Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Living Christ

In November of 2006 the Young Women of the Church were given a challenge to memorize The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Twelve Apostles. In late December I was called as the secretary in our Young Women's presidency and we were casually told "Oh and you're supposed to memorize this." We did not catch the spirit of that challenge, nor did any of us believe we had it in us to do it. One of our counsilors - Tammy (go Tammy!) memorized the first paragraph - but the rest of us didn't even really try. At a special Young Women in Excellence meeting for our stake this past November, in which Elaine S. Tanner, the Young Women General President spoke to us, all the young women and their leaders were to stand and recite together The Living Christ.

I was ashamed because I had not set a good example and did not know it. Thankfully, I was not the only one and it turned out they didn't expect us to recite by memory - they put the words up on a screen along with a beautiful and touching video.

During the course of the meeting Sister Tanner and her husband explained why memorizing important scripture and documents is a worthwhile endeavor. Brother Tanner spoke of the scriptures that reference 'eating the word' and said he believed this meant memorizing. That when we memorize something we take into ourselves, make it a part of ourselves; the word nourishes us from the inside out and can be recalled easily.

I have never been able to memorize words. I have memorized songs and I have had some success memorizing lines in a play but never have I been able to memorize a scripture or anything beyond a line or two. Previously my biggest achievement in this area was memorizing Proverbs 3:5 which is my favorite scripture.

So I decided to belatedly accept Sister Tanners challenge to memorize The Living Christ. I began about a week ago (New Year's Eve, actually) and today I have it entirely memorized.

I've been amazed at how quickly and easily it came when I prayed for help and applied myself diligently to the task. It's been a wondrous experience. When my mind has strayed to negative thoughts, I've found the words to The Living Christ have been there to take those bad thoughts place. As I sat in Testimony meeting today, I found my thoughts consumed by The Living Christ, for IT has become my testimony. In Young Womens today we referred to a scripture and a girl read it out loud: I discovered I knew that scripture and could recite it in my mind along with her. It was Doctrine & Covenants 76:22-24: "For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that He was the Only Begotten Son of the Father. That by him, through and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughers unto God." I have eaten the words of the Apostles and they are a part of me. They have nourished me and filled me and made me a better person.

I will memorize other things now and I encourage you to take up the challenge too, if you too have not yet caught the spirit of eating the words of the good words of scripture. I testify that they are delicious and very desirable.

Here's The Living Christ in case you have not yet read it:



Flourish image for decoration

As we commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ two millennia ago, we offer our testimony of the reality of His matchless life and the infinite virtue of His great atoning sacrifice. None other has had so profound an influence upon all who have lived and will yet live upon the earth.

He was the Great Jehovah of the Old Testament, the Messiah of the New. Under the direction of His Father, He was the creator of the earth. "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made" (John 1:3). Though sinless, He was baptized to fulfill all righteousness. He "went about doing good" (Acts 10:38), yet was despised for it. His gospel was a message of peace and goodwill. He entreated all to follow His example. He walked the roads of Palestine, healing the sick, causing the blind to see, and raising the dead. He taught the truths of eternity, the reality of our premortal existence, the purpose of our life on earth, and the potential for the sons and daughters of God in the life to come.

He instituted the sacrament as a reminder of His great atoning sacrifice. He was arrested and condemned on spurious charges, convicted to satisfy a mob, and sentenced to die on Calvary's cross. He gave His life to atone for the sins of all mankind. His was a great vicarious gift in behalf of all who would ever live upon the earth.

We solemnly testify that His life, which is central to all human history, neither began in Bethlehem nor concluded on Calvary. He was the Firstborn of the Father, the Only Begotten Son in the flesh, the Redeemer of the world.

He rose from the grave to "become the firstfruits of them that slept" (1 Corinthians 15:20). As Risen Lord, He visited among those He had loved in life. He also ministered among His "other sheep" (John 10:16) in ancient America. In the modern world, He and His Father appeared to the boy Joseph Smith, ushering in the long-promised "dispensation of the fulness of times" (Ephesians 1:10).

Of the Living Christ, the Prophet Joseph wrote: "His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying:

"I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father" (D&C 110:3–4).

Of Him the Prophet also declared: "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 76:22–24).

We declare in words of solemnity that His priesthood and His Church have been restored upon the earth—"built upon the foundation of . . . apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone" (Ephesians 2:20).

We testify that He will someday return to earth. "And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together" (Isaiah 40:5). He will rule as King of Kings and reign as Lord of Lords, and every knee shall bend and every tongue shall speak in worship before Him. Each of us will stand to be judged of Him according to our works and the desires of our hearts.

We bear testimony, as His duly ordained Apostles—that Jesus is the Living Christ, the immortal Son of God. He is the great King Immanuel, who stands today on the right hand of His Father. He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world. His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come. God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son.

Image of the signatures of the First Presidency
Image of the signatures of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles