Getting Personal With Faith: Apostle for Modern Times
Traveling to the Meeting
It is not often that prophets of the Lord make their way to my stake in Phoenix, the Phoenix Stake. A stake is a determined geographical area consisting of multiple congregations called wards and branches. My eyes would not close until right before it was time for me to awake and get ready for the 20-minute drive to the stake center.
My friend Lance, who was also one of my Church leaders at the time, informed me of Elder Anderson's visit when I was released from the hospital (long story). My family speculated why an apostle would come to our neck of the cacti. Living in Phoenix we have no woods.
Mother mused that Elder Anderson was going to tell us to pick up and go to the Center Stake of Zion, which we believe is in Missouri. My wife decided the apostle came to chastise us for not doing something or for doing something wrong. I figured he would announce a temple, another sacred worship building only for members of the Church in good standing, for the area. Temple worship is the pinnacle of our faith because it helps us focus on the atonement of Jesus Christ.
We imagined some great things without knowing a thing, as we typically do. It came to a point where we almost lost our charity towards one another to prepare for the trip. Awkward. We were going to see a special witness of Christ, and to get there, we forsook our Christian principles for expediency.
Neil L. Anderson
We managed to control ourselves, ultimately. I left for the meeting early to get a seat in the front with Mother, Catherine Bazin Olive, rest in peace, and three children Mosiah, Ephraim, and Miriam. The wait for my wife seemed like and eternity because Mother and I had to entertain a seven, five, and two-year-old. It wasn't hard, I just wanted additional help. A sea of other early birds surrounded us to get a chance to see Elder Anderson in person, though his speech was broadcast around our stake to other building location to accommodate nearly two thousand people.
Elder Anderson Counseled Us
Go to the Temple
Attending the temple was the first bit of counsel he provided while reminding us to pay our tithing worthily. I take responsibility for how I interpreted his words. Elder Anderson told us that the Church does not need our tithing individually and that it is a spiritual law to show our faith in God. Jehovah promises in Malichi that He would open the windows of heaven to those of us with enough faith to put Him to the test.
We use tithing collectively for missionary work and the upkeep of the many buildings around the globe. He used quite a bit of humor, which I did not expect him to do. This tithing relationship with God is not one-sided. God expects us to show our devotion by giving back a tenth or ten percent of what He gives us annually. In return,
He spoke about the number of temples that we have in operation in Arizona. There are the Snowflake, Gila River, Gilbert, Mesa, Tuscan, and Phoenix temples in operation in Arizona. Temples are a major part of life for faithful members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We go there as an escape from the world and a representation of being in the Lord's presence.
Gilbert Arizona Temple
Phoenix Arizona Temple
Prepare to Serve Missions
Elder Anderson told all of the young men to stand who are 15 years of age to 25 years of age. He then told the sisters who desired to serve missions to stand. He then encouraged the currently serving missionaries to join the standing group.
He said of these that we should behold this force of servants potentially ready to serve the Lord to answer the call that came at General Conference, an annual meeting of members of the Church all over the world to hear the counsel of the Lord regarding the state of affairs of the world and the Church.
Missionaries serve around the world instructing people of other faiths about the teaching of Jesus Christ as revealed through prophets and The Church of Jesus Christ.
Elder Neil L. Anderson's Testimony
Elder Anderson spoke of many other things that did not impact me as much as those two things, but he testified powerfully of his knowledge of the divinity of Jesus Christ and his special calling as a living witness of that divinity by the way he spoke.
I felt confirmed by his words. That truth is: Christ lives and is resurrected. He bore witness to us that he is truly called of God to witness of Christ's resurrection in all the world. There was no rebuke in his words. He did not announce a new temple or tell us some strange thing.
Elder Anderson admitted he is an ordinary man with an extraordinary calling. He took no glory to himself, though we thought him a marvelous one because of the responsibility Christ gave him as a representative. He reminded us that his work is to teach of Christ, and our work is to teach of Christ. We all have to live the teachings of Christ to live in His presence.
In the end, I was able to shake his hand and other leaders of the Church who accompanied him. There was not enough time to speak to him because of the number of people who wanted to fare him well. I am truly thankful that the Lord saw fit to call prophets in our day who can remind us of his words if we are willing to heed them and pray for confirmation through the Holy Spirit. As a Christian, I am satisfied that we will be prepared to receive Christ when he comes if we serve in charity as Christ did and love all our human families. I am so happy to work on that.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 Rodric Anthony Johnson