President Monson, in his Easter morning, concluding address of the fourth session of the 180th General Conference of the Church chose to remind us of Job's profound question, "If a man die, shall he live again?" I have always loved the book of Job: all the questions about life it raises; and all the conversations between the sufferers and mourners , and the moralizers, accusers and justifiers of cynical wisdom.
Enclosed as it is within a parable of a happy ending, the Book of Job yet captures a profound example of the dilemma/paradox of mortality. It captures both the the cosmic detached view of life from the outside, and the engaged human view of life from the inside: the suffering and grief at the centre, and the almost unfathomable concern at the circumference.
This Easter Conference communion of the tentatively redeemable candidacy of believers and the authorized interpreters of God's answer to Job's questions was a testimony of the Creator to the created, to all the sons and daughters at the centre of his Divine purposes in sending his Son to redeem the suffering. We were reminded that "God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved."
Ever since Arta plead with me on Saturday morning to write about my life, it has been on my mind; and, reinforced by many of the speakers , I have prayed that I might be strengthened in my desire to preserve the best of my life in writing. I have asked my Father in Heaven to help me tell my family and friends of the most valuable experiences in my struggle to return to Him.
I was especially moved with compassion for my own children and grandchildren by Sister Lant, the just released General President of the Primary organization. She reminded us how much Christ loves every one of his Father's children, and draws them to him, especially in their mortal childhood; and when I reflected on the record in the scriptures, I felt an urgency to help my own grown children draw their children into that circle of love the Saviour has provided for all of us.
Arta has done such a devoted job of drawing all of our own sons and daughters into the circle of her love that I feel filled with hope for all of us.
And so I would like to start by sharing my testimony, by writing about an experience I had a few years ago. While I was pleading with God in prayer, I heard his voice. I knew I was hearing his voice. What I recall now is the feeling of peace. I could say I felt a remission of all my sins, but, although true, it seems to fall short of capturing the heart of the experience. In the tone and timber of his voice there was no accusation or condescension. The implicit message seemed to speak to an unexpressed concern I had long been troubled with, a question raised by the pulpit imperative, "Follow the Brethren." I had felt embarrassment in the thought that I was denied the dignity of thinking for myself, in being considered a mindless robot. But now in the very essence of his voice, in its authenticity, I had the answer: I knew why.
It wasn't until the next day that I became aware of evil temptation again, and I was so surprised that I spoke aloud as if in direct address to God, and said "How long am I going to have to fight this fight?" The voice heard earlier spoke quickly and firmly, "Until the day you die." I felt disappointed but justifyably rebuked. I had sounded whiney!