Friday, May 3, 2013

Special Witnesses

I am currently reading A Light Unto the World, which is a collection of discourses of Elder David B. Haight. The very first excerpt is from his 1989 talk "The Sacrament and the Sacrifice." He shares his experience during a health crisis where he lost consciousness for several days, and, in the interim, had some very sacred experiences, including being "shown a panoramic view of [Christ's] earthly ministry." He goes on to tell details of that ministry and testify of Christ.

Of course I know that the Apostles are called as special witnesses, to be prophets, seers, and revelators, but somehow I still forget sometimes when I hear them or read their words that they really have seen and they really do know. I was reminded of President Eyring's words in this last Conference (April 2013):

I am a witness of the Resurrection of the Lord as surely as if I had been there in the evening with the two disciples in the house on Emmaus road. I know that He lives as surely as did Joseph Smith when he saw the Father and the Son in the light of a brilliant morning in a grove of trees in Palmyra.

And of President Packer:

Of all that I have read and taught and learned, the one most precious and sacred truth that I have to offer is my special witness of Jesus Christ. He lives. I know He lives. I am His witness. And of Him I can testify. He is our Savior, our Redeemer. Of this I am certain. 

And, of course, Elder Holland:

These things I declare to you with the conviction Peter called the “more sure word of prophecy.” What was once a tiny seed of belief for me has grown into the tree of life...

These are examples of what I imagine Mormon meant in Alma 4:19 when he explained why Alma left the judgment seat to testify to the people:

And this he did that he himself might go forth among his people, or among the people of Nephi, that he might preach the word of God unto them, to stir them up in remembrance of their duty, and that he might pull down, by the word of God, all the pride and craftiness and all the contentions which were among his people, seeing no way that he might reclaim them save it were in bearing down in pure testimony against them.

These are powerful testimonies of the Savior. They pull down pride and craftiness and contention and leave the hearer with one question: They know Him--do I?

I am grateful for these special witnesses whose testimonies have had such a profound and lasting impact on my life. In this increasingly wicked world, it so clear that we need these voices of firmness, of surety, of powerful witness against evil and for good. I am grateful for that simple question that brings me back to what it is all about.

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