The meeting it self was overflowing with the spirit and my heart was so full of gratitude and love, I'm pretty sure it was one of the best sacrament meetings I have ever attended in my life. A lot of people asked me after the meeting if I had picked the other three speakers myself, I wish I could claim that, but I didn't. It must have come from God through inspiration because I honestly could not have picked them better myself (but then again I am a bit biased because they are all very good friends of mine and near and dear to my heart). But all jokes aside they were fantastic and clearly inspired on what to say about their topics given. I know that many people were touched during the meeting, as was I. As for my talk, I wish I could completely claim my words, but I honestly believe that the Lord helped me as well, deliver the message I needed to give. While talking I felt like a missionary! It was an amazing feeling. The meeting went quite a bit over time but it was totally worth it because all the messages were so good! I wished it wouldn't end! But I'm so glad that's how it ended up.
But I will include a copy of my farewell talk here, in case you missed it and want to read it! :)
I have been asked to speak on Mosiah 5:7-9. In this scripture it talks about taking upon yourself Christ’s name, but before I get into all of what that means I am going to talk about the process and the covenant associated with this. In verse 7 it says “for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name.” For now I will focus on faith. As stated in the 4th Article of Faith, “the first principle of the Gospel is Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.” This means that we must develop a firm belief that Jesus is the Christ and is our Savior and Redeemer and that by him and through him we can return to live with our Heavenly Father. But this faith is almost useless if we don’t do anything about it. In Alma 34 it talks about faith unto repentance. If we ONLY have faith on His name, we will go nowhere in life and will not improve or progress. This faith needs to move us to act and repent. In Preach My Gospel, which by the way I will be using a lot during my mission, it says, “Our faith in Christ and our love for Him lead us to repent, or change our thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors that are not in harmony with His will.” This is the change of heart that was talked about in verse 7 when it said, “For ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name.”
A great example of this faith is Alma in the Book of Mormon. When the prophet Abinadi was preaching to the wicked King Noah and his priests, he tried to call them to repentance. But as recorded in Mosiah 17:2, “there was one among them whose name was Alma,… and he believed on the words which Abinadi had spoken, for he knew concerning the iniquity which Abinadi had testified against them.” Alma eventually fled for his life, but was so moved by the prophet Abinadi’s words that he “repented of his sins and iniquities.” This one man’s faith not only changed his life but brought faith and salvation to countless people’s lives.
These first two principles of faith and repentance lead us to the third and fourth points, which are the ordinances of baptism and confirmation. As explained in Preach My Gospel, “an ordinance is a sacred ceremony or rite that shows that we have entered into a covenant (or two way promise) with God. This is the covenant talked about in verses 7-9. Some of the covenants or promises we make at baptism is to keep the Sabbath day holy and keep the commandments. By being faithful to our baptismal covenants the Lord promises to bless us. As stated in D&C 82:10, “I the Lord am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.” This puts the responsibility on us to follow Christ and His teachings and keep our covenants that we have made with him. If we obey Him he promises to bless us, but if we do not, He is not bound to do anything.
Along with baptism comes confirmation, or receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. In the Bible John 3:5, Jesus humbly tells the Pharisee Nicodemus the way to enter the kingdom of God, that “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” In order for this ordinance to be complete and to be spiritually reborn, we must receive the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands by those in authority. The Holy Ghost serves as a companion throughout ones life, so long as they remain worthy. This companion and third member of the godhead has so many purposes, a few of which are to testify of Christ and of truth, to comfort and provide strength, as well as to warn. The amazing thing about the Holy Ghost or the spirit is that it testifies of truth and is the power by which we teach and learn. Personally, it makes me so happy to know that as long as I have the spirit, I won’t be alone in Argentina. In D&C 50:14 it says to “preach my gospel by the Spirit, even the Comforter which was sent forth to teach the truth.” So basically, if I have the spirit with me while I preach the gospel on my mission even though I am imperfect, the spirit, who is a perfect member of the godhead, will testify of the truthfulness of the gospel and teach the people what they need to learn.
