrament, and being diligent in your specific call to serve,
B: what other activities would help to make the Sabbath a delight for you?
A: What sign will you give to the Lord to show your love for Him?


Next, Elder Nelson provides a variety of ideas for members of the congregation to consider in their own efforts to keep the Sabbath day holy. These ideas are presented in a series of chiasms and parallelisms.

#11: Part of God’s intention in giving us the Sabbath is to strengthen eternal family ties.

A: The Sabbath provides a wonderful opportunity
B: to strengthen family ties.
A: After all, God wants
B: each of us, as His children, to return to Him as endowed Saints, sealed in the temple as families, to our ancestors, and to our posterity.


#12: To encourage parents to take advantage of Sabbath opportunities to teach the gospel to their children, Elder Nelson quotes a chiasm found in D&C 68:25 that emphasizes their responsibility to do so.

We make the Sabbath a delight when we teach the gospel to our children. Our responsibility as parents is abundantly clear. The Lord said,
A: “Inasmuch as parents have children in Zion …
B: that teach them not to understand
C: the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God,
C: and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old,
B: the sin be upon
A: the heads of the parents.”


#13: After quoting from a First Presidency letter from 11 February 1999, Elder Nelson uses a chiasm to rejoice in the availability of “wonderful resources” that aid “righteous, intentional parenting.”

Years ago the First Presidency stressed the importance of quality family time. They wrote:
“We call upon parents to devote their best efforts to the teaching and rearing of their children in gospel principles which will keep them close to the Church. The home is the basis of a righteous life, and no other instrumentality can take its place or fulfill its essential functions in carrying forward this God-given responsibility.
“We counsel parents and children to give highest priority to family prayer, family home evening, gospel study and instruction, and wholesome family activities. However worthy and appropriate other demands or activities may be, they must not be permitted to displace the divinely-appointed duties that only parents and families can adequately perform.”
A: When I ponder this counsel, I almost wish I were a young father once again.
B: Now parents have such wonderful resources available to help them make family time more meaningful, on the Sabbath and other days as well.
C: They have LDS.org, Mormon.org, the Bible videos, the Mormon Channel, the Media Library, the Friend, the New Era, the Ensign, the Liahona, and more—much more.
B: These resources are so very helpful to parents in discharging their sacred duty to teach their children.
A: No other work transcends that of righteous, intentional parenting!


#14: A Sabbath activity that can bring “immense joy” is family history work. The following two chiasms describe and illustrate this joy and invite us to experience it for ourselves.

A: In addition to time with family, you can experience true delight on the Sabbath from
B: family history work.
B: Searching for and finding family members who have preceded you on earth—those who did not have an opportunity to accept the gospel while here—
A: can bring immense joy.

A: I have seen this firsthand. Several years ago, my dear wife Wendy determined to learn how to do family history research.
B: Her progress at first was slow, but little by little she learned how easy it is to do this sacred work.
C: And I have never seen her happier.
B: You too need not travel to other countries or even to a family history center. At home, with the aid of a computer or mobile device, you can identify souls who are yearning for their ordinances.
A: Make the Sabbath a delight by finding your ancestors and liberating them from spirit prison!


#15: Our Sabbath observance can extend outside our family circles and include rendering service to others, especially the sick and lonely.

A: Make the Sabbath a delight
B: by rendering service to others,
C: especially those who are not feeling well
C: or those who are lonely or in need.
B: Lifting their spirits
A: will lift yours as well.


#16: Self-discipline is required in order for us to not slip into pursuing our “own pleasure” on the Sabbath day (see Isaiah 58:13–14).

A: Not pursuing your “own pleasure” on the Sabbath requires self-discipline.
B: You may have to deny yourself of something you might like.
C: If you choose to delight yourself in the Lord,
B: you will not permit yourself to treat it as any other day.
A: Routine and recreational activities can be done some other time.


#17: Drawing a parallel between paying tithing and keeping the Sabbath day holy, Elder Nelson uses a parallelism and a chiasm to help us see that both are ways of showing gratitude to the Lord.

Think of this:
A: In paying tithing,
B: we return one-tenth of our increase to the Lord.
A: In keeping the Sabbath holy,
B: we reserve one day in seven as His.

