"Our Relationship with the Lord"
Whaddup whaddup errbody. Like you now probably know, if you didn’t before, my name is Suzy Kinghorn, and I am leaving to serve the Lord on a mission in three days. What you probably don’t know is that prior to receiving my call, I really didn’t want to go on a mission. I had thought about going on a mission a lot, but I mostly just disregarded the thoughts because I figured it was only on my mind because so many people were leaving. But, sitting in church one Sunday I had a really strong impression that I definitely needed to truly consider going. I turned to my dad to tell him the feeling I had just had, but I just started crying, probably freaking him out a little bit. And I said to him, I have a really strong feeling I need to go on a mission, but I just don’t want to. Don’t worry though, because my opinion has since changed completely, and now the only thing I have wanted this past year is to serve my mission. Some of the reasons why I now want to go will be mentioned throughout this talk, but, to make sure it is clear, I’d like to let you all know that through scripture study, temple attendance, and a dedication, though difficult at times, to live a worthy life that our Heavenly Father would approve of, I have come to know for myself that this is the true and restored gospel of Jesus Christ on the earth. And because of those things I know that there is nothing I should be doing, rather than serving a mission. It took until receiving my call for me to truly know that this is what I want to be doing. And honestly, the decision to serve has made me so happy already. I feel extremely blessed for the opportunity to both serve a mission and to speak to you all today.
I have the privilege of speaking on developing a relationship with our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost the three are otherwise known as the Godhead. What a special topic for me to speak on today, as I prepare to serve and rely on these three for the next year and a half in the Canada Montreal Mission. I’ve decided to begin and end my talk with a quote from President Ezra Taft Benson, he says, “When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives. Our love of the Lord will govern the claims for our affection, the demands on our time, the interests we pursue, and the order of our priorities.” I picked this quote because until recently, I never fully understood, and still have much left to learn about how crucial our relationships with the Godhead are. I say relationship plural because while the three of them are one in purpose and goals, they are three distinct beings. In Doctrine and Covenants section 130 verse 22 it says,” The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit.” So, they are separate beings with different means of bringing to pass God’s purpose. Ultimately, as it teaches in Preach My Gospel, our Father in Heaven’s “whole purpose-His work and His glory-is to enable each of us [His spirit sons and daughters] to enjoy all His blessings.” And because our Savior Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, are united with Heavenly Father in purpose, they want that exact same thing for us. Aside from knowing their purpose, it is important to know, like in any other relationship, who the individual is.
In True to the Faith, it says that Heavenly Father is the Father of our spirits, the author of the Plan of Salvation, and as it testifies in Alma 30 verse 44 “all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is [and God is the] supreme creator.” Bruce R. McConkie said, ” We know that God is the only supreme and independent Being in whom all fullness and perfection dwell and that he is omnipotent, omniscient, and, by the power of his Spirit, omnipresent.” Or in other words, infinite in power, having unlimited knowledge, and present everywhere at the same time.
Jesus Christ is our spiritual brother. He is our Savior and redeemer, and it is through His atoning sacrifice that we will be able to live eternally again. Or, as Bruce R. McConkie continued to say, ““the Almighty God gave his Only Begotten Son” (D&C 20:21), as the scriptures attest, to ransom man from the temporal and spiritual death brought into the world by the fall of Adam and to put into operation all of the terms and conditions of the Father’s plan.” As it can be seen, “Christ is central to God’s plan” (PMG 48), which is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. Our Savior and Heavenly Father work together to bring about their means of us returning back to or Heavenly Father. To be reconciled with him. “The four gospels are a treasure house of knowledge concerning the Father because they set forth what the Son is like, and he is like his Father.” A lot of times in the scriptures it will say God or The Lord. Sometimes I get a little confused as to who they are specifically talking about. As I read in Elder McConkie’s “Our Relationship with the Lord,” it doesn’t always specify who is talking, because God and Jesus Christ are one in purpose. “They are one. The words or deeds of either of them would be the words and deeds of the other in the same circumstance.”
