General Conference
Bearing Witness of Jesus Christ in Word and Actions
October 2023 general conference

Bearing Witness of Jesus Christ in Word and Actions

As we strive to live our lives in harmony with the gospel of Jesus Christ, our conduct will be a living testimony of our Redeemer.

At baptism one of the promises that we make is that we are willing to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ. My purpose today is to remind us that we can show God that we take the name of His Son upon ourselves by bearing testimony in word and deed, as often as we can, that Jesus is the Christ.

When ministering to and teaching the people in the Americas after His Resurrection, the Savior declared:

“Have they not read the scriptures, which say ye must take upon you the name of Christ, which is my name? For by this name shall ye be called at the last day;

“And whoso taketh upon him my name, and endureth to the end, the same shall be saved at the last day.”1

President Russell M. Nelson has taught us that “taking the Savior’s name upon us includes declaring and witnessing to others—through our actions and our words—that Jesus is the Christ.”2

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have the blessing and privilege to stand as witnesses of the Lord and His name everywhere we are.3 As we strive to live our lives in harmony with the gospel of Jesus Christ, our conduct will be a living testimony of our Redeemer and His name. Moreover, we witness of Christ in word by sharing with others what we believe, feel, or know of Jesus Christ.

When we humbly share our testimony of the Lord through our words and actions, the Holy Ghost confirms4 to those with real intent, open hearts, and willing minds that Jesus is indeed the Christ.5

I would like to share two recent and inspiring examples of members who show God that they take the name of Jesus Christ upon themselves by talking of Him and bearing pure witness of the Lord in Church meetings.

First example: When my wife, Elaine, and I went to Spain in 2022, we attended Sunday meetings in a small unit of the Church there. As I sat on the stand and my wife in the congregation, I noticed that she sat by an older woman. When the sacrament meeting ended, I walked toward Elaine and asked her to introduce me to her new friend. She did so and indicated that this woman, who was not a member of the Church, had been visiting the Church for about two years. When I heard that, I asked this God-fearing woman what made her come back and attend our meetings for such an extended period. The woman lovingly replied, “I like to come here because you speak of Jesus Christ in your meetings.”

Clearly, members of the Church in that unit in Spain talked, taught, and testified of Christ in their meetings.

Second example: After serving in the Brazil Area, I received a new assignment to serve at Church headquarters. When we moved to Salt Lake City at the end of July of this year, we attended Sunday meetings at our new and wonderful ward. One of these meetings was a fast and testimony meeting. After reverently partaking of the sacrament, members stood up and bore heartfelt testimonies of the Savior one after the other. The meeting was centered on Jesus Christ, and we could palpably feel the Spirit. We were edified, and our faith was strengthened. If friends of the Church, honestly seeking the truth, had been at that meeting, they would have recognized that this is the Church of Jesus Christ.

What a blessing to see that our Church meetings are choice opportunities for us to testify of Christ and signal to God that we rejoice in taking His Son’s name upon us.

Now, let me mention a powerful example of taking upon us the name of Jesus Christ by bearing testimony of Him through actions.

Last August, I accompanied Elder Jonathan S. Schmitt to the open house of the Feather River California Temple in Yuba City. There I had the blessing of guiding groups on a tour of the temple. One of these groups included a member of the Church, Virgil Atkinson, and seven friends of other faiths. Toward the end of the visit, in a temple sealing room, Brother Atkinson was emotional as he expressed his love for his friends who had come to the temple that day. Almost immediately after he had done so, a woman in the group stood up and said, “We all love Virgil. He has never imposed his faith on us. But he is not shy about it either. He just lives what he believes.”

Over the years, Brother Atkinson’s Christlike living served as a powerful testimony to his friends. His example is strong evidence that he has taken upon himself the name of Christ.

In conclusion, let me share the lesson I learned about how to take upon us the name of Christ and testify of Him by using the correct name of the Church.

President Nelson, God’s living prophet, in a 2018 general conference address titled “The Correct Name of the Church,” said: “It is a correction. It is the command of the Lord. Joseph Smith did not name the Church restored through him; neither did Mormon. It was the Savior Himself who said, ‘For thus shall my church be called in the last days, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ [Doctrine and Covenants 115:4].”6

We all left general conference that day committed and determined to follow the prophet and to use the revealed name of the Church from then on. I really watched myself to make sure I used the correct name of the Church. The first few times, I had to be very conscious and not allow myself to go back to the old ways. After the first attempts, I felt more comfortable with using the revealed name of the Church. I admit that many times, I would speak the name of the Church quickly. I felt concerned that people would not pay attention to the Church’s full name and that they might think it to be a bit long.

However, I later realized that speaking the full name of the Church with intent gave me valuable opportunities to speak the name of Jesus Christ and in fact bear testimony of the Savior by declaring His name in the name of His Church. I also noticed that when I spoke the correct name of the Church with others, I more frequently remembered Jesus Christ and felt His influence in my life.

By following the prophet, we can all learn to testify more of Jesus Christ by using the correct name of the Church, thus taking upon us more fully the name of the Lord.

This Sabbath morning, I gladly testify that President Nelson is God’s living prophet and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ’s restored Church. I humbly witness of the Son of God and His divinity. He is God’s Firstborn and Only Begotten Son, our Savior and Redeemer, the Emmanuel.7 In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.