Getting Personal With Christianity: 9 - Apostle for Modern Times
...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.
On The Way and There
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 (a long story). In my family, there was great speculation as to why an apostle would come to our neck of the woods—or should I say neck of the cacti?
My mother mused that Elder Anderson was going to tell us to pick up and go to Zion. My wife said that he came to chastise us for not doing something or another. I figured that he would announce another temple in the area. I call them musings, but there were truthful expectation behind the thinking.
In fact, I think we worked ourselves up pretty good over the visit of this witness of Christ. We imagined some great thing, as we Johnsons typically do. It came to a point where we almost lost our charity towards one another to prepare for the trip! How awkward is that? We are going to see a special witness of Christ, and to get there, we forsake our Christian principles for expediency.
Neil L. Anderson
We managed to control ourselves. I left early to get a seat in the front with my mother Catherine (R.I.P.), three of my six living children Mosiah, Ephraim and Miriam (Zipporah passed away). We waited forever it seemed being that I had to entertain a seven, five and two-year-old. It wasn't hard, I just wanted my wife there so that I can have more help in addition to Mother. We were surrounded by others who came early to get a chance to see Elder Anderson in person, though his speech would be broadcast around our stake.
Elder Anderson Counseled Us
Go to the temple is the first thing that he counseled us to do by remembering to pay our tithing worthily. (I take responsibility for how I interpret his words.)
Elder Anderson told us that the church did not need our tithing individually. He said that it is a spiritual law to show our faith in God.
He mentioned the things that we use tithing for, such as missionary work and building upkeep. In so saying, he used quite a bit of humor, which I did not expect him to do.
He spoke about the number of temples that we have in operation. There are the Snowflake, Gila River, Gilbert, Mesa, Tuscan, and The Phoenix temples in operation in Arizona.
To those who do not understand the importance of tithing, I suggest reading The Why of Tithing. This tithing relationship with God is not one-sided in nature. God expects us to show our devotion by giving back a tenth or ten percent of what he gives us annually. In return, he challenges us to let him prove to us he is faithful in our support.
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 presence. Only those who meet certain requirements are allowed to enter the temple. One of those requirements is to pay tithing.
Gilbert Arizona Temple
Phoenix Arizona Temple
President Thomas Spencer Monson (R.I.P.) late president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Prepare to serve missions is another thing he reminded us to do. He told all of the young men to stand who are 15 years of age to 25 years of ages.
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, which is 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 and receive counsel for our day from the general leaders of the church, to lower the age of men who serve missions from 19 years to 18 years, and women from 21 years to 19 years.
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 knew that he spoke the truth that I already knew, but felt confirmed by his words. That truth is that 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 as I expected.
He admitted to us that he was an ordinary man with an extraordinary calling. He took no glory to himself, though we thought him a marvelous thing because of the responsibility that 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 family. I am so happy to work on that.
Do you believe that God still speaks to mankind through special witnesses today?
© 2012 Rodric Anthony Johnson