A great sermon delivered from a wheelchair:
Well, Brothers and Sisters, thank you for being here. We'll see how long my voice holds out. One of the problems I have now is that my vocal cords are kind of paralyzed but they are paralyzed closed and so it's harder to breathe. But at least I can do it on my own now. (Laughter of Congregation) I couldn't for a while. One of the things that I have learned Brothers and Sisters is that Gratitude is the antidote to bitterness. My life has been so rich and full with my family, that if I was to drop dead right now all I could say to God is, "Thank you for the Good things that have happened in my life and for my association with my children and with my wife." I think that one of the things that is important for us to remember is that we're all going to have to face trials. Everybody has a little bit different ones. Some may be physical, some may be more problems in the heart, the spiritual problems. But, I think that the message that Alma had in Alma Chapter 34 where he says, "don't procrastinate the day of your repentance." What he's talking about is he's telling the Zoramites who have rejected Christ and even rejected the notion that there could be such a being as Jesus Christ, he's telling them that they can't afford to wait another day until you plant in your heart that notion that Jesus is the Savior and build on that foundation. There has been twice now, once in the Hospital when they sung "How firm a foundation" There were two versus that stuck in my mind and one of them was that, "Even if through fiery trials thy pathway lie, My grace all sufficient shall be thy supply, The flame shall not hurt thee, My only design - thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine." And I can remember laying in that hospital bed and thinking you know I may just come out of this a better person than came in. Then I started to wonder just a little bit what the gold was that would be refined and what things would be purged away from me and what I needed to dump and get rid of. You know it was a neat feeling, to know that the Savior can bring good out of troubling times.
(This man held up his gait belt.) I don't know if most of you know what this is, They call it a gait belt that's G A I T. What they do with it is, it's basically a handle that you put on yourself and you don't move out of this chair to anywhere without it on. Because if you should fall or loose your balance, this is the only thing that someone can grip to hold on to you. Otherwise you biff it and you're on your face on the floor. I've had this experience two times now but I did have the gait belt on so the people who were helping me, even though the weight differential was not in their favor, I can say that I just gently hit the floor. No damage was done, but it scares you to death. I've thought about spiritual gait belts Brothers and Sisters. Spiritual gait belts would be the things that we give God so that he can hold on to us. In our Stake Conference we sang this song, "How Firm a Foundation" and the third verse really, really struck home to me and it says, "Fear not, I am with thee, Oh be not dismayed for I am thy God and will still give thee aid, I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand (Boy that got my attention) and cause thee to stand, upheld by my righteous omnipotent hand." And when we sang that, there was an image that came into my mind. When someone is helping you with the gait belt you can't see who is there and if you are standing up and your a little wobbly all you get is this little pull to bring you back into balance to keep you from falling onto your face. (Every once in a while they make a mistake, they thing you are falling forward when you are really trying to walk forward and so they pull you back and you can't go anywhere.) (Laughter of Congregation) Anyway into my mind came this picture and I could see myself in this very dark place off in the distance. I was struggling to walk over some very uneven ground. I can walk with a cane as long as someone is holding on to me, but you sort of have to drag your left foot, so I'm on this uneven ground but, I am far enough away from myself that I can see that there is a person dressed in brilliant white who has a hold of my gait belt. And I recognize that's its Jesus Christ. And I think to myself, how many times in my life has the Savior had a hold of me and saved me from complete disaster. Then I started thinking, it's probably quite a few, because you can't see who has got a hold of you, probably more than I ever thought it was or realized. And then, I thought too about, what are some of the spiritual gait belts that you and I can put on so that the Savior can have a hold of us. And the trick to the gait belt is that you have to have it on BEFORE you try anything. Because if you don't have it on your going to stand up and start to fall or you're going to miss the chair or something, there is no time to hook it on. There is no way that anyone can really help you because there is nothing to hang onto, I suppose they could grab your hair or something but that probably would not feel too good.
