Brothers and sisters, we welcome you to the Church Educational System devotional foryoung adults. This broadcast is originating from the Marriott Center on the Brigham YoungUniversity campus in Provo, Utah. This devotional is being translated into many languagesfor the young adults throughout the world.
I am Scott Runia, president of the Provo Utah Married Student 1st Stake. We welcome ElderTad R. Callister of the Presidency of the Seventy and are grateful that Sister Callister hasaccompanied him this evening. Elder Callister will be introduced later in the program as thisevening's speaker. We're grateful for the attendance of other General Authorities and AreaSeventies, members of the Board of Education, and officials from Brigham Young University.
In addition, we are pleased to acknowledge the presence on the stand of CES Seminariesand Institutes of Religion administrators as well as presidents of Utah Valley young singleadult stakes and married student stakes with their wives. We remind you that on Sunday,March 2, 2014, Sister Linda K. Burton, Relief Society general president, will be the CESdevotional speaker.
We will begin this evening with the choir and congregation singing "How Firm a Foundation,"hymn number 85 in the English hymnbook. We appreciate the assistance of Kyleigh Halm,who will conduct the music and Emily Robison as our accompanist. After the hymn, ConradRosenbrock will offer the invocation.
Father in Heaven, we are happy this day for the opportunity we have to be together, that wemight be instructed more perfectly in the things of Zion. We are grateful for the prophetsand apostles that lead this Church and for the confidence and trust Thou has placed in us,that we might learn to do Thy will, and that we might be like Christ in serving andadministering to others.
We invite thy Spirit now to be with us and pledge that what we hear, we will do. That we maybecome more like Thee is our prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
This evening we are joined by the Ephraim institute choir, who will sing "Where Can I Turnfor Peace?" They are directed by Greg Boothe and accompanied by Capri Dahle. After themusical number, we will be pleased to hear from Elder Callister. At the conclusion of ElderCallister's remarks, the choir will sing "Carry On." They will be directed by Brother Bootheand accompanied by Sister Dahle.
The benediction will then be offered by Kylie Bair. It is now my privilege to introducetonight's speaker. Elder Tad R. Callister was sustained a member of the Second Quorum ofthe Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 5, 2008. At the time ofhis calling, he had been serving as the president of the Canada Toronto East Mission.
He is currently serving as a member of the Presidency of the Seventy. Elder Callister receiveda Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Brigham Young University in 1968. He laterattended UCLA Law School, graduating with a law degree in 1971. The following year, heearned an LLM Master's degree in tax law from New York University.
Prior to his call as mission president, he was employed as a practicing attorney with the firmof Callister and Callister. Tad Richards Callister was born in Glendale, California, onDecember 17, 1945. He married Kathryn Louise Saporiti in December 1968. They are theparents of 6 children and grandparents of 24. The choir will now sing "Where Can I Turn forPeace?"
[MUSIC PLAYING, "WHERE CAN I TURN FOR PEACE?"]
[SINGING] Where can I turn for peace? Where is my solace
When other sources cease to make me whole?
When with a wounded heart, anger, or malice,
I draw myself apart, Searching my soul?
Where, when my aching grows, Where, when I languish,
Where, in my need to know, where can I run?
Where is the quiet hand to calm my anguish?
Who, who can understand? He, only One.
He answers privately, Reaches my reaching.
In my Gethsemane, Savior and friend.
Gentle the peace he finds for my beseeching.
Constant he is and kind, Love without end.
