“Open Your Mouths…”
When I was a little boy I was often accused of opening my mouth too much. For that matter, my father had a funny saying he often used, “Who put the quarter in you?” I have to admit, I laugh about that even to this day. I always had the “gift of gab,” as Mom and Dad would say, and those of you who know me well know that not much has changed. I have learned that there are times when it is best to keep your mouth shut. I have worked on that skill, and although I do not have it down to perfection, I do know enough not to open my mouth on a balmy day while descending down a steep hill on my bicycle. I also know, when the Lord tells me to open my mouth, I do it.
The Lord commanded, “Open your mouths and they shall be filled, and you shall become even as Nephi of old, who journeyed from Jerusalem in the wilderness. Yea, open your mouths and spare not, and you shall be laden with sheaves upon your backs, for lo, I am with you. Yea, open your mouths and they shall be filled, saying: Repent, repent, and prepare ye the way of the Lord, and make his paths straight; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Doctrine and Covenants 33:8-10).
In reference to that scripture Elder Joe J. Christensen noted that in three verses the Savior repeats the same mandate three times, “Open your mouths.” He said, “It is interesting that the Lord tells us three times in three succeeding verses to open our mouths. It is not always easy for us to ‘publish [the gospel] among every people that [we shall] be permitted to see’ (D&C 19:29) because many of us are shy, and starting a conversation with a stranger can be challenging. Yet it is one of the most important things we can do if the message is to be taken to everyone. Miracles could happen if we would just open our mouths.”
“Miracles could happen if we would just open our mouths.”
Elder Joe J. Christensen
One of many experiences that I have had personally in opening my mouth at the right time, was while I was serving in Luque, Paraguay. I had met a young woman who had spent quite a lot of time considering whether to become a nun and was on hiatus from her time in the convent. She was kind, intelligent, and very quick to offer a friendly hand. Our first meeting was only in passing and I was never very good at remembering names.
When I saw her next several weeks later, giving up her seat to an elderly woman on a bus, I recognized her but I was embarrassed to open my mouth because I could not remember her name. The Spirit indicated to me that this was a very important moment in time and that I needed to speak to her. My heart pleaded with my Heavenly Father to please help me to open my mouth and to say the right thing.
As the scriptures read, “you shall ever open your mouth in my cause, not fearing what man can do, for I am with you” (Doctrine and Covenants 30:11).
There was absolutely no time to waste and at the moment that I began to open my mouth, she reached up to grab the handrail above and a bracelet on her wrist came into my view which bore her name. “Gladys,” I said, in a seemingly confident voice which covered the true timidity I was feeling. She responded with a wonderful smile and happy greeting. A warm conversation followed.
“Wherefore, lift up your voice and spare not, for the Lord God hath spoken; therefore prophesy, and it shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost” (Doctrine and Covenants 34:10).
In the succeeding weeks with my companions, Elders Scott Woolley, Jorge Colina and William Hawes, I would spend hours with she and her baby sister Sindy, unfolding everything we knew of Jesus Christ and His redeeming mission. To my eternal joy, they accepted baptism into the Lord’s kingdom on the 21st of July 1984 and I had the blessing of confirming them members of His Church. Gladys has remained true and faithful to her covenants.
Elder Malcolm (center) with Gladys Blanco (right) and Sindy Blanco (left) on their baptism day 21 July 1984.
“I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it” (Psalm 81:10).
Several weeks later we were walking in a large group late in the evening after a Church activity. In an unforgettable moment Gladys walked by my side, reached out and placed something in my hand. I opened my hand to find the bracelet with her name. She simply said with grateful tears in her eyes, “Thank you for reading my bracelet.” I am eternally grateful for the Lord‘s command to open my mouth, and in that moment I mustered the faith to obey. I still cherish that bracelet to this day, but I cherish more the command of the Lord and the joy of following His call.
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:19-20).
While we should be cautious to “revile not against those that revile” (Doctrine and Covenants 31:9), nevertheless we should open our mouth‘s and speak the word of the Lord when ever the opportunity arises. His word will never offend the meek, the poor in spirit, the pure in heart, the humble follower of He who has descended beneath all things that we might be lifted. Let His word always fill our mouths, and may we open wide at the opportunity to bring His gospel to the ears of all who will hear. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.