I would like to suggest to you some spiritual gait belts that we can wear, I think it takes times to put them on, it's kind of like in how stalactites form in caves, that little drop of water comes down through the limestone and it picks up a lot of minerals and then it just hangs for a moment on the ceiling of the cave, but that is enough time for it to make a mineral deposit, over a hundred years it can make a stalactite and the same thing happens when it falls on the floor. We need to be prepared when the crisis comes, we need to have a little gas in the tank, or a little money in the bank that you can draw on. There are some things that are the spiritual gait belts that allow God to hold on to us. I think one of the most critical gait belts that allows Heavenly Father to hold on to us is the covenants that we make and KEEP. Keeping is the important thing. You know sometimes you think of doing something and then you think, well, I promised God that I wouldn't do that, and you could use that as an excuse if someone is trying to get you to do something wrong and you tell then, "I promised Heavenly Father that I would not do that." And they generally don't argue with you. Another one is the commandments we keep, and then the scriptures and our family relationships I think are a gait belt too. It's like my wife one time, somebody was taking to her about the fact that we didn't watch R-rated movies and kept telling her, "This is really a great movie, it's R-rated but, you've got to watch it." And my wife said, "I couldn't do that to my children because they know that we've taken a stand against that and I would not betray them just to watch this movie." So family relationships are a gait belt that helps to keep us on track. Music can be another one.
We are going to Alma 34:33 this is where they have rejected Christ.
"33 And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed."
You know Brothers and Sisters, in just a few minutes I went from total recognition of everything that was going on around me and, and even knew that I was having a stroke, and my wife called 911 but by the time they could get to the house I was unconscious and I stayed that way for three months. I was shocked when at Christmas time, (I had the stroke on the 18th of September), and then before Christmas I was awake enough to kind of ask where I was and how long I had been there. And when my daughter told me I had actually been in the Hospital for three months, when the hospital staff in the ICU was sitting there saying to me, "the first time you were here... and the second time you were here... and the third time you were here." I thought, "Good grief, where have I been?" But I was so surprised, but it was like that night of darkness where no labor could be performed. And there were times during that, I am so grateful for your prayers Brothers and Sisters because in that night of darkness mine didn't amount to very much. I could not pray for myself, and there were times when I would think, "you haven't prayed you haven't been to church", and I would try to form the thoughts of a prayer but somehow they would kind of get lost in the darkness.
As my wife and I were preparing to leave California to come back home, and I had been listening to Brooks and Dunn who are some country western singers. They have this one song and its always so sad but the taxi cab is waiting and he decides that there must be a better way to tell her goodbye. And it didn't take me long to figure that one out, I wasn't going to tell my wife goodbye, I was just going to bring her back to Utah with me. (Laughter of Congregation) And then it says, "If I had a horse I'd ride off into the sunset, If I had wings I'd fly up into the sky so blue, If I could spend my whole life dreaming I'd wake up still in love with you." And that's what I told my wife, "After three months I woke up and I'm still in love with you." And that has been my privilege ever since, that's been my privilege every day now and we've talked about that a little bit. One of the things that happened to me in the hospital is that I just had a renewed and incredible appreciation for everyone in my family and especially for my wife. She's really a first class grandma I'll tell you, She's always recognized that children need hands on experience with things. I always remember one time that she upset all the mothers at a family thanksgiving party because she cut the top off of a pumpkin and then invited all the little kids to stick their hands inside of there and feel what is inside of it. (Laughter of Congregation) And so they had pumpkin innards up to their elbows and their mothers weren't very happy about that, the kids thought it was great. I told my son one day that the best thing I ever did for him was to marry his mother. That is one thing that I do remember, after the three months of not really knowing anything I loved to look at the picture of my wife and the children that was in my hospital room. I just have a renewed appreciation of my wife and all of the things that we have had together. My children and grand children were there with me but at first I was thinking, "where are they?" But, I had some secondary infections and so my children and grand children could not come and see me. I realized that hospitals can be lonely places because they had that swine flu scare and they didn't want people to bring it to me and finish me off.(Laughter of Congregation) Those sacred family relationships are some of the gait belts that God can use to hold on to us. And then the other two gait belts are music and the hymns are good, Someone also made a CD that they gave me, but things were so sketchy for me at that time, if you came to visit me and I don't remember it I apologize to you, but I was in so many different places, I was in four different hospitals, some of them for a short time. It was like, "Where am I today?" You're at Health South. You are in the IHC facility in Murray Utah. It was kind of hard to keep track of where I was. And wouldn't you know it, every day was a memory test, "Who are you, where are you, why are you here, what are you doing?" Most of the time I knew some of the answers.
