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Know Him

Aloha. Before I begin this morning, I would like to share with you how grateful I am for President David O. McKay’s inspired revelation to build this university. This campus has had a major influence on my life. I was baptized in August of 1977, heading into my senior year in high school. Six months after my baptism, I received my patriarchal blessing. I was told that in the near future, men would come into my life and teach me the doctrines and administration of the gospel. A year after my baptism, I found myself, along with my twin sister Alohalani Housman, attending BYU–Hawaii. During my first semester here, I was fortunate to have a great roommate, Joseph Whitford, and many others around me who helped me gain a stronger testimony of the gospel. It was because of my experience with all of them that following my freshman year, I decided to serve a mission. I credit anything good that has happened to me in my life to that decision to serve a mission. I hope all of you who have not served a mission will do so, and that you will also gain a solid foundation for your life as I did here at this university 45 years ago.

Recently, I was listening to Elder Andersen’s talk from October 2022 conference. A word stood out to me in a scripture he referenced, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou has sent.” [1] This morning I would like to speak with you about knowing Christ and not just knowing about Him. Elder David A. Bednar said, “If all you and I know about Jesus Christ and His restored gospel is what other people teach or tell us, then the foundation of our testimony of Him and His glorious latter-day work is built upon sand.” [2] It was Jesus himself who said to the multitude at the conclusion of the sermon on the mount, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you.” [3] Joseph Smith’s Translation corrects the King James version to read, “Ye never knew me.” [4] Jesus also gave a similar response to the five foolish virgins. Using Joseph Smith’s Translation we read, “Afterward came also the other virgins, saying Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily, I say unto you, Ye know me not.” [5] The Savior’s response in both of these situations exposed the pretenders. “Ye never knew me” and “Ye knew me not” should cause each of us to pause and consider “How well do I know Him?” That is the topic of my message this morning. I would like to suggest four ways we can come to know Him better: #1 Know him through Serving Him; #2 Know Him by Hearing Him; #3 Know Him by Following Him; and #4 Know Him by Learning of Him.

Know Him by Serving Him

King Benjamin said, “For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?” [6] Can there be any doubt that King Benjamin spoke from experience when he made that statement? King Benjamin also taught how we can serve God. “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” [7]

When we serve Jesus Christ, we are often stretched beyond our current capabilities. It is part of the refining process we go through to become more like Him and is not meant to be easy. However, we need to trust in the enabling power of Christ who is “the author and finisher of our faith.” [8] Nephi did not have an easy time leading his father’s family and suffered many afflictions and hostile acts by those who should have thanked him and expressed gratitude to him. His experiences deepened his knowledge and faith in God. He said, “Nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted.” [9] He came to know God through a lifetime of service.

President Dallin H. Oaks relates a time in his life when his faith to serve God was tested. He learned that there are tipping points in our lives that affect our determination to let God prevail in our lives. He was a young law clerk, so his job demanded long hours. He often returned home after 9 pm. You may find yourself in similar situations - school, family, jobs, and of course church callings. He was called as a stake missionary and counselor in the stake mission presidency. This calling required forty hours of proselyting per month, gospel study and at least three to four evenings per week. Accepting the calling would mean significant adjustments to his schedule. He exercised faith and accepted the call, which became a tipping point in his life. He immediately reduced his time at work so that he could fulfill his church assignment. During the two years of his stake missionary service, he suffered no reduction in his accomplishments and advancements in his employment. He knew the Lord magnified his abilities as he put the Lord first in his life. He said, “I learned that I could do more professionally in part of my time with His help, than in all of my time without it.” [10] President Monson has said, “When we are on the Lord’s errand, we are entitled to the Lord’s help.” [11] Serving the Lord allows you to come to know Him as you become dependent on Him.

Know Him by Hearing Him

In 2020, we commemorated the two hundredth anniversary of the Father and the Son’s appearance to the boy, Joseph Smith. The Father concluded His introduction of his Son with the words, “Hear Him.” President Russell M. Nelson invited all of us to think deeply on a key question; “How do you hear Him?” There are three times in recorded scripture when our Father in Heaven introduced His Son and each ended with the words, “Hear Him.” Why would He emphasize hearing His Son in each of His introductions? The Father’s command to “Hear Him” put importance on learning to hear His Son’s voice. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the father but by me.” [12] Because He loves us, He knows if we learn to “Hear Him,” we can overcome the world and its gravitational pull downward - while His doctrine lifts us heavenward. In our day Jesus said, “Listen to him who is the advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before him.” [13]

We hear the voice of the Lord when noise gets muted (when we get rid of distractions like texts, notifications, and emails). We hear the voice of the Lord when we take time to meditate, ponder and reflect on things which are of eternal significance. We must do this not with our ears, but with our hearts. We hear Him not through loud or flashy media, but through the “still small voice” of the Holy Ghost. [14] If you want more peace in your life, then turn to Christ and hear His words through scriptures.

Recently, I reviewed what the living prophet, seers and revelators said about how they “Hear Him.” Here are a few of their comments:

President Nelson “ #1 In the scriptures; #2 in the temple; #3 through the whisperings of the Holy Ghost; #4 heeding the words of prophets, seers, and revelators.

Elder Holland “ I Hear Him through determined prayer; I Hear Him by making quality time to pray vocally; I Hear Him through reading the scriptures; I Hear Him through my wife’s example; I Hear Him by trusting my feelings.