Thank you President Runia, for that introduction and that both angelic-looking and angelic-sounding choir tonight. It does bring peace to our soul. It is a joy to spend this evening withthose who are the prospective leaders and parents of this Church. Because of that, I believethe future of this Church is secure and bright. Accordingly, I'd like to talk about the Churchover which you will one day preside. In the first section of the Doctrine and Covenants, theLord makes this bold and significant statement:
"[This is] the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth." What does thismean? It does not mean that other churches do not have some truth, for certainly they do. Itdoes not mean that other churches do not render good, for they render much good. What itdoes mean is that this is the only church that has all the truth that has been revealed thusfar in this dispensation--the
only church that has the ordinances necessary for exaltation and the only church that hasthe priesthood of God to perform those ordinances with divine validity. What evidence dowe have of this assertion? Some years ago my wife and I needed a bigger home for ourgrowing family, so we found a lot on which to build.
We spent some time working on a blueprint that would best accommodate the needs of ourfamily. My wife designed a folding door between our family room and living room that couldopen up for large family and youth activities. With some extra space over the garage, wedesigned a room where our children could engage in wholesome activities. A small roomwas built behind the garage to allow for food and other storage.
These and other design elements were incorporated into a blueprint. The home was thenbuilt pursuant to these plans. As the home was being constructed, we occasionallysubmitted to the builder a change order that revised the blueprint. When the home wasfinally completed, it was in exact conformity with our blueprint as revised from time to time.
If you took our blueprint and matched it against every home in the world, how many homeswould it perfectly match? Only one--our home. Oh, there might be an occasionalresemblance here and there--a room the same size, some similar windows--but foundationfor foundation, room for room, and roofline for roofline, there would only be one home thatperfectly matched the blueprint--our home.
In a similar way Christ built a home to best accommodate the spiritual needs of His children.It was called His Church. The spiritual blueprint for this Church can be found in the NewTestament. Occasionally the Savior made a "change order" to the blueprint. Such a changeorder came in the form of a revelation. For example, the Savior initially commanded HisApostles to preach the gospel to the house of Israel, but not to the Gentiles.
After the Savior's Ascension, however, He gave Peter a spiritual change order--a revelationby way of a vision--that the gospel should now be taught also to the Gentiles. Thisexperience of Peter taught at least two important governance principles in Christ's Church:one, the blueprint could be changed, but only by revelation from Christ, and second, suchrevelation would come to the prophet who was God's spokesman on earth.
In other words, God's Church would be governed by divine revelation and by order. If onedesired to discover Christ's church today, he would want to match the spiritual blueprintfound in the New Testament against every Christian church in the world until he discovereda church that matched the blueprint--organization for organization, teaching for teaching,ordinance for ordinance, fruit for fruit, and revelation for revelation.
In doing so, he might find some churches that had some similarities--a teaching or two thatoverlapped, an ordinance that is the same, some offices that bear common names--but he will only find one church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that matches theblueprint in every material respect. Now I would like to put that assertion to the test.
Let us turn to the first page of the blueprint and discover what was the "Organization" ofChrist's Church as revealed therein. First, Christ's Church was founded on apostles andprophets. When Paul was writing to some new members of the Church, he said that theywere now "built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himselfbeing the chief corner stone."
The Apostles understood the imperative need to keep the Quorum of the Twelve Apostlesintact. When one Apostle, such as Judas, died and a portion of the foundation was "chippedaway," the other 11 Apostles gathered together and chose a successor so that thefoundation would be whole again. This pattern evidenced the importance of maintaining aquorum of twelve Apostles.
So important were these Apostles to the well-being of the Church that Paul declared howlong we needed them: "Till we all come in the unity of the faith." And then he explained why:So we would not be, "carried about with every wind of doctrine." Accordingly, the Apostleswere critical to keeping the doctrine pure.
Suppose for a moment I were to tell a story to someone on one end of the row in front ofme, right here, and then he were to share it with the person next to him, and so on until itwere to work its way down the rows to the end of the section. What would happen to thatstory? It would change. It always changes; that is human nature. So it was with the doctrinetaught by the Apostles as they went out to the various towns and villages.
As the doctrine went from one person to another, it started to change. As long as theApostles were available, they could correct the doctrine by way of epistles or personalsermons. But when the Apostles were gone, there was no longer any check-and-balancesystem, no longer any correcting hand, and soon the doctrines became distorted or lost.
