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Take Shelter Immediately!

Lynne Anderson
June 13, 2023 11:15 AM

"When things get especially confusing, I listen more intently to President Russell M. Nelson. I read and reread his words. I become more intent on acting upon his admonitions. In doing so, I feel closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I feel more peace and comfort through the Holy Ghost. I experience the confidence of following one who is able to navigate storms successfully. Following the prophet not only blesses my own life, it blesses the lives of my family and loved ones. When I follow the prophet, I am able to lead and guide my family to safety."
Thank you Miguel, that was just beautiful. And I appreciate Lydia and Zach and Jamima and Julietta for their testimonies that they have born through their prayers and through their music and their testimony. 

It is such a pleasure to be here with you today. I just work in an office right over there and I see you come in and out all the time. I ride the train with you and it is just such a blessing to be here with you. 

The first time I met President Kusch was when I interviewed for a position at BYU-Idaho in December of 2011. I will forever be grateful for the trust he placed in offering me the job and the doors he opened for me. He profoundly changed my life for the better. 

On April 3, 1974, a series of deadly tornadoes struck thirteen states across the United States. The wave of tornadoes, known as a "Super Outbreak," was one of the largest and most violent in recorded history, with a total of 148 tornadoes reported over a 24-hour period. The tornadoes caused widespread damage and destruction, killing 335 people and injuring thousands more. The town of Xenia, Ohio, was particularly hard hit, with 33 people killed and much of the town destroyed. The 1974 Super Outbreak remains one of the deadliest and most destructive tornado outbreaks in United States history. [i] [ii]  

Tornadoes are often deadly, and they have always been hard to predict. They form when a column of air gets caught in the space between a cloud and the ground and begins spinning violently. A super outbreak occurs when at least 50 tornadoes happen within a day or two. The April 3, 1974, super outbreak produced almost three times that many tornadoes. [iii]  

As I recall, April 3, 1974, started out like any other day. I was 14 years old and an eighth grader at Ballard High School in Louisville, Kentucky. When I got home from school, I went downstairs to my bedroom to start reading Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. I was a bit of a procrastinator back then. I should have finished reading the 352-page book days before but I had not even started it. Though it was unlikely I would finish, I was hoping to become familiar enough to pass the exam scheduled for the next day. Do any of you ever have days like that? 

I must have fallen asleep while reading because the next thing I remember was being awakened by what sounded like a huge freight train coming though my room. I was disoriented like one often is when awakened suddenly. I could hear my mom yelling something, but I couldn’t understand what she said. The sound was deafening, and I was afraid. 

The tornado drills I practiced each year in school along with the guidance of the Spirit caused me to quickly jump out of my bed, run into my closet, and shut the door. I don’t know how long I was there, but when the sound stopped, I stepped out of my closet. My bed where I had just been sleeping minutes before was covered in shards of glass. I wandered out of my room to find my mom, my brother Dan, and my dad. My brother Scott was over at a friend’s house, and we went outside to find him and to see what had happened. There were sirens blaring and people running, and trees and houses destroyed. In a matter of minutes, my whole world had changed. 

The tornado that hit my neighborhood of Northfield was an EF-4 tornado with wind gusts of up to 200 miles per hour. Six of the 148 tornadoes that touched down that day were EF-5 tornadoes and almost thirty were rated EF-4. [iv] Many of my neighbors’ homes were completely destroyed, and others suffered significant damage. None of my neighbors were killed but there were many injuries. Northfield was one of the hardest-hit areas in the city of Louisville, and it took years for the community to recover from the devastation. 

My house sustained substantial roof and window damage. The chimney was destroyed, and all our windows were shattered. We also lost two beautiful large spruce trees that blew over in the storm, but we were fortunate and were able to continue living in our home while it was being repaired. Our neighbors to the north of us lost their entire second story and many of the houses north of them were no longer standing. This image here is of Standy Drive in Northfield where I lived. That is the road I live on. 

In 1974, National Weather Service forecasters used old equipment to detect potential tornadoes. Doppler radar had not been fully developed and the tornado warning system was not as advanced as it is today. Back then, the weather service issued tornado warnings by relying on a network of weather observers and spotters to report tornado sightings. These observers were often volunteers who would call in reports of tornadoes to local authorities, who would then relay the information to the National Weather Service, who would then issue tornado warnings based on those reports. Most people learned about tornado warnings through warning sirens and radio and television stations. [v]

WHAS was one of those radio stations. Dick Gilbert worked as a helicopter pilot for WHAS radio providing traffic reports during the morning and evening rush hours and was in his helicopter when the tornado hit. He could clearly see the storm, so he stayed up and circled around behind it, giving live reports on its path and the destruction it left behind. He became the eyes of the city, and many people credited him for saving lives that day. [vi] People had come to trust Dick because he gave accurate reports on the traffic each day. He was the only one who could really see what was happening to warn people of what was coming.

