Shattered Silence

Shattered Silence

Sunday, September 9, 2012

“What Thinks Christ of Me?” – A Sacrament Meeting Address

Writing anything and everything
has always been my passion.
When I started this blog just over a year ago, I simply wanted a place where I could share my lifelong love for writing. As a child I think I had an average interest in most things that other children were interested in, too. But my real passions and talents were in the arts of reading, writing, acting, and music. This set me apart from my three older brothers and father, whose interests were in hunting, fishing, sports, and the outdoors. I often felt like I had nothing in common with anyone but my mother, with whom I shared many of the same talents and passions.

My writing started with poetry and original short stories, which I would write for fun and entertainment when other kids my age seemed to prefer video games, TV, or playing outside as activities. I still enjoyed those things, too, but I felt a special connection to my true inner self when I would muse with paper and pencil.

Lately, my blog seems to have taken a slight detour from my original intentions. Though I have shared several poems here, I have also felt compelled to record many other feelings and experiences in my life that are connected to the poetry. I do this so that I can preserve the memory of my past and present. Doing so, however, requires discussing many personal things at some length; but I feel that my openness has helped me to also connect to deeper elements within myself, and also to reach out to others.

Though I have been well received so far with my most recent posts which share a common theme, I remind myself that this blog is meant to house all of the expressions of my mind and soul, as the title informs. And though the number of posts I’ve made so far are limited, my desire is to stay true to the intentions of this page by changing up the dynamics a little and offering a broad view of my whole identity. 

Latter-day Saints around the world meet together
in chapels every Sunday to worship Jesus Christ.
I hope that my experiences socially, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, and academically can together be more appealing to a larger, more diverse audience, and that is why I write in the context where I assume that not everyone who comes to my page will come from the same walk of life as me; and so I offer explanations and footnotes for those who wish to understand my way of life and thinking better. Please look for highlighted sources throughout this post that will link you to further information on the subjects presented.

So, following this preface, this post will be a glimpse into my everyday life as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). Our Church is organized and operated by lay servants who volunteer their service to Church members and to God, from our smallest congregations consisting of local members, to our highest leaders, consisting of modern-day Prophets and Apostles, whom we believe are called of God. 

Twelve men make up the Quorum of the Twelve
Apostles. They are called to testify of Christ

throughout the world.
A typical Sunday worship service in a Mormon congregation consists of the opportunity to partake of Sacrament, similar to the Catholic Communion. We do this just as the Lord Jesus Christ commanded His Apostles to do during His mortal ministry, as recorded in the New Testament. We also believe that Christ visited the ancient Americas and taught the inhabitants there this ordinance, as recorded in The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. For the rest of our meeting, we are taught by Church member-volunteers who have been asked by their local leadership to prepare an address, commonly called a “talk,” on a particular gospel subject.

Such was my opportunity and responsibility on Sunday, September 9, 2012. I can count the number of times I’ve given a full address in Sacrament Meeting on one hand, and the last was in 2008. And though I hold a separate responsibility in my local congregation to teach Sunday School classes every other week, I relish the chance to stand at the pulpit before my congregation and share a message.

The subject for my talk was based a common theme presented in a sermon given by a modern-day Apostle of Jesus Christ. The address was delivered at an event called General Conference, in which the entire membership of the Mormon Church gathers together to hear sermons by the highest leadership of our organization, including our Prophet, Thomas S. Monson, who is the President of the LDS Church. General Conference is held twice a year, in April and October, each time taking place over a two day period. The proceedings of General Conference are broadcast worldwide via television, satellite, and Internet streaming from the LDS Church headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.

Elder Neil L. Andersen
The sermon I outlined in my talk is entitled, What Thinks Christ of Me? and it was written by Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. It was given Sunday, April 1, 2012. It can be found online at the LDS Church’s official website. It can also be found in print in the May 2012 edition of the LDS Church’s official magazine, the Ensign, pages 111 through 114.

