Heart of the Matter by Russel M. Nelson

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Heart of the Matter: What 100 Years of Living Have Taught Me by Russell M. Nelson (Desert Book, 2023) is a collection of teaching, stories, and spiritual insights from pioneering heart surgeon and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

As a member of that Church, I sustain him as a prophet of God, anointed to receive inspiration from God for the well-being of everyone on the earth. With his 100th birthday approaching, President Nelson (and his editorial team!) has produced a wonderful compilation of most of the talks he has given as a member of Church leadership since his call in 1984. Although it is of course possible to access his talks via multiple resources, the benefit of this compilation is that the chapters are organized by subject and the messages have been compacted into concise sections, some of which also have an additional summation or gloss with his current voice.

The chapters are groups under four subjects: “Laws for Fulfilling Your Life’s Mission,” “Laws for Nurturing Enduring Relationships,” “Laws for Accomplishing the Impossible,” and “Laws for Walking the Covenant Path.” As opposed to the philosophies of the world, the laws of God are immutable. I loved how this was the emphasis for his book’s organization. My favorite chapter was the last one, “Overcome the World and Find Rest.”

He was (and is) a determined and capable person who found success with most of what he pursued through life, and we can attribute that to his hard work. He is the parent of ten children as well as the creator of the Heart-Lung Machine, which made open heart surgery possible. I should note, however, that a call to Church leadership is an appointment not determined by professional or personal accomplishments but rather by inspiration from the Lord based on who would best meet the needs of the Church. His forty years of service has been marked with intense, poorly compensated (cost of living only, essentially), and physically draining work, a much different type of work from his heart surgery career (although that was intensive in different ways).

Although I listened to the audiobook, the narration was not that of President Nelson, and I missed his distinct and loving voice as I listened to his words. That said, because so much of the book was a compilation of already given talks, I could hear his voice as I listened, and I loved it. For anyone interested in such a compilation of his teachings, all framed with a personal, added touch, I highly recommend Heart of the Matter.

I am an Amazon affiliate. I am not a Deseret Book affiliate.

Reviewed on March 8, 2024

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

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