Posted in Book of Mormon, Gospel Doctrine 2016, LDS Doctrine

Gospel Doctrine 2016 – Lesson 44 – I Speak unto You As If Ye Were Present

1. Mormon exhorts the latter-day descendants of Lehi to repent, believe in Christ, and be baptized.

Mormon 7:2 Know ye that ye are of the house of Israel

“Careful and prayerful study of the scriptures-especially the Old Testament and the Book of Mormon-will not only bring people to understand in their minds the origin and destiny of the descendants of Jacob but will also cause them to know in their hearts what it means to come to earth through a chosen lineage and what God would have them do to be a light to the world, particularly to so many who sit in spiritual darkness.  The words of the Lord to ancient Israel should be received by modern Israel with sobriety and humility, but they must be received and believed if we are to realize our potential to become a holy people and a royal priesthood.  Jehovah spoke millennia ago of ‘Israel, whom I have chosen’ (Isaiah 44:1) and assured the Israelites that ‘you only have I known of all the families of the earth’ (Amos 3:2; see also Isaiah 45:4).

“And yet coming to this earth through a peculiar lineage involves much more than boasting of a blessing:  it entails bearing a burden.  ‘Once we know who we are,‘ Elder Russell M. Nelson said, ‘and the royal lineage of which we are a part, our actions and directions in life will be more appropriate to our inheritance’ (“Thanks for the Covenant,” 1988-89 BYU Devotional and Fireside Speeches, p. 59).” (McConkie, Millet, and Top, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 4, p. 237-8)

Mormon 7:4 Ye must lay down your weapons of war

“Writing with special consideration for their own descendants, the Book of Mormon prophets are especially concerned for the future of that highly mixed people known as the Indians. In the 1820s the Indians still held most of the continent and felt themselves a match for any invader. But Mormon forewarns them that all their efforts to prevail by force of arms will be hopeless (Mormon 7:4). In the beginning Lehi prophesied that his descendants who would survive until our day should see generations of ‘bloodsheds, and great visitations among them’ (2 Nephi 1:12), and that God would ‘bring other nations unto them, and . . . give unto them power, and . . . take away from them the lands of their possessions, and he will cause them to be scattered and smitten’ (2 Nephi 1:11). Nephi foretold the same: ‘The Lord God will raise up a mighty nation among the Gentiles, yea, even upon the face of this land; and by them shall our seed be scattered’ (1 Nephi 22:7). This scattering and smiting was to exceed anything the Indians had experienced before 1830: it was to be carried to the point of virtual extermination.” (Hugh Nibley, Since Cumorah, p. 375)

Mormon 7:5 Know ye that ye must believe in Jesus Christ

“In its overall structure, the Book of Mormon begins and ends with concern for the Lamanites receiving the gospel. Reiterating the main points from the title page, Nephi says that through the Book of Mormon the Lamanites shall know they are of Israel and through it ‘they shall be restored unto the knowledge of their fathers, and also to the knowledge of Jesus Christ’ (2 Nephi 30:5; see 30:1-6). Then toward the end, Mormon says much the same thing: ‘Know ye that ye are of the house of Israel. . . . Know ye that ye must come to the knowledge of your fathers, and repent of all your sins and iniquities, and believe in Jesus Christ’ (Mormon 7:2, 5). At the physical center of the book is the narrative of the conversion of the Lamanites. This central part begins with the decree of the king of the Lamanites that Ammon and his brethren should be free to preach the word of God throughout all the land, and ends with gratitude by these great missionaries for the thousands of Lamanite souls ‘brought to behold the marvelous light of God’ (Alma 26:3). The narrative high point of the book is the ministry of the resurrected Savior. While discoursing to both the Lamanites and Nephites before him, Jesus as well speaks to their descendants, saying that the Book of Mormon ‘shall come forth of the Father, from [the Gentiles] unto you’ (3 Nephi 21:3). He confirms the prophecies of Isaiah that in the last days the children of Lehi will be gathered both physically and spiritually. ‘Then is the fulfilling,’ he says, ‘of the covenant which the Father hath made unto his people, O house of Israel’ (3 Nephi 20:12).” (Richard D. Rust, FARMS: Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, vol. 2, 1990, p. 16)

Mormon 7:9 The Book of Mormon and the Bible support each other

“No man can say that this book (laying his hand on the Bible) is true, is the word of the Lord, is the way, is the guide-board in the path, and a charter by which we may learn the will of God; and at the same time say, that the Book of Mormon is untrue; if he has had the privilege of reading it, or of hearing it read, and learning its doctrines. There is not that person on the face of the earth who has had the privilege of learning the Gospel of Jesus Christ from these two books, who can say that one is true, and the other is false” (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe [1954], 459).

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2. Moroni prophesies that the Book of Mormon will come forth in a day of great wickedness.

Mormon 8:1 I, Moroni, do finish the record of my father

“Following this dismaying decline of Nephite civilization documented by his father, Moroni picked up the recorder’s task, but he did not write to any living audience. Rather, he directed his final testimony-in fact, three final testimonies-to those who would receive the record in the last days…Moroni’s experience was painful, for he observed in life, in history, and in vision the pollution and destruction of three glorious civilizations-his own Nephite world, the Jaredite nation, and our latter-day dispensation.” (Jeffrey R Holland, Christ And The New Covenant, p. 323)

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Mormon 8:14-18 Blessed be he that shall bring this thing to light

“The truth is, simply, that he was a prophet of God—nothing more and not one whit less!

“The scriptures did not come so much from Joseph Smith as they did through him. He was a conduit through which the revelations were given. …

“The Prophet Joseph Smith was an unschooled farm boy. To read some of his early letters in the original shows him to be somewhat unpolished in spelling and grammar and in expression.

“That the revelations came through him in any form of literary refinement is nothing short of a miracle” (Boyd K Packer in Conference Report, Apr. 1974, 137).

Mormon 8:22 The eternal purposes of the Lord shall roll on

“No unhallowed hand can stop this work from progressing. Persecutions may rage; mobs may combine; armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country and sounded in every ear; till the purposes of God shall be accomplished and the great Jehovah shall say, ‘The work is done.'” (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 4:536.)

Mormon 8:25-27 Because of secret combinations and the works of darkness

‘Moroni knew about the satanical forces that would try to prevent this work from coming forth in the latter days. There would be secret combinations and works of darkness. As the Saints of the latter days were driven from Kirtland to Missouri and from Missouri to Nauvoo and from Nauvoo to the Rocky Mountains — with 6,000 men, women and children being buried on the plains — they learned the cruel and literal reality of Moroni’s words.’ (W Cleon Skousen, Treasures from the Book of Mormon)

Mormon 8:34-35 Written for us today

“We must make the Book of Mormon a center focus of study [because] it was written for our day. The Nephites never had the book; neither did the Lamanites of ancient times. It was meant for us. Mormon wrote near the end of the Nephite civilization. Under the inspiration of God, who sees all things from the beginning, he abridged centuries of records, choosing the stories, speeches, and events that would be most helpful to us.

“Each of the major writers of the Book of Mormon testified that he wrote for future generations. …

“Mormon himself said, ‘Yea, I speak unto you, ye remnant of the house of Israel’ (Mormon 7:1). And Moroni, the last of the inspired writers, actually saw our day and time. …

“If they saw our day and chose those things which would be of greatest worth to us, is not that how we should study the Book of Mormon? We should constantly ask ourselves, ‘Why did the Lord inspire Mormon (or Moroni or Alma) to include that in his record? What lesson can I learn from that to help me live in this day and age?’

“And there is example after example of how that question will be answered” (Ezra Taft Benson in Conference Report, Oct. 1986).

Mormon 8:36 Ye do walk in the pride of your hearts

“I guess one of the greatest mysteries of human history is why people fail to learn from the past. In the case of the Church, why do those who profess to be true followers of Christ repeatedly become victims of the enticements of the world? The evidence is strong regarding the blessings that accrue to those who trust in land follow the ways prescribed by the Lord, yet so many members of the Church fail to heed the evidence.

“Many of us are more concerned about our fine apparel, the size of our houses, and our luxury cars than we are about assisting the poor and the needy. The forces promoting legalized abortion, gambling, pornography, and banning of public prayer also threaten the values that bind us together as a community of Saints.

“Clearly, the members of the Church face tremendous challenges in the latter days. We must not only resist but mount a counteroffensive against the temptations and teachings of the world if we are to remain a distinctive people.

“Despite the challenges we face, I plead with each of you to stand firm in your convictions. There is no escape from the whirlwind of judgments God will unleash on the heads of his children who choose to pursue a course that is against his will. We need to heed Moroni’s warning to avoid the fate that destroyed his people.” (L Tom Perry, Living With Enthusiasm, p. 65)

Mormon 8:37,39 Ye do love money…more than ye love the poor and the needy

‘Moroni was troubled by what he saw. Are we troubled enough to set aside our love of substance and hear the cry of the hungry, the needy, the naked, and the sick? Can we say, “I would have responded if I had seen a person in need, as did the Samaritan”?’ (H David Burton, General Conference April 1997)

3. Moroni exhorts people in the last days to believe in Christ.

Mormon 9:1 I speak also concerning those who do not believe in Christ

“Moroni at first evidently intended this chapter to be the last one in the entire Book of Mormon. Thus he addresses himself to ‘those who do not believe in Christ.’ (Mormon 9:1.) Then in a powerful, logical, and forceful manner he outlines the major teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ and indicates why all men must understand and apply these principles if they are to find the peace and happiness they desire. He says the gospel is not restricted to a chosen few, but is available ‘unto all, even unto the ends of the earth.’ (Mormon 9:21.)” (Daniel Ludlow, A Companion to Your Study of the Book of Mormon, p. 307)

Mormon 9:3-6 Consciousness of your guilt

“As repentance gets under way, there must be a deep consciousness of guilt, and in that consciousness of guilt may come suffering to the mind, the spirit, and sometimes even to the body. In order to live with themselves, people who transgress must follow one or the other of two alternatives. The one is to sear their conscience or dull their sensitivity with mental tranquilizers so that their transgression may be continued. Those who choose this alternative eventually become calloused and lose their desire to repent. The other alternative is to permit remorse to lead one to total sorrow, then to repentance, and finally on to eventual forgiveness.

