Posted in Book of Mormon, Holy Ghost, Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley

Teachings of Gordon B Hinckley – Chapter 16: The Power of the Book of Mormon

From the Life of Gordon B. Hinckley

From the manual:

Throughout his ministry, President Hinckley emphasized the importance of the Book of Mormon. In August 2005, as President of the Church, he challenged Latter-day Saints to read the entire book before the end of the year. He later reported: “It is amazing how many met that challenge. Everyone who did so was blessed for his or her effort. As they became immersed in this added witness of our Redeemer, their hearts were quickened and their spirits touched.”

How has regular reading of the Book of Mormon blessed you?

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1. Hand in hand with the Bible, the Book of Mormon testifies of Jesus Christ.

Read: They Shall Grow Together: The Relationship of the Book of Mormon, The Bible and the Joseph Smith Translation (BYU Religious Studies Centre)

Bible stories teach us
How to live like Jesus.
Book of Mormon stories, too,
Tell what He would have us do.
Hand in hand together,
the Bible and the Book of Mormon
stand forever to tell of Jesus Christ.
Bible prophets tell us
Things to bless and help us.
Book of Mormon prophets, too,
Testify of all that’s true.
Hand in hand together,
the Bible and the Book of Mormon
stand forever to tell of Jesus Christ.
Hand in hand together,
the Bible and the Book of Mormon
stand forever to tell of Jesus Christ.
© 2001 by Janice Kapp Perry

From the manual:

As the Bible is the testament of the Old World, the Book of Mormon is the testament of the New. They go hand in hand in declaration of Jesus as the Son of the Father.

What examples have you seen of the Book of Mormon and the Bible going “hand in hand” in testifying of the Savior? 

2. By the power of the Holy Ghost, we can receive a witness of the divine origin of the Book of Mormon.

‘This morning I speak about the power of the Book of Mormon and the critical need we have as members of this Church to study, ponder, and apply its teachings in our lives. The importance of having a firm and sure testimony of the Book of Mormon cannot be overstated.

We live in a time of great trouble and wickedness. What will protect us from the sin and evil so prevalent in the world today? I maintain that a strong testimony of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and of His gospel will help see us through to safety. If you are not reading the Book of Mormon each day, please do so. If you will read it prayerfully and with a sincere desire to know the truth, the Holy Ghost will manifest its truth to you. If it is true—and I solemnly testify that it is—then Joseph Smith was a prophet who saw God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.

Because the Book of Mormon is true, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s Church on the earth, and the holy priesthood of God has been restored for the benefit and blessing of His children.

If you do not have a firm testimony of these things, do that which is necessary to obtain one. It is essential for you to have your own testimony in these difficult times, for the testimonies of others will carry you only so far. However, once obtained, a testimony needs to be kept vital and alive through continued obedience to the commandments of God and through daily prayer and scripture study.

My dear associates in the work of the Lord, I implore each of us to prayerfully study and ponder the Book of Mormon each day. As we do so, we will be in a position to hear the voice of the Spirit, to resist temptation, to overcome doubt and fear, and to receive heaven’s help in our lives. I so testify with all my heart in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.’ (President Thomas S Monson, General Conference, April 2017)

Image result for By the power of the Holy Ghost, we can receive a witness of the divine origin of the Book of Mormon.

From the manual:

Why do you think the promise in Moroni 10:3–5 is more important than physical evidence of the Book of Mormon?

3. A testimony of the Book of Mormon leads to a conviction of other truths.

Watch: Book of Mormon Testimonies Prophets and Apostles discuss the importance of gaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon.

“We should know the Book of Mormon better than any other book. Not only should we know what history and faith-promoting stories it contains, but we should understand its teachings. If we really do our homework and approach the Book of Mormon doctrinally, we can expose the errors and find the truths to combat many of the current false theories and philosophies of men. I have noted within the Church a difference in discernment, insight, conviction and spirit between those who know and love the Book of Mormon and those who do not. That book is a great sifter.” (Ezra Taft Benson)

Image result for A testimony of the Book of Mormon leads to a conviction of other truths.

4. The Book of Mormon offers teachings that can help us find solutions to the problems of today’s society.

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?

From the manual:

[The Book of Mormon] narrative is a chronicle of nations long since gone. But in its descriptions of the problems of today’s society, it is as current as the morning newspaper and much more definitive, inspired, and inspiring concerning the solutions to those problems.

What are some passages in the Book of Mormon that have helped you in times of personal challenge?

5. The Book of Mormon has the power to change our lives and our perspective.

Watch: A Book of Mormon Story A young bishop in England describes how the Book of Mormon came to life for him and changed his perspective forever. (5:15)

From the manual:

If someone asked you about the Book of Mormon, what could you say about how it has influenced your life?

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Posted in Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, LDS Church History

Gospel Doctrine 2017 – Lesson 4 -“Remember the New Covenant, Even the Book of Mormon”

1. Joseph Smith’s preparation to receive and translate the Book of Mormon

JS-H 1:27 I continued to pursue my common vocations in life until the twenty-first of September

‘From this time until the twenty-first of September, 1823, Joseph continued, as usual, to labor with his father, and nothing during this interval occurred of very great importance—though he suffered every kind of opposition and persecution from the different orders of religionists.
The third harvest time had now arrived since we opened our new farm, and all our sons were actively employed in assisting their father to cut down the grain and store it away in order for winter.’ (The Revised and Enhanced History of Joseph Smith by his Mother, SF Proctor and MJ Proctor, [SLC: Bookcraft, 1996], 101)
JS-H 1:28 Native cheery temperament

‘When Joseph warned the Saints against mortal imperfections, he did not raise himself above them, and they loved him for it. He cautioned a group of Saints newly arrived in Nauvoo against the tendency to be dissatisfied if everything was not done perfectly right. “He said he was but a man and they must not expect him to be perfect,” an associate recorded. “If they expected perfection from him, he should expect it from them, but if they would bear with his infirmities and the infirmities of the brethren, he would likewise bear with their infirmities” (The Papers of Joseph Smith, Volume 2, Journal, 1832–1842, ed. Dean C. Jessee [1992], 489).

