Church today was fantastic! In fact, it was so good, I'm going to transcribe some of my notes and put them on here. I have some good quotes, some excellent points, and some touching stories. The other two speakers were excellent, but I'm going to be focusing on the third speaker.
Brother Ross Baron, a professor of religion here at BYU-Idaho and a high counselman in my stake. (Not to mention my personal goal for a religion teacher for Fall semester!) He gave a fantastic talk!
Bro. Baron was raised in a Jewish family in southern California. So, naturally, he was raised under Judaism. When he was about 9 he asked his parents what happened to one after death. They said that "your memory lives on, but other than that, we don't really know." When he reached his teen years he began to look into other religions such as Buddism, Hinduism, Taoism, Shinto, and Confucianism. He never considered Christianity because they were those "Sunday morning preachers on T.V. that we'd watch if we got bored one Sunday." However, he did eventually end up looking into it (I can't remember how exactly that came about, but it did, obviously) and he asked a friend about Mormonism. The kid (he was 17 at this time) layed out the Plan of Salvation for him 5 minutes before class, then referred him to his dad (who was a bishop) for all other answers.
So, this is what Bro. Baron said that I loved so much. First of all, he said that "The Plan of Salvation, with Christ and His Atonement at the center gives us life, hope, and a purpose. ... Maybe we don't appreciate the Atonement enough." He also said that he used to feel a little bitter towards Peter, James, and John for falling asleep when Christ asked for them to watch with him one hour. Just one. The only time Christ asked them to do anything for Him, and they let Him down. Until he realized, Christ has asked each of us to "watch with Him 10 minutes" [in Sacrament] every week, and what do we do? "Our minds wander. 'Oh, she's cute.'"
He told a sweet story about a young boy in Primary with Down's syndrome. The teacher gave each of the kids a plastic egg and asked them to go out and find something to put in the egg that reminded them of Christ. The little Down's boy came back with nothing in his egg. The other kids laughed at him, and the teacher asked how that reminded him of Christ. "Because Jesus wasn't in the tomb. It was empty, wasn't it?"
"Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here. He is risen!"
The most interesting point Bro. Baron made was about the Fall of Adam and the Triumphant Entry. It says that Christ cursed the fig tree upon entering Jerusalem. The only record we have of Him cursing anything and having it immediatly destroyed. In the Old Testiment, after the Fall of Adam and Eve, it says that they tried to hide their nakedness from the Lord with the help of the serpant. They did this by covering themselves with fig leaves. This is a false covering. When the Lord came, the first thing He did was cover them - but with skins. It was a direct foreshadow to what was to come. They could not cover themselves completely with leaves, an innocent animal had to be sacrificed in order for them to be covered properly for the Lord. The fig tree represents Satan's false covering, and the cursing of it and the killing of the animal for the skins represents Christ's triumph over Satan, and His sacrifice for each of our sins.