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D. Todd Christofferson
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Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

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I have a special reverence and appreciation for Mary Magdalene. This blessed woman was the first mortal to see and speak to the resurrected Christ. Later He appeared to others, but she was the first.

At that moment the resurrected Savior, standing behind her, spoke, “Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.”

Elder James E. Talmage wrote: “One word from His living lips changed her agonized grief into ecstatic joy. ‘Jesus saith unto her, Mary.’ The voice, the tone, the tender accent she had heard and loved in the earlier days lifted her from the despairing depths into which she had sunk. She turned, and saw the Lord. In a transport of joy she reached out her arms to embrace Him, uttering only the endearing and worshipful word, ‘Rabboni,’ meaning My beloved Master.”

I believe in her pure and simple witness of Jesus Christ, along with the many other witnesses of the Savior’s Resurrection. I believe Peter and his companions of the Twelve. I believe the testimonies found in the Book of Mormon—of Nephi the Apostle with the unnamed multitude in the land Bountiful, among others. And I believe the testimony of Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon who, after many other testimonies, proclaimed the great witness of this last dispensation “that he lives! For we saw him.”

Under the glance of His all-seeing eye, I stand myself as a witness that Jesus of Nazareth is the resurrected Redeemer. I testify of all that follows from the fact of His Resurrection. I pray that you may receive the conviction and comfort of that same witness.
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Last week I had the privilege of speaking to a wonderful group of single adults. These are some of the thoughts I expressed:

Some of you may have wondered about the value and significance of your life and what the Lord thinks of you. There are things that may have happened or may not have happened in your life. You may worry about parts of your patriarchal blessing that are not yet fulfilled or it seems will not be fulfilled. Please know there is a great deal still to happen in your life before your resurrection. Much more can happen than you expect! Mortal life is not the beginning or the end. The key for all of us is to accomplish all that we can now.

Remember “the word” that Alma taught us needs to be planted in our heart. He defined “the word” as this central truth: “Believe in the Son of God, that he [has] come to redeem his people, and that he shall suffer and die to atone for their sins; and that he shall rise again.” Everything flows from that truth. Prepare good, deep ground for that seed to grow in you. Don’t let the thorns and cares of the world choke it out, but be very fruitful.

Cultivate and apply your talents. Develop your God-given spiritual gifts. Don’t be content with where you are. Try new things. Keep going. Remember in the parable of the talents that the reward is the same for the person who increased their five talents to ten and the person who increased their two talents to four: “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” It is good to admire a virtuous quality in someone and seek to incorporate it in your life, but don’t compare yourself to others. The Lord simply expects you to be diligent with what you have. Even with a little you can do much. Anything, if you’re diligent, is sufficient.

Live with gratitude for all that you have—the answers to your prayers, the talents you’ve been given, and the ways the Lord manifests His hand in your life. Be aware and acknowledge His hand and express gratitude. He wants to give you more. Sometimes when I’m not feeling inspired in my prayers, I start with gratitude, thanking God for specific blessings in my life. And then the Spirit comes and brings me closer to God.

Pray. Spend time with the Lord. Remember that you’re no stranger to your Heavenly Father. He couldn’t love you better. His love is perfect and complete. Don’t worry about lost time and opportunities. Live productively, faithfully, and gratefully. Rejoice in all that’s to come and all that already has. God can make you whole and will grant you, in His time, all that He’s prepared for you and all that He has promised to the faithful.

Thoughtful planning and preparation are key to a rewarding future, but we do not live in the future—we live in the present.

It is day by day that we work out our plans for the future; it is day by day that we achieve our goals. It is one day at a time that we raise and nurture our families. It is one day at a time that we overcome imperfections. We endure in faith to the end one day at a time. It is the accumulation of many days well lived that adds up to a full life and a saintly person. So, we must strive to live well day by day.

Included in the Lord’s Prayer is the petition “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). I believe that we would all readily acknowledge that we have needs each day that we want our Heavenly Father’s help in dealing with. Jesus is teaching us that we should look to God each day for the bread—the help and sustenance—we require in that particular day. The Lord’s invitation to seek our daily bread at our Heavenly Father’s hand speaks of a loving God, aware of even the small, daily needs of His children and anxious to assist them, one by one.

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Recently I had the chance to speak to young adults at the Orem Institute of Religion. I shared with them the unique experience I had to serve as the law clerk for the Honorable John J. Sirica. My term of service coincided with the Watergate trials and proceedings handled by Judge Sirica. This gave me a “ringside seat” to a unique epoch in U.S. history that enabled me to learn some crucial life lessons at the outset of my career.

Most of the Watergate defendants were basically decent people, good spouses and parents, competent professionals. What is it that caused or permitted them to go seriously offtrack? What protects you or me, in our lives, our marriages, our families, and our school and vocational endeavors, from tragically destructive errors or even criminal conduct?

The answer to these questions lies in the critical role of what we call conscience. A widely shared understanding of right and wrong underlies the moral framework and laws that govern conduct in society. For me, that is confirmed by statements in scripture. For example, in Moroni 7:15–16 it reads: “It is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain … as the daylight is from the dark night. For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil.”

Over the generations, religion has served to identify and deepen understanding of fundamental (I would say divinely ordained) moral laws. Of course, I am not saying that any particular religion or faith tradition should have a right to dictate the morals of society, but the religious voice is critical. No society has succeeded in maintaining moral life without it. For just societies to endure, religious voices must be heard.

