Monday, February 27, 2023

Observable Behavior: RMN Analysis

I have studied body language a bit. I'm not amazing at it, but I'm interested in it. I frequently ask my kids, "What should I believe, what someone says...or what they do?" They know the answer - believe what the person does. Anyone can say what you want to hear - but the things they do give you a glimpse into what is going on inside their head. Actions and body language are very hard to hide. People are like icebergs - words are just a fraction of the person...what they do tells the bigger story.

I'm always trying to discern the character of a man (or woman), especially more-so in the last two years. What motivates them...what get's them out of bed in the morning...what offends them...where is their focus. What light (or lack of) is in their eyes (Matt. 6:23). Being deceived will heighten your desire for the gift of discernment, at least it did for me. Thinking you know a person(s) but having this gut feeling something is off and ignoring that feeling and then finding out that gut feeling was right is aggravating. I've given myself long lectures about why I need to trust what I am feeling.

President Nelson has captured my curiosity these last few years. When he was called as President of the Church in 2018, there seemed to be a dramatic shift in the church. I have never, in my life, heard more people say that they received a strong witness he was a prophet of God. Because of the many testimonies that came our way, my husband and I spent many hours in prayer and many days in fasting to receive an answer from the Lord concerning President Nelson. After time, and much battle in prayer, we received an answer. When I shared with someone close to me about the spiritual battle we experienced as we prayed for an answer, they chastised me saying that it seemed like a lot of darkness and therefore the answer that came after the battle couldn't be trusted. I'm not always the best at verbal confrontations - I tend to think of the perfect response a couple days later. So I failed with saying anything and just sat there silently looking at the floor. Looking back now, I wish I'd have mentioned Joseph Smith in the grove. He sure battled something dark that day.

I think it's valuable to try to understand President Nelson's character and it is important to look beyond what he says publicly and look to what he does.

He's really good at writing about himself: 

President Nelson wrote his autobiography, From Heart to Heart, back in 1979 before he became an apostle in 1984. A copy of the book is over $2,000 (link). Fortunately for us, the BareRecord blogger was able to procure a copy and take some photos.

If I was going to assess a person's core personality, one primary way would be to pay attention to how they talk about themselves. Lucky for us, we can do that with President Nelson. Here is the foreword President Nelson wrote himself to his autobiography:

This book, the engaging record of the life and experiences of Russell Marion Nelson, is a fulfillment of a great dream. In these pages he has set forth a chronicle of his noble parentage and crystallized the many experiences of himself and his adorable family. This work will bring joy and peace and happiness to its readers.

The first time I saw the Nelson family was at a stake conference meeting in 1964. Eight daughters were singing a song, accompanied by their mother, Dantzel. I was amazed and pleased, and I thought, “What a perfect family! What beautiful parents! And what delightful children to grow up in one household.” I have known them from that time forward, and now there are nine daughters and one son. Brother Nelson has always been a family man first, and now all his family unite to bring him honor.

I owe much to him as a doctor. It was in 1971 in England that I first spoke to him of my heart problems. When we returned to the United States, investigation showed that I had problems with a deteriorating valve in my heart and an obstruction in an artery. I felt my life slipping away, and I wondered if perhaps the time had come for a younger man to enter the Quorum of the Twelve and do the work I could no longer do. But at the inspired insistence of President Harold B. Lee, I was prompted to press on. Therefore, my life was placed in the hands of this young doctor, in whom we noted a sweet Spirituality. Because of his skill as a surgeon—one who trusts in the power of the priesthood and relies on the Spirit of the Lord—my life was spared, even though the risks were very great for a man of my seventy-seven years.

We became close as I recovered from the open-heart surgery that he performed perfectly. Whenever I became discouraged, there was always his sweet, understanding spirit to buoy me up.

Then President Lee died in December 1973. We never thought it could happen, for he was younger than I and seemingly in good health; therefore, we were all taken by surprise. Brother Nelson, of his own accord, came to my side immediately in case he should be needed. I appreciated his thoughtfulness very much...

It pleases me very much to note that he has done a superb work in assembling the information to bring this book into existence...It seems to me that it has been done beautifully and without flaw. Long will his children and their posterity honor this great man, and long will they remember that he followed the precepts of his Lord through his prophets...

President Spencer W. Kimball Salt Lake City, Utah March 1979

Now I know what you're thinking - it says President Kimball wrote it. But that isn't so. 1. Ask yourself if this even remotely sounds like the way President Kimball ever spoke or wrote. 2. The photo below shows President Kimball's journal entry about Russell M. Nelson's autobiography. The addition to the journal was added by President Kimball's son. "Fulsome" means excessive, overdone, or gross flattery to an excessive degree. Fulsome, in this instance, couldn't have been used more appropriately.

