10 february 2019 – glendale, arizona News Release
Prophet Pens Op-Ed for the Arizona Republic in Advance of His Visit
President Nelson to address 68,000 Latter-day Saints in Glendale
President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will hold a devotional at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, for an estimated 68,000 members and friends of the faith on February 10, 2019. President Nelson’s historic visit is believed to be the single largest gathering of Latter-day Saints in Arizona and among the largest crowds to hear a president of the Church. He will be accompanied by President Dallin H. Oaks, who is one of his counselors in the faith’s First Presidency.
In advance of his visit, President Nelson wrote an op-ed at the request of the Arizona Republic newspaper. His message to the readers reflects on his January visit to Paradise, California, where he and his wife, Wendy, ministered to those affected by the devastating Camp Fire. The Nelsons found that the very people they tried to comfort were comforting them in the wake of losing their daughter Wendy to cancer only 40 hours prior to their visit. The shared bond of faith between the Nelsons and those Latter-day Saints in California — a faith that God can heal hearts — led to President Nelson flying home “comforted by the reassurance that God watches over His suffering children.”
Because any life, including a religiously devout one, does not preclude problems or pain, President Nelson encourages the people of Arizona to seek healing by placing first things first. “I invite you to seek to know for yourself that [Jesus Christ] is the Master Healer,” President Nelson writes. “He has the capacity to heal you from sin and sadness, from despair and heartache. I saw this healing balm among the people of Paradise, California, and I have felt it personally again and again, including recently in the passing of our precious daughter.”
“Whatever your faith tradition or personal circumstances,” he concludes, “as a servant of the Lord I invite you to look to Him and make Him the center of your life. Pour out your heart to God and ask Him for His help. He will infuse your life with meaning and fill your heart with hope that transcends anything the world can offer.”
The Church in Arizona
The Church has deep roots in Arizona. Some of the first efforts to develop the deserts of southern Arizona were made by Latter-day Saint settlers in the 1860s and 1870s. Church members had proven to be successful settlers and pioneers despite difficult climates and terrains. Their endeavors helped lay the foundation for the expansive cities now seen in the Phoenix, Gilbert, Mesa and Chandler areas.
More than 428,000 Latter-day Saints, spread throughout 895 congregations, live in Arizona. The state has five operating temples with a sixth, the Mesa Temple, under renovation.
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