Joseph had a “native cheery temperament”  JS—H 1:28 He delighted in the society of his friends. “He would play with the people,” one acquaintance recalled, “and he was always cheerful and happy” (Rachel Ridgeway Grant, “Joseph Smith, the Prophet,” Young Woman’s Journal 16 [Dec. 1905]: 551). He loved little children and often frolicked with them in a manner shocking to some accustomed to the exaggerated sobriety of other ministers. These warm, human qualities caused some to deny Joseph’s prophetic role, but they endeared him to many who knew him. Our records contain numerous adoring tributes like that of an acquaintance who said, “The love the saints had for him was inexpressible” (Mary Alice Cannon Lambert, Young Woman’s Journal, 16:554).

Despite his familiar and friendly style, the Prophet Joseph Smith was resolute in doing his duty. During a meeting to consider disciplining a man who had rejected the counsel of the Presidency and the Twelve, he declared: “The Saints need not think because I am familiar with them and am playful and cheerful, that I am ignorant of what is going on. Iniquity of any kind cannot be sustained in the Church, and it will not fare well where I am; for I am determined while I do lead the Church, to lead it right” (History of the Church,5:411). On another occasion he wrote, “I am a lover of the cause of Christ and of virtue chastity and an upright steady course of conduct & a holy walk, I despise a hypocrite or a covenant breaker” (The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, ed. Dean C. Jessee [1984], 246).’ (Dallin H Oaks, General Conference, April 1996)

JS-H 1:33-35 First appearance of Moroni

‘In 1822, Joseph began helping his older brother Alvin build a new frame house for the family. By September of 1823, it was two stories high but without a roof. The family continued to live in their small log house.

Here late in the evening on Sunday, 21 September 1823, seventeen-year-old Joseph retired for the night. Concerned about his standing before the Lord, he earnestly prayed for forgiveness of his sins. He was confident that he would again receive a divine manifestation. Suddenly his room filled with light and a heavenly messenger stood by his bedside in partial fulfillment of the great prophecy of John the Apostle (see Revelation 14:6–7).’ (Church History in the Fulness of Time Institute Manual)

malm-moroni-appears

2. The miracle of the Book of Mormon’s preservation

JS-H 1:60 Persecution became more bitter and severe than before, and multitudes were on the alert continually to get them from me

‘After bringing home the plates, Joseph now commenced work with his father on the farm in order to be as near as possible the treasure that was committed to his care.
Soon after this, he came in from work one afternoon, and after remaining a short time, he put on his greatcoat and left the house. I was engaged at the time in an upper room in preparing some oilcloths for painting. When he returned, he requested me to come downstairs. I told him that I could not leave my work just then, yet upon his urgent request, I finally concluded to go down and see what he wanted, upon which he handed me the breastplate spoken of in his history.
It was wrapped in a thin muslin handkerchief, so thin that I could see the glistening metal and ascertain its proportions without any difficulty.
It was concave on one side and convex on the other, and extended from the neck downwards as far as the center of the stomach of a man of extraordinary size. It had four straps of the same material for the purpose of fastening it to the breast, two of which ran back to go over the shoulders, and the other two were designed to fasten to the hips. They were just the width of two of my fingers (for I measured them), and they had holes in the end of them to be convenient in fastening.
The whole plate was worth at least five hundred dollars. After I had examined it, Joseph placed it in the chest with the Urim and Thummim.
Shortly after this circumstance, Joseph came to the house in great haste and inquired if there had been a company of men there. I told him no one had come to the house since he left. He then said that a mob would be there that night, if not before, to search for the record, and that it must be removed immediately.
Soon after, one Mr. Braman came from the neighboring village of Livonia, a German man in whom we reposed much confidence and who was well worthy of the same. Joseph told him his apprehensions of a mob being there that night and that they must prepare themselves to drive them away; but the first thing to be attended to was to secrete the record and breastplate.
It was resolved that a portion of the hearth should be taken up and the plates and breastplate should be buried under the same, and then the hearth relaid to prevent suspicion.
This was carefully and speedily done, but the hearth was scarcely relaid when a large company of armed men came rushing up to the house. Joseph threw the door open and, taking a hint from the stratagem of his Grandfather Mack, hallooed as if he had a legion at hand, giving the word of command with great importance. At the same time, the males that belonged to the house, from the father down to little Carlos, ran out with such vehemence upon the mob that it struck them with terror and dismay, and they fled before our little Spartan band away into the woods, where they dispersed themselves to their several homes.
We had but a few days rest, however, before Joseph received another intimation of the approach of a mob and the necessity of removing the record and breastplate again from their hiding place. Consequently, Joseph took them out of the box in which they had been placed, wrapped them in clothes, carried them across the road to a cooper’s shop, and laid them in a quantity of flax which was stowed in the shop loft. He then nailed up the box as before and tore up the floor and put the box under it.
As soon as it was dark, the mob came and ransacked the place, but did not come into the house. After making a satisfactory search, they went away.
The next morning we found the floor of the cooper’s shop taken up and the wooden box which was put under it split to pieces.
In a few days we learned the cause of this last move and why their curiosity had led them in the direction of the cooper’s shop. A young woman, who was a sister to Willard Chase, had found a green glass through which she could see many wonderful things, and among the rest of her discoveries, she said she had found out the exact place where “Joe Smith kept his gold bible.” And so in pursuance to her directions, they gathered their forces and laid siege to the cooper shop, but went away disappointed.
This did not shake their confidence in Miss Chase, for they still went from place to place by her suggestion, determined to get possession of the object of their research.’ (The Revised and Enhanced History of Joseph Smith by his Mother, SF Proctor and MJ Proctor, [SLC: Bookcraft, 1996], 148-151)
the-brass-plates

