Dad, Do You Know Jesus?

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Elder ZwickDevotional Talk Given at
Brigham Young University–Hawaii

April 15, 2008
Elder W. Craig Zwick
First Quorum of the Seventy

My dear brothers and sisters, aloha.

That means a lot to me, and I know it means a lot to you. I'd like you to know that to be here today is our choice. There are a lot of places we could be today but nowhere that means anymore to us than to be here with you. I am very impressed that with finals imminently upon us, anyone came at all. It's an indication of your obedience. It's an indication of your love for the Lord. It's an indication of your desire to expand those very sacred gifts that are God-given. We are honored to be here with you. We are also very privileged to be flanked on the podium by one who presides over a sacred temple, and his wife, who is matron of that temple, and to live within the shadows of the beautiful Laie Temple. Hawaii is a beautiful spot, and many have experienced sacred occurrences here. I want you to be included in that circle of experiences. I am grateful also, not just for being here with the Workman's and with my precious companion who has a very pure heart and who has endured me for almost 40 years of marriage, but also to tell you that if you will watch closely the example set by President and Sister Wheelwright, you will gain something of as much value as all of your secular learning combined. They have spiritual gifts that they're willing to share with each other, and in a very devoted way, share with you.

Not long ago it was our experience to be in our car on a small road trip into southern Utah. And on that experience, our oldest son Scott, about whom Sister Zwick has shared with you already, accompanied us. As many of you know, Scott cannot read or write. He has a circle of friends, but in his work every day and in his yearning to be with family, he loves to just be captured and have all our attention given to him in an automobile. On this occasion, which was a small road trip, we started and Scott's personality is such that he is always asking a lot of questions. If he were here today, he would ask you individually a lot of questions that mattered to him, and then he would never forget the detail of that. But on this occasion, instead of being very talkative, he became very pensive and quiet. And after we had been in the car for less than an hour, we observed that he was looking out of the window and was very quiet but thinking, and then he said, "Dad, do you know Jesus?" A powerful question, powerful to recognize that part of life's purpose and the fullness of joy that we can experience here in mortality has so much to do with knowing Jesus. We were in His presence. We were in the presence pre-mortally of God the Father. We undoubtedly shed tears of joy and separation when we left there and made our own choice to come to Earth. Heavenly Father appointed a Savior to redeem us. Let me share from 2 Nephi, chapter 25, verse 20: "As the Lord God liveth, there is none other name given under Heaven, save it be this Jesus Christ, of which I have spoken, whereby man can be saved." In the fifth chapter of Helaman, in verse 12 we learn something about the powerful foundation of Jesus Christ. "And now my Sons and Daughters, remember," once again, "Remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation."

My question for you this morning is, "What is a sure foundation?" Before my calling as a General Authority, for many years I owned and operated a commercial construction company. One of the projects we completed was the Portland, Oregon Temple. When we moved onto that site to develop the foundation of the Temple, they were experiencing in Oregon the most torrential rain they had ever experienced. Unexpectedly, and not uncommon, were nine inches of rain in a single day. Now in Hawaii we can deal with that, but in Oregon, to build a structure as significant as the Portland Temple, it required secure anchorage, even down to that basalt layer, and a common foundation would not have been adequate. The saturated soils would not accept the bearing of the building. So there was an adjustment made in the entire design because of the super-saturation that year and potentially later, and pilings were drilled all the way to "zero-resistance." That is, to bedrock, to the basalt layer. And then it was on that solid foundation that the Temple was built. That adjustment was critical. I submit this morning that now may be the time for you to make, even if they are minor, adjustments in your own foundation, such that you might be so properly anchored, that your pattern of integrity and your pattern of structural design spiritually will never fail. That is, the whiles of the devil, or any seismic motion in your life will have no impact or capacity to destroy you. Some of the ways you might decide today to strengthen your foundation might be as simple as to complete you education, to not waver, to not just take it one course at a time without a clearly defined ending point of performance. Maybe that would include a slight adjustment to your foundation that would include better use of the whole day. Maybe it would include something along the lines of a better work habit or better study habits. Question: how then, can we build our lives upon a sure foundation of Jesus Christ. I'd like to expand in a few minutes in four critical areas that we might better identify our condition today to what we might be willing to adjust a little later, or even now, in creating and strengthening a sure foundation.

First, we must seek the companionship of the Holy Ghost. I think the key element is to listen. Point one, then, would be to listen as the Holy Ghost would testify of Christ and give you greater clarity of your own necessary adjustments. In the book of John chapter 15, verse 26, "When the comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the spirit of truth which preceedeth from the father, He shall testify of me." Those are words of the Savior, Jesus Christ, the very sure foundation encouraging us to know Him better by listening and responding to the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost gives insightful understanding into the attributes of Jesus Christ, and as you listen and study that more, you will gain an even greater witness of the Savior.

