03357_000_017From an address given at the Buenos Aires, Argentina, area conference on October 29, 1978Are we ashamed to stand up and say we are members of the Church of Jesus Christ?
Paul said: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Rom. 1:16). I would add to that, “and to all who live the commandments of God.”
And then I should like to ask the question: What is there in the gospel of Christ to be ashamed of? As we go back to man’s earliest recorded history as we know it, there was a council in heaven at which we were all present. There God presided. And Jesus Christ was chosen as the Savior of the world. And Satan rebelled and determined to destroy man and to destroy the plan of life and salvation. And all evil is under his direction. (See Moses 4:1–6.)
Now, we believe that we are spirit children of God and were made in his image. Is that anything to be ashamed of? Or would you rather believe that you descended from a monkey? We believe and know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of the world. Would you rather not believe in God at all? So many people in the world today do not believe in God the Eternal Father, and a great majority of them do not believe in a living, personal God. Should we be ashamed of believing in such a person and in Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world and that Jesus Christ directly or through prophets of God gave us the plan of life and salvation? “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Now, we believe that through his atoning sacrifice all mankind will be resurrected and may be saved by keeping the commandments. Would you be ashamed of that and rather believe that when we die we are finished? So many people in the world today believe that when we die that is the end of our existence. Are we ashamed of the fact that we believe that we will be resurrected and that we can go back into the presence of God the Eternal Father? Are we ashamed of that? What a great blessing it is to believe that and to know that it is true.
Are we ashamed of the fact that God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith? Or are we ashamed of the fact that God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ organized and reestablished the Church upon the earth and that we are members of the Church of Jesus Christ? Are we ashamed to be members of the Church of Jesus Christ? Or do you feel thankful that you are prepared to live according to those teachings all your life and to help your neighbors, your children, your friends to understand it and to live it every day? Are we ashamed to stand up and say we are members of the Church of Jesus Christ?
Are we ashamed of the fact that the Word of Wisdom was given to us through a prophet and that other commandments were given to us? Let us just talk about the Word of Wisdom (D&C 89) for a few minutes. We find that by breaking the Word of Wisdom we are destroying our health. Scientists are now telling us of the dangers of tobacco and liquor, tea and coffee. Are we ashamed of the fact that a prophet of God gave us that Word of Wisdom years before the scientists proved it? Are we ashamed of the fact that by keeping the Word of Wisdom we may prevent sickness and the destruction we are told will happen to those who break it?
How blessed we are to have that Word of Wisdom. How fortunate our children are to be raised in homes where we keep the Word of Wisdom. And therefore our children do not have the temptation of those forbidden things in their homes.
I told the sisters this experience: A young man and young woman who were going together were killed in a car accident, and when the father of the girl arrived at the scene, he saw these two lying dead and a whiskey bottle nearby. He was enraged, and he said, “I will kill the man who gave them that whiskey!” On returning home he opened his liquor cabinet, and he saw a note which read: “Father, I hope you will forgive us for taking your whiskey tonight.” You can imagine how he felt.
Again I say, are you ashamed of the fact that we have that Word of Wisdom?
And are you ashamed of the fact that the gospel is the answer to the questions of the world today? When Jesus was asked what is the great commandment, he said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, mind, and strength, and thy neighbour as thyself” (see Luke 10:27). What is there about that teaching that we need to be ashamed of? If we kept that commandment in the world today, we would have no wars.
How fortunate we are, then, to be members of the Church of Jesus Christ. As I think of it, I ask again the question: Is there anything in this church that we need to be ashamed of? Or are you glad to be able to say to those with whom you associate, “I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ.”
Are you ashamed of the fact that you can prepare yourselves to be married in the temple for time and all eternity and that as a result you may have your family for time and all eternity? Brethren and sisters, these things we should appreciate and strive to live worthy of.
Are you ashamed of the fact that we are taught in this church to be morally clean? Or would you rather be as so many in the world are today, with all kinds of immorality approved even by government? We believe that man must choose for himself what he will do. The Lord has said, “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Ex. 20:14), “that ye should abstain from fornication” (1 Thes. 4:3). Surely we are not ashamed of those teachings by which we can raise our families and know that they are being raised as they should be.
Brethren and sisters, I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. And I am very happy to know and to be able to say to you that I know that God lives and that I am his spirit child. I hope you can all join with me in such statements.
I know that he so loves each and every one of us that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him and keepeth the commandments will be saved. (See John 3:16.) Are we ashamed of the fact that God thought so much of us, and Jesus Christ, his Son, also thought so much of us, that they were prepared to make this atoning sacrifice in our behalf? Or are we ashamed of the fact that God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith and that the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored and his church and kingdom established here upon the earth? Are we ashamed that he thought enough of us to give us a prophet? We have with us a prophet today, even Spencer W. Kimball, our beloved president.
I bear testimony to these things. I humbly pray that we may accept Him, follow Him, prepare ourselves for exaltation, and never be ashamed to let the world know that we are members of the Church of Jesus Christ. This I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.