There are two types of tornado bulletins issued by the National Weather Service; a tornado watch and a tornado warning.

A tornado watch means that tornadoes are possible, and preparation is necessary. Under a tornado watch, people should be prepared with supplies and the ability to quickly get to safety. A tornado warning means that a tornado has been sighted or is expected. There is imminent danger to life and property and people should act immediately to move to a safe and sturdy shelter. [vii]

Today our early warning systems are significantly better than they were 49 years ago. Improvements in detection and forecasting have increased the average tornado warning time from almost nothing to about 13 minutes, [viii] but even with advanced warning, people often don’t seek a safe shelter until they feel the danger is personal. Sometimes even when warnings have been issued and sirens sound people don’t take shelter immediately. One reason people ignore warnings may be because tornadoes don’t always touch down when a warning is issued. The weather service has been experimenting with impact warnings such as, "You could be killed if not underground or in a tornado shelter.” Still, many people are not persuaded. Communication experts say that warnings must avoid creating fear or confusion and that warnings should tell people clearly what to do and when to do it. Warnings should also include the possible consequences of not acting. [ix]

A lot has happened in my life since the super outbreak of 1974. I joined the Church. I graduated from high school. I earned degrees. I’ve married, had children and now grandchildren. I have made covenants with the Lord that I will remember Him, serve Him, and keep His commandments. I’ve been blessed with the peace and comfort of the Holy Ghost in my life and benefit greatly from listening to and acting on the counsel I receive from current day prophets upon the earth. I love President Nelson. Don’t you love him? He is so amazing. Every time he speaks, I can feel the love of the Lord through his words. I know that he is a prophet of God and that he loves me and wants what is best for me. I know that he can see the storms coming and wants to protect me. His words avoid creating fear and confusion. He clearly tells me what to do and when to do it. He also tells me the consequences of not acting. It is such a great blessing to have a prophet; “a person who has been called by and speaks for God.” [x]

I feel like confusion and disorientation have increased exponentially since I was fourteen. Are you experiencing that too? There are so many voices that are vying for my attention. Sometimes it’s difficult to determine what is true. In fact, in writing this talk, I went on to just see what would happen if I went on and used artificial intelligence about the tornadoes. It told me that Dick Gilbert is a lead meteorologist. He was not. If you remember, he was the helicopter pilot. It kept telling me and I kept trying to teach it. I kept going back and say, “No, it is this.” And it would say, “No, he is a meteorologist.” But he is not. You have to be very careful what you believe to be true.

When things get especially confusing, I listen more intently to President Russell M. Nelson. I read and reread his words. I become more intent on acting upon his admonitions. In doing so, I feel closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I feel more peace and comfort through the Holy Ghost. I experience the confidence of following one who is able to navigate storms successfully. Following the prophet not only blesses my own life, it blesses the lives of my family and loved ones. When I follow the prophet, I am able to lead and guide my family to safety.

Today, I would like to share some of the watches and warnings I’ve heard from President Nelson that have provided a safe shelter from the storm. My list includes some of the times he used the words “plead” or “urge” in his message. When you hear his words, consider writing down the ones that speak urgently to you.

I plead with my sisters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to step forward! Take your rightful and needful place in your home, in your community, and in the kingdom of God—more than you ever have before. [xi]

I urgently plead with each one of us to live up to our privileges as bearers of the priesthood. In a coming day, only those men who have taken their priesthood seriously, by diligently seeking to be taught by the Lord Himself, will be able to bless, guide, protect, strengthen, and heal others. Only a man who has paid the price for priesthood power will be able to bring miracles to those he loves and keep his marriage and family safe, now and throughout eternity. [xii]

I urge you to stretch beyond your current spiritual ability to receive personal revelation. I plead with you to increase your spiritual capacity to receive revelation. …Choose to do the spiritual work required to enjoy the gift of the Holy Ghost and hear the voice of the Spirit more frequently and more clearly. [xiii]

