President Kim B. Clark
President of BYU-Idaho
Kim B. Clark became the 15th president of Brigham Young University-Idaho in August 2005. From April 2007 through April 2014, he served as a member of the Fifth Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
President Clark was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, and raised in Spokane, Washington. After serving as a missionary for the Church in Germany, he married his wife, Sue, in 1971. President Clark earned bachelor's, master's, and doctorate degrees in economics from Harvard University.
In 1978 Kim Clark became a member of the faculty at the Harvard Business School, and in 1995 he became dean of the school. He served in that capacity until his departure to become the president of BYU-Idaho.
President and Sister Clark are the parents of 7 children and the grandparents of 22 grandchildren.
I am grateful for the opportunity to speak to you today on another great day at BYU-Idaho. I love you very much, and I pray that the Holy Ghost will be with us today.
I want to speak to you about the Lord Jesus Christ and the divine call of Joseph Smith to be the prophet of the Restoration. For just a moment, I want each of you to hold in your minds this image of the First Vision. Here is the boy Joseph kneeling in the Sacred Grove speaking with God the Father and His Beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. This scene represents the founding moment of the Restoration. This profound and beautiful image portrays two things that each of us needs to know deep in our hearts.
First, Jesus Christ is the Beloved, Living Son of the Living God. Like His Father, He is a glorious, resurrected being, the Savior and Redeemer of all mankind.
Second, Joseph Smith was called and chosen by the Lord to lead the dispensation of the fulness of times as the great prophet, seer, and revelator of the Restoration. Joseph was divinely called and divinely inspired. He was, in very fact, the prophet of the Lord.We worship Jesus as the Savior and Redeemer. He is the way, the truth, and the life.
We honor Joseph as the prophet of the Restoration, as the head of the dispensation of the fulness of times. From that glorious moment in the Sacred Grove until his last breath, Joseph revealed the Living Christ and the fulness of His gospel to a world starved for the truth. Among all the great prophets who ever have lived on the earth, Joseph occupies a special place. In the words of the 135th section of the Doctrine and Covenants:
Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it.
I gained a testimony of the Prophet Joseph when I was a boy. In the summer of 1960 when I was eleven years old, President David O. McKay dedicated our ward chapel in Salt Lake City. I felt a compelling desire to be at that dedication. I went early and got a seat at the front of the chapel. When President McKay walked down the aisle and up onto the stand, I was a few feet from him. I remember his eyes, his bearing, and his voice. I listened to him speak, and I listened to him pray. Through the power of the Holy Ghost, I knew in my little boy heart that David O. McKay was the prophet of God. I also knew that there was an unbroken chain linking President McKay to Joseph Smith. My testimony of David O. McKay was a testimony of Joseph Smith and all the prophets in between. Since that day, every time we have sustained a new prophet, I have received that same witness: this is the prophet of God; he stands where Joseph stood.
Joseph's call to lead the dispensation of the fulness of times made him the instrument through whom the Lord would "gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him."2 Through Joseph Smith, the Lord restored to the earth the fulness of His gospel, including the holy priesthood, sacred ordinances and covenants, and His true and living Church. He gave to Joseph new revelations and power to bring forth the Book of Mormon and other new scripture written by ancient prophets thus fulfilling a prophecy made by Joseph in Egypt:
Thus saith the Lord unto me: A choice seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; . . .
. . . and unto him will I give power to bring forth my word. . . .
Wherefore, the fruit of thy loins shall write; and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write; and that which shall be written . . . shall grow together, unto the confounding of false doctrines and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins, and bringing them to the knowledge of their fathers in the latter days, and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith the Lord.3
The Book of Mormon testifies of the truth of the word of God in the Holy Bible and illuminates, clarifies, and deepens our understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Bible and the Book of Mormon, together with the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price, teach us the truth about Heavenly Father's plan of happiness and the way to salvation and eternal life through the Lord Jesus Christ. These scriptures, ancient and modern, come alive in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Through the Restoration we can know and understand in our hearts the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and we can live it and enjoy all of its blessings in the Lord's true and living Church.