He belongs to unusual society: 

President Nelson was a member of the Skull and Bones (from page 48):

For those who don't know much about the Skull and Bones, it is also referred to as The Order or The Brotherhood of Death. It began as an undergraduate senior secret student society at Yale University. There are only two chapters of this secret society in the United States. The one at Yale University. and the other is at the University of Utah. Since the organization is extremely secretive, not much can be talked about. A few things we do know are that the building that they meet in is called The Tomb. The Skull and Bones's membership developed a reputation with the "power elite." 

He knows how to strike a pose: 

Back in December I needed photos of Jesus for a project I was working on. I was able to procure a stack of Ensign magazines and as I was going through them, I came across a curious page turner. On one page it was President Nelson. And then on the next page - the Christus. The imagery was fascinating and I had to say, I've never seen a prophet make this pose more than he does.

To double check myself - I searched up other past Presidents of the Church to see their common speaking pose and besides a few arthritic fingers occasionally raised to make a point, they gripped the podium. I couldn't help but wonder if his body language of choice had anything to do with the new church symbol announcement President Nelson made shortly after he became President (link).

He likes a legacy: 

As evidenced by his personal autobiographical Forward as well as his custom made future headstone found at the Salt Lake Cemetery (link). Using granite from the Salt Lake Temple deconstruction - he had it turned into this very, very large headstone. Observe the other headstones in the back of the photo to get an idea for scale. Again, just interesting to try to understand the character of a person millions revere as the one who speaks to God on their behalf.

The headstone comes with a little plaque. The plaque doesn't say the word "headstone" but rather it says..."Monument":

As BareRecord blogger noted, although President Nelson is still alive, his grave monument has been placed right next to his first wife (see above photo). Not only does the size of the monument dwarf all other gravestones in the cemetery but it is interesting that it is not facing the same direction as all of the other graves. Instead of facing east, it is facing south.

Christian graves in churchyards were traditionally aligned on an east to west axis. The coffins were placed with the head of the person at the west end of the grave and the foot at the east. This is because they believe in the second coming of Christ and scripture teaches that he will come from the east. In this manner, they place their dead in a position so they can meet Christ face-to-face during his second coming. The gravestone with name also faced east. It is interesting that President Nelson chose to have his grave facing south.

He loves a construction legacy: 

President Nelson's decision to redo the Salt Lake Temple seems to be another passion of his.

BareRecord wrote about a comment he read about the deconstruction of the Salt Lake Temple:
“This is the saddest thing I've ever seen, for Latter-day Saint heritage -- they basically decapitated, gutted, jacked up, and removed from its foundation -- one of America's most-iconic, most-recognizable, most-historic, and most-sacred structures. They put the interior through a wood-chipper. Almost nothing of the original exists now except that the granite is being re-used on the outside of an all-new steel and concrete building. I'm not diminishing the importance of a new temple to the living and dead members. I know that many people find joy in newness, and spiritual gratitude from more ordinances per day. But this is like shredding an 1830 original first edition Book of Mormon, to use the paper pulp to print a new replica, because the newly-printed Book of Mormon might convert a tourist. The old copy would have converted more. The theologians and marketers have their reasons, but legitimate historians should be horrified. I'm a Mormon material culture historian, not a theologian, in this context...I'm also a libertarian who thinks property owners have an ethical right to wreck their own historic property, as they did. But there are other moral stakeholders in a community, too. What in incalculable loss to the whole church, community, city, and country, and the pioneers, due to high-technology owners who do not seem to value preservation, architecture, or history. John Hajicek (Jan 25, 2023):
President Nelson had a special video made about his deconstruction temple project and showed it at the October 2021 General Conference. In the video he said, “The foundation of any building, particularly one as large as this one, must be strong and resilient enough to withstand earthquakes, corrosion, high winds and the inevitable settling that affects all buildings. The complex task of strengthening now underway will reinforce this sacred temple with the foundation that can and will stand the test of time.” He also said, "My dear brothers and sisters, when renovations on the Salt Lake Temple are completed, there will be no safer place during an earthquake in the Salt Lake Valley than inside that temple."

I find it very curious indeed that the Temple was fortified by men and not by God. It underwent construction to withstand the elements and destruction God will inflict upon His house - those who have professed to know Him - but don't.
24 Behold, vengeance cometh speedily upon the inhabitants of the earth, a day of wrath, a day of burning, a day of desolation, of weeping, of mourning, and of lamentation; and as a whirlwind it shall come upon all the face of the earth, saith the Lord.

