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Greg Klingler

 

Brigham Young University-Idaho Devotional

February 2, 2015

 

 

"Ye are the Body of Christ"

Greg Klingler

Faculty Member, BYU-Idaho Department of Health, Recreation and Human Performance


 

My young brother and sisters, there are many among us that are suffering underneath an almost unbearable weight and some may be calling upon God this day for divine intervention.

 

In an address to the priesthood, President Thomas S. Monson described a painting by Joseph Mallord William Turner. In this painting, the artist illustrates a dark storm and angry sea. A light in the far distance identifies a vessel hopelessly stranded. In the foreground, the artist depicts a lifeboat plunging into the storm tossed sea. On the shore appears to be a wife and two children, likely the family of one of the men on the lifeboat. Using this painting as a backdrop, President Thomas S. Monson taught, “Amidst the storms of life, danger lurks; and men, like boats, find themselves stranded and facing destruction. Who will man the lifeboats, leaving behind the comforts of home and family, and go to the rescue?1

 

Trials and hardships are part of our mortal existence, and many in our generation are taking on wounds that are severe. Many feel like they are losing the fight. We must go to the rescue. During my address today, please contemplate and identify someone you may know who is struggling either spiritually, emotionally, physically, or who may be in need of your help.     

 

"Ye are the Body of Christ”

 

Allow me to share an experience that helped me better understand our call to go to the rescue.

 

In addition to being a faculty member here at BYU-Idaho, I have the opportunity to practice medicine as a physician assistant at the BYU-Idaho Student Health Center. 

 

Recently, I saw a student who had come to the clinic with severe abdominal pain. Emily reported that she had lived with nearly constant abdominal pain for over six years. She had been seen by several doctors, put through countless medical tests, and started on several different treatment plans. Emily expressed the frustration of living with chronic abdominal pain. She was hoping for an identification of her pain and some resolution. I immediately began to wonder how I could help her where so many others could not. I silently had a prayer in my heart and pleaded for help. 

 

After an initial evaluation, I became concerned about Emily’s gallbladder. I ordered appropriate testing to evaluate her gallbladder and it was revealed that Emily had gallstones, and her gallbladder was functioning at five percent of its capacity. Emily was referred to a surgeon, and the gallbladder was removed. She told me that her pain resolved almost immediately after surgery. Emily later wrote me a note that said, “Thank you for finding what was wrong with me...My diet is back to normal, I am able to exercise, and [I can] go on with my life without being set back with this problem anymore

 

By now you are wondering, “What does this have to do with going to the rescue?” When one part of the body is afflicted, the whole body feels it, and we are not whole until all members of the body are whole. 

 

In Corinthians chapter 12, the Apostle Paul uses the body as an analogy to refer the church of Christ.

 

For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, but one body.2

 

When we are baptized we become a member of the body of Christ. Each member of the body is given important gifts, and talents. Some taste, some hear. Some are eyes, and some are hands. God set the members, “every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.”

 

And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.3

 

When Emily had gallbladder disease, her hands were fine. Her eyes, ears, mouth, and her cognitive functions were perfect. She could see, hear, taste, touch, and feel. Could I have said, because it is just the gallbladder, and not a more important part of the body like the brain, heart, liver, kidneys, or lungs that it has not need for care? Could I have said, ‘because your gallbladder is afflicted, but your eyes are fine, I am going to forget about the gallbladder and all of its problems and care for the eyes? Of course not!

 

In fact we learn it is upon those members of the body that are in need that we give more care.

 

And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.

 

“For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked.”4

 

Do you see the vision? When one of us suffer, we all suffer. We are not whole until every member is whole.

 

Many times I have gone to those that are wounded and approached these individuals with the attitude of ‘I love you. And because I love you, I want you to feel of the blessings I feel through obedience.’ Although that may be the case, that is not the doctrine that will lead to significant change in that person’s life. The doctrine is this; when you were baptized you became a member of the body of Christ. You are part of His body and I am part of the body. We need the gifts and talents, only you bring. We need you like our own bodies need the hands, feet, eyes, and ears. And we, the body, are not whole without you.

