Monday, October 15, 2018

Family Talks on Hill Cumorah Pageant Experience

My love of the Hill Cumorah Pageant began 23 years ago while I was serving as a missionary in the New York, Rochester mission. Armed with beautiful flyers and a VHS tape with a 10-minute promotional video, we spent our days inviting everyone we met to come and see the Hill Cumorah Pageant. As missionaries, we of course wanted to introduce everyone to the message of the Book of Mormon. The summer after I returned from my mission I was able to be part of the Pageant cast with my parents and siblings. I knew in my heart that one day I just had to return with my future spouse and children to be a part of the cast again.
 All of the little miracles that were required for our family to participate came together this past summer. My dream was coming true. Although my family was not functioning at the same level of enthusiasm as I was about being in the cast, they were indulging me in what they clearly understood had been a dream of mine for 21 years.
It doesn’t take long for the spirit of sacred places, like the Hill Cumorah, to reach your soul. Soon after we arrived they realized they were involved in something extraordinary.
There we were, in a sacred place, with the opportunity to spend all of our time free from the usual cares of life and able to focus all of our energy on sharing the gospel message. The schedule was rigorous. From morning until night, we were rehearsing and preparing for dress rehearsal. Dress rehearsal would take place just 5 days after our arrival. Almost 800 people were cast into 1,700 parts in just a few hours the first night. To have the entire cast know when and where they were supposed to be on 8 different stages, whose square footage is approximately the size of a football field, there has to be divine help and direction to make it happen.
·       In an article that was written back in 1937, the Pageant director described his experience watching the Pageant, “I sat in the audience that night and was amazed. We had immature young people acting with almost no training and very limited preparation. The rehearsals had been very disappointing. But that night the actors performed with a cohesion and wholeness that hadn’t been there before. You could feel a power that moved them. We were all deeply touched by what happened there.” (Harold I. Hansen, HILL CUMORAH PAGEANT CELEBRATES FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY, Ensign, July 1987)
 Such is the experience today; very few cast members have acting or theatre experience. But what we did have is a testimony of the sacred events that took place at the Hill.
With a missionary tool as amazing as the Hill Cumorah Pageant, Satan is not going to just let it carry on without somehow trying to interfere. Cue the anti-Mormons (or anti-Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I guess is how President Nelson is asking us to put it). The protestors were there everyday, all day, trying to persuade the visitors to listen to their message. The bullhorns were loud and the giant sign on the back of a flatbed truck that they drove continuously back and forth on the road in front of the Hill could not be ignored. While many seemed bothered by them and wished they would go away, I had a different perspective.
Back when I was serving my mission, we received many Pageant referrals. As a missionary, these referrals were like gifts from heaven. These were people who had reached out and wanted us to come knocking on their doors to tell them more about the Gospel. I was serving in the Warsaw area when we received a referral for a lady named Barb Hackemer. I immediately called the number on the referral and when Barb answered, I identified myself as a sister missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I asked her when would be a convenient time for us to come by to deliver the copy of the Book of Mormon she had requested. Barb’s response went something like this, “Yes, I am really interested in talking with you about the information I received from the people who were across the road from the Hill Cumorah. I have a lot of questions from these pamphlets they gave me.” I went from being ecstatic to the depths of fear in an instant. I can assure you there was much prayer and preparation as my companion I prepared for our appointment with Barb. Was my hand shaking as I reached out to knock on her door that day? Probably. We had no idea what falsehoods and outright lies were contained in the literature Barb had been reading. But we also knew Heavenly Father was going to help us out. As Barb invited us in, the first thing she said was, “I can’t find those pamphlets anywhere! I’ve asked my husband and kids, no one knows where they could have gone.” I couldn’t believe our prayers were answered in such a direct way, but the better part of the story is that we were able to teach Barb starting out in a positive way versus having to defend all of the untruths she had been reading.
