Who’s in Control?

By Elder Kenneth Johnson

Of the Seventy

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    From an address delivered in April 1990 general conference.There’s only One you can completely trust with your safety.

    When I was sixteen years old, I was a printing apprentice. A fellow apprentice was totally engrossed in motorcycles. In those days, we rode British motorcycles, and he had a very powerful one.

    One sunny summer 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 the city and then came to a long, straight road. He leaned back and said to me, “Have you ever traveled at 160 kilometers an hour?”

    I said, “No.”

    He said, “Well, you’re going to.”

    I said, “We don’t have to.”

    He began to rev the engine, and the motorcycle roared forward. The skin on my face pulled tight, and my clothing whipped in the wind as we went past 150 to 160 kilometers an hour. I had accepted an invitation that put someone else in control of my safety. In fact, it put me in a dangerous situation. I determined that day that never again would I let somebody else control my life.

    Young men and young women, maintain control in your life by making sure that every invitation you extend and every invitation you accept is an invitation to come unto Christ.

    In 1959, I received that invitation. I did not even know of 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 that was the invitation she extended to me, for it transformed my life.

    We have one child, a son. 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 watched as he took his chosen companion to the temple. The way he has lived has invited me to come unto Christ.

    Youth of the Church, you have a great power within you to invite others to come unto Christ. Let me say to you that more sacred to me than my call as a General Authority, 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 and the rest of the Church are full of young men and young women who will play a significant part in forwarding 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.

    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 throughout my life to come unto him, and this I have tried to do.

    Painting by Harry Anderson

    Photograph by Welden Andersen