First Presidency Message

My Testimony of Jesus Christ

By Marion G. Romney

Second Counselor in the First Presidency

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    Although I have born my testimony of Jesus Christ frequently and recently, I am happy to repeat it. My calling, and my desire, is to continue to bear convincing testimony of him. If it were possible, I would bear it to all men.

    The word “Jesus” is the name given to the “Babe of Bethlehem.” As he grew up, he was known as “Jesus of Nazareth.”

    The word “Christ” is both a surname and a title. Ascribing it to Jesus of Nazareth implies the fulfillment in him of the messianic prophecies in the Old Testament. Dr. Talmage used the phrase in this sense when he titled his great book Jesus the Christ.

    I have no memory of a time or circumstance in which I have had the slightest doubt or question about Jesus of Nazareth being “The Christ”; the Son of the Father both in the spirit and in the flesh; the Savior of the world.

    In the scriptures there are many events reported and expressions made concerning him which confirm in me this conviction. Every time I think of them they increase my understanding of their significance and of his divinity.

    The earliest specific event concerning Jesus of which we have record took place in the great council in heaven, where the Father presented the gospel plan to the spirit hosts.

    After explaining the plan, which included the need for a Redeemer, the Father said:

    “… Whom shall I send? And one answered like unto the Son of Man: Here am I, send me. …” (Abr. 3:27.)

    The late apostle Orson F. Whitney paraphrased the account of what took place at that time in the following majestic lines.

    In solemn council sat the Gods; …

    … That awful hour was one

    When thought doth most avail;

    Of worlds unborn the destiny

    Hung trembling in the scale.

    Silence self-spelled, and there arose,

    Those kings and priests among,

    A power sublime, than whom appeared

    None nobler ’mid the throng.

    A stature mingling strength with grace,

    Of meek though godlike mien;

    The glory of whose countenance

    Outshone the noonday sheen. …

    He spake;—attention grew more grave,

    The stillness e’en more still.

    “Father!” the voice like music fell, …

    “Father,” it said, “since one must die,

    Thy children to redeem

    From spheres all formless now and void,

    Where pulsing life shall teem;

    “And mighty Michael [Adam] foremost fall,

    That mortal man may be;

    And chosen saviour Thou must send,

    Low, here am I—send me!

    I ask, I seek no recompense,

    Save that which then were mine;

    Mine be the willing sacrifice,

    The endless glory Thine! …”

    (O. F. Whitney, “Elias, an Epic of the Ages,” Salt Lake City, 1914, p. 17.)

    Another account which has increased my understanding of Jesus as a premortal person concerns his appearance to the brother of Jared on Mount Shelem. To my mind that event is one of the most dramatic recorded in sacred history.

    You will recall that the brother of Jared, responding to the Lord’s question, “… What will ye that I should do that ye may have light in your vessels? …” (Ether 2:23), “… did molten out of a rock sixteen small stones … and he did carry them in his hands upon the top of the mount, and cried … unto the Lord, saying:

    “… touch these stones, O Lord, … and prepare them that they may shine forth in darkness … that we may have light while we shall cross the sea.” (Ether 3:1, 4.)

    So great was his faith that “… the Lord stretched forth his hand and touched the stones one by one with his finger. And the veil was taken from off the eyes of the brother of Jared, and he saw the finger of the Lord; and it was as the finger of a man. …” (Ether 3:6.)

    Later, the Lord showed himself to the brother of Jared and said:

    “Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold, I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son. In me shall all mankind have light, and that eternally, even they who shall believe on my name; and they shall become my sons and my daughters.

    “… Seest thou that ye are created after mine own image? Yea, even all men were created in the beginning after mine own image.

    “Behold, this body, which ye now behold, is the body of my spirit; and man have I created after the body of my spirit; and even as I appear unto thee to be in the spirit will I appear unto my people in the flesh.” (Ether 3:14–16.)

    A third impressive event concerning Jesus as a premortal spirit was his announcement to Nephi concerning his advent into mortality.

    About 6 B.C., Samuel the Lamanite prophesied that at the birth of Jesus there would be a day and a night and a day without darkness. The unbelievers said the time appointed for this sign had passed and made plans to put the believers to death.

    When Nephi, the grandson of Helaman, “… saw this wickedness of his people, his heart was exceedingly sorrowful.

