Friday, October 17, 2008

Stand Close Together and Lift Where You Stand

“Stand Close Together and Lift Where You Stand” - Dieter F. Uchtdorf at the priesthood session of the General Conference on October 4th, 2008.

“Some years ago in our meetinghouse in Darmstadt, Germany, a group of brethren was asked to move a grand piano from the chapel to the adjoining cultural hall, where it was needed for a musical event. None were professional movers, and the task of getting that gravity-friendly instrument through the chapel and into the cultural hall seemed nearly impossible. Everybody knew that this task required not only physical strength but also careful coordination. There were plenty of ideas, but not one could keep the piano balanced correctly. They repositioned the brethren by strength, height, and age over and over again—nothing worked.

As they stood around the piano, uncertain of what to do next, a good friend of mine, Brother Hanno Luschin, spoke up. He said, ‘Brethren, stand close together and lift where you stand.’”

Besides this being one of my favorite talks of this October conference, it brought back some memories that I would like to share. Darmstadt was the first city that I served in on my mission. It was the only place on my entire mission that I served in, where we had a real meetinghouse that resembles what we have here in Utah. It was actually built by our church with all of the classrooms, chapel and cultural hall. We had a German ward and an American ward that both used the meetinghouse. There was an American Army Base in Darmstadt.

Any way, I remember Brother Hanno Luschin in Darmstadt. He was one of the prominent leaders of the church in that area. He even translated and made a couple of tapes that we could use as missionaries to use as we taught our German investigators. I don’t remember meeting Brother Uchtdorf, but I do I remember the large black grand piano. There was an Elder Call in our district, that could play any song you could hum. He played the best rendition of, “Born Free” that I have ever heard. I’m trying to think if we helped moved the piano with Brother Uchtdorf, but I don’t think so.

We once had a mission conference in that meetinghouse. There were two general authorities that came to our mission conference. One was a new seventy, named Hartman Rector Jr., who was a convert to the church. He was very fun to listen to. The other general authority, brought his wife with him. He was a relatively new Apostle by the name of Thomas S. Monson. Not only were we privileged to have them speak to us, but we were also able to have a one on one interview with them.

Ah, the memories of years long ago. What was your favorite conference talk?

What is the Testimony of Jesus?

I hope you all paid attention to the priesthood and Relief Society lesson last week. It was on “Life Beyond the Veil”. The thing that made the biggest impression upon me was that when it talked about the three degrees of glory, as found in D&C 76. In the description of who will go to all three kingdoms, it mentioned, “The testimony of Jesus”. Those in the Celestial Kingdom will be faithful and even valiant in the testimony of Jesus, while on this earth. Those in the Terrestial Kingdom will not accept the testimony of Jesus in this world, but will accept it in the next. Those in the Telestial Kingdom will reject the testimony of Jesus, both in this world and the next.

So what is the testimony of Jesus? It must be one of the key factors in determining which kingdom you will inherit. John tells us, in Revelation 19:10 - “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Joseph Smith said the spirit of prophecy is revelation.

Now we put this to the “Temple Test”. Is the need for revelation taught in the temple? You bet it is! Just think of the veil ceremony. Isn’t that the culmination of what you are taught in the endowment, and what is the reason you go to the veil?

If you receive revelation, you receive it through the Holy Ghost, which cannot dwell in unclean tabernacles, thus you are forgiven of your sins and made clean or you could not receive revelation and testimony. At that very point in time, you are pure enough to be saved and exalted! Are we valiant in receiving revelation in this life?

Love you all!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Why Do They Sit on the Back Row?

I learned a new truth a short while ago. The next time you go to church, take a good look at those who sit on the back row. The people who sit on the back row have got be be the most perfect and righteous people in the entire congragation. They are able to sit on the back row only because they were the first people to get to the meeting. So why do they choose to sit on the back row? It is because they don't want to disturb the rest of us in the meeting when they are translated and taken to Heaven to join the people of the City of Enoch!