Here are a bunch of boys who just graduated from Primary, where they sang Primary songs and learned about the basics of the gospel. Then, all of a sudden, they're transformed into Aaronic Priesthood holders, passing the emblems of the body and blood of Christ. All right, maybe the change doesn't happen overnight. Nevertheless, they're young and they're doing what the Lord has asked them to do, and that's cool!
This chapter is about the future responsibility that some deacons may have. Sisters, don't think you'll be left out. It's about you too. It's about an event such as the world has never known. It will be one of the biggest sacrament meetings ever to be held in the history of the Church, and it will take place before the Second Coming at a place called Adam- ondi-Ahman. Many members of our Church have been patiently waiting for this special day to come, so let's take a look at Adam-ondi-Ahman and get excited about the greatest gathering of Saints of all time.
Let's start with the meaning of the name Adam-ondi Ahman. You can probably recognize that it has something to do with Adam, but what does the rest of the name mean?
Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained: "Ahman is one of the names by which God was known to Adam. Adam-ondi-Ahman, a name carried over from the pure Adamic language into English, is one for which we have not been given a revealed, literal translation. As near as we can judge--and this view comes down from the early brethren who associated with the Prophet Joseph Smith, who was the first one to use the name in this dispensation--Adam-ondi-Ahman means the place or land of God where Adam dwelt" (Mormon Doctrine, 19-20).
It was the place where Adam and Eve lived when they were expelled from the Garden of Eden. They had to live somewhere, so they took a short journey to a place where they could live and have a family. So where exactly was Adam's first mortal home? Some people think it was somewhere in the Middle East, but the Prophet Joseph Smith said, "Adam-ondi-Ahman is located immediately on the north side of Grand River, in Daviess County, Missouri, about twenty-five miles north of Far West. It is situated on an elevated spot of ground, which renders the place as healthful as any part of the United States, and overlooking the river and the country round about, it is certainly a beautiful location" (History of the Church, 3:39).
You may have visited the area. Today it's farmland. There aren't any massive church buildings--no tabernacle and no conference center. It's just a quiet place where you could go to have a picnic. But about three years before Adam died, he called his children together at this place. Then he gave a farewell speech to his children and blessed them (Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3:74). It must have been a memorable time for all who were there. Daniel, a righteous hero in the Old Testament, prophesied that a similar meeting would again take place before the Second Coming (Daniel 7:9-14, 21-22, 26-27).
So has that second meeting happened already? Not yet. In fact, you may even be invited to attend. Then again, you may not even know when it occurs. President Joseph Fielding Smith gave us some information about this special meeting. He said, "When this gathering is held, the world will not know of it; the members of the Church at large will not know of it, yet it shall be preparatory to the coming in the clouds of glory of our Savior Jesus Christ as the Prophet Joseph Smith has said. The world cannot know of it. The Saints cannot know of it-- except those who officially shall be called into this council--for it shall precede the coming of Jesus Christ as a thief in the night, unbeknown to all the world" (The Way to Perfection, 291; emphasis added).
That quote raises an interesting point. Who will be there? The scriptures give us the invitation list. The Lord tells us who is invited: Adam, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Elijah, Elias, Peter, James, John, John the Baptist, and Moroni (D&C 27:5-14). Wow! Can you imagine seeing all of those great leaders seated on the stand! The Lord will also invite another group: "all those whom my Father hath given me out of the world" (D&C 27:14). Who are they?
Being given to the Savior "connotes an act of covenant making. To be out of the world is to fully observe and keep one's covenants with the Lord. In other words, every Latter- day Saint has the potential opportunity to meet with the Savior in a sacrament meeting experience at the time of His coming" (Otten, Sacred Truths, 129).
That means that every prophet of every dispensation will be there, including Lehi, Nephi, Jacob, Abinadi, Alma, Mormon, Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and Gordon B. Hinckley. Even you and I could be there, provided we live worthily and keep our covenants. Elder McConkie said, "Every faithful person in the whole history of the world, every person who has so lived as to merit eternal life in the kingdom of the Father will be in attendance and will partake, with the Lord, of the sacrament" (The Promised Messiah, 595).
How would you like to be a deacon at that sacrament meeting? When I was a deacon, we were assigned numbers that told us where we were supposed to pass the sacrament. If you were assigned number one, you passed to those on the stand who presided over the meeting. What if you got number one at the Adam- ondi-Ahman sacrament meeting? You would slowly walk up to the stand and pass the sacrament to the person presiding--Jesus Christ! Then you would pass the sacrament to Adam, Noah, Lehi, Moroni, President Hinckley, and all of those who have been prophets. I don't think I could do it. I would want to stop and shake hands with each of them.
Can you imagine who the speakers will be? Maybe Adam will be asked to conduct the meeting. He might say something like this, "Welcome to our sacrament service today. We will start by singing `We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet,' after which Nephi will give our opening prayer." Maybe we will sing "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" as we look at the Savior himself. Jesus Christ may be the concluding speaker as he prepares the righteous for the time he comes in his glory to the earth.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie described the gathering as "the greatest congregation of faithful saints ever assembled on planet earth. It will be a sacrament meeting. It will be a day of judgment for the faithful of all the ages" (The Millennial Messiah, 579).
I really want to be there. I know you want to be there too. So later on I'll discuss how we can prepare for that day. What else will happen at this meeting? President Joseph Fielding Smith said, "Christ will come, and Adam will make his report. At this council Christ will be received and acknowledged as the rightful ruler of the earth. Satan will be replaced" (Doctrines of Salvation, 3:13).
What a great time to live. What an exciting opportunity we have as we look forward to the ultimate sacrament service of all time.