 

To those able and willing to go to the rescue, this will be our message, ‘We love you, the Lord loves you, and we need you.’  


To the Rescue

 

We cannot do it alone. When Emily was sick, I quickly realized I could not treat her alone. Although I played a role, she required the talents and skills of additional healthcare professionals to make her whole. Likewise, we cannot perform the work of the rescue alone. The Holy Ghost must be our constant companion. Additionally, home teachers are critical, but may not be enough, visiting teachers are important but may not be enough, the bishop, or other priesthood leaders, youth leaders, friends, family, fellow-shippers, and the full-time missionaries may all play an important role.

 

Recently, I went hiking in the Teton Mountains with several friends. It was to be a relatively short hike up Table Mountain and back. We arrived at the trailhead very early in the morning, and expected to be finished and back home early that afternoon. It was still dark when we started up the mountain. As we hiked up the mountain we mostly stayed together, talking, sharing stories, and enjoying each other’s company. When we reached the top, we shared the joy and satisfaction of reaching the pinnacle of the trail. After a short rest, we began our hike back down the mountain. Although we enjoyed the hike we were eager to get back to our homes and families. As we began back down, we descended the mountain at different paces. Each of us spread along the trail and individually enjoying the clean air, the majestic views, and the peace and quiet of our surroundings.  At the conclusion of the hike, we gathered at the parking lot.

 

Eventually, all in our group had finished the hike, except one. As time went on, we became increasingly concerned. There came a time in which, given normal circumstances, we would have expected our friend to have finished. However, he was still on the mountain and in our eyes was not safe. After careful consideration and silent prayers, we finally determined that we must return up the mountain to find our friend. We eventually found him on the trail sitting down. He had sustained an injury that prevented his progression. He was injured, exhausted, and felt he could go no further. So with one person under each arm, we took turns helping our friend down the mountain to safety, and finally home. When our friend was still on the mountain, no amount of waiting, watching, hoping, or talking would have brought him home. It was not until we left our comfortable circumstances, traveled back up the mountain, and went to where he was that we were able to help. We must have the faith and courage to leave our comfortable circumstances, venture outside our comfort zone, and go where we are needed.

 

Even those who are fighting courageously, honorably, fearlessly, and with their entire heart and soul are being wounded in this war.

 

Remember the two thousand Sons of Helaman? Their faith motivated them to go to the rescue of the badly depleted army of Antipus. As boys they had been taught by their mothers that “if they did not doubt, God would deliver them”5 and as young men they were now ready to join the fight. They fought with “miraculous strength” and with “mighty power.”6 At the conclusion of the fight, the enemy had been turned away. Helaman feared that many of his sons had been killed, however astonishingly not one of the two thousand Stripling Warriors had been killed. Although each of these Stripling Warrior’s life was preserved, it was not before many of them suffered wounds so that were severe.

 

Clark Kelley Price, in his painting titled, “It’s True, Sir, All Present and Accounted For,” depicted this scene. Two focal points of this masterful illustration tell the story. First, Helaman on his horse receiving the report that all of Helaman’s young warriors were accounted for. Second, is a wounded, battle-torn young man unquestionably one of the sons of Helaman. Under each arm is another Stripling Warrior. They each have also taken on battle wounds, however they have come to the aid of their brother. These Stripling Warriors went to the rescue of the army of Antipus, and in the process they became wounded themselves. In their hour of need, aid came from their battle wounded brothers.      

 

We are in a fight with Satan as real, and even more dangerous, than the Stripling Warrior’s fight with the Lamanites. We fight together. We take on wounds. We need aid and we give aid. You need not be whole to go to the rescue. In fact, in this battle, one way in which we heal our own wounds is by seeking out and going to the rescue of others that are wounded. One measure of our success in this Great War with the adversary may not be how effectively I mend my own wounds, but rather how I assisted others to the source that could mend their wounds. There are many around us wounded on the battlefield. They are part of the same body of Christ that we belong to, and we are not whole until they are whole. We must go to our wounded.

 

Judge Not

 

In our desire to help, we may be tempted to judge or criticize our wounded brothers or sisters. Some rescuers may even be tempted to withhold help if they believe the wounds have been caused by behaviors in which they do not approve.

