The question is not new. Jesus himself asked it of his disciples. But if he had not asked it of them, they surely would have asked it of themselves. For if there is one question that most of us ask sometime in life (yea, many times), it is this blessed question—What do I really think of Jesus Christ and his gospel?
It is a question that we asked of several dozen representative Latter-day Saint youth. Here are their responses—all of them stirring and powerful and beautiful, as was Peter’s answer given nearly two thousand years ago: “Thou art the Christ? the Son of the living God.”
Michele Hurst, 16, Purdue Ward, West Lafayette, Indiana—Sometimes when I feel depressed and discouraged, I know that Satan is working hard to entice me to do the wrong things. Occasionally it seems the temptations that come my way are too strong to resist, but when I remember Jesus and the strength and self-control that he had against the evil of Satan, I am strengthened and uplifted. No matter where I am—at school, at home, or at church—Jesus and his teachings are always before me; I cannot help but want to follow his example.
Barbara Biddulph, 13, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada—In January my father challenged us to try to read all of the New Testament. At first I thought it would be a waste of time. But now that I’ve finished it, I realize how much meaning the stories and ideas from it have for me. The New Testament is the story of Christ’s life. I can now say that his teachings are beautiful and true.
Candy Long, 17, St. Louis, Missouri—Jesus is more than the greatest man ever to have lived. He is perfect. It is by his example that I know there is a way for me to gain exaltation if I will but try to live my life as perfectly as I can.
Dale Verden Boman, Charter Oak Ward, Covina Stake—I guess when it all boils down to the best way to show what we think of Christ? it is not by our words but by our actions. The more we think of him and learn about him, the more we want to be like him. If we act like Jesus and obey his words, that is the best way we can express what we think of him.
Gordon Olson, 17, Westchester Ward, New York Stake—Won’t all of us be forever in his debt for the sacrifice he made and for the suffering he went through for us?
Danetta Blackwelder, Tallahassee, Florida—I remember that my first-quarter psychology professor took special delight in mocking the “superstitions” of religion. “Man,” he said, supported by his interpretation of scientific facts, “is not spiritual but merely physical and mental,” and all physical and mental processes result from environmental stimuli. Man has no control over himself; he only thinks he does. The professor mentioned once or twice two of his colleagues who are members of the Church. Their inconsistency in claiming scientific professionalism and being active men of faith was beyond his understanding. Then one day he came to class and apologized to any he might have offended. Someone had taken the time to explain certain things, he said, and he felt impelled to acknowledge that he could not deny the existence of anything with which he had never had personal experience. He said he had experienced some things—love was one—that he couldn’t see or touch but whose evidence was in some ways more real than anything else. He had never before made this application, but by extension, without experiencing religious faith personally, he said he would have to concede that such experiences were possible, even though they could not be recorded electronically or measured scientifically. Suddenly my faith was renewed in the reality of the light of Christ in all men, and I could see that his truth can penetrate anyone, if we will only give it a fair chance.
Debra Hickenlooper, 17, Bridgeport Ward, New York Stake—My testimony of Jesus has been greatly strengthened by my patriarchal blessing. I know that he is interested in my happiness and eternal welfare. This personal revelation of a patriarchal blessing has given my life greater meaning. Knowing that I have a mission to fulfill on this earth, I can set important goals and start preparing myself now.
Nancy Link, 19, Alton Ward, East Alton, Illinois—To me, Christ is truth. And in these times of confusion and indecision, I am comforted by the truth that we find in Christ and in his gospel.
Colleen Patricia Cahill, 16, St. Louis Second Ward, St. Louis Stake, Florissant, Missouri—I think of Jesus as a kind of big brother. I always feel that I can go to him and confide my secrets of happiness or those of sorrow. I think of him as a very close friend who is always with me and will always give me help and protection whenever I ask.