The final step in the process is not an event such as the rest. It is enduring to the end, or as stated in Mosiah 5:8 being “obedient unto the end of your life.” This is a lot easier said than done, especially because none of us are perfect. There will be days when we are discouraged, or lose sight of the straight and narrow path, or make a wrong choice, or want to give up. But that’s the great thing about the atonement, is that we have the chance to repent of the things we have done in our lives. Our Heavenly Father knows and expects us to fall short, but we are able to retain the blessings of the covenants we have made through repentance. As said in 2 Nephi 31:20, “wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.”
Ok, so back to the scripture. In verse 8 it reads, “And under this head ye are made free, and there is no other head whereby ye can be made free. There is no other name whereby salvation cometh; therefore, I would that ye should take upon you the name of Christ.” The gospel of Christ and through the power of the atonement is the only way we can be made free from the devil and become clean, again relating back to the five steps I talked about earlier. A lot of people have wondered how the gospel is freeing when there are so many restrictions. My answer to that is these so-called restrictions aren’t forced upon us. We still have our agency to choose. We are instructed that we shouldn’t partake in them and a lot of the times obey based on our faith in Christ and our love for him, but we are never forced into anything. Along with that, because of my choice to obey these commandments, I am free from addiction, am able to be blessed for obeying the commandments and free from the “captivity of the devil, for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.” Because of this, I can have everlasting happiness. This happiness comes as a blessing from the Lord for my obedience, and is not fleeting. This is one of the reasons I am serving a mission is because I know how much of an overwhelming happiness the knowledge of this gospel brings me and I want to share it with more of God’s children, so that they can be happy as well, and live with their families forever.
All this can come from taking upon yourself Christ’s name, which is one of the covenants made at baptism. While on my mission I will literally have Christ’s name on me, because it will be on my nametag. As such, I will be a recognizable and identifiable witness of Christ. But you don’t have to be a full-time missionary to be a recognizable witness of Christ. This can be accomplished by the example you set and the way you act. If you have Christ-like actions and are loving toward others, you can be the same kind of witness to those you know, and even those you don’t. Elder Neil L. Andersen said in the April 2013 conference, “If you are not a full-time missionary with a missionary badge pinned on your coat, now is the time to paint one on your heart- painted, as Paul said, ‘not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God’… The Lord needs you now more than ever to be an instrument in His hands.” By being an instrument in the Lord’s hands, testifying of Him and being a Christ-like example you can show others of the commitments you have made to take Christ’s name upon you.
Finally, in verse 9 of Mosiah 5 it says, “And it shall come to pass that whosoever doeth this shall be found at the right hand of God, for he shall know the name by which he is called; for he shall be called the name of Christ.” And this for me ties it all up, and how it is applicable to how it is so important to our salvation. Elder Dallin H. Oaks said, “Our willingness to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ affirms our commitment to do all that we can to be counted among those whom he will choose to stand at his right hand and be called by his name at the last day. In this sacred sense, our witness that we are willing to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ constitutes our declaration of candidacy for exaltation in the celestial kingdom. Exaltation is eternal life, ‘the greatest of all the gifts of God.’” Basically, if we prove that we have taken Christ’s name upon ourselves by the example we set and the way we live our lives on Earth, we become more like Christ and are therefore worthy of His name and to be called by his name. That being said, if we are called by the name of Christ, even though we are imperfect we will be seen as Christ and will be saved by his name.
In closing I’d like to bear my testimony that I know that God lives and that Jesus Christ is His son and that they love us perfectly. I know that the atonement is real and can work in our lives if we let it. I know that Jesus is the Christ and that he suffered for our sins so that we could make it back to our Father in Heaven. I know that the Book of Mormon, in addition to the Bible, is the word of God and that we can draw nearer to God by abiding by its teachings. It can change your life, if you let it; so if you haven’t read it, read it. If have and aren’t currently reading it again, I encourage you to read it again, because it can change your life again. I know that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ and restored this gospel as a prophet of the Lord and that Thomas S. Monson is the living prophet on the earth today. I am ecstatic to have the wonderful opportunity to go to Argentina to testify of these plain and precious truths.