Barb was later baptized. She went on to serve in the Relief Society presidency in the Warsaw branch and was endowed in the Toronto temple. I don’t think I’m the only missionary to have the experience of meeting someone on their mission and to and feel very deeply that they knew each other in the pre-mortal existence and were meant to find each other in mortality. My artistic companion even gave me a drawing that showed Barb and I sitting on clouds as if in the pre-mortal world working out the details of how we were going to find each other on Earth.
 When I’d hear the anti-Mormons yelling and people getting riled up about their antics, I just kept thinking, “Carry on! You’re just preparing our future members to have questions and want to learn more about the Gospel.” Don’t you just love the Lord’s way? When you’re on the Lord’s team, you always win. Elder Holland teaches, "The future of this world has long been declared; the final outcome between good and evil is already known. There is absolutely no question as to who wins because the victory has already been posted on the scoreboard.”
Another highlight for me this summer was being able to meet up with Barb’s daughter, Jill, one night when she came to watch the Pageant. Barb passed away from cancer about five years ago. I like to think she was given a little peek from the spirit world to see Jill and I reunited there at the Pageant where Barb’s path to receiving the truths of the gospel all began.
There is a lot of staff that are needed to make Pageant happen – directors, costume designers, tech people, prop master, and many more. There is one group of people that are especially important. There is a group of 26 young men, ages 17 to 19 that serve as the work crew for the Pageant. For the month that they are there, these young men live missionary standards. Rather than wearing white shirts and ties, the work crew wears dark shirts and denim pants. Before the cast arrives, they prepare the area for the pageant. They assemble eight gigantic outdoor stages on the side of the hill. They set off live fireballs and operate a 24-foot waterfall and water curtains. They provide the flames when Abinadi is martyred and create the destructions scene with water cannons and smoke before the Savior’s visit. They climb 50-foot light towers to shine the spotlight on the actors as they move around the stage. To sum up, their work is what really makes the Pageant a spectacular production. But even more significant to me is the fact that they are never on stage. They are never even seen as they wear dark clothes and their goal is to remain out of sight. Those that work the hardest never have the spotlight shining on them; they are busy shining the lights on others.
No matter if we’re on the stage of life with bright spotlights shining on us or in dark clothes out of sight under the stage, each role is important, each role is significant. President Spencer W. Kimball taught, “Before we came to earth, we were given certain assignmentswhile we do not now remember the particulars, this does not alter the glorious reality of what we once agreed to do.” (The Role of Righteous Women, November 1979) Elder John Pingree also taught, “What an ennobling truth! Our Heavenly Father has specific and significant things for you and me to accomplish. These divine assignments are not reserved for a privileged few but are for all of us – regardless of gender, age, race, nationality, income level, social status, or Church calling. Everyone of us has a meaningful role to play in the furthering of God’s work.” (I Have a Work for Thee, John C. Pingree, October 2017)
The Lord has always used ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things. Our beloved prophet, President Nelson, explained it this way, ““The Lord has more in mind for you than you have in mind for yourself! You have been reserved and preserved for this time and place. The Lord needs you to change the world. As you accept and follow His will for you, you will find yourself accomplishing the impossible.” (You Can Accomplish the Impossible, Nelson, New Era, March 2018)
Satan is especially great at convincing us that our work is much less valuable than work assigned to others. Satan may also tempt us to take credit for our accomplishments. Like the Savior, we should deflect personal praise and glorify the Father. When a reporter was trying to recognize Mother Theresa for her life’s mission to help the poor, she said, “It’s [God’s] work. I am like a … pencil in his hand. … He does the thinking. He does the writing. The pencil has nothing to do with it. The pencil has only to be allowed to be used.” (I Have a Work for Thee, John C. Pingree, October 2017)
Like the boys have already mentioned, the New World scene when the Savior appears is a very tender and touching experience. After the destruction scenes with all of its devastation, to have it suddenly go completely quiet and totally dark, and then to hear the voice of our Father in Heaven declare, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” A spotlight then shines on the man portraying the Savior who is far above the stage on a platform and is in the whitest robe you can imagine, almost looking like it’s glowing. From horror to peace in just moments. The cast is assigned to come onto the stage in different locations based on what scene they are in. Asher and I were in the same scene, so we were able to enter the stage together, find our spot on the stage, and sit to listen to the Savior as He spoke. After a couple of days of rehearsal, Eli told me that he thought if he was quick, he could make it over to where Asher and I were so that we could sit together. My mother heart was touched by the fact that my 14 year old wanted to be near me during this spiritual experience. As a mother, I could sense that urgency of wanting to have my entire family together when the day comes that we are sitting at the feet of the Savior when He comes again.