3. Witnesses of the Book of Mormon

‘The three men chosen as witnesses of the Book of Mormon were Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris. Their written ‘Testimony of Three Witnesses’ has been included in all of the almost 100 million copies of the Book of Mormon the Church has published since 1830. These witnesses solemnly testify that they “have seen the plates which contain this record” and “the engravings which are upon the plates.” They witness that these writings “have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice hath declared it unto us.”

…People who deny the possibility of supernatural beings may reject this remarkable testimony, but people who are open to believe in miraculous experiences should find it compelling. The solemn written testimony of three witnesses to what they saw and heard-two of them simultaneously and the third almost immediately thereafter-is entitled to great weight.

…Measured against all…possible objections, the testimony of the Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon stands forth in great strength. Each of the three had ample reason and opportunity to renounce his testimony if it had been false, or to equivocate on details if any had been inaccurate. As is well known, because of disagreements or jealousies involving other leaders of the Church, each one of these three witnesses was excommunicated from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by about eight years after the publication of their testimony. All three went their separate ways, with no common interest to support a collusive effort. Yet to the end of their lives-periods ranging from 12 to 50 years after their excommunications-not one of these witnesses deviated from his published testimony or said anything that cast any shadow on its truthfulness.’ (Dallin H Oaks, “The Witness: Martin Harris,” Ensign, May 1999, 35-36)

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4. Our duty to “remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon”

D&C 84:55 The whole church under condemnation

“Some of the early missionaries, on returning home, were reproved by the Lord in section 84 of the Doctrine and Covenants because they had treated lightly the Book of Mormon. As a result, their minds had been darkened. The Lord said that this kind of treatment of the Book of Mormon brought the whole Church under condemnation, even all of the children of Zion. And then the Lord said, ‘And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon.’ (See D&C 84:54–57.) Are we still under that condemnation? …

“… Grave consequences hang on our response to the Book of Mormon. ‘Those who receive it,’ said the Lord, ‘in faith, and work righteousness, shall receive a crown of eternal life;

“‘But those who harden their hearts in unbelief, and reject it, it shall turn to their own condemnation—

“‘For the Lord God has spoken it.’ (D&C 20:14–16.)

“Is the Book of Mormon true? Yes.

“Who is it for? Us.

“What is its purpose? To bring men to Christ.

“How does it do this? By testifying of Christ and revealing his enemies.

“How are we to use it? We are to get a testimony of it, we are to teach from it, we are to hold it up as a standard and ‘hiss it forth.’

“Have we been doing this? Not as we should, nor as we must.

“Do eternal consequences rest upon our response to this book? Yes, either to our blessing or our condemnation.

“Every Latter-day Saint should make the study of this book a lifetime pursuit. Otherwise he is placing his soul in jeopardy and neglecting that which could give spiritual and intellectual unity to his whole life.” (Ezra Taft Benson, In Conference Report, Apr. 1975, pp. 96–97; or Ensign,May 1975, p. 65.)

Posted in Book of Mormon, Christmas story, Jesus Christ, Scriptural advent calendar

Scriptural advent calendar 2016 – December 13

3 Nephi 1 :12-22

And it came to pass that he cried mightily unto the Lord all that day; and behold, the voice of the Lord came unto him, saying:

 13 Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets. 

 14 Behold, I come unto my own, to fulfil all things which I have made known unto the children of men from the foundation of the world, and to do the will, both of the Father and of the Son—of the Father because of me, and of the Son because of my flesh. And behold, the time is at hand, and this night shall the sign be given.

 15 And it came to pass that the words which came unto Nephi were fulfilled, according as they had been spoken; for behold, at the going down of the sun there was no darkness; and the people began to be astonished because there was no darkness when the night came.

 16 And there were many, who had not believed the words of the prophets, who fell to the earth and became as if they were dead, for they knew that the great plan of destruction which they had laid for those who believed in the words of the prophets had been frustrated; for the sign which had been given was already at hand.

 17 And they began to know that the Son of God must shortly appear; yea, in fine, all the people upon the face of the whole earth from the west to the east, both in the land north and in the land south, were so exceedingly astonished that they fell to the earth.

 18 For they knew that the prophets had testified of these things for many years, and that the sign which had been given was already at hand; and they began to fear because of their iniquity and their unbelief.

 19 And it came to pass that there was no darkness in all that night, but it was as light as though it was mid-day. And it came to pass that the sun did rise in the morning again, according to its proper order; and they knew that it was the day that the Lord should be born, because of the sign which had been given.

 20 And it had come to pass, yea, all things, every whit, according to the words of the prophets.

 21 And it came to pass also that a new star did appear, according to the word.

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“At this beautiful and glorious season we celebrate the birth of the Holy one of Israel – the Lord Jesus Christ. His birth, heralded by angels, had been revealed to Prophets in ages past. Perhaps the most meaningful of those prophetic declarations concerning the Savior’s pending birth came from the Lord Himself when He told the Prophet Nephi: ‘Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world….’ (3 Ne. 1:13.)

