Elder K. Brett Nattress
General Authority Seventy
Elder K. Brett Nattress was sustained as a General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 2, 2016. At the time of his call, he had been serving as president of the Arizona Gilbert Mission. While serving at Church headquarters he has served as an Area Assistant in the Utah Areas and is currently serving as an Assistant Executive Director in the Missionary Department and as an Area Assistant in the Idaho and North America Central Areas.
Elder Nattress attended Brigham Young University and received a Bachelor of Science degree in physical therapy from the University of Utah in 1990. He has been employed in healthcare administration as co-founder and president of Advanced Health Care Corporation beginning in December 2000. He was also the founder and president of Advanced Health Care Management Inc.
Elder Nattress has served in numerous Church callings, including full-time missionary in the California Sacramento Mission, ward Young Men president, bishop, stake Young Men president, stake president, Area Seventy, and mission president.
Kevin Brett Nattress was born in Pocatello, Idaho on March 4, 1965. He married Shawna Lee Adamson in April 1987. Elder and Sister Nattress are the parents of seven children.
Brothers and sisters, it is a great privilege to speak to you today. Sister Nattress and I are grateful to be in the company of President and Sister Eyring. As I prepared my remarks, I decided that I would like to use a series of pictures to teach a principle. And I felt it might be effective if President Eyring—your President Eyring—were featured in these pictures. So I called him, and he immediately agreed to participate. I explained that I wanted to do something fun yet still
Then I got a glimpse into his heart. He expressed his desire to do anything that will bless you, the students of BYU–Idaho. So we did a photo shoot, which produced 30 pictures.
When I received the photos, our 14-year-old daughter took a quick glance, and an expression of “shock and awe” crossed her face. She asked in amazement, “How did you get those pictures of President Eyring?” She thought she was looking at President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency, and she was a little worried
My hope is that, during our short time together, each of you will see things as they really are and make decisions with an eternal perspective.
“Are You a Mormon?”
I would like to start by sharing an experience from the life of President Joseph F. Smith, sixth President of the Church: Joseph F. Smith was raised in a single-parent home. His father, Hyrum, was martyred at Carthage Jail with the Prophet Joseph Smith. Little Joseph F. was only six years old at the time.
Years later, at the age of 19, Joseph F. Smith was returning home from a mission with a group of other missionaries. His wagon-train journey took him through a dangerous area where enemies of the Church had vowed to kill the Mormons.
I quote now from a biography of President Smith:
“One day after the little company of wagons had . . . made their camp, a company of drunken men rode into the camp on horseback, cursing and swearing and threatening to kill any ‘Mormons’ that came within their path. . . . Some of the brethren when they heard them coming had cautiously gone into the brush down the creek, out of sight. . . . Joseph F. was a little distance from the camp gathering wood for the fire when these men rode up. When he saw them, he said, his first thought was to do what the other brethren had
“Without a moment of hesitation and looking the ruffian in the eye, Joseph F. Smith boldly answered, ‘Yes, siree; dyed in the wool; true blue, through and through.’
“The answer was given boldly and without any sign of fear, which completely disarmed the belligerent man, and in his bewilderment, he grasped the missionary by the hand and said: ‘Well, you are the —— —— pleasantest man I ever met! Shake, young fellow, I am glad to see a man that stands up for his convictions.’
“Joseph F. [Smith] said in later years that he fully expected to receive the charge from this man’s pistols, but he could take no other course even though it seemed that his death was to be the result.”
This incredible act of courage has been an inspiration to me over the years. Joseph F. Smith was unafraid to stand up and be true—“true to the faith that [his] parents [had] cherished” and “true to the truth for which martyrs have perished.” And yes, his father, Hyrum, was one of those martyrs.
Knowing Who We Are
Our test of faith in this life may never be to defend our convictions while staring down the barrel of an evil man’s gun. More likely, it will be to live the gospel with conviction when there are so many distractions and enticing roads that lead nowhere. We need to know with certainty, as President Smith did, who we are and why we are here.
Our beloved prophet President Russell M. Nelson has often reminded us who we are. He said: “We are children of God. Our potential is unlimited. Our inheritance is sacred. May we always honor that heritage—in every thought and deed.”
Your conviction of these truths will strengthen and protect you as you face the fierce winds of the adversary.
I have been impressed with the principles taught in the Disney classic The Lion King. During the movie, Simba, the young heir to the throne, becomes discouraged and loses his way. Then, at a critical point in the movie, he is taken to a pool of water by
As he peers into the water, Simba says, “That is not my father; it is just my reflection.”
Rafikki responds: “No, look harder. You see, he lives in you!
As Simba looks deeper, he sees his father. Then his father calls out, “Simba, you have forgotten me.”
Simba responds, “No! How could I?”