I’d like to talk for a minute about the sacred place that is the Hill Cumorah and why it is hallowed ground. President Marion G. Romney shared his experience he had back in 1975, “In the western part of the state of New York near Palmyra is a prominent hill known as the “hill Cumorah.” On July twenty-fifth of this year, as I stood on the crest of that hill admiring with awe the breathtaking panorama which stretched out before me on every hand, my mind reverted to the events which occurred in that vicinity some twenty-five centuries ago—events which brought to an end the great Jaredite nation.”
         He goes on to describe those events found in Ether 15, including how the war had resulted in two million mighty men, women and children being slain by the sword. Thus perished at the foot of Cumorah the remnant of the once mighty Jaredite nation, of whom the Lord had said, “There shall be none greater … upon all the face of the earth.”
President Romney goes on to say, “As I contemplated this tragic scene from the crest of Cumorah and viewed the beautiful land of the Restoration as it appears today, I cried in my soul, “How could it have happened?” (America’s Destiny, October 1975)
This, unfortunately, was not the only group of people divinely led to this land to grow in righteousness and be a mighty nation and to then deteriorate in wickedness until they are swept off. The Nephites also flourished in America. Their civilization came to an end for the same reason, at the same place, and in the same manner as did the Jaredites.
In Mormon 6 we read the words of Mormon, “And now, I finish my record concerning the destruction of my people, the Nephites.” He talks about being on the top of the hill Cumorah, and seeing 230,000 of his people who were hewn down, … “And my soul was rent with anguish, … and I cried:
“O ye fair ones, how could ye have departed from the ways of the Lord! … How could ye have rejected that Jesus, who stood with open arms to receive you!”
Moroni went on to write a little later: “Behold I, Moroni, do finish the record of my father, Mormon… after the great and tremendous battle at Cumorah, … I remain alone to write the sad tale of the destruction of my people.”
When he finished the record, Moroni hid it in that same Hill Cumorah which was their battlefield.
There at the base of Cumorah, two mighty nations were lost. Lost because they did not heed the words of the Lord that warned them over and over again that if they were not obedient, they would be swept off. As overwhelming as it is to think of just how many lives were lost because of disobedience, we can rejoice in the miracle that did take place many years later.
That same Moroni was able to visit young Joseph Smith and begin the process of bringing forth the Book of Mormon, whose message could help us avoid a similar fate of that of the Jaredite and Nephite nations. A book whose message could help all who read it come to know their Savior and how to avoid the pitfalls that lead to sin and utter destruction. Elder Mark E. Petersen said, “We declare our solemn testimony to all mankind that, indeed, Moroni did come! It is a fact, a firm and unshakable truth. Moroni came!”

Torleif Knaphus, who approached Church leaders with a proposal for a monument in honor of the angel Moroni, recorder in his journal the reverence that he felt of the place “where heavenly beings had walked and talked to man in this modern time.” Even as the landscape changes, Cumorah remains an abiding and powerful witness of the Restoration of the gospel in our time. (Reclaiming Hill Cumorah,, Curtis Ashton, 18 April 2014)


         Good morning Brothers and Sisters. My name is Oakley Beeson and I have been asked to speak about my experience at the Hill Cumorah Pageant this summer. When my mom told me last December that our family had been accepted to be in the Pageant, I didn’t want to go. It was going to be a lot of hard work, I didn’t want to be gone for 3 weeks, and I wouldn’t know anyone there. My mom kept telling me what a good experience she had when she did it, but I wasn’t convinced. My free agency was taken away and I was forced to go.
