My brothers and sisters it is an honour and pleasure to be able to address you for the first time in my capacity as the presiding bishop of the church. From the Sixth Lecture of Faith we read "For a man to lay down his all, his character and reputation, his honour and applause, his good name among men, his houses, his lands, his brothers and sisters, his wife and children, and even his own life also, counting all things but filth and dross for the Excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ, requires more than mere belief, or supposition that he is doing the will of God, but actual knowledge: realizing, that when these sufferings are ended he will enter into eternal rest: and be a partaker of the glory of God." Then we read from the Fifth Lecture of Faith we read "the Spirit of the Father: which Spirit is shed forth upon all who believe on his name and keep his commandments: and all those who keep his commandments shall grow up from grace to grace, and become heirs with Jesus Christ; possessing the same mind, being transformed into the same image or likeness, even the express image of him who fills all in all: being filled with the fullness of his glory, and become one in him, even as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one."
As our knowledge of Jesus Christ grows our desires change from materialistic dreams, into a passion for feeling the spirit in our lives, with a hunger to partake of God's glory. As we keep his commandments and grow, we understand his grace and partake of His Atonement, we find our selfishness changes and our hearts are opened to our fellow men. As I think about those changes my mind is drawn to The Book of Mormon. The account of Alma the Younger and the sons of King Mosiah, in The Book of Mosiah, chapter 11, from verse 112-125 we can read their account, from there experience they received knowledge about the true nature of their Saviour. They started to change there sights onto heavenly goals. Later we learn about the sons of King Mosiah with their newly found knowledge and faith were so touched that they had changed there whole hearts and now loved even their enemies the Lamanites. in Chapter Twelve verse 5 we read:- "Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; Yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment, did cause them to quake and tremble. And thus did the Spirit of the Lord work upon them, for they were the very vilest of sinners."
I pray that as we grow in spirit that we will be blessed to have such a knowledge as these men did of our Saviour. That we may have that same deep desire to care about everyone regardless of who they are or what they have done. That we may love thy brother as thy self. It is my fervent desire that we develop true Christ like attributes and become one with our Savior and care about everyone. Let us not forget that as members of The Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ that we have the truth and we have an obligation to know the truth for ourselves and to share it with all men, no matter their station in life. It has been my pleasure to give this, my first address for the church and I hope that my words have touched your sprits in small way. May God bless you all. Amen.
Presiding Bishop Elder Paul Barber