My dear brothers and sisters throughout the world, I’m very grateful to the First Presidency for inviting me to share my humble testimony this Sabbath day. The words of a favorite Latter-day Saint hymn describe my current feelings:
I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me,
Confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me. …
I marvel that he would descend from his throne divine
To rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine,
That he should extend his great love unto such as I,
Sufficient to own, to redeem, and to justify. …
Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!1
A few days ago I had the great privilege to meet with the First Presidency and receive this call from our dear prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. I want to witness to all of you of the strength and love President Monson had as he said to me, “This call comes from the Lord Jesus Christ.”
I am overwhelmed and shaken to my very core to consider the import and significance of those words so tenderly spoken by our loving prophet. President Monson, President Eyring, President Uchtdorf, I love you and will serve the Lord and you with all of my heart, might, mind, and strength.
Oh, how I have loved President Boyd K. Packer and Elders L. Tom Perry and Richard G. Scott. I dearly miss them. I am blessed to have been trained and taught at the feet of these dear Brethren. Not in the smallest part am I able to walk in their shoes, yet I am honored to stand tall on their shoulders and carry on in the Lord’s ministry.
When I think of those who have helped make me who I am, I think first of my sweet and selfless eternal companion, Melanie. Through the years, she has helped mold me like potter’s clay into a more polished disciple of Jesus Christ. Her love and support, and that of our 5 children, their spouses, and our 24 grandchildren, sustain me. To my dear family, I love you.
Like Nephi of old, I was born of goodly parents in the gospel and they of goodly parents back six generations. My earliest ancestors who joined the Church were from England and Denmark. These early pioneers gave their all to the gospel of Jesus Christ and leave a legacy for their posterity to follow. I am so grateful for a multigenerational Latter-day Saint family, and I know this is a worthy goal for all of us to strive for.
Many others have contributed to preparing my life for this new call. They include my childhood friends and family, early leaders, teachers, and lifelong mentors. I must include those from my early mission to the eastern states and our beloved missionaries from the New York New York North Mission. For the many who have influenced and shaped my life, I am most grateful.
I have cherished serving with my Brethren of the Seventy. For 15 years I have been in one of the greatest quorums and loving brotherhoods of the Church. Thank you, my dear fellow servants. Now I look forward to belonging to a new quorum. President Russell M. Nelson, my love is deep for you and each member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
Sister Rasband and I have been blessed to visit members during many assignments in congregations and missions around the world. We love the Latter-day Saints everywhere! Your faith has increased our faith; your testimonies have added to our testimony.
Now, if I could leave one small message with you today, it would be this: the Lord has said, “Love one another; as I have loved you.”2 I’m confident that there is no choice, sin, or mistake that you or anyone else can make that will change His love for you or for them. That does not mean He excuses or condones sinful conduct—I’m sure He does not—but it does mean we are to reach out to our fellowman in love to invite, persuade, serve, and rescue. Jesus Christ looked past people’s ethnicity, rank, and circumstances in order to teach them this profound truth.
I have been asked many times when I received my testimony.
I can’t remember not believing in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I have loved Them since I learned of Them at the knees of my angel mother, reading scripture and gospel stories. That early belief has now grown into a knowledge and a witness of a loving Heavenly Father, who hears and answers our prayers. My testimony of Jesus Christ has been built from many special experiences in which I have come to know His great love for each one of us.
I’m grateful for our Savior’s Atonement and wish like Alma to shout it with the trump of God.3 I know that Joseph Smith is God’s prophet of the Restoration and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. And I know that President Thomas S. Monson is God’s true servant and prophet on the earth today.
As we follow our prophet, I pray that we may have charity in our hearts toward others and that we will become a living witness and indeed “stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers [us].” Oh, may it be “wonderful, wonderful to [you and to] me.” In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.