25 And upon my house shall it begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord;

26 First among those among you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name and have not known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house, saith the Lord. (D&C 112)
The Temple wasn't fortified through the power and authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood. Why? Because we don't work that way in the church. But we do least fulfill prophecy:
5 And they deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel; and they say unto the people: Hearken unto us, and hear ye our precept; for behold there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men;

6 Behold, hearken ye unto my precept; if they shall say there is a miracle wrought by the hand of the Lord, believe it not; for this day he is not a God of miracles; he hath done his work. (2 Nephi 28)

I can't help but wonder if the deconstruction of the iconic Salt Lake Temple, which has often been a symbol to represent the LDS church, is actually a physical symbol of where the church is at spiritually. The structure contains some of the original parts but on the whole it has been torn apart and re-vamped into a structure that was engineered by "experts". President Nelson has put down the power of God in this one act. God has given His power to men and men say..."construction, engineering, and experts will solve this problem." 

No safer place in the Salt Lake Valley except inside that temple?! Forget spiritual protection, which is far more important than the physical. "No... live thyself nearer to me...(the Salt Lake Temple once construction ends in 2025) and attend often. There is no safer place to be..." 

Helaman 5:12

"And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."

He's rejected the Corner Stone:

Traditionally Temples have always had a cornerstone dedication before they begin construction. President Nelson has done away with this ceremony citing that, "Construction techniques have advanced...cornerstones are no longer...part of temple dedications." Jacob said the Jews would reject their Corner Stone (Jesus) and we LDS are so like the Jews. We too believe we are the chosen ones and can not be moved from our place like all those in the past who were chosen and then fell. We are immune. Jacob said, "...they will reject the stone upon which they might build and have safe is it possible that these, after having rejected the sure foundation, can ever build upon it, that it may become the head of their corner?" (Jacob 4:15-17) Blogger Bare Record said it best when he expounded on this corner stone removal: Bare Record Link

He's good at rebranding: 

Another one of President Nelson's accomplishments is the rebranding of the Church's name. Florida has the "don't say gay" bill and Utah has the "don't say Mormon" thingy. 

It has long been a bee in President Nelson's bonnet about the terrible use of the word "Mormon" (yeck, gag). He spoke about it 23 years ago in the talk, "Thus Shall My Church Be Called" (link). Six months later, President Hinckley titled his talk, "Mormon should mean, More Good" and justified the use of the word "Mormon". And so the battle secretly began. 28 years later when President Nelson was called as prophet he said, "The Lord has impressed upon my mind the importance of the name He has revealed for His Church, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We have work before us to bring ourselves in harmony with His will." He also said, "To remove the Lord’s name from the Lord’s Church is a major victory for Satan."

He's a prophet unleashed: 

Wendy Nelson, President Nelson's wife, made a Freudian slip very revealing statement about President Nelson's agenda shortly after he became President:

“I have seen him changing in the last ten months,” said Sister Nelson. “It is as though he's been unleashed. He's free to finally do what he came to earth to do. … And also, he's free to follow through with things he's been concerned about but could never do. Now that he's president of [the Church], he can do those things.” (link)

It beg's the question...what the heck were the other prophet's doing all that time? Actively NOT receiving revelation?

A few years ago President Russel M Nelson and his wife Wendy spoke at a special meeting for all those who live in Europe. Sister Wendy spoke first. She shared the famous story about the Emperor's New Clothes and the importance of following her husband, the Prophet.

"Today I’d like to talk with you in Europe about truth and prophets. In the literary folk tale the emperor's new clothes by Danish author Hans Christian Anderson, swindlers convinced the emperor that the new attire they made for him is of the most exquisite pattern, material, and colors. They emphasize that anyone who cannot see the extraordinary clothing is unworthy of his office or simply stupid. Everyone is duped by the charlatans even the emperor's most trusted officials. All the town's people join in the chorus telling the emperor how magnificent he looks as he proudly parades in front of them. No one wants to be thought of as stupid. However, one child boldly proclaims the emperor has no clothes on and that was the truth. Today it can be difficult to know who speaks the truth, but my testimony is that prophets of god always speak the truth. While many in the world's great and spacious building convincingly profess that evil is good and good is evil. Prophets speak the truth....
"And now how will your life be blessed as you choose to follow President Russell M Nelson the prophet of god on the earth today who for four years has led The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints under the direction of Jesus Christ himself. I’m grateful that my husband is the kind of man who many years before he was called to be an apostle said quote, “I never ask myself when does the prophet speak as a prophet and when does he not. My interest has been how can I be more like him” end quote. As his wife, may I offer you several examples of President Nelson's life that you may want to emulate."'
I was hoping she would recommend that we should emulate Jesus but alas...