In True to the Faith it defines the Holy Ghost as, “the Spirit of God […] or the Comforter. [He] works in perfect unity with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, fulfilling several roles to help [one] live righteously and receive the blessings of the gospel.” “We know that the Holy Ghost, as a “personage of Spirit,” is both a Revelator and a Sanctifier and that his chief mission is to bear record of the Father and the Son.” The Holy Ghost is vital in bringing knowledge of the truthfulness of the gospel if we live worthily of receiving his promptings. “[We] can receive a sure testimony of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ only by the power of the Holy Ghost” (82). Often times it seems that our relationship with the Holy Ghost is overlooked. At baptism we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. Like many gifts, we take it for granted and simply expect the presence of the spirit to be with us always. Personal worthiness plays a major role when it comes to having the spirit. The spirit of the Lord does not dwell in unclean places, so we must keep ourselves clean if we want the spirit to continually dwell within us.
A misconception I came across while preparing for this talk is that sometimes we believe that we should have a stronger relationship with one member of the Godhead or another. This is not so. Elder McConkie said, “the very moment anyone singles out one member of the Godhead as the almost sole recipient of his devotion, to the exclusion of the others, that is the moment when spiritual instability begins to replace sense and reason.” While Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, all have significantly important roles, we need to have strong relationships with all of them because one of those relationships is not more important than the other.
Knowing now who God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are, and what their purpose is, why then is it important that we develop a relationship with them? Elder McConkie said, “Eternal life is reserved for those who know God and the One whom he sent to work out the infinite and eternal atonement.” If we want the greatest gift of all, which is eternal life, then we must come to know our Savior, our God, and His holy spirit that guides, directs, and protects while we are on the earth. In “To Be Loved by Perfect Love: John’s Special Message of the Savior” Sheryl Condie Kempton says, “the Savior, since he aware of our eternal natures, knows better than we what will bring us happiness. A personal relationship with Jesus can help us unmask ourselves to ourselves.” Through growing to know the Lord more personally, we learn more about ourselves and all that we can be become.
In order to strengthen our relationship with the Godhead, there are things we must do. On lds.org it says we can strengthen our relationship with Heavenly Father by speaking to Him through prayer, reading prophet’s testimonies of Him, and by doing our best to continually keep His commandments, because the Lord said “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me” (John 14:21). Through keeping God’s commandments we can grow closer to Him and know that he lives. We can also strengthen our relationship with Christ through these practices. If we live our lives as Jesus did, we will grow to become like him. And through our efforts to become like him, we will know Him better. In Moroni chapter 7 verse 48 it says, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure.” When Christ appears again and we see him, like it says in this scripture, we will recognize him because we have worked to become like him. I know that if we strive to live like our Savior and develop Christ like attributes, we will grow to know the Savior better. I cannot wait for the day when I see my Redeemer again, and I know him because I have sought with much effort, to be like him. Living a life as the Savior lived his is not easy, but that is what is so amazing about his atonement. We were never asked to be exactly like him right now. Our Savior’s atoning sacrifice makes up throughout our strivings of giving it our all to be like Him. He isn’t going to wait until we have done all that we can either. Our Savior is with us our entire journey of enduring to the end. Stephen E. Robinson, in his book Believing Christ, stresses this point. In 2nd Nephi chapter 25 verse 23 it reads “For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” It is common to miss interpret this scripture to mean that at the very end of our efforts is when Christ’s grace will save us. But here, Brother Robinson says we can “understand the preposition ‘after’ [in this verse] to be a preposition of separation rather than a preposition of time. So instead of meaning after all that we have done, it is hopeful to know that Christ’s grace is saving us throughout all that we are doing. I know that I make mistakes continually, and although I am striving daily to be a better person, I rely on our Savior to help me throughout all that I do to make up for where I lack. ……..It is important to try and improve our relationship with the Savior and know him better because He knows and loves us perfectly, as well as our Father in Heaven. To me, their knowledge of us as individuals is perfect. More than we will ever be able to comprehend in this lifetime. I have had too many experiences that have made this clear to me, and to deny it would be a lie. Our Savior and God's love is never something I could deny as not being true and constant. Just trying to do as he would has helped me. Reaching out to him has taught me. I know He lives and that His atonement for our sins in infinite. He makes up for where I lack. I know that if my best is only 1% he will make up for the other 99%. He doesn’t ask us to give a specific amount, but only what is our best. His grace is sufficient for us all. And I believe that through Him and only Him can we be made perfect. And as a result of this knowledge, I want to come to know him as best I can so that I can receive the gift of eternal life.