Another very important gait belt is the promptings of the spirit. You know just those little nudges that hold us back from making mistakes or that provide us guidance and comfort and it is a wonderful way for God to hold on to us and so we need to open ourselves to those promptings. Maybe I'll just share with you one time, I don't know where I was, I was being admitted to an intensive care unit and this little nurse, I kind of thought she was obnoxious to me, she comes us, and I'm barely conscious and she kept shaking me and saying, "Sir can you hear me?" And I said, "Yea, I can hear you." And I'm like, "what do you want, why can't you just leave me alone?" (Laughter of Congregation) And she is really insistent and she won’t quit. And then she asked me a question, she said, "What do you want us to do for you?" "Sir can you hear me?" "Yea, I can hear you." "What do you want us to do for you?" And I thought, "Well, you're the medical staff why are you asking me?" (Laughter of Congregation) And then I thought, you know I can't answer your question until I know what his plan is. And so, a few years before, I had made my peace with God and so, but I love what Jesus said in the 19th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, he said, "I came not to do mine own will but the will of who’s I am." So Jesus didn't even consider that his own life belonged to him. So as she was trying to beat this answer out of me, I thought, well, I can't tell you unless I know the will of who’s I am. And so I said in my mind to heavenly father, "On another occasion when I was laying in a hospital bed, you promised me that I would know when it was time to leave this life." and he said, "Yes, I promised you that." So I said, "Is it time to go?" And when I thought that, I saw my children and grandchildren, and it was kind of weird because I'm in this emergency room but I see them and they're outside, in an outdoor setting and I see them and my grandchildren and children are talking to each other and the thought I had was, "There are still some things that you need to do for them, so it's not time." So.. "Sir can you hear me?" I said, "Yea, I can hear you." "What do you want us to do for you." Well, since it wasn't time to check out I said, "Well just do whatever you need to, to save my life." And later on, when nobody was sure whether I would make it or not, they came back to that answer to kind of plot their strategy to help me. So that was one of the promptings of the spirit that I felt during that sort of dark time. I'll tell you Brothers and Sisters, it is really weird to wake up and a quarter of a year has passed by and you don't even know what has happened in that time.
But, one of the other things that I am really grateful for is back in December when I came home from the Hospital, I called Brother Olivera and asked him if he would come and give me a priesthood blessing and I told him that there was really only one thing that I really wanted and if God saw fit to give it I would be happy, and that was that I wanted to keep my voice because I wanted to be able to continue to bear testimony of Christ and the restoration of the gospel. Since then I have thought, "why didn't you say you wanted to breathe?" (Laughter of Congregation) and I guess because testifying is what breathing is for. And so he came over that Sunday afternoon and that was the blessing that he gave me, was that I would be able to keep my voice so that I could continue bearing testimony to my children and grandchildren of Christ and the Restoration of the Gospel. During that night of darkness, wherein there could be no labor performed, it was interesting because my thought kept turning to the Savior. But, it's in a different sort of way. I think that all those years of teaching played a big role in it, but the words of the prophet Isaiah would come into my mind and I would ask a question, and in answer to the questions the words of Book of Mormon prophets would come into my mind and they would add depth and meaning and understanding to what Isaiah had said. And I even learned some things that I didn't know during that time through those impressions. Brothers and Sisters, the Book of Mormon is the word of God and it is the greatest commentary on the writings of Isaiah that you'd ever find. The Book of Mormon prophets had a clear vision of what Isaiah was talking about, that's why Nephi could say that when he wanted to teach his brothers that he would turn to the scriptures, and when he wanted to teach them about Christ more especially he would turn to the Book of Isaiah. And so I thought that we could just share a few passages from Isaiah and the Book of Mormon. Well, it's my testimony but it will be in their words. And so I've asked my son if he would read for me.
