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Elder Russell M. Nelson speaks at BYU commencement: Disciples of Jesus Christ are defenders of marriage

Published: Friday, Aug. 15 2014 2:23 p.m. MDT

Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks during BYU Summer Commencement in Provo, Utah, on Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

PROVO — Disciples of Jesus Christ are defenders of marriage, said Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles during commencement exercises held in the Marriott Center at Brigham Young University on August 14.

“Wherever we go, you and I as disciples of the Lord bear a solemn responsibility to proclaim the will of God to all people,” he said. “And one of the more demanding opportunities of our time is to stand up for the truth regarding the sacred nature of marriage.”

Gone are the days of being a quiet and comfortable Christian, Elder Nelson told the graduates.

“Your religion is not just about showing up for church on Sunday,” he said. “It is about showing up as a true disciple from Sunday morning through Saturday night — 24/7. There is no such thing as a ‘part-time’ disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

A strong character is necessary for discipleship, for disciples will be put to the test, he said.

“At any hour of any day, we have the privilege of choosing between right and wrong,” he said. “This is an age-old battle that started in a premortal realm. And that battle is becoming more intense every day. Your individual strength of character is needed now more than ever before.”

Because of that, true disciples — those who are able to stand for what is right — are needed, especially those who are defenders of marriage, he said.

Speaking of the divine partnership of a husband and wife, Elder Nelson said that great partnerships are dependent upon each individual developing his or her own personal attributes of character.

“There is great power in a strong partnership,” he said. “True partners can achieve more than the sum of each acting alone. With true partners, one plus one is much more than two.”

A husband and wife can form the most significant partnership of all — an eternal family.

“Male and female are created for what they can do and become, together,” Elder Nelson said. “It takes a man and a woman to bring a child into the world. Mothers and fathers are not interchangeable. Men and women are distinct and complementary. Children deserve a chance to grow up with both a mom and a dad.”

As graduates go forth from BYU, they will likely encounter increasing debate about the definition of marriage, said Elder Nelson.

“Many of your neighbors, colleagues and friends will have never heard logical and inspired truths about the importance of marriage as God Himself defined it. You will have many opportunities to strengthen understanding of the Lord’s side of that argument by the eloquence of your examples, both as individuals and as families.”

Referencing the Apostle Paul's foreseeing the current circumstance, Elder Nelson spoke of the “perilous times [that] shall come” in the last days.

“After his remarkable prophecy of our time, Paul added this warning: ‘Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution,’ ” he said. “Ponder that! It means that during these perilous times, life will not be comfortable for true disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. But we will have His approval. He gave us this assurance: ‘Blessed are all they who are persecuted for my name’s sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’ ”

Social and political pressures to change marriage laws are resulting in practices contrary to God’s will regarding the eternal nature and purposes of marriage, he said.