Jesus Christ Is at the Center of the Restoration of the Gospel

Gary J. Coleman

Of the Second Quorum of the Seventy


My brothers in the gospel, I come before you this night to express the feelings of my heart. I want you young men to know that there are sure anchors for our life in these troubled times. There are rock-solid foundations upon which we can build to guide us through the devastating storms of the latter days. Today we can enjoy the fulness of the gospel with careful attention to basic principles and practices. Living these concepts will aid our joyful completion of the course that leads to eternal life.

While a young man, I walked paths of life that were different from those taught in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I lived by a mingling of the doctrines and commandments of men, having a form of godliness but with a lack of God-given truths and the power thereof. Religion was a vital part of my life as a youth. A religious home was at the core of our family life. Yet something was missing; something fundamental about the purpose of life was clouded and uncertain. While in my young adult years I was fortunate enough to become acquainted with kind Latter-day Saints who opened new gospel doors to me.

The doctrines of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ have become my path to eternal life and the fulness of joy here in mortality. Few things in life have become more dear to me than a knowledge of the reality of the Godhead. We are the literal spirit offspring of God the Father. The life and mission of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, affects my life daily. The influence of the Holy Ghost from day to day is a great comfort.

I came into this Church because God has revealed Himself to latter-day prophets and they have testified of His reality. Upon asking God if the things of this gospel are true, I have received a witness more powerful than sight, more soul-assuring than words. The sweet witness by the power of the Holy Ghost that the truths of the restored gospel are upon the earth today has come to me.

It has been my profound blessing to become a convert to this Church and to know without a doubt of the divinity of Jesus Christ as the Son of God. This resurrected, perfected being stands at the head of this Church. It is He upon whom we must build. It is He who is the chief cornerstone of our foundation. He is the rock of our salvation, the rock upon which not only the Church will be built, but our personal testimonies as well. No man, yea, no other name under heaven will suffice for our foundation. The prophet Helaman spoke of this sacred foundation most powerfully when he said:

“And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall” (Hel. 5:12).

Not only must we build upon the sure foundation of Jesus Christ, but the prophet Jacob identified Him as the “safe foundation”! This stone, he said, shall be “the great, and the last, and the only sure foundation” (Jacob 4:15–16).

I agree with all the conviction of my being that Jacob’s testimony is true. When the Apostle Peter boldly declared of Jesus, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,” Jesus replied, “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 16:16–17). Christ will be revealed to us through the same process that God used with Peter. Christ is always the rock upon which each of us must build, even the rock of revelation.

I have come into this Church because latter-day prophets have been called by God to do His work. I remember the year, the month, the day, and even the very moment when my heart encompassed the testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. He did the work of a prophet, and he was an instrument in the hands of God to make His will known on this earth again.

God continues to raise up latter-day prophets, and I rejoice in the principle of continuous revelation for our day. I welcome the opportunity to sit at the feet of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles—men whom we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators. Of these men, the Lord himself has said in our day, “What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same” (D&C 1:38).

As members of this Church we are, as the Apostle Paul testified, “No more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” (Eph. 2:19–20).

I rejoice exceedingly at the restoration of the books of scripture for our use and training today. Of course the Book of Mormon is true! It talks of Christ; it speaks of those who rejoice in Christ; it is full of preachings of Christ; it prophesies of Christ and testifies to us and our children as to the source of our remission of sins. Of course it is another testament of Jesus Christ! Of course God speaks to men in these latter days as He did in former days! It is a certainty that revelation is in constant operation in this Church!

The authority of God upon this earth resides in the authorized priesthood holders of this Church. Without question, therefore, all the ordinances of salvation and eternal life are in this Church. That which is bound by true priesthood authority on earth is also bound in heaven.

Yes, the Restoration has brought to earth again the true doctrines and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Restoration affects every fiber of our being. It consumes every part of our mortal journey. It keeps us focused on which path we should walk upon in our daily search for meaning to life. There truly is a strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life by following the Savior and the living prophets. We must accept them as the inspired trainers for our race of life.

“Wherefore,” the prophet Nephi says, “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.

“And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God” (2 Ne. 31:20–21).

Part of our mortal training is to walk by faith, repent of our sins, and call upon the Lord in daily prayer. We rejoice in the moments when promptings by the Holy Ghost are kindly given, and we are urged along the proper path of life. But each of us faces many difficult times here in mortality. All sorts of voices are screaming at us from the stadiums of public opinion. Our course will never be the popular way of the world. There are obstacles strewn in our path upon which we may sprain an ankle or stub a toe. But we must keep going. We move on in the strength of the Lord, each accountable for our own performance at the end of our mortal race. We must be able to declare with Paul:

“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

“Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Tim. 4:7–8).

I am so grateful for my eternal companion and for the second generation of Latter-day Saints in our family who have also taken up the cause of Christ. May God help all of us to partake of the fulness of the restoration of this sacred gospel, I pray humbly in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.