The most lowly of the new LDS apostles is Dale Renlund. It's time we consider his witness of Jesus as offered earlier this month.
My dear brothers and sisters, thank you for sustaining me yesterday as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. I didn't. I'm not sorry. It is hard to express how much that means to me. Are you going to try? I was especially grateful for the sustaining vote of the two extraordinary women in my life: my wife, Ruth, and our dear, dear, dear daughter, Ashley. You didn't try to express how much being sustained means to you. Hi, Ashley, you little dear you!!!
My call gives ample evidence to the truthfulness of the Lord’s statement early in this dispensation: “That the fulness of my gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world.” Right, because nothing screams "weak and simple" like a white dude from the United States with a top education and a healthy income as a cardiologist and professor. :S I am one of those weak and simple. Um... maybe "weakling" and "simpleton", but let's not pretend you've been dredged up from the lowly of the low. Decades ago, when I was called to be the bishop of a ward in the eastern United States, my brother, slightly older and much wiser than I, called me on the phone. You're really hammering away at the false humility bullshit and you only just started. In the words of Dieter: STOP IT! He said, “You need to know that the Lord hasn’t called you because of anything you have done. The bishop called you because you insisted you don't look at porn or cheat on your wife. In your case, it is probably in spite of what you have done. We all know you touch yourself sometimes. The Lord has called you for what He needs to do through you, and that will happen only if you do it His way.” He needs you to avoid counseling people and refer them instead to professionals. I recognize that this wisdom from an older brother applies even more today. Definitely. Now that you're in the big time you're probably going to start thinking you're way hot shit. Remember, you're a cardiologist, not someone channeling the mind and will of Jesus for the masses.
Something wonderful happens in a missionary’s service when he or she realizes that the calling is not about him or her; rather, it is about the Lord, His work, and Heavenly Father’s children. You're God's little pawn and it's beautiful. I feel the same is true for an Apostle. It probably is about the same. This calling is not about me. It had nothing to with your close vicinity and sucking up to the hierarchy? It’s about the Lord, His work, and Heavenly Father’s children. Let's see what you can do to increase the Church's spending for the homeless and hungry rather than real estate and city development. No matter what the assignment or calling is in the Church, to serve capably, one must serve knowing that everyone we serve “is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, … has a divine nature and destiny.” Well, not everyone. Some beloved spirit children are destined for something less than divine. Most actually. But don't worry, God loves you lots.
In my past profession, I was a cardiologist specializing in heart failure and transplantation, with many patients who were critically ill. How lowly! :S My wife jokingly says that it was a bad prognostic sign to become one of my patients. Your wife's not very funny. All teasing aside, I saw many people die, and I developed a kind of emotional distance when things went poorly. What a horribly segue. You really are a calloused man. That way, feelings of sadness and disappointment were tempered.
In 1986 a young man named Chad developed heart failure and received a heart transplant. Oh lord. Is this a story about how you cried once back in 1986?! He did very well for a decade and a half. Chad did all he could to stay healthy and live as normal a life as possible. He served a mission, worked, and was a devoted son to his parents. What does "devoted to his parents" mean? The last few years of his life, though, were challenging, and he was in and out of the hospital frequently. So he did died. Did you cry?
One evening, he was brought to the hospital’s emergency department in full cardiac arrest. My associates and I worked for a long time to restore his circulation. Finally, it became clear that Chad could not be revived. We stopped our futile efforts, and I declared him dead. Although sad and disappointed, I maintained a professional attitude. I thought to myself, “Chad has had good care. He has had many more years of life than he otherwise would have had.” Yes, he did have many more years... THANKS TO MEDICAL SCIENCE, not a miracle. That emotional distance soon shattered as his parents came into the emergency room bay and saw their deceased son lying on a stretcher. In that moment, I saw Chad through his mother’s and father’s eyes. I'm not sure how you can claim you saw him through their eyes, but empathy is a beautiful thing so whatever. I saw the great hopes and expectations they had had for him, the desire they had had that he would live just a little bit longer and a little bit better. Sad. With this realization, I began to weep. Ah-ha! This story is about you crying! Lovely. I'm feeling the Spirit now! :S In an ironic reversal of roles and in an act of kindness I will never forget, Chad’s parents comforted me. And it was awkward as hell for them.
