From the Life of Gordon B. Hinckley
President Hinckley relates an incident that occurred following the open house of the Mesa Arizona temple. He was asked by a Protestant minister why there were no crucifixes on the temple. President Hinckley responded that for us, the cross is the symbol of the dying Christ while our message was about the living Christ.
“He then asked: ‘If you do not use the cross, what is the symbol of your religion?’
“I replied that the lives of our people must become the only meaningful expression of our faith and, in fact, therefore, the symbol of our worship. …
“… No sign, no work of art, no representation of form is adequate to express the glory and the wonder of the Living Christ. He told us what that symbol should be when he said, ‘If ye love me, keep my commandments.’ (John 14:15.)
If we, as Church members, are to be ‘the only meaningful expression of our faith’ what does that mean for the way in which we must live our lives?
1. Jesus Christ is the living Son of the living God.
‘In the premortal life, Jesus Christ, whose main title was Jehovah, was the firstborn spirit child of God the Father and thus the eldest brother and preeminent above all other spirit children of God. In that first estate, he came to be more intelligent than all other spirits, one “like unto God” (Abr. 3:19, 24), and served as the representative of the Father in the creation of “worlds without number” (Heb. 1:1–3; D&C 76:24; Moses 1:33; 7:30). LDS leaders have declared that all revelation since the Fall of Adam has been by, and through, Jehovah (Jesus Christ) and that whenever the Father has appeared unto man, it has been to introduce and bear record of the Son (Joseph Smith Translation [JST], John 1:19; Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1:27). He was known to Adam, and the patriarchs from Adam to Noah worshiped him in humble reverence. He was the Almighty God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God-Lawgiver on Sinai, the Holy One of Israel. Scriptural records affirm that all the prophets from the beginning spoke or wrote of the time when Jehovah would come to earth in the form of man, in the role of a messiah. Peter said, “to him give all the prophets witness” (Acts 2:25–31; 10:43). Jacob taught that “none of the prophets have written, nor prophesied, save they have spoken concerning this Christ” (Jacob 7:11; cf. Mosiah 3:5–10; 13:33; 3 Ne. 20:24).’ (Encyclopaedia of Mormonism)
From the manual:
‘To all who may have doubts, I repeat the words given Thomas as he felt the wounded hands of the Lord: “Be not faithless, but believing” [John 20:27]. Believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the greatest figure of time and eternity. Believe that his matchless life reached back before the world was formed. Believe that he was the Creator of the earth on which we live. Believe that he was Jehovah of the Old Testament, that he was the Messiah of the New Testament, that he died and was resurrected, that he visited the western continents and taught the people here, that he ushered in this final gospel dispensation, and that he lives, the living Son of the living God, our Savior and our Redeemer.’
What accounts and teachings from the Savior’s life have special meaning to you?
2. Each of us can know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Redeemer of the world, resurrected from the grave.
Watch video: He is not here: for He is risen. President Hinckley speaks about the Resurrection from the Tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. An excerpt from “Special Witnesses of Christ,” Ensign, Apr. 2001. (2:24)
Watch video: Jesus is resurrected. Peter and John find the empty tomb. Jesus, now resurrected, appears to Mary.
‘Jesus Christ is the central figure in the doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Prophet Joseph Smith explained that “the fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it” (Teachings, p. 121). Latter-day Saints believe that complete salvation is possible only through the life, death, resurrection, doctrines, and ordinances of Jesus Christ and in no other way.’ (Encyclopaedia of Mormonism)
From the manual:
‘The acquisition of understanding and enthusiasm for the Lord comes from following simple rules. … I should like to suggest three, elementary in their concept, almost trite in their repetition, but fundamental in their application and fruitful in their result. …
The first is to read—to read the word of the Lord. … Read, for instance, the Gospel of John from its beginning to its end. Let the Lord speak for himself to you, and his words will come with a quiet conviction that will make the words of his critics meaningless. Read also the testament of the New World, the Book of Mormon, brought forth as a witness “that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations.” (Book of Mormon title page.)
The next is to serve—to serve in the work of the Lord. … The cause of Christ does not need your doubts; it needs your strength and time and talents; and as you exercise these in service, your faith will grow and your doubts will wane. …
The third is to pray. Speak with your Eternal Father in the name of his Beloved Son. “Behold,” he says, “I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (Rev. 3:20.)’
How have these principles helped you deepen your spiritual understanding?
3. We need to continually ask ourselves, “What shall we do with Jesus who is called Christ?”
Seeking to know and understand the attributes of Jesus Christ is of little worth unless we try to become like him and obtain those attributes. See 3 Nephi 12:48.
From the manual:
‘What shall we do with Jesus who is called Christ?
Learn of him. Search the scriptures for they are they which testify of him. Ponder the miracle of his life and mission. Try a little more diligently to follow his example and observe his teachings.’
How would your life be different if you did not know of the Savior’s teachings and example?
4. We look to Jesus Christ as the rock of our salvation, our strength, our comfort, and the focus of our faith.
We sometimes speak of faith as the first principle of the gospel. It would be more accurate to talk of ‘faith in Jesus Christ’.
From the manual:
‘We know not what lies ahead of us. We know not what the coming days will bring. We live in a world of uncertainty. For some, there will be great accomplishment. For others, disappointment. For some, much of rejoicing and gladness, good health, and gracious living. For others, perhaps sickness and a measure of sorrow. We do not know. But one thing we do know. Like the polar star in the heavens, regardless of what the future holds, there stands the Redeemer of the world, the Son of God, certain and sure as the anchor of our immortal lives. He is the rock of our salvation, our strength, our comfort, the very focus of our faith.’
In what ways is Christ our “one bright hope”? How is He our “beacon to a better way”?
Elder Dallin H Oaks said: ‘Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ prepares you for whatever life brings.’