For this and other reasons, the blueprint reveals that the apostles and prophets constitutedthe foundation of Christ's Church. Do you know of any change order in the New Testament,any revelation that revised the blueprint and states that apostles are no longer needed? Idon't. If that is the case, then Christ's true Church today should have apostles and prophetsas its foundation.
In order to assist the Savior and His Apostles in preaching the gospel to the world, the Saviorchose other men, called Seventy, to prepare the way. We read of these Seventy in Luke,chapter 10. Do you know of a church today that matches this blueprint--that has the office ofSeventy? The blueprint of the New Testament reveals other officers that constituted part ofthe organization of Christ's Church:
Bishops; elders; deacons; evangelists, meaning patriarchs; and pastors, meaning such menas bishops and stake presidents who preside over a flock. The sixth article of faith of theChurch makes reference to this blueprint: "We believe in the same organization that existedin the Primitive Church, namely apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and soforth."
In other words, we believe the current Church of Jesus Christ should have the sameorganization as existed in Christ's original Church, subject only to revelatory changes.Therefore, each of these offices is present in our Church today. How were Christ's Apostlesand other officers chosen? Did the Savior go to the finest theological schools of the time andselect the highest-ranking students? He did not.
Instead, the blueprint tells us that He chose Peter, a fisherman, and Matthew, a tax collector,and later Paul, a tentmaker. Each was chosen from the rank and file--in essence, it was a layministry. Today the Church has a quorum of twelve Apostles who are likewise chosen fromthe rank and file of the Church. One may be a teacher, another an engineer, another anattorney, and so on. Did Christ's Apostles and other officers make application for theministry? They did not.
The blueprint tells us how Christ selected His officers: "Ye have not chosen me, but I havechosen you, and ordained you." When Christ ordained His Apostles, what did He give them?Matthew and Luke record the answer: "He gave them power--the priesthood power to act inHis name and to do His work." That is why the blueprint tells us "the Son of man ... gaveauthority to his servants." Why?
So they could act in His name with His endorsement. Every man who holds the priesthood ofGod in this Church today can trace his priesthood authority back to Jesus Christ, the sourceof all authority and power, so that he, likewise, is entitled to Christ's endorsement--his stampof approval--as is required by the blueprint. What was the name of the church organized byChrist?
If we are baptized in the name of Christ, if we pray in the name of Christ, if we are saved inthe name of Christ, and if He is the founder and chief cornerstone of His Church, what wouldyou expect the name of His Church to be? The Church of Jesus Christ. The Savior, whenspeaking to the people in the Book of Mormon times, taught the underlying rationale as towhy the Church needed to bear His name: "And how be it my church save it be called in myname?
For if a church be called in Moses' name then it be Moses' church; or if it be called in thename of a man then it be the church of a man; but if it be called in my name then it is mychurch, if it so be that they are built upon my gospel." It is for this reason that Paulreprimanded some of the early members of the Church--because they called themselvesafter certain disciples rather than after the name of Christ.
Accordingly, Paul wrote: "Now this I say, that every one of you sayeth, I am of Paul; and I ofApollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or wereye baptized in the name of Paul?" In other words, we do not take upon us any other namethan Jesus Christ. Accordingly, the blueprint teaches us that Christ's Church should bear Hisname.
It has always seemed miraculous to me that the Reformation had been in existence for over300 years before the time of Joseph Smith and no one thought to name his church afterJesus Christ. Of course, since the time of Joseph Smith, others have followed suit, but insome marvelous way the Lord preserved the use of His name until the time of Joseph Smithand the Restoration of Christ's Church.
Now, let us turn to the second page of the blueprint. What were the "Teachings" of Christ'sChurch? Let us examine a few:
Is God solely a spirit, or does He also have a body of flesh and bones? What does theblueprint teach? After Christ's Resurrection, He appeared to His disciples, who mistakenlythought He was a spirit.
