The Motorcycle Ride

Kenneth Johnson

Of the Second Quorum of the Seventy


 

I know that this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God. I just didn’t plan to be this close so early.

As I collect my thoughts in this new assignment, they go to my peer group—the young men of the Church. I think back just a few years when I was sixteen years old and a printing apprentice. A fellow apprentice was totally engrossed in motorcycles. In those days we rode British motorcycles, and he had an AJS-350.

One sunny summer’s day, he said to me, “Would you like to come for a ride on my motorcycle?” That seemed to be a good idea. In those days we didn’t wear any protective clothing, and, thus very lightly clad, I became the passenger on his motorcycle. He weaved through the streets of Norwich and then came to a long, straight road. He leaned back and said to me, “Have you ever traveled at one hundred miles an hour?”

I said, “No.”

He said, “Well, you’re going to.”

I said, “We don’t have to.”

He began to rev the motorcycle, and the motorcycle roared forward. The skin on my face pulled tight, and the clothing blew as we went past ninety-eight to one hundred miles an hour. I determined that day that never again would I let somebody else control my life.

Young men, make sure that every invitation you extend and every invitation you receive is an invitation to come unto Christ.

In 1959 I received that invitation. I did not even know of this, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At a dance I met a young lady who was raised in the gospel. I was attracted to her. She said to me, “You know, I could never consider marrying you unless it were in the temple.” I responded to that invitation and was taught the gospel. She is now my eternal companion. I will ever be grateful that was the invitation she extended to me, for it has transformed my life.

We have one child, a son. We got such a good one the first time we were not blessed with any more. And I have seen him grow through the covenants of the Lord. I walked with him through the temple. I saw him serve a mission. I look forward to July when he takes his chosen companion to the temple. The way he has lived has caused me to come unto Christ.

Young men, you have a great power within you to do that. Let me say to you that more sacred to me than this call, and I cannot fully express how sacred it is, are the covenants that preceded it and that will extend beyond it, for they seal to me those things most precious and sacred in my life.

The British Isles are full of young men and young women who will play a significant part in the forwarding of this great work in a way that no one else could. I know that they will do this if they respond to an invitation to come unto Christ.

Like Jacob of old, having received my errand from the Lord, I will magnify my office unto him, taking upon me the responsibility, answering the sins of the people on my own head if I do not teach them the word of God in all diligence. (See Jacob 1:17–19.)

I know that Jesus lives, that he is the Christ, and that he leads this church. I have come to know these things because so many good people have extended to me the invitation through my life to come unto him, and this I have tried to do. I express these feelings in the sacred and holy name of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.