A: So it is our privilege to consecrate
B: both money
B: and time
A: to Him who lends us life each day.


#18: In concluding his address, Elder Nelson uses two chiasms to remind us that keeping the Sabbath day holy is part of being “an example of the believers” (1 Timothy 4:12) and part of the process of becoming “sanctified in Christ” (Moroni 10:32-33).

Now, as this conference comes to a close, we know that
A: wherever we live we are to be examples
B: of the believers
C: among our families, neighbors, and friends.
B: True believers
A: keep the Sabbath day holy.

I conclude with the farewell plea of Moroni, as he closed the Book of Mormon. He wrote,
A: “Come unto Christ,
B: and be perfected in him,
C: and deny yourselves of all ungodliness;
C: and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness,
B: and love God with all your might, mind and strength,
A: then … are ye sanctified in Christ.”


Conclusion:

In his two addresses that we have diagrammed, a distinct chiastic pattern is emerging. Russell M. Nelson speaks in a series of brief chiasms that mostly go unnoticed during an initial reading. However, each emphasizes a principle or practice of the Gospel that is worthy of study and that greatly enriches a study of his entire talk. The insights available through a chiastic study of this talk can help us to more deliberately keep the Sabbath day holy and realize its promised “delight.”

Courageous Things: Chiasmus in Russell M. Nelson’s “Becoming True Millennials”

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Russell M. Nelson (facebook.com)

Russell M. Nelson has been a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since April 1984. Following the death of President Boyd K. Packer in July 2015, he was set apart as the president of the Quorum. Prior to his call to full-time church service he served in several leadership capacities, including Stake President, General Sunday School President, and Regional Representative. Professionally, he worked as a surgeon and medical researcher and is internationally respected for his pioneering contributions to open-heart surgery.

In January 2016, President Nelson delivered a sermon at a Worldwide Devotional for young adults. He spoke on “Becoming True Millennials” and shared many examples from his life to illustrate the types of situations and opportunities that lay ahead for the Millennial generation.

“Becoming True Millennials” contains several chiastic structures that add precision to the meaning of specific passages and enrich his overall sermon. This article presents six chiasms from President Nelson’s sermon, divided by two general themes: True Millennials and The Prophetic Process.


Part 1: True Millennials

In the following three chiasms, President Nelson defines what he means by the term “Millennial,” in contrast to how social researchers use it, and instructs his audience about specific things they can do to become “True” Millennials.

#1:

A: Many people refer to you as Millennials.
B: I’ll admit that when researchers refer to you by that word and describe what their studies reveal about you—your likes and dislikes, your feelings and inclinations, your strengths and weaknesses—I’m uncomfortable. There is something about the way they use the term Millennial that bothers me.
C: And frankly, I am less interested in what the experts have to say about you
C: than what the Lord has told me about you.
B: When I pray about you and ask the Lord how He feels about you, I feel something far different from what the researchers say.
A: Spiritual impressions I’ve received about you lead me to believe that the term Millennial may actually be perfect for you. But for a much different reason than the experts may ever understand.

A=A: “[Y]ou as Millennials” correlates with “the term Millennial may actually be perfect for you.” While the term “Millennial” is used by secular society to describe the first generation to come of age after the year 2000, the term also has significant spiritual implications that apply to prophesied events in the near future. Coincidentally, this term is used by the world and by President Nelson, although differently, to describe the same population.

B=B: “[R]esearchers” contrasts with “the Lord” and “I’m uncomfortable” contrasts with “I feel something far different.” The findings and insights of researchers about Millennials are not in agreement with what the Lord has revealed to President Nelson through His Spirit. As a result, President Nelson has opposing feelings about the two messages — “uncomfortable” and “bother[ed]” by the researchers and “something far different” by the Lord.

C=C: “[E]xperts have to say about you” contrasts with “the Lord has told me about you.” The “experts” of the world can be helpful and contribute much with their findings and insights, but what the Lord has to say on a given topic should be of greater interest to us. Where the two differ, wisdom dictates that we should follow the Lord. This is a true principle that applies to every situation and in every setting.