This was the work the Prophet Joseph was called to do. As Brigham Young said of Joseph:
[H]e took heaven, figuratively speaking, and brought it down to earth; and he took the earth, brought it up, and opened up, in plainness and simplicity, the things of God; and that is the beauty of his mission.4
I want to give you two examples of the way the Lord Jesus Christ worked through the Prophet Joseph to make it possible for the plain and simple truths of the gospel to come alive in the Church and in us. Both examples come from the fourth article of faith written by Joseph Smith in 1842:
We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, the Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.5
I want to consider first the principles of faith in Jesus Christ and repentance; and second, the ordinances of baptism and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Faith in Jesus Christ and Repentance
Joseph taught that faith in Christ is a principle of action and power. Our faith is in the love, mercy, and grace of Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer. When we act with faith in the Savior to repent of our sins, we see through the eye of faith the glorious, resurrected, living Christ acting with His pure love and almighty power to forgive, heal, and strengthen us. He has that power because of His atoning sacrifice.
The Atonement of Jesus Christ is at the heart of the Father's plan of salvation. Through His atoning sacrifice and His resurrection, Jesus overcame the consequences of sin and death. He brought to pass the resurrection of all mankind and opened the way to salvation and exaltation for all who act in faith to come unto Him with repentant hearts. Repentance--or the process through which Christ changes our lives and transforms our very nature--is a supernal gift from a loving Father and His Beloved Son.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Romans:
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.6
I love this passage of scripture. And I love the way the revelations of the Restoration both witness of its truth and deepen our understanding of what it means. The Book of Mormon makes clear that Christ's love was deeply expressed in His suffering for each one of us and in His gift of repentance and forgiveness. The Atonement of Christ is personal.
Many years before the birth of the Savior, Jacob wrote that Christ would "[suffer] the pains of all men, yea, the pains of every living creature."7
Abinadi used the words of Isaiah to bear witness of the personal nature of the Atonement. Speaking of Christ, he said:
And now I say unto you, who shall declare his generation? Behold, I say unto you, that when his soul has been made an offering for sin he shall see his seed. And now what say ye? And who shall be his seed?
Behold I say unto you, that whosoever has heard the words of the prophets, . . . and believed that the Lord would redeem his people, and have looked forward to that day for a remission of their sins, I say unto you, that these are his seed, or they are the heirs of the kingdom of God.8
Isaiah and Abinadi testified that Jesus saw us individually as He suffered our pain and the effects of our sins in the Garden of Gethsemane.
The personal nature of the Atonement extends to every aspect of our lives. Jesus chose to experience every temptation, every pain, every sorrow, every moment of despair, every weakness, every mistake, and every infirmity we suffer. He did this so He would know how to lift and strengthen us through His love and power. Alma taught of the depth of the Savior's love in these words:And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.9
Through Christ's mercy and grace, we may obtain forgiveness of sins and be clean and pure before Him. This is a miracle of His love. That redeeming love extends to everything else that stands in the way of our progress toward becoming more and more like Him.
The Atonement of Christ is infinite. The Lord taught the Prophet Joseph that Jesus "descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things."10 The power of His Atonement extends to all of God's children, whether in mortality now or in the world of the spirits.
Moreover, the power of Christ's infinite Atonement penetrates into, through, and beyond the darkest of sins, the deepest addiction, and the very most awful things in mortal life. Except for those who have known a fulness and then choose perdition, His love and His power can change and transform every heart, every mind, every soul, every child of God, no matter what they may have done, no matter how far they may have fallen from the light. If they will come unto Christ, repent of their sins, and keep His commandments, He will heal them and change them and make them His.
These marvelous truths come alive in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is in the Lord's church that we have access to sacred ordinances and covenants administered through the authority and power of the Lord's priesthood. It is faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, and obedience to those ordinances and covenants that open to us the fulness of the Savior's love, mercy, and grace.