President Ballard: “I Hear Him in still and quiet moments.”

Elder Christofferson: “I Hear Him through prayer, pondering and trusting in Him.” You’ll notice that the voice of the Lord is more easily heard when we remove the distractions of the world. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why President Nelson has repeatedly recommended that we spend more time in the temple. Take time to understand how you “Hear Him,” and then make the necessary adjustments in your life. As you do so, you will come to know Him better.

Know Him by Following Him

As Jesus began his ministry, John the Baptist bore witness that Jesus was the lamb of God, “And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi….where dwellest thou? He saith unto them, Come and see… One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus and when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: And they were fishermen. And they straightway left all and followed Jesus.” [15] The Lord knew that if His disciples followed him that they would see all of the things He did. They would hear all of the words He spoke. They would learn to do miracles like He did. Their faith in Him would be made sure.

As most of you will be entering the workforce soon, you are going to find out that who you know is just as important as what you know. You will find that there will be mocking voices beckoning you to follow them and seek after the things of the world. There is a way to overcome the lure of the world and make it safely back to your heavenly home. That way is Jesus Christ. Be careful not to be too myopic in your view of life. Remember, you were first a spirit living in the presence of God and that mortality is a temporary state. Your goal should be to return to Him so that He can give you all of the blessings promised you as children of the covenant.

It will take courage to stand firm and “heed not what the wicked may say.” [16] Christ’s example is the one we should follow. “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” [17] Please believe me when I tell you it is possible to be a faithful member of the Church and be successful in the world we live in. You have 15 prophet seers and revelators who have been successful in their chosen professions and who have also stayed on the covenant path. Don’t succumb to the lies of Satan. He seeks to bind you down into misery and despair.

If our eternal destination is dependent on knowing Him, following Him will help us become like Him. If we become like Him, then we will live with Him.

Know Him by Learning of Him

Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” [18] I watched our missionaries as they arrived in the mission field. They were nervous and perhaps anxious because of the unknown. For many of them, this was their first time away from home. Some were just a few months out of high school. A day earlier, we were saying goodbye to those who had completed their missions. They were full of faith and with strong testimonies of the gospel. They had come to know Jesus Christ.

What made the difference between the arriving missionaries and the departing missionaries with knowing Christ? They followed a simple pattern. The Lord said, “I will give you a pattern in all things.” [19] Each morning, they had personal study and then companionship study. This was a sacred time of the day - never to be replaced by any other activity. By the time the Elders completed their mission, they would have had 730 hours of personal study; and for the Sisters, 545 hours. I watched them as they became powerful instruments in the hands of God in teaching the gospel to those searching for the truth. The prophet Joseph Smith taught, “The things of God are of deep import; and time, and experience, and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts can only find them out.” [20] I recommend that you schedule a daily appointment on your smart phone to spend time in the scriptures and learn of Him. Can I give you one more suggestion? Accept the invitation from President Nelson to get a clean paperback copy of the Book of Mormon and highlight each reference to Jesus Christ, His words, and His attributes. As you follow the prophets simple but spiritually uplifting exercise, you will come to learn of the Savior and gain a great testimony of the Book of Mormon.


In conclusion, I testify to you that the 15 living prophet, seers and revelators are called of God. Before Sister Kaluhiokalani and I arrived in the mission field, we spent four days being taught and trained by them. On Sunday morning, we were invited to a sacrament meeting with the First Presidency and the Quorum of Twelve Apostles along with all the other Mission Presidents and their companions. Following the administration of the sacrament, Elder Bednar was asked to speak to us. His topic was the character of Christ. As he spoke, a powerful spirit filled the room. At the conclusion of his remarks, all of us sat motionless, overcome by the Lord’s spirit which filled the room. So powerful was this experience that the only comparison I can relate it to is 3 Nephi 17, when Jesus had appeared to the Nephites. “And no tongue can speak, neither can there be written by any man, neither can the hearts of men conceive so great and marvelous things as we both saw and heard Jesus speak; and no one can conceive of the joy which filled our souls at the time we heard Him pray for us unto the Father.” [21] For a period of time at the conclusion of the meeting, no one could speak. This was a tipping point for us. Any doubt of Jesus’ reality disappeared. It changed our lives forever. I testify that this is the Church of Jesus Christ, and that Joseph Smith did restore it, and that he translated the Book of Mormon. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. I pray that you will make time to Know Him.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

[1] John 17:3
[2] Elder David A. Bednar, “Prepared to Obtain Every Needful Thing,” General Conference April 2019
[3] Matthew 7:22-23
[4] Matthew 7:22-23 JST
[5] Matthew 25:11-12 JST
[6] Mosiah 5:13
[7] Mosiah 2:17
[8] Moroni 6:4
[9] 2 Nephi 4:19
[10] “Life’s Lessons Learned,” Dallin H. Oaks, Deseret Book, 2011, pg 46
[11] President Thomas S. Monson, “To Learn, To do, To Be,” General Conference October 2008
[12] John 14:6
[13] D&C 45:3
[14] 1 Kings 19:12
[15] John 1:36-42
[16] “Let Us All Press On,” Hymn #243
[17] Luke 2:52
[18] Matthew 11:29
[19] D&C 52:14
[20] Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, page 137
[21] 3rd Nephi 17:17