#2:

A: The term Millennial is perfect for you if that term reminds you of who you really are and what your purpose in life really is.
B: A True Millennial is one who was taught and did teach the gospel of Jesus Christ premortally
C: and who made covenants with our Heavenly Father there about courageous things—even morally courageous things—that you would do while here on earth.
C: A True Millennial is a man or woman whom God trusted enough to send to earth during the most compelling dispensation in the history of this world.
B: A True Millennial is a man or woman who lives now to help prepare the people of this world for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and His millennial reign.
A: Make no mistake about it—you were born to be a True Millennial.

A=A: “Millennial” equates with “True Millennial.” The equality of these terms is conditional, based on whether “that term reminds” young adults “of who [they] really are and what [their] purpose in life really is.”

B=B: “[D]id teach the gospel of Jesus Christ premortally” equates with “lives now to help prepare the people of this world for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and His millennial reign.” President Nelson provides prophetic insight into the role Millennials play in our Heavenly Father’s Plan. They are teachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ with the purpose of preparing people for the next phase of the Plan. In the premortal realm they prepared people for mortality; today they prepare people for “the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and His millennial reign.”

C=C: “[M]ade covenants with our Heavenly Father” equates with “God trusted,” and “morally courageous things–that you would do while here on earth” equates with “most compelling dispensation in the history of this world.” A covenant with God is a reassuring sign of God’s trust. Millennials need that reassurance as they are living in the “most compelling dispensation in the history of this world,” a time that requires moral courage in order to follow through with their covenant role as “preparers.”


#3:

A: As a True Millennial whom the Lord can count on, you will make history too! You will be asked to accept challenging assignments and become an instrument in the Lord’s hands. And He will enable you to accomplish the impossible.
B: How will you accomplish the impossible? By doing whatever it takes to strengthen your faith in Jesus Christ by increasing your understanding of the doctrine taught in His restored Church and by relentlessly seeking truth.
B: As a True Millennial, anchored in pure doctrine,
A: when you are asked to do impossible things, you will be able to step forward with faith and dogged persistence and cheerfully do all that lies in your power to fulfill the purposes of the Lord.

A=A: “[A]sked to accept challenging assignments” equates with “asked to do impossible things.” President Nelson provides a glimpse of what lies ahead for Millennials. They will be given “challenging assignments” by the Lord, but, like Nephi, they will be able to respond with faith, “dogged persistence,” and cheerfulness, knowing that the Lord will “enable [them] to accomplish the impossible.”

B=B: “Strengthen your faith in Jesus Christ by increasing your understanding of the doctrine taught in His restored Church and by relentlessly seeking truth” equates with “anchored in pure doctrine.” The key to being able to “do impossible things” is being “anchored in pure doctrine,” through study of Church doctrine and “by relentlessly seeking truth.”


Part 2: The Prophetic Process

In the next three chiasms, President Nelson describes the “prophetic process” and shows how this same process is followed when receiving personal revelation.

#4:

A: We sustain 15 men who are ordained as prophets, seers, and revelators.
B: When a thorny problem arises—and they only seem to get thornier each day—these 15 men wrestle with the issue, trying to see all the ramifications of various courses of action, and they diligently seek to hear the voice of the Lord.
C: After fasting, praying, studying, pondering, and counseling with my Brethren about weighty matters, it is not unusual for me to be awakened during the night with further impressions about issues with which we are concerned.
C: And my Brethren have the same experience.
B: The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles counsel together and share all the Lord has directed us to understand and to feel individually and collectively.
A: And then we watch the Lord move upon the President of the Church to proclaim the Lord’s will.

A=A: “15 men who are ordained as prophets, seers, and revelators” corresponds to “President of the Church.” Although the members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles each hold all the revealed keys of the priesthood, the President of the Church directs their use. He is the Lord’s mouthpiece on the earth. (See Bruce R. McConkie, “The Keys of the Priesthood,” Ensign, May 1983.)

B=B: “[T]hese 15 men wrestle with the issue” equates with “the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles counsel together.” Before the Lord’s will is proclaimed, the “15 men” put forth a collective effort to thoroughly understand the issue. This is done through reason and revelation.

