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As a father of ten and a husband and dedicated priesthood holder, President Russell M. Nelson knows very well the priorities that help elevate eternal values. He taught, “Brethren and sisters, material possessions and honors of the world do not endure. But your union as wife, husband, and family can. The only duration of family life that satisfies the loftiest longings of the human soul is forever. No sacrifice is too great to have the blessings of an eternal marriage. To qualify, one needs only to deny oneself of ungodliness and honor the ordinances of the temple.
By making and keeping sacred temple covenants, we evidence our love for God, for our companions, and our real regard for our posterity—even those yet unborn. Our family is the focus of our greatest work and joy in this life; so will it be throughout all eternity, when we can inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, . . . powers, dominions, . . . exaltation and glory (Doctrine and Covenants 132:19). These priceless blessings can be ours if we set our houses in order now and faithfully cling to the gospel.”
He has taught that “the home is the great laboratory of love. There the raw chemicals of selfishness and greed are melded in the crucible of cooperation to yield compassionate concern and love for one another.” Above all, he knows and has taught that the family is the ultimate place of security for the soul. He has asserted, “There is spiritual safety in the circle of the family—the basic unit of society. The family is a sacred institution.
The gospel was restored to the earth and the Church exists to exalt the family. The earth was created that each premortal spirit child of God might have this mortal experience, gain a physical body, choose a companion, form a family, and have that family sealed eternally in a temple of the Lord. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted.”
Speaking to the young adults of the Church just one week before the passing of his beloved Dantzel, he said,
“As Sister Nelson and I look back, we can honestly say that our family and membership in the Church are most important to us. How thankful we are that we heeded the counsel of Church leaders to marry in the temple, to invite children into our family, and to serve the Lord! If we had placed our education ahead of our family, we would not be so blessed now. Education was a lengthy process for us. Earning two doctor’s degrees took me a long time. Then we struggled through many more years of surgical specialization. I did not send a bill for surgical services until I had been out of medical school for more than 12 years! By then we had five children. But somehow we managed. . . . We have tasted of life’s successes and sorrows. We have dealt with disappointment, disease, and death among our children. But death cannot divide families sealed in the temple. That period of separation is only temporary. Thanks to the Lord’s great plan of happiness, we can all face the future with great faith and optimism.”
President Nelson is a strong advocate of marriage and the sanctity of this holy institution. He and Dantzel were married for almost sixty years and had a wonderful marriage. After Dantzel’s passing in February 2005, Russell married Wendy Watson in April 2006. President Nelson and Wendy also have a strong marriage. Wendy said in an interview, “I try to do everything I can to make sure my husband feels loved, adored, wanted, and needed. We call it L.A.W.N. in our family.”
“The full realization of the blessings of a temple marriage is almost beyond our mortal comprehension. Such a marriage will continue to grow in the celestial realm. There we can become perfected (see Moroni 10:32). . . . Celestial marriage is a pivotal part of preparation for eternal life. It requires one to be married to the right person, in the right place, by the right authority, and to obey that sacred covenant faithfully. Then one may be assured of exaltation in the celestial kingdom of God.”
On another occasion, President Nelson declared,
“Marriage brings greater possibilities for happiness than does any other human relationship. Yet some married couples fall short of their full potential. They let their romance become rusty, take each other for granted, allow other interests or clouds of neglect to obscure the vision of what their marriage really could be. Marriages would be happier if nurtured more carefully.”
President Nelson also understands the place for marriage in society. He said, “Marriage is the foundry for social order, the fountain of virtue, and the foundation for eternal exaltation. Marriage has been divinely designated as an eternal and everlasting covenant (see Doctrine and Covenants 132:19). Marriage is sanctified when it is cherished and honored in holiness. That union is not merely between husband and wife; it embraces a partnership with God (see Matthew 19:6).