His father then says: “You have forgotten who you are, and so you have forgotten me. Look inside yourself, Simba. You are more than you have become. Remember who you are! You are my son and the one true king! Remember who you are.”
This experience has a profound effect on the young Simba. He remembers who he is, returns home, and in dramatic fashion takes his place as the rightful king.
This is great advice. Always remember who you are!
God’s Game Plan
In athletic competitions, coaches make game plans to help their teams succeed. Victory depends on the athletes’ executing the game plan with precision. Our Heavenly Father has a perfect game plan to help His children succeed. It’s called the great plan of happiness. He said, “This is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” For Him, it is all about us!
In this game of life, we have more than just a championship on the line. Our eternal life and exaltation hang in the balance. But we have a perfect game plan, and we have access to the game plan of our opponent. The adversary’s tendencies and strategies are recorded for our benefit in the scriptures.
One of the many places is chapter one of the book of Moses. I would like to discuss three important truths that God shares with Moses:
- He tells Moses, “I am the Lord God Almighty, and Endless is my name” (verse 3). In other words, God lives!
- God refers to Moses as “my son,” revealing the important doctrine that God is our Father and we are His children (see verses 4, 6, and 7).
- God declares, “Mine Only Begotten is and shall be the Savior, for he is full of grace and truth” (verse 6). The Savior lives!
Then Moses is “left unto himself,” and while he is alone, he is confronted and tempted by Satan, the father of all lies, who “seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.” And what is his first attack?
He simply challenges what God just taught Moses, beginning with the doctrine that Moses is a son of God: “Satan came tempting him, saying: Moses, son of man, worship me.”
Moses’s response is classic: “And it came to pass that Moses looked upon Satan and said: Who art thou? For behold, I am a son of God, in the similitude of his Only Begotten; and where is thy glory, . . . for it is darkness unto me
Moses has caught Satan in a lie. Without hesitation, he tells Satan: “I know who I am! I am a Son of God. And by the way, who are you? And where is your glory? And why in the world would I ever worship you?”
With courage and conviction that reminds me of Joseph F. Smith, Moses continues by declaring: “I will not cease to call upon God, . . . wherefore I can judge between him and thee. Depart hence, Satan.”
Moses was absolutely awesome! He knew who he was; He knew God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ; and He was strong enough in his convictions to stand firmly and put Satan in his place.
Not surprisingly, Satan didn’t just say, “OK, you win.” He was insistent. He did not give up easily. In fact, have you ever seen a two-year-old throw a tantrum? Well, that’s a good description of what the adversary did—not just once but twice.
And Moses? He holds his ground. He calls upon God for strength. He remembers who he is and remains faithful to his loving Heavenly Father and his Savior, Jesus Christ.
Moses’s experience clearly contrasts God’s great plan of happiness and Satan’s plan of destruction and despair. It also serves as an encouraging reminder that regardless of Satan’s furious rantings, we are on the winning team.
The Winning Team
This brings me to the photographs I mentioned earlier. Imagine for a minute our personalized, perfect championship basketball team. Our team is absolutely amazing:
- Each player stands seven feet, eight inches tall.
- Each can run the 40-yard dash in 4.3 seconds—by the way, this is blazing speed!
- Our players have a vertical leap of 55 inches. That means they can make a 360 dunk from the top of the key.
- Our team is filled with sharpshooters. They shoot 95 percent from beyond the three-point arc.
- What is most impressive about our team is that we have 15 players with the exact same talent level: seven feet eight, blazing speed, amazing athleticism, sharpshooters from every angle.
It probably won’t surprise you to hear that our team is undefeated! Both temporally and spiritually. Because we repent and forgive every day!
The opposing team is a stark contrast. They are absolutely terrible! They are terrible at basketball and, frankly, terrible individuals. They are angry, frustrated, jealous, and full of destructive thoughts. They have never won a game, and they know that they never will. With all that said, what do you suppose their strategy is? If you thought “Take them out at the knees,” then you guessed right. They don’t want to play basketball; they just want to take as many of the opposing players out of the game as they can. They want all players to be miserable just like them.
Remember, this is the only game of which I am aware where the winner has already been determined. The only question is whether or not we will stay on the winning side—and stay in the game. You may stumble along the way; you might even take a few hard falls. But you must get up every time! And you must not let the adversary entice you to quit and take yourself out of the game.
Satan’s plan is not only to tempt us to do something wrong; it is also to discourage us so that we stop moving forward. He wants us to give up, to forget who we are, to define ourselves by our mistakes. He wants us to be miserable just like him. He wants us to lose our desire to succeed. He wants us out of the game and out of this war that began in the premortal existence.
Brothers and sisters, you cannot let this happen! If you have to stand on a broken leg, then you keep standing. Do not let him take you out of the game. Stay true and faithful to who you are.
