I asked Him 12 questions, and He answered them.
If you had just 30 minutes to interview Jesus Christ, what would you ask him? And what might he say in response?
As a journalist, magazine editor and publisher for 40 years, I have interviewed hundreds of interesting and accomplished people, and, in turn, I have been interviewed on television and radio and for several print publications.
Recently, I imagined having 30 minutes to interview Jesus Christ with one ground rule: I could only ask Him 12 questions. Why 12? Perhaps it coincides with 12 hours in a day, 12 etudes in major and minor, 12 tribes of Israel, or 12 apostles.
Why me? I suppose that I was foolish enough to suppose that I could converse with Christ and that He would condescend to speak with me and answer questions with openness and candor, wit and wisdom.
I asked questions that interested me, and imagined his responses. I hope Christ will forgive me, a fallible 70 year-old, 70 times seven, for “misquoting Him”. I did not attribute words to him lightly.
Why Interview Christ?
Jesus Christ is the most important person in the history of mankind on this earth and of life on any other planet or sphere of existence.
People have been asking Christ questions since the days of Adam and Eve, as documented in the Old Testament of the Bible; of course, Christ was also asked many questions directly during his earthly ministry, as recorded in the New Testament. In addition, we have record of many more questions asked of Christ, and his answers, as recorded in the Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price and Doctrine and Covenants.
So, we already have historical records (scriptures) of many questions asked of and answered by Christ. Still, we don’t know all that there is to know about Him; I believe that more authentic history of Christ will yet be revealed—history of His premortal life, His mortal life and His on-going post-mortal ministry.
In the meantime, please indulge me this creative work. No, I did not actually meet with or commune with Christ, except in a mind-to-mind, spirit-to-spirit way.
I sense that nearly all of us on planet earth share an interest in Jesus Christ. Many are faithful followers of Him; some are believers in Him; others hope to believe in Him—in His words and works and ways, his judgment and justice, his grace and mercy. I know that many Jews, his original chosen people, also love and respect him and a few accept him as the Savior (Messiah) and Son of God.
My 12 Questions: His 12 Answers
I asked 12 questions and imagined His answers, which were so concise that I had no need to edit further for brevity and clarity.
Q1: Who are you, especially who are you in relation to me?
I am who I have said that I am from the beginning: I am Jesus Christ, your elder brother, being the first-born spirit child of the Father; I am He who was coauthor with the Father of the plan of progression and salvation for all of His spirit children born to mortal parents on earth and on other spheres of existence. I was chosen by the Father to do His will in serving as Savior and Redeemer for all mankind in consequence of the “fall” or transgression of Adam and Eve and their subsequent separation from our presence in the Garden of Eden to a relatively ‘lone and dreary’ probation by means of opposition (good vs. evil) in all things.
I might ask you, Who do say I am? What do I mean to you? What place do I have in your mind and heart? What difference, if any, have I made in your life, in your day-to-day choices and behaviors in your one mortal probationary life?
For my part, I would want you to remember me, to love me as I have loved you, to have my Spirit with you, to pray daily to the Father in my name, and to do good works and perform the mortal mission that only you can, given your unique identity and purpose. Hence, I hereby commission you, and we are co-missioned, forever bonded in brotherhood as members of the family of God, the Father.
In a very real, personal, and intimate way I have atoned for your sins, bought you with my blood, and hope to seal you, your family, ancestors and posterity, mine for all eternity. I know you better than your own father and mother, and because I know all about you I can love you even more, not less.
Q2: What was your pre-mortal role in the creation of the universe and of this earth and with the human race before your birth?
I was with the Father and served as co-creator in various stages—often referred to as the six days of creation—symbolic and prototypical of any creative process from design to delivery. We involved Michael, the great archangel, who would become Adam, the first man, because we wanted his input and his apprenticeship. This creative experience was an essential part of the plan, to pass on the knowledge and skills necessary to create worlds without number.
Our greatest creation is the human family, fashioned after our own image and likeness, with all of the attributes necessary for their salvation and exaltation.
I have often been asked, Why so many difficulties associated with mortal procreation—the birth and bearing of children? Why burden all mothers with pain and many innocent children with defects? Why all the suffering?
We considered all options, and originally prepared an idyllic garden for Adam and Eve. But they opted for probation, the tougher test, knowing it would involve risk and pain but would eventually result in far greater gain, joy and glory.
Q3: Why and how did you come to earth? What was your mission here?
I was chosen to fulfill the will of the Father. I was conceived by the Father in such a way that His genetic traits were transferred in conception and developed in gestation, the natural nine-month pregnancy of the young virgin Mary, the wife of Joseph, who was chosen to be my mortal mother, and I to be their first born child, as is told in the gospels of Mathew, Mark, Luke and John. As I often said, if you have seen my Father, you have seen me, the Son. We are similar in features and likeness, as many fathers and sons are.
