Showing the way for others to follow

Taught us to pray

Taught us to serve- Taught us to forgive

Taught us to love

President Thomas S. Monson noted Sunday morning that much is being said during the 150th anniversary year of the pioneers entering the Salt Lake Valley. However, he said he wanted to make a few remarks concerning "other pioneers" who preceded those on that trek.

After reciting the dictionary definition of pioneer as "one who goes before, showing others the way to follow," President Monson, first counselor in the First Presidency, spoke of some who met "the high standard of the word pioneer."

One such was Moses, leader of the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage. Another was Ruth, a great-grandmother of David and an ancestress of Jesus Christ. Among other faithful women who were pioneers, President Monson said, were Mary, the mother of Jesus; Mary Magdalene, Esther and Elisabeth.

Still other pioneers he mentioned were Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and John the Baptist.

"Many who were pioneers in spirit and action were called by Jesus to be His apostles. Much could be told of each," President Monson said. He spoke of Peter and John the Beloved.

"The apostles went before, showing others the way to follow. They were pioneers. History records, however, that most men did not come unto Christ, nor did they follow the way He taught. Crucified was the Lord, slain were most of the apostles, rejected was the truth."

President Monson spoke of leaders of the reformation as "pioneers, blazing wilderness trails in a desperate search for those lost points of reference which, they felt, when found would lead mankind back to the truth Jesus taught. John Wycliffe, Martin Luther, Jon Hus, Zwingli, Knox, Calvin and Tyndale all pioneered the period of the reformation. Significant was the declaration of Tyndale to his critics: `I will cause a boy that driveth the plough shall know more of the scripture than thou doest.' "

President Monson quoted the Prophet Joseph Smith's account of his search for truth, which was heightened as he read James 1:5. He told how that scripture's admonition to "ask of God" led young Joseph to pray in a grove where he was visited by the Father and the Son. (See Joseph Smith-History 1:11-17.)

He listed highlights of the Prophet's life, and added: "At length, Joseph Smith died the martyr's death, as did his brother Hyrum. Joseph Smith was a pioneer indeed."

The ultimate Pioneer, President Monson said, was Jesus Christ. "His birth was foretold by the prophets of old; His entry upon the stage of life was announced by an angel. His life and His ministry have transformed the world. With the birth of the babe in Bethlehem, there emerged a great endowment, a power stronger than weapons, a wealth more lasting than the coins of Caesar. This child was to be the King of kings and Lord of lords, the Promised Messiah, even Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Born in a stable, cradled in a manger, He came forth from heaven to live on earth as mortal man and to establish the Kingdom of God. During His earthly ministry, He taught men the higher law. His glorious gospel reshaped the thinking of the world. He blessed the sick. He caused the lame to walk, the blind to see, the deaf to hear. He even raised the dead to life. One sentence from the Book of Acts speaks volumes: Jesus `went about doing good . . . for God was with him.' (Acts. 10:38.)

"He taught us to pray. . . . He taught us to serve. . . . He taught us to forgive. . . . He taught us to love."

Further, President Monson said: "It is emotionally draining for me to recount the events leading up to the crucifixion of the Master. I cringe when I read the words of Pilate responding to cries of the throng, `Crucify him. . . . Crucify him.' (Luke 23:21.)

"Jesus was mocked. He was spit upon, and a crown of thorns was placed upon His head. He was given vinegar to drink.

"They crucified Him. His body was placed in a borrowed tomb, but no tomb could hold the body of the Lord. On the morning of the third day came the welcome message to Mary Magdalene, to Mary the mother of James, and to other women

thatT the tomb was empty. Two angels said to the weeping women, `Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen.' (Luke 24:5-6.)

"Yes, the Lord had indeed risen. He appeared to Mary; He was seen by Cephas or Peter, then by His brethren of the Twelve. He was seen by Joseph Smith, who declared: `This is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That He lives! For we saw him, even on the right hand of God.' " (D&C 76:22-23.)

President Monson concluded: "Our Mediator, our Redeemer, our Brother, our Advocate with the Father, died for our sins and the sins of all mankind. The atonement of Jesus Christ is the foreordained but voluntary act of the Only Begotten Son of God. He offered His life as a redeeming ransom for us all.

"His mission, His ministry among men, His teachings of truth, His acts of mercy, His unwavering love for us prompts our gratitude and warms our hearts. Jesus Christ, Savior of the world - even the Son of God - was and is the ultimate Pioneer, for He has gone before, showing all others the way."

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