Sunday, March 21, 2010
A Special Witness of Christ
We had the wonderful blessing this weekend to see a prophet of God in person, and to shake his hand. Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came to visit us right here in Denton (the last time we've had an Apostle come through to our Stake was in 1981, I am told).
Yes, in our Church we believe that there are living prophets and apostles on the earth today. In fact, "We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists and so forth" (Article of Faith 1:6). We hear from our Prophet and the Twelve Apostles every six months at General Conference, where there is a huge gathering at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, that is broadcast to our meetinghouses worldwide. Because it is such a worldwide church, though, we rarely get visits here. This was a special treat!
I was impressed with his joyful spirit as he entered the room. He began quickly shaking the hands of the congregation--and when I say "the congregation," I mean that he walked through every pew and shook the hands of each of the (1000? or more?) people present. He had time enough for all of us, young and old alike, just like the Christ of whom he is a special witness. It brought tears to my eyes.
One of the parts of his address that struck me the most was about this principle, of standing as a witness. We covenant at baptism to "stand as witnesses of God at all times, and in all things, and in all places," (Mosiah 18:9), but do we really do this? I get "witnessed" to on almost a daily basis at my place of work, yet I am incredibly shy about my own faith. I read devotionals daily, but am afraid to pray--even though I've been saying prayers in public as long as I can remember. I am a terrible witness.
My goal is to reunite the temporal and spiritual sectors of my life, so that there is not any occasion of distinction between the two. Incidentally, one of my favorite talks by Elder Oaks, "The Challenge To Become" relates to this topic. If we are true disciples of Christ, it will show in how we live our lives each day, not just on Sunday.
I know that Christ lives and that He loves me. I know that because He loves me, He gave His life so that I might repent and return to live with our Father in Heaven. I know that He sends his prophets to the earth to guide us and lead us back to Him when we stray, and that there are such prophets on the earth today! I know that we are called to love and serve one another as Christ would, which means loving without question. I know our Father in Heaven sent the scriptures so that we could learn of Him, and that in their pages are the things that will lead us closer to Him.
I'm grateful for the gospel light in my life.