         When I saw the daily schedule, I was not excited. We had to be there really early and stay there late into the night and repeat the process day after day. The first night we were there, everyone in the cast was assigned their parts. For my part, I had to get in a line with all of teenage boys and perform a battle choreography that one of the assistant directors taught us. We had to learn the battle sequence in just a few minutes and perform over and over and over again until all of the battlemen parts had been assigned. I was given the part of a Lamanite Battleman and appeared in the battle scenes where the Lamanite and Nephites fought, with Wicked King Noah, and the final battle where the Nephites were destroyed. Part of my responsibility as a battleman was to choreograph my own fight with my partner. The person who was in charge of all the battlemen was called the battle master. He taught us the basics of stage combat, but let us come up with our own fight.
         The first scene that I appeared in was a battle between the Nephites and Lamanites shortly after Nephi and Laman separated. The battle scenes were like the war between good and evil. Good will prevail in the end, just like the Nephites did in my scene. In my next scene I helped burn King Noah. This scene shows how the Lord keeps His promises. Abinadi was burned because he told King Noah how he and his people needed to repent and change their ways. Abinadi told King Noah he would suffer the same death and he did. Later, King Noah and his people were taken over by the Lamanites. King Noah was burned just as Abinadi said would happen.
The next scene I appeared in was when Christ came to visit the people in America. This scene was different than the other scenes I was in. My other scenes were all about war and destruction, but this scene was about the Savior and peace. Before the Savior comes, there is darkness and destruction. Suddenly it all stops and you hear His voice and see Him standing above you. He is a light in the darkness. This shows how Jesus is the Light of World. When you are surrounded by darkness, you can still see and focus on Jesus. The spirit was really strong during this scene. We were portraying what it would be like if the Savior really appeared.
At the Pageant, you are assigned to a group of people your age. This group is your cast team. There are 2 couples over each cast team. They come up with things to do and they help make your Pageant experience better. There was a strong sense of being united because we were all there for the same reason – to spread the message about the Book of Mormon. Each day when we would have a devotional by someone in our cast team, those devotionals were good because you gained new insights from different people and it helped everyone to feel the spirit.
Another thing we did as a cast team was service. One day we went and performed service in the community. We went to a junior high school and helped clean out lockers. It felt good to help out the school so they didn’t have to pay someone to do all of the work. It also helps others to see the church as wanting to help and to do good.
One of our responsibilities as cast members was to greet people as they came to watch the Pageant. Because I was 16, I was allowed to be an Alma Greeter. The responsibilities of an Alma Greeter were to talk to people as they found their seats and see if they were interested in learning more about the message the Pageant portrays. Our goal was to have them fill out a referral card and have missionaries come to their home. As Alma Greeters, we were given special training on how to talk to people and invite them to learn more. One of my companions was a return missionary. Having a return missionary as a companion was a blessing because he helped lead the discussions. We were able to have people fill out a referral card to have the missionaries deliver a Book of Mormon to their home. Because I personally know the blessings of being a member of the church and having a testimony of the Book of Mormon, it felt good to be able to give that chance to someone else.

HCP Talk

            Hello, my name is Eli Beeson and my family and I were asked to give a talk on our experience in the Hill Cumorah Pageant. When my Mom first applied to try to get in, I was not that happy. I didn’t want to give up almost a third of my summer to be outside all day in 90 percent humidity.

When we first got there we got a house a few minutes away from the Hill so it was nice to get out of the heat and eat good food. Every day we had to be at the Hill at 8:30 in the morning and I was not super glad. I like to sleep in, so getting up early for three weeks in summer wasn’t exactly grand. But I realized getting up early was good because of the experience I was having at Pageant.

