Many years ago, I went on assignment to Brazil. As part of the trip, I was to travel by car from São Paulo to a conference in a city about two hours distant. A member of the Quorum of the Twelve was going to preside at that conference. I hoped to ride in the car with him so that I might learn. But he suggested that I make the trip in another car with missionaries. He said, “Teach them while you travel.” So, when I climbed into the front seat of the car, I learned that two young lady missionaries, companions, were going to that city for a transfer. After we had become acquainted, I leaned back over the seat and asked, “What would you like to know about?” Both of them, eagerly and almost in chorus, said, “Tell us how we can become more humble.”
You might have struggled with that as I did. I only remember the green hills of Brazil going by as I tried. And the feeling at the end that I failed. If only I could have that chance again on this beautiful day. I have learned some things about their question since President Hinckley invited me to meet with him yesterday afternoon and issued the call to this sacred office. I think I could help them a little more now.
First, I would have realized that they already had the first lesson in their hearts. The fact that they even asked meant that they had gone beyond being overwhelmed by their doubts about themselves to hope that if they would just submit, if they could just learn what to do, they could be better. If I had the chance again, I would have told them that. And then I would have given them just this one bit of counsel, counsel about what to do. I would have said just this: “Always remember him” (Moro. 4:3; Moro. 5:2; D&C 20:77, 79).
I would have tried to help them do that by taking them in their minds to a garden where they would hear the Savior of the world’s words: “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42).
And then I would have taken them forward in time to that glorious day reported in the Book of Mormon when the resurrected Lord appeared to the people in the Americas and said: “And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning” (3 Ne. 11:11).
I know from the softness I heard in their voices and saw in their eyes that those missionaries would have then, and perhaps always, remembered him. And from his perfect example they would have felt their hearts breaking and received the answer to their pleading, “Tell us how we can become more humble.”
When we drove away from them in the city of our destination, they were standing waiting for a bus. I looked back. There they stood alone. I wish I had known what I learned last night so that I could have read to them while they were in the car these words from the first section of the Doctrine and Covenants, the twenty-third verse [D&C 1:23]: “That the fulness of my gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world, and before kings and rulers.” And then starting at the twenty-sixth verse:
“And inasmuch as they sought wisdom they might be instructed;
“And inasmuch as they sinned they might be chastened, that they might repent;
“And inasmuch as they were humble they might be made strong, and blessed from on high, and receive knowledge from time to time” (D&C 1:26–28).
They would have known the Savior spoke of them. And then in their humility they would have found that they were given power to proclaim his name.
Over the last hours I have come to understand other blessings from “always remembering him.” I thought of a family in Albuquerque, New Mexico, I met years ago: a father, mother, and two teenage daughters who belonged to no church but read the Bible together every day. They pondered the Savior’s life and his words. When we found them they had decided that Christ would have a church and that they should find it. They knew that it would have prophets and Apostles at its foundation because that is what Christ had left in his church in the meridian of time. They knew that the resurrected Lord had appeared to his Apostles.
And so when we testified that God, the Father, and his Son, the Savior of the world, came to a boy prophet, Joseph Smith, that seemed right to them. When they heard us testify that Peter, James, and John appeared and restored priesthood, they knew that would have to have happened. And the Holy Spirit, which they also recognized, told them it was true. I realized sometime last night or early this morning that they recognized the truth, that this is the Church of Jesus Christ, in large part because they had always remembered him. Every day they had gathered to read about him and his words, and so they remembered him. And after they were baptized they were ready to follow the living prophet because they knew the Savior always speaks to his prophets to bless his people.
I will keep my covenant to take his name upon me and always remember him. And I will go wherever I am sent to teach of him and offer the ordinances by which we take his name upon us and promise that we will always remember him and keep his commandments.
And if they accept that invitation, they will know what I know: God, our Father, lives. His Son, Jesus the Christ, did the will of the Father and atoned for all of our sins. Because of him we will be resurrected. Because of his atonement we may be exalted. The Lord sent heavenly messengers to confer keys on his prophet, Joseph Smith. The Lord has called his prophet today, Gordon B. Hinckley. The Savior will speak to us and all the world through him.
And if those who hear will take the Savior’s name upon them and always remember him, and keep his commandments, they will finally come to him and he will take them home to his Father and our Father, where we may live forever in families. I testify that is true, in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.