10 Reasons You Don’t Mess With President Russell M. Nelson

As President Nelson is probably slated to be our next prophet, it seems like a good time to bring back this post from 2011.  While I will definitely miss President Monson, I have grown to love and respect President Nelson, He has become a source of inspiration and strength to me, especially over the past few years.
Sure, he may seem like the sweet little grandfatherly type, but don’t under-estimate President Nelson…the man’s got skills!
1. Knows how to “feast on doughnuts”. (Oddly, the original link to his passion for donuts has now vanished. Personally, I think it would enhance anyone’s resume.)

2. Got roughed up by machine-gun weilding African bandits, and still showed up to his scheduled church meetings the next morning – when he was 84. (Link here) On a personal note, at the time this happened, I was president of the humanitarian group “Care For Life” in Mozambique. I was sitting in a leadership conference in Gilbert, when my phone started lighting up like a Christmas tree. with people asking me for details – of which I had none. They kept it pretty quiet.

3. Has absolutely no problem cracking open your chest and holding your beating heart in the palm of his hand.

(Was on the team that developed the very first heart-lung machine in 1951)
4. Big-time snow skier –  one of his “greatest loves.”

5.  Attended University of Utah. (We’ll give him a pass – while there are many Apostles who attend Utah, none of them were called while they were at Utah.)

5. Army doctor during the Korean War – trained doctors in the M.A.S.H. units. (No, he did not meet Hawkeye Pierce. Or Radar.)

6. Has 10 kids – 9 of them girls! (Good thing surgeons make the big bucks)

7. Performed heart surgery on Spencer W. Kimball – when he was President of the Church. (No pressure!)

8. Speaks English, French, and Spanish. And Russian. Oh, and Chinese too.

9. He and his wife sold their blood to pay for medical school.

10. Is an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ -since 1984.

Bonus item:

11. Has perfect pitch. And plays the piano.


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  1. And he has two beautiful great-grandsons who have been or are in my nursery class.

  2. One more thought. When he was called to the quorum of the Twelve, President Kimball, on whom Elder Nelson had performed surgery, quipped “I can honestly say that this man has touched my heart.”

  3. I’m looking forward to learning more about him, I Love hearing stories about our church leaders!

  4. The most touching words that I have heard from a president of the church is when he was going to speak somewhere and the person that would introduce him told president Hinckley what he would say in the introduction, president Hinckley told him to not say anything but , tell them I am Gordon Hinckley and I am your friend. I can see JESUS saying the same.

  5. Fun post!
    Re: #6 – You don’t need ‘big bucks’ to raise a large family with that many girls. My parents raised did it and most of the time it was on a shoestring budget. 😉

  6. Thank you for this post, it makes me even happier to welcome and sustain him as our prophet.

  7. Bonus points 12 & 13: He dedicated Bulgaria for the preaching of the Gospel — my mission. His blessing on our land was prophetic. 13 — Organized the Santa Fe New Mexico stake in 1981, came back in 2009 and called our current stake presidency. We love Pres. Nelson!

  8. I sang in my stake choir once when he was the visiting GA, in my stake just south of Atlanta, GA, so I was one of the lucky first ones to get to greet him personally. What I was struck with so strongly (well, one of…) was the intense radiation of LOVE that emanated from him. I have loved him even more ever since.

  9. This was great! Gosh, President Nelson is cool. And knows how to hit the tough questions and topics in a way that comes across as almost gentle because of the sound of his voice.

  10. Cool! I didn’t know all these interesting info about Elder Nelsen. Thanks for this post. I look forward to hear him this General Conference.

    1. I know, a lot of great people attend the University of Utah. If one can make it through a public University and still be an active LDS member, they are great IMO especially these days? Love the list, thanks!

  11. and he operated on Pres. Kimball before he was the prophet – Pres. Lee told Pres. Kimball to let Dr. Nelson operate on him. Then months or maybe weeks later Pres. Lee died of a heart attack… sad.

  12. I’ll add one of my favorite Elder Nelson talks is the one he gave soon after his wife died. The one where he talked about being on an airplane with a young married couple and the husband ignored his wife.

  13. I went to high school with one of his nine daughters, who married my bishop’s son. I saw him in a Hawaiian shirt and levi’s once and said…”you look different with clothes on … boy was my face red!

  14. Love Elder Nelson! He is an amazing speaker as well…you forgot that part. Do more of these. I love not having to look up the interesting facts myself. I know…lazy…

  15. I just became aware of your blog and have enjoyed reading your thoughts on various gospel subjects. So much so, that I have even gone back to your older posts. I can always use a good laugh, and what you have written usually brings a laugh or two. Sometimes, even a tear to my eye.
    Thank you for your insightfulness, of which I usually agree with.

    Your post caught my attention because we just recently had the privilege of listening to Elder Russell M. Nelson’s counsel at our Stake Conference. Shaking the hand of one of the Lord’s Apostles was an exciting bonus. That has only happened one other time in my life. Probably because we don’t live in Utah.

    By the way, our family tradition is making and eating pie after the Priesthood session.

  16. The running joke in our family was we were trying to be like Elder Nelson. But child number seven was a boy so we didn’t quite meet his record of nine girls in a row. You didn’t mention his son was the last of his ten children!

  17. With credentials like that, he’s got more than skills. He’s got skillz.

    African bandits?? I usually take Sundays off after running a marathon due to being a tad tire and sore. Sounds like that wouldn’t fly in Elder Nelson’s book. Suddenly I feel like a total wuss.

    And nine daughters?? I thought my father was a saint with only five.

    Elder Nelson is one of my favorites. When he steps up to the pulpit to speak, my heart listens.


  18. So one of my FOLM loves Pres. Uchtdorf and another FOLM loves Elder Nelson. They will love your posts Apostle posts. . . and BTW, you may want to change your label “Aposte” to “Apostle” unless, of course you meant it that way.
    Glad I found your blog.

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