My mortal mission was three-fold:
First, I was to experience mortality firsthand, or at least as much of it as was necessary, its many appetites, desires and passions of the flesh and the promptings of the spirit. I needed to experience the temptations, options, and opposition along with the joys that come from loving, giving and serving family, friends, neighbors.
Second, I was to grow, learn and prepare and then to serve my designated mission, a ministry that would last three years. I was called by the Father to do His will, to teach and preach my gospel, to serve, mentor and empower others.
Third, I was to impart my Spirit as a gift and call and coach my apostles as the foundation of my church for the protection and guidance of its members.
Q4: What do you remember of your childhood, teens and twenties?
I remember everything now, but like you I was protected in my mortal childhood by the veil of forgetfulness for the first three years of life.
As a child, I grew in favor with a diverse community, within and without my Jewish faith and family. When I interacted with people, I was seen by them as a child prodigy. You might say today that I was “home schooled,” in that I was taught primarily by Mary and Joseph, but also by Rabbis and others, along with much personal study of what you refer to as the Old Testament, the Bible of the Jews, and other history.
As a teen, I chose to keep a low profile, to work with my hands and assist my father in his profession as a carpenter. I had many other offers and options. I could have chosen the priesthood, politics, law, finance, as I learned about all the professions, all the ways and means of men. During this time, I developed many themes that showed up in my later sermons
In my twenties, I shaped many useful items out of raw material. I often reflected on the similarities between using tools to shape wood and to shape souls. Unlike shearing wool, shaping souls is not a fast process; it requires sustained faith in future potential and possibilities during days of doubt when you simply make a pile of chips and wonder what may come of your work. I enjoyed polishing my craft and crafting my messages as I awaited my ministry with acute anticipation.
Q5: Why, in your ministry, did you call apostles to be fishers of men and invite others to follow you?
From the beginning, my work was meant to be a shared ministry, not a one-man show. I sensed that my mortal days were numbered, my time limited. I could not do all of the work of saving souls alone; and even if I could, I would not choose to do so, as this would cheat many worthy men and women of their roles as saviors on Mount Zion. I chose to select good men and bestow on them my Priesthood authority to administer and minister, to baptize and later to bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost and other ‘keys’ necessary to perform all the ordinances essential for salvation and exaltation. I called some of my apostles who were already fishermen to become ‘fishers of men’ because I wanted them to apply their professional fishing skills in their callings. I see no need for men and women to bury their talent in the service they perform and provide in my name.
Q6: Why did you start a church, knowing that ‘organized religion’ would always have a checkered track record, and expect us to join your church?
I set the stage, constructed the foundation, served as the chief cornerstone, and prepared my apostles and disciples to serve each other in what would become my Church. We experienced some early successes, as documented in the gospels and book of Acts (of the apostles), ushering in an era of miraculous conversions and, over time, exponential growth and expansion. Yes, I know of the many risks inherent in trusting men with the Priesthood and of organizing a church. For this reason, I designed my Church to have checks and balances, to make it as difficult as possible for those who hold the Priesthood—and for women who share in the Priesthood—to practice priestcraft, that is, to serve for their own gain and glory. Also, I set standards, requirements for baptism, for example, as admission and progression requirements for joining and participating in my church.
I credit my cousin, John (the Baptist), for preparing the way. He baptized people by immersion in water, and I went to him to be baptized in the river Jordan to show the way for all followers. We then baptized with water and the Spirit.
Q7: What is the essence of your gospel, its core precepts, principles, doctrines and commandments?
My gospel is simple: First, have faith in me as Lord and Savior; have hope and happiness in your life, even in hard times. Have charity for yourself and your family and neighbors, near and far. Repent of your sins when you break my commandments; accept my forgiveness, and forgive yourself and others. Humbly submit to baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; receive the Spirit of the Holy Ghost; and endure in faith and good works to the end of your mortal days.
Also, seek to understand the wisdom for juxtapositions of opposites: justice and mercy, judgment and grace, light and darkness, good and evil, communion and excommunication, opposition and options, death and glory.
At the core of my gospel of good news is agency with accountability. From the beginning, I opposed Satan’s plan to curtail agency and mandate clemency, a sort of socialistic salvation; my gospel entails freedom of choice with natural consequences in accordance with divine laws.
Q8: Why and how did you atone for sins, suffer death, and then resurrect?
To redeem mankind from the fall and from their own sins, I submitted to the intense suffering of having my soul imprinted with the sins of all mankind. I suppose it’s akin to getting an indelible tattoo on your skin, but it feels more like an scalpel incision, a soul-deep painful impression, with immediate download or installation of something like a micro-chip with precision of memory and recall as needed, complete with all of the original emotion and pain associated with it.
Yes, I was tortured, but I suffered death by broken heart at the hands of my own people, with an assist from the Romans. I was rejected by my own, followed to the end by only a faithful few. I gave up my life voluntarily as ransom, suffering atonement in the garden of Gethsemane and crucifixion on the cross at Calvary.
As promised, three days later, I arose from the grave. I had the power to give my life and take it up again. Resurrection is simply the reversal of the death process, a restoration of the departed soul, first to spirit form in the likeness of the person, and then to glorified body. As the first to resurrect, I show you the way.
Soon after my resurrection, I appeared to many disciples as confirmation of my promise to resurrect my life, and to my apostles. Even after hearing witnesses, some of them, including Thomas, doubted. To this day, many people must see me before they believe in me, and sadly, for millions, even seeing—and feeling the witness of the Spirit—is not believing and converting.
Q9: Why did your Church fall into state of apostasy for hundreds of ‘dark age’ years and ultimately require a restoration?
Three factors caused my Church to falter and fall into apostasy: 1) the assassination of the apostles resulting in the collapse of Priesthood authority and leadership; 2) individual apostasy of church members as a consequence of false doctrines being preached and practiced; and 3) opposition instigated within and without the Church. The apostasy led to centuries of ‘dark ages’ because the Spirit of truth and light was diminished, leaving people in relative darkness of mind and heart, leading to contentions and war conquests.
Only when the light of the Spirit begin to filter in and diffuse the dark ages did the Renaissance and Reformation lead to enlightenment. You owe a deep debt of gratitude to the fearless leaders and martyrs of the reformation because reformation led to restoration. My Church was like a house that falls into disrepair. You can’t just fix a few things here and there; you have to return to the firm foundation of apostles and prophets and restore the house to its former state, brick by brick, even to a condition that is better than new, with me serving as chief cornerstone. Such was the care with which the restoration of my gospel and church was carried out. It involved many of the prophets of past dispensations and, of course, a worthy young prophet for the new dispensation of the fullness of times.
Q10: When, how and why will you come again? What will be your work during the Millenium and beyond? Should I be afraid?
When the earth is ripe with iniquity, amid much commotion, I will appear (in my so-called second coming) much like your artist has depicted me—but in a much greater light and glory that will be heard, seen and felt by all who remain alive. No one can then deny: every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that I, Jesus Christ, am their Lord and Savior.
I will then usher in the Millenium,1,000 years of righteousness, when we will carry on our work to bring to pass the salvation, exaltation and eternal life of mankind. My (and your) Millennial mission will be similar to the current threefold mission of my Church: save the living through missionary work; save the dead through missionary and temple work; and perfect the saints through service.
I have often said, and I say again, to my faithful saints and followers: Fear not, but believe. I am with you, and I will strengthen you, help you, and cause you to stand, upheld by my righteous omnipotent hand. Those who deny me should fear, for at my coming many millions will be destroyed.
Beyond the Millenium, we will again face Satan and his minions as they make their last stand to steal the souls of men and women.
Q11: What role will you play in judging mankind, in judging me, and assigning me a degree of penalty or glory?
First, I need to clarify that your ‘final’ judgment does not occur the day after you experience mortal death, only after you have served in the post-mortal Spirit World, where you can again prove yourself and progress. Be advised, however, that you pick up where you leave off in mortality. Do not procrastinate the day of your repentance.
In your judgment, I will be your mediator, advocate and testator before the Father and with the Spirit. All there is to know about you will be known, instantly, and all will be taken into account, including the degree of difficulty or handicap you have experienced.
You will not be an idle spectator in this judgment, but an active participant and will be reconciled with your judgment and proclaim it to be fair, just and right. You will be glorified in a kingdom that best befits you, for you could not abide the light and glory of a higher kingdom if you are not worthy of it.
Q12: Why have you been so rejected, reviled, cursed and controversial?
Men fear who and what they do not know. Much distortion happens when people share rumor and ignorance. Moreover, any man who takes a stand against the pride and sins of the mortal world will suffer as I have suffered, at least to some degree. You, too, may be rejected, reviled, cursed, spit upon, betrayed, beaten, and killed. And if you should so suffer for my name’s sake, rejoice . . . for great shall be your reward in heaven.
Please know that all who have rejected me, cursed me, denied me, betrayed me, and fought against me and my saints shall be brought to justice and, if they remain unrepentant, must atone for their own sins, meaning they will suffer as I have suffered. By continuing to deny me, they sin against the Holy Ghost and cancel my atonement in their behalf. Believe me when I say: All controversy concerning me, Jesus the Christ, will come to an end in the instant I return again.