Remember Who You Are…
Since my children were small they have heard words from me by repetition denoting how important I think those things are to be said. Of course I believe that the most common and important thing said from me to my children, and to the youth and children of my ward for that matter, are the words, “I love you.” I am not certain what the next most common thing would be, but one phrase that would certainly make the top five was one they have oft heard me say most notably at times of parting, whether it be momentary or for longer periods of time, “Remember who you are.“
I suppose to avoid the appearance of plagiarism that I should give some type of quote credit to someone who coined this term prior to my use of it, but since I believe that I used it prior to its most known use in 1994’s “Lion King,” and I am not personally aware of where I may have come into contact with the phrase previously, I will give the credit to God and His Spirit, for it was through Him that I believe I was inspired to use it and how my mind was enlightened to it.
Often, when there is a little more time available than to just say “Remember who you are,“ I remind my son or my daughter that he or she is a child of the Most High God, and is redeemed by their brother Jesus Christ, whom we should always remember. The importance of remembering goes far beyond simple courtesy, but it is by commandment and by covenant.
The Holy Spirit has many responsibilities in relation to ministering to man. His most important responsibility, to testify of Christ (John 15:26), must never be forgotten. It is His witness that provides that confirming and never diminishing fire of truth. According to the Savior, and also recorded by John, the Holy Ghost also has a responsibility to help us to remember that which we have been taught, at one time or another, to be true. In John 14:26 (the other half of a verse pair with John 15:26 that I like to refer to as the “twin scriptures of the mission of the Holy Ghost”) we read, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”
So much is about remembering. We must not forget the importance of the act of remembrance in the very earliest covenants we make to enter at the gate thru which is the kingdom of God on earth. At baptism we covenant to “Always remember Him,” Him being the Redeemer, our Risen Lord. Those words are so oft repeated, nearly every week as we speak and hear the words of the prayers and then ponder and partake of the emblems of His body, of His blood, that we may renew our covenants. The words of the sacrament prayers, as recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 20:77 and 79, give clear direction to the recipient:
”O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given them; that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.”
The second is like unto the first with just as great an emphasis on remembering:
“O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this wine to the souls of all those who drink of it, that they may do it in remembrance of the blood of thy Son, which was shed for them; that they may witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they do always remember him, that they may have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.”
As He stated in His own words at what has come to be known as the last supper, ”This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19).
The importance of remembering the Lord was not lost on the prophet Nephi, son of Helaman, as he lamented his people from his tower, “O, how could you have forgotten your God in the very day that he has delivered you?” (Helaman 7:20).
Helaman taught his sons well to remember, “O remember, remember, my sons, the words which king Benjamin spake unto his people; yea, remember that there is no other way nor means whereby man can be saved, only through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, who shall come; yea, remember that He cometh to redeem the world” (Helaman 5:9). And they did remember because their father had the courage to follow the inspiration he received to call upon them to remember, and they went forth keeping and teaching the commandments of God to all who would hear, teaching others to remember the Savior and their divine nature.
Most of us tend to be slow to remember, as we read in Helaman 12. So we must go on, reminding each other, reminding ourselves, to remember who we are, to remember the Lord who made us, and blessed us, and prospered us, and redeemed us.
Just the other day I was looking at myself in the mirror. I have gained some weight since the beginning of this COVID-19 thing. My hair has grown long since not being able to employ the use of my barber. I have not shaved my face since being released as the Bishop. Even to myself I am a bit unrecognizable, but as I gaze into the depths of my eyes, the windows of my soul, I remember well who I am and that I am His. The day is not too far off that my hair will be groomed once again as most are accustom to seeing, and that my face will be shaved clean, ready for whatever service I am called upon to do, and hopefully some of these pounds will depart from me as well, that I might more easily wear the uniform of priesthood duty once again, without having to buy a new suit. But regardless of our outward appearance or the current circumstances of our living, we must remember who we are. We must not forget the Lord our God, neither in our dark night of trial and pestilence, nor in the coming day of our liberation and happy rejoicing. We must remember, and we must spread remembrance.
The day will not elude us forever when our children will finally have some place to go, to get to go to school, or to serve in the Lord’s vineyard. Why, just last week as one of my daughters prepared to depart with her eldest brother for her freshman year of college, those words came again from my heart to hers, “Remember who you are.” A flood of memories washed over my heart and welled up in my eyes of the earliest days I said those loving and guiding words to her, as to her brothers and sisters. It was almost more than I could bear.
We will yet kneel down again at a classroom door, and before giving that goodbye hug and kiss for the day, we will gaze into the eyes of our little ones and say once again, “Remember who you are.” O, remember, remember, from whence we have come, from Heavenly Parents who desire we learn and do as we must, following our Brother dear, and remember our way home. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.