An enduring testament of the living Christ

During this millennial year — almost 2000 years after Jesus Christ walked the earth — members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve have created an enduring testament of His divinity.

Special Witnesses of Christ, a video production featuring the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve testifying of Jesus, was broadcast between general conference sessions April 1-2 and will soon be available for purchase at Church distribution centers.

"None can fully comprehend the splendor of His life, the majesty of His death, the universality of His gift to mankind," said President Gordon B. Hinckley during the introduction of the video.

"Now 2,000 years have come and gone since His birth in Bethlehem. Surely, this is a time for remembrance and recommitment."

Continuing, President Hinckley explained that in this day, the Lord has called 15 special witnesses to testify of Christ's divinity before all the world. President Hinckley, his counselors — President Thomas S. Monson and President James E. Faust — and members of the Quorum of the Twelve speak during the video from various locations around the globe, including the Holy Land, Temple Square, Church historic sites and Lick Observatory located on Mount Hamilton east of San Jose, Calif.

Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve, said that the program is one of two pronouncements from the apostles this year emphasizing Jesus Christ.

The first, the testimony of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, titled, "The Living Christ," was released Jan. 1, 2000. It was published in the Church News on that date. Now translated into 41 languages, the testimony appeared in the April edition of Church magazines.

During an interview in his office, Elder Nelson displayed the testimony of "The Living Christ" in 12 languages. Additionally, plans call for the Special Witnesses of Christ video, which was originally broadcast in English and Spanish, to be translated into 26 languages.

The testimony and the video stress, Elder Nelson explained, "the most sacred thing that we can contribute, mainly our testimony that the living Christ is the literal son of God."

Just as words of ancient apostles, including Peter, James, John and Paul, still testify of Christ today, Elder Nelson hopes his words will live long after his death.

"We wanted to leave something that would get into the hearts of people and endure, even beyond the life of those testifiers."

Elder Nelson noted the video was released at the same time as the Church opened the new 21,000-seat Conference Center. He said that he hopes, however, that the beautiful new building and other magnificent symbols of Church progress will not overshadow the real focus of the Church.

"Of infinite worth is the reason that my great-grandparents and yours joined the Church; why converts are coming into the Church now," he said. "It is not because of our programs or procedures. It is because we are rooted in the Lord Jesus Christ."

Elder Nelson said each apostle selected the location from which he bore his testimony of the Savior in the video. The testimonies, as individual blocks in a quilt, were woven together into a beautiful fabric.

Quoting from the Prophet Joseph Smith, Elder Nelson said that "the fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the apostles and prophets concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried and rose again on the third day and ascended into heaven."

Together with the testimony of "The Living Christ," the video is just that — "a fundamental principle of our religion," said Elder Nelson.

"[The video program was made] by the apostles of the Lord for all people of this earth. We speak truth and hope that anyone — regardless of race, color or creed — will have that available as a resource to them."

Elder Nelson said during this year, as many in the world celebrate the 2,000th anniversary of the birth of the Savior, he and the other apostles hope they have created the best birthday gift they could give — an enduring testament that will strengthen faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

"We hope that it stands as a testimony of the Lord whose servants we are. He is our master, He is our King, He is the Lord, He is the head of the Church and we are on His errand. Nothing could be more fitting in commemoration of His birth than to have His people upon the earth acknowledge Him as the Lord of His earth."

During the concluding moments of the program, President Hinckley, his counselors in the First Presidency and members of the Quorum of the Twelve are seen standing in front of the "Christus" statue, located in the North Visitors Center on Temple Square.

There President Hinckley proclaims: "Unitedly as His apostles, authorized and commissioned by Him to do so, we bear our witness that He lives and that He will come again to claim His kingdom and rule as King of kings and Lord of lords. Of this we are certain."