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What Elder Christofferson taught about the Savior’s resurrection and pressing forward


SAN DIEGO, California — After the Savior’s Atonement, His resurrection and His ascension into heaven, His apostles were left with the responsibility to direct the work of His Church — “the work of redemption, the work of proclaiming His gospel across the world,” said Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Speaking to Latter-day Saints from the San Diego California Stake, gathered Jan. 29 for a special devotional, Elder Christofferson turned to the book of Acts in the New Testament, which records Peter’s statement of the apostles’ charge to be witnesses of the Savior’s Resurrection.

“It is very significant that of all the things the Savior’s apostles could attest to — having been with Him for three years and witnessing His miracles, His teachings, His private conversations with them, His individual tutoring — the one thing that mattered most was being a witness of His Resurrection.”

“Why?” asked Elder Christofferson. Because it is the “one thing that attests to everything else. That is the proof of the truth of all else that He taught.”

The Savior’s Resurrection affirms that He was not just a gifted, charismatic leader, he said. “His Resurrection is proof that He is divine, indeed, the Son of God.”

Elder Christofferson was in San Diego to participate in celebrations marking the 175th anniversary of the arrival of the Mormon Battalion to the area in 1847. His brother Greg Christofferson, president of the Mormon Battalion Association, also spoke at the meeting — offering a brief history of the battalion’s historic march.

Greg Christofferson, president of the Mormon Battalion Association, left, stands at the podium in the San Diego California Stake center with his brother, Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, on the 175th anniversary of the arrival of the Mormon Battalion in San Diego on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022.

Greg Christofferson, president of the Mormon Battalion Association, left, stands at the podium in the San Diego California Stake center with his brother, Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, on the 175th anniversary of the arrival of the Mormon Battalion in San Diego on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022.

Credit: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

During his remarks at the Jan. 29 devotional, Elder Christofferson spoke about Peter — who shortly before the Savior’s crucifixion denied Him three times. Yet, after seeing the resurrected Lord and conversing with Him, Peter was fearless. There was never again a time in his life, “despite the threats, despite the danger,” that he would waver in his witness of Jesus Christ.  

“What does that mean for you? What does it mean for me now? For one thing, that Resurrection brings to us all the promise of immortality,” said Elder Christofferson. “His Atonement, His Resurrection has overcome the general, universal human predicament. Death is no longer the end.”

Because of Jesus Christ, every individual can choose eternal life, added Elder Christofferson, saying the Lord’s invitation for eternal life requires repentance and following the Lord’s commandments.

“Repentance means turning away from what’s wrong, turning to God and His life, His path. It means truly choosing Him, freely choosing to follow Him. It means turning our will, our desires, to Him and saying, ‘We will follow in this path. We are Yours.’”

This can be accomplished as Latter-day Saints show the Lord their progress — not their perfection — along the covenant path. “Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life” (2 Nephi 31:20).

Elder Christofferson said a person should not only measure their life by their good deeds, but also how that service changes them. “What are we becoming as a result of following that path of loving God and fellow man and showing it day by day?” he said. “What does that do?

“That changes us. We become saints in the sense of being true followers who are increasingly holy people, devoted to Him.”

Just as early Mormon Battalion members marched 2,100 miles in harsh conditions — putting one foot in front of the other in their effort to follow the Savior and His Prophet — Latter-day Saints may sometimes feel that moving forward is hard, even impossible.

“I know there are times when you don’t think you can go on, when you want to give up,” he said.

On the 175th anniversary of the arrival of the Mormon Battalion in San Diego, Calif., Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles addresses members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the San Diego California Stake on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022.

On the 175th anniversary of the arrival of the Mormon Battalion in San Diego, Calif., Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles addresses members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the San Diego California Stake on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022.

Credit: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

But there is a path forward, he added.

Elder Christofferson spoke of his own mother’s battle with cancer, when he and his four brothers were just boys. Treatments were invasive then; radiation left her unable to swallow and in great pain. With 16 treatments remaining, Elder Christofferson’s mother told her own mother she was not up to the task. “And her mother said: ‘Can you do just this one? That is all you have to do today.’”

Some trials must be dealt with in the moment, without looking too far ahead, said Elder Christofferson, whose mother lived well into her 80s and was a great blessing to her family.

Likewise, he added, “you and I can do what we are called upon to do” with the Lord’s help. “That’s the blessing. He is merciful.”

Elder Christofferson concluded his remarks by sharing a blessing of peace that can come only from One Divine Source.

“The Savior Jesus Christ is resurrected and He does live and that makes all the difference.”

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