Second point: nurture your faith with daily prayer and daily scripture study. So as the first element was listen, the second would be nurture. Something that's already been mentioned in the meeting today, that we might nurture one another, that we might do it daily and with clarity of heart. I am grateful that in the fifth chapter of John, in verse 39 we get clear instruction, "Search the scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life and they are they which testify of me." Once again, the Savior's own indication for making an adjustment: search the scriptures. Reference was made in the beautiful song today, "Ponder to know, and you will know." In the third chapter of Helaman, a very faithful people of Zarahemla are taught a very clear principle. That principle of a pure heart and yielding their hearts to God; but it happens a little at a time. The result isn't instant sanctification for reading the scriptures during just an Institute class, but it requires daily pondering and daily prayer and daily engagement with these sacred books. Nevertheless, these faithful people of Zarahemla did fast and pray often, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in their faith of Christ, until filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea even to the purifying and sanctification of their hearts. The result came with daily searching; the result truly came when they depended upon the Savior Himself.

Forty-one years ago in 1967, my assignment was to be a missionary in a tiny little village called Chacopampa, Bolivia. One companion with me, one little adobe home, an entire city, large fields to cultivate, but very little experience by two faithful missionaries. We learned from the people. We did our very best. Yes, we prayed and sought counsel from the scriptures daily as you did as missionaries, also. But on one occasion, late in the evening, we got a knock on the door of our adobe home. A faithful brother, not a member of our faith but one we had known in the community, was not purely identifiable because his whole face and body were covered in blood. As we opened the door and saw Miguel standing there, we invited him in. We could quickly see that his head had been cut severely, from one ear across his forehead, clear down his neck across the other side, and his scalp was just flopping on his head. We had never seen anything like it before, and didn't know what to do. I'd had a little first aid experience, but the two of us were very dependent on the Lord for guidance, and all we could do was pray for His help. If we hadn't made some adjustment, even prior to that, we probably wouldn't have even had a first aid kit. We opened it, for the first time, and found right on the top a little vile of zylocain to numb the wound. A little, almost like fishing line, to sew up the wound, and that's what we did. We stitched Miguel's head, much like my only experience in repairing a softball, and that's kind of what I did, as we stitched his head and he appreciated that dependency on the Savior that was ours, and his life was saved. Not because of the preparation or experience of two missionaries, but because his future in that first branch of Chacopampa was so critical. Nurture.

Third, keep the commandments; clear, clean thoughts. Know that you know what is expected of you, and then as you gain deeper insight as to what is required, be prepared and qualified to follow that direction. You will become more like Him as you keep the commandments. In fact, Alma says as we ponder and pray and do these earlier things, we actually receive His image--that is, the image of the Savior in our countenance. Question: how do you feel when you're obedient? I know that there are temptations all around us here. I heard something this weekend about kava. I have heard something this weekend about challenges with internet pornography. Those are not new. Those are not temptations that have just been created. We must, however, be faithful, and we must cure our own foundation, that is, prepare our own foundation by worthily partaking of the Sacrament each week. There is, in fact, protection in all of the ordinances, and we must participate worthily. I am grateful for this scripture in 1 John 2:3, "And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments." Do you know that you know?

Fourth, follow the prophets. It has been all of our sacred privilege these past few weeks as we shared in a solemn assembly, raising arms in the Priesthood quorums and in bodies of women and men all over the globe supporting President Thomas Spencer Monson as Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, supporting Henry B. Eyring and Dieter F. Uchtdorf, supporting President Boyd Kenneth Packer as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and all other members. In fact, with our hearts and our hands, with testifying affect to our mind and our hearts, we all know. Together we know that the Lord has prepared these 15 men. I witness that's true. Question: during the solemn assembly, what entered your mind and heart? Think about that. Follow the prophet.

Last night as I thought about being here with you and even this morning, I created a promise. It's sacred; it's for you. It came in the wee hours of this morning. Here's the promise: your foundation will not fail when you are diligent in following the prophets. I repeat: your foundation will not fail when you are diligent in following the prophets.

In closing, allow me to repeat: listen, nurture, keep, follow. I return to the question, "Dad, do you know Jesus?" Yes, Scott, I know my Savior, with fervency of heart, my trusted brothers and sisters of this very, very special land. Represented in you are cultures and communities from all over this globe. I join with you, "Yes, I know my Savior." And this morning I bear witness to you that he lives and knows you, in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.