When we got to the Hill, we would always have a morning devotional. We would start with a song and a prayer and then someone in the cast would speak to us about a spiritual experience they had. Then we would talk about the rehearsal schedule for the day. After devotional, it was time for cast teams. Cast teams are a group of youth your age that we spent all day, every day with. There were 18 youth from all over the country in my cast team. We had 2 couples that were out cast team leaders, the Switzers and the Ures. We did a community service project once at a college research center. They had us trim trees and pull a lot of weeds. When I heard we would be weeding, I was not exactly that happy because weeding is my least favorite thing. When we got there, and started all working together, it went by really fast. There were about 20 cast teams at Pageant and each of them performed a service project in the community.

We were with our cast teams from 9:00 in the morning until 9:30 at night unless we were rehearsing. I liked being in my cast team because everyone got along and had the same standards as me. We could talk about spiritual experiences. Because we were dedicating our time to serving the Lord, we often felt the spirit. We were united in sharing the gospel through the Pageant.

I had 2 parts in the Pageant. One was an Unbeliever in the scene where Nephi talks to the people and telling them that the Savior would be coming soon. Our mob leader told him that he was going to be put to death because the sign hadn’t come. Right before he’s about to be killed, a new star appears and we drop to our knees. Nephi then tells everyone how the Savior loves them and will forgive them. Nephi then helps people up who have fallen to their knees. Then the lights go off and the destruction scene begins. This is when my second part, a Destruction Victim, begins. We run on stage and pretend to get blown up by explosions, fire, boulders, and water cannons being shot off. When everyone is dead on the stage the lights turn off again. We run off stage and get in line for our part in the New World scene. The New World scene is when Jesus Christ appears to the people in the Americas. When it’s still dark, you hear the Saviors voice saying He is the Son of Heavenly Father and he is the Light and Life of the World. Then a bright spotlight shines on the actor portraying the Savior who is in a very bright white robe. He is on a platform high above the stage. As he is lowered down to the stage, every member of the Pageant cast, all 800 of us, walked slowly onto the stage with their eyes focused on the Savior and listening to His words. Then we walk to our spots and sit down and listen to the Savior. On one of the last performance nights, as the Savior is walking down and talking to the children, the Spirit struck me so strongly I was close to tears. I realized how much the Savior loves every single one of us, no matter the past mistakes we’ve made as long as we repent and turn towards Him. The difference the between when the destruction was going on and the Savior’s soft voice was speaking to all of us was huge. From running around frantically in the destruction to sitting down and listening to the Savior’s words the spirit could be felt be everyone. During the last part of the scene, when the Savior says, “Now I go unto the Father,” and starts to get raised up by the platform, we all get on our knees and reach out towards Him, acting like we don’t want Him to leave. If the Savior were really here and talking to all of us, I wouldn’t want Him to leave either.
Hello, my name is Asher Beeson. I’m going to tell you about my experience at the Hill Cumorah Pageant this year. My part was an Alma Convert child. My Mom and I got to be in the scene together. Alma was the only one of King Noah’s priests who believed Abinadi’s words. He fled because the King was threatening to kill him. My scene is when Alma baptizes the believers at the Waters of Mormon. Our director, Shelby, always told us to be happy and joyful and smiling. My Mom and I were the only righteous believer in our family. My Dad and brothers all had wicked parts. I felt very good during this scene because I knew it actually happened and I had a flash back of when I was baptized and how good I felt.
My cast team was twelve 11 year-old-boys and only 4 leaders. It must have been hard to keep track of that many 11-year-old boys from morning till night for 3 weeks. We had a lot of amazing times together flying kites, playing mini basketball, playing football, and especially have Nerf gun wars in the basement of the Hill Cumorah visitors center. We also had a lot of spiritual experiences together. Our leaders had daily devotionals where they talked about how they got baptized, how they felt about being chosen as cast team leaders, where they went on their missions, and what they did on their missions. Our cast team leaders where the Shumways and Kugaths. I know that if we had any other leaders my experience would have been so different because they were a perfect example of how we should all be.