To correct their misimpression, He said, "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself:handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have." To eliminateany doubt about the corporeal nature of His resurrected body, He inquired of His disciples,"Have ye here any meat?" Then the scriptures record: "And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them."
With that glorified, resurrected body of flesh and bones, Christ ascended into heaven, whereHe sits on the right hand of God the Father and is, as the scriptures declare, "in the expressimage of his person." This is the exact truth taught by Joseph Smith as part of theRestoration of Christ's Church: "The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible asman's; the Son also."
Are God and Jesus the same Being, as taught by much of the Christian world, or twoseparate Beings? What does the blueprint say? The number of references in the Bible to theseparate identity and separate roles of the Father and Son is staggering. In the Garden ofGethsemane, recognizing the excruciating pain that was yet to be His, the Savior declared,"Not my will, but thine, be done."
This is the grandest act of submission the world has ever known. But what submission wouldthere have been if there was no other Being to whom He could submit--if He and the Fatherwere one and the same Being? Why does the Savior pray to the Father or cry out, "My God,my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" How could He be forsaken if there was no separateBeing to forsake Him?
How did Stephen see Jesus standing on the right hand of God if They are not two persons?When Joseph Smith emerged from the grove of trees, he had learned for himself the truth.He had seen God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, standing side by side; he had heardthe Father refer to the other as His "Beloved Son."
On that glorious day the heavens shattered the man-made myths of the past about thenature of God and revealed and confirmed the simple truth as originally taught in theblueprint: that God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, have a oneness of goals and will buta separateness of identity. What does the blueprint say about those who never had a fairchance to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ while on the earth? Are they damned?
Are we without revealed knowledge as to their spiritual condition? This is a monumentalquestion affecting billions of lives. Certainly God has spoken on this point. And in truth, Hehas. The blueprint contains the answer. Peter wrote, "For for this cause was the gospelpreached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in theflesh, but live according to God in the spirit."
This doctrine was lost in the Apostasy following the death of Christ's Apostles, but it wasrestored through the Prophet Joseph Smith. Are there three heavens or one heaven? Foryears the Christian world has taught there is one heaven and one hell, but what does theoriginal blueprint teach? Paul taught, "There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of themoon, and another glory of the stars."
Paul subsequently confirmed the truth of this three-tiered heaven when he recounted thevision of a man "caught up to the third heaven." Could there be a third heaven if there wasno second or first heaven? Again, this doctrine restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith isin exact accord with the original blueprint. Does marriage continue for eternity or end atdeath? What does the blueprint say?
In accordance with the power given to the Apostles that whatsoever they should bind onearth should be bound in heaven, Paul declared, "Neither is the man without the woman,neither the woman without the man, in the Lord," meaning that the ideal is for the man andwoman to be bound together forever in God's presence. Peter confirmed this truth.
Referring to husbands and wives, he stated that they should be "heirs together of the graceof life"--not individually, but jointly walking the path as inheritors of eternal life. That is thedoctrine taught in the blueprint, and that is the doctrine taught in Christ's Church today. Thethird page of the blueprint reads, "Ordinances in Christ's Church." The blueprint is veryspecific in this regard.
For example, do we bless or baptize infants and little children? What does the blueprintteach? The Savior gave the clear example for us. Speaking of little children, the scripturesread, "And he [Jesus] took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessedthem." Matthew confirmed, as to little children, the Savior "laid his hands on them."
The blueprint teaches that infants and little children are blessed, not baptized. In fact, thereis not one account of an infant baptism occurring anywhere in the entire New Testament.Why? Because it was not an ordinance in Christ's Church. Someone looking for Christ'sChurch today would look for a church that blesses infants, not baptizes them. Is baptismessential for salvation? What does the blueprint teach?