“Almost twenty centuries have come and gone since the Savior’s birth and today, as then, He encourages all people to ‘be of good cheer.’ (D&C 78:18.) We echo the words of the Lord and testify of His divinity and that He is the author of our eternal salvation. This is the message of joy ‘that shall be to all people.’ (Luke 2:10.) May we find such joy as we abide by His teachings and serve with love our fellow beings. ” (First Presidency Christmas Message, Church News, 12/14/96)

 

Posted in Book of Mormon, Gospel Doctrine 2016

Gospel Doctrine 2016 – Lesson 48- Come unto Christ

1. Mormon explains how to judge between good and evil.

Moroni 7:3 The peaceable followers of Christ

“In chapter 7 you notice that Mormon is sick to death of violence. He wants rest and peace. He’s just obsessed with it now. He said right at the beginning that since he was old enough to observe the ways of men, he had seen nothing but this restless violence (Mormon 2:18)…[Now he says] “I want to talk of peace for a change with some peaceable people.” He wants a peaceable world and he wants a rest. He’s sick and tired….Peace and rest are foremost in his mind here, and it comes out throughout this chapter.” (Hugh Nibley, Teachings of the Book of Mormon, Lecture 112, p. 277)

Moroni 7:5 By their works ye shall know them

‘We invite all to study the fruits and the works of this Church.

Those who are interested in the truth will be able to recognize the difference that the Church and its members make in the communities where they are established. They will also note the improvement in the lives of those who follow its teachings. Those who examine these fruits will discover that the fruits of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are delicious and desirable.’ (Marcos A Adukaitis, General Conference, April 2014)

Moroni 7:8-9 Giving a gift grudgingly

‘Mormon is setting a very high requirement for church members. Tithing paid with a grudging heart is counted as though we had never paid it at all. Attending church meetings without the right spirit is the same as staying away. Of course, there is value in practice, repetition, and working dutifully through low points in our lives. Certainly there is a point to praying even when our heart is not completely in the right place. Brigham Young said of such occasions: “If I do not feel like praying, and asking my Father in heaven to give me a morning blessing, and to preserve me and my family and the good upon the earth through the day, I should say, ‘Brigham, get down here, on your knees, bow your body down before the throne of Him who rules in the heavens, and stay there until you can feel to supplicate at that throne of grace erected for sinners.’”

But this is not the message Mormon is stressing. Rather, he emphasizes the need to achieve the state where we not only act the right way, but we are the right way. Mormon’s context is the Savior’s Sermon at the Temple, where the Messiah used several examples to show that one’s intent should be toward God and not for the accolades of men (3 Ne. 13:1–6, 16). Mormon’s sermon follows that theme. God does not receive prayer whose purpose is to communicate a message for other men. It might well achieve that purpose; but for the higher function of communicating with God, we need to have true intent.

Brigham Young’s instructions are not addressed to those who are praying to impress others, but rather to those who are neglecting prayers that they know they should offer. He is telling us that at times we must work to pray with full intent, even if it is not there when we begin our prayers.’ (Brant Gardner, Second Witness)

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Moroni 7:12-19 The light of Christ

“Regardless of whether this inner light, this knowledge of right and wrong, is called the Light of Christ, moral sense, or conscience, it can direct us to moderate our actions—unless, that is, we subdue it or silence it. …

“Every man, woman, and child of every nation, creed, or color—everyone, no matter where they live or what they believe or what they do—has within them the imperishable Light of Christ” (Boyd K Packer, “The Light of Christ,” Ensign, Apr. 2005, 8, 10).

2. Mormon explains the importance of faith, hope, and charity.

Moroni 7:20 Lay Hold on Every Good Thing

‘By mistakenly judging good for evil or vice versa, we run the risk of losing the ability to lay hold of every good thing. The process of laying hold of every good thing is given by Mormon.

1. Use the light of Christ to judge correctly between good and evil (verse 19)

2. Exercise faith (verse 21)

3. The administration of angels (verse 22)

4. Learn of Christ from the prophets (verse 23)

5. In Christ is every good thing (verse 24) [do all in his name Moses 5:7-8]

6. Live by every word that comes from the mouth of God (verse 25; D&C 84:44)’ (Robert J Norman, ldsmag.com)

Moroni 7:25 Men began to exercise faith in Christ

“It is interesting that though we exercise faith and so can increase it, we have faith but we never read of receiving it; we ask for and receive health, wisdom, protection, the necessities of life, and life itself, but we do not ask for faith; it is a principle that we seem to generate in ourselves, being dependent on some auxiliary source, for it is stimulated by hope. We can ‘lay hold’ of these things only if we are ‘meek and lowly’ (Matthew 11:29), for we cannot create power by an act of will; if that were possible Satan would be all-powerful.” (Hugh Nibley, Approaching Zion, p. 604)

Moroni 7:29-31 Ministering angels

“I am convinced that one of the profound themes of the Book of Mormon is the role and prevalence and central participation of angels in the gospel story. …

“One of the things that will become more important in our lives the longer we live is the reality of angels, their work and their ministry. I refer here not alone to the angel Moroni but also to those more personal ministering angels who are with us and around us, empowered to help us and who do exactly that (see 3 Ne. 7:18; Moro. 7:29–32, 37; D&C 107:20). …

“I believe we need to speak of and believe in and bear testimony to the ministry of angels more than we sometimes do. They constitute one of God’s great methods of witnessing through the veil, and no document in all this world teaches that principle so clearly and so powerfully as does the Book of Mormon” (Jeffrey R Holland, “For a Wise Purpose,” Ensign, Jan. 1996, 16–17).

