Testifying of the purifying power of Christ in an address entitled "Oh How Surely Christ Sanctifies His Own," Alan C. Ashton, cofounder of WordPerfect Corporation and Thanksgiving Point, gave the seventh annual Neal A. Maxwell Lecture on April 12, 2012.
Among those in attendance at the Gordon B. Hinckley Alumni Center were Sister Colleen Maxwell (widow of Elder Maxwell); BYU president Cecil O. Samuelson and his wife, Sharon; and university officials, faculty, and students.
Ashton opened his remarks by explaining what it means to be "owned" by Christ. He cited the experience of King Benjamin's people entering into a covenant with God to be continually obedient. That mark of discipleship enables them to become the "children of Christ" (Mosiah 5:7), members of "the Savior's owned family," Ashton said.
Personally acquainted with Elder Maxwell, Ashton shared stories highlighting the apostle's exemplary discipleship. "When we surrender our own will to our Savior, he owns us, we become his children, and he sanctifies us," Ashton said.
In true chiastic form, Ashton's key message— "the atonement of Jesus Christ is at the center of the lives of all those who belong to him"—came precisely at the midpoint of his remarks. (Striking examples of chiasmus, an ancient literary device in which emphasis is achieved via inverted parallelism, appear in Alma 36 and elsewhere in the Book of Mormon.)
Ashton went on to discuss how the number seven is "especially sacred in the scriptures" and is clearly associated with "sanctification, purification, and cleansing," as many passages attest.
Christ is so central in the sanctifying process, Ashton said, that many of the names and descriptive phrases associated with Christ in the scriptures reflect his sanctifying power. These include Sanctification, Tower of Life, and Mediator of Life. Ashton's addendum to the printed lecture lists more than a thousand names representative of Christ, his attributes, and his mission.
The lecture is available online (click here), and will be available soon for free in booklet form at the Maxwell Institute offices.