Charlie G. Busler, Meridian, Mississippi—The time of decision comes in all our lives, the time when we must develop our own testimonies. It’s something that no one can do for us. We can be taught the gospel, but eventually we are forced to find out for ourselves. The time of decision came for me when I entered college. It was a frightening experience to find myself questioning many ideas I had been taught. This feeling caused me to begin to study the scriptures, to pray, and to fast. Suddenly, like the breaking of dawn, I had a burning conviction of Jesus Christ? his mission, and his church.
It is my testimony that Jesus Christ is really the divine head of this church, that he is leading us through troubled times, and that we should remain close to him.
Betsy Lee, 15, Beavercreek Ward, Dayton Stake, Fairborn, Ohio—During our family night one time, my father was giving us a lesson about what it means to be popular, famous, or great. For each of the three categories, we named people we thought had the right characteristics to be classified therein. While the rest of the family was naming off the people they thought were great in the different ages throughout history, my three-year-old sister hit upon the answer Dad was looking for. She said that Jesus is the greatest person ever to have lived upon the face of the earth.
Kristi Dawn Hight, Fort Meade-Laurel Ward, Maryland—Jesus is my example, my brother, my Lord. Since he needs servants who will serve him with heart, might, mind, and strength, it is my desire to be this type of servant—to follow his example of faith, temperance, godliness, charity, and humility.
Denece Barlow, Garden Grove, California—I know that Jesus was and is the Son of God, and that without his love for us, it would be impossible to ever obtain celestial glory. He has given me this gospel so that I can have a guideline to follow. With this guideline I have discovered that I can help friends who are searching for answers to their questions. I have found that the gospel helps me cope with situations that occur.
Jan Green, 17, St. Louis Third Ward, St. Louis Stake—He is the highest potential in all aspects of life. His spirituality looks into every man and listens. His heart understands. His intellect can create worlds. His love is for everyone. He is real. I want with all my heart to meet him and be with him.
Logan Boren, 16, Fairborn Ward, Dayton Stake, Fairborn, Ohio—When Christ came to redeem his people, the earth witnessed the greatest example of love and service it will ever know.
Stephanie Kay Ihrig, Manassas Ward, Potomac Stake—I know that Jesus is the Christ through watching the lives of the people who live his teachings. When you see people who really live and love in a Christian way, you know that Jesus has the promised gospel that can save the world.
George Shaw, 14, Prince George, British Columbia, Canada—Most important to me, the Lord will, as my older brother, present my personal case of worthiness before our Father to see what degree of glory I deserve. I’m trying to return at least some of the love and sacrifice that he offers us all.
Larry Walker, Idaho State University Fifth Ward, Pocatello, Idaho—Like most Church members, I have had many testimonies and witnesses given to me of Jesus and the gospel, but there is one that stands out. I was living in the dormitory, and one day I was conversing with a nonmember friend of mine. He knows I am a Latter-day Saint and he brought up the subject of Jesus Christ. He said that he did not believe in religion or in what Jesus was supposed to be, and he added, “I can prove to you that Jesus Christ is not alive.” At that moment, that not-so-still, small voice spoke to my spirit, testifying to me of the truth and divinity of Jesus Christ? the resurrected Savior of the world. I answered my fellow student by saying, “No. You cannot prove it to me, because I know that he lives.” He said no more.
John S. Gholdston, 21, Orlando, Florlda—I know now that Christ is the gospel and the fullness thereof. Through him the gospel begins and ends.
In 3 Nephi the Lord is quoted as saying, “Behold, I am Jesus Christ? the Son of God. I created the heavens and earth, and all things that in them are. I was with the Father from the beginning. I am in the Father, and the Father in me; and in me hath the Father glorified his name.” (3 Ne. 9:15.)
Today I too can testify to the absolute truth of his living gospel designed for men. Christ is the completeness of the gospel, and I can make that statement without hesitation.
And now it’s your turn. What do you think of Jesus Christ and his gospel?