My beloved brothers and sisters, I am filled with an overwhelming sense of joy and gratitude for the transcendent events which took place in the Kirtland Temple 157 years ago today. And I wish to pay humble tribute to my parents, who raised me “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Enos 1:1.)
I love the words of the Lord given to all who are called and appointed to go forth and preach the gospel in these latter days: “O ye my servants … , be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I am, and that I am to come.” (D&C 68:5–6.)
All who know and understand the glorious work of redemption wrought by the Lord Jesus Christ and all who know of his majesty and power and promises understand why they are to be of good cheer. They who have come to know him do not fear! They look unto him in “every thought.” They “doubt not,” and they “fear not.” (D&C 6:36.) They know that he, the Lord Jesus Christ, is with them and that he will stand by them! (See D&C 6:32; D&C 29:4–7; D&C 32:3; D&C 84:87–88.)
“Be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you.”
Following this comforting and sacred promise is a serious and equally sacred charge, even a commandment which cannot be ignored: “And ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I am, and that I am to come.” (D&C 68:6.)
Why this sacred charge, this commandment of the Lord to his servants? The Lord answers: “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3.)
“For strait is the gate, and narrow the way that leadeth unto the exaltation and continuation of the lives, and few there be that find it, because ye receive me not in the world neither do ye know me.” (D&C 132:22.)
“I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6.)
No doctrine is more fundamental to an understanding of the plan of salvation than the doctrine which reveals the true identity and role of Jesus Christ.
But how are all the nations of the earth to come to an understanding of the true identity of the Lord Jesus Christ? Consider these prophecies:
“The time shall come when the knowledge of a Savior shall spread throughout every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.” (Mosiah 3:20.)
“These last records [clearly referring to the Book of Mormon and other latter-day scriptures],… shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved.” (1 Ne. 13:40.)
“And righteousness will I send down out of heaven; and truth will I send forth out of the earth, to bear testimony of mine Only Begotten; his resurrection from the dead; yea, and also the resurrection of all men; and righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine elect from the four quarters of the earth.” (Moses 7:62.)
President Benson has plainly declared that “the Book of Mormon is the instrument that God designed to ‘sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out [His] elect.’” (Ensign, Nov. 1988, p. 4.) We have no more sacred privilege, and no more urgent and sacred responsibility, than to bear testimony that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God! And we have no more effective “instrument” with which to accomplish this sacred task than the record which God has prepared for that very purpose, even the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ! In its pages, as in the other standard works of the Church, the true identity of the Lord Jesus Christ stands forever revealed—past, present, and future!
Concert halls are filled at Christmastime by people in many lands throughout the world who, with reverence and rejoicing, stand and sing the triumphant and immortal words of Isaiah, set to the music of Handel’s Messiah:
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (JST, Isa. 9:6.)
But who is this “child”? Who is this “son”? And “whose son is he”? (Matt. 22:42.) Who is this “mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace,” spoken of by Isaiah? The Book of Mormon “verifies and clarifies” who he is! (Ezra Taft Benson, A Witness and a Warning, Salt Lake City, Deseret Book Co., 1988, p. 13.)
He is Jesus Christ, born into this world, as the “Only Begotten Son” (Jacob 4:5, 11; 2 Ne. 25:12; Alma 5:48; Alma 9:26; Alma 12:33–34; Alma 13:5) of God “the Eternal Father,” and the Son of Mary, “after the manner of the flesh.” (1 Ne. 11:18–24; 2 Ne. 2:4, 8; 2 Ne. 31:7; 2 Ne. 32:6; Mosiah 3:8.)
He is Jesus Christ, the long-awaited “Messiah,” “the Savior” and “Redeemer of the world” (1 Ne. 1:19; 1 Ne. 10:4–17; 1 Ne. 15:13–14; 2 Ne. 2:6–10), of whom all “the prophets testified” (3 Ne. 11:10; Mosiah 3:13; Hel. 8:13–23), who came into the world so “that salvation might come unto the children of men even through faith on his name.” (Mosiah 3:9; 2 Ne. 31:2–21; Alma 32:21–43.)
He is Jesus Christ, the “Lamb of God,” who was “judged of the world, … lifted up upon the cross” (1 Ne. 11:32–33) and “crucified” (1 Ne. 19:9–10, 13–15; 2 Ne. 6:9; 2 Ne. 10:3–5; 2 Ne. 25:12–13; Mosiah 3:9; Mosiah 15:7–9) “to atone for the sins of the world” (Alma 34:8; Alma 22:14; Alma 33:22–23; Mosiah 3:11–18.)
He is Jesus Christ, who, before condescending to “come down from heaven” to dwell “among the children of men” (Mosiah 3:5), was none other than the “Great Jehovah” (Moro. 10:34; D&C 110:3–4; Abr. 1:16; Abr. 2:6–8), “the God of Abraham,and … Isaac, and … of Jacob” (1 Ne. 19:7–15; Mosiah 7:19–20; Hel. 8:13–23), “the Holy One of Israel” (2 Ne. 6:9), who gave “the law” unto Moses on the mount! (3 Ne. 15:5.)
He is Jesus Christ, “the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning” (Mosiah 3:8; 2 Ne. 9:6; Alma 11:39; 3 Ne. 9:15; D&C 38:1–3; D&C 76:24), whose “infinite atonement” (2 Ne. 2:6–10; 2 Ne. 9:5–10; Alma 34:8–16; Alma 36:17–18) brings the “resurrection of the dead” (2 Ne. 9:10–13, 21–22; Jacob 4:11–12; Alma 11:42–45; Alma 40:23; Hel. 14:15–19).
He is Jesus Christ, “the Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was, and is from all eternity to all eternity.” (Mosiah 3:5.)
“O ye my servants … , be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the Living God, that I was, that I am, and that I am to come.” (D&C 68:5–6.)
I know and bear witness that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, that he was and is the Great Jehovah, the Savior and Redeemer of the world. I know that he atoned for the sins of the world and that he was resurrected with a glorious body of flesh and bone. I bear witness that he lives, and that he soon will come again to rule and reign as “King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.” (Rev. 19:16.) May we truly “flood the earth with the Book of Mormon” (Ensign, Nov. 1988, p. 5), that all who will may come unto him and be saved, I pray in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.