The Lamprechts

Remember Who You Are
By Jaren on 2017-07-09
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In the past couple months, my daughter, Cameron, has developed a fixation with The Lion King and quotes from it throughout the day. It’s like reliving my youth when my younger sister, Elise, went through a similar phase.

Around that time I had a friend who was much like Timon and Pumba, a no-worries kind of guy. He was a lot of fun but commitment-averse. I remember once he was quite interested in the Plan of Salvation and asked a lot of questions, like who he was and why he was here. However, as soon as he learned there was a spirit world after this life where there’d be opportunity to hear and accept the gospel, he didn’t want to hear any more. He preferred to remain in ignorance and avoid commitment. He’s more or less managed to continue in that pattern through to the present. I suppose it might take a Mufasa-like intervention for him to come around. Do you recall Mufasa’s piercing imperative? “Remember who you are.”

Each of us entered this life having forgotten all. It is understandably difficult to remember who we are. Even our first parents, Adam and Eve, were subject to the veil of forgetfulness handicap. However, they had the distinct advantage of walking and talking with two identifying themselves as Father and Firstborn. Over time they learned, and what they learned, they passed on.

Apart from our first parents, we know of no others who were visited from on high before encountering some form of prior knowledge and striving to live up to it. The testimonies of those that have gone before plant seeds in our hearts to inquire after a knowledge of God and discover who we are and why we are here.

Abraham was influenced by the testimony of others. He described his early persuasions thus: “finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers” (Abraham 1:2). Decades of devotion later, the Lord spoke with him face to face and “[he] said in [his] heart: Thy servant has sought thee earnestly; now I have found thee” (Abraham 2:12).

Over the generations, words of prophets, such as Abraham, have contributed to a growing body of scripture, a reservoir of collected experience, testimony, and doctrine. The scriptures allow us to peek behind the veil and remember who we are. The psalmist wrote, “Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High” (Psalm 82:6). The scriptures do not—nor do I think they were ever intended to—reveal all, lest we be robbed of our Abrahamic achievement. We are intended to seek earnestly that we may ultimately exclaim, “now I have found thee!”

As in all things, we may look to our exemplar, Jesus Christ, for how to remember who we are. Jesus entered the world as any of us, a helpless babe complete with veil of forgetfulness. He was dependent on Mary, Joseph, and others around him to care for him and teach him. The apostle John “saw that he received not of the fulness at the first, but received grace for grace” (D&C 93:12). Though unencumbered by sin, yet he had to progress. He learned to speak and was taught to read and to pray. His instruction included the scriptures and Jewish law. However, this was no ordinary student of the scriptures. Even at the age of twelve, “all that heard him were astonished at his understanding” (Luke 2:47).

Jesus had found something in the scriptures that captured him. There was a familiar spirit to them. They portrayed a just, yet merciful God, one who “set [his] face like a flint” (Isaiah 50:7) yet whose “hand is stretched out still” (Isaiah 9:12). He had found who he would like to become and set out becoming. He gained knowledge by study and wisdom by prayer, thought, and effort. Luke summarized that “[he] grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him” (Luke 2:20). The spirit attended him and testified of truth as he encountered it and lived it.

Eventually, he would discover the deeper truth underlying His captivation with the scriptures. He had not just found God in those words. He had found himself. He had heard the stories of his birth, and though he was prone to believe his mother, her testimony was but a seed. He planted and nourished that seed, and it had grown to a respectable size. Though exempt from the second principle of the gospel, Jesus still had to develop faith in Christ, faith in himself. As he finally remembered who he was and an understanding of the implications, he accepted his mission by visiting his cousin, John, to be baptized. With his sacred display of obedience and commitment, his faith was confirmed. From heaven, a voice was heard: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17).

Jesus had his “now I have found thee” moment. Unfortunately, those are usually just the beginning. There are always further opportunities for trial and doubt. After Jesus fasted for forty days in preparation for his ministry, Satan took some cheap shots.

“And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread” (Matthew 4:3). Jesus is hungry, so he certainly could use some bread, but there’s something more sinister insinuated. Satan questions whether Jesus is the Son of God. Satan certainly knows. He is not handicapped by a veil of forgetfulness, but Jesus is just solidifying that identity. Armed with the scriptures, Jesus “answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

Not to be deterred, Satan makes another attempt to shake Jesus’s faith in himself, this time turning the scriptures against him, “If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee” (Matthew 4:6). This time, relying on the scriptures to remind both the devil and himself who he is, “Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” (Matthew 4:7).

While this ended Satan’s direct attacks on Jesus’s identity as Christ, he suffered the doubt and disbelief of others the remainder of his mortal ministry, ultimately martyred for defending his claim. Pilate asked, “Art thou a king then?” (John 18:37). Though perhaps irreverent, it’s at this pause that my mind offers up more Mufasa, the ever-supportive, though removed, Father: “Remember who you are. You are my son and the one true King. Remember who you are.”

Jesus the Christ discovered himself in the scriptures. The spirit confirmed the truthfulness of the words contained therein. He built a foundation of faith and committed his life to those words. He exhorts us to do likewise: “search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39). If we study the scriptures, we will find Jesus Christ, and in the process, we will also find ourselves.

Remember who you are. John reminds us “Beloved, now are we the [children] of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him” (1 John 3:2-3). We are first children of our loving Heavenly Father, but also, with the covenant of baptism, as we “take upon [us] the name of Christ”, we are “called the children of Christ” (Mosiah 5:7-8). “Therefore,” instructs Christ, “what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am” (3 Nephi 27:27). We might not see it now, but as we continue to follow Jesus, it is inevitable that we’ll become like him. As time approaches infinity, you approach him. If I may borrow a phrase from mathematics, in the limit that’s who you are. Remember who you are. Remember him. Become him.

Ten years ago this month, I returned from serving a mission. Prior to my mission, I was not well acquainted with the scriptures. We had family scripture study from time to time, and I only occasionally cracked the pages myself. I had a number of seeds that I had obtained from my parents and others that had gone before me, but my garden wouldn’t have been considered flourishing. I could see enough happiness and blessings in the lives of others, though, so I got my life in order and applied for a mission. I began to read the scriptures more frequently, thinking I should be more acquainted with what I would be teaching.

Over the course of my mission, I read all I could. I found some institute manuals and studied the standard works chronologically. It was incredible how much more understandable Isaiah was with a little bit of background. I felt the impact of Jesus and the apostle’s references to the law and the prophets as they taught the Jews. But more than anything, in my studies, I realized that it wasn’t so much “what” I was teaching as missionary as “who”. More important than my command of the verses Jesus spoke was how I bore his name before the world. His name on my tag was a constant reminder of who I was. I studied his characteristics and commandments in the scriptures and sought his guidance and help throughout the day—every day. Slowly but surely, I could notice improvements in my own character. It was working. My character was approaching his. At my current rate of progress, it will still take eternities to get there. But that’s alright, he promises us that time.

I testify that as we turn to the scriptures as Jesus did, we can remember who he is, who we are in the limit. The same spirit that testified to him confirms the truth to us. Remember who you are.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.