My brothers and sisters, it is a humbling experience for me to stand before you in this capacity. To me this is a second language that I am speaking to you. I sincerely hope and pray that the Spirit of the Lord be with us tonight so that we can communicate.
Tarry Ye Here
As I listened to this beautiful song, I remembered the great pain and agony, the ordeal of this holy man, the Savior Jesus Christ. After the Last Supper he led eleven apostles to the foot of the Mount of Olives, and from the eleven Jesus took three apostles, Peter, James, and John, to the midst of the grove of the Garden of Gethsemane.
As he was departing he expressed his great concern to these three apostles, saying, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me” (Matthew 26:38). And he left these three brethren. That was a time when even the Savior of the world needed the divine fellowship of his friends, Peter, James, and John. He went to the midst of the grove, fell on his knees, and prayed fervently and earnestly, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matthew 26:39). Yes, he prayed earnestly for you and me. And when he came back, the apostles were sleeping. They didn’t know what a great occasion it was, what Jesus had to go through. That was a time the divine fellowship was needed by the Savior Jesus Christ.
How Exquisite You Know Not
He went back again and he prayed, “O my father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done” (Matthew 26:42). In the Book of Mark it is recorded, “Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless, not what I will but what thou wilt” (Mark 14:3). It was a time of great pain, ordeal, and suffering, and Jesus himself recorded through the Prophet Joseph in Doctrine and Covenants 19:15:
How sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not.
For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent . . . ;
Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—
Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men. [D&C 19:15–16, 18–19]
Oh, what agony and sorrow he went through for you and me! “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 2:44). Brother James E. Talmage explained,
It was not physical pain, nor mental anguish alone, that caused Him to suffer such torture as to produce an extrusion of blood from every pore; but a spiritual agony of soul such as only God was capable of experiencing. [Jesus the Christ, pp. 613–14]
What pain! What suffering!
Jesus of Nazareth Is the Only Name
Mankind cannot comprehend the pain and suffering endured for you and me. And Jesus went on the cross and died for you and me.
This is the center of our great gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus of Nazareth is the only “name under heaven given among men,” as Peter expressed, “whereby we might be saved” (Acts 4:12). There is none other. My brothers and sisters, how much we don’t know about him!
How much pain we don’t know! How much suffering we don’t know! How much agony we don’t know! How much fear we don’t know! How much trembling we don’t know!
I stand before you this night and humbly bear you my witness that Jesus Christ is our Savior of the world. And I bear my witness that the same Jesus appeared to the boy Joseph and that after the resurrection he appeared on this American continent to visit the Nephites. The prophet-disciple Nephi recorded the following where Jesus himself testified that he is the Savior of the world:
Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world. [3 Nephi 11:14]
I want to read from the beautiful passage that these brothers sang so well:
Fair is the sunshine, Fairer still the moonlight
And all the stars in heav’n above;
Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer
And brings to all the world his love.
Fair are the meadows, Fairer the woodlands,
Robed in flowers of blooming spring;
Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer,
He makes the sorrowing spirit sing.
Beautiful Savior! Lord of the nations!
Son of God and Son of man!
Glory and honor, praise, adoration,
Now and forevermore be thine.
Now and forevermore be thine
[“Beautiful Savior,” Sing with Me, B-6]
What a beautiful, praising song we heard!
The Power of Listening Ears
May we cultivate the power of listening ears to feel his love, and may we cultivate the power of listening ears especially for the prompting of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives so that we will come close to the Savior, so that we will know that truly he died for you and me. As someone expressed so beautifully, “Listening to the prompting of the Holy Spirit is the dimension of love.” Listening is the art of the eternal quest, and I believe, my brothers and sisters, if we cultivate that power in our daily lives, we will come close to the Savior. I bear you my witness that I know Jesus is the Christ; I know it because I know he is the Savior of the world. May we cultivate that spiritual sensitivity to the prompting of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives so that we can feel and know his love constantly.
Thy Will Be Done
I want to express, my brothers and sisters, that I have learned that we cannot compare or comprehend with our mortal minds the suffering, the agonies, and the pain our Savior went through in the Garden of Gethsemane. However, in the walks of our daily lives, we may face our own Garden of Gethsemane.
It may be losing your eternal companion, or it may be losing your mom and dad. A friend may betray you or come to dislike you, or you may have a traffic accident. You may become deaf or handicapped. I don’t know what trials we may face in our daily lives, but may we learn that beautiful lesson given to us by our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ that, when we face trials and temptations, we will not blame our Lord, we will not blame God, but may we say humbly to ourselves, “Thy will be done.”
May we also cultivate that faith to say to our Heavenly Father, “Thy will be done.” We will not blame anybody, we will not blame our birthright, we will not blame the situations we face. May we really cultivate that power to say to our Heavenly Father, “O Lord, thy will be done.”