He is skilled with getting mass compliance: 

Getting back to the "don't say Mormon" thing...if that "major victory for Satan" part is true, then every President has scored BIG for Satan up until this point. On top of that, President Monson would have run the greatest campaign for Satan in our history. The "I'm a Mormon" campaign ran from 2010-2018:

According to President Nelson, from 1830 until 2018 the church, which used the word Mormon constantly, was continually living in a Satanic triumph. Although other prophet's led the church and never received a revelation about the Satanic conquest continually being enacted... under President Nelson's watch...he achieved revelatory victory. To tie the use of the "incorrect name" with Satanic victory assured mass compliance. Brilliant really. 

"If we allow nicknames to be used or adopt 
or even sponsor those nicknames ourselves, 
He is offended."
President Russell M Nelson

"To remove the Lord’s name from the Lord’s Church is 
a major victory for Satan." 
President Russell M Nelson

Some things that offend God (found in the scriptures):

He's good at getting people to be vaccinated:

Contrast that with: 

FDA reveals long list of serious health conditions that may result from Covid-19 vaccinations, including death

His flair for, "the gasp": 

Another one of President Nelson's personality traits is his flair for "the gasp" in the announcing of Temples, even when there is no ground purchased for said temple such as the announcement of the temple in Russia in 2018 (ask any returned missionary from Russia if there are enough active members to run a Temple and you'll see why there's still no temple there). Then there was the temple that was announced in Shanghai People's Republic of China. Two days after President Nelson made that announcement the Municipal Bureau of Ethnic and Religious Affairs made a statement:  
Whether Mormons in China will be able to get nearer to that presence remains to be seen. In a statement issued two days after the Church’s announcement, the Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Ethnic and Religious Affairs said that “according to the relevant laws and regulations of China, foreigners are not allowed to set up religious organizations or venues for religious activities in China.”

The bureau denied any knowledge of plans for a temple in Shanghai, saying they were the “wishful thinking of the Mormon Church in the United States.”

He was too ill to attend the October 2023 General Conference but when it came time to announce 20 new temples, he rallied for the occasion with a video of himself announcing them! None of his Apostles were given the opportunity as he will have announced more temples than any other President of the Church! Link here

His skill with theater & performance: 

He has a theatrical background and met his first wife when they were co-leads in a play at the University of Utah (link). His love of performances came shining through at his 95th birthday party with the biggest lineup of guest artists for a prophet's birthday party to date (link).

Just for contemplation: 

He was dubbed "Heart Healer" and "Prophet for the World" at his birthday celebration: 

He's promoted as a Global Faith Leader who has experience with just about every kind of problem. 

See his short promotional video:

Screenshot below from the video above. You may think that it is talking about Jesus, but Jesus isn't mentioned. President Nelson is the one who has "treated them all". 

He's not one to offer an unnecessary blessing:

Now I'll share a personal story of a friend with whom I was close to. Their father, still relatively young (in his 60's) became injured in an accident which rendered him unconscious and on life support in the hospital. Their entire family gathered and went to the hospital to be with him as the doctors assessed his situation. At that moment, who should come into the room but Elder Russell M. Nelson. He knew their father and said that he wanted to come and visit and advised the family to take him off of life support and let him pass away. When my friend told me this story, my mouth hung open and I said, "Well! What did you guys do?!" What did they do? Well, they listened to the Apostle and took him off of life support and he passed away. I was amazed an apostolic blessing was never even offered. Dumbfounding, really.

He knows how to give good gifts: 

Or there's that time when President Nelson went on his world tour shortly after becoming president. While in Kenya President Nelson went to visit the single mother Mercy Makau, her daughter Gloria Nashipai and her son William Mbogo and he give them a very special gift. The gift was a picture of himself taken with his two counselors, President Oaks and President Eyring. 

Or you can watch the 10 second video here:

Writing this has made me very tired. I'm not sure why but it's not normal for me to have a wave of exhaustion overcome me every time I return to a post. Maybe I'll add to this post over time, but for now, this is my character assessment of Russell M. Nelson based on observable behaviors outside of pre-prepared speeches to a worldwide church organization. 

General Conference is 33 days away and falls on April 1st. At that time you will have the opportunity to sustain the leaders of the church in order to be able to answer your Temple questions with personal integrity and honesty. If you haven't already, take the time to pray to know for yourself if these men are God's chosen Prophet's, Seer's, and Revelators.