President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Elder Richard G. Scott
Elder Donald L. Hallstrom
Sister Cheryl C. Lant
Elder Quentin L. Cook
President Thomas S. Monson
You Are My Hands
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Of the First Presidency
When I was a young boy, during the aftermath of World War II, Germany was broken and in ruins Many people were hungry, sick and dying. I remember well the humanitarian shipments of food and clothing that came from the Church in Salt Lake City. To this day, I can still remember the smell of the clothing and I can still taste the sweetness of the canned peaches.
There were some who joined the Church because of the goods they received at that time. Some members looked down on these new converts. They even called them an offensive name: Buchsen Mormonen or “Canned-Food Mormons.” They resented these new members because they believed that once their temporal needs had been met they would fall away.
While some did leave, many stayed-they came to church, tasted the sweetness of the gospel, and felt the tender embrace of caring brothers and sisters. They discovered “home.” And now, three and four generations later, many families trace their Church membership back to these converts.
I hope that we welcome and love all of God’s children, including those who might dress, look, speak, or just do things differently. It is not good to make others feel as though they are deficient. Let us lift those around us. Let us extend a welcoming hand. Let us bestow upon our brothers and sisters in the Church a special measure of humanity, compassion, and charity so that they feel at long last, they have finally found home.
When we are tempted to judge, let us think of the Savior, who “Loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him.[And] he saith: Come unto me all ye ends of the earth.[for], all men are privileged the one like unto the other, and none are forbidden.”
As I read the scriptures, it appears that those who receive the Savior’s strongest reproach are often those who hold themselves in high esteem because of their wealth, influence, or perceived righteousness.
.We know from modern revelation that “The worth of souls is great in the sight of God.” We cannot gauge the worth of another soul anymore than we can measure the span of the universe. Every person we meet is a VIP to our Heavenly Father.
“He Lives! All Glory to His Name!”
Elder Richard G. Scott
Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
My reverence and gratitude for the Atonement of the Holy One of Israel, the Prince of Peace, and our Redeemer continually expands as I strive to understand more about it. I realize that no mortal mind can adequately conceive, nor can human tongue appropriately express, the full significance of all that Jesus Christ has done for our Heavenly Father’s children through His Atonement. Yet, it is vital that we each learn what we can about it. The Atonement is that essential ingredient of our Father in Heaven’s plan of happiness without which that plan not have been activated. Your understanding of the Atonement and the insight it provides for your life will greatly enhance your productive use of all of the knowledge, experience, and skills you acquire in mortal life.
I believe that it is instructive to try to imagine what the Atonement required of both the Father and His willing Son. Three of the challenges the Savior faced were:
First, an enormous sense of responsibility, for He realized that except it be done perfectly, not one of His Father’s children could return to Him. They would be forever banished from His presence since there would be no way to repent for broken laws and no unclean thing can exist in the presence of God. His Father’s plan would have failed, and each spirit child would have been under the eternal control and torment of Satan.
Second, in His absolutely pure mind and heart He had to personally feel the consequences of all that mankind would ever encounter, even the most depraved, despicable sins.
Third, He had to endure the vicious attack of Satan’s hordes while physically and emotionally pressed to the limit. Then, for reasons we do not fully know, while at the extremity of His capacity, at the time the Savior most needed succor, His Father allowed Him to shoulder the onerous responsibility with His own strength and capacity.
I try to imagine what an intensely poignant moment it must have been for our Father in Heaven when the Savior cried out from the cross, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” I don’t believe Father in Heaven forsook His Son on the cross. I do believe the cry was motivated when that Son felt removed the sustaining support he had always enjoyed from His Father. His Father recognized that the Savior needed to accomplish the Atonement totally and completely on His own without external support. The Father did not abandon His Son. He made it possible for His perfect Son to win the eternal fruits of the Atonement.