After Christ set the example by being baptized, He declared in unequivocal terms, "Except aman be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." Paultaught similarly, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ forthe remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." What is taught in theblueprint is exactly what is taught in Christ's Church today.
Is baptism to be done by sprinkling, pouring, or immersion? The blueprint gives at least fourevidences that baptism is to be done by immersion: First, the Savior, our great Exemplar,came up "straightway out of the water," indicating He must have first gone down into thewater. Second, John the Baptist "was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim because there wasmuch water there."
Why would he travel to a place of "much water" if sprinkling or pouring were acceptedmodes of baptism? Third, Paul tells us that baptism is symbolic of the death, burial, andresurrection of Jesus Christ. As the new convert stands in the waters of baptism, herepresents the old man about to die. As he is immersed in the water, his sins are "buried"and forgiven by the symbolic cleansing power of the water.
Then, as he rises from the water, he stands as a representative of the new or resurrectedman in Jesus Christ. All of that symbolism underlying baptism is consistent with baptism byimmersion, but it is lost--totally lost--with sprinkling and pouring. And fourth, the Greek wordfrom which baptism is translated means to dip or plunge in the water.
Will Durrant, a noted world historian, knew what the blueprint revealed and thus observed,"By the ninth century the early Christian method of baptism by total immersion had beengradually replaced by ... sprinkling--as less dangerous to health in northern climes." It shouldbe no surprise that Joseph Smith received a revelation on the manner in which baptism is tobe performed that is perfectly consistent with Christ's blueprint.
Was baptism for the dead an ordinance in Christ's original Church? It was. The members ofthe Church in Corinth were participating in an ordinance known as baptism for the dead.These people, however, doubted the reality of the Resurrection. Sensing the inconsistency ofwhat they were doing as compared to what they believed, Paul used their participation in thecorrect ordinance of baptism for the dead to prove the correct doctrine of the Resurrection:
"Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why arethey then baptized for the dead?" Once someone crosses the doctrinal bridge andacknowledges that baptism is essential for salvation (which it is), then logically he is led tobelieve in baptism for the dead--there is no escaping it.
Otherwise, how does one answer the difficult question "What about those who died withoutthe opportunity to be baptized?" Those confronted with this question have four possibleoptions from which to choose: First, men and women who have not been baptized will bedamned and go to hell. Such an answer, however, is inconsistent with the scriptural truthsthat "God is no respecter of persons" and that God desires "all men to be saved."
Second, perhaps God did not really mean what He said--perhaps baptism is not reallyessential for salvation. But this is unrealistic because a God always means what He says:"What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself." Third, some believethat a new condition called "baptism by desire" may be substituted for baptism by water.
In other words, if someone desires to follow Jesus but did not have the opportunity to bebaptized in mortality, then his worthy desire becomes an acceptable substitute in lieu ofwater baptism. The problem with this option is that it has no scriptural support. Thescripture does not say, "Except a man be born of desire," but rather, "Except a man be bornof water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."
The fourth option is that God really meant what He said when He commanded all men to bebaptized, and because of this He mercifully provided a way for all men to be baptized even ifno opportunity arose in mortal life. That is baptism for the dead. That is the optionconsistent with the blueprint.
What does the blueprint say about the manner in which the gift--not the temporarypresence, but the permanent gift--of the Holy Ghost is given after someone is baptized?Does it automatically descend upon someone following his baptism? Does it come like therushing of the wind, or is there some divine ordinance, some divine procedure that must befollowed to receive this gift?
The blueprint gives the answer. After Philip baptized some new converts in Samaria, Peterand John arrived. The scriptures then reveal the manner in which that ordinance is to beperformed: "Then [Peter and John] laid they their hands on them, and they received the HolyGhost."
The same procedure was followed after Paul baptized new converts in Ephesus: "When theyheard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hishands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them." Once again the blueprint and Christ'srestored Church are in perfect harmony.
