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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The "Myth" Un-"Mythed"

In an article by Lauren Green (see article here), mention is made of an ad campaign by American Atheists.  One of the ads state, "You know it’s a myth.  This season, celebrate reason."  The American Atheists major question is whether or not Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God or whether Jesus is a myth.  In this article, we will examine the Messiahship of Jesus.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught,  

How do you prove the resurrection?  As we are going to see, you prove it by testimony. . . . How do you prove spiritual truths? . . . The way Peter and the ancients proved that Jesus was the Son of God, and therefore that the gospel which he taught was the plan of salvation, was to establish that he rose from the dead.  And the way you prove that a man rises from the dead, because it’s in the spiritual realm, is to bear witness by the power of the Spirit of knowledge that is personal and real and literal to you. (Ensign, Dec. 1980, p. 11)

It all centers on witnesses.  In our courts of law, witnesses testify to the guit or innocence of a man.  So in the Gospel of Jesus Christ do witnesses testiry to the validity of the resurrected Son of Deity.

 Mary is the first of all mortals to see her Risen Lord.  The event is heralded in the Gospel of John in these words:

"But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulcure, And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.  And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou?  She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.  And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.  Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou?  She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.  Jesus saith unto her, Mary.  She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master (John 20:11-16)."

Before the close of the New Testament, it is marked down that the Savior appears to Paul, Stephen, the Eleven Apostles, and lastly to 500 bretheren.  John, on the Isle of Patmos, gives a moving description of the Redeemer of the world.  He said,  

"The Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.  His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. . . . His countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength (Rev. 1:13-16)."  

So far, that is 514 people who still know that Jesus is not a myth.  

We turn now to the pages of the Book of Mormon, and let it establish a witness of the Son of God.  In that holy Book we learn that 2,500 people saw, conversed with, learned from, and felt the wounds of the Messiah risen again from the dead.  This included the Twelve whom Messiah called on the American continent who were also there.  We also have knowledge of both Mormon and Moroni seeing the Risen Lord.  Of these two special witnesses, the words of Mormon reverberate through the sidereal heavens.  Saith he, "And I, being fifteen years of age and being somewhat of a sober mind, therefore I was visited of the Lord, and tasted and knew of the goodness of Jesus (Moroni 1:15)."  What a powerful but precise testimony!  Included with the 514 people in the New Testament, we now have 3,016 people who knew Jesus is not a myth!

In modern times the witnesses who have left us accounts either by their own hand or spoke these accounts to their children and were thereby recorded, we have at least the Prophet Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Oliver Cowdery, and Lorenzo Snow.  The risen Lord appeared in the Kirtland Temple to accept of the edifice.  It is written,  

"The veil was taken from our minds, and the eye of our understanding were opened.  We saw the Lord standing upon the breastwork of the pulpit, before us; and under his feet was a paved work of pure gold, in color like amber.  His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah (D&C 110:1-3) . . ."  

We also have an account of President Lorenzo Snow seeing Jesus after praying in the Salt Lake Temple for revelation on when to reorganize the First Presidency after the death of President Woodruff on 2 September 1898.  The account reads thus,  

"I want to tell you something. It was right here that the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to me at the time of the death of President Woodruff. He instructed me to go right ahead and reorganize the First Presidency of the Church at once and not wait as had been done after the death of the previous presidents, and that I was to succeed President Woodruff. . . . He stood right here, about three feet above the floor. It looked as though He stood on a plate of solid gold. . . . [I] actually saw the Savior, here in the Temple, and talked with Him face to face (Improvement Era, Sep. 1933. p. 677)."
The hallway in which this event occured is pictured below:

Presidents Smith and Snow knew Jesus was not a myth!  I also know that Jesus Christ is not a myth.  

Thus let it be known that I know that there is no myth of Jesus - He is a reality.  He is the Son of God and all people's Savior, even if they say there is not a God in heaven and that they can pove it.  I know God lives and restored His Church through Joseph Smith.  I know the scriptures testify of Jesus as a reality and that He is real.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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