Turn to the Lord
Elder Donald L. Hallstrom
Of the Presidency of the Seventy
Many years ago, I observed a heartbreak.which became a tragedy. A young couple was nearing the delivery of their first child. Their lives were filled with the anticipation and excitement of this monumental experience. During the delivery, complications arose and the baby died. Heartbreak turned to grief, grief turned to anger, anger turned to blame, and blame turned to revenge toward the doctor whom they held fully responsible. Parents and other family members became heavily involved, together seeking to ruin the reputation and the career of the physician. As weeks and then months of acrimony consumed the family, their bitterness was extended to the Lord. “How could He allow this horrible thing to occur?” They rejected the repeated efforts of Church leaders and members to spiritually and emotionally comfort them and, in time, disassociated themselves from the Church. Four generations of the family have now been affected. Where once there were faith and devotion to the Lord and His Church, there has been no spiritual activity by any family member for decades.
In the most difficult circumstances of life, there is often only one source of peace. The Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, extends His grace with the invitation, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me.and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29). He further promises, “.my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you” (John 14:27)
My paternal grandparents had two children, a son (my father) and a daughter. After serving a mission and military service in Hawaii, my father returned to the islands in 1946 to establish himself professionally and raise his family. His parents lived in Salt Lake City, as did his sister. She married in 1946 and four years later was expecting a child.
There is something very special for parents to anticipate a daughter (in this instance an only daughter) giving birth for the first time. No one knew that she was carrying twins. Sadlly, she and the twins all died during childbirth.
My grandparents were heartbroken. Their grief, however, immediately turned them to the Lord and His Atonement. Without dwelling on why this could happen and who might be to blame they sought the “peace.which passeth all understanding” (Philippians 4:7) and focused on living a righteous life. My grandparents never had wealth; they were never among the socially elite; they never held high position In the Church-they were simply devoted Latter-day Saints.
After retiring professionally in 1956, they moved to Hawaii to be with their only posterity. The ensuring decades found them loving their family, serving in the Church (they especially treasured over 20 years as ordinance workers in the temple), and mostly, they just enjoyed being together. They never like being apart and even spoke of whoever died first finding a way to help them reunite soon. Nearing their 90th birthdays and after 65 years of marriage, they passed away within hours of each other by natural causes. As their bishop, I conducted their double funeral.
The faithfulness of Grandpa Art and Gradma Lou, especially when faced with difficulty, has now influenced four generations that have followed. Directly and profoundly, it affected their son (my father) and my mother; when my parents’ own daughter, their youngest child, died due to complications caused by giving birth. At 34 years of age, she passed away ten days after childbirth, leaving four children, ten days to eight years old. With the example they had seen in the previous generation, my parents-without hesitation-turned to the Lord for solace.
Thoughout the world and among the membership of the Church, there is great joy and great pain. Both are part of the plan. Without one, we cannot know the other. “Men are, that they might have joy” (2 Nephi 2:25) and “For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things” (2 Nephi 2:11) are not contradictory, they are complementary.
That Our Children Might See the Face of the Savior
Sister Cheryl C. Lant
Primary General President
Several years ago I was teaching a group of nursery leaders how to give a short gospel lesson to very young children. One of the leaders had her young son on her lap. I held a picture of the Savior in my hand, and demonstrating how to speak to children began talking about Jesus. The tiny boy slid off his mothers’ lap, toddled over to me, looked intently at the picture and touched the face. At that point in the dialogue, I asked the question, “Who is this?” With a smile on his face, the child responded, “Jesus.”
This child was not old enough to really even say his own name, but he recognized the image and knew the name of the Savior. As I watched this sweet response, I thought of the words of the Savior when He said:
“.week the face of the Lord always, that in patience ye may possess your souls and, ye shall have eternal life” (D&C 101:38)
What does it mean to seek the face of the Savior? Surely it means more than just recognizing His picture. Christ’s invitation to seek Him is an invitation to know who He is, what He has done for us and what He has asked us to do. Coming to Christ, and eventually seeing His face, comes only as we draw close to Him through our faith and our actions. It comes through a lifetime of effort.
