Gethsemane. Big Lou’s Latest Invention --A New Hybrid Vehicle. Layers…. Joseph Smith
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"Nothing in the entire plan of salvation compares in any way in importance with that most transcendent of all events, the atoning sacrifice of our Lord. It is the most important single thing that has ever occurred in the entire history of created things; it is the rock foundation upon which the gospel and all other things rest. Indeed, all 'things which pertain to our religion are only appendage to it,‘
(Teachings, p. 121.)
The Culture (People)
Joseph who had not expressed his fears till now, sprang from the table, exclaiming, "Martin, have you lost that manuscript? Have you broken your oath, and brought down condemnation upon my head as well as your own?“
"Yes; it is gone," replied Martin, "and I know not where.“
Joseph, clinching his hands. "All is lost! all is lost! What shall I do? I have sinned—it is I who tempted the wrath of God. I should have been satisfied with the first answer which I received from the Lord.
He wept and groaned, and walked the floor continually.
"Then must I," said Joseph, "return with such a tale as this? I dare not do it. And how shall I appear before the Lord? Of what rebuke am I not worthy from the angel of the Most High?“
I besought him not to mourn so, for perhaps the Lord would forgive him, after a short season of humiliation and repentance. But what could I do to comfort him, when he saw all the family in the same situation of mind as himself; for sobs and groans, and the most bitter lamentations filled the house.
However, Joseph was more distressed than the rest, as he better understood the consequences of disobedience. And he continued pacing back and forth, meantime weeping and grieving, until about sunset, when, by persuasion, he took a little nourishment…
I well remember that day of darkness, both within and without. To us, at least, the heavens seemed clothed with blackness, and the earth shrouded with gloom. I have often said within myself, that if a continual punishment, as severe as that which we experienced on that occasion, were to be inflicted upon the most wicked characters who ever stood upon the footstool of the Almighty—if even their punishment were no greater than that, I should feel to pity their condition.
History of Joseph Smith by His Mother, 132
For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;
But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;
Wherefore, I command you again to repent, lest I humble you with my almighty power; and that you confess your sins, lest you suffer these punishments of which I have spoken,
of which in the smallest, yea, even in the least degree you have tasted at the time I withdrew my Spirit.
And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray.
And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy;
And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch. (Mark 14)
And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, (Luke 22)
I seemed to be in the Garden of Gethsemane, a witness of the Savior's agony. I saw Him as plainly as ever I have seen anyone. Standing behind a tree in the foreground, I beheld Jesus, with Peter, James and John, as they came through a little . . . gate at my right. Leaving the three Apostles there, after telling them to kneel and pray, the Son of God passed over to the other side, where He also knelt and prayed. It was the same prayer with which all Bible readers are familiar: "Oh my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt."
As He prayed the tears streamed down his face, which was toward me. I was so moved at the sight that I also wept, out of pure sympathy. My whole heart went out to him; I loved him with all my soul, and longed to be with him as I longed for nothing else.
Presently He arose and walked to where those Apostles were kneeling— fast asleep! He shook them gently, awoke them, and in a tone of tender reproach, untinctured by the least show of anger or impatience, asked them plaintively if they could not watch with him one hour. There He was, with the awful weight of the world's sin upon his shoulders, with the pangs of every man, woman and child shooting through his sensitive soul— and they could not watch with him one poor hour!
Returning to his place, He offered up the same prayer as before; then went back and again found them sleeping. Again he awoke them, readmonished them, and once more returned and prayed. Three times this occurred. (Through Memory's Halls, 82)
That he also had godly powers did not make his suffering any less excruciating, any less poignant, or any less real.
To the contrary, it is for this very reason that his suffering was more, not less, than his mortal counterparts could experience. He took upon him infinite suffering, but chose to defend with only mortal faculties, with but one exception—his godhood was summoned to hold off unconsciousness and death…that would otherwise overpower a mere mortal when he reached his threshold of pain.
For the Savior, however, there would be no such relief. His divinity would be called upon, not to immunize him from pain, but to enlarge the receptacle that would hold it. He simply brought a larger cup to hold the bitter drink. (Infinite Atonement, p. 119)
"How do you know?" That was whispered to me by a woman after a stake conference, with tears running down her cheeks, when she said: "I've tried so long. I've done everything I know how. Why don't I feel the peace of forgiveness? I want to feel forgiven. I want to feel clean again. I want to feel I can stay that way. How do I know?“
It was asked in a letter that came to my desk recently. It was asked the other night on the phone in what began as a call about business. And with tears in his voice, a young man asked, "Well, how will I know? How do you know?"
How do you know the Atonement is active in your life?
For every Paul, for every Enos, and for every King Lamoni, there are hundreds and thousands of people who find the process of repentance much more subtle, much more imperceptible. Day by day they move closer to the Lord, little realizing they are building a godlike life.
They live quiet lives of goodness, service, and commitment. They are like the Lamanites, who the Lord said "were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not" (3 Nephi 9:20).
["A Mighty Change of Heart," Ensign, October 1989, p. 5]
Once, as a bishop of a ward, I worked with a young man…He'd made great mistakes and had been moved by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to make long and painful repentance. We were down to the weeks before he was to be married in the temple. I had long before forgiven him in the name of the Church and had given him his temple recommend. Yet he remembered that I had said, "The Lord will forgive you in his own time and in his own way."
But now he was deeply concerned. He came to my office and he said: "You told me that the Lord would someday let me know that I was forgiven. But I am going to the temple to marry a wonderful girl. I want to be the best I can be for her. I need to know that I am forgiven. And I need to know now. Tell me how to find out." I said I would try.
He gave me a deadline. My memory is that it was within less than two weeks. Fortunately, I already had a trip scheduled. During that period of time I went to Salt Lake City, and there I found myself seeing Elder Spencer W. Kimball, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, at a social function. It was crowded, and yet he somehow found me. He walked up to me in that crowd and said, "Hal, I understand that you are now a bishop. Do you have anything you would like to ask me?"
I said that I did, but I didn't think that was the place to talk about it. He thought it was. It was an outdoor party. My memory is that we went behind a shrub and there had our interview. Without breaking confidences, as I have not with you, I outlined the concerns and the question of this young man in my ward. Then I asked Elder Kimball, "How can he get that revelation? How can he know whether his sins are remitted?"
I thought Elder Kimball would talk to me about fasting or prayer or listening for the still small voice. But he surprised me. Instead he said, "Tell me something about the young man."
I said, "What would you like to know?"
And then he began a series of the most simple questions. Some of the ones I remember were:
"Does he come to his priesthood meetings?"
I said, after a moment of thought, "Yes."
"Does he come early?"
"Does he sit down front?"
I thought for a moment and then realized, to my amazement, that he did.
"Does he home teach?"
"Does he go early in the month?"
"Yes, he does."
"Does he go more than once?"
I can't remember the other questions. But they were all like that--little things, simple acts of obedience, of submission. And for each question I was surprised that my answer was always yes. Yes, he wasn't just at all his meetings: he was early; he was smiling; he was there not only with his whole heart, but with the broken heart of a little child, as he was every time the Lord asked anything of him.
And after I had said yes to each of his questions, Elder Kimball looked at me, paused, and then very quietly said, "There is your revelation."