Friday, February 4, 2011

Words That Changed The World

In Sacrament Meeting the other week we sang hymn 26, Joseph Smith's First Prayer. I have always loved this hymn. But for some reason, this particular day, it touched me in a very powerful way.

We were visiting a ward in San Antonio. The building was obviously not a new building. I would guess it was at least 30 years old, maybe older. What made this building special was the pipe organ. The metal pipes were mounted near the ceiling at the front of the chapel, standing like a small, shiny choir before the congregation.

The organist was very talented. He had played beautiful prelude and each hymn was like singing with angels.

I was thinking about what a difference it makes to have this beautiful accompaniment. I noticed how different a real pipe organ sounds, how full the notes are, how much meaning it adds to the words.

I thought of what an amazing gift beautiful music is. I reflected on the many times music has brought the Spirit and how much stronger the message of a song is when the music supports it.

Suddenly, we were on the fourth verse of the hymn.
“Joseph, this is my Beloved;
Hear him!” Oh, how sweet the word!
Joseph’s humble prayer was answered,
And he listened to the Lord.
Oh, what rapture filled his bosom,
For he saw the living God! 
I could not get the words out. The phrase "Oh, how sweet the word!" hit me like a landslide. The power of that moment, the impact it had on MILLIONS of lives, suddenly overwhelmed me. My mind flashed through other truths that were restored in that moment; the nature of God, the reality of the Atonement and Resurrection of Christ, the loss of the fullness of the gospel and loss of priesthood authority and the inevitability of the Restoration of that fullnes and power.

Then came the next line, "Joseph's humble prayer was answered". The truth that GOD ANSWERS PRAYERS was confirmed to me once again.

Then the line "he listened to the Lord". I thought of all the blessings that are possible because of Joseph Smith's obedience. I also thought of the BILLIONS of people who have no clue. They are missing out...big time.

All of this happened during that one verse. I was trying very hard not to cry as I was flooded with feelings of gratitude and humility.

The theme of the meeting was missionary work. A young man was leaving that week for his mission. There was a special musical number called "How Can I Be". I thought of the men named in the song and the sacrifices they made to bring the truth to others. I felt a renewed desire to share what I know.  It is almost a desperation sometimes. I have those moments more and more.

I have always had a testimony of the gospel. I have spent my life learning and trying to strengthen that knowledge and understanding. The Lord has not failed to guide me and inspire me in my search. In the past few years I have started to feel like a child with a bag of candy that I won't share with the other kids. I feel selfish and immature when I keep my mouth shut. I have felt some not so gentle nudges to reach out to others, to tell them what I have learned.

I thought of Joseph Smith. I thought of the sacrifices he made throughout his short life to bring forth as much truth and knowledge as possible. He made those sacrifices for me. He knew...KNEW... that we have a loving Father in Heaven. He knew that Jesus Christ is his Son and Savior of the world. He didn't guess or speculate or reach a conclusion.


And he didn't keep that to himself. He risked his life and the lives of his family and friends to share his knowledge with the world. He sealed that truth with his life.

He did that for me. Did he know me? Did he know that someday I would be born and need to rely on these truths? Did he know how much comfort I would have in the teachings of the Book of Mormon? Did he know that I would find strength in knowledge that came from his sacrifices?

The answer is yes.  Joseph Smith may not have known me personally, but he knew that someday very soon the children of God would be in desperate need of that truth. He knew we would need strong anchors to hold us in place as the migthy storms of the adversary raged around us. How did he know?

It comes back to those few sweet words; "Joseph. This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him". Those were the words that started it all. The words aht changed the world. I don't know exactly what the author of that hymn meant. Did he mean the words were sweet to Joseph or to himself? Maybe both. All I know for sure is that they are very sweet words to me.

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