The next page of the blueprint might read: "Fruits of Christ's Church." The Savior gave thistest for truth: "By their fruits ye shall know them." What were the fruits of Christ's Church asevidenced in the blueprint? One, those early Saints strove to be a healthy people. Paultaught that our physical bodies are "temples" that house our spirits and, therefore, are to betreated as holy:
"Know ye not," he said, "that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth inyou?" Because of this, the members of Christ's Church had certain health laws they obeyed,such as certain restrictions on drinking wine, found in Ephesians 5 and 1 Timothy 3.
In accordance with this divine law of treating our bodies like temples, Joseph Smith receiveda health law from the Lord for the members of Christ's restored Church, known as the Wordof Wisdom. As a result of living this health law, repeated studies have confirmed thatmembers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are among the healthiest peoplein the world. This is one of the fruits of living Christ's health law.
A second fruit of Christ's Church was its miracles and gifts of the Spirit. They are recorded onpage after page in the New Testament. They were an evidence that the power of God existedin Christ's Church. But unfortunately, with the advent of the Apostasy, the miracles waned--historians readily acknowledged it, and reformers admitted it.
Paul Johnson, a noted historian, observed, "It has been acknowledged at least since imperialtimes [meaning the time of Constantine] that 'the age of miracles' was over, in the sense thatChristian leaders could no longer spread the gospel, like the apostles, with the aid ofsupernatural power."
Why did the time come when there were no more miracles and gifts of the Spirit? Becausethe tree that bore the fruit, namely Christ's Church, was no longer on the earth and the faithof the people diminished. John Wesley noted this absence of the gifts of the Spirit from thechurch in his day: "It does not appear that these extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost werecommon in the Church for more than two or three centuries."
Suffice it to say, I can testify, like many of you, that this is a day of miracles and gifts of theSpirit in Christ's restored Church, just as it was in His original Church.
There is a third fruit--the blueprint of Christ's Church records many accounts of angels andvisions. Some people look with skepticism today at a church that claims angels and visions,but in so doing forget that angels and visions were a critical part of Christ's original Church:
the angel announcing the birth of Christ to Mary; the angels coming to Peter, James, andJohn on the Mount of Transfiguration; the angel releasing Peter and John from prison; theangel speaking to Cornelius; the angel warning Paul of the impending shipwreck; the angelcoming to John the Revelator; Stephen's vision of the Father and the Son; John's vision of thelast days; and many more.
The question should not be "How can The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints be thetrue Church with its alleged angels and visions?" Rather, the question should be "How canany church today claim to be Christ's true Church unless it has angels and visions--just aswas the case in Christ's original Church, just as it is revealed in His blueprint?"
There are many other fruits consistent with Christ's original Church: It was a missionarychurch--the Apostles being commanded to "go ye therefore, and teach all nations." Today wehave over 80,000 missionaries fulfilling that command and bearing the fruit of doing so. Itwas a moral church--the blueprint teaches us that the early Saints in Christ's Church werecommanded to dress modestly and to refrain from premarital relations.
How many churches not only teach those moral standards but also live them? Christ'soriginal Church was a family-centered church. Husbands were commanded to love and betrue to their wives, children were commanded to obey their parents, and bishops werecommanded to rule well their own houses. Today our Church, like Christ's original Church, isrecognized as a family-centered church.
The fruits of Christ's Church are carefully recorded in the Bible and match with Christ'srestored Church today. Christ established His Church on earth, but the final page of theblueprint reveals it had a link to heaven--namely, "Divine revelation." Without this link theChurch would be no more than a man-driven organization governed by the powers ofreason.
The prophet Amos declared, "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secretunto his servants the prophets." Paul confirmed that revelation was an integral part of theChurch and was meant to be ongoing, for he declared, "I will come to visions and revelationsof the Lord." Consistent with that fundamental doctrine, Christ's Church today is linked toheaven by ongoing revelation.
The Church's declaration of belief in this regard, known as the ninth article of faith, reads asfollows: "We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believethat He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God."
