My long road to become a doctor of medicine was only the beginning. After that came years of hospital work, research, specialty training, and certifying examinations. Then followed many years of teaching, service, and the challenges of the newly emerging field of open-heart surgery, all of which brought me to a profound reverence for the structure and function of the human body. I was convinced that its creation was divine.
The Remarkable Human Body
Think of the genesis of a human body. It begins with the union of two reproductive cells—one from the mother and one from the father. Together, these cells contain all of the new individual’s hereditary information, stored in a space so small it cannot be seen by the naked eye. Twenty-three chromosomes from each parent unite in one new cell. These chromosomes contain thousands of genes which determine the physical characteristics of the unborn person. Approximately 22 days after these cells unite, a tiny heart begins to beat. At 26 days, blood begins to circulate. Cells multiply and divide. Some become eyes that see; others become ears that hear or fingers that feel the wondrous things about us.
Each organ is an amazing creation. The eye has a self-focusing lens. Nerves and muscles allow two eyes to make a single three-dimensional image. The ear converts sound waves into audible tones perceived in the brain.
The heart has four delicate valves that control the direction of blood flow. They open and close more than 100,000 times a day—36 million times a year. Unless altered by disease, they are able to withstand this stress almost indefinitely. No man-made material can be flexed so frequently and so long without breaking. Each day, the adult heart pumps enough fluid to fill a 2,000-gallon (7,570-L) tank. At the crest of the heart is a source of electricity that transmits energy down special lines, causing myriads of muscle fibers to work together.
Think of the body’s backup systems. Each paired organ has instant backup available from the other of the pair. Single organs, such as the brain, the heart, and the liver, are nourished by two routes of blood supply. This protects the organ if blood flow should be impeded through one of those routes.
Think of the body’s capacity to defend itself. To protect it from harm, the body perceives pain. In response to infection, it generates antibodies. They not only help to combat an immediate problem, but they persist to bolster resistance to any future infection.
Think how the body repairs itself. Broken bones mend and become strong again. Skin lacerations heal themselves. A leak in the circulation can seal itself. The body renews its own outdated cells.
The body regulates its own vital ingredients. Levels of essential elements and constituents are adjusted continuously. And regardless of wide fluctuations in temperature of the environment, the temperature of the body is carefully controlled within narrow bounds.
Through years of experience, I have learned that healing occurs only when all of the laws relevant to that blessing are obeyed. 1 The structure and function of the body are governed by law. A verse of scripture so states: “Unto every kingdom is given a law; and unto every law there are certain bounds also and conditions.” 2
Scientists in many disciplines observe similar manifestations of law and order, whether in the predictability of the tides, the phases of the moon, or the location of stars in the sky. Such law and order undergird all creation. Those laws can be discovered and defined. Their consequences can be measured. Such order bears witness of a Supreme Creator. 3
The matter of faith, on the other hand, cannot be measured. But the correlation of faith in God with the law and order of the universe is revealed in scripture:
“[God] hath given a law unto all things, by which they move in their times and their seasons;
“And their courses are fixed, even the courses of the heavens and the earth, which comprehend the earth and all the planets. …
“Behold, all these are kingdoms, and any man who hath seen any or the least of these hath seen God moving in his majesty and power.” 4
Divinity of the Creation
Scriptures declare that heaven, earth, and all things upon the earth are divinely created. 5 Scriptures also help us to know more about the partnership of God and His Son, Jesus Christ, in the Creation. The first words in the Bible state, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth,” 6 and, “God created man in his own image, … male and female created he them.” 7 The book of Abraham teaches that “the Gods went down to organize man in their own image, in the image of the Gods to form they him, male and female to form they them.” 8
Scripture records the feelings of Heavenly Father for His Beloved Son and for each human being: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” 9
The book of John begins with this declaration:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
“The same was in the beginning with God.
“All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” 10
This scripture denotes that the Word 11 of God is Jesus Christ—God’s personal minister in the government of this universe and Creator of all life.
This fact was affirmed to Moses by our Heavenly Father, who said:
“And by the word of my power, have I created them [the earth and the individuals on it], which is mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth.
“And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten.” 12
Many other scriptures confirm that, under direction of the Father, Jesus Christ is the Creator. 13 One of the most compelling is His own personal testimony: “Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God. I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are. I was with the Father from the beginning.” 14
Dynamics of Faith in Jesus Christ
For one to accept that concept requires dynamic faith. Faith is the foundation of personal testimony. The first principles of the gospel begin with faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. 15 Paul said that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” 16 He pled “that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend … and to know the love of Christ.” 17 Paul entreated us to “come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God.” 18
From the Book of Mormon we learn that “we are made alive in Christ because of our faith. … And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.” 19
Blessings that flow from faith in Him are also revealed in the Book of Mormon. There we read: “Ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.” 20 That is the “greatest of all the gifts of God.” 21
Dynamic faith in the Lord leads to complete conversion and a consummate commitment to His holy work. We become children of the covenant; we become His children. Scripture so confirms: “And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters.” 22
Dynamic faith in the Lord brings conversion, a mighty change of heart, 23 a change of thinking, from the ways of the world to the ways of Deity. It causes one to repent with “full purpose of heart.” 24 Alma added, “Preach unto them repentance, and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ; teach them to humble themselves and to be meek and lowly in heart; teach them to withstand every temptation of the devil, with their faith on the Lord Jesus Christ.” 25
The Book of Mormon exists, in part, to convince the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the eternal God. 26 Those who read the Book of Mormon and ask in faith if the book is true gain a testimony of its truth. They also “come to know … that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world [and] that Joseph Smith is his revelator and prophet in these last days.” 27
Faith in Jesus Christ: Essential to Salvation and Exaltation
Faith in Jesus Christ not only brings blessings in this life, but it is essential to our eternal salvation and exaltation. Scripture declares, “All men must repent and believe on the name of Jesus Christ, and worship the Father in his name, and endure in faith on his name to the end, or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God.” 28 The Lord also holds parents responsible to teach their children to have “faith in Christ the Son of the living God.” 29
I testify that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. He is our Creator, Savior and Redeemer, 30 Advocate with the Father, 31 Deliverer, 32 and Jehovah of the Old Testament. 33 He is the promised Immanuel, 34 the anointed Messiah, 35 and our great Exemplar. 36 One day He will return to rule and reign as King of kings and Lord of lords. 37 Eventually, we will each stand before Him at judgment day. 38 I pray for each of us that our individual faith in Him will be acceptable.