“Remember this, that forgiveness can never come without repentance. And repentance can never come until one has bared his soul and admitted his actions without excuses or rationalizations. He must admit to himself that he has sinned, without the slightest minimization of the offense or rationalizing of its seriousness, or without soft-pedaling its gravity. He must admit that his sin is as big as it really is and not call a pound an ounce. Those persons who choose to meet the issue and transform their lives may find repentance the harder road at first, but they will find it the infinitely more desirable path as they taste of its fruits” (Spencer W Kimball, “The Gospel of Repentance,” Ensign, Oct. 1982, 4).

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Mormon 9:7-8 Revelations and the scriptures

“What makes [Latter-day Saints] different from most other Christians in the way we read and use the Bible and other scriptures is our belief in continuing revelation. For us, the scriptures are not the ultimate source of knowledge, but what precedes the ultimate source. The ultimate knowledge comes by revelation. With Moroni we affirm that he who denieth revelation ‘knoweth not the gospel of Christ’ (Morm. 9:8).

“The word of the Lord in the scriptures is like a lamp to guide our feet (see Ps. 119:105), and revelation is like a mighty force that increases the lamp’s illumination manyfold. We encourage everyone to make careful study of the scriptures and of the prophetic teachings concerning them and to prayerfully seek personal revelation to know their meaning for themselves” (Dallin H Oaks, “Scripture Reading and Revelation,” Ensign, Jan. 1995, 7).

Mormon 9:9-10 God is the same, yesterday, today and forever

‘Moroni argues for the continuation of revelation and spiritual gifts by appealing to Yahweh’s unchanging nature. These gifts came from Yahweh and were therefore of God. They could cease only if Yahweh, their author, changed. Since Yahweh cannot change, he cannot cease to do what he has done before. Therefore, believers will continue to enjoy the gifts that Yahweh bestowed on people of old.’ (Brant Gardner, Second Witness)

Mormon 9:12 By Adam came the fall of man

“The Book of Mormon Saints knew that the plan of redemption must start with the account of the fall of Adam. In the words of Moroni, ‘By Adam came the fall of man. And because of the fall of man came Jesus Christ, . . . and because of Jesus Christ came the redemption of man.’ (Mormon 9:12.)

“Just as a man does not really desire food until he is hungry, so he does not desire the salvation of Christ until he knows why he needs Christ.

“No one adequately and properly knows why he needs Christ until he understands and accepts the doctrine of the Fall and its effect upon all mankind. And no other book in the world explains this vital doctrine nearly as well as the Book of Mormon.” (Ezra Taft Benson, A Witness and a Warning, p. 33)

Mormon 9:24 These signs shall follow them that believe

“I went and found him suffering very much in his mind, and his body acted upon in a very strange manner; his visage and limbs distorted and twisted in every shape and appearance possible to imagine; and finally he was caught up off the floor of the apartment, and tossed about most fearfully.

“His situation was soon made known to his neighbors and relatives, and in a short time as many as eight or nine grown persons had got together to witness the scene. After he had thus suffered for a time, I succeeded in getting hold of him by the hand, when almost immediately he spoke to me, and with great earnestness requested me to cast the devil out of him, saying that he knew he was in him, and that he also knew that I could cast him out.

“I replied, ‘If you know that I can, it shall be done;’ and then almost unconsciously I rebuked the devil, and commanded him in the name of Jesus Christ to depart from him; when immediately Newel spoke out and said that he saw the devil leave him and vanish from his sight. This was the first miracle which was done in the Church, or by any member of it; and it was done not by man, nor by the power of man, but it was done by God, and by the power of godliness; therefore, let the honor and the praise, the dominion and the glory, be ascribed to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen.

“This scene was now entirely changed, for as soon as the devil had departed from our friend, his countenance became natural, his distortions  of body ceased, and almost immediately the Spirit of the Lord descended upon him, and the visions of eternity were opened to his view…All this was witnessed by many, to their great astonishment and satisfaction, when they saw the devil thus cast out, and the power of God, and His Holy Spirit thus made manifest.” (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, vol. 1, pp. 82-3)

Mormon 9:27 Fear and trembling

‘Moroni’s is not a message of gloom, threatening destruction to the wicked, but rather a message of hope in the power of repentance. By changing their ways, the “despisers” can avoid destruction, working out their “own salvation with fear and trembling before him.” It is never too late for any repentant sinner.’ (Brant Gardner, Second Witness)

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Posted in Inspirational, Jesus Christ

Christ-like attributes – virtue

A few years ago a news report on the BBC website reported:

Lust has been wrongly branded a vice and should be “reclaimed for humanity” as a life-affirming virtue, a top philosopher reportedly believes.  Professor Simon Blackburn of Cambridge University is trying to “rescue” lust, arguing it has been wrongly condemned for centuries, the Sunday Times says.  His campaign is part of an Oxford University Press project on the modern relevance of the seven deadly sins.  The list of sins was drawn up by Pope Gregory the Great in the 6th Century. ‘

It said Professor  Blackburn was aiming to save lust “from the denunciations of old men of the deserts, to deliver it from the pallid and envious confessor and the stocks and pillories of the Puritans, to drag it from the category of sin to that of virtue”.

Brother Rodney Turner made a statement some years ago:

‘Our moral environment is far more polluted than our physical environment. It seems as though good and evil are being homogenized out of existence by a generation led by ‘foolish and blind guides.’ What was once whispered in shame is now electronically shouted from the housetops as the famous and the foolish appear on television to parade their sins, like so many medals, before laughing, applauding audiences.’ (Rodney Turner, “To Learn With Joy,” p. 272).

The Lord says: “Ye must practise virtue and holiness before me continually.”(D&C 46:33)

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Practise implies doing something, it implies repetition, it implies action. I would like to be able to play the guitar but I don’t want it badly enough to do the practice. . I wonder, how much do we want to be virtuous?

How can we practice virtue and holiness continually?

Gordon B Hinckley in September 2004 (and previously in 1975) gave four beginnings:

The first: Begin with yourself.

‘We cannot hope to influence others in the direction of virtue unless we live lives of virtue. The example of our living will carry a greater influence than will all the preaching in which we might indulge. We cannot expect to lift others unless we stand on higher ground ourselves.

I should like to give to all men and women who may read these words a challenge to

– lift their thoughts above the filth,

– to discipline their acts into examples of virtue,

– to control their words so that they speak only that which is uplifting and leads to growth.’

In Genesis we read how Joseph t became the ruler of Potiphar’s household. Then Potiphar’s wife began to make advances towards Joseph.

“And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me.

“But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand;

“There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?

“And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her.

“And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within.

“And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out” (Gen. 39:7–12; emphasis added).

Joseph replied: “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”’

There will be occasions when we need, like Joseph, to flee temptation to preserve our virtue.

And now my second point of beginning: A better tomorrow begins with the training of a better generation.

‘While they are very young, read to them the great stories which have become immortal because of the virtues they teach. Expose them to good books. Let there be a corner somewhere in your house, be it ever so small, where they will see at least a few books of the kind upon which great minds have been nourished.

Let there be good magazines about the house, those which are produced by the Church and by others, which will stimulate their thoughts to ennobling concepts. When there is a good movie in town, consider going to the theater as a family. Your very patronage will give encouragement to those who wish to produce this type of entertainment.

Let there be music in the home. If you have teenagers who have their own recordings, you will be prone to describe the sound as something other than music. Let them hear something better occasionally. Expose them to it. It will speak for itself. More appreciation will come than you may think. It may not be spoken, but it will be felt, and its influence will become increasingly manifest as the years pass.’

Now my third point of beginning: The building of public sentiment begins with a few earnest voices

‘I am not one to advocate shouting defiantly or shaking fists and issuing threats in the faces of legislators. But I am one who believes that we should earnestly and sincerely and positively express our convictions to those given the heavy responsibility of making and enforcing our laws.

Let our voices be heard. Remarkable consequences often flow from a well-written letter and a postage stamp. Remarkable results come of quiet conversation with those who carry heavy responsibilities.’

Finally, my fourth point of beginning: Strength to do battle begins with enlisting the strength of God.

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Eph. 6:10–13).’

In the Doctrine and Covenants we read:

“Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God. …

“The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion” (D&C 121:45–46).

How can we let virtue garnish our thoughts unceasingly?

The Preach My Gospel manual says:

‘Virtue originates in our innermost thoughts and desires. It is a pattern of thought and behaviour based on high moral standards. Since the Holy Ghost does not dwell in unclean tabernacles, virtue is prerequisite to receiving the Spirit’s guidance. What you choose to think and do when you are alone and you believe no one is watching is a strong measure of your virtue. ‘

And in Philippians 4:8 we read:

“Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

The problem that we have is that impure thoughts can come into our minds without us wanting them to but as the saying goes – you may not be able to stop a bird from landing on your head but you can stop it from building a nest there.

D&C 121: 45-46 sets out the promised blessings of living a life of virtue:

‘Let thy abowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let bvirtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy cconfidence wax strong in the dpresence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the edews from heaven.

 46 The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant acompanion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of brighteousness and truth; and thy cdominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.

We are told hear that our confidence shall wax strong in the presence of the Lord.  James E Talmage said ‘ Any man may enter the highest degree of the celestial kingdom when his actions have been such that he can feel at home there.’

Marion G Romney said ‘I can think of no blessings to be more fervently desired than those promised to the pure and virtuous. Jesus spoke of specific rewards for different virtues but reserved the greatest gift, so it seems to me, for the pure in heart, for they, said he, shall see their God. (Matt 5:48) And not  only shall they see the Lord but they shall feel at home in his presence.’

We are also promised that the Holy Ghost shall be our constant companion because we won’t do anything to offend the Spirit.

The virtuous will receive a scepter of unchanging righteousness and truth – in other words, they will be joint heirs with Christ.

Sister Elaine Dalton in General Conference in October 2008 called for a return to virtue:

‘What can each of us do to begin our return to virtue? The course and the training program will be unique to each of us. I have derived my personal training program from instructions found in the scriptures: “Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly.”14“Cleave unto [your] covenants.”15 “Stand … in holy places.”16 “Lay aside the things of [the] world.”17 “Believe that ye must repent.”18“Always remember him and keep his commandments.”19 And “if there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, … seek after these things.”20 Now more than ever before, it is time to respond to Moroni’s call to “awake, and arise” and to “lay hold upon every good gift, and touch not the evil gift, nor the unclean thing.”21

Posted in Book of Mormon, Gospel Doctrine 2016

Gospel Doctrine 2016 – Lesson 43 – How Could Ye Have Departed from the Ways of the Lord?

1. Mormon is given responsibility for the sacred records.

Mormon 1:2 I perceive that thou art a sober child

“We know that ‘every man who has a calling to minister to the inhabitants of the world was ordained to that very purpose’ in his premortal existence. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 365.) Perhaps that call has an effect on those men even in their earliest mortal years, for Mormon was recognized by his predecessor Ammaron as being ‘a sober child’ and one ‘quick to observe.’ (Morm. 1:2.)” (Jeffrey R Holland,  Ensign, Mar. 1978, “Mormon: The Man & The Book”)

Mormon 1:15 Being fifteen years of age

“There must be something significant . . . concerning the stage of life one goes through at the age of about 14. Mormon’s awakening to spiritual matters at about this age foreshadows a similar awakening at a similar age by the young Joseph Smith, who would translate Mormon’s record. . . . Similarly, through modern-day prophets, the Lord has specified 12 as the age when worthy young men of His Church can receive the Aaronic Priesthood. What all of this seems to suggest is a heightened spiritual sense experienced at about this age – something that conscientious parents of young teenagers would do well to keep in mind.” (E.D. Clark & R. S. Clark, Fathers and Sons in the Book of Mormon, as taken from Church News, 10/24/92)

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Mormon 1:16 I did endeavour to preach unto this people

“The maturing Mormon, by then fifteen years of age, stood beyond the sinfulness around him and rose above the despair of his time. Consequently, he ’was visited of the Lord, and tasted and knew of the goodness of Jesus,’ trying valiantly to preach to his people. But as God occasionally does when those with so much light reject it, Mormon literally had his mouth shut. He was forbidden to preach to a nation that had wilfully rebelled against their God. These people had rejected the miracles and messages delivered them by the three translated Nephite disciples, who had now also been silenced in their ministry and been taken from the nation to whom they had been sent.

“Remaining among those people but silenced in his testimony.” (Christ And The New Covenant, p. 318)

2. Mormon becomes the leader of the Nephite armies. The Nephites suffer in battle because of their wickedness.

Mormon 2:7-8 They did not repent of their evil doings

‘These verses paint an important but complicated picture. As the Nephite army rapidly retreats northward, it attempts to gather its civilian population and move them north as well. Mormon’s army travels together, almost by definition, giving the pursuing army a single focal point. Yet Mormon describes the whole land as chaotic, “filled with robbers and with Lamanites.” Apparently the Lamanites and Gadiantons are pursuing a kind of scorched-earth policy, eliminating or dominating settlements en route rather than focusing, as earlier, just on the army.

Mormon laments that the people “did not repent of their evil doings,” by which he meant their acceptance of outside influences and other religions. I read his description of “one complete revolution throughout all the land” as related to their “evil doings.” The Nephites had increasingly accepted Lamanite ways. Now, threatened by an exceedingly powerful Lamanite army representing the life to which the Nephites were already gravitating, they may have simply rebelled against Nephite rule and accepted the newcomers.’ (Brant Gardner, Second Witness)

Mormon 2:13 Sorrowing of the damned

“After recognition, real remorse floods the soul. This is a ‘godly sorrow,’ not merely the ‘sorrow of the world’ nor the ‘sorrowing of the damned’ when we can no longer ‘take happiness in sin’ (2 Corinthians 7:10;Mormon 2:13). False remorse instead is like fondling our failings. In ritual regret, we mourn our mistakes but without mending them” (Neal A Maxwell, in Conference Report, Oct. 1991).

Mormon 2:19 I know that I shall be lifted up at the last day

‘Those members of the Church who devote themselves wholly to righteousness, living by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God, make their calling and election sure. That is, they receive the more sure word of prophecy, which means that the Lord seals their exaltation upon them while they are yet in this life…

..The more sure word of prophecy means a man’s knowing that he is sealed up unto eternal life, by revelation and the spirit of prophecy through the power of the Holy Priesthood.’ (D. & C. 131:5.)…The prophet, for one, had this seal placed upon him…To him Deity said: ‘I am the Lord thy God, and will be with thee even unto the end of the world, and through all eternity; for verily I seal upon you your exaltation, and prepare a throne for you in the kingdom of my Father with Abraham your father.’ (D. & C. 132:49.)’ (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, pp. 109-110)”

Mormon 3:3 The Lord granted unto them a chance for repentance

‘Agency is a tremendous tool, allowing our souls to be re-formed in God’s image. When agency is coupled with humility, we can turn our life experiences into divine understanding. This process absolutely requires repentance. Repentance is the mechanism that turns experience into expansion—that alters the sin from barrier to springboard. But using agency to refuse to repent or continue to make negative choices can have the exact opposite effect spiritually.

The Nephites’ sin was a barrier, not only to their spiritual progress, but also to their very existence. Rather than humbly turning to their God, they refused to hear him. They believed in defenses of earth and wood rather than the defense offered by Yahweh’s infinite power. Of this sad human tendency, Nephi lamented: “Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost” (2 Ne. 28:31).’ (Brant Gardner, Second Witness)

Mormon 3:8-11 Mormon refused to be a commander

‘In spite of Mormon leading his people for approximately 35 years, at this point he refused to lead them. Mormon must have been influenced by the abridgement he was making of the Book of Mormon. He saw Captain Moroni’s and Helaman’s justifiable reasons to go to war (see Alma 43:9–58:12)—defending their lands, houses, wives, children, rights, privileges, liberty, and ability to worship. He taught the people these purposes of war (seeMormon 2:23–24). After seeing the motivation the Nephites in his day had for fighting the Lamanites—to “avenge themselves” and that they “began to boast in their own strength” and that they were guilty of great “wickedness and abomination”—he temporarily refused to lead their armies (Mormon 3:9–14).’ (Book of Mormon Institute Manual)

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Mormon 3:12 Notwithstanding their wickedness I had led them many times to battle

‘Mormon’s decision does not affect his love for his people. In spite of their imprudent actions and decisions, he still loves them and sorrows for the actions that would lead them to destruction. Many parents have similar feelings for their children, without the ability to resign their particular commission.’ (Brant Gardner, Second Witness)

Mormon 3:15 Vengeance is mine

“…men are not called upon to curse mankind; that is not our mission; it is our mission to preach righteousness to them. It is our business to love and to bless them, and to redeem them from the fall and from the wickedness of the world. This is our mission and our special calling. God will curse and will exercise his judgment in those matters. ‘Vengeance is mine,’ saith the Lord, ‘and I will repay.’ We are perfectly willing to leave vengeance in the hands of God and let him judge between us and our enemies, and let him reward them according to his own wisdom and mercy.” (Joseph F Smith, Conference Report, Oct. 1904, p. 5)

3. Mormon explains the purposes for the records he has abridged and written.

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Mormon 3:16 I did stand as an idle witness

“A striking new study has been initiated comparing a subtle, recurring pattern in the Book of Mormon with a particular type of human behavior recently identified in the writings of the ‘survivors’ of Hitler’s and Stalin’s death camps…the dominant response of the few who survived the European concentration camps has been an irrepressible desire ‘to bear witness.’ The world of death camps and gulags produces a consistent reaction, a will to survive not for oneself, but rather to bear witness to the world in a particular kind of testament or indictment against man’s inhumanity to his fellows. ‘Survival is an act involving choice [even when death might seem easier]…The ‘utmost concern’ of such survivors was to hide up a record ‘preserved for future generations.’ One survivor speaks of his duty to witness as a ‘mission,’ a ‘sacred task,’ and a ‘burning within me, screaming: Record!’

“…That profile has much in common with the human conduct of several people in the Book of Mormon, like Mormon and Moroni. For example, there is the will ‘to remember and record’ that overcomes one’s fears of the surrounding savagery (see Mormon 2:15; 4:11-21). There is the survivor viewing his task as a sacred duty, born out of the realization that no one will be left.” (John W. Welch, Reexploring The Book of Mormon, p. 267)

Mormon 3:18-22 Our judgement

‘Elder Bruce R. McConkie (1915–85) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained that others would take part in our Judgment: “The reality is that there will be a whole hierarchy of judges who, under Christ, shall judge the righteous. He alone shall issue the decrees of damnation for the wicked” (The Millennial Messiah [1982], 520).

The scriptures teach that there will be at least five sources who will take part on Judgment Day:

  1. Ourselves (see Alma 41:7; History of the Church, 6:314)
  2. Our bishops (see D&C 41:9; 58:14, 17–20; 64:40; 72:17)
  3. Scriptures (see Revelation 20:12; 2 Nephi 25:18; 29:11; 33:14; 3 Nephi 27:25–26)
  4. Apostles (see Matthew 19:27–30; 1 Nephi 12:9; 3 Nephi 27:27; Mormon 3:18; D&C 29:12)
  5. Jesus Christ (see John 5:22; 3 Nephi 27:14)
  6. Ourselves (see Alma 41:7; History of the Church, 6:314)
  7. Our bishops (see D&C 41:9; 58:14, 17–20; 64:40; 72:17)
  8. Scriptures (see Revelation 20:12; 2 Nephi 25:18; 29:11; 33:14; 3 Nephi 27:25–26)
  9. Apostles (see Matthew 19:27–30; 1 Nephi 12:9; 3 Nephi 27:27; Mormon 3:18; D&C 29:12)
  10. Jesus Christ (see John 5:22; 3 Nephi 27:14)

President John Taylor (1808–87) further elaborated on the role of the Apostles in our judgment: “Christ is at the head. … It would seem to be quite reasonable, if the twelve apostles in Jerusalem are to be the judges of the twelve tribes, and the twelve disciples on this continent are to be the judges of the descendants of Nephi, that the brother of Jared and Jared should be the judges of the Jaredites, their descendants; and, further, that the first presidency and twelve who have officiated in our age, should operate in regard to mankind in this dispensation” (The Gospel Kingdom, sel. G. Homer Durham [1987], 138).’ Book of Mormon Institute Manual)

Mormon 5:10 The Gentiles who have care for the house of Israel

“A loving father does not despise his children. These [Lamanites] are a chosen people, and this Church has an important part in restoring them to their rightful inheritance. The chasm between what they are and what they will be is opportunity. The gospel furnishes that opportunity; it is ours to give.” (Spencer W Kimball, Ensign, Dec. 1975)

Mormon 5:15 That the seed of this people may more fully believe this gospel

“In a special way, the Book of Mormon was written to the Lamanites, the descendants of Lehi, as a major tool to restore them to Christ.  It seems that the righteous Nephite prophets, knowing the destruction of their own people, wrote with special feelings to the future Lamanites.  Mormon in his final chapter said, ‘And now, behold, I would speak somewhat unto the remnant of this people who are spared’ (7:1); and Moroni in his last chapter said, ‘Now I, Moroni, write somewhat as seemeth me good; and I write unto my brethren, the Lamanites’ (10:1).

“In 1829, about a year before the publication of the Book of Mormon, the Lord spoke plainly to Joseph Smith after the 116 pages of manuscript had been lost.  While reproving young Joseph, the Lord impressed upon him the sacred character and purpose of the Book of Mormon and hence the great importance of his work.

‘Nevertheless, my work shall go forth, for inasmuch as the knowledge of a Savior has come unto the world, through the testimony of the Jews, even so shall the knowledge of a Savior come unto my people-
And to the Nephites, and the Jacobites, and the Josephites, and the Zoramites, through the testimony of their fathers-
And this testimony shall come to the knowledge of the Lamanites, and the Lemuelites, and the Ishmaelites, who dwindled in unbelief because of the iniquities of their fathers, whom the Lord has suffered to destroy their brethren the Nephites, because of their wickedness and abominations.
And for this very purpose are these plates preserved, which contain these records-that the promises of the Lord might be fulfilled, which he made to his people; and that the Lamanites might come to a knowledge of their fathers’ (D&C 3:16-20; emphasis added).

“The Book of Mormon was written to all the world as another testament of Jesus Christ.  In a special way, however, it was written and preserved to restore the Lamanites to the knowledge and testimony of Christ once had by their fathers and also to convince the Jew and Gentile that ‘Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God’ (title page, Book of Mormon).” (Rex C. Reeve, Jr., Book of Mormon Symposium Series, 2 Nephi, edited by PR Cheesman, MS Nyman, and CD Tate, Jr., 1988, p. 266-7)

4. In a final great battle, all but 24 of the Nephites are killed.

Mormon 4:5 It is by the wicked that the wicked are punished

“Of one thing I am sure, God never institutes war; God is not the author of confusion or of war; they are the results of the acts of the children of men. Confusion and war necessarily come as the results of the foolish acts and policy of men; but they do not come because God desires they should come. If the people, generally, would turn to the Lord, there would never be any war. Let men turn from their iniquities and sins, and instead of being covetous and wicked, turn to God and seek to promote peace and happiness throughout the land, and wars would cease. We expect to see the day when swords shall be turned into ploughshares, spears into pruning hooks, and when men shall learn war no more. This is what we want. We are for peace, plenty and happiness to all the human family.” (Discourses of Brigham Young, pp. 366-367.)

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Mormon 4:23 Brief overview of the movement of the plates

‘Ammaron told Mormon to take the large plates of Nephi from the Hill Shim and add to them. Mormon was to leave the rest of the plates (plates of brass, small plates of Nephi, and plates of Ether) in the Hill Shim (see Mormon 1:2–4). Mormon removed the large plates, wrote a full account of the activities of his people on them, and used a selected portion of them to create his own condensed and abridged history of his people (see Mormon 2:18). Later Mormon returned to the Hill Shim and removed all of the plates (plates of brass, small plates of Nephi, plates of Ether, and all other plates) from the hill (seeMormon 4:23). Fearing that the Lamanites might destroy the records, Mormon hid the plates again—except his abridgement and the small plates of Nephi (the gold plates) in the Hill Cumorah (see Mormon 6:6). These gold plates Mormon gave to his son Moroni (see Mormon 6:6; Words of Mormon 1:1–7).’ (Book of Mormon Institute Manual)

Mormon 5:1-2 Never cease to labour

‘In this crucible of wickedness the true greatness of Mormon shines like a star as he calls his son to action, telling him that no matter how bad things are, we must never stop trying to do what we can to improve matters, ‘for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay.’ (Moroni 9:6.) In this spirit Mormon took over command of the army even when he knew that all was lost, ‘… for they looked upon me as though I could deliver them from their afflictions. But behold, I was without hope… .’ (Mormon 5:1.)

His is the predicament of the true tragic hero: ‘… I had led them notwithstanding their wickedness … and had loved them … with all my heart; and my soul had been poured out in prayer unto my God all the day long for them; nevertheless, it was without faith, because of the hardness of their hearts.’ (Mormon 3:12.) However it might appeal to our own age of violence, Mormon found little consolation in the fact that his people were wonderfully tough and proud of it—‘for so exceedingly do they anger that it seemeth to me that they have no fear of death.’ (Moroni 9:5.) ‘… they repented not of their iniquities, but did struggle for their lives without calling upon that Being who created them.’ (Mormon 5:2.) They could take care of themselves, thank you—and they did. ‘ (Hugh Nibley, Since Cumorah: The Book of Mormon in the Modern World, pp. 437–38)

Mormon 6:6 These few plates…I gave unto my son Moroni

“Before the last great battle ensued between the Nephite and Lamanite armies at Cumorah in the year 385 A. D., Mormon entrusted the plates containing his abridgment of the plates of Nephi to his son, Moroni. (Mormon 6:6.) Nevertheless, after the battle-in which he was wounded-Mormon again obtained the plates and added some final words found in chapters six and seven respectively of the book called after his own name.  All of the other records of his people he had previously hid up in the Hill Cumorah. (Mormon 6:6.)” (A Book of Mormon Treasury, p. 122)

“‘…therefore I made this record [the Book of Mormon] out of the plates of Nephi, and hid up in the hill Cumorah all the records which had been entrusted to me by the hand of the Lord, save it were these few plates [the Book of Mormon] which I gave unto my son Moroni’ (Mormon 6:6). In other words, the Book of Mormon explicitly states that the records hidden in the Mesoamerican Cumorah were not the plates of the Book of Mormon, but were the other records of the Nephites…Mormon 6:6 specifically states that all the Nephite records, except the Book of Mormon plates, were buried in the hill Cumorah near the narrow neck of land by Mormon, not Moroni. Nowhere in the Book of Mormon does it state where the Book of Mormon plates were finally buried.” (William J. Hamblin, FARMS: Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, vol. 2, no. 1, Spring-1993, pp. 173,178)

Mormon 6:7 My people

“The account of the gathering of all the Nephite people in the lands around Cumorah, and the way Mormon refers to his women and children, men, and people, somewhat interchangeably, introduces some ambiguity into his account. Could it have been that in their last-ditch effort at survival, preparing as they were for a prearranged great battle, Mormon and the 22 other leaders divided the whole Nephite people, rather than just the armies, into contingents of ten thousand each? If so, the victims of the slaughter at Cumorah were 230,000 men, women, and children, all of the Nephites who had gathered around Cumorah.”(FARMS: Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, vol. 6, no. 1, 1994, pp.2-3)

Mormon 6:16-22 Don’t reject the open arms of Christ

“We long for the ultimate blessing of the Atonement—to become one with Him, to be in His divine presence, to be called individually by name as He warmly welcomes us home with a radiant smile, beckoning us with open arms to be enfolded in His boundless love. How gloriously sublime this experience will be if we can feel worthy enough to be in His presence! The free gift of His great atoning sacrifice for each of us is the only way we can be exalted enough to stand before Him and see Him face-to-face. The overwhelming message of the Atonement is the perfect love the Savior has for each and all of us. It is a love which is full of mercy, patience, grace, equity, long-suffering, and, above all, forgiving.

“The evil influence of Satan would destroy any hope we have in overcoming our mistakes. He would have us feel that we are lost and that there is no hope. In contrast, Jesus reaches down to us to lift us up. Through our repentance and the gift of the Atonement, we can prepare to be worthy to stand in His presence” (James E Faust, in Conference Report, Oct. 2001).

Mormon 9:5 A flame of unquenchable fire

“A man is his own tormenter and his own condemner. Hence the saying, They shall go into the lake that burns with fire and brimstone. The torment of disappointment in the mind of man is as exquisite as a lake burning with fire and brimstone. I say, so is the torment of man.” (Teachings, of the Prophet Joseph Smith p. 357)

 

Posted in Inspirational, Jesus Christ, New Testament

Christ-like attributes – charity

1 Corinthians 13: Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

It must be a great thing to have the gift of tongues, or the gift of prophesy, or the faith to move mountains – but we are told here that it is a greater thing to be filled with love.

Orson Scott Card put this into modern terms for us: “And though I attend all my meetings faithfully, and fulfil all my callings, and make a home teaching visit during the first week of the month; and though in all ways I am an active Church member, yet if I do not spend time in love and service for others, then I am not yet a Saint, for I do not yet love the Lord with all my heart, might, mind, and strength; and I do not love my neighbor as myself.”

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But wait a minute – let’s go back to what Paul says in verse 3:

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Isn’t bestowing one’s goods to the poor charity? Can we bestow our goods to the poor without having charity?

Dallin H. Oaks said

“We know from these inspired words that even the most extreme acts of service fall short of the ultimate ‘profit’ unless they are motivated by the pure love of Christ. If our service is to be most efficacious, it must be unconcerned with self and heedless of personal advantage. It must be accomplished for the love of God and the love of his children.” (Pure in Heart [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], 47.)

On the other hand – we can talk about love and charity but without corresponding actions it is meaningless. Dieter F Uchtdorf said: ‘True love requires action. We can speak of love all day long—we can write notes or poems that proclaim it, sing songs that praise it, and preach sermons that encourage it—but until we manifest that love in action, our words are nothing but “sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal”.’

Thus, as Moroni declared, “except men shall have charity they cannot inherit” the place prepared for them in the mansions of the Father (Ether 12:34;).He also wrote: ‘But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.’ (Moroni 7:47)

The converse would seem to be true – if we are not found possessed of it at the last day it will not be well with us.

H Burke Petersen said: ‘Charity is measured in several ways. Perhaps a supreme form of charity may be exhibited by one who withholds judgment of another’s acts or conduct, remembering that there is only one who can look into the heart and know the intent—and know the honest desires found therein. There is only one whose right it is to judge the success of another’s journey through life. Uncalled-for judgments or prejudiced feelings keep many from displaying a truly charitable attitude or a willingness to help those in need, even those in our own family circle.’

A story is told about Alexander the Great. When he had his portrait painted, the selected artist was greatly perplexed about how to do it. Alexander had an ugly scar from battle on the side of his forehead. The artist did not want to paint that scar in the portrait, because it would be offensive. But leaving the scar out of the painting would not be honest either, and the likeness of his king would be false. The artist finally arrived at a decision what to do. He asked Alexander to lean his head forward and rest it on the fingers of his hand in a way that covered the scar. The finished portrait of the great conqueror was valued as a success.

Do you and I find ways to portray other people in the best light possible, or do we instead focus on their scars?

 

Posted in Book of Mormon, Gospel Doctrine 2016, Jesus Christ

Gospel Doctrine 2016 – Lesson 42 – This Is My Gospel

1. The Savior commands His Nephite disciples to call the Church after His name. He expounds His gospel.

3 Nephi 27:1 United in mighty prayer and fasting

“The greatest temporal and spiritual blessings…always come from faithfulness and concerted effort, [not from] individual exertion or enterprise.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 183)

3 Nephi 27:3 The name of the church

“The early Christians in the Mediterranean world took upon themselves the name of Christ. As you all recall, they were known generally as Christians. But as their numbers began to spread and become rather numerous in the Mediterranean world, and as the seeds of apostasy began to grow, about 185 A.D. the leaders decided to change the name to Catholic, meaning universal. Thus by choosing to call themselves ‘Universal’ they lost the name, or set aside the name, that God had decreed would be the only name given under heaven whereby mankind may be saved.” (Milton R Hunter, Conference Report, Oct. 1952, p. 38)

3 Nephi 27:5-6 Take upon you the name of Christ

“When we are baptized, we take upon ourselves the sacred name of Jesus Christ. Taking upon us His name is one of the most significant experiences we have in life. Yet sometimes we pass through that experience without having a full understanding.

“How many of our children—how many of us—really understand that when we were baptized, we took upon us not only the name of Christ but also the law of obedience?

“Each week in sacrament meeting we promise to remember the atoning sacrifice of our Savior as we renew our baptismal covenant. We promise to do as the Savior did—to be obedient to the Father and always keep His commandments. The blessing we receive in return is to always have His Spirit to be with us” (Robert D Hales, in Conference Report, Oct. 2000).

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3 Nephi 27:7 Call the church in my name

“This is not a church. This is the Church of Jesus Christ. There are churches of men all over the land and they have great cathedrals, synagogues, and other houses of worship running into the hundreds of millions of dollars. They are the churches of men. They teach the doctrines of men, combined with the philosophies and ethics and other ideas and ideals that men have partly developed and partly found in sacred places and interpreted for themselves. But there is just one church which Jesus Christ, himself, organized by direct revelation; just one church that teaches all of his doctrines; just one church which has all of the keys and authorities which are necessary to carry on the work of Jesus Christ. And you would, of course, expect it to be the Church of Jesus Christ and not carry any other name.” (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball,  p421)

3 Nephi 27:10 Built upon my gospel

‘A church deserves to bear the Messiah’s name only when it teaches the true gospel. If the church is “built upon my gospel then will the Father show forth his own works in it.” Failing to build the church on gospel principles will be apostasy, inexorably altering the relationship with Yahweh-Messiah and no longer representing him. A church built on the devil’s values becomes the church of the devil. If it is built on the works of men, it becomes the church of men. The name and the essence are inextricably intertwined.’ (Brant Gardner, Second Witness)

3 Nephi 27:13-18 I have given unto you my gospel

“There is in the Book of Mormon a statement in which the Lord says, ‘Behold this is the gospel, which I have given unto you,’ and then he describes his gospel. (See 3 Nephi 27:13–18.) It is a simple story of a world to which a Savior has been sent whom men may accept or reject, but who is, nevertheless, the Messiah.

“That simple story is the very thing, of course, the world cannot accept, and it is so simple that some may even be offended inwardly at times by the so-called simplicity of the gospel. …

“… There are those who may share some of our beliefs and values, but for whom the restoration of the gospel is a stumblingblock they cannot get over the top of. But to most of mankind, what we proclaim is ‘foolishness’” (Neal A Maxwell, For the Power Is in Them [1970], 47–48).

3 Nephi 27:19 No unclean thing

‘No unclean thing can enter into God’s rest. We must be washed clean through the atonement, by our faith in Christ, repentance of our sins, and faithfulness unto the end.’ (Jeffrey Marsh, LDSMag.com)

3 Nephi 27:20 Come unto me

‘While Jesus is the only one to have led a sinless life, those who come unto Him and take His yoke upon them have claim on His grace, which will make them as He is, guiltless and spotless.’ (D Todd Christofferson, General Conference, October 2010)

3 Nephi 27:27 What manner of men ought ye to be?

“Hard to do? Of course. The Lord never promised an easy road, nor a simple gospel nor low standards, nor a low norm. The price is high, but the goods attained are worth all they cost. The Lord himself turned the other cheek; he suffered himself to be buffeted and beaten without remonstrance; he suffered every indignity and yet spoke no word of condemnation. And his question to all of us is: ‘Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be’ And his answer to us is: ‘Even as I am.'” (Spencer W Kimball, Conference Report, Oct. 1977)

2. The Savior grants the desires of His twelve disciples. Three of the disciples choose to remain on the earth until His Second Coming.

3 Nephi 28:1-3 What is it that you desire of me?

‘Now we come to the climax of the Savior’s mission among the Nephites. However, before he ascended to heaven he allowed each disciple to express an ultimate wish from Jesus. Three of them asked for the same wish as had John the Beloved — they would like to remain in the flesh until the Second Coming. Nevertheless they would be quickened so that they could not be slain.’ (Cleon Skousen, Treasures from the Book of Mormon)

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3 Nephi 28:7-9 Translated beings

“Many have supposed that the doctrine of translation was a doctrine whereby men were taken immediately into the presence of God, and into an eternal fullness, but this is a mistaken idea. Their place of habitation is that of the terrestrial order, and a place prepared for such characters He held in reserve to be ministering angels unto many planets, and who as yet have not entered into so great a fullness as those who are resurrected from the dead” (Joseph Smith,History of the Church, 4:210).

3 Nephi 28:15 Transfigured

“A person who is transfigured is one who is temporarily taken into a higher, heavenly experience, as were Peter, James, and John, and then returned to a normal telestial status.” (Jeffrey R Holland, Christ and the New Covenant, p. 306)

3. After many years of peace, the majority of the people dwindle in unbelief and reject the gospel.

4 Nephi 1:2 Every man did deal justly one with another

“We need to learn, practice, study, know and understand how angels live with each other. When this community comes to the point to be perfectly honest and upright, you will never find a poor person; none will lack, all will have sufficient. Every man, woman, and child will have all they need just as soon as they all become honest. When the majority of the community are dishonest, it maketh the honest portion poor, for the dishonest serve and enrich themselves at their expense.” (Discourses of Brigham Young)

4 Nephi  1:15 Contention

See post Health Warning

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4 Nephi 1:17 Nor any manner of -ites

‘Unity is not achieved by ignoring and isolating members who seem to be different or weaker and only associating with people who are like us. On the contrary, unity is gained by welcoming and serving those who are new and who have particular needs. These members are a blessing for the Church and provide us with opportunities to serve our neighbors and thus purify our own hearts.

So, my brothers, it is your duty to reach out to anyone who appears at the doors of your Church buildings. Welcome them with gratitude and without prejudice. If people you do not know walk into one of your meetings, greet them warmly and invite them to sit with you. Please make the first move to help them feel welcome and loved, rather than waiting for them to come to you.’ *Gerald Caussee, General Conference, October 2013)

4 Nephi 1:20 A small part of the people had revolted from the church

“But then, in the 184th year after Christ’s birth, exactly 150 years after his ministry in the New World, ‘a small part of the people . . . revolted from the church.’ That was the beginning of the end of Nephite society. It took several years to happen, and several pages of Book of Mormon history to record it, but those words marked the end of the great Christian epoch in the New World of which so many prophets had dreamed and prophesied and for which so many had died. With that phrase, the saga we know as the Book of Mormon began drawing to a close.

“After two hundred years, the movement away from the Zionlike principles of Christ’s teachings was inexorable.” (Jeffrey R Holland, Christ And The New Covenant, p. 315)

4 Nephi 1:24 Pride

“Here the insidious nature of pride is laid bare, and its destructive effects on Zion are seen in an unmistakable way. Pride destroys unity and promotes selfishness. ‘Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man.’ Pride seeks to create divisions among people purely for the sake of self-interest, that some may place themselves above others and exploit them.President Ezra Taft Benson stated: ‘It was essentially the sin of pride that kept us from establishing Zion in the days of the Prophet Joseph Smith. It was the same sin of pride that brought consecration to an end among the Nephites.

“‘Pride is the great stumbling block to Zion.'” (Andrew Skinner, Ensign, Sept. 2000, p. 60)

4 Nephi 1:31, 34 The people did harden their hearts

“What should these people have done when they witnessed the miracles?  They should have done the same thing their ancestors did in reaction to the miracle of Jesus’ visit, the same thing we should do in response to a miracle­ – repent. But these people did not repent; instead, they despised the righteous because of the miracles that were wrought among them. The record states that ‘the people did harden their hearts, for they were led by many priests and false prophets to build up many churches, and to do all manner of iniquity’ (4 Nephi 1:34). Mormon emphasized, ‘they did not dwindle in unbelief, but they did willfully rebel against the gospel of Christ’ (v 38). He further states that even ‘the people who were called the people of Nephi began to be proud in their hearts, because of their exceeding riches, and become vain like unto their brethren, the Lamanites’ (v 43). Thus we can trace the sad consequences of failure to repent and to stay close to the Lord. The Nephites lost the Spirit that had provided them with unity and glorious feelings of charity.” (Alvin C. Rencher, Book of Mormon Symposium Series, 4 Nephi – Moroni, edited by PR Cheesman, MS Nyman, and CD Tate, Jr., 1988, p. 272)

4 Nephi 1:38-39 They did teach their children that they should not believe

“When the Nephites were truly righteous, their previous patterns of polarization vanished. ‘There was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people. …

“Unfortunately, the sequel to that story is not a happy one. This pleasant circumstance persisted until ‘a small part of the people … had revolted … and taken upon them the name of Lamanites’ [4 Nephi 1:20], reviving old prejudices and teaching their children again to hate, ‘even as the Lamanites were taught to hate the children of Nephi from the beginning’ [4 Nephi 1:39]. And so the polarizing process began all over again.

“I hope that we may learn this important lesson and delete segregating names from our personal vocabularies. The Apostle Paul taught that ‘there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus’ [Galatians 3:28; see also Colossians 3:11].

“Our Savior invites us ‘to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; … all are alike unto God’ [2 Ne. 26:33]” (Russell M Nelson, “A More Excellent Hope,” Ensign, Feb. 1997, 63).

4 Nephi 1:41 Secret oaths and combinations

“Without question Satan was at the very heart of the secret combinations which destroyed once and for all, without hope of recovery, the Zion society of the Nephites. He alone inspires the hearts of wicked men to secretly combine against righteousness (Helaman 6:26). And he concocts and administers the oaths and covenants of his kingdom. However, Satan could not have made any inroads without the initial overtures of the people themselves. Joseph Smith taught that ‘the moment we revolt at anything which comes from God, the devil takes power’ (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 181). The people of 4 Nephi, guilty of this revolt or rebellion, consciously rejected light and truth.” (Andrew Skinner, Book of Mormon Symposium Series, 4 Nephi – Moroni, edited by PR Cheesman, MS Nyman, and CD Tate, Jr., 1988, p. 299)

 

Posted in Jesus Christ, LDS Doctrine, Old Testament

Adam as a type for Christ

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In Alonzo Gaskill’s book ‘The Truth About Eden’ he identifies a number of ways in which Adam acts as a type for Christ (I particularly liked 5,6 and 7):

  1. Adam was physically the first man created by God the Father (Moses 3:7). Christ was the firstborn spirit of God the Father (Colossians 1:15)
  2. Adam was created in the Father’s image (Genesis 1:27). Christ was created in the Father’s image (Hebrews 1:3).
  3. Adam and Christ were foreordained (Abraham 3:22-23)
  4. Adam was the head of the human family (D&C 107:55). Christ is the spiritual head of the family of God (Ephesians 4:15)
  5. Adam was a sinless man who chose for the benefit of others to take upon himself sin, and in so doing dies (2 Nephi 2:25). Christ is a sinless man who chose for the benefit of others to take upon Himself sins, and in so doing died. (Mosiah 26:23) Stephen Robinson wrote: ‘The first Adam parallels the state of the second Adam, Christ. For in their respective gardens, Eden and Gethsemane, each had the ability to die if they so chose, but neither was under the necessity of dying’
  6. Adam provided all mankind with a chance at mortal birth and thus eternal life (2 Nephi 2:25). Christ provides all mankind with the chance of spiritual re-birth and eternal life (1 John 5:1,4)
  7. Adam ruled on earth in its paradisaical, Edenic splendour (Genesis 1:26,28). Christ will rule on the earth when it returns to its paradisaical splendour during the Millennium (Articles of Faith 10)
  8. Michael is the ‘first Adam’ (1 Corinthians 15:45). Christ is the ‘last Adam’ (1 Corinthians 15:45)
  9. Adam’s premortal name, Michael, means ‘who is like unto God’. Christ, the premortal Jehovah, is ‘like unto God’  (Abraham 3:24)
  10. According to ancient legend, (The Combat of Adam and Eve Against Satan) while Adam was making a sacrifice he was smitten in his side, causing blood and water to flow out. While Jesus was making his sacrifice on our behalf, He was smitten in His side causing water and blood to flow out (John 19:34)
Posted in Book of Mormon, Gospel Doctrine 2016, Jesus Christ

Gospel Doctrine 2016 – Lesson 41 – He Did Expound All Things unto Them

1. The Savior quotes some of Isaiah’s prophecies about the house of Israel.

3 Nephi 22:2 Strengthen thy stakes

“The large movement of Israel’s conversion, gathering, and return to the lands of her inheritance will require strong, enlarged stakes in Zion. Growth will be ‘on the right hand and on the left,’ with Gentile cities (probably left desolate by the wrath ‘poured out without mixture upon the whole earth’ DC 115:6) inhabited by the children of the covenant. It is from this imagery of Israel’s wilderness tent/tabernacle with its cords, curtains, borders, and stakes that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints draws its use of the word stake for the name of its basic ecclesiastical unit.” (Jeffrey R Holland, Christ And The New Covenant, p. 289 – 290)

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Tent Stake

3 Nephi 22:4 Thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth

“Scriptures are written in general to give guidance and information regarding our relationship to Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost. Scriptures also offer specific guidance and information when we pray for personal comfort and support.

“I recall a particular time when 3 Nephi 22:4 brought me to my knees in tears over an answer to a prayer that I had previously been diligently seeking.

“I had only recently become baptized, when I was beset by distress over thinking about my sinful past. Truly I had been rejoicing over the promise of forgiveness following repentance and baptism, yet, now I agonized for nearly two weeks over past sins.

“I found that my despair had taken hold of me, so I decided to spend a day fasting and reading the Book of Mormon.

“I was enjoying reading the attendant lamentations and explanations that were so offered by the verses. When I came to verse 4 of 3 Nephi, chapter 22, the general quality of the reading became very personal regarding my obsession over past sins.

“As I continued reading to the end of the chapter, my sobbing increased, and for a few brief moments my mind comprehended the Savior’s personal forgiveness of me. A great peace came over me and the descriptions of the Savior’s relationship to the past, present and future of Zion took on their literal and prophetic value.” (Catherine Cinelli, Church News, 01/20/96)

3 Nephi 22:11 Lay thy foundations with sapphires

“In the midst of a troubling world, the foundations I rely on come by my covenants with the Lord. They are indeed like sapphires and are treasures beyond price….They are the restored principles and ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ which are available to righteous women and men alike through the power of the holy priesthood of God. They include baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, the sacrament, and temple covenants.” (Aileen H. Clyde, Ensign, May 1995)

3 Nephi 22:13 And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord

“The world is not a safe place. It is not a place where children will feel peace, hope, and direction unless they are taught to love and follow the Savior. Please help them know that these great blessings can be theirs, and show them what they need to do to receive these blessings” (Patricia P Pinegar in Conference Report, Oct. 1999).

3 Nephi 23:1 Great are the words of Isaiah

“Isaiah is the most quoted prophet in the New Testament. The Lord Himself quoted Isaiah seven times, the Apostles forty times more. In addition there are ninety partial quotes or paraphrases of Isaiah’s words.

“Isaiah is the most quoted prophet in the Doctrine and Covenants. Sixty-six quotations from thirty-one chapters of Isaiah attest to the singular importance of this great prophet.

“All of this confirms that the Lord had a purpose in preserving Isaiah’s words” (Boyd K Packer, Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled [1991], 280).

3 Nephi 23:5 Searching the prophets

‘Jesus’ commandments to the Nephites to “search the prophets” (3 Nephi 23:5) and “search” the words of Isaiah (3 Nephi 20:11; 23:1) are a deliberate challenge. Although Jesus was with them, teaching them directly, yet they were to delve deeply into the words of the prophets for an understanding of divine truth. To facilitate this, Jesus not only quoted at length from Micah and Isaiah, who prophesied of a time far distant, he also revealed to them the words of Malachi, who lived long after Lehi left Jerusalem, and “expounded them unto the multitude” (3 Nephi 26:1). Following that, Jesus “did expound all things unto them… even from the beginning until the time that he should come in his glory” (3 Nephi 26:1, 3).

This puts to rest the notion that there is no need to pay much attention to “dead prophets” when the living prophets will tell us all we need to know. Jesus said, “These scriptures, which ye had not with you, the Father commanded me that I should give unto you; for it was wisdom in him that they should be given unto future generations” (3 Nephi 26:2). In fact, Mormon keeps emphasizing how Jesus “expounded all the scriptures unto them” until he had “expounded all the scriptures in one,” those they had previously received and those he now gave them, “both great and small” (3 Nephi 23:6, 14; 26:1).

There is a vast difference between searching the scriptures and not doing so, between having a solid grounding in the Hebrew prophets and not having one (cf. 2 Nephi 32:3–7). In the New Testament, as in the Book of Mormon, Jesus similarly counseled the people to “search the scriptures” (John 5:39), which consisted of the law and the prophets. Those who believed in Christ, both Jew and Gentile, were those who “received the word with all readiness of mind” and “searched the scriptures daily” (Acts 17:11–12). By searching the scriptures, the people in Jacob’s day could discern the deception of Sherem, the antichrist (Jacob 7:23), and the Zoramites could distinguish truth from error (see Alma 33:2).

Because we are living in the time of which Jesus and the ancient prophets spoke, how much greater is our need to search their writings so that we will not be deceived but rather believe what the scriptures actually say? Refusing to search the prophecies makes people “willingly ignorant” of what will transpire when Jesus comes again and will catch them unprepared (2 Peter 3:2–10).

Certainly, Jesus will not acknowledge those who don’t search the prophecies, who are satisfied with popular notions, assuming that is all they need to know (see 3 Nephi 14:22–27). If, as Nephi says, “by denying him [Christ] ye also deny the prophets and the law” (2 Nephi 25:28), then the reverse is also true: by denying the prophets, we deny Christ.

There is a breakthrough in understanding that comes when we search the scriptures diligently. This understanding is not something one person can give another but is achieved individually. As Jesus taught, it is absolutely essential to have as one’s foundation the writings of the Hebrew prophets, in particular the words of Isaiah. Without building upon that foundation, one can never “put it all together.” One can never comprehend all the scriptures “in one,” both “great and small.” As Jesus reminds us, “Out of the books which have been written, and which shall be written, shall this people be judged” and “shall the world be judged” (3 Nephi 27:25–26).

Another commonly accepted myth is that we are not to inquire into the mysteries. Those who don’t understand the mysteries of God are those who “see but see not, who hear but hear not, neither understand” (cf. Matthew 13:11–15). Rather, God’s people are to “open your ears that ye may hear, and your hearts that ye may understand, and your minds that the mysteries of God may be unfolded to your view” (Mosiah 2:9).

The scriptures “have been kept and preserved by the hand of God, that we might read and understand of his mysteries, and have his commandments always before our eyes” (Mosiah 1:5). As “ministers of Christ,” we are “stewards of the mysteries of God” (1 Corinthians 4:1). To have the mysteries of God unfolded to us makes us rich (D&C 6:7; 11:7).

In a revelation given to the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord said, “I, the Lord, am merciful and gracious unto those who fear me, and delight to honor those who serve me in righteousness and in truth unto the end. Great shall be their reward and eternal shall be their glory. And to them will I reveal all mysteries, yea, all the hidden mysteries of my kingdom from days of old, and for ages to come, will I make known unto them the good pleasure of my will concerning all things pertaining to my kingdom.

“Yea, even the wonders of eternity shall they know, and things to come will I show them, even the things of many generations. And their wisdom shall be great, and their understanding reach to heaven; and before them the wisdom of the wise shall perish, and the understanding of the prudent shall come to naught. For by my Spirit will I enlighten them, and by my power will I make known unto them the secrets of my will—yea, even those things which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor yet entered into the heart of man” (D&C 76:5–10).

As we read in Mormon’s account, Jesus revealed precisely such mysteries to the Nephites at Bountiful, many of whom “saw and heard unspeakable things, which are not lawful to be written” (3 Nephi 26:18). Moreover, Mormon makes clear that we as “Gentiles” have thus far received but “the lesser part of the things which he [Jesus] taught the people” because we have not yet sufficiently “believed” them (3 Nephi 26:7–11). If and when we believe them, “then shall the greater things be made manifest unto them” (3 Nephi 26:9).

To this, we respond, “Of course we believe them!” And so we deceive ourselves into thinking that it is enough to be good members of the Church, to read the Book of Mormon and yet forget Jesus’ commandment to “search the prophets.”’ (Avram Gileadi, Studies in the Book of Mormon)

2. The Savior commands the people to add to their records.

3 Nephi 23:6 Other scriptures I would that ye should write

“…when [the Lord] came to the Nephites he made a big thing about keeping records. He went through the records himself and made sure that all the prophecies were mentioned. Samuel the Lamanite had prophesied something that was fulfilled. You didn’t put it down here, he says to Nephi. Nephi’s face turned red and he said, Well, we’ll see that it gets put down! (cf. 3 Nephi 23:6-13). It was very embarrassing, believe me, when the Lord himself was there! But he wants those records complete.” (Hugh Nibley, Temple And Cosmos, p. 321 – 322)

3 Nephi 24:1 I will send my messenger

“The spirit of Elias is to prepare the way for a greater revelation of God, which is the Priesthood of Elias, or the Priesthood that Aaron was ordained unto. And when God sends a man into the world to prepare for a greater work, holding the keys of the power of Elias, it was called the doctrine of Elias, even from the early ages of the world. John’s mission was limited to preaching and baptizing; but what he did was legal; and when Jesus Christ came to any of John’s disciples, He baptized them with fire and the Holy Ghost.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 335-6)

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3 Nephi 24:8 Tithing

“I … suggest five reasons why all of us, rich or poor, longtime member or newest convert, should faithfully pay our tithes and offerings.

“First, do so for the sake of your children. … Teach your children that many of the blessings of the Church are available to them because you and they give tithes and offerings to the Church. …

“Second, pay your tithing to rightfully claim the blessings promised those who do so. …

“Third, pay your tithing as a declaration that possession of material goods and the accumulation of worldly wealth are not the uppermost goals of your existence. …

“Fourth, pay your tithes and offerings out of honesty and integrity because they are God’s rightful due. …

“This leads to a fifth reason to pay our tithes and offerings. We should pay them as a personal expression of love to a generous and merciful Father in Heaven. Through His grace, God has dealt bread to the hungry and clothing to the poor. At various times in our lives, that will include all of us, either temporally or spiritually” (Jeffrey R Holland in Conference Report, Oct. 2001).

3 Nephi 25:1 Neither root nor branch

‘What does it mean that the “proud … and all that do wickedly” will be burned and left without either root or branch? (3 Nephi 25:1). This phrase refers to the theme of 3 Nephi 25. Consider your roots to be your parents or ancestors and your branches to be your children or posterity. To be united with our roots and branches, we must receive temple ordinances. The Lord said He would send Elijah before the Second Coming to restore priesthood keys that would allow families to be complete—both roots and branches. In 1836 the sealing power was restored, and it provides the way for families to be eternally linked (see D&C 110:14–16; 128:18). However, the proud and the wicked will be burned up and left without either root (ancestors) or branch (posterity), leaving them cut off from their family and the sealing blessings.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland spoke of this idea: “Elijah restored the sealing powers whereby ordinances that were sealed on earth were also sealed in heaven. … Without that link no family ties would exist in the eternities, and indeed the family of man would have been left in eternity with ‘neither root [ancestors] nor branch [descendants]’” (Christ and the New Covenant[1997], 297–98).’ (Book of Mormon Institute Manual)

3. The Savior expounds all things from the beginning.

3 Nephi 26:2 These scriptures

“These scriptures…are primarily for our benefit. We live in the day of which they speak; we are the children in whose hearts the promises have been planted; we are the ones who are striving so to live that we will abide the day of His coming. And it is in our day that Elijah has come, according to the promises, bringing again the sealing power so that legal administrators may bind on earth and have it sealed eternally in the heavens — for all of which the Lord be praised.” (Bruce R McConkie, The Mortal Messiah, book 4, p. 368)

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3 Nephi 26:3 He did expound all things

“After reciting these scriptures to the people, the Savior…then explained all things to them ‘from the beginning until the time that he should come in his glory’ (3 Nephi 26:3). It seems likely that, having just quoted these verses about Elijah’s promised return, the Lord then explained something about Elijah’s mission, what it meant and why it was necessary. Because that mission and the keys of the sealing power that form such an integral part of it pertain so much to the sacred work carried on in the holy temples of the Lord, it is not surprising that the text of 3 Nephi does not give us more detail about the Lord’s explanations. They were probably things of such a sacred nature as to be learned by us only in the temple.” (Byron R. Merrill, Elijah: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, chap. 16)

3 Nephi 26:9 Then shall the greater things be made manifest

“I have had many people ask me through the years, ‘When do you think we will get the balance of the Book of Mormon records?’ And I have said, ‘How many in the congregation would like to read the sealed portion of the plates?’ And almost always there is a 100-percent response. And then I ask the same congregation, ‘How many of you have read the part that has been opened to us?’ And there are many who have not read the Book of Mormon, the unsealed portion. We are quite often looking for the spectacular, the unobtainable. I have found many people who want to live the higher laws when they do not live the lower laws” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball [1982], 531–32).

3 Nephi 26:14 He did teach and minister unto the children

“We are left to wonder at the marvelous messages given to these children that could in any way have been ‘greater than he had revealed unto the people.’ He had spoken of faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, prayer, the sacrament, the law of Moses, the scattering and gathering of Israel, the Book of Mormon, the fulness of the covenant, the work of the priesthood, and his own second coming-to name just a few of the principal topics! What he told the children that was greater than these is a question of surpassing wonder. On that astonishing note Christ ascended into heaven, concluding the second day.” (Jeffrey R Holland, Christ And The New Covenant, p. 299)

3 Nephi 26:19 And they taught, and did minister one unto another

‘This is the pattern in the Lord’s Church in every dispensation: His covenant people teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom and minister to one another in the fellowship of gospel bonds, for the Lord’s people comprise one great family.’ (Book of Mormon Institute Manual)

 

Posted in Inspirational

Contributing or committed

In our Priesthood lesson today our teacher asked us about the difference between contributing and commitment. I was reminded of the old story of the farm animals who decided to make a special breakfast of bacon and eggs for the farmer’s birthday. The hens made a contribution but the pig was totally committed.

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Posted in Jesus Christ, Symbolism, Temples

Eve as a symbol for the Church

I have just finished reading Alonzo Gaskill’s The Truth About Eden which I can highly recommend.

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It provides lots of insights to help in understanding the symbols and figurative representations in the various accounts of the Fall. The elements in the accounts operate at a number of levels and I was struck by Professor Gaskill’s observation that Eve can be seen as a symbol for the Church, or Bride of Christ.

  1. Eve came from Adam and was different from him on her physical origin. (Genesis 2:21-24). The Church comes from Christ and its members are different in their physical makeup when compared to their Saviour.
  2. Adam and Eve were married by God for time and all eternity while in Eden – the first temple. The Church becomes Christ’s eternal bride by entering into a covenant relationship with him in the holy temple.
  3. In the scriptural accounts of the Fall, Eve is not present when the Father gives the commandment to avoid eating of the ‘forbidden’ fruit. Adam receives God’s word and then conveys it to Eve. She then is expected to exercise faith in the divinity of the command and be obedient to it. (Genesis 2:16-17). Similarly, God gives to Christ and his prophets commandments, which they in turn convey to us. We do not receive these directly from the Father, but rather through mediators He has chosen. We are then expected to exercise faith in these revealed dictates and be obedient to them (Hebrews 1:1-2).
  4. Eve is Adam’s helpmeet or partner in Eden (Genesis 2:18). The members of the Church are Christ’s helpers, serving as saviours on Mt Zion (Obadiah 1:21).
  5. Adam and Eve are commanded by God to be one (Genesis 2:24). Christ and his Church are to be one (D&C 35:2). Ambrose (4th Century Bishop of Milan) wrote: ‘As Eve was bone of the bones of her husband and flesh of his flesh, we also are members of Christ’s body, bones of his bones and flesh of his flesh’.
  6. Eve fell, and thus Adam had to enter mortality to rescue her from her choice (2 Nephi 2:25). The Church is made up of fallen souls who need Christ to enter into mortality to rescue them from their choices. Adam’s act clearly mirrors Christ’s choice to redeem us (his bride or Church) from sin and spiritual death.
  7. Eve partook of sin, and then gave to Adam (Genesis 3:6). The members of the Church commit sins, and then Christ takes upon him all sins through Atonement (Alma 7:13)
  8. Adam rules over Eve (Genesis 3:16). Christ rules and reigns over the Church (Revelation 11:15)
  9. Adam is Eve’s companion in this life of trials and tests – serving as her helper, provider and protector (Genesis 3:23). Christ is our companion through the tests and trials of mortality – helping, providing for and protecting us. (John 14:18)
Posted in Book of Mormon, Israel, LDS Doctrine

Gospel Doctrine 2016 – Lesson 40 – Then Will I Gather Them In

1. The Savior prophesies of the scattering of the house of Israel.

3 Nephi 16:4-13 Who are the gentiles?

“We have heretofore identified the Jews as both the nationals of the kingdom of Judah and as their lineal descendants, all this without reference to tribal affiliation. And we have said, within this usage of terms, that all other people are Gentiles, including the lost and scattered remnants of the kingdom of Israel in whose veins the precious blood of him whose name was Israel does in fact flow. ThusJoseph Smith, of the tribe of Ephraim, the chief and foremost tribe of Israel itself, was the Gentile by whose hand the Book of Mormon came forth, and the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who have the gospel and who are of Israel by blood descent, are the Gentiles who carry salvation to the Lamanites and to the Jews” (Bruce R McConkie, The Millennial Messiah [1982], 233).

3 Nephi 20:25 Ye are of the covenant

‘You are one of God’s noble and great spirits, held in reserve to come to earth at this time. (See  D&C 86:8–11 In your premortal life you were appointed to help prepare the world for the great gathering of souls that will precede the Lord’s second coming. You are one of a covenant people. You are an heir to the promise that all the earth will be blessed by the seed of Abraham and that God’s covenant with Abraham will be fulfilled through his lineage in these latter days. (See  1 Ne. 15:18  3 Ne. 20:25)

As a member of the Church, you have made sacred covenants with the Lord. You have taken upon yourself the name of Christ. (See  D&C 18:28  D&C 20:29, 37 You have promised to always remember Him and to keep His commandments. In return, He has agreed to grant His Spirit to be with you. (See  Moro. 4:3  Moro. 5:2  D&C 20:77)’ (Russell M Nelson, General Conference, October 1990)

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2. The Savior prophesies of the spiritual gathering of the house of Israel.

3 Nephi 20:11 The words of Isaiah

“The book of Isaiah was the only book of the ancient prophets the resurrected Savior specifically commanded the Nephites to search.

“The Savior said, ‘Ye remember that I spake unto you, and said that when the words of Isaiah should be fulfilled – behold they are written, ye have them before you, therefore search them…’ (3 Ne. 20:11.) Further, He declared, ‘And now, behold, I say unto you, that ye ought to search these things. Yea, a commandment I give unto you that ye search these things diligently; for great are the words of Isaiah.’ (3 Ne. 23:1.)

“Monte S. Nyman, in his book, Great Are the Words of Isaiah, wrote: ‘That the commandment was to be extended to the latter days, and especially to the readers of the Book of Mormon, is shown by the Savior’s charge to the Nephites to record His words so that they could go forth unto the Gentiles: Therefore, give heed to my words; write the things which I have told you; and according to the time and the will of the Father they shall go forth unto the Gentiles. (3 Ne. 23:4.)'” (Church News, 06/30/90)

3 Nephi 21:1-5 The gathering of Israel

‘The “gathering of Israel” is effected when the people of the faraway countries accept the gospel and remain in their native lands. The gathering of Israel for Mexico is in Mexico; in Scandinavia, for those of the northern countries;, the gathering place for the Germans is in Germany; and the Polynesians, in the islands; for the Brazilians, in Brazil; for the Argentines, in Argentina. We express our appreciation to the Lord for his goodness as we direct the activities of three and a half million people, ever growing more populous, and more independent, and, even more faithful.’ (Spencer W Kimball, Conf. Report, April 1975, p. 4).

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3 Nephi 21:9 A great and a marvelous work

“Seven centuries before the birth of Christ, Isaiah foresaw and foretold the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in these latter days. He declared it would be a ‘marvelous work and a wonder’ to all mankind (Isa. 29:14). When Jesus appeared to the Nephites in America, He confirmed the prophecy of Isaiah in these words: ‘For my sake shall the Father work a work, which shall be a great and a marvelous work’ among the people of the land of America in the last days (3 Ne. 21:9).

“April 6, 1830, in the state of New York, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had its beginning in this dispensation, a beginning that went largely unnoticed by the world. A small number of men and women, including the Prophet Joseph Smith, gathered in the home of Peter Whitmer, Sr., to witness and participate in the official organization of the Church. Today there are over 4 1/2 million members in eighty-one countries. We now look in retrospect on 150 years of the history of the Church and are led to exclaim with Isaiah, ‘Truly the work is marvelous and wonderful!’

“That the Church of Jesus Christ would have an inconspicuous beginning and then enjoy phenomenal growth was likewise predicted. Jesus used the comparison of the small mustard seed to describe the early beginning of His church. But eventually, He declared, that insignificant seed would become a great tree and many would find refuge in its branches (see Matt. 13:31-32).

“The prophet Daniel described the beginning and remarkable growth of the Church as a small stone which would become a great mountain and fill the entire earth! (see Dan. 2:34-35, 44).

“As men have attempted to assess the Church at a given period of time, in many instances they have not been able to see its forward movement and potential. The growth of the Church, like the growth of grass or trees, has been almost imperceptible to the eye, but little by little, line by line, precept by precept, the Church has matured.

“Simultaneous with the early development of the Church was a spirit of opposition and persecution. Wherever the tiny ‘mustard seed’ was planted, attempts were made to frustrate its growth. But notwithstanding all the efforts to destroy the work-even the murder of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother-the Church prospered and grew. There were those who thought the Church would fail with the deaths of the martyrs Joseph and Hyrum, but they did not perceive, as Daniel foretold, that this latter-day kingdom should ‘never be destroyed’ (Dan. 2:44).

“Just before the Prophet’s death, Brigham Young said, ‘The kingdom is organized; and, although as yet no bigger than a grain of mustard seed, the little plant is in a flourishing condition’ (History of the Church, 6:354).” (Ezra Taft Benson,  Conference Report, May 1980)

3. The Savior prophesies of the temporal gathering of the house of Israel.

3 Nephi 16:16, 3 Nephi 20:14 For their inheritance

“What could be clearer? This land has been given to that particular branch of Israel as an inheritance for their children in perpetuity-it is their sacred obligation to hold it for their children; they cannot possibly sell it or allow it to be taken from them. That would be unthinkable, and that we never seem to understand.” (Hugh Nibley, Brother Brigham Challenges the Saints, p. 85)

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“The Lord gave … America, as an everlasting possession to Joseph, the son of Jacob. His posterity, when cleansed from sin, and when they come forth in the resurrection, shall inherit this part of the earth. This land shall be theirs forever” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 1:88).

3 Nephi 21:26 Even the tribes which have been lost

‘We do not say that occasional blood descendants of Reuben or Naphtali or others of the other tribal heads shall not return to their Palestinian Zion, or assemble in an American Zion, or find their way into the stakes of Zion in all nations, all before the Second Coming of Christ.  Some shall no doubt return to Canaan as true believers and members of the true Church, with the intent and purpose of fulfilling the scriptures and building up the ancient cities of Israel.  This may well happen in some small measure, and to it there can be no objection.  Great movements have small beginnings, and floods that sweep forth from bursting dams are first forecast when small rivulets trickle from the pent-up reservoirs.  But we do say that the great day of the return of the Ten Tribes, the day when the assembling hosts shall fulfill the prophetic promises, shall come after our Lord’s return.’ (Millennial Messiah, p. 323; see also New Witness, p. 521.)” (McConkie, Millet, and Top, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 4, p. 153,)