Moroni 7:32-39 Faith in Jesus Christ

“To gain unshakable faith in Jesus Christ is to flood your life with brilliant light. You are no longer alone to struggle with challenges you know you cannot resolve or control yourself, for He said, ‘If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me’ (Moroni 7:33; italics added).

“If you are despondent, racked by transgression, are ill, alone, or desperately in need of comfort and support, I solemnly testify that the Lord will help you when you carefully obey the spiritual law upon which that help is predicated. He is your Father. You are His child. He loves you. He will never let you down. I know He will bless you” (Richard G Scott, in Conference Report, Oct. 1991, 118; or Ensign, Nov. 1991, 86).

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Moroni 7:41-43 Faith, hope and charity

‘Mormon is very clear that our hope is to be raised unto life eternal, because of our faith in Christ. He is also clear that one cannot have true faith and hope without being meek and lowly in heart, which leads to charity. (Moroni 7:41-43). Is it any wonder that most of the television programs and sitcoms teach pride, vulgarity, sexuality and all those things that mitigate against meekness and lowliness of heart? I see the young people try to emulate these things in their conversations with their friends and in the way they treat each other.

The fear is that we as Church members are absorbing too much of the world as Nephi warned us that many of us would do (2 Nephi 28:14). He says that the humble followers of Christ would in many instances be taught by the precepts of men. We are to become finely tuned spiritual instruments filled with charity. We must shun these worldly images in our actions, dress and grooming.’ (Robert J Norman, ldsmag.com)

Moroni 7:45 Charity suffereth long

‘Now, understanding charity or being charitable is not easy. And our scriptures have not indicated that it would be. Even “charity suffereth long” ( Moro. 7:45  1 Cor. 13:4) requires our thoughtful interpretation. The “suffering” that may come from loving is the result of our great caring. It comes because another matters to us so much.

To avoid that kind of suffering, we would have to avoid what gives us life and hope and joy—our capacity to love deeply. As an antidote against the suffering that will surely come as we have loved ones die, or see them struggle or be misled, or have them misunderstand us or even betray us, we can find relief in charity to others. We accepted bearing one another’s burdens and mourning with those who mourn, as we accepted Christ in our baptism. (See  Mosiah 18:8–9) His spirit and power will comfort us as we extend ourselves in help and love to those who need us.

If charity is not always quick to our understanding, it may occasionally be quick to our misunderstanding. It is not charity or kindness to endure any type of abuse or unrighteousness that may be inflicted on us by others. God’s commandment that as we love him, we must respect ourselves, suggests we must not accept disrespect from others. It is not charity to let another repeatedly deny our divine nature and agency. It is not charity to bow down in despair and helplessness. That kind of suffering should be ended, and that is very difficult to do alone. There are priesthood leaders and other loving servants who will give aid and strength when they know of the need. We must be willing to let others help us.’ (Aileen H Clyde, General Conference, October 1991)

Moroni 7:47 Charity is the pure love of Christ

 

“The phrase ‘love of Christ’ might have meaning in three dimensions: …First, love for Christ. This concept proclaims Jesus as the object of our love, and our lives should be an external expression of our gratitude for him…A second dimension of the meaning of charity is love from Christ. (Ether 12:33-34) The Savior’s act of redemption for our sins is of no effect without our willingness to comply with the conditions of his atonement…A third perception of charity is to possess a love that is like Christ. (2 Ne 33:7-9; Jn 13:34). Charity is not just…a word to describe actions or attitudes. Rather, it is an internal condition that must be developed and experienced in order to be understood…People who have charity have a love for the Savior, have received of his love, and love others as he does.” (C. Max Caldwell, Ensign, Nov. 1992, pp. 29-30)

3. Mormon teaches that little children are saved through Christ’s Atonement.

Moroni 8:1-8 The baptism of little children prohibited

Moroni 8 contains a letter Moroni received from his father, Mormon, that answers the question of whether little children need baptism. Note that the source for Mormon’s answers on this doctrinal question came to him directly by revelation from the Lord (see Moroni 8:7). The ordinance of baptism is “for the remission of sins” (D&C 49:13). But little children have no sins. In fact, they are not capable of committing sin, nor can Satan tempt them, as the Doctrine and Covenants explains:

“Little children are redeemed from the foundation of the world through mine Only Begotten;

“Wherefore, they cannot sin, for power is not given unto Satan to tempt little children, until they begin to become accountable before me” (D&C 29:46–47).

The Lord has set the age when accountability begins—at eight years old (see JST, Genesis 17:11; D&C 68:25). Those who baptize infants to remove original sin, or the curse of Adam, as some call it, do so without a correct understanding of God and His plan (see Moroni 8:8).’ (Book of Mormon Institute Manual)

Moroni 8:22-24 They that are without the law

‘Many persons live and die and never know the law of Christ. Such persons will be taught the gospel in the spirit world. There they will have the opportunity to exercise faith and repent of their sins. Living proxies on the earth perform the needed ordinances in their behalf, and the blessings of salvation may be theirs.

Those who are not capable of understanding the gospel are not considered accountable. They, like little children, are “alive in Christ” (Moroni 8:12; see also D&C 29:49–50).

