During an historic interview in Rome—the ancient and great city where two millennia ago Peter and Paul preached and died—President Russell M. Nelson called the dedication of the Rome Italy Temple “a hinge point in the history of the Church.”
He added, “Things are going to move forward at an accelerated pace. The Church is going to have an unprecedented future, unparalleled. We’re just building up to what’s ahead now.”
President Nelson’s words followed a historic weekend March 9–12, 2019 in which the leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints dedicated the Rome Italy Temple, addressed youth in the temple district, and met with Pope Francis—becoming the first prophet to have a formal audience with the head of the Roman Catholic Church.
He was also joined by every member of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in Rome, one of the most influential cities in the history of Christianity. The Church leaders stood together on March 11, 2019 in the Rome Italy Temple Visitors’ Center for iconic photographs—symbols of their unified testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ.
During all of these historic events President Nelson looked forward with characteristic energy and optimism. For example, his enthusiasm is evident as he met with faithful Latter-day Saints attending a youth devotional in Rome, Italy on March 9, 2019.
The many historic firsts of the weekend were “only the beginning,” President Nelson noted.
Moving Forward at an Accelerated Pace
Since becoming president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Nelson has logged well over 115,000 miles to six continents, 32 nations and territories and 49 cities. He has met with members in large and small settings—often addressing them in their own language—and with world leaders. He has also reached out to victims of crime, comforted those grieving, and acknowledged many children.
In addition, he has announced policy changes for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Under his direction, senior Church leaders have dedicated or rededicated 13 temples, held 11 ground-breaking ceremonies, identified 11 future temple sites and announced plans to build 16 new temples. And the Church has made changes for missionaries, including a new handbook and a policy allowing missionaries to call home weekly. Latter-day Saints leaders also set in motion humanitarian efforts—including large and small examples of “generous hearts” and “helping hands” in the year 2019.
During a press interview in Brasilia, Brazil, on Aug. 30—just before President Nelson’s 95th birthday—Sister Wendy Nelson said the older her husband gets the more he is “enchanted with the future.” She added that he has a continual urgency about everything he is doing, “Yes, there is an urgency,”
“There are exciting things ahead,” said President Nelson. “This work is moving forward at an accelerated pace. I can hardly wait to bounce out of bed each morning and see what the day will bring.”
President Nelson reflected again on the future of the Church on November 21, 2019 in Jakarta, Indonesia, after speaking to a capacity crowd of 1,765. President Nelson stated that it was: “One of those moments that you never forget. You can’t put words to it very well, but it is the Lord telling you that this is His work and He is directing it and we get to participate.”
For example, President and Sister Nelson especially enjoyed meeting with 86-year-old Tumini and with other multigenerational members of the restored Church of Jesus Christ in Jakarta, Indonesia.
A Look at the Year 2019 in Review: