Elder Porter's Sacrament Talk: July 27, 2014
A couple months ago I had a great opportunity to go to Boston because my mom has an unhealthy obsession with running. I had just received my call a few weeks prior to going to Boston and I still felt like I had eons of time to prepare for my mission. Since we didn't want to rent a car we spent a lot of time walking and riding the subway. On one of those many and frequent subway rides I was looking at all the passengers around me on the subway. As I was looking at them I realized that my family was more than likely to be the only members of the church on that subway car. This just made my heart hurt because I realized that most people in the world don't have the secure knowledge that I have been privileged to since a young age like where do we come from, why are we here, where are we going. And then it hit me like a pan to the head. "Drew, You are going to have to teach people much like this, because Indiana is not that far away from Boston." Ya you could say I didn't think that my mission was that far away after that.
Mosiah 18:9 states "Yea....and to stand as a witness of Got at all times and in all things and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection that ye may have eternal life."
We renew the 3 baptismal covenants every week when we partake of the sacrament. The first one being that we make is to take upon us the name of Christ. this is a promise that we make every week, and sometimes we may forget the impact that this covenant has on our every day lives. When we take Christ's name upon ourselves we are promising to emulate Christ in every action we do, and to stand as a witness of him at all times. This whole emulating Christ thing scares me because I know for sure that I tickled and teased my siblings way more than Christ ever would have.
I was looking under witness in the topical guide and it said "see also: Apostles." Now if we make a covenant to witness of Christ every week, then that means that each and every one of us is an apostle in a sense. The word apostle means literally means "one sent forth" but the gospel spin on the definition is "one sent forth to share a witness of Christ."
At the waters of Mormon Alma taught that one of the "duties" of those who are "desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people ," was "to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death" (Mosiah 18).
When I realized in Boston that I would be a witness to people just like the ones surrounding me, you could say that I got just a little nervous. Thoughts were running through my head like "what if I don't know what to tell them to help them," "Did I sluff seminary too much?," or "What if I cant remember an important verse that could help them?" But then I started to think logically "Ok Drew, you have been a member of the church all your life. You have known this stuff since primary." and a better thought was, "Your dad is a stinking seminary teacher! This stuff was shoveled down right along with the mashed potatoes!"
Growing up in a strong Gospel centered home has definitely been an advantage in my life, and even more now that I am headed off on a mission. But knowing the gospel and preaching the gospel are two different things.
There are two things that most people don't like to talk about, religion and politics. Ironically that’s all my dad does talk about. I feel like people don't like to talk about religion because they haven't had a visitation by angels or seen a vision. But those cases are really rare to begin with. A prophet has told us that the witness of the Holy Ghost makes an impression on our soul that is more significant than a visitation from an angel.
3 Nephi 28:11 states "And the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me; and the Father giveth the Holy Ghost unto the children of men, because of me."
Elder Nelson in the last general conference shared an experience with one of his coworkers telling him to separate his professional knowledge from his religious knowledge. He responded with "truth is truth! it is not divisible, and any part of it cannot be set aside."
All truth emanates from our Heavenly Father. And as such the Holy Ghost testifies of all truth. I cannot tell you how many times throughout my life and preparations for my mission, that I have been told that it is not the missionary that converts people, it is the Holy Ghost.
D&C 100:5 says "Therefore, verily I say unto you, lift up your voices unto this people; speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and you shall not be confounded before men;"
When we testify, the Holy Ghost touches the hearts of those who are listening to the testimony being shared and lets them know that what is being spoken is the truth.
Dallin H. Oaks in the October 1990 General Conference that, "Everyone who has received the witness of the Holy Ghost has a duty to share that testimony with others." And that, 'The duty to witness and testify of Christ at all times and in all places applies to every member of the Church who has received the testimony of the Holy Ghost." I feel that this duty is perfectly encapsulated in the common phrase "every member a missionary"
D&C 60:2 says "But with some I am not well pleased, for they will not open their mouths, but they hide the talent which I have given unto them, because of the fear of man. Wo unto such, for mine anger is kindled against them"
Being a witness doesn't always mean that you have to go and try and convert every person you see. But it does mean that you need to have the courage to talk about Christ and what he has done for you.
I have a friend who isn't a member of the church, but she is one of the strongest Christians I know. I don't believe there is a time when I have been around her when she has not brought up her love for Christ and the feelings of gratitude that she has for all that he has done for her personally. This has been a great example to me because we do live in the Kaytown Bubble of Mormons. it is easy to get caught up in the thinking that everyone in Kaysville is already LDS. Just because the majority of the people in Utah and especially Kaysville are LDS doesn't mean that you have to be ashamed to share your testimony because they "already know it"
Elder Oaks says, "I say there has never been a greater need for us to profess our faith, privately and publicly." And that was 24 years ago!
The world is so full of confusion and hypocrisy that so many people are lost. There are wars and rumors of wars, scams, frauds, and every other kind of deceit. there is no better time to share the message of the gospel to try and curb the evil that is in the world. Boyd K. Packer once said "The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior.”
In Helaman 5, the Nephites and Lamanites are at war. Nephi and Lehi leave their homes and go down into the Lamanite lands and begin to preach to their enemies. They were beaten and imprisoned, and yet their message still got through. Verses 51&52 say, "And as many as were convinced did lay down their weapons of war, and also their hatred and the traditions of their fathers. And it came to pass that they did yield up unto the Nephites the lands of their possession."
The gospel has the power to stop wars, to change lives, and to restore what was once lost.
Romans 1:16 is my new favorite scripture. It reads, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth..."
I received my testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon because I was not ashamed to share the gospel. There was a neighbor boy who was not a member of the church. One night I was laying in bed right after my mom tucked me in and the thought came to me to give a Book of Mormon to my neighbor. I did give him a Book of Mormon. A couple days later I was lying in bed again, and the thought came into my mind that the prompting to give him a Book of Mormon would not have entered my mind if it was not a true and correct book!
I know without a doubt that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the true church. I know that Heavenly Father has called his Prophets to lead and guide us in this dispensation. I know that Jesus Christ atoned for my sins to allow me to make it back to live with my Heavenly Father again. I know that I have a great work to do with the people of Indiana. And I know that My Redeemer Lives.