In his recent conference address, Elder Robert C. Gay spoke of “Taking Upon Ourselves the Name of Jesus Christ.” He spoke of ways to see others as Heavenly Fathers sees us, even when it’s inconvenient (or, in the case of James E. Talmage, a medical risk) to ourselves.

 

james e. talmage
Ad

Elder James E. Talmage, via byu.edu

As I’ve repeatedly listened to the story Elder Gay shared about Elder James E. Talmage, I began to process the experience differently—from amazement at Elder Talmage’s love and compassion to a personal realization.

 

Here’s the story from Elder Gay’s talk:

 

I recently learned about an experience in the life of Elder James E. Talmage that caused me to pause and consider how I love and serve those around me. As a young professor, before he became an Apostle, in the height of the deadly diphtheria epidemic of 1892, Elder Talmage discovered a family of strangers, not members of the Church, who lived near him and who were stricken by the disease. No one wanted to put themselves at risk by going inside the infected home. Elder Talmage, however, immediately proceeded to the home. He found four children: a two-and-a-half-year-old dead on the bed, a five-year-old and ten-year-old in great pain, and a weakened thirteen-year-old. The parents were suffering with grief and fatigue.

 

Elder Talmage dressed the dead and the living, swept the rooms, carried out the soiled clothing, and burned filthy rags covered with the disease. He worked all day and then returned the next morning. The ten-year-old died during the night. He lifted and held the five-year-old. She coughed bloody mucus all over his face and clothes. He wrote, “I could not put her from me,” and he held her until she died in his arms. He helped bury all three children and arranged for food and clean clothing for the grieving family. Upon returning home, Brother Talmage disposed of his clothes, bathed in a zinc solution, quarantined himself from his family, and suffered through a mild attack of the disease.

 

Elder Gay shared this experience as an example of someone willing to take Jesus Christ’s name upon him. Internalizing this message has made this stranger’s experience my own and Elder Talmage the Savior.

Jesus Christ comes to our homes and hearts—when we’re a stranger or forsaken or forgotten. He opens the doors we’ve locked to everyone’s views. He assesses the need when we can’t function. And with great care, the Risen Lord dresses the dead.

 

He lifted and held the five-year-old. She coughed bloody mucus all over his face and clothes. He wrote, “I could not put her from me,” and he held her until she died in his arms.

 

When I listened to this again yesterday, I suddenly saw myself as that diseased and broken little girl, afflicted with a spiritual disease because of willful or neglectful choices. And I saw myself afflicted by the destructive influences of the Fall, the mortal condition, and the impact of living on a planet with others and crashing into them.

 

He held her as she suffered through her agonies. He bore her bloody mucus on His flesh. He could not put her from Him.

 

Held

 

Who told us we’d be rescued?
What has changed and why should we be saved from nightmares?
We’re asking why this happens
To us who have died to live?
It’s unfair
This is what it means to be held
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved
And to know that the promise was
When everything fell we’d be held
This hand is bitterness
We want to taste it, let the hatred numb our sorrow
The wise hands opens slowly to lilies of the valley and tomorrow
This is what it means to be held
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved
And to know that the promise was
When everything fell we’d be held
If hope is born of suffering
If this is only the beginning
Can we not wait for one hour watching for our Savior?
This is what it means to be held
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved
And to know that the promise was
When everything fell we’d be held
“Held” by Christa Nichole Wells
The promise was that we’d be held.
“I could not put her from me,” and he held her until she died in his arms.
The Savior holds a battered, diseased, bloody me until I die to things in the flesh. Jesus Christ holds me as I am born again through His atoning Grace.
That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory;
We become His children and through His name, we are changed.
And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters.
Thanks be to God for the unspeakable gift of His Son who bursts the bands of death and hell, and the locked and broken recesses of the heart to bring us into a marvelous, celestial light as His daughters and sons to be held in eternal freedom in the arms of His redemptive love.

(87)

About Delisa Hargrove
I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have moved 64 times and have not tired of experiencing this beautiful earth! I love the people, languages, histories/anthropologies, & especially religious cultures of the world. My life long passion is the study & searching out of religious symbolism, specifically related to ancient & modern temples. My husband Anthony and I love our bulldog Stig, adventures, traveling, movies, motorcycling, and time with friends and family.

Copyright © 2018 LDS Blogs. All Rights Reserved.
This website is not owned by or affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes called the Mormon or LDS Church). The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the position of the Church. The views expressed by individual users are the responsibility of those users and do not necessarily represent the position of the Church. For the official Church websites, please visit LDS.org or Mormon.org.