May your voice in support of eternal truths and moral principles be heard. May your own conscience grow increasingly firm and refined. And may there never be a Watergate in your personal history.
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Our Savior, Jesus Christ, sees all of us with infinite worth.

When a person feels isolated, it’s a real feeling, and it’s natural to feel that way. But each of us, for whatever reason that feeling may come upon us, needs to stop and think, “Jesus Christ died for me. Jesus Christ thought me worthy of His blood. He loves me. He has hopes for me, and He can make a difference in my life. His grace can transform me.” 

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At general conference, I told a kind of parable suggesting how divine love transforms a willing soul. The story was of Helen Keller, a young woman born in 1880 in Alabama who was both deaf and blind.

Helen’s parents hired a teacher for their daughter, a woman named Anne Sullivan. Just as we have in the Savior one who understands our infirmities, Anne had struggled with her own serious handicaps and hardships and understood Helen’s infirmities. At age five, Anne had contracted a disease that caused painful scarring of the cornea and left her mostly blind.

To help Helen learn words, Anne would spell the names of familiar objects with her finger on the palm of Helen’s hand. “[Helen] enjoyed this ‘finger play,’ but she didn’t understand until the famous moment when Anne spelled ‘w-a-t-e-r’ while pumping water over [Helen’s] hand.

“[Helen] later wrote, ‘Suddenly I felt a misty consciousness as of something forgotten; … and somehow the mystery of language was revealed to me. I knew then that “w-a-t-e-r” meant the wonderful cool something that was flowing over my hand. That living word awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set it free! … Everything had a name, and each name gave birth to a new thought. As we returned to the house every object which I touched seemed to quiver with life.’”

Helen’s parents were satisfied with Anne’s work. But Anne knew Helen was capable of much, much more. Even so, we may be quite content with what we have achieved in our lives and that we simply are what we are, while our divine Teacher comprehends a glorious potential that we perceive only “through a glass darkly.”

The ecstasy we experience as we feel that divine potential unfolding within us is analogous to the joy Helen Keller felt when words came to life, giving light to her soul and setting it free. “As it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”

What a precious gift is divine love! Will you not love Him who first loved you? Then keep His commandments.
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Anciently, the commandment was revealed to “remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Not long ago, each of the Brethren felt the impression come that this ancient commandment is the key to strengthening the Church throughout the world.

All of us need to understand that the sacrament ordinance can heal, renew, and strengthen us. We only need one baptism, and that baptism is reinvigorated by regular repentance. We can prepare ourselves for the sacrament by repenting. When we come in that humbled condition to receive the emblems, there can come to us a renewed remission of sins—a regular, magnificent opportunity for us each week. #HisDay 

In the Church we not only learn divine doctrine; we also experience its application. As the body of Christ, the members of the Church minister to one another in the reality of day-to-day life. We are part of a covenant people, a community of Saints who encourage, sustain, and minister to one another.

We don’t need a specific calling or assignment in order to serve. In fact, often it is the small and simple acts of kindness and thoughtfulness that mean the most to others. As we strive to follow the Spirit and seek for opportunities to reach out to others, we can be an instrument in His hands to bless His children and minister to the one.

Others will know and feel of our love and Heavenly Father’s love for them when we simply remember them. Something as small as a letter, a text message, or a phone call can be a great blessing. Being there to celebrate significant achievements or to grieve during times of loss make a lasting impression that will lift those in need and bring us closer together and closer to our Heavenly Father. Making time for lunch with a friend or family member can show someone how much we care.

These are some simple examples of keeping our baptismal covenants to “bear one another’s burdens,” “mourn with those that mourn,” and “comfort those that stand in need of comfort.”

If one does not appreciate holy things, he will lose them. Absent a feeling of reverence, he will grow increasingly casual in attitude and lax in conduct. He will drift from the moorings that his covenants with God could provide. His feeling of accountability to God will diminish and then be forgotten. Thereafter, he will care only about his own comfort and satisfying his uncontrolled appetites. Finally, he will come to despise sacred things, even God, and then he will despise himself.

With a sense of the sacred, one grows in understanding and truth. The Holy Spirit becomes his frequent and then constant companion. More and more he will stand in holy places and be entrusted with holy things. Just the opposite of cynicism and despair, his end is eternal life.

A sense of the sacred cannot really be passed from one person to another. It must grow from within. Think about things in a contemplative way; then the Spirit may work in you so that you will not need anyone to tell you what is sacred or how to respond—you will feel it for yourself. It will be part of your nature; indeed, much of it already is. #HisDay  

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It is a privilege to meet with members and leaders of other faiths. There is great value in building relationships and working together in causes that strengthen our families and society.

Over the past couple of months I’ve had the opportunity to visit with Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, Catholic Archbishop of Louisville Kentucky and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; Rabbi Dr. Meir Y. Soloveichik, director of the Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought at Yeshiva University; and Dr. John G. Turner, an associate professor at George Mason University who has recently been researching the history of Mormonism in the United States. I am impressed by their lives and efforts to do good. We have much in common, and it was good to talk with them about the importance of faith, family, and safeguarding religious freedom.

Many of us have opportunities to reach out to friends and neighbors of other faiths and collaborate to improve our communities. I encourage you to be a part of the effort to know your neighbors and build on common principles and virtues that bring us together and make us better. Serving together and building relationships will also help us become better disciples of Jesus Christ.
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