Art thou a brother or brethren? I salute you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, in token or remembrance of the everlasting covenant, in which covenant I receive you to fellowship, in a determination that is fixed, immovable, and unchangeable, to be your friend and brother through the grace of God in the bonds of love, to walk in all the commandments of God blameless, in thanksgiving, forever and ever. Amen. (D&C 88:133)
Sisters, I revere you. Your place in God’s kingdom is unique. You are the primary manifestation of wisdom, mercy, and love in the Lord’s kingdom. You are the Lord’s nurturers, and you are powerful and holy by your very nature.
Today, however, I address the brethren among us, probably because I am male, and because I would not presume to speak so boldly to the sisters as I am about to speak to the brethren. While what I am about to say applies just as much to the sisters as it does to the brethren, I suspect that they don’t need to be challenged quite as much – especially not by the likes of me.
Brethren, the end times, the times of prophecy, are here. I just know it…”in the bones of my soul”. I am not going to seek to justify this statement by quoting a litany of scriptures and pointing to the “signs of the times”. Myriad are those who have done that, and they have been doing this for thousands of years – even before the meridian of time. If you have recognized the signs, you know this is true. I you have not, and if you have not asked the Lord about this, you will most likely still not believe. It is your choice.
Will You Be Strong?
If you believe, I encourage you to be strong. If you are not already strong, then I encourage you to become strong. The Lord is going to call many to serve Him in unprecedented ways during these last days. He will call only those who are humble and willing and who have recognized the signs – those who have chosen to believe.
I ask you to be strong for His children – for those whom we must serve. In a very short time, all that we currently look to for our stability and security will collapse. Such institutions as governments, the economy, even the church (D&C 112:23-27) will become unrecognizable. There will be confusion, fear, and temporal and spiritual chaos. Many will abandon their faith entirely as they struggle to merely survive, but many others, perhaps the “humble followers of Christ” of 2 Nephi 28:14, will be looking for something to hold onto, unwilling to abandon their core faith in their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We must be there for them, and we must be there with a testimony and a knowledge of Christ that is powerful and unshakable – truly built upon the rock. We must assure them that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has not changed, and that it never will. We must represent the calm in the storm.
Those who have depended so much upon others for their learning, even for their hope – will need to learn everything all over again, and we will need to teach them. Everything they ever knew, or thought they knew, will be brought into question, and we must have the answers – at least enough to convince those who would turn to Him that all is not lost; that our Savior still awaits; that He is still in charge; and that, truly, finally, “All is well”. We cannot, of course, become “strong men” who seek a following for ourselves, but we must stand calmly and powerfully on top of the mountain and point upward and inward to Him. We must not only point to Him, but we must be able to say, “This is the way; this is the method; this is the knowledge through which you can find Him”. In order to do this, we must have gained that knowledge ourselves.
In this time which will shortly come, in these final days, only those with the faith to believe in miracles will survive to gather to and build Zion. The mysteries of the kingdom will no longer be mysteries, but they will become reality – the very essentials of survival. We will survive by the power of His word, and His word alone. The Lord would prepare all those who understand these things. The result will be a second restoration – truly the restoration of ALL THINGS. We must, indeed, be strong if we would serve Him during this time.
Doctrines and gifts such as the ministering of angels, Baptism by Fire, the Fullness of the Priesthood, Calling and Election, The Second Comforter, even speaking in tongues, healing, raising the dead, and translation (the renewing of our bodies) with all its attendant “miracles” will rise from the dust of unbelief. We, brethren, if we would serve, must embrace them. We must learn about them, we must understand them, and we must learn to exercise these promised powers of the priesthood in behalf of His children – the children whom He loves so much.
The scriptures certainly point the way to these gifts of the spirit, and they verify beyond doubt to the serious student that they are real, but the scriptures by themselves fall short of a step-by-step instruction manual. This, in my opinion, is totally by design because these gifts, being essential for our spiritual and temporal survival, must be obtained from the Lord Himself. We must first study things out in our mind, but ultimately we must go directly to Him. We must seek, ask, and knock; and we must believe. No, we must do more than believe, we must act…in faith, nothing doubting. We must approach Him directly. Will this be the great sifting? Is this the division between those with oil in their lamps and those without? I do not propose to answer these questions, but I will say this…ultimately He will employ no servant there, and we must each approach Him and only Him if we would be endowed with the power needed to act as His servants. There is no other way.
Brethren, I indeed challenge you. If you are reading this, you have a decision to make…Am I talking to you? If you think I am, then will you answer the call – the call that has been given in the scriptures for millennia – the call to “awake and arise” in these last days? Will you take it upon yourself to learn of these gifts, the loss of which Moroni attributed to our unbelief in Moroni 10:24-33? Will you seek to receive, understand, and exercise the gifts that will be required in order to serve Him and His children as this final act unfolds?
I feel to emphasize that it is only through His infinite mercy that I am even in a position to recognize the weight and urgency of what I have shared here. I issue this challenge as the least among you, one who is merely seeking, as you are, for the ability to serve Him according to His will. If we are willing, He will prepare us. This is His promise, and He does not break promises, for He is a god of truth and cannot lie.
A Servant’s Prayer
Lord, receive this, the prayer of thy humble servant. I pray that I might gain your trust, that I might then exercise the authority and power of thy priesthood in its fullness. I ask thee to grant me the gift of charity, that I might love thy children as you have loved me. Lord I pray for the gifts of the spirit, that they might be exercised unto thy glory. If, according to thy will, I would speak with the tongue of angels, be it unto thy glory. If I would heal the sick and raise the dead, be it unto thy glory. If I would move mountains and change the course of rivers, be it unto thy glory. If I would stand shoulder to shoulder with an army of thy servants, be it unto thy glory, but if I must stand alone against all the forces of the adversary, be it also unto thy glory. Let all things be unto thy glory and according to thy will…that thy work and they glory might be brought to pass. I humbly submit the only gifts I can offer…verily my heart, broken and contrite, and my will, that it might be aligned with yours. Such is my humble prayer, which I tender in the sacred name of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen
So…Art thou a brother? Is He speaking to you? Will you hear His voice? Will you awake and arise and prepare yourself for this service in these last days? Indeed, will you be strong?