I plead with you to take a prayerful look at how you spend your time. Invest time in your future and in that of your family. If you have reasonable access to a temple, I urge you to find a way to make an appointment regularly with the Lord—to be in His holy house—then keep that appointment with exactness and joy. [xiv]

My dear sisters, you have special spiritual gifts and propensities. Tonight, I urge you, with all the hope of my heart, to pray to understand your spiritual gifts—to cultivate, use, and expand them, even more than you ever have. You will change the world as you do so. I urge you to study the current Relief Society purpose statement. It is inspiring. It may guide you in developing your own purpose statement for your own life. [xv]

I plead with you who have distanced yourselves from the Church and with you who have not yet really sought to know that the Savior’s Church has been restored. Do the spiritual work to find out for yourselves, and please do it now. Time is running out. [xvi]

I plead with you to repent. Experience the strengthening power of daily repentance—of doing and being a little better each day. I plead with you to be the men and young men the Lord needs you to be. Make your focus on daily repentance so integral to your life that you can exercise the priesthood with greater power than ever before. This is the only way you will keep yourself and your family spiritually safe in the challenging days ahead. [xvii]

Today I call upon our members everywhere to lead out in abandoning attitudes and actions of prejudice. I plead with you to promote respect for all of God’s children. [xviii]

I urge you to take steps to be temporally prepared. But I am even more concerned about your spiritual and emotional preparation. [xix]

As faith and holiness decrease in this fallen world, your need for holy places will increase. I urge you to continue to make your home a truly holy place “and be not moved” from that essential goal. [xx]

If I could speak to each man or woman who longs for marriage but has not yet found his or her eternal companion, I would urge you not to wait until marriage to be endowed in the house of the Lord. If it were possible for me to speak one-on-one with every young adult, I would plead with you to seek a companion with whom you can be sealed in the temple. If I could speak with each husband and wife who have still not been sealed in the temple, I would plead with you to take the necessary steps to receive that crowning, life-changing ordinance. And to each of you who has made temple covenants, I plead with you to seek—prayerfully and consistently—to understand temple covenants and ordinances. [xxi]

I plead with you today to counter the lure of the world by making time for the Lord in your life—each and every day. My brothers and sisters, I plead with you to make time for the Lord! Make your own spiritual foundation firm and able to stand the test of time by doing those things that allow the Holy Ghost to be with you always. [xxii]  

I plead with you to counter worldly ways by focusing on the eternal blessings of the temple. Your time there brings blessings for eternity. [xxiii]  

My dear brothers and sisters, with all the pleadings of my heart, I urge you to get on the covenant path and stay there. Experience the joy of repenting daily. Learn about God and how He works. Seek and expect miracles. Strive to end conflict in your life. [xxiv]  

I plead with you now—to take charge of your own testimony of Jesus Christ and His gospel. Work for it. Nurture it so that it will grow. Feed it truth. Don’t pollute it with false philosophies of unbelieving men and women. [xxv]  

Our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, stand ready to help you. I urge you to increase your efforts to seek Their help. [xxvi]  

I plead with you to come unto [Jesus Christ] so that He can heal you! He will heal you from sin as you repent. He will heal you from sadness and fear. He will heal you from the wounds of this world. [xxvii]

Contention drives away the Spirit—every time. Contention reinforces the false notion that confrontation is the way to resolve differences; but it never is. Contention is a choice. Peacemaking is a choice. You have your agency to choose contention or reconciliation. I urge you to choose to be a peacemaker, now and always. [xxviii]

Brothers and sisters, do you remember any of those quotes? Do you remember when he gave them? Were some of them new and a little bit surprising? I am just amazed at all of the times, and this is not all of them, where President Nelson urged us or pleaded with us to take action. To take shelter.

In describing his missionary experience with the Lamanites who had embraced the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Ammon said, “Yea, they shall not be beaten down by the storm at the last day; yea, neither shall they be harrowed up by the whirlwinds; but when the storm cometh they shall be gathered together in their place, that the storm cannot penetrate to them; yea, neither shall they be driven with fierce winds whithersoever the enemy listeth to carry them. But behold, they are in the hands of the Lord of the harvest, and they are his; and he will raise them up at the last day.” [xxix]

Ammon said that gathering together in a safe shelter will protect us from whirlwinds and fierce storms. Sisters and brothers, it is in living the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ where we will find safe shelter. Jesus called and ordained prophets when He was on the earth. He gave them authority to speak His words. Through Joseph Smith, that priesthood authority has been restored. The Lord has called and ordained prophets in our day. W e are so blessed to have prophets, seers, and revelators who can see the storm coming long before it arrives so that we have time to prepare. By acting on their words, we can find safe shelter--not only for ourselves, but for those we love dearly. Our prophets tell us clearly what to do and when to do it as well as the consequences of not acting upon their counsel.

