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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Two Important Posts from Matthew Martinich/The current apostles' initial witness of the Savior/My witness added thereunto.

Matthew Martinich, a fellow LDS blogger who has given me permission to share any and all of his posts from his blog, has done two blog posts significant to Church growth. The first, posted on General Conference Saturday in October, gives additions to his map of temple predictions for temples that might be announced in the near future. He added Queretaro, Mexico and Ulaanbaatar Mongolia. For his reasoning for adding these two locations, please see this link. I am grateful for what Brother Martinich posts regarding temples. I still believe we will see a day when Lehi, Utah, and Orem Utah will get their own temples.The second post, added a week ago yesterday, highlighted the potential new missions that may be created by the Church next year. The conversation that follows that post is instructive. To read the post and the comments on it, please see this link.

The Church has put together a video clip of the witness of the Savior each currently serving apostle bore at the commencement of his service, including testimonies from our three newest apostles, Elder Ronald A. Rasband, Elder Gary E. Stevenson, and Elder Dale G. Renlund. To watch this video clip, please see this link.

Seeing their testimonies made me think about my own testimony of the Savior, and if I could say as they do. So I thought that I would conclude this post by bearing my testimony of the Savior. I know that Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten of the Father, who was foreordained before the world was to save the world from the burdens of sin, transgression, and infirmities of every kind. Before the world was, he stood in the premortal realm to volunteer to fulfill the Father's plan. He said, "Here am I, send me , , and the glory be thine forever." Born as a baby in Bethlehem, he "increased in wisdom and stature, in favor with God and man." At the age of 12, he shared his testimony of His Father in the temple before the religious scholars of his day. He was ever "about [His] Father's business. Most of the people who knew Him saw Him merely as "Joseph the carpenter's son", and asked "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" He lived as the only perfect man who would ever walk the earth.

Few recognized and many confused who He was and what He would accomplish. They looked for a savior who would redeem them with the power of a sword, rather than the power of God's word. Some recognized his divinity. When He asked his disciples, "Whom say ye that I am?" Peter replied, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of God." In the Garden of Gethsemane and on Calvary's cross, he worked out our salvation with fear and trembling. He prayed, "Father, if Thou be willing, let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt." He then suffered beyond the mortal man's ability to comprehend. Blood dripped from every pore as He prayed for and was granted the strength to finish His work. Betrayed into the hands of sinful men through the subtilty and greed of one of his own disciples, he was brought to judgement on false charges. At that time, even those closest to Him would deny him. Peter, his chief apostle, denied any knowledge of Him, as the Savior had prophesied he would, after which "Peter went out, and wept bitterly."  Jesus was brought before Annas and Caiaphas, the high priests of that day, and was brought twice before Pilate, the governor of Jerusalem, who twice questioned him and was led to declare "I find no fault with this man."

Giving in to the crowd's desire to crucify Him, Pilate delivered Jesus into the hands of Roman soldiers, who stripped Him of his apparel and then scourged Him. Forcing Him to carry his own cross until he dropped from exhaustion, they led him to Golgotha, the place of a skull, where he was nailed to a cross and hoisted up between two thieves, one of whom was promised by Him that they would meet again in Paradise. Of his persecutors, the Savior said: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. Being in the greatest spiritual and physical anguish known to man, He cried out, "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me" as even the comfort of His Father's presence was temporarily withdrawn, to enable the Savior to feel the full brunt of what mortal men would, in our Father's wisdom, feel from time to time. He was given vinegar to whet his thirst. Then, when He knew that He had accomplished fully his purposes here upon the earth, He said, "Father, into Thy hands, I commit my spirit. It is finished." He then left His mortal body and ascended back to His Father. During the three days his mortal body lay entombed, His spirit was with the spirits of all those who had been or would be, declaring unto them that they were saved from the effects of Adam's fall. He organized the work of salvation among those that were dead. He then rose again after three days.

He appeared to various people at various times. In 1820, in company with His Father, he visited the boy Joseph Smith to answer his questions about which of all the churches was right. Thus the dispensation of the fulness of times was ushered in, with a promise that the gospel would never again be taken from the earth. The prophet Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon testified:

"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."

Further, I know, as the prophets have testified, that Christ's work on this earth is not finished. He will come again. Of that I have no doubt. In that day, I and everyone else in this world who has infirmities of any kind will be made perfectly well and whole.

When reflecting on my own witness of the Savior, the words of Bruce R. McConkie's final testimony come to mind. I feel I can say, as he did:

"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."

This testimony I have came to me at a very early age. My life experiences have only served to strengthen that witness. There is no doubt in my mind that he lived and died and lives again for me, and that in a not-too-distant day, He will come again. That coming will be glorious. It is my hope and prayer that we will be ready when that great day arrives, with the fires of our testimonies burning deeply within our hearts. I bear this witness and share this testimony with you in the sacred and holy name of Him who made salvation a perfect possibility, even the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.