Also, because of my always-perfectionistic nature, I have added significantly to the blog-version of my talk, adding in many insights I gained while preparing it, but which I was not allowed to share in the actual meeting because of time constraints. Here now is my message based on Elder Andersen’s sermon:

          Elder Neil L. Anderson, the junior member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, shares a story of a Brazilian reporter who examined the LDS Church in great detail in preparation for a major news article. After studying our doctrines and teachings, and visiting many of our Church-operated facilities, the reporter was greatly impressed. In an interview with Elder Andersen, the reporter asked him, “How could someone not consider you Christian?”
          Elder Andersen shares his insight to this question, saying,

          “I knew he was referring to the Church, but my mind somehow framed the question personally, and I found myself silently asking, ‘Does my life reflect the love and devotion I feel for the Savior?’”

          In the New Testament, it is recorded that Jesus asked the Pharisees, “What think ye of Christ?” The response of the Pharisees made it clear that they did not know the true identity of the Christ. How well, then, do we feel we know Him?
          Elder Andersen points out that the final assessment of our personal discipleship and dedication to Christ will be judged by neither friend nor foe. He quotes the Apostle Paul who taught that “we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.”
          Paul continued his teachings to the Romans by saying,

          “For it is written, as I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”

          It is interesting to note, based on this verse, that at the time of our eventual resurrection, all that we think and know of Christ—especially if it be in opposition to Him—will be swayed by the fact that we will not be able to doubt that, through Christ’s atoning sacrifice, our souls have been restored to perfected, incorruptible bodies. There will be no place for argument. We will be alive once again!—our spirit and our body rejoined, once separated by death, but never again to be twain.
          And with those resurrected bodies of flesh and bone, we will bow both symbolically and probably literally to the Redeemer Jesus Christ, and confess His divinity. Then will come the time of final judgment before God and the Savior, with Jesus as our Mediator and Advocate with the Father, having purchased us with his blood.
          Compared to the question Jesus asked the Pharisees—“What think ye of Christ?”—Elder Andersen offers this suggestion about our eventual judgment day, saying,

          “At that day the important question for each of us will be, ‘What thinks Christ of me?’”
          Elder Andersen goes on to share some examples of the way Jesus viewed those around Him during His ministry on earth. I quote from Elder Andersen:

          “Even with His love for all mankind, Jesus reprovingly referred to some around Him as hypocrites, fools, and workers of iniquity. He approvingly called others children of the kingdom and the light of the world. He disapprovingly referred to some as blinded and unfruitful. He commended others as pure in heart and hungering after righteousness. He lamented that some were faithless and of the world, but others He esteemed as chosen, disciples, friends. And so we each ask, ‘What thinks Christ of me?’”

Elder Russell M. Nelson
          This knowledge might leave us to ponder what the Lord Jesus Christ would have thought about us, had we been associated with Him during His mortal life in the Holy Land in the meridian of time.
          But because our Savior lives now in the eternal courts of heaven, and because He knows us individually through His taking upon Himself our pains and sufferings, we don’t have to place ourselves retrospectively 2,000 years into the past to feel His presence or consider and ponder what Christ thinks of us.
          Elder Russell M. Nelson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in our day, gave us his counsel concerning our duty to the Savior in an article he wrote to commemorate the millennium—2,000 years after the birth of Jesus. Said he,

          “Each of us has the responsibility to know the Lord, love Him, follow Him, serve Him, teach and testify of Him.” 

