6 And I have a work for thee, Moses, my son; and thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten; and mine Only Begotten is and shall be the Savior, for he is full of grace and truth; but there is no God beside me, and all things are present with me, for I know them all.
7 And now, behold, this one thing I show unto thee, Moses, my son, for thou art in the world, and now I show it unto thee.
And in these versus he pinpointed on how God addresses Moses as His son. Now making the comparison to His other, and quite important child, Christ, whom God addresses as his son as well. The address of God to Moses, calling him as his son shows the divine heritage of Moses, and in connection our own divine connection to our Heavenly Father. President then goes on to read some of the other versus, where God reveals himself to Moses, in all his glory, and then how after God leaves Moses after a time Satan comes along and tries to tempt Moses to Follow him instead:
12 And it came to pass that when Moses had said these words, behold, Satan came tempting him, saying: Moses, son of man, worship me.
: And here we see that when Moses, and in connection, we, receive personal revelation or are strengthened spiritually, Satan tries to come right after and lead us astray. However because of how incredibly powerful the manifestation was that Moses received, this is his reply to that situation:
13 And it came to pass that Moses looked upon Satan and said: Who art thou? For behold, I am a son of God, in the similitude of his Only Begotten; and where is thy glory, that I should worship thee?
Ricciardi had a saying that has stayed with me, and will stay with me throughout my life. He would say to me, “I fear no man!” He spent his whole mission proving that slogan. Every day like clockwork 10 minutes before departure to proselyte, he would look in the bathroom mirror, point to it, and say “I fear no man”. Then he would do it again with a different posture. I personally thought he was trying to make me laugh by doing it. You know… some inspirational thing for the new missionary. I soon learned he actually meant it. He was not kidding.
His door approaches were not only unique, but astounding. He would knock on a door, and when the door was answered he would introduce us as “missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”. As he would be giving his introduction he would quickly look into the house to try and find something somewhere that would indicate some commonality that he could address in order to build relationships of trust.
One time, approximately the third or fourth day we had been together, a gentleman answered the door, looking really uptight about the fact that we were disturbing his quiet Saturday afternoon. During the opening dialogue Ricciardi glanced in the door and saw a beautiful painting on the wall. Suddenly, mid introduction, Ricciardi screamed out “oh what a beautiful painting!” pushed the door open (nearly sending the man through the wall) and walked right into the house. I stood on the doorstep in absolute horror, a witness to this unbelievable demonstration of bad manners. Ricciardi walked right into the living room, met the wife and kids, and admiring the television set they were transfixed by, commented “what a beautiful television, may we turn it off?” He hit the off switch. I was still on the porch, quite honestly waiting for the police to be called, or for him to get physically thrown out of the house. To my shock I heard his thick Italian accent call down the hall way “Oh Elder Humphrey, will you join us?” I could not believe it. 45 minutes later we concluded the first discussion with a prayer. I confronted him later that night about the fiasco I had witnessed earlier in the day, he said “Elder, I fear no man, and that includes you. I will do the Lord’s work with or without you. I prefer with, but that is up to you”.
Ricciardi expounded further, and I want you to remember this because it is absolutely true. Ricciardi told me the following: “Elder Humphrey, what is bold today, will not be bold tomorrow”. He meant that what was uncomfortable for me to declare today, over time will become second nature, and not be seen as “rude”, but rather would be seen by others as “conviction”. He further stated that The Lord tells us in Alma 38:12 to be bold, but not overbearing. Ricciardi defined overbearance as “boldness without love”. When people know and feel your love, you can never be too bold!” he would say. I would not have admitted it at the time because I was still too young and frankly immature to know, but it did not take me long to learn that his words that night were absolutely true.
You know, there were days even when I was out 18 months that I would wake up in the morning and not feel like talking to people. You would think a seasoned, veteran missionary 18 months under his belt would have conquered the fear by now. Satan never gives up trying to discourage missionaries from getting out and seeing the people. That is what a mission is all about…seeing the people. The adversary’s greatest tool is fear. The greatest killer of missionaries is fear. It is important that you know as a fact, that fear is not a tool of God or his son Jesus Christ. It is a tool of the devil, and Satan alone. Become self-aware as a missionary. You must be able to self-diagnose that when feelings of fear arise, you are being played by the devil.
I remember about a week after arriving in England Elder Ricciardi took me into the town center of Loughborough to street contact. We would split up (obviously still within eye contact of each other) and stop people in the open air malls downtown. I was absolutely terrified. I at least enjoyed the fact that when knocking doors some people would not answer the door, or not be home. But in the town center, there was no way out. People were everywhere, and I was to stop them.
Two hours went by and I hadn’t stopped anyone. I had given halfhearted attempts, but nothing had come of it and I was becoming depressed and discouraged. Elder Ricciardi noticed this and came over to me. “Let’s take a walk” he said, and we left the town center.
Elder Ricciardi, forgetting we were not in Italy (where it is common for two grown men to hold hands in a show of friendship) grabbed my hand. There we were, walking to the local park holding hands. England is a liberal enough place that no one thought twice about it. When we got to the park we sat on a bench and Ricciardi asked me a question. “Elder, do you know who you are?” I thought this was one of those typical Sunday school questions, so I gave the typical answer, “a child of God.” He laughed and opened his Book of Mormon to 3Nephi 5:13. “Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life”.
After I read the verse, he turned to me and said “you are a disciple of Christ! You have been called to declare his word to his people! Elder, you fear no man!” Something about those words got me pumped up! I literally felt the fear melt away. In fact, I actually decided to say the words myself “I fear no man!” with a fist pump to boot. We marched back into town to continue the street contacting (didn’t need to hold hands on the way back). I stood next to the entrance of a health club and committed myself to stop the next person to walk out. In no time at all, the fear that had paralyzed me came RIGHT BACK. I stood there and let the next five or six people pass by while my battle with Satan resumed.
In the Church we always comment on Laman and Lemuel and their wickedness. We view them as so opposite to Nephi, who is so strong, muscular (at least in the Book of Mormon pictures he is), tan, bold, fearless. What we don’t remember is that even though Laman and Lemuel saw angels, even smitten by angels, it did not take them long to forget the miracles and go right back to their old doubting selves. I actually have some sympathy for them, in the sense that here I was fresh off a powerful spiritual boost from Elder Ricciardi, and for about 10 minutes I was right back in the epicenter of fear. But I recognized it, and convinced myself that I must break this grip even at the risk of saying something stupid. Finally, I stopped a big brawny body builder. I stumbled through my dialogue and sounded like an absolute rookie, and then he responded to my fumbling with a shocking “yes” to the invitation to share a discussion with him. His name was Steve Gligoriavich from Yugoslavia. He accepted the Gospel over the next three weeks. Baptizing him was fun, because his huge frame made a splash that got some people in the first row wet. When the curtains to the font closed, he also did a “no, no” by sitting in the font like a hot tub and asked if he could just hang out for a while to take it all in. I told him “sure…the only thing waiting on the other side of that curtain was a bunch of his friends and Church members, and oh by the way, the gift of the Holy Ghost. He got right out.
“And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall” (Hel. 5:12).
Not only must we build upon the sure foundation of Jesus Christ, but the prophet Jacob identified Him as the “safe foundation”! This stone, he said, shall be “the great, and the last, and the only sure foundation” (Jacob4:15–16).
I want to testify that I know that Jesus is the Christ, the SON of God. I know He lived and died for us. I know that He loves us. I know this life is hard. Everyday here I meet people who have such difficult lives, some of them have borne things that I cannot physically, emotionally, or mentally comprehend… But I know that if they will embrace the Gospel, and Christ into their lives they will be healed. When we accept the gospel and Savior this doesn’t mean that the trials stop. If anything at that point the adversary tries even harder to throw us off! Because he knows what we are capable of and knows that we have DIVINE potential. But through the Gospel of Jesus Christ we find a strength beyond our own to continue forward to face the storms of life. Of this I am completely sure. I love my Savior with all my heart, and I pray everyday that I will honor His name that I wear on my chest. I pray that I will withstand the storms, and I know that with His help, I can.