(April 2008. The following is an excerpt from a talk given in Ottawa Ward Sacrament Meeting, June 2008.)
This school year, my daughter, Abby, decided she wanted to learn sign language. So for Christmas she received a number of books. She hasn’t taken classes in sign language, but rather, has been studying it as she can. In January, as we talked about Abby’s goals for her young womanhood award, my wife suggested that she could translate this talk as one of her goals.
I have been assigned the topic of living prophets. As I contemplated this topic, I thought about what my daughter Abby is doing, and thought perhaps I might be able to describe the role and importance of living prophets through her example. For purposes of this example, let’s suppose everyone in the congregation spoke a different language, and an interpreter was needed.
You see, today Abby is standing as a spokesperson to one or more of you in the congregation. Abby can hear my words, and can speak them in a way you can understand. It is only required that Abby be able to hear my voice
So let me make my testimony as clear as I possibly can. God is our eternal father. Our sense of that is deep in our nature. Doubting the existence of God is a position arrived at through exercise or effort; it is not a natural state. I know that God lives, and is our heavenly Father.
Jesus Christ is the literal son of God. He created this earth, having attained the status of a God before his mortal life. He then condescended, or descended with, mortal man, taking upon him a body of flesh and bones. He went about doing good, healing the sick and afflicted. He live a perfect, sinless life. He wrought the atonement, wherein he took upon him the pains of all mankind. He died, and was resurrected after three days. Thus being the literal son of God, with attributes of both mortal and immortal parents, having lived a sinless life and performed the atonement, he is able to heal every persons illnesses, imperfections, pains, and ultimately death. All will be resurrected through I kindness and grace of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
How do we know this? We know it through the writing and testimony of prophets. And in our day, for our time, the prophet that has revealed for us today the fullness of Christ, his role as creator of the earth, Jehovah of the Old Testament, the nature of the church he created during his life, the true meaning and implications of his Atonement, what the nature of his Second Coming will be, and the glory that will be bestowed upon his true followers; the prophet that has revealed these is the Prophet Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith is THE revelator of Jesus Christ. No man can truly be saved except by understanding what Joseph Smith revealed.
The authority by which Joseph Smith revealed, taught, and recorded these things is the Priesthood. These Keys of the Priesthood open the doors to rooms filled with the knowledge of God. These keys have been passed down in an unbroken line from Joseph Smith through 14 other men to Thomas Spencer Monson, the current Senior Apostle, Prophet, Seer and Revelator, and President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know that Thomas S. Monson is a called, ordained, authorized spokesman of Jesus Christ, the head of this church. Through him comes the word and mind of the Lord.
I am grateful to my daughter Abby, for working so diligently to be able to translate my talk today. Perhaps the love I feel for her gives me a sense of the love the Savior must feel for efforts, the goodness, the loneliness and perhaps even suffering in a sense of President Monson and all the other prophets. I sense he loves them very, very deeply.