Here is one example. When I served as a bishop, a woman who had recently moved into our ward came to see me. She told me she had been involved in a very serious sin in her previous ward. She had sought to change her life and obtain the Lord's forgiveness for a long time. In that meeting, and in every meeting I had with her, I could see in her countenance the pain and sorrow she felt for what she had done. As I worked with her and learned more of her faith and her diligence, the Lord made it very clear to me that He had forgiven her of her sins and changed her heart. She was clean and pure before Him. I called her in and told her what the Lord had told me. I will never forget what happened. She bowed her head and began to weep. After a few minutes, she raised her head. The transformation in her countenance was miraculous. I watched as the Spirit of the Lord descended upon her. Light streamed from her face. She was radiant.
Baptism and the Gift of the Holy Ghost
Through this experience and many others, I know that faith in Jesus Christ and repentance are eternal principles that come alive in the Lord's true Church. The same is true of the ordinances of baptism and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Jesus taught Nicodemus that baptism by water and the Spirit are essential to spiritual re-birth and salvation in the kingdom of God:
Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.11
The Book of Mormon witnesses of the importance and the truth of these ordinances and illuminates their central role in the plan of salvation. Nephi taught:
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow . . . your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, . . . then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost;
And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate;
And now, . . . I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay;
Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ. . . . if ye . . . endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.12
If we remain true to the covenants we make, baptism by immersion in water and the baptism of fire through the Holy Ghost bring us marvelous gifts and blessings in the Lord's Church. These blessings include a remission of sins, becoming a member of the Church, and the sanctifying and strengthening companionship of the Holy Ghost.
Baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost are not the end of one's spiritual journey; they are the gateway ordinances of salvation. The Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph that enduring to the end involves qualifying for the oath and covenant of the priesthood and the ordinances and covenants of the temple, including eternal marriage. These ordinances and covenants were had anciently and have been restored in the Lord's true Church.
When we receive all the ordinances of salvation and keep the associated covenants, we become heirs to the blessings of the holy priesthood, a place of gathering in Zion, and exaltation and eternal life in an eternal family. We also become heirs to all the sacred responsibilities, duties, and obligations of those ordinances and covenants, including the responsibility to build up the kingdom of God on the earth and to establish Zion in preparation for the Lord's millennial reign.
I love the grand sweep of these covenant promises and obligations. What begins in baptism continues in the temple with divine promises that are breathtaking in their scope and in their power. They connect us to the ancient prophets, to the great work of the Lord in the earth, and to the Second Coming of the Savior. Yet, I also love the sweet truth that they are very intimate and personal. I have felt this many times in the house of the Lord.
Once I sat in a temple sealing room where I saw a young man and young woman sealed for time and all eternity. I knew the young man, and I knew of the path he had traveled. It was a hard path, full of pain and heartache; but also of the Lord's tender mercies and His grace. I looked across the room at the young man's mother. I knew of the pain she had felt for her son, and I could see on her face pure joy as tears flowed down her cheeks. I knew also the path the young woman had walked. I knew of her goodness and her great faith that had sustained her in difficult hours.
As I watched this beautiful scene, there came into my mind a thought I knew was from the Holy Ghost. These are the words I felt: This is why He did it--this is why Jesus went into the Garden and hung on the cross. This is why He suffered crushing agony and gave His life. This is why Jesus descended below all things--so that this young man, so precious in His eyes, and this young woman, so choice, so beloved of Him, could be clean and worthy, healed and whole, sealed forever by His power as husband and wife in the new and everlasting covenant, heirs to all the promises and all the blessings a loving Heavenly Father could bestow.
I want you to hold in your mind for just a moment the image of the young man and young woman in the temple of the Lord. Everything about that scene that matters comes from Jesus Christ. They are in the Lord's house; the ordinance was given by Him; it is His priesthood, His sealing power that joins them forever; the keys of the priesthood that authorize that ordinance are His; it is His atoning sacrifice that cleansed the couple from sin and made possible their entrance into His house. Everything that matters in that glorious, blessed scene comes from the Lord Jesus Christ.
And everything I have mentioned, we enjoy today because of the Prophet Joseph. It was through him that the Savior and His ancient prophets restored to the earth all of these great blessings. Surely, it is with joy that we declare: Jesus is the Christ, and Joseph is His prophet.