I was a Lehi Greeter, so I went out with my family in our costumes before the Pageant started. We would greet people and see if we could help them find seats and carry any of their blankets or chairs. I remember a girl we met and how excited she was to see the Pageant. She was 12 years old but had a disorder so she was really small, like the size of a six year old. She kept talking really fast and had such a big smile on her face. It was fun to meet so many people and hear about why they were coming to see the Pageant. Most people were not members of the church, but I hoped that the spirit of the Pageant would touch them and they would want to learn more about the Book of Mormon.
When it’s time for Pageant to start, The Spirit of God plays over the loudspeaker. This is the cue for the cast who is out greeting people to line up behind their assigned banner out in the aisles. My Mom had two ladies, Debbie and Nancy, with Down Syndrome in her cast team. She helped them get lined up when it was time and help them march onto the stage. Debbie and Nancy will have perfect bodies after the resurrection and have a special place in the Celestial Kingdom. I was lucky to get to know them.
At 5:30 every night of Pageant, my Dad and I would go to the dressing room. There are 5 different dressing rooms because there are so many costumes. The costumes were very nice, except all of the men had to wear skirts. At the end of the performance, everyone would try and rush to the dressing room to get out of their costumes because the lines would get very long. I ended end ripping my skirt doing this.
We had to be at the Hill dawn until dusk and it was really hard work. It was hot and humid in New York. When we finally had our P-day, I was really looking forward to some rest. Even though it was really hard, I know that I have a better understanding of the Book of Mormon and the gospel. I know that this experience helped prepare me for when I’m a missionary in 6 years. Sharing the message of the Book of Mormon with people who hadn’t heard of it before helped me to feel the Spirit and I knew I was doing what Heavenly Father wanted me to do.


Hill Cumorah Talk:
A. Thanks to Terah for having foresight and diligence to pursue good things for our family.
a. Fathers tend to focus on work and providing for family
b. Sometimes the best way to "provide" is to allow family to have experiences rather
than simply making money and putting food on table
c. The best food is often times spiritual
B. So we do these activities and have these experiences, but to what end – why – what’s the
intended takeaway?
a. YWYM camps
b. Great high adventure mtb trip
c. Beaver High Adventure camp and flies in the trees
d. EFY
e. General Conference
C. These activities help us strengthen our foundation in Christ. Think of the strength that
comes from reinforcing these beautiful principals.
a. D&C 19:23 (The Lord speaking to Martin Harris regarding selling of his property to
fund printing of BOM, which was causing Martin difficulty - This year’s Mutual
i. 23 Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my
Spirit, and you shall have peace in me.
ii. Reflect on many times we feel this “peace in Christ” during
activities/meetings – we don’t want to leave when it’s over
D. One such experience is recounted in Mosiah when King Benjamin called upon all to
assemble at the temple. Must have been exciting – all gathered with a common purpose of
heart to hear their prophet and King. Similarities to Zion’s Camp (tents, refirgerators, A/C
units, etc). Listen to how the people felt after King Benjamin sent messengers to assess
the effectiveness of his message:
a. Mosiah 5:2
i. And they all cried with one voice, saying: Yea, we believe all the words which
thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because
of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in
us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do
good continually.
b. Hill Cumorah experience was such an experience for our family. We didn’t want
the experience to end. I truly felt like I was purified by the Spirit and had a change of
heart and wanted to do good continually
i. No yelling, most patient father, no KSL classifieds, best husband every
ii. So frustrating when we can’t keep the Spirit and motivation to change
c. Unfortunately – these feelings usually don’t last – we loose our focus and revert
back to our normal selves:
E. The object lesson I learned from the Third Nephi rehearsal scene experience
a. Explain logistics of the scene and Brother Hansen
i. Everybody on-stage and in position in 45 seconds – 800 people
ii. "Everybody must be able to see the actor portraying Christ"
iii. I thought, "what's the big deal…."
iv. "Let no obstacle come between you and your sight of the Savior"
v. “If necessary, move until you can see the actor portraying the Savior"
vi. So many things during that moment were distracting- as in life:
1. Hot, hungry, sweaty, lots of kids, looking at the stage
2. KSL classifieds, social media, consumerism, our egos,
b. Brother Hansen’s directions sounded a lot like the Lord’s admonition in D&C
6:36 (Revelation given to Joseph and Oliver as they were beginning their translation
of BOM)
i. “Look unto me in every though, doubt not, fear not.”