          I’d like to relate some personal experiences in order to illustrate the thoughts that have been shared so far.
          Some of you know, though many probably don’t know that I have Tourette Syndrome, or just Tourettes for short. I’ll tell you a little bit about it.
          Tourettes is a hereditary neurological disorder involving a chemical imbalance in the brain, similar to other disorders like bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and anxiety disorders.
          Tourettes causes an inner anxiety that compels me to perform certain repetitive behaviors and actions called tics. The manifestation of a tic is a conscious act, meaning I know when I’m ticcing, but the tics are not one-hundred percent within my control.
          There are a wide variety of tics, but they are usually categorized as either vocal or motor. Vocal tics consist of sounds and words; motor tics incorporate movements of body parts and muscle groups. 
          Tics are sub-categorized as simple and complex. Simple tics involve only one muscle group or area of the body at a time, and can be either vocal or motor. Complex tics involve multiple muscle groups and areas of the body working at the same time, and can be both vocal and motor.
          The nature of Tourettes is that, in order to feel a relief of the inner tension and anxiety that I feel nearly at all times, I must perform certain tics. Performing a tic in just the right way satisfies the urge that compels me to tic. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder plays a role here by increasing the number of times I feel I have to perform a tic in order for it to satisfy the urge in just the right way.
          Tics vary with the internal and external stimuli that are present in my environment. Internal stimulus can include how well I am feeling on a given day; how much sleep I get; how stressed or calm I am; if I’ve had stimulants, like caffeine; episodes of physical exertion; what’s currently going through my mind; and sudden or extreme emotions like excitement, amusement, anger, or fright. 
          External stimulus can include how hot or cold it is where I am; how many people are near me and what they are doing; how spacious or confined the space is that I’m in; noises and sounds that I hear; and what’s going on around me.
          My tics are both vocal and motor, which together are the necessary criteria for a complete Tourettes diagnosis. If I am presented with a situation where vocal tics would be more inappropriate or cause a lot of commotion, I can usually substitute a motor tic to relieve anxiety. If I am alone or in an environment where I am comfortable, I usually have less anxiety, and therefore less need to tic.
          Tourettes is famous for a vocal tic called coprolalia, which compels a person to swear, curse, or say other inappropriate things that they normally wouldn’t say. This urge increases in situations where I know that a curse word or phrase would be particularly offensive. This tic actually tends to be rare in most cases of Tourettes, but because of the simple oddity and controversy of coprolalia, it is seized upon by popular media and sensationalized or made fun of, and thus more people assume that all people with Tourettes swear uncontrollably.
          My family and I first started noticing my tics when I was about eight years old. We had never heard of Tourettes, and I had no idea why I felt like I had no control over my actions. After a lot of confusion, questions, and doctor’s visits, I was finally diagnosed with Tourettes and OCD at age eleven, right in the middle of sixth grade.
          I was immediately placed on medications to control the chemicals in my brain, which suppressed my need to tic and my obsessive-compulsive urges, though it didn’t completely cure me. I have been on medication ever since then. As tics changed with age and other factors, my medication was adjusted accordingly.
          In 2006, at age twenty, my worst nightmare was realized when I developed a habit of swearing that I soon realized was not entirely in my control. Soon I reached a downhill slope and my swearing was occurring every few seconds, and as hard as I tried, I simply couldn’t stop.
          I had to eventually quit my job as a nursing assistant because my tics were destroying my ability to serve my patients. I immediately saw my doctor for a medication change, but no dosage change or alternate drug seemed to help alleviate my coprolalia. 
          At the time I was living in my home ward in Spanish Fork. This was the ward where I joined the LDS Church at age sixteen. My ward family knew that I had Tourettes, and many were supportive and loving, but others, sadly, were not. I couldn’t help feeling like I was driving the Spirit away from our Sunday meetings and gatherings with my attendance, and it seemed like the Holy Ghost was grieved with every blasphemous word that uncontrollably came from my mouth. 
          Thankfully, I had a good relationship with my Bishop, and he was my advocate within the ward. One night I stopped by his house a little distraught over my struggle to manage my disorder. I wondered if maybe I wasn’t trying hard enough to suppress my tics. I wanted to do more to stop the swearing, but typically with Tourettes, the more one suppresses their tics, the more powerful the anxiety becomes, and the worse the tics are. And though I felt like the issue was mostly out of my grasp to help, I felt that I was sinning, and wondered if I was worthy of God’s love and His Spirit, when I struggled even with taking His sacred name in vain. I hated my struggle, and I felt ashamed.
          That night with the Bishop I asked him, “What do you think Heavenly Father and the Savior think of me? How can I be worthy of the Spirit when I defile the name of God uncontrollably? Do you think they will forgive me? Do you think they understand?”
          My Bishop seemed a bit surprised with me. He paused for a moment and said confidently, “I’m sure that Heavenly Father and the Savior know what you’re going through and how hard you’re trying better than anyone else could know. How could they be upset with you when they gave you this trial in the first place? If you’re trying your best, and making an effort to learn from your experience with these tics, then I know there is no need to seek forgiveness, and that you are worthy of their love and blessings.” This statement was to my great relief.
Priesthood blessings offer comfort
and instruction by the Spirit.
          That night, the Bishop also gave me a Priesthood blessing. In the blessing, I was told that in the pre-mortal existence, I not only kept my first estate, but was a more valiant spirit in the war in heaven. I was told that because I had proven especially worthy in the cause of the Grand Council which put forth the Plan of Salvation, I was chosen for great and marvelous things during my mortal probation. I was told that I willingly accepted particular tests to be given in my second estate, and that there was mutual trust between my Holy Father and Savior and myself, that I would bear these particular afflictions during my earthly sojourn. 
          I was told in the blessing that I understood well, before passing through the veil into mortal birth, that my afflictions would be pinnacle in cementing my faith in the gospel, keeping me humble and penitent before God, and ensure my eventual return back to the presence of the Father, if I bore the afflictions well.
          This blessing was a turning point in my life. At the time I received much comfort and peace knowing that my Heavenly Father and Savior trusted me enough to give me such an assignment. The veil between heaven and earth seemed thin suddenly, and I felt as if I could see myself there with God, making a promise that I would carry out His will, endure this trial to the end, and be perfected through it. 
          It was like waking up from a deep sleep and rediscovering your true identity again. I no longer pictured God in my head with a disappointed frown on His face every time I swore. Instead, His countenance seemed to shine with a gentle smile, because with His mighty power and omniscience, He could see my heart and my mind, and knew that my intentions were pure and true, and He knew that I was fulfilling the duty He gave to me. 
          After this blessing and the reassuring words from my Bishop, I had a new resolve to “trust in the Lord with all [my] heart, and lean not unto [my] own understanding,” as the Bible admonishes us.
          Elder Andersen adds his testimony of the blessings of our devotion to discipleship by saying,