C=C: “[I]t is not unusual for me to be awakened during the night with further impressions” equates with “my Brethren have the same experience.” In addition to their collective effort, each of the 15 men put forth an individual effort and often receive “further impressions” pertaining to the issue at hand.


#5:

A: This prophetic process was followed in 2012 with the change in minimum age for missionaries and again with the recent additions to the Church’s handbook, consequent to the legalization of same-sex marriage in some countries.
B: Filled with compassion for all, and especially for the children, we wrestled at length to understand the Lord’s will in this matter.
C: Ever mindful of God’s plan of salvation and of His hope for eternal life for each of His children, we considered countless permutations and combinations of possible scenarios that could arise.
C: We met repeatedly in the temple in fasting and prayer and sought further direction and inspiration.
B: And then, when the Lord inspired His prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, to declare the mind of the Lord and the will of the Lord, each of us during that sacred moment felt a spiritual confirmation. It was our privilege as Apostles to sustain what had been revealed to President Monson.
A: Revelation from the Lord to His servants is a sacred process, and so is your privilege of receiving personal revelation.

A=A: “[P]rophetic process” equates with “sacred process.” The example of this process featured in this chiasm serves as a model for personal application.

B=B: “Lord’s will” equates with “will of the Lord.” In order to understand the Lord’s will, we need to be in tune with the Spirit of the Lord, which requires charity.

C=C: “[W]e considered” equates with “we met repeatedly in the temple.” The “prophetic process” includes both reason and revelation.


#6 — President Nelson posted this chiasm to his Facebook page on June 16, 2016, which was the impetus for this article:

A: My dear brothers and sisters, you have as much access to the mind and will of the Lord for your own life as we Apostles do for His Church. Just as the Lord requires us to seek and ponder, fast and pray, and study and wrestle with difficult questions, He requires you to do the same as you seek answers to your own questions.
B: You can learn to hear the voice of the Lord through the whisperings of the Holy Ghost.
B: As helpful as Google, Twitter, and Facebook may seem, they simply do not provide answers to your most important questions!
A: My dear young friends, you can know the mind and will of the Lord for your own life. You do not have to wonder if you are where the Lord needs you to be or if you are doing what He needs you to do. You can know! The Holy Ghost will tell you “all things what ye should do.”

A=A: “Mind and will of the Lord for your own life” equates with “mind and will of the Lord for your own life.” Members of the Church have the same “access” to the “mind and will of the Lord” for their individual lives as the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles do for the Church and the world. The key is developing that gift through “seek[ing] and ponder[ing], fast[ing] and pray[ing], and study[ing] and wrestl[ing] with difficult questions.”

B=B: “[W]hisperings of the Holy Ghost” contrasts with “Google, Twitter, and Facebook.” For our “most important questions,” rather than seeking the wisdom of “experts” and others as found on “Google, Twitter, and Facebook,” we should seek to “hear the voice of the Lord through the whisperings of the Holy Ghost.”


Conclusion:

A chiastic study of President Nelson’s sermon enables a deeper and more thorough understanding of his message, which is filled with inspiring and practical counsel for young adults. In concluding his sermon, President Nelson warned* young adults of the “somber reality … that there are ‘servants of Satan’ embedded throughout society” who make “a mock of that which [is] sacred, denying the spirit of prophecy and of revelation” (see Helaman 4:12). This mockery is in direct opposition to President Nelson’s sermon, which offers keys for developing “the spirit of prophecy and of revelation.” Our hope is that this article will serve to strengthen the youth of the Church by helping them more fully incorporate President Nelson’s message into their lives. As a result, they will be enabled to identify and reject the “servants of Satan” they encounter and, instead, embrace their identity as “True Millennials.”


*This warning is in the form of a parallelism:

A: Around 41 b.c., many Nephites joined the Church, and the Church prospered.
B: But secret combinations also began to grow, and many of their cunning leaders hid among the people and were difficult to detect.
C: As the people became more and more prideful, many of the Nephites made “a mock of that which was sacred, denying the spirit of prophecy and of revelation.”
A: Those same threats are among us today.
B: The somber reality is that there are “servants of Satan” embedded throughout society.
C: So be very careful about whose counsel you follow.

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