 

When my friend was injured on the trail, our desire to help was not conditional upon the cause of the injury. When we went to help, we were not immediately concerned about what had caused the wounds, what we cared about was finding our friend and helping him home. It didn’t seem important at that time to provide a careful analysis of what went wrong. He did not need me to point out his mistakes or counsel him on how I would have avoided the same injury. My judgment would not have healed his wounds. My friend didn’t need scrutiny, he needed help. 

 

As we go to the rescue, there may be times in which understanding the source of the spiritual wounds of those we serve is instructive and helpful to prevent further mistakes, but please be careful that you do not add to the pain of the wounded by casting an unrighteous judgment.

 

President Thomas S. Monson counseled:

 

None of us is perfect. I know of no one who would profess to be so. And yet for some reason, despite our own imperfections, we have a tendency to point out those of others. We make judgments concerning their actions or inactions. There is really no way we can know the heart, the intentions, or the circumstances of someone who might say or do something we find reason to criticize. Thus the commandment: “Judge not.”7

 

Imagine with me the Stripling Warriors searching diligently for their battle-wounded brothers. When finding a battle-torn brother, I doubt they provided a careful analysis of battle maneuvers or critical hindsight. Rather, I imagine one brother would wash the wounds of the fallen with his own tears while another warrior would stop the bleeding of the wounded with his own hands. Our wounded brothers and sisters need less criticism, and more care.  

 

We are all in the thick of the war. We are all fighting for our lives. How could I, who has been wounded, criticize the efforts of someone else who is entrenched in the same war and is battle-torn?

 

We are not the ones that cast a final judgment. In this endeavor we may follow the example of the Savior.

 

Elder Dallin H. Oaks taught:

 

Even the Savior, during His mortal ministry, refrained from making final judgments. We see this in the account of the woman taken in adultery. After the crowd who intended to stone her had departed, Jesus asked her about her accusers. “Hath no man condemned thee?” When she answered no, Jesus declared, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”  The Lord obviously did not justify the woman’s sin. He simply told her that He did not condemn her—that is, He would not pass final judgment on her at that time. This interpretation is confirmed by what He then said to the Pharisees: “Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man.”  The woman taken in adultery was granted time to repent, time that would have been denied by those who wanted to stone her.8

 

Please do not add to the pain of the wounded by thinking to yourselves that the wounds are deserved or that you are justified in delivering chastisement. Please refrain from an unrighteous judgment. There is no room for catty, spiteful, vindictive interpretations or analysis in the Lord’s service. If you or I have found ourselves finding pleasure in the pain of the wounded, we do not understand the body of Christ and we are surely outside the direction of the Holy Ghost.          

 

Christ Can Heal the Wounded:

 

Christ can heal the wounded. One attribute in the life of the Savior that has always provided me comfort is that he spent his entire life among those in need. The scribes and Pharisees even questioned why the Savior would surround himself with sinners.

 

“How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick.”9

 

None of us are whole. Each of us carries wounds that can be painful and heartbreaking. At some point in our life pain, suffering, trial, and despair will bring each of us to our knees. Some of our wounds are a consequence of our own sin while other times our wounds are a consequence of the sin of someone else. Some wounds are inflicted as a result of physical or mental illness. Other wounds present in the form of a loss of loved ones, marital problems, wayward children, occupational or financial burdens, and even academic stress and pressure. The list, and possibilities of trial and tribulation is endless. However, please understand, you are not alone. Christ did not merely watch the sinners from a distance. He lived his life among them. He walked among them. He went into their homes. He fed them, He healed them, He loved them. The sinners, the homeless, the lame, the lost; He loved each one.

 

And so it is in our day. Christ does not work from the periphery. He is not merely a spectator of your life, waiting and watching to see ‘how things work out.’ Christ knows you. He is not far from you. He can heal you.  

