No more boats. No more fish.

The Apostles had given up everything to follow Christ. They forsook their families, possessions, and professions. Fishing was a shared livelihood among most of them. After Christ was crucified, the Apostles probably weren’t exactly sure what to do next. Peter decides he’s going to go back to what he knows: fishing. Many of the other disciples think it’s a pretty good idea and tag along.

Their fishing doesn’t go too well. They don’t catch anything. Thankfully, Jesus appears on the shore and directs them to a good spot. Not knowing who He really is, they cast in their net and catch so many fish that they can’t pull it all in. At this point, Peter realizes that the man is Jesus and, in his usual nature, puts on his coat and jumps overboard to swim to Him. Jesus, being the awesome guy that He is, cooks them a bit of breakfast from the fish.

As they’re sitting, Christ asks Peter, “lovest thou me more than these?” Peter answers Him, saying that of course he loves Him. Jesus replies, “Feed my lambs.” He then asks Peter a second time, “lovest thou me?” Peter answers again, “Thou knowest that I love thee.” Jesus tells him to feed His sheep.

Jesus then decides to get stern. Perhaps His voice carried a rebuking tone.

He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. (John 21:17)

As Peter denied Him thrice, Christ allows His disciple, three times, to accept Him. But more importantly, Jesus is trying to get something through to Peter. He asked Peter the first time if he loved Him “more than these.” More than the fish. More than the boats and the sea. More than the job and the money.

“Do you love me more than your own life, Peter?” That is essentially what Christ asked him.

Peter answered, “Of course, Lord, You know that I love You.”

“Then why were you out on your boat, Peter? Get to work. Feed my sheep.”

Christ didn’t call His disciples for a season. He didn’t call them until He would eventually die. He called them for forever. When He said “follow me”, He meant forever. No more boats. No more fish.

The same goes for the followers of Christ of all kinds. Whether you’re an apostle or the guy down the street, it doesn’t matter. Jesus Christ has told us, “come follow me.” He doesn’t mean for a few days, or a few months, or a few years. He doesn’t mean until things get rough. He doesn’t mean until we get bored or when we have nothing better to do. He means forever. No more boats. No more fish.

“Feed my sheep” is what He has told us. When one becomes a follower of Jesus Christ, there is no turning back the old life and the old ways. It is an eternal calling, an eternal duty, and one that I am happy to have placed on my shoulders. I’m not perfect, that’s for certain. We all have things that are difficult to let go or put aside for a better time. Thankfully, Christ will not leave us. He has told us to feed His sheep, but He will always be alongside us to aid us in that task.

From the words of Nephi, a Book of Mormon prophet,

I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them. (1 Nephi 3:7)

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We Are Christians

A few days ago, Elder Andersen and I had lunch at a member’s home. She showed us a Pentecostal magazine that a friend had given her. It had several pages talking about the doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My curiosity got the better of me, so I decided to glance through it and see what it had to say. The main point of the lengthy article, it seemed, was to declare that Mormons are not Christians, and that Mormon doctrines are corrupt and anti-Biblical, but that Mormons should be reached out to be loving Christians so they can be saved.

It was amusing, to say the least. Some of the information on the doctrine was indeed correct, but was placed in a less than pleasing light. Other portions of the article were rather deceptive and only gave certain points of information which, without the full perspective, could easily lead someone to think negatively about the Church. Some of the things I read were outright lies.

It was sad to think that this extremely one-sided article was most likely engendering equally one-sided perceptions about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Ultimately, all the article served to do for me was strengthen my testimony of the Church. Naturally, if this is truly Jesus Christ’s church restored to the earth again, then Satan is going to do all he can to bring it down. He’s a clever fellow, trying to tear down the fullness of Christ’s gospel with Christians on the front line of his army.

For this thought, I suppose I would just like to bear my testimony. I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the world, and of the universe. I know He bled and died for me and all mankind. I know He was resurrected and lives today. I know He is the Only Begotten Son of the living God, our Father in Heaven. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet called of God, and that Jesus Christ restored His church through him. I know the Book of Mormon is a true record. It is another testament of Jesus Christ. I know we have prophets and apostles today, and that the current prophet is Thomas S. Monson. I know he is an inspired man, called of God to be a prophet, seer, and revelator.

People may call us the “Mormon church”, but we are The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is His church. I testify that only in this church can the fullness of Christ’s gospel be found. All these things I know, but not of myself. And I would never expect anyone to simply take my word for it. I know these things because the Holy Spirit of God has testified of them to me, and I cannot and will not deny it. Whatever the world may say, it does not matter. I know I am a disciple of Jesus Christ.

If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. (John 7:17)

I invite you to follow the advice of the Master Himself. If you want to know if these things are true, read the Book of Mormon, then humbly pray to God, in the name of Christ, and ask Him if it is true.