c. Explain my experience during first dress rehearsal and subsequent shows
i. Peace like I’ve never felt before
ii. The most pure, clean, humble feeling I’ve ever felt
d. Why did I feel this way – I removed myself from distractions and obstacles and
focused 100% on Christ
F. I’d like to take a few minutes and talk about how this concept literally saved the life of a
great aircraft mechanic, Joe.
a. Paint picture of Joe (quiet, no tact, a little grumpy, always tread lightly until you
figure out his mood, don’t ever ask “how long”)
b. "I was in the toilet - rock bottom". I was actually plotting specific aspects of
suicide. "I'm a totally different person now"
c. "I fixed the link between myself and God" (whiteboard drawing)
i. I’m whole again, I’m a totally different person
d. Joe figured out where to look and it literally saved his life
e. This was such a riveting experience that Joe wrote a book about his experience.
f. Alma 36:3 (Alma's fatherly advice to his son, Helaman)
i. "…for I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be
supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be
lifted up at the last day."
g. John 10:10 …I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more
i. Joe is enjoying the promise of the Savior and “having it more abundantly”
h. Elder Utdorf quote from conference:
i. The good news is, there is hope. There is a solution to the emptiness, vanity,
and Weltschmerz of life. There is a solution to even the deepest hopelessness
and discouragement you might feel. This hope is found in the transformative
power of the gospel of Jesus Christ and in the Savior’s redemptive power to
heal us of our soul-sickness.
G. President Nelson’s talk from April '17 conference paints a great image of how we
should strive to have Christ in our lives
a. When you reach up for the Lord’s power in your life with the same intensity that a
drowning person has when grasping and gasping for air, power from Jesus Christ will
be yours. When the Savior knows you truly want to reach up to Him—when He can
feel that the greatest desire of your heart is to draw His power into your life—you will
be led by the Holy Ghost to know exactly what you should do.
H. Explain how everybody reached for Savior when he left the scene – it’s a feeling we
didn’t want to go away.
I. Close with testimony
a. Explain my difficulties with testimony of Joseph Smith scene.
i. Where was that intense burning that I’d felt before?
ii. Then once Christ reappeared, that feeling returned
b. Moroni 7:5 For I remember the word of God which saith by their works ye shall
know them; for if their works be good, then they are good also.
c. Joseph Smith was asked, “What are the fundamental principles of your
religion?” He answered: “The fundamental principles of our religion are the
testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He
died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven;
and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it.”
(Documentary History of the Church, vol. 3, p. 30.)
J. If we truly strive to remove any obstacles blocking our “view of Christ”, I add my
promise that we will find true peace in our lives.
L. Gospel is not simply an intellectual endeavor - it requires action/work –
Believe/Love/Do If I return from these activities and don't make a change then was it as
effective as it should have been?
a. Matt 25:35-40 (Jesus giving parables of sheep and goats)
i. 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me
drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
ii. 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison,
and ye came unto me.
iii. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an
hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
iv. 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed
v. 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
vi. 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you,
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye
have done it unto me.
b. Acts 10:38 (Jesus went about doing good)
c. Rex D Pinegar:
i. Perhaps the greatest of Christian acts are those we never hear about. They are
deeds done quietly, spontaneously, anonymously, without expectation of
recognition or compensation. Christian acts begin with Christlike thoughts in
our hearts. Then, Christ’s teachings and His characteristics will be reflected
naturally in our actions. Soon, there will be more friendly smiles, more kindly
words, more courteous responses from us—all seemingly small, insignificant
acts, yet they can have a great impact in all our lives and the lives of those
around us.
If lots of time left:
d. Matthew 11:28-30 (Jesus had just finished rebuking residents of some cities that
didn’t accept John the Baptist’s teachings)
i. 28 ¶ Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will
give you rest.
ii. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I
am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
iii. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.