Isaiah 7:14 "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."
Immanuel is usually translated, God is with us, but it is much more than "God is on our side" it would be better translated "God will come down among us."
1 Nephi 11:12-21
"12 And it came to pass that he said unto me: Look! And I looked as if to look upon him, and I saw him not; for he had gone from before my presence.
13 And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the great city of Jerusalem, and also other cities. And I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white.
14 And it came to pass that I saw the heavens open; and an angel came down and stood before me; and he said unto me: Nephi, what beholdest thou?
15 And I said unto him: A virgin, most beautiful and fair above all other virgins.
16 And he said unto me: Knowest thou the condescension of God?
17 And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.
18 And he said unto me: Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh.
19 And it came to pass that I beheld that she was carried away in the Spirit; and after she had been carried away in the Spirit for the space of a time the angel spake unto me, saying: Look!
20 And I looked and beheld the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms.
21 And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father! Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw?"
O.K. So Nephi has a vision of the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ and he confirms in no uncertain terms what Isaiah said. The place that most scholars miss it, is they think that the virgin birth was a sign to Ahaz, well, I'm sorry, Ahaz was the king of Judah at that time, but the virgin birth is a sign to all of us as to who the Savior was and Nephi sees the actual event 600 years before it happens. A little later on King Benjamin is talking and he explain the event.
Mosiah 3: 5-8
"5 For behold, the time cometh, and is not far distant, that with power, the Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was, and is from all eternity to all eternity, shall come down from heaven among the children of men, and shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay, and shall go forth amongst men, working mighty miracles, such as healing the sick, raising the dead, causing the lame to walk, the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and curing all manner of diseases.
6 And he shall cast out devils, or the evil spirits which dwell in the hearts of the children of men.
7 And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people.
8 And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary."
We can see from the words of King Benjamin that Immauel is much more than a sign to a wicked king that God would somehow be on their side, it's the very God of Israel himself who comes down, you have to remember that he said to Nephi, "Do you understand the condescention of God" and Nephi said, "Well, I don't know everything but I do believe what my father taught. Well, condescention means to descend from a higher state to a lower one. And so, when you think of it in the way these Book of Mormon prophets talk about it, the God of Israel, Jehovah or Jesus Christ is the one who pays the price for our sins and brings about the resurrection. I hope that you can catch the Joy in the words of Isaiah.
"1 Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations.
2 The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.
3 Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.
4 For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian.
5 For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire.
Well, a couple of years ago, I studied the Book of Isaiah very carefully. I had ten different translations of it and I read all of them and then I wrote down what I thought it said in my own words. So, I have a little book I wrote that says, "What Isaiah says to me." Now who can argue with that? (Laughter of Congregation) And so, what Isaiah says here is that Israel’s enemies are going to be defeated. And what are our greatest enemies, it's death and hell right? He's kind of cast it a little bit in a political situation there, he uses some history to emphasize it, but when I read where he said this victory is not going to be like a victory from a battle where there is bloody clothing and bodies stomped into the mud, he says it's not going to be that way, and then he breaks forth with that joyous cry, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given." And we know who that is, when I read it at first, I thought to myself, what role did fire play in ancient worship. And well, that was the burnt offering for sin, is where they employed fire. But, what a joyous cry you know, our enemies death and hell will be defeated, not with a human battle, but with a sacrifice.
6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this."
And I feel that same joy, Brothers and Sisters, that Isaiah felt, in that joyous cry, "For unto a us a child is born..." And then you could ask yourself, "What kind of sacrifice would that be?" Amulek has the answer and tells us what kind of sacrifice it will take.