    “And … he went out and bowed himself down upon the earth, and cried mightily to his God in behalf of his people, yea, those who were about to be destroyed because of their faith in the tradition of their fathers.

    “And it came to pass that he cried mightily unto the Lord, all the day; and behold, the voice of the Lord came unto him saying:

    “Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world. …

    “And it came to pass that the words which came unto Nephi were fulfilled, according as they had been spoken; for behold, at the going down of the sun there was no darkness. …” (3 Ne. 1:10–13, 15.)

    This event is to me a moving evidence of the infinite care and concern the Savior has for us mortals. It confirms my testimony of his divinity.

    The records of his mortal ministry are full of persuasive evidence of his divinity.

    The wisdom he displayed is matchless.

    For example: When he was but twelve years of age, his mother Mary and her husband Joseph “… found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.

    “And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.” (Luke 2:46–47.)

    The following incident reported by Luke furnishes convincing evidence of Christ’s divine wisdom:

    “… the chief priests and … scribes … [seeking] to lay hands on him. …

    “… watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor.

    “And they asked him, saying, Master, we know that thou sayest and teachest rightly, neither acceptest thou the person of any, but teachest the way of God truly:

    “Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or no?” (Luke 20:19–22.)

    Had Jesus answered yes, he would have infuriated the Jews. Had he said no, he would have been opposing the Romans.

    “But he perceived their craftiness, and said unto them, Why tempt ye me?

    “Shew me a penny. Whose image and superscription hath it? They answered and said, Caesar’s.

    “And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s.

    “And they could not take hold of his words before the people: and they marvelled at his answer, and held their peace.” (Luke 20:23–26.)

    Not only was Jesus all wise, he was also omniscient and omnipotent.

    The following report illustrates his omniscience:

    “… when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?

    “He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?

    “Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.

    “Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.” (Matt. 17:24–27.)

    Mark reports this illustration:

    “And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples,

    “And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him.

    “And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither.

    “And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met; and they loose him.

    “And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, loosing the colt?

    “And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded: and they let them go.” (Mark 11:1–6.)

    The evidences of his omnipotence are legion:

    He demonstrated power (1) over the elements by turning the water into wine (John 2:1–11), by stilling the tempests (Matt. 8:23–27, Mark 4:35–41, Luke 8:22–25), and by walking on the sea (Matt. 14:24–33, Mark 6:47–52, John 6:16–21); (2) over sickness and disease by healing the nobleman’s son (John 4:46–54), Peter’s wife’s mother (Matt. 8:14–15, Mark 1:29–31, Luke 4:38–39), and the woman with the issue of blood (Matt. 9:20–22, Mark 5:25–34, Luke 8:43–48); (3) over unclean and evil spirits by casting them out of the two Gadarene demoniacs (Mark 5:1–20, Luke 8:26–39), and the boy after the disciples failed (Matt. 17:14–21, Mark 9:14–29, Luke 9:37–43); (4) over death by raising the son of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:11–17) and calling Lazarus from the tomb (John 11:17–46); (5) over the grave by resurrecting himself and others (Luke 24:1–6, Matt. 27:52–53).

    All these things—the events of his premortal life, the evidence of his wisdom, of his omniscience and omnipotence, and his victory over the grave—confirm my testimony that Jesus is the Christ.

    The real source of my testimony, however, is the witness of the Holy Ghost, which I have received as a result of following Moroni’s counsel to “… ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ …” (Moro. 10:4), and the Lord’s counsel to Oliver Cowdery to “… study it out in your mind; then … ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.” (D&C 9:8.)

    I have followed these instructions and I have felt the burning in my bosom. The Lord has enlightened and spoken peace to my mind. He has given me a testimony in my heart by the Holy Ghost. I know that Jesus is the Christ.

    Marion G. Romney

    Painting by C. Bosseron Chambers. Used by permission of Bernard Picture Co., New York City.

    Painting by James Joseph Jacques Tissot. © John H. Eggers Publications and the Brooklyn Museum

    Christ answers plotting Pharisees, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s. …” (Mark 12:17.) (Painting by James Joseph Jacques Tissot. © John H. Eggers Publications and the Brooklyn Museum.)

    Painting by James Joseph Jacques Tissot. © John H. Eggers Publications and the Brooklyn Museum.