The Pearl of Great Price

J. Thomas Fyans


 

My dear brothers and sisters, what a privilege it is to stand before you and bear my testimony that Jesus is the Christ!

There’s an ancient oriental legend that tells the story of a jeweler who had a precious pearl he wanted to sell. In order to place this pearl in the proper setting, he conceived the idea of building a special box of the finest woods to contain the pearl. He sought these woods and had them brought to him, and they were polished to a high brilliance. He then reinforced the corners of this box with elegant brass hinges and added a red velvet interior. As a final step, he scented that red velvet with perfume, then placed in that setting this precious pearl.

The pearl was then placed in the store window of the jeweler, and after a short period of time, a rich man came by. He was attracted by what he saw and sat down with the jeweler to negotiate a purchase. The jeweler soon realized that the man was negotiating for the box rather than the pearl. You see, the man was so overcome by the beauty of the exterior that he failed to see the pearl of great price.

Recently we had in our home some nonmember friends from another part of the country, and they were with us for about a week. One of them is a very well educated man. He initially prepared for the ministry, and then determined he would not continue in that vein but would become a psychologist, and he received his doctorate in that field.

Upon graduating, he established a clinic, and in that clinic today there are several psychiatrists and a number of psychologists and social workers. This man is also an adviser to a state board of education and to a state university. He is involved in the accreditation tests of universities.

When we realized that this very well educated person was coming to our home, we wondered what we could show him and how we could tell him about the things that we believe.

First, we brought him here to this magnificent building. It was on a Sunday morning, and he was impressed with the artistic ability of this great choir. He went into the visitors’ centers here on the grounds and was exposed to what is there.

I sought an interview for him with the commissioner of education. I wanted to impress him with the fact that we have people who have some background in the field of education as well. We took him to Brigham Young University and had him visit with persons there who are in his field, hoping that he would be impressed with that great university—and he was impressed.

Then I took him behind the scenes and introduced him to the curriculum planning functions of the Church as described by Elder Packer today. Because of his background in education he had been involved in curriculum planning for all different levels, but as he saw this plan, he was amazed. He said, “I’ve never seen anything like it. You should have the Nobel prize for curriculum planning.”

He saw many things. Then, during his last evening at our home, I said, “What questions do you have?”

He said, “How do you console the bereaved?”

We opened up the Old Testament, and then we read from the New Testament. Then we looked in another testament, the Book of Mormon. We studied from Alma and other parts of this testament that Jesus is the Christ. We then moved on to modern-day scriptures and studied the 76th and 138th sections of the Doctrine and Covenants. We also read from the Pearl of Great Price.

And we talked about the cross-referencing of these scriptures. They are not isolated one from another. They are one integral whole and have come from one source—the Lord God, and his Son Jesus Christ, who through prophets over the ages have inspired those thoughts and had them recorded so that they would lift us to an understanding of the pearl of great price.

We have many wonderful teachings in this Church, all of which contribute to an uplifting, wonderful life. And yet as we look through all these trappings, and down to the very center core, we find that there is the message: yes, the Lord Jesus Christ came in the meridian of time. There he called others—Apostles and seventy, and others—to assist him in the task. He was placed on the cross and then in the tomb, and on the third day he arose. He lives today, and because he lives today, we will live tomorrow. That, I told my friend, is how we console the bereaved.

And I bear my witness, brothers and sisters, that I know that Jesus is the Christ, that this is the Church of Jesus Christ. There are many testaments of him—the Old Testament, the New Testament, another testament commonly known as the Book of Mormon. May we drink deeply from these testaments to bear up that testimony in our hearts. And may we share it with others so that the kingdom of God will be here upon the earth, that the kingdom of heaven may come, I pray humbly in the holy name of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.