"9 For it is expedient that an atonement should be made; for according to the great plan of the Eternal God there must be an atonement made, or else all mankind must unavoidably perish; yea, all are hardened; yea, all are fallen and are lost, and must perish except it be through the atonement which it is expedient should be made.
10 For it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice; yea, not a sacrifice of man, neither of beast, neither of any manner of fowl; for it shall not be a human sacrifice; but it must be an infinite and eternal sacrifice.
11 Now there is not any man that can sacrifice his own blood which will atone for the sins of another. Now, if a man murdereth, behold will our law, which is just, take the life of his brother? I say unto you, Nay.
12 But the law requireth the life of him who hath murdered; therefore there can be nothing which is short of an infinite atonement which will suffice for the sins of the world.
13 Therefore, it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice, and then shall there be, or it is expedient there should be, a stop to the shedding of blood; then shall the law of Moses be fulfilled; yea, it shall be all fulfilled, every jot and tittle, and none shall have passed away.
14 And behold, this is the whole meaning of the law, every whit pointing to that great and last sacrifice; and that great and last sacrifice will be the Son of God, yea, infinite and eternal.
15 And thus he shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name; this being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice, and bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance."
So it's an infinite and eternal sacrifice that saves us. Because he was the son of God, Jesus Christ had all of the qualities that allowed him to make the Atonement that would be infinite and eternal on our behalf.
And then we're going to finish with, what I think are the most expensive twelve verses in all of scripture, it's where Isaiah gives an account of the Atonement of the Savior in Isaiah Chapter 53. But, the thing that makes these the most expensive verses in all of the scriptures is that when Isaiah teaches these things he pays for it with his own death. These are part of the words that Abinidi says just before they burned him at the stake. And then Joseph Smith translates these words in the Book of Mormon and then he's assassinated on the 27th of June 1844. In order to fulfill the prophecy Jesus Christ has to give up his own life on the cross to work out the Atonement. So these are some very expensive verses.
"1 Yea, even doth not Isaiah say: Who hath believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?
2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground; he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him there is no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquities of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb so he opened not his mouth.
8 He was taken from prison and from judgment; and who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgressions of my people was he stricken.
9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no evil, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief; when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 He shall see the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied; by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death; and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bore the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."
O.K. those are twelve of the most expensive versus of Scripture. And of course we know enough about the atonement to recognize that there is only one person who is being described there and it is the Lord Jesus Christ himself.
I will just share one other thing that I learned while I was totally out of it. I was a relationship between two passages of scripture in a way that I hadn’t before. I can remember laying there and thinking of Isaiah chapter 40 where Isaiah says that when Jehovah comes that he will be a shepherd that will carry his lambs in his bosom and gently lead them. So there is a promise that the Savior is going to look after you. But then I thought of John Chapter 10 where Jesus doesn’t hesitate to affirm that, “I am the good shepherd” “I AM the good shepherd and know my sheep and am known of mine.” “As the Father knoweth me even so know I the Father, and I lay down my life for the sheep.” And then I thought, could it be that, and it is because of the reaction, the Jews then decided to kill Jesus. And Jesus said, “For which of the good works that I’ve done are you going to kill me?” And they said, “Oh, we’re not going to kill you because of anything you’ve done. We’re going to kill you because you are just a man and you are trying to make yourself out to be a God.” So, see when he states that, “I am the good shepherd,” I think he was claiming to be the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy in the 40 Chapter. In other words what he had said to them is that I am the God of Israel who is the good shepherd that will come to carry his lambs in his bosom. And I think that they knew what he was saying and that is why they got all bent out of shape and accused him of being a blasphemer. It was more that just a cute little metaphor what he was saying was a claim to be the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy that the Lord God would come and be a good shepherd to his people (See also Ezekiel Chapter 34) and they knew it but they rejected it.