President Joseph Fielding Smith (1876–1972) explained: “They are redeemed without baptism and will go to the celestial kingdom of God, there, we believe, to have their faculties or other deficiencies restored according to the Father’s mercy and justice” (Answers to Gospel Questions, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., 5 vols. [1957–66], 3:21).’ (Book of Mormon Institute Manual)

4. The Holy Ghost testifies of all truth. Spiritual gifts follow those who come unto Christ.

Moroni 10:1 I write unto my brethren the Lamanites

“It is surprising that someone would write a letter to those who have destroyed his people—to his enemies who want to kill him too—and amazing that the letter is one of counsel rather than complaint or demand for vengeance. Moroni’s relation to his enemies is unusual, even for a prophet. We ought to wonder at his charity, but that charity is a model for what we should imitate in our own lives. It isn’t easy to do that. Anyone who has been humiliated or seriously hurt by another knows how difficult is forgiveness, the love that imitates Christ’s redeeming love. It may be that, except for Jesus Christ, we have no better model than Moroni. As we will see, Moroni takes that love to be the heart of the gospel.” (James E. Faulconer, “Sealings and Mercies: Moroni’s Final Exhortations in Moroni 10,” Journal of the Book of Mormon and Other Restoration Scripture 22/1 (2013): 4–19.)

Moroni 10:2 I seal up these records

‘In “seal[ing] up these records,” Moroni is not referring to any physical process that will bind the plates together, but rather to a spiritual sealing—an anointing to their divinely ordained purpose. This is the context for Moroni’s title page: “Written and sealed up, and hid up unto the Lord, that they might not be destroyed.” The sealing is so that “they might not be destroyed.” It is a protective sealing not a preventative sealing such as was placed on the vision of the brother of Jared.’ (Brant Gardner, Second Witness)

Moroni 10:3 Ponder it in your hearts

“The last five words of [Moroni 10:3] offer an important admonition—‘ponder it in your hearts.’ What is the antecedent of ‘it’—the thing that we are to ponder? It is ‘how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things.’ We are to remember how loving, how provident, how good, how forgiving our Heavenly Father has been toward us.

“What usually happens when we begin to ponder how merciful the Lord has been to mankind? To us personally? What happens when we count our blessings, or perhaps our sins for which we must ask his forgiveness, and recognize his hand in our individual lives? Is it not true that our hearts turn to the Lord in love and gratitude? Do our faith and humility increase? Yes, and that, in my judgment, is the impact of verse 3—following the counsel therein helps us to become more humble, more willing and ready to receive new information and knowledge with an open mind” (Gene R Cook, “Moroni’s Promise,” Ensign, Apr. 1994, 12).

Moroni 10:4 With a sincere heart

“Moroni makes an explicit promise of a spiritual manifestation to one who seeks to know the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. But, it must be noted, this promise is only extended to the person who will ‘ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ.’ The manifestation that is given in response to this promise, therefore, is not a sign given to convert an unbeliever. It is a sign that follows individual faith and commitment.” (Dallin H Oaks, The Lord’s Way, p. 98)

Moroni 10:8-18 Gifts of the Spirit

“[The purpose of spiritual gifts] is to enlighten, encourage, and edify the faithful so that they will inherit peace in this life and be guided toward eternal life in the world to come. Their presence is proof of the divinity of the Lord’s work; where they are not found, there the Church and kingdom of God is not. The promise is that they shall never be done away as long as the earth continues in its present state, except for unbelief (Moro. 10:19), but when the perfect day comes and the saints obtain exaltation, there will be no more need for them. As Paul expressed it, ‘When that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.’ (1 Cor. 13.)

“Faithful persons are expected to seek the gifts of the Spirit with all their hearts. They are to ‘covet earnestly the best gifts’ (1 Cor. 12:31; D.&C. 46:8), to ‘desire spiritual gifts’ (1 Cor. 14:1), ‘to ask of God, who giveth liberally.’ (D.&C. 46:7; Matt. 7:7–8.) To some will be given one gift; to others, another; and ‘unto some it may be given to have all those gifts, that there may be a head, in order that every member may be profited thereby.’ (D.&C. 46:29.)” (Bruce R McConkie, Mormon Doctrine)

Moroni 10:19 These gifts never will be done away

“[Moroni] informs us that it is the design of God that [these gifts] should continue among the children of men as long as the earth shall stand.  And why should not this be the case?  We have had reasoning upon this effect this afternoon, and this reasoning is consistent–that if one generation needs the spiritual gifts of God which are bestowed by the presence of the Spirit of God, another generation which needs salvation, and which stands in need of the assistance which these gifts bring, should likewise have them bestowed upon them”

“It is the greatest folly, it is a fallacy of the worst, and, I might say, of the most damning character to assert that one generation needs these gifts and that another generation can be saved without them.  Such a statement is the refuge of those who have no faith, or who do not believe that God is ‘the same yesterday, today and forever;’ that He does not deal with His children justly under all circumstances and in every generation alike.

“Now this is a cardinal principle in the Gospel of the Church of Jesus Christ.  I would not give a fig for a religion that did not possess these powers and gifts.” (Collected Discourses, Vol.1, George Q. Cannon, June 16, 1889)

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Moroni 10:30 Come unto Christ

“[Jesus Christ] is the pivotal figure of our theology and our faith. Every Latter-day Saint has the responsibility to know … with a certainty beyond doubt that Jesus is the resurrected, living Son of the living God” (Gordon B Hinckley, ‘Fear Not to Do Good,’ Ensign, May 1983, 80).