I love the Lord, Jesus Christ. I love His Gospel and I love His prophets. I pray that we will along with those we love will find safe shelter in Him. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

[i] Channel, W. (2020, April 3). The Weather Channel. The Weather Channel.
[ii] The April 1974 Super Outbreak of Tornadoes - National Weather Service Heritage - Virtual Lab. (n.d.).,people%2C%20and%20causing%20approximately%20%24600%20million%20in%20damages .
[iii] Eschner, K. (2017, April 3). How 148 Tornadoes in One Day in 1974 Changed Emergency Preparedness. Smithsonian Magazine.
[iv] NOAA’s National Weather Service. (n.d.-b). The Enhanced Fujita Scale (EF Scale).
[v] Eschner, K. (2017, April 3). How 148 Tornadoes in One Day in 1974 Changed Emergency Preparedness. Smithsonian Magazine.
[vi] Dick Gilbert’s Story | Gilbert Foundation. (n.d.). Gilbert Foundation.
[vii] NOAA’s National Weather Service. (n.d.-b). Understand Tornado Alerts.
[viii] Eschner, K. (2017, April 3). How 148 Tornadoes in One Day in 1974 Changed Emergency Preparedness. Smithsonian Magazine.
[ix] Gunderson, D. (2019, July 15). Why don't we pay attention to tornado warnings? MPR News.
[x] Prophet. (n.d.).
[xi] Nelson, B. P. R. M. (2015, October 2). A Plea to My Sisters.
[xii] Nelson, B. P. R. M. (2016, April 2). The Price of Priesthood Power.
[xiii] Nelson, B. P. R. M. (2018, April 1). Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives.
[xiv] Nelson, B. P. R. M. (2018b, October 7). Becoming Exemplary Latter-day Saints.
[xv] Nelson, B. P. R. M. (2018b, October 6). Sisters’ Participation in the Gathering of Israel.
[xvi] Nelson, B. P. R. M. (2019, April 1). “Come, Follow Me.”
[xvii] Nelson, B. P. R. M. (2019b, April 1). We Can Do Better and Be Better.
[xviii] Nelson, B. P. R. M. (2020, October 4). Let God Prevail.
[xix] Nelson, B. P. R. M. (2020a, October 3). Embrace the Future with Faith.
[xx] Nelson, B. P. R. M. (2021, April 3). What We Are Learning and Will Never Forget.
[xxi] Nelson, B. P. R. M. (2021b, October 3). The Temple and Your Spiritual Foundation.
[xxii] Nelson, B. P. R. M. (2021b, October 3). Make Time for the Lord.
[xxiii] Nelson, B. P. R. M. (2022, April 3). Now Is the Time.
[xxiv] Nelson, B. P. R. M. (2022b, April 3). The Power of Spiritual Momentum.
[xxv] Nelson, B. P. R. M. (2022c, October 2). Overcome the World and Find Rest.
[xxvi] Nelson, B. P. R. M. (2022c, October 2). Focus on the Temple.
[xxvii] Nelson, B. P. R. M. (2023, April 2). The Answer Is Always Jesus Christ.
[xxviii] Nelson, B. P. R. M. (2023a, April 2). Peacemakers Needed.
[xxix] Alma 26: 6-7

About the Speaker

Lynne Anderson

Lynne Anderson is the Director of System Liaison Initiatives for BYU-Pathway Worldwide. She has worked in the education field most of her adult life starting out as a preschool teacher.

After her husband died in 1991, she completed her undergraduate work at Dixie College (now Utah Tech University) and Southern Utah University. She has a master’s degree in Instructional Design and Technology from the University of North Dakota and a doctorate in Leadership and Innovation from Arizona State University.

Sister Anderson has served in many church callings including Stake Relief Society President; Stake Young Women’s Counselor; Relief Society President, Counselor, and Teacher; Young Women’s President; Primary Counselor, Teacher, and Chorister, and Sunday School Teacher. She is currently serving as a temple ordinance worker and a gospel doctrine teacher in her ward.

She has a blended family of seven children and 15 grandchildren.
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