Your Friend, Mick
I want to share a beautiful story about one who faced his own Garden of Gethsemane—one of your friends, Mick. He served a mission in Japan. After he returned, he earned a B.A. in political science at this great university. And he served as president of your Cougar Club. He married and had two sons.
He was active in sports and was very talented in every way when he was in school. When he had almost graduated from law school, he went to work as a clerk for a prestigious law firm in Nebraska. At their summer office garden party a tragedy occurred. The party was in a well-to-do neighborhood, and the houses bordered a man-made lake. Many people were swimming and boating on the lake. Mick decided to go for a swim and dove into what proved to be a shallow spot. He lost consciousness and someone was administering mouth-to-mouth resuscitation when the paramedics arrived his neck was broken, and his whole body was paralyzed. He could not move any part of his body below his neck. He required special equipment just to fill his lungs with air.
Someone asked how much he had had to drink. A friend replied, “Oh, he hadn’t been drinking. He’s a Mormon.”
His doctor said he did not expect him to survive such an injury. He told the family he would be lucky to make it through the first night. Now, five years later, Mick Boyle has made it through much more. He has overcome tremendous odds, has survived emotional and physical pain and suffering.
He Never Ever Complained
Determined to graduate, Mick resumed studying in his hospital bed in the intensive care unit at the University of Utah Medical Center only three weeks after the accident. He studied eight to ten hours each day. His fellow law school students at BYU brought tapes of lectures, notes, and textbooks to him every day. He also studied from a flip-chart, and he simply had to wait until someone came by that was nice enough to help him find the proper pages. He went through that kind of a condition.
In the spring of 1978, Mick graduated from the J. Reuben Clark Law School with members of his own class. Shortly thereafter he passed the Utah Bar Examination and became a licensed practicing attorney. He went right to work at the Legal Center for the Handicapped in Salt Lake City. In eighteen months he handled approximately 80 cases, always representing handicapped individuals in need of legal assistance.
To add to his turmoil and pain, his wife decided he was not to be her eternal companion, took the two babies, and left. That was a great shock to Mick, but he never ever complained. He said to the Lord, “Thy will be done.” He insisted on serving the Lord. Then last spring the Lord answered his prayers. His former nurse came one day and knocked on his door and they became congenial friends. One day, Shirley expressed so beautifully, “I want to be your eternal companion.” What a beautiful story!
Two weeks ago I asked Shirley to bear her testimony in stake conference. She gave a most beautiful testimony. There was not a dry eye in that conference. My brothers and sisters, Mick continued on. Someone asked him, “Don’t you ever get depressed?”
He answered, “Oh, sure, some days I can get very depressed. However, I know there is a lot of work to be done, not only for others, but also helping myself to get well, and I must prepare to meet my Savior.” Brothers and sisters, don’t you think this is our goal, to prepare ourselves for the day to come?
Mick works hard at getting well. He has faith and keeps a positive attitude about his situation all the time. He exercises every day and maintains contact with the doctors. He has recently made a most astonishing improvement and breakthrough.
My brothers and sisters, how much we can learn from this kind of story! Time has always been important to Mick. Since his accident he has wasted no time, and he has accomplished more than ever. Brothers and sisters, are you blind, are you deaf, are you paralyzed, are you unloved by someone, or are you diseased spiritually or emotionally or physically? May we learn the great principle—to have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ because he died for you and me, and he is our Master, he is our God, and he is the Anchor of our souls. May we cultivate the power of his great love so that we can be close to him, to say to the Lord, “Lord, I humbly express myself. May I serve thee and glorify thy name forevermore.”
A Young Boy Lost His Father
My brothers and sisters, I want to tell you another story that happened in Japan right after the war. A young boy lost a father and lost practically everything in his life because of the war. This young boy naturally hated Americans, was prejudiced against them because of his lack of understanding. As he grew up, this young boy learned that a handful of Japanese leaders took the initiative to start the war, and he understood the true situation.
Things were difficult—not enough food or clothing for him or his family. His mother always tried to help, to teach, and to clothe the family. After he graduated from junior high school, this young boy had a chance to go to senior high school. One day he heard a conversation between his mother and brother and found out the financial difficulties of his home. The next morning, though his brother said that he could go to senior high school, this young man decided, “My brother, I will not go; I will work and help the family.”
Save My Life
He found a job in a tiny shop which produced a bean curd (we call it tofu in Japan) and attended school part-time at night. He would get up in the morning at 4:30, work until 6:00 p.m., go to school until 11:00 p.m., and not get home until 11:30 p.m. He followed this demanding schedule for about one year, but it became too much and he found himself in the hospital one day suffering from exhaustion. His condition was very critical, and he sensed that. Without knowing of Jesus Christ or God or even how to pray, he prayed, “O God, if thou art there, save my life. If thou wilt save me, I shall repay thee someday. I will serve thee.”