 

 

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

Gospel Doctrine 2016 – Lesson 47 – To Keep Them in the Right Way

1. Having survived the destruction of the Nephites, Moroni continues his writings.

Moroni 1:1-3 Moroni

‘The Lord “committed the keys of the record of the stick of Ephraim” to Moroni (D&C 27:5). He thus became the principal figure in the transmission of the record to this dispensation as well as the protector of the record itself. Moroni was “the last Nephite prophet in the Book of Mormon (circaA.D. 421). Just before Mormon’s death, he delivered a historical record called the plates of Mormon to his son Moroni (W of M 1:1). Moroni finished compiling the plates of Mormon. He added chapters 8 and 9 to the book of Mormon (Morm. 8:1). He abridged and included the book of Ether (Ether 1:1–2) and added his own book called the book of Moroni (Moro. 1:1–4). Moroni sealed up the plates and hid them in the hill Cumorah (Morm. 8:14;Moro. 10:2). In 1823 Moroni was sent as a resurrected being to reveal the Book of Mormon toJoseph Smith (JS—H 1:30–42, 45; D&C 27:5). He instructed the young prophet each year from 1823 to 1827 (JS—H 1:54) and finally delivered the plates to him in 1827 (JS—H 1:59). After completing the translation Joseph Smith returned the plates to Moroni” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Moroni, Son of Mormon”).’ (Institute Book of Mormon Manual)

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Moroni 1:1 After having made an end of abridging the record of the people of Jared

‘There is no more convincing evidence of the variety of material and structure in the Book of Mormon than the difference between the records of Ether and Moroni. Just turn the page, and the change hits the eye forcefully. And yet both came to us from the same writer, Moroni, son of Mormon. The book of Ether is narrative almost throughout. That is, it is narrative with rich commentary in pertinent places. The book of Moroni contains no narrative at all. The nearest thing to it is in chapter 9.’ [J.N. Washburn,The Contents, Structure and Authorship of the Book of Mormon, pp. 70-71]

Moroni 1:4 They may be of worth to my brethren the Lamanites

“These words not only reveal to us Moroni’s purpose in writing the book, but lay open to our minds the magnanimous character of the man. A person who can love his enemies so much that he contributes to the eternal welfare of their descendants has a great soul.” (FARMS: Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, vol. 4, no. 1, Spring-1995, p. 38)

2. Moroni teaches about essential gospel ordinances.

Moroni 2:2 The gift of the Holy Ghost

The Saviour taught his disciples to bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands in the name of Jesus Christ.

Moroni 3

Describes how the Nephites ordained priests and teachers.

Moroni 4:3 That they are willing to take upon them the name of thy son

“Why are the three words ‘are willing to’ necessary here? Are they important? Would it make a difference if the prayer left these out and just read: ‘ . . . and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given them’? Yes, it would make a difference. It would make a difference because I cannot do this latter thing. I can’t witness, affirm, or swear that I do always remember him and keep his commandments. I would be lying, and I know it-I want to do the right thing, but sometimes I don’t. This is precisely the problem that makes the atonement of Christ and the gospel covenant necessary for me in the first place-I can’t keep all the commandments all the time no matter how hard I try. It follows that I can’t honestly witness to God that I will keep all the commandments when I know that, in some degree at least, I probably won’t.

“However, I can with absolute honesty witness that I am willing to. I can swear that this is the desire of my heart. I can affirm that I hunger and thirst after these things, that I will do all I can to be obedient. Thus even by the technical terms of the covenant renewal prayer, God lets me know that the honest commitment of my heart and my best efforts are sufficient for the covenant to be renewed, and that the covenant of faith is sufficient, through the grace of Christ, to justify me before God.” (Stephen E. Robinson, Believing Christ, p. 53-4)

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Moroni 4:3, 5:2 Always remember him

“Those of you who have served missions may have … come upon your missionary journals put away in a closet in your home. You may have read and felt a shock as you remembered how hard you worked, how constantly you thought of the Savior and His sacrifice for you and for those you tried to meet and teach, and how fervently and often you prayed. The shock may have come from realizing how much the cares of life had taken you from where you once were, so close to always remembering and always praying.

“My message is a plea, a warning, and a promise: I plead with you to do with determination the simple things that will move you forward spiritually.

“Start with remembering Him. You will remember what you know and what you love. The Savior gave us the scriptures, paid for by prophets at a price we cannot measure, so that we could know Him. Lose yourself in them. Decide now to read more, and more effectively than you have ever done before” (Henry B Eyring, “Always,” Ensign, Oct. 1999, 9–10).

3. Moroni explains the requirements for Church membership and the need for record keeping and fellowshipping.

Moroni 6:1-3 They were not baptized save they brought forth fruit meet that they were worthy of it.

“…no price is too great to pay for the privilege of receiving this holy ordinance. We must prepare ourselves for baptism; we must be worthy to make a covenant with the Holy One; we must have a fixed and unalterable determination to conform to his will. Otherwise baptism profiteth nothing. No ordinance is binding on earth and in heaven unless it is ratified and sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise, and this Spirit is given only to those who are just and true. Just as those who partake unworthily of the sacrament eat and drink damnation to their souls, so those who are baptized unworthily receive cursings instead of blessings.” (Bruce R McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, p. 248)

Moroni 6:4 They were numbered among the people of the church of Christ

Jesus Christ is “the author and the finisher of [our] faith.” (Moroni 6:4) Uniting ourselves to the body of Christ—the Church—is an important part of taking His name upon us.[See  3 Nephi 27:5–7] We are told that the ancient Church “did meet together oft, to fast and to pray, and to speak one with another concerning the welfare of their souls” (Moroni 6:5) “and to hear the word of the Lord.” (4 Nephi 1:12) So it is in the Church today. Joined in faith, we teach and edify one another and strive to approach the full measure of discipleship, “the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” We strive to help one another come to “the knowledge of the Son of God,” (Ephesians 4:13) until that day when “they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, … saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord.”(Jeremiah 31:34 see also  Hebrews 8:11) (D Todd Christofferson, General Conference, October 2015)

Moroni 6:5-6 Church meetings

‘Unless the Saints attend their meetings it will be hard for them to keep alive in the Gospel.’ (Anthon H. Lund, Conference Report, Oct. 1907, p. 9)

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Moroni 6:9 After the manner of the workings of the Spirit

“The singular tragedy of the Nephite decline as recorded by Mormon in the Book of Mormon was the loss of the Holy Ghost and the spiritual gifts. Wisdom and inspiration dictated that Moroni include in his closing record the instructions by his father, Mormon, on the ordinations, the sacrament, and practices of the Church. Noteworthy is this testimony about their meetings:

“‘Their meetings were conducted by the church after the manner of the workings of the Spirit, and by the power of the Holy Ghost; for as the power of the Holy Ghost led them whether to preach, or to exhort, or to pray, or to supplicate, or to sing, even so it was done.’ (Moro. 6:9.)