If one were to match the blueprint of Christ's original Church against every church in theworld today, he would find that point for point, organization for organization, teaching forteaching, ordinance for ordinance, fruit for fruit, and revelation for revelation, it will onlymatch one--The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If one rejects this Church afterstudying the blueprint, then it will likely ruin him for any other church because he knows toomuch.
He will be like Peter, who was asked by the Savior, "Will ye also go away?" Peter respondedwith an answer that should be engraved in every heart and enshrined in every home: "Towhom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life."
If someone turns from the Church, where will he go to learn about the restored truthsconcerning the nature of God as revealed in the Sacred Grove? The preaching of the gospelto the dead, the three degrees of glory, and eternal families? Where will he go to get theordinances that can save and exalt him? Where will he go to have his wife and childrensealed to him for eternity?
Where will he go when he wants a priesthood blessing of comfort or healing for a familymember? Where will he go to find a prophet of God? He will look in vain for those doctrinesand those ordinances and those powers and those prophets, as they are unique to TheChurch of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
One cannot have the doctrines and ordinances as restored through the Prophet JosephSmith without accepting Joseph Smith and the underlying history that is the basis for such.They are inseparable. They go hand in hand. You cannot call the fruit good and then call thetree bad. The Savior taught that truth long ago: "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit,neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit."
Accordingly, if the doctrinal fruit we have discussed tonight is good, then the tree from whichit sprang--Joseph Smith and the accompanying underlying history of those revealed truths--islikewise good. You cannot have one without the other. In a general conference addresssome years ago, Elder B.H. Roberts spoke of the accomplishments of Joseph Smith,
and then, as if speaking to Joseph's critics, he said: "Match it! Matchi it, I say, or with hand onlips remain silent when his name is spoken." The historical or social concerns that some mayhave, the alleged scientific conflicts--these are the sideshow; the center stage is thedoctrines, ordinances, priesthood power, and other fruits of our Church, many of which have been discussed tonight.
But some may respond, "I believe all this, but how do I respond to the critics and theirspecific questions?" An attorney knows that after a prosecutor presents his key witness, thecase against the defendant has been cast in its worst possible light. Someone quick torender judgment at that point might determine the defendant guilty, but then an interestingphenomenon in the courtroom happens.
The defense commences cross-examination of this same witness, and the followingfrequently occurs: The definitive answers of the witness start to wilt under the pressure ofcross-examination. The witness who appeared so unimpeachable now has someinconsistencies, perhaps even glaring holes in his recollection of events.
The seemingly rock-solid story of the witness begins to crack and crumble with each newquestion put to him. The witness was able to handle the softball questions of his prosecutor,but when the hardball questions of the opposition came, he could not withstand theirintensity or probing nature. When the cross-examination is completed, the witness haslargely been discredited.
The observer who was previously ready to "hang" the defendant now sees with a differentset of eyes the man's complete innocence. Likewise, some critics throw one-sided questionsat the Church that are intended to put the Church in its worst possible light. But questions goboth ways. The prosecutor's key witnesses are not immune to cross-examination, and neitherare the Church's toughest critics.
I have never found any detractors who could give me satisfactory answers on "cross-examination" to the following questions: First, how did Joseph Smith know to restore thedoctrines and ordinances from the Bible, such as the doctrine of the premortal existence,the true nature of God, the gospel being preached to the dead, baptism for the dead, andmany others discussed tonight,
when such doctrines and ordinances were not being taught by other contemporarychurches of his time? Why was Joseph Smith the only one to discover them and restorethem? Even if he is considered a theological genius, were there no other such geniuses in the1,800 years following the Savior's ministry who could do likewise? Second, if this Church isnot Christ's Church, then why does this Church have the same fruits as Christ's originalChurch,
namely, miracles and gifts of the Spirit, current revelation from apostles and prophets,angels and visions, a healthy