In the years following the Restoration, missionaries could assume that most people they taught had a fundamental belief in Jesus Christ, but missionaries today cannot make that assumption, Elder Dallin H. Oaks said at the October 1990 general conference.
A member of the Quorum of the Twelve, Elder Oaks said that while there are still many God-fearing people who testify to the divinity of Jesus Christ, there are many more — even in the formal ranks of Christianity — who doubt His existence or deny His divinity. "As I see the deterioration in religious faith that has happened in my own lifetime, I am convinced that we who are members of His Church need to be increasingly valiant in our testimony of Jesus," Elder Oaks said.
He spoke of some who engage in "trendy and expedient tampering with the Christian faith," such as one bishop in a prominent Christian church who, in consecrating the emblems of the flesh and blood of Jesus, substituted the wording of "Father, Son and Holy Ghost" with what are called the "nonsexist words" of "Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer."
Elder Oaks said, "Such deliberate deviations are not likely to be made by faithful Latter-day Saints. However, we need to be on guard against careless omissions and oversights in our personal testimonies, in our formal instructions, and in our worship and funeral services.
In addition, each of us has many opportunities to proclaim our belief to friends and neighbors, fellow workers, and casual acquaintances. I hope we will take these opportunities to express our love for our Savior, our witness of His divine mission, and our determination to serve Him.
"If we do all of this, we can say, like the Apostle Paul, 'I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.' (Rom. 1:16.)
"And, we can say, like the prophet Nephi, 'We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, . . . that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.' "