What Is Faith?
“If ye have faith,” Alma taught, “ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true” (Alma 32:21). Faith is a principle of action and power. When you work toward a worthy goal, you exercise faith. You show your hope for something that you cannot yet see.
Faith in Jesus Christ can motivate you to follow His perfect example (see John 14:12). It can lead you to do good works, obey the commandments, and repent of your sins (see James 2:18; 1 Nephi 3:7; Alma 34:17). Having faith in Him means relying completely on Him—trusting in His infinite power, intelligence, and love. It includes believing His teachings. It means believing that even though we do not understand all things, He does.
In order for faith to lead to salvation, it must be centered in the Lord (see Acts 4:10–12; Mosiah 3:17). You exercise faith in Christ when you have (1) an assurance that He exists, (2) a correct idea of His character, and (3) a knowledge that you are striving to live according to His will.
From True to the Faith (2004), “Faith,” 54–56.
Living His Commandments
Jesus Christ is the true path, the Bread of Life. He it is who gave beauty to all creation for the benefit and sustenance of mankind. He is the greatest among all of God’s creations, the Only Begotten Son in the flesh and the Firstborn in the spirit. Through Him, the Father has shown His great love for all.
Throughout my life I have received many, many blessings through my faith in Jesus Christ and especially in the sacred Atonement—the Lord’s most sublime deed. I try to show the love I feel for Him by living His commandments.
At this time my wife and I are representatives of Jesus Christ, serving a full-time mission for Him. It is a marvelous joy to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to invite people to come unto Him and accept Him as their Savior.
A Mighty Change of Heart
After nursing school, I came to work in the intensive care unit at a children’s hospital. I had a desire to learn and gain experience, to prove myself. I did not imagine, however, that it would be so difficult—both physically and emotionally. I could not understand why the world is so evil that even parents can cause irreparable harm to their own children. Nor did I understand why God allows children to die. After one year of work in the hospital, my soul was exhausted.
Then I learned that members of my family were having discussions with Latter-day Saint missionaries. I worked long shifts and could not be at home when those discussions took place. Soon my sister and mom were baptized. And I felt like I was left alone with questions and unresolved problems. Despite my family trying to arrange a meeting for me with the missionaries, I did not want to see them. But once when Sisters Johnson and Marchuk visited, I joined their conversation. The next time, they taught me a spiritual lesson, and I was able to find answers to questions I had struggled with for a long time. Soon I was baptized and confirmed.
Since I became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I have felt sustained by my faith in Jesus Christ. I have experienced again and again the power of prayer and feel that I have come from darkness to light. Six years in the Church have given me a conviction that Jesus Christ is my Savior. And because of Jesus Christ, I now have an opportunity to become closer to my Heavenly Father.
The Faith of a Child
I decided to go on foot to stake conference, walking about 30 or 40 minutes with my son, then eight years old. Twenty minutes had passed when I realized that I no longer knew which direction we needed to go. My son, Elson, always a great talker, had been telling me one story or another about things that had happened in school or at home. I asked him to be quiet for a moment, explaining that I needed to think because I feared we were lost.
It was then that my son showed me his faith. He suggested that we offer a prayer. I, with all the intelligence and understanding of an adult (and becoming a little impatient because the hands of the clock were nearing the time for the meeting to begin), answered that if he wanted to offer a prayer, to do so—however, I preferred to think. I said to myself, “There are things we do not need to depend on the Lord for; finding the way to the chapel is one of them.”
As though he were reading my thoughts, Elson gave me a lesson in humility, saying, “Why do you insist on doing things the hard way?” After that he became silent, and I know that in his mind and heart he prayed. Minutes later we arrived at the chapel, and I knew that he had received an answer to his prayer.
As Latter-day Saints, we are blessed to be members of the Church of Jesus Christ. My testimony of the truthfulness of the restored gospel increased when I realized that my son, still a child, knew how to put the principles of faith and prayer into practice, becoming for me an example of how to live the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Division of Firmament and Waters, by Stanley Galli, courtesy of Museum of Church History and Art; The Lord Jesus Christ, by Del Parson
Jesus Healing the Blind, by Carl Heinrich Bloch, courtesy of the National Historic Museum at Frederiksborg in Hillerød, Denmark; photograph of shoreline © Getty Images; photograph of galaxy © Corbis
Photographs by Craig Dimond, Frank Helmrich, Shih-Yee Huang, and John Luke, posed by models
That very concept was established by the Lord when He said, “When we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated” (D&C 130:21).
See Alma 30:44.
In Greek, Logos (meaning “word”) is another name for Christ.
Moses 1:32–33; emphasis added.
See Alma 5:12–14.
Book of Mormon introduction.
See D&C 110:3.
See Isaiah 7:14.
See 2 Nephi 25:14–19.