I now realize that in the Church, to effectively serve others we must see them through a parent’s eyes, through Heavenly Father’s eyes. This is the god who saw fit to exile a full one third of his spirit children eternally and exile the other two thirds for some kind of poorly thought out test. Those involved in the test have seen their father do strange things. He drown 99.99% of them one day, ordered genocide another, has left and continues to leave millions upon millions to suffer sicknesses and various calamities, and has never even sent a prophet or Mormon missionary to explain why it was all happening to the vast majority of his children on earth. I'll tell you now, as a parent, I cannot relate to this being. Only then can we begin to comprehend the true worth of a soul. This god sells life cheap. Only then can we sense the love that Heavenly Father has for all of His children. Only then can we sense the Savior’s caring concern for them. His unconditional love requiring baptism and full conformity to his arbitrary set of rules? We cannot completely fulfill our covenant obligation to mourn with those who mourn and comfort those who stand in need of comfort unless we see them through God’s eyes. Can you imagine what it would be like to see what God sees? Everything that is, ever was and will be all at the same time! Talk about a headache. This expanded perspective will open our hearts to the disappointments, fears, and heartaches of others. God is perfect - he's whole and complete - why would he be vulnerable to disappointment, fear and heartache? But Heavenly Father will aid and comfort us, just as Chad’s parents comforted me years ago. Of course he'll craddle us and tell us it's OK that Jesus died, he's the one who ordered him dead in the first place. The difference is that God got his son back in a few hours, Chad's parents are still dealing with their son's absence to this day. We need to have eyes that see, ears that hear, and hearts that know and feel if we are to accomplish the rescue so frequently encouraged by President Thomas S. Monson. What rescue is that? The rescue of human souls? I'm sure it sounds important to be part of a "rescue".
Only when we see through Heavenly Father’s eyes can we be filled with “the pure love of Christ.” Let me simply point out that the terms you're using are confusing. I want to think you're talking about empathy and selflessness. Those are wonderful things. I hope that's what you're trying to say. Every day we should plead with God for this love. Hey, if it helps you treat others better, go for it. Mormon admonished, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ.” Mormon sounds like a 19th century revivalist preacher. I'm about to fall to the ground struck by the Spirit!
With all my heart I want to be a true follower of Jesus Christ. That shouldn't be hard. You just imagine him however you like him and imagine he thinks more or less like you do. Historically that's how everyone has approached following him. I love Him. Gay! I adore Him. Don't let him walk all over you. Make him respect you! I witness of His living reality. Are you saying you've seen him? Alive? Did you talk to him? Did he really call you to be a "special witness"? Does what you just said mean anything other than "I believe Jesus is a living person somewhere in or outside of the Universe"? I witness that He is the Anointed One, the Messiah. In other words, the Christ. Yeah, yeah. How did you "witness" this anointing? What are you referring to exactly? I am a witness of His incomparable mercy, compassion, and love. You obviously haven't read The book of Mormon. Jesus is not merciful or particularly loving in that book. I add my testimony to that of the Apostles who, in the year 2000, stated “that Jesus is the Living Christ, the immortal Son of God. … He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world.” That string of "special" witnessing put a load of heavy questions on my shelf of doubt. I testify that on a day in 1820 in a grove in upstate New York, the risen Lord appeared, along with God, our Heavenly Father, to the Prophet Joseph Smith, just as Joseph Smith said They did. To quote a creationist asshole named John Ham, "WERE YOU THERE?" The historical record indicates that the event you're talking about is a narrative invented by Joseph Smith years after the alleged date in his constant effort to reinforce his authority over his followers. Priesthood keys are on earth today to enable saving and exalting ordinances. The restoration of the Priesthood is another post hoc fabrication. I know it. Ahem! You "believe" it. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen. No. This is false witnessing. Fuck everything you said except the part about being nice to other people and trying to see their hardships from their perspective.