Monday, May 5, 2014

Today I received a wound to my heart

It is bleeding

I fear it shall bleed until my last breath

Thursday, November 24, 2011


My first companion in the mission field was Steven Reid Nibley, son of Professor Reid Nibley and nephew of Hugh Nibley. Elder Nibley was a very knowledgeable and intelligent missionary with varied skills. One hot and windy afternoon, on our way to the flat, we crossed over a small ridge and faced a wind coming up the draw. Unnoticed by me, Elder Nibley had jumped on top of a boulder about the size of a Volkswagon bug. He yelled, “Hey, Elder”, and I turned to see him elevated above me, his arms raised high, and his coattails flying in the wind. Then yelling into the wind, he quoted Exodus 24:9 & 10.
Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel:
And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet, as it were, a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were, the body of heaven in his clearness.
Do you think that is one of my favorite scriptures? Certainly for obvious reasons, yes; but, in it I hear a testimony. It doesn’t say Moses saw a burning bush or heard a voice in the wind. It says he saw the God of Israel! So did seventy-three other men of the camp of Israel. Verse 11 says:
And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.
What was their testimony when they returned to the camp, to their family, and friends? Perhaps: My brother, I saw Jehovah! We, all of us, saw the God of Israel! Father, mother, I saw the Lord! And I can picture a man gathering all his family around him and telling his solemn personal story - we actually saw the Great I AM!
My friends, no title of Deity strikes my heart with the power of THE GREAT I AM! It opens my heart, often swells my throat, and makes my eyes leak. I have wondered what assignment I had before this life that attaches me so strongly to that title. Is there a testimony in that feeling?
And in that day the Holy Ghost fell upon Adam, which beareth record of the Father and the Son, saying: I am the Only Begotten of the Father from the beginning, henceforth and forever, that as thou hast fallen thou mayest be redeemed, and all mankind, even as many as will.
And in that day Adam blessed God and was filled, and began to prophesy concerning all the families of the earth, saying: Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God.
And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient. {Moses5:9,10)
What is Adam’s testimony here? because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy
And Eve’s testimony? If they had not decided to break one law in order to follow another “we never should have had seed! And never should have known good and evil! And (should never have known) the joy of our redemption! And (we would not know about) eternal life which God giveth…
And Adam and Eve blessed the name of God, and they made all things known unto their sons and their daughters. (Moses 5:11)
They bore testimony to all their children. Have we born testimony to our children? What could possibly be more important to them than to know our hearts? Our little ones come to us having forgotten the other side of the veil. And we only see faintly. But, we have the words of the past and present prophets to bear us up. Shall we not bear our children up as instructed in Deutromomy 32… As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings… beareth them on her wings. (verse 11)
Where is our testimony? Are our wings strong enough that these, our little ones will eventually become those who Isaiah prophesied about:
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)
Another form of our beliefs is what we do about them. Do I believe strong enough to not only talk about them, but to do something about them? We must be doing something. Just what do we do?
We’re here! We teach classes. We visit ward members - not because a leader asked us; but, rather because the God of Israel desires it. We lead music. We play the piano and organ (those who can) to edify our gathering. We sing to the Lord. We listen to the Prophet and follow his counsel. We follow the Bishop because we believe he is called of God as was Aaron. Some serve as youth leaders while they are still youths themselves. Some serve as youth leaders as adults. We serve as leaders of other adults in quorums and auxiliaries. Some sit in council with the Bishop. Some here have been the Bishop. Some here will yet be the Bishop. Each of us have been lifted by those eagle wings, and for love of the Savior, we will be the wings that others need.
Joshua speaks to us in chapter 24:
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, (and our son’s houses and our daughter’s houses) we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15)
So Joshua led the people of Israel because he was called to do so. The walls of Jericho collapsed because he believed if he did what the Lord commanded, they would indeed fall down. And so they did. How was his testimony before and after this event? I’m guessing it didn’t change much.
Ruth was not of the house of Israel, but believed on her mother-in-law’s testimony and chose a life of trust and faith. And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: (Ruth 1:16)
Her growing testimony strengthened her to follow counsel which led her to become the wife of Boaz… and Boaz begat Obed, And Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David. (Ruth 5:21) And through the lineage of David the King, came the King of Kings, even the Savior of all mankind.
Paul stood before king Agrippa and bore his testimony:
At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me.
And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.
But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; Acts 26:13-16
We are not called to stand before kings, but to stand before our fellow man, and by precept and example; and, as occasion permits, by the spoken word – to testify of what we believe.
After Lehi died, Nephi was once again confronted by Laman and Lemuel’s group. He shares some of his testimony in chapter 4 of 2nd Nephi:
My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep.
He hath filled me with his love, even unto the consuming of my flesh.
He hath confounded mine enemies, unto the causing of them to quake before me.
Behold, he hath heard my cry by day, and he hath given me knowledge by visions in the night-time. (2Nephi 4:20-23)
O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. v34
…therefore I will lift up my voice unto thee; yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my righteousness. Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God. Amen. v35
In the last chapter of the Book of Mormon, Moroni speaks to the Lamanites and as verse 28 states, from generation to generation – eventually to us.
And I exhort you to remember these things; for the time speedily cometh that ye shall know that I lie not, for ye shall see me at the bar of God; and the Lord God will say unto you: Did I not declare my words unto you, which were written by this man, like as one crying from the dead, yea, even as one speaking out of the dust? (Moroni 10:27)
And closing the writings of the prophets in verse 34 he says:
And now I bid unto all, farewell. I soon go to rest in the paradise of God, until my spirit and body shall again reunite, and I am brought forth triumphant through the air, to meet you before the pleasing bar of the great Jehovah, the Eternal Judge of both quick and dead. Amen. (Moroni 10:34)
In this dispensation, we have the testimony of the Prophet of the restoration, who, along with Sydney Rigdon wrote in Doctrine and Covenants 76:
And while we meditated upon these things, the Lord touched the eyes of our understandings and they were opened, and the glory of the Lord shone round about. And we beheld the glory of the Son, on the right hand of the Father, and received of his fulness; And saw the holy angels, and them who are sanctified before his throne, worshiping God, and the Lamb, who worship him forever and ever. And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives! For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God. (D&C 76:19-24)
During April Conference of 1985, Leslee and I watched Elder Bruce R. McConkie, the church’s master scriptorian and a living Apostle, who had set me apart as a missionary, gave his last testimony to the Saints and to the world:
And now, as pertaining to this perfect atonement, wrought by the shedding of the blood of God—I testify that it took place in Gethsemane and at Golgotha, and as pertaining to Jesus Christ, I testify that he is the Son of the Living God and was crucified for the sins of the world. He is our Lord, our God, and our King. This I know of myself independent of any other person.
I am one of his witnesses, and in a coming day I shall feel the nail marks in his hands and in his feet and shall wet his feet with my tears.
But I shall not know any better then than I know now that he is God’s Almighty Son, that he is our Savior and Redeemer, and that salvation comes in and through his atoning blood and in no other way.
God grant that all of us may walk in the light as God our Father is in the light so that, according to the promises, the blood of Jesus Christ his Son will cleanse us from all sin.
Job wrote:
For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: (Job 19:25)