Another way we can strengthen our relationship with Christ and the Holy Ghost is through actually utilizing our Savior’s atonement. It is a gift that is there for us to always use, regardless of whether or not we choose to use it. Through asking for forgiveness for mistakes that we have made, we are trusting that Jesus’ sacrifice in the Garden of Gethsemane will make up for our mistakes. That his atoning sacrifice will do just that, atone for when we have gone wrong. Brother Robinson makes the point that sometimes we only remember to believe in “Christ’s identity as the son of God and the Savior of the world,” but we forget to believe in his “ability, in his power to cleanse and to save-to make unworthy sons and daughters worthy.” Trust is a very important characteristic in any relationship. Jesus trusts that we will do our part to be like him, he knows that we are imperfect. And we in turn, have to continually trust in Christ’s ability and power to save us throughout our lives and mistakes. Then, after we have sought forgiveness, through the power of the Holy Ghost, it is made manifest unto us that we are truly forgiven. In Alma chapter 33 verses 21 and 22 it says, “O my brethren, if ye could be healed by merely casting about your eyes that ye might be healed, would ye not behold quickly, or wouldn’t ye rather harden your hearts in unbelief, and be slothful, that ye would not cast about your eyes, that ye might perish? If so, wo shall come upon you; but if not so, then cast about your eyes and begin to believe in the Son of God, that he will come to redeem his people, and that he shall suffer that he shall rise again from the dead, which shall bring to pass the resurrection, that all men shall stand before him, to be judged at the last and judgment day, according to their works.” Although it does seem so simple, the power and promise of this scripture are real. And that is what is great about it! In comparison to being able to live for eternity by merely going through with full and sincere repentance, why wouldn’t we do it? The reward we receive is huge!! Eternal life and a lesson on humility is nothing compared to our reward in Heaven, all for simply turning to the Savior when we’ve messed up. Like Moses and the serpent staph. Why not just look? In the long run it is fairly easy, and the reward is so huge. Letting pride get in our way of becoming the greatest that we can become is so sad. Because turning to Christ does seem too simple, we sometimes turn away and miss out on opportunities to know Christ and to be reconciled with God through him. But I know that if we trust in our Savior’s power, that we can be made worthy to live for eternity.
To conclude, I come back to President Benson’s quote, “When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives. Our love of the Lord will govern the claims for our affection, the demands on our time, the interests we pursue, and the order of our priorities.” One of my favorite scriptures is Matthew 6 verses 19 through 21 where it says, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal; But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal; For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” The things that are most important to us are what we put our heart into. It is crucial that we put our hearts into our relationships with Heavenly Father, our Savior, and the Holy Ghost and that they “claim our affection.” In one of my favorite songs by the band Rush it says, “Some will sell their dreams for small desires or lose the race to rats, get caught in ticking traps,” sometimes we get distracted or tempted with immediate pleasures, and we get caught up in things aren’t eternally important. If these relationships, and all that they encompass, aren’t our number one priority, we will fall short of truly knowing our God, and we will get caught up in the everyday motions. To live a life of meaning we should all strive to be closer to our God, our Savior, and the Holy Ghost. One of the many reasons I am going on a mission is because I know that the Godhead is here for me. I have a personal relationship with them, even though I am still working on making it better, I have felt love from all three. The gospel and everything that the doctrines contain have truly grown to be the treasure of my heart. I hope that as I serve I can learn and grow to become a more Christlike person. That if my soul is the only one that is converted while I am gone, that it will be a daily conversion and that I learn to live the rest of my life in continual seeking after a real and lasting relationship with my Heavenly Father, my Savior, and the Holy Spirit. I know this is the true gospel of Christ on the earth today. I know that Heavenly Father answered Joseph Smith’s prayer, like he answers mine, and that because of his answer, Joseph Smith restored the true gospel and translated the Book of Mormon. I know that President Monson is living prophet today, and I am thankful for his words and the words of other prophets that guide and direct us. I know that if living a righteous life through the gospel becomes what is most precious to us, our heart will soon be into it too, and we will surely live blessed lives for that. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.