John, without fear, testified boldly of Jesus Christ

At the April 1980 general conference, Elder Thomas S. Monson, then of the Quorum of the Twelve and now first counselor in the First Presidency, noted that, as with the Master, little is recorded of the early years of His servant, John.

"A single sentence contains all that we know of John's history for a space of thirty years — the entire period which elapsed between his birth and his walk into the wilderness to commence his public ministry: 'The child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.' (Luke 1:80.)

"His dress was that of the old prophets — a garment woven of camel's hair. His food was such as the desert afforded — locusts and wild honey. His message was brief. He preached faith, repentance, baptism by immersion, and the bestowal of the Holy Ghost by an authority greater than that possessed by himself.

" 'I am not the Christ' (John 1:20), he told his band of faithful disciples. 'But I am sent before him.' 'I indeed baptize you with water . . . but one mightier than I cometh . . . he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire." (See Matt. 3:11.)

Elder Monson spoke of "the climactic scene of John's mission," the baptism of Christ.

"Jesus came down from Galilee expressly 'to be baptized' by John," he said. "Humbled of heart and contrite in spirit, John pleaded, 'I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?' The Master's reply: 'It becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.' (See Matt. 3:13-15.)

" 'And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:

" 'And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.' " (Matt. 3:16-17.)

Elder Monson said that John's testimony that Jesus was the Redeemer of the world was declared boldly. "Without fear, and with courage, John taught: 'Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.' (John 1:29.)

"Of John, the Savior later testified, 'Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist.' " (Matt. 11:11.)