Brothers and sisters, you and I need a testimony, a witness from the Holy Ghost that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer and that Joseph Smith was divinely called to restore to the earth the fulness of the gospel of Christ and the Lord's true Church. We need to act on that witness to receive sacred ordinances and live the covenants, laws, and commandments in the Lord's true and living Church. If we do, we will experience a deeper and deeper conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ born of resilient faith in the Savior and the ministry of the Holy Ghost. We need that deepening conversion because we live in challenging, even dangerous times.
It has been so since Joseph's day. From the moment he walked out of the Sacred Grove until the mob murdered him in Carthage Jail, Joseph was persecuted and attacked. The members of the Church were driven from their homes many times, and many were killed. The early Saints also faced the temptations and distractions of the world.
The attacks on the Prophet Joseph and the Church and its members in our day are more spiritual and subtle, but no less deadly. We face a world of growing evil and darkness.
Brothers and sisters, this is exactly why the Lord called Joseph and why He calls prophets, seers, and revelators today in His true and living Church.
As the Lord said:
Wherefore, I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments;
And also gave commandments to others, that they should proclaim these things unto the world.13
Lord called many to support and help Joseph in the great work of the Restoration. One of these was Oliver Cowdery, to whom the Lord said:
Therefore be diligent; stand by my servant Joseph, faithfully, in whatsoever difficult circumstances he may be for the word's sake.
. . . Be faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God, and I will encircle thee in the arms of my love.14
Oliver was commanded to stand by Joseph, to defend him and support him in proclaiming the fulness of the gospel of Christ in the world. The Lord promised Oliver that if he would stand by Joseph and keep the commandments of God with faith in Christ and with all diligence in whatsoever circumstances might come, the Lord and Savior would stand by Oliver and "encircle him in the arms of [His] love."15
You may be wondering, would I have defended Joseph and supported him in the dark hours of apostasy in Kirtland? Would I have stood by Joseph in Zion's Camp, in Missouri, in Liberty Jail, in Nauvoo, and at Carthage? Would I have stood by Joseph through all of that? But those were not our days. Our days are now in Rexburg, Idaho, at BYU-Idaho. The question for us is: Do we stand by Joseph now? Do we bear witness of Joseph as the great prophet of the Restoration? Do we stand by Joseph when people heap upon him ridicule or call him a fraud? Do we stand by Joseph by standing by the living prophet in our day, President Thomas S. Monson? He stands where Joseph stood. We cannot stand by Joseph if we do not stand by the Lord's living prophet. Do we stand by Joseph by being valiant in the testimony of Jesus and true to the covenants we have made? Are our lives a living witness of the Christ whom Joseph revealed to us in this last dispensation? Is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ alive in us?
Brothers and sisters, Oliver's call to stand by Joseph is our call and his promise is our promise. I pray that each of us may have a witness that Jesus is the Christ and Joseph is His prophet. I know that if we act with faith in Christ, in all diligence to live that witness, the plain and simple truths of the gospel of Christ will be alive in us. We will stand by Joseph, and the Lord Jesus Christ will stand by us and encircle us in the arms of His love. I know that is true. I bear witness of Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer. I know He lives. And I know that Joseph is His prophet. I so testify, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
1. D&C 135:32. Ephesians 1:103. 2 Nephi 3: 7, 11, 124. Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe, Salt Lake City; Deseret Book, 1954, p. 4585. Articles of Faith 1:46. Romans 8:35, 377. 2 Nephi 9:218. Mosiah 15:10-119. Alma 7:11-1210. D&C 88:611. John 3:512. 2 Nephi 31:13, 18-2013. D&C 1:17-1814. D&C 6:18, 2015. Ibid. Oliver did stand by Joseph for a time. He received many marvelous manifestations of the truth, and did much great work in building up the Church. But Oliver's knowledge of the truth was not sufficient. He needed to act on that knowledge consistently even in the face of hard times. But he did not; the distractions of the world and his pride led him away.
Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration
Audio of President Kim B. Clark's Spring 2013 BYU-Idaho devotional address.