 

The first time I remember feeling that Christ knew me and was actively involved in my life was when I was eight years old. My parents were recently divorced and I moved with part of our family to a new city. I can assure you I felt confused, lonely, and scared. On one particular morning, my mother went to work, my older siblings left for school, and I was home alone waiting for the time for me to walk to school. At the height of my fear, loneliness, and hopelessness, I remember feeling a distinct desire to read the Book of Mormon. So as an eight-year old, I read the first two chapters before school that day. I then knelt at the chair in my living room and poured out my heart to a loving Heavenly Father. This became a pivotal moment in my life. My circumstances did not change, however when I got up from that prayer and had received an enabling power above my own to go through that day. Since that day, I have never questioned the presence of the Savior. That day I knew Christ was aware of me, and would come to my aid.

 

If the Savior could provide peace and comfort to an eight year-old boy, he can provide peace and comfort to you. If He could heal my wounds, He can heal your wounds.  

 

Conclusion

 

Please allow me to share one last example of the rescue.  In October 1856, hundreds of our pioneer ancestors were stranded on the plains of Wyoming. Recorded are horrific stories of starvation, freezing, and death. It is recorded that some individuals died “lying side by side with hands entwined. In other cases, they were found as if they had just offered a fervent prayer and their spirit had taken flight while in the act…Some died sitting by the fire; Some were singing hymns or eating crusts of bread.”

 

When President Brigham Young was informed of the dire circumstances of the handcart companies he stood in front of the church membership and passionately pleaded for the saints in Salt Lake to leave their comfortable circumstances and go rescue the pioneers.

 

“That is my religion; that is the dictation of the Holy Ghost that I possess. It is to save the people. …

 

“I will tell you all that your faith, religion, and profession of religion, will never save one soul of you in the Celestial Kingdom of our God, unless you carry out just such principles as I am now teaching you. Go and bring in those people now on the plains.”  

 

On the frozen plains, one pioneer sister, whose husband was near death and whose two sons were suffering with frozen feet, asked Captain Edward Martin if he thought help was coming.

 

Captain Martin replied, “I am as confident as that I live that President (Brigham Young) will and has dispatched the relief [party] to us and I believe that they are making all the haste they can, that they are bringing flour, clothing, [and] shoes.”

A day or two later, Mary Ferguson Scott, one of the members of the handcart company, was looking [to] the west, when “all at once she sprang to her feet and screamed at the top of her voice, ‘I see them coming! I see them coming! Surely they are angels from heaven.’”10 And so they were.

 

At the very moment the stranded pioneer saints where calling upon God for divine intervention, the Spirit had moved upon men and women in Salt Lake City to prepare supplies and go to the rescue. Twenty-seven volunteer young men (including Thomas E. Ricks, the founder of BYU-Idaho) immediately left the comforts of home and family, and went to the rescue. Many more followed.

 

Brothers and sisters, earlier I asked if you would consider someone that you know who may be in need of your help. I believe the Spirit has directed you to someone who you could help. They may be calling upon a loving Heavenly Father right now for the help only you can provide. My young friends, let us go to the rescue. Let us remember, “Ye are the body of Christ,” and when one member of the body suffers, all the members suffer with it. Going to the rescue is in our nature. It is our heritage. It is what the faithful followers of Christ do. Let us not wait one more day. You and I may be angels sent from heaven to rescue the stranded, the lost, lonely, or wounded. I bear my witness, Christ will go before our face, He will be on our right hand and on our left, and His Spirit shall be in our hearts, and His angels round about us, to bear us up.11 I testify, in the name of our rescuer, even Jesus Christ, Amen.  

 

 


[1] Thomas S. Monson, “To the Rescue,” Ensign, May 2001, 48.

[2] Corinthians 12:13-16, 19-20

[3] Corinthians 12:21,26

[4] Corinthians 12:23-24

[5] Alma 56:47

[6] Alma 56:56

[7] Thomas S. Monson, “Charity Never Faileth,” Ensign, October 2010,

[8] Dallin H. Oaks, “Judge Not and Judging,” Ensign, August 1999

[9] Mark 2:15-17

[10] Leroy R. Hafen, Ann W. Hafen, Handcarts to Zion The story of a Unique Western Migration, 1857-1860, 1960, 112-114.

[11] D&C 84:88