We Follow Jesus Christ
Elder Quentin L. Cook
Of the Quorum of the Twelve
The final two days of the Savior’s mortal ministry prior to His crucifixion are profoundly important and in some ways beyond comprehension. So much of what is essential to our destiny occurred on Thursday and then Friday, the day Christ was crucified. The Last Supper, a Passover Supper, the “.established memorial of Israel’s deliverance from bondage,” was commenced Thursday evening. Ordinances and doctrines of great importance were initiated at the Last Supper. I will mention just three. First, the Savior introduced the ordinance of the sacrament. He took bread, broke it, prayed over it, and passed it to His disciples saying, “this is my body which is given for you; this do in remembrance of me.” In this manner He instituted the sacrament.
Second, His overwhelming emphasis was on doctrines teaching love as a pre-eminent principle. He taught, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if you have love one to another.” Third, through Christ’s intercession or direction “the Holy Ghost was promised to the apostles” as another comforter.
The Savior subsequently accomplished the atonement. He took upon Himself the “burden of the sins of mankind” and the “horrors that Satan.could inflict.” In this process He endured the fraudulently concocted trials and the terrible and tragic events leading to His crucifixion. This ultimately culminated in Christ’s triumphant resurrection on Easter Sunday. Christ fulfilled His sacred mission as Savior and Redeemer. We will be resurrected from death and have our spirits reunited with our bodies. Based on personal worthiness we may through His grace, have the glorious opportunity of entering back into the presence of God.
The Prophet Joseph Smith speaking of these Easter events said:
“The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it.”
While we rejoice in the supernal significance of Gethsemane and Calvary, our focus has always been on the resurrected Lord. Frederic Farrar, the English theologian and believer testified that the earliest generation of believers in the primitive Christian Church celebrated the Savior as”.the Risen, the Eternal, the Glorified Christ,” and “contemplated Him, not as on the cross, but as on the Throne.”
“He is Risen!”
President Thomas S. Monson
Many years ago, while in London, England, I visited the famed Tate art gallery. Works by Gainsborough, Rembrandt, Constable and other renowned artists were displayed in room after room. I admired their beauty and recognized the skill which had been required to create these masterpieces. Tucked away in a quiet corner of the third floor, however, was a painting which not only caught my attention but also captured my heart. The artist, Frank Bramley, had painted a humble cottage facing a windswept sea. Two women, the mother and the wife of an absent fisherman, had watched and waited the night through for his return. Now the night had passed and the realization had set in that he had been lost at sea and would not return. Kneeling at the side of her mother-in-law, her head buried in the lap of the older woman, the young wife wept in despair. The spent candle on the window ledge told of the fruitless vigil.
I sensed the young woman’s heartache; I felt her grief. The hauntingly vivid inscription which the artist gave to his work told the tragic story.
It read: A Hopeless Dawn
Oh, how the young woman longed for the comfort, even the reality of Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Requiem”‘ Home is the sailor, home from the sea. And the hunter, home from the hill.”
Among all the facts of mortality, none is so certain as its end. Death comes to all; it is our “universal heritage. It may claim its victim[s] in infancy or youth; [it may visit] in the period of life’s prime; or its summons may be deferred unto the snows of age have gathered upon the.head; it may befall as the result of accident or disease.or.through natural causes; but come it must.” It inevitably represents a painful loss of association and, particularly in the young, a crushing blow to dreams unrealized, ambitions unfulfilled and hopes vanquished. What mortal being, faced with the loss of a loved one or, indeed, standing himself on the threshold of infinity, has not pondered what lies beyond the veil which separates the seen from the unseen.
To understand the meaning of death, we must appreciate the purpose of life. The dim light of belief must yield to the noonday sun of revelation, by which we know that we lived before our birth into mortality. In our pre-existent state we were doubtless among the sons [and daughters] of God who shouted for joy because of the opportunity to come to this challenging yet necessary mortal existence. We knew that our purpose was to gain a physical body, to overcome trials and to prove that we would keep the commandments of God. Our Father knew that because of the nature of mortality, we would be temped, would sin and would fall short. So that we might have every chance of success, He provided a Savior who would suffer and die for us. Not only would He atone for our sins, but as a part of that atonement He would also overcome the physical death to which we would be subject because of the Fall of Adam.