“It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the character of God.” —Joseph Smith
In “The Character of Christ,” Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles describes an experience he had years earlier while serving as a stake president. He was on the phone with a frantic mother waiting to hear news of her daughter who, along with two other young women, had been in a car accident. Elder Bednar said he heard this mother speaking with the hospital on the other end of the phone. He heard the doctor tell this mother that her daughter had died in the accident.
The woman immediately told Elder Bednar that the two other mothers should know about their daughters who had been involved in the accident as well. He said, “There was no self-pity; there was no self-absorption; there was no turning inward. The Christlike character of this devoted woman was manifested in her immediate and almost instinctive turning outward to attend to the needs of other suffering mothers.”
Commenting on this woman’s strength of character, Elder Bednar notes that the letters A, C, and T are crucial in the word “character” because you can tell a lot about who someone is by how he or she acts.
Elder Bednar explores Jesus Christ’s character and says that Christ’s selflessness defines him. For example, Elder Bednar cites the moment Jesus healed the guard whose ear was cut off outside the Garden of Gethsemane and says that the real character of Christ is manifest in his ability to think of others long before thinking of himself.
The mother who lost her daughter was in agony, but she did not let that stop her from continuing to love others and be concerned about them. Jesus Christ showed his character through selfless actions. And we can grow closer to knowing Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father’s character by praying their their perfect attributes will become our own.
Read Elder Bednar’s full speech.
Source: BYU–Idaho Religious Symposium
—Jenna Koford, Mormon Insights
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This is a wonderful introduction to Elder Bednar’s address. Elder Bednar is spot-on when he says that action relates to character.