This was the simple prayer of this young boy. He was able to leave the hospital after two months. In order to recuperate he stayed with an uncle in the northern part of Japan.
A Few More Doors
At about the same time there were two young men, one from Pocatello, Idaho, and one from Salt Lake City, who went to San Francisco and crossed the big pond, the Pacific. It took them almost a month. There were no jumbo planes in those days. After a few months of training and laboring in Tokyo, they went to the northern part of Japan to a very cold place, not a dry cold like here, but high humidity—it was very wet there.
It was a P-day, but the senior companion from Idaho, Elder Delmont C. Law, a great man, asked his companion, R. Gordon Porter, if they could go knock on doors. They had had no success whatsoever for days, weeks, and months. Then finally, on this P-day, they decided to keep trying, and after breakfast they took off. They knocked, knocked, and knocked on doors that day. When evening came, bringing with it more cold and rain, they decided they should go home. Then the Spirit prompted them again, especially the senior companion from Pocatello, Idaho, who said to his companion, “Companion, can we do a few more doors?” They again agreed and then went on.
My Stitches from the War Were Gone
In that same vicinity lived the young man who had just left the hospital and was recuperating in his uncle’s home. He was waiting for something without knowing what. In a dark and cold room in that uncle’s home, the missionaries found this young man. When he saw these foreigners, he said to them, “I don’t like you Americans. Please go home.”
That was the first reply of the young boy, but the missionary from Pocatello, Idaho, replied, “We have a message for you. Can’t you even spend five minutes?” That was a very strong statement, and the young boy couldn’t refuse them and welcomed them inside. These missionaries taught him the most beautiful story, and this young boy accepted the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ that day. He was baptized two weeks later and grew in the gospel. My brothers and sisters, that young boy is now standing before you.
On that day I almost missed the glorious everlasting gospel that your forefathers and mothers preserved, this great legacy, great heritage, glorious truth, even the teachings of Jesus Christ. I accepted the beauties of that day. I glanced at the beauties of the panorama of this great gospel of love and this legacy. To me, my wounds, my pain, my suffering, my patches, and my stitches from the war were gone because of the gospel of the Lord, our Savior, even Jesus Christ.
You Too May Touch
I stand before you and bear you my witness that this is the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. I know that Joseph saw God the Father and Jesus Christ and this is a glorious gospel. I pray and I seek that the glorious blessings, the choicest blessings, the bounteous blessings, of our Heavenly Father will be with you. May we see, comprehend, envision, and understand your legacy in this great gospel that you have that you, too, may touch the lives of other people.
I leave you my witness that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. I love this Church. I love you beautiful people. I love my Heavenly Father. I love the Lord Jesus Christ. Without him we are meaningless. In him and by him and through him and by the grace of his pure love, once again may we return to our Heavenly Father’s presence.
Serve Our Master
I know that you have that burning desire in your hearts and that beautiful sparkle of divinity within your bosom, that legacy you inherited from your forefathers and mothers to bless the lives of many others. May your light so shine to the world after you graduate from this great institution; may you be the light to the world, the salt of the earth—and surely you must be the savor of the salt.
I know that is our beautiful destiny, to glorify the Lord’s name and to testify of his holy mission. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to stand before you here. (I prepared my talk in a script, but I decided not to use it tonight.) I pray tonight that you may feel the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of our Heavenly Father, and of the Holy Ghost, so that you may go and be determined to serve our Master in the most beautiful way.
I Love You with All My Heart
I thank my wife. She is my companion and she is my friend. She is my girlfriend. She is my eternal mate, my eternal counselor and friend. Please, you young husbands, sometimes go out without the children and buy a Big Mac! Take time to be thoughtful. Take time to be kind, and take time to go to the temple together. Take time to hold hands and to pray. And take time to climb the mountain—after the snow melts, of course—and to sit upon the rock and say to your eternal mate, “I love you with all my heart.” And go to Utah Lake, but be careful this year; we have lots of water there. Walk the shore of that beautiful lake and say again, “I love you.” Those of you still looking for your eternal mate, don’t rush, but hurry. The Spirit will guide you, and you will find a beautiful companion.
I leave you my solemn witness and testimony that this is the work of the Lord, and Jesus is the Christ. Joseph was a prophet and Spencer W. Kimball is a prophet of the Lord. He said one time, “With all the love I have and possess, I love the Saints and I bless the Saints.” May we listen to his great counsel, I pray in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
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Yoshihiko Kikuchi was a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when this fireside address was given at Brigham Young University on 5 February 1984.