Well Brothers and Sisters, the Book of Mormon is the word of God and it helps us to understand the other scriptures. The prophet Joseph told us that it is the most correct of any book of earth and that if we would abide by its precepts we would get closer to God than by following the teachings in any other book. And on the matter of – was there a virgin birth, is Christ the Son of God? There’s no wiggle room in the Book of Mormon and my testimony to you is that Jesus Christ still lives, that he is our Savior. And as the thoughts of these scriptures passed through my mind at the hospital they were a tremendous comfort to me. I love God with all my heart. Somebody once asked me why I didn’t just pray for a miracle and to be healed, and one of the blessings that has come from not having done that is that everyone in our family has had to look deep in our hearts and rely on our faith in Jesus Christ in some pretty scary and dark times in the last few months. I guess I didn’t realize at the time that my children who live out of state were at the hospital because it didn’t look like I was going to leave and so they came to pay their last respects. My wife had asked my Father and one of my sons if they would come and give me a blessing, a priesthood blessing, and my son was telling me about it and he said, “You know Dad, before I gave you the blessing I was really convinced that you were not going to make it." And so I said, “So what happened then, did God over-rule you preconceived notions?” (Laughter of Congregation) And he said, ‘Yes he did, he said, when I put my hands on your head and went to speak I just had this warm reassurance that you were going to make it and that you would be alright.’ And I’ll tell you Brothers and Sisters, I have no complaints now at all. I’m grateful that I can breathe. And the next time someone says to me “have you been born again?” I’m going to rip my shirt up and say, “Yes, here is the second belly button, where they had the feeding tube in, so I’ve got proof that I’m born again how about you?” (Laughter of Congregation) I think that what I did during that time when I couldn’t do anything else… I did gain a greater appreciation of my wife and my children. And I think all of us were tested and tried and our love for one another was strengthened and increased and for that I am grateful. I want you to know that I love Jesus Christ and I am so thankful and appreciative of what he has done for me throughout my life and especially through these last few months. When someone asked, “Why don’t you just ask for a miracle?” I thought, “Well, I don’t mind standing in line while he takes care of other people who are sick and that need his help. He can get around to me whenever he feels like it, I’ll be happy and all I can say is just, thank you for the joy and happiness that I have had in my life. Thank you for your prayers Brothers and Sisters at a time when I could not even pray for myself. We felt your sustaining influence and it’s more than prayers too, I came home to a house that had been remodeled to have everything that I need in my condition now, and I just could not believe that friends and neighbors would invest that kind of effort in me. Thank you so much. And you’ll never know what it did for the rest of the family too to feel that kind of support. And I don’t know yet that I am really fully aware of what people did, I keep getting surprises. Like the other day I put on a music CD and they tell me well, someone come to the hospital and brought it to you, and I was like, well I don’t remember that but it sure is fun to listen to, and its inspiring music. So Brothers and Sisters, my hope tonight is that we’ll all put on our spiritual gait belt, do it soon, don’t wait another day because we never know what’s going to happen and you’ve always got to be prepared for whatever happens. Just those little things we do every day, saying our prayers, reading the scriptures, expressing our love to each other, helping somebody who is down, and then when we feel those little, sort of tugs on the gait belt that help us maintain our spiritual stability. My prayer is that we will be able respond to those. It doesn’t take much, it’s pretty subtle, it’s not like one person who used to help me and he would throw me around like a bag of potatoes. He didn’t realize that with just a little bit of steadying I could get up myself. Thank you Brothers and Sisters and I would also like to bear testimony to what a privilege it has been to be a part of the restoration of the gospel. This work that we are engaged in is still in its infancy even after 100 years. And our job is to prepare, to establish Zion, to receive that Savior at his coming. Our obligation is to purify our hearts and invite as many of our Brothers and Sisters in the world as we can to do so as well. I am thankful to the Savior for my very life and the life of my family and for the commandments and the covenants that he has given. So put your gait belts on and enjoy the ride is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.