The Sons of Mosiah
The sons of Mosiah have always been heroes to me. They were reminded by an angel, in a resounding way, of God’s great plan of happiness. Their conversion and subsequent service in the kingdom of God
- “They had searched the scriptures diligently.”
- “They had given themselves to
much prayer, and fasting.”
- “When they taught”—I would
add,when they served—they did so “with power and authority of God.”
This is a great pattern for us to follow. Simply do three things each day:
- Read the scriptures (I would recommend, specifically, reading the Book of Mormon).
- And find someone to serve. Make a positive difference in someone else’s life. There are so many ways to do this—a kind act, a thoughtful word, even a smile can brighten someone’s day.
These simple measures will help us to stay on the covenant path.
As we do these simple things, we will be strengthened in our desire to enter the house of the Lord. We will be spiritually enlightened as we partake of the sacrament each week. We will become devoted disciples of Jesus Christ. We will become covenant keepers.
But you might say, “What if I have made a mistake? What if I have suffered a severe spiritual injury?” My answer is simply this: the Savior Jesus Christ suffered, bled, and died so that you might be healed and made whole again. He truly is “mighty to save”!
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has said: “I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement.”
You Are Never Lost
Some time ago, I attended a young single adult ward on the campus of Boise State University. It was particularly poignant for me because, just a few weeks earlier, our daughter Michelle had left for college for the first time. I was missing her, and I couldn’t help but wonder what she would be doing that day.I was blessed to participate in a multitude of meetings and discussions with many faithful young students in that ward. Sacrament meeting felt especially sacred that day.
During the meeting, I noticed a young woman about the same age as our daughter who entered the meeting late and quietly took a seat in the back—about three rows into the cultural hall. She looked like she had a bright future at school and in every aspect of her life. As the emblems of the sacrament were passed, I noticed that she lowered her head and did not partake.
I decided right then to address my remarks to this young sister. So, without her knowing that she had inspired me, I spoke
At the conclusion of the meeting, I looked for this sister, but she had disappeared.
The next meeting was a large Sunday School class in the cultural hall. To my surprise and delight, this young sister had returned and was in class. The lesson was a discussion primarily focused on the blessings of repentance, forgiveness, and coming unto Christ. This sister was again noticeably touched.
When Sunday School ended, the stake president, who was not aware of my concern for this young woman, said to me, “Elder Nattress, last week I attended Relief Society,” adding, somewhat sheepishly, “I hope that’s OK!” I assured him it was OK. He continued, “It was fascinating!” He then asked if I would be interested in attending a Relief Society meeting. I told him that I would love to.
When we arrived, I noticed this same young sister sitting
I was both shocked and unprepared. I stood up, and my mind went completely blank. I didn’t know what to say. But I gathered my thoughts just enough to ask a question: “What is the greatest challenge facing you today?”
Immediately, on the back row, a young sister raised her hand. She emphatically declared, “It’s the young men of this Church!” She continued with a list of several concerns—each one legitimate and very important.
Then the young sister on the front row raised her hand. With tears streaming down her face, she simply said, “The greatest challenge facing me today is that I know I need to repent.” With sincere and heartfelt pleading, she said, “After falling so far, how does one come back?”
She continued: “I haven’t been active in the Church for nearly two years. This morning, when I got up, I decided I would try one last time to come to church. And now I’m here.”
After she spoke, sisters started to gather around this young woman, literally and
In the following weeks, I frequently checked in with the stake president to see how this young sister was doing. His response was always the same: “She is doing great!” Several months later, I called and asked again. He responded that she had moved home. I asked if she was OK. His response was somewhat reassuring. He said, “She is just fine, Elder Nattress.” However, I was still concerned for her.
Several weeks after that call, I attended a stake conference. At the conclusion of the conference, a young single adult sister who looked very familiar approached me and said, “Do you remember me?” She continued, “I am the girl from Boise State University.”
It was her! I asked how she was doing. She said, “I am the Relief Society president of my ward.” She then added: “I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am grateful for the gift of repentance. My life is changed forever.”
Following that meeting, Sister Nattress and I continued to stay in contact with her. Eventually, we received a phone call from this wonderful young sister, who said, “Elder Nattress! I’m engaged to be married in the Rexburg Idaho Temple. Will you and Sister Nattress come?”
We arranged our schedules and were blessed to witness a perfect moment in time when she and a worthy young man knelt across an altar in the Rexburg Temple and were sealed for time and for all eternity. She had returned to the covenant path.
Brothers and sisters, God knows you personally. He is in the very details of your lives. He will never give up on you. You must never give up on Him. And you must not give up on yourself. You are a member of His winning team, and an eternal victory is in your future. Let us become devoted disciples. Let us be covenant keepers who humbly yet powerfully live our lives in the strength of the Lord. Let us remember who we are.
I add my testimony to yours, that I know that God is our Eternal Father, that He lives and knows us by name. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. He saw God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. They did
In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.