Who is Russel M. Nelson?

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Who is Russel M. Nelson?

Post by On Own Now » 06 Jul 2015, 13:54

At the last GC, Russell M. Nelson was third in the line of succession, but in a matter of just six weeks, he has moved to next-in-line. A handful of thoughts, before I get to the question:

- The Church now has only one remaining witness to the lifting of the priesthood/temple ban: TSM.
- TSM now has 21 years of seniority among the apostles. He was ordained an Apostle in 1963, RMN not until 1984.
- M. Russell Ballard, Richard G. Scott, and Robert D. Hales have all been GA's longer than RMN, having served as Seventy or Presiding Bishoprics before RMN's call out of nowhere.
- RMN's first wife died in February, 2005 and in April of 2006, he married his second wife in the SLC Temple. It was her first marriage, so presumably, this was a second 'time-and-all-eternity' marriage, making RMN a doctrinal-polygamist.
- Even though RMN is 90, he looks healthy and spry. I went back to watch his conference talk in April. He looked in better shape than half of the rest of the quorum and I could see him living to 100 or beyond. He looks far healthier than JRH, who is 16 years younger.

So, now to the heart of the matter. Who is RMN? I'd love to hear insights from any of you. BKP was a known quantity, and that quantity was a little scary. But RMN, to me, is a mystery man. He's pretty non-descript. He's been an Apostle for 31 years, but I have no idea what his key issues are or what he stands for. I can't think of any talk he has given. He's probably the least interesting of the quorum. The only distinguishing event I can think of regarding RMN was when he stood at the side of Joseph B. Wirthlin, who was very shaky at the podium. His speaking tone is boring (to me), his topics are not interesting. I think of his words as 'primary answers' delivered in conference talk form. His talk at the conclusion of GC, the last talk on Easter Sunday, was about Sabbath Observance. But I really just don't know what to think. Any of you have insights?
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Re: Who is Russel M. Nelson?

Post by Shawn » 06 Jul 2015, 14:04

I hope the "seniority" practice is abandoned and Dieter Uchtdorf becomes the next president.

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Re: Who is Russel M. Nelson?

Post by Orson » 06 Jul 2015, 14:06

Unfortunately negatives can often define. This is the article that stands out in my mind, it is almost the anti-Uchtdorf:


Granted views and opinions can change over time, and this was 12 years ago.

He also authored "A Treasured Testament" in July 1993, which was the first Ensign reference that I know of that gave David Whitmer's account of the stone in the hat as the BoM translation method. So maybe there is an early point scored for being true to the historical record.
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Re: Who is Russel M. Nelson?

Post by Shawn » 06 Jul 2015, 14:10

Here is a brief biography of Russell Nelson:

https://www.lds.org/church/leader/russe ... n?lang=eng

One significant thing about him is that he performed heart surgery on Spencer W. Kimball in 1972.
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Re: Who is Russel M. Nelson?

Post by mom3 » 06 Jul 2015, 14:25

I was in my early 20's when Ezra Taft Benson became President of the church. I was mildly liberal, but had devoutly feminist friends. One went so far as to assume she should resign her membership because of his strong political and religious opinions. The Bishop asked her to wait, in those days it was a circus to resign, he agreed if anything fit her bill to do it. She didn't - at least during his tenure. They didn't see eye to eye on mother's at home but she and I didn't have kids so we figured we were exempt.

My point is - we really don't know the person till they get there. Benson never gave a talk as President of the church that was nearly as hell fire and brimstone as things he did when he was a GA. It was like he mellowed or feared being too extreme. Sometimes being the driver's seat changes us.

I am not a Nelson fan. He is retrenchment all the way to me. His talks about how the ladies in his family gather around and make home made donuts while he is at Priesthood meeting then practically sit at his feet while he shares what he learned there with them grates on my something fierce. But I am willing to leave room for a changed perception.

What I really hope is that Monson hangs on because I don't want Uchtdorf or Eyring relegated to the pack. Naturally Uchtdorf first, but I think Eyring is nice balance for our divided community.
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Re: Who is Russel M. Nelson?

Post by Roadrunner » 06 Jul 2015, 14:27

On Own Now wrote:- M. Russell Ballard, Richard G. Scott, and Robert D. Hales have all been GA's longer than RMN, having served as Seventy or Presiding Bishoprics before RMN's call out of nowhere.
Russell M Nelson performed open heart surgery on Spencer W Kimball in 1972, possibly saving his life, and probably a contributing factor to his selection as Q12. SWK was president of the church when RMN was called to Q12. I'd speculate that there was an intimacy and trust between the two, and they had known each other for years.

https://www.lds.org/prophets-and-apostl ... n?lang=eng

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Re: Who is Russel M. Nelson?

Post by GBSmith » 06 Jul 2015, 16:17

Back in the day Elder Nelson did a piece for the Ensign on God's love being conditional that was troublesome for me, my daughter, and people I home taught. It seemed to be mostly semantics and in the end unnecessary and has colored my view of him ever since. I wondered if it was his idea or someone in CES got him to do it to make a point. Who knows.

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Re: Who is Russel M. Nelson?

Post by amateurparent » 06 Jul 2015, 16:32

He is a cardio-thoracic surgeon. All those stereotypes .. They are based on some truths.
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Re: Who is Russel M. Nelson?

Post by Ann » 06 Jul 2015, 18:52

I noticed in his April '84 conference address that he seems to place a high priority on unbroken and unblemished records. All eight of his great-grandparents joining the church and emigrating to the same town in Utah, an unbroken string of (at that time, I think) his kids' eight temple marriages. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with taking satisfaction and inspiration from all of that, but it's just not the world I've come from or the one I live in now. Is there any hope of Section 132 being "revisited" if he becomes president?

That said, fingers crossed and hoping for the best.
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Re: Who is Russel M. Nelson?

Post by hawkgrrrl » 06 Jul 2015, 21:19

He mischaracterized and mocked the Big Bang theory in this talk in 2012, getting audience laughs, and contributing to the death knell of my son's testimony. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/ ... d?lang=eng
Yet some people erroneously think that these marvelous physical attributes happened by chance or resulted from a big bang somewhere. Ask yourself, “Could an explosion in a printing shop produce a dictionary?” The likelihood is most remote. But if so, it could never heal its own torn pages or reproduce its own newer editions!
He also gave a nice talk when I was in the MTC about the symbols of Christ's life and ministry.

You never know. It was feared that ETB would go John Birch in office, but he mostly talked about reading the BOM. Unfortunately, he also probably set the stage for the sexist rhetoric and inequality of the women in the church.

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