          “. . . the Lord blesses us with customized direction through the gift of the Holy Ghost. These feelings turn us even more toward God, repenting, obeying, believing, and trusting. The Savior responds to our acts of faith.”

          Jesus, in responding to a question by Judas, one of the original Twelve Apostles (but not Judas Iscariot, who betrayed the Lord), reminded us all of our duties as disciples of Christ, and of the blessings that come to us as we are faithful to Him. The Lord said,

          “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.”

          Judas then asked the Lord how Jesus would manifest Himself to them, and Jesus responded first by simply rephrasing His original answer:

          “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”

          In these verses, the Savior is promising His disciples that He will send them the second Comforter, or the Holy Ghost, which would come to the Twelve Apostles in its fullness only after the death and resurrection of the Savior. The first Comforter, of course, was the Lord Himself, Who came into the world to atone and die, that we may be succored through His enlightened understanding and perfect love.
          Quoting from the New Testament, Elder Andersen continues his thoughts on discipleship, saying,

          “His invitation is a call to daily duty. Jesus said: ‘If ye love me, keep my commandments’ (John 14:15). ‘If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me’ (Luke 9:23).  We may not be at our very best every day, but if we are trying, Jesus’s bidding is full of encouragement and hope: ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest’ (Matthew 11:28).  Wherever you now find yourself on the road of discipleship, you are on the right road, the road toward eternal life.”

          So far I’ve discussed our personal charge as members of Christ’s restored Church to obey the Lord’s commandments and stand as a witness of Him at all times and in all places. I’ve discussed the blessings that come from faithful trust in and service to the Lord, which include the gift of the Spirit, the love of the Godhead, and the promise of rest, peace, and comfort in Christ through the atonement. 
          Now I’d like to discuss what we know from Holy Scripture and the teachings of prophets about what can happen when we find ourselves unconcerned, unmotivated, or even rebelliously uncaring about what Christ thinks of us. 
          In the conclusion to His famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warned His followers about the unrighteous judgment of others, about hypocrisy, and of false prophets. I quote now from His words:

          “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
          “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
          “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
"Jesus in the Synagogue at Nazareth"
by Greg K. Olsen
Copyright © Greg K. Olsen
Allow me to expound the meaning of this scripture. One might remember that the ancient Prophet, Isaiah, foretold in the Old Testament that the Messiah would enter the world to deliver His captive people. The Apostle Matthew records that it was also prophesied that the Redeemer would be called a Nazarene, or a person who hailed from the Palestinian city of Nazareth. 
          Many years later, after his miraculous birth, Jesus settled in Nazareth, fulfilling this ancient prophecy. Then, after beginning His ministry around age thirty, Jesus returned to a synagogue in his hometown to declare to the astonishment of the Nazarenes there that in Him was the prophecy of Isaiah fulfilled concerning the Messiah.
          But to many in the Holy Land, the Lord remained simply “Jesus of Nazareth,” which was not uncommon in the ancient world to be identified by the place you were from. Even after declaring His divinity to many, His hometown identity was used to distinguish Him, particularly, it seems, among nonbelievers. 
          Those who hailed Him as the Prince of Peace revered Him as “Lord.” Hence the scripture just shared, stating that even those who honor Jesus with the title of Lord may not always be a true disciple of Him, and may even be working iniquity in the name of Christ.
          Isaiah of old, in his poetic verse, shed more light upon this subject also as he prophesied in Old Testament times of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, saying,

          “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men.”

"The First Vision" by Gary L. Kapp
Copyright © Gary L. Kapp
          The ancient American Prophet, Nephi, delighted so much in the words of Isaiah, that he included many of Isaiah’s words nearly verbatim in the record that later became the Book of Mormon, including this same prophecy, allowing Isaiah’s vision to be repeated in the very book about which he foretold.
          The young Joseph Smith, as a fourteen year-old boy, also heard this same prophecy from the very mouth of the Savior when Jesus Christ and His Father appeared to Joseph in the Sacred Grove to usher in the dispensation of the fullness of times. As recorded in the Joseph Smith History, the Lord told Joseph not to join any Church, for they were all wrong; the Lord added upon His previous message to Isaiah by saying the following about the religious groups of the time:

          “… they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”

          In his first general epistle, the Apostle Peter asked a question of those to whom he delivered his message, saying,
          “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
          “And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?”

          The Lord gives answer to questions like Peter’s many times throughout the Holy Scriptures. For example, this was the reprimand of Lord to some of His slothful servants in the early days of the LDS Church in Kirtland, Ohio in 1831:

          “And he that will not take up his across and follow me, and keep my commandments, the same shall not be saved.
          “Behold, I, the Lord, command; and he that will not obey shall be cut off in mine own due time, after I have commanded and the commandment is broken.
          “Wherefore I, the Lord, command and revoke, as it seemeth me good; and all this to be answered upon the heads of the rebellious, saith the Lord.”

Also recorded in the Doctrine & Covenants is a glimpse into the mind of the Godhead, given to Joseph Smith in revelation just two months later in Kirtland in 1831. The Lord said,

          “And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments.”

          When Jesus Christ appeared in glory to the Nephites in the ancient Americas after His resurrection, he relayed many of the things which He taught to the Jews in Israel before His crucifixion and death. 
          He included much of His Sermon on the Mount when he visited the Nephites, but because of the purer restoration of holy writ that is included uncorrupted in the Book of Mormon, Christ’s teachings to the Nephites offer a little more light and knowledge. This includes a passage recorded in the third book of Nephi which summarizes well what we have discussed today:

"And He Healed Them All, Every One"
by Gary L. Kapp
Copyright © 1993 by Gary L. Kapp
          “And it came to pass that when Jesus had ended these sayings he said unto his disciples: Enter ye in at the strait gate; for strait is the gate, and narrow is the way that leads to life, and few there be that find it; but wide is the gate, and broad the way which leads to death, and many there be that travel therein, until the night cometh, wherein no man can work.”
          Our purpose on earth is clear, and it was accepted by all of us in a previous existence where we lived with our Heavenly Father, when God Himself presented the Plan unto us. 
          We are to be tested, tried, and proven to see if we will accept and obey our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ even after our minds have been veiled from our former knowledge. We will have the ability to discern good from evil, and have the agency to choose which we will follow and trust. 
          We will have Light of Christ with us no matter who we are or where we come from, and if we have the opportunity to hear the gospel of Christ and accept it, we will have the second Comforter that Jesus promised, even the Holy Ghost to be with us.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie
          There are boundaries which are clearly set, and there is not much room for error; but if we do cross the line into sin and transgression, we have the infinite power of the atonement of Jesus Christ which, if we utilize it, can cleanse us from sin and restore, comfort, and soothe us in our afflictions. I pray that we will all take that advantage.
          I would like to conclude on the most positive note that I feel I can, and that is by sharing two of the most poignant, beautiful, and powerful testimonies I have ever heard declared of the Redeemer, Jesus Christ. It is my hope that these testimonies will instill within all of you a stronger, more sure testimony of the divinity of God’s Only Begotten Son, Jesus the Christ, and a more powerful resolve and devotion to follow Him back to a glorious meeting in the clouds heaven.
          The first declaration is the final testimony of Elder Bruce R. McConkie, who served in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles from 1972 to 1985. He delivered his most famous sermon on the power of the Christ’s atonement in General Conference of April 1985, and passed away less than two weeks later. Said he:
          “And now, as pertaining to this perfect atonement, wrought by the shedding of the blood of God—I testify that it took place in Gethsemane and at Golgotha, and as pertaining to Jesus Christ, I testify that He is the Son of the Living God and was crucified for the sins of the world. He is our Lord, our God, and our King. This I know of myself independent of any other person.
          “I am one of His witnesses, and in a coming day I shall feel the nail marks in His hands and in His feet and shall wet His feet with my tears.
          “But I shall not know any better then than I know now that He is God’s Almighty Son, that He is our Savior and Redeemer, and that salvation comes in and through His atoning blood and in no other way.

Elder Melvin J. Ballard
          The last testimony I will share is given in the form of a personal experience by Elder Melvin J. Ballard, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles from 1919 until his death in 1939. Here is the experience in his own words:

          “. . . I found myself one evening in the dreams of the night in that sacred building, the temple. After a season of prayer and rejoicing I was informed that I should have the privilege of entering into one of those rooms, to meet a glorious Personage, and, as I entered the door, I saw, seated on a raised platform, the most glorious Being my eyes have ever beheld or that I ever conceived existed in all the eternal worlds. As I approached to be introduced, He arose and stepped towards me with extended arms, and He smiled as He softly spoke my name. If I shall live to be a million years old, I shall never forget that smile. He took me into his arms and kissed me, pressed me to his bosom, and blessed me, until the marrow of my bones seemed to melt! When He had finished, I knelt at his feet, and, as I bathed them with my tears and kisses, I saw the prints of the nails in the feet of the Redeemer of the world. The feeling that I had in the presence of Him who hath all things in his hands, to have His love, His affection, and His blessing was such that if I ever can receive that of which I had but a foretaste, I would give all that I am, all that I ever hope to be, to feel what I then felt.”
          ~ Elder Melvin J. Ballard, Sermons and Missionary Service of Melvin J. Ballard, comp. Bryant S. Hinckley (1949), 155-56; see also Exceptional Stories from the Lives of Our Apostles, comp. Leon R. Hartshorn (1973), 11-12.

          Truly these men, as Apostles and disciples of Jesus Christ, had tasted of the goodness of the Holy One of Israel. 
          And finally, the testimony of Elder Neil L. Andersen, whose talk we outlined today. He concludes,

          “I witness that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. He suffered and died for our sins and rose the third day. He is resurrected. In a future day, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is the Christ. On that day, our concern will not be, ‘Do others consider me Christian?’ At that time, our eyes will be fixed on Him, and our souls will be riveted on the question, ‘What thinks Christ of me?’”

          I also add my testimony that I know the purpose of my life—the good and bad, the blessings and the struggles. And it is my desire to live worthy of the opportunity to be with my Heavenly Father, and my Savior again when the veil of heaven is parted, and I am called home. I know that the Father and the Son live, with resurrected bodies of flesh and bone, just as we will someday have, and that the Holy Ghost is their messenger and the third member of the Holy Godhead. I love them, and it is my desire to serve them forever.
          May we all increase in learning, knowledge, and testimony of Jesus so that we can be ready always to declare positively what we think of Christ. And may we all live ever-concerned about what Christ thinks of us, and strive to the very end to be our best selves—I pray in His sacred name, even Jesus Christ, amen.


** To learn more about Tourette Syndrome, please click HERE.  You may also visit the National Tourette Syndrome Association website at **

"The Second Coming" by Harry Anderson
Copyright © 2002 Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

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