President Nelson has said: “My beloved younger brothers and sisters. You are among the best the Lord has ever sent to this world. You have the capacity to be smarter and wiser and have more impact on the world than any previous generation.” What age is he talking about? What age are we too old to be in this group. I am in my 60s. Does that mean I’m not very wise and smart and not among the best?
At first glance, with a quick read, I am able to understand why some people may interpret President Nelson’s language in a similar light as you have inquired. However, if we look at what he was actually specifying we can see the point he is actually trying to say. Notice the words, “You are among the best the Lord…” The keyword being “among” not the “only” generation that has had valiant sons and daughters born into this world.
Were the three Nephites, Helaman, Nephi, Peter, James, and John not “among” the best to have been sent to this world? What about Joseph in Egypt; would Joseph not be one of the “best” the Lord sent at a particular time and place? In our scriptures we are told about the “elect” of God, who they are, and why they are chosen. In every generation, dispensation the Lord could have said the same thing to the youth of that generation. They are/were among the best sent, at that time, in all the world.
President Nelson is speaking to all of the elect who choose to be chosen, and continue in righteousness and share the Good News. President Nelson though isn’t the only prophet who has said something similar. I wouldn’t be surprised if President Nelson was also referring to the following quote given by President Benson:
“In all ages, prophets have looked down through the corridors of time to our day. Billions of the deceased and those yet to be born have their eyes on us. Make no mistake about it —you are a marked generation. …
“For nearly six thousand years, God has held you in reserve to make your appearance in the final days before the second coming of the Lord. Some individuals will fall away, but the kingdom of God will remain intact to welcome the return of its Head —even Jesus Christ.
“While this generation will be comparable in wickedness to the days of Noah, when the Lord cleansed the earth by flood, there is a major difference this time: [it is that] God has saved for the final inning some of His strongest … children, who will help bear off the kingdom triumphantly.” (Emphasis mine) In His Steps
In this light, anyone who is the Lord’s elect (those who hear his voice and keep his commandments) are and can become the strongest of His children to help bear off the kingdom triumphantly. Who then would this include? What makes someone the “best” in their generation? The scriptures are clear, “Many are called but few are chosen.” As we choose to be chosen we are among the best the Lord has sent in this generation (those born in the covenant and those who convert to the gospel and remain faithful).
Now, let’s review the second emphasis President Nelson makes, “You have the capacity to be smarter and wiser and have more impact on the world than any previous generation.” What is meant here? If you look at the generations before this generation, the current generation has access to more education, more scripture, and the internet that allows us to reach more of God’s children than any other generation. President Nelson’s words are accurate (plus, the majority of us are younger than President Nelson). You, I, and anyone our age and younger have the ability to impact the world like no other time before us. We can speak to people in China, Australia, Russia, and anywhere in the world through our fingertips and in seconds. Not months, not years…seconds. We can let our light shine for the whole world to see that they may glorify our Father in heaven as a result of what we do.