“That is the spirit that can and should characterize our worship and our sacrament meetings.

“A sister remarked to me after one such spiritual meeting, ‘I don’t recall all that was said—but I remember how we felt as we sang the closing hymn and bowed our heads in prayer’” (David B Haight, “Remembering the Savior’s Atonement,” Ensign, Apr. 1988, 13).

Posted in Book of Mormon, Christmas story, Scriptural advent calendar

Scriptural advent calendar 2016 – December 7

3 Nephi 1:4-9:

 And it came to pass that in the commencement of the ninety and second year, behold, the prophecies of the prophets began to be fulfilled more fully; for there began to be greater signs and greater miracles wrought among the people.

 But there were some who began to say that the time was past for the words to be fulfilled, which were spoken by Samuel, the Lamanite.

 And they began to rejoice over their brethren, saying: Behold the time is past, and the words of Samuel are not fulfilled; therefore, your joy and your faith concerning this thing hath been vain.

 And it came to pass that they did make a great uproar throughout the land; and the people who believed began to be very sorrowful, lest by any means those things which had been spoken might not come to pass.

 But behold, they did watch steadfastly for that day and that night and that day which should be as one day as if there were no night, that they might know that their faith had not been vain.

 Now it came to pass that there was a day set apart by the unbelievers, that all those who believed in those traditions should be put to death except the sign should come to pass, which had been given by Samuel the prophet.

Samuel the lamanite

There will always be those who will seek to persecute the followers of Christ. We may not be rounded up with intent to massacre but in other ways we will face those who will challenge our faith in the word of the Lord. This may be done in small quiet ways or through ‘uproar throughout the land’. We need to watch steadfastly and know that our faith has not been in vain. Truly the Book of Mormon was preserved and brought forth for us in our day.

Posted in Book of Mormon, Christmas story, Scriptural advent calendar

Scriptural advent calendar 2016 – December 6

Helaman 14:2-6:

2 And behold, he said unto them: Behold, I give unto you a sign; for five years more cometh, and behold, then cometh the Son of God to redeem all those who shall believe on his name.

3 And behold, this will I give unto you for a sign at the time of his coming; for behold, there shall be great lights in heaven, insomuch that in the night before he cometh there shall be no darkness, insomuch that it shall appear unto man as if it was day.

4 Therefore, there shall be one day and a night and a day, as if it were one day and there were no night; and this shall be unto you for a sign; for ye shall know of the rising of the sun and also of its setting; therefore they shall know of a surety that there shall be two days and a night; nevertheless the night shall not be darkened; and it shall be the night before he is born.

5 And behold, there shall a new star arise, such an one as ye never have beheld; and this also shall be a sign unto you.

6 And behold this is not all, there shall be many signs and wonders in heaven.

SamuelTheLamaniteFilm

Elder Milton R Hunter said: ‘Five years before the birth of Christ, Samuel the Lamanite stood upon the walls of the city of Zarahemla and predicted the signs of the birth and of the death of Jesus. He asserted that, at his birth, there should be a day and a night and a day of continuous light as if it were one day, and a new star should appear. Since Jesus Christ is the light and the life of the world, no more appropriate sign or symbol of his birth into mortality could have been given. Neither could a more appropriate sign of his death have been given than three days of darkness, the light and the life going out of the world.’ (General Conference April 1961)

It’s not often that the Lord’s prophets specify so exactly the timescale for the fulfilment of their prophecies as Samuel the Lamanite did. However, whether the time is specified or not, the word of the Lord through his prophets will be fulfilled as surely as the signs that Samuel foretold.

Posted in Book of Mormon, Faith, Gospel Doctrine 2016

Gospel Doctrine 2016 – Lesson 46 – By Faith All Things Are Fulfilled

1. Moroni explains the importance of faith.

Ether 12:4 Hope

“The concept of hope plays a vital role in Latter-day Saint thought. Firmly centered in Christ and his resurrection, it is the ‘hope of eternal life’ (Titus 1:2) repeatedly alluded to by Paul. It is the opposite of the despair found among those who are ‘without Christ, having no hope, and without God in the world’ (Eph. 2:12). As the Book of Mormon prophet Moroni writes, ‘If ye have no hope, ye must needs be in despair’ (Moro. 10:22). For those, however, who accept Christ’s Atonement and resurrection, there comes a ‘brightness of hope’ (2 Ne. 31:20) through which all who believe in God ‘might with surety hope for a better world’ (Ether 12:4).” (James K. Lyon in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, p. 656)

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Ether 12:6 The trial of your faith

“Thus there ought to be expectations that in this laboratory of life we will actually see each other in the process of being remodeled, sometimes succeeding and sometimes failing. We will obviously be aware of others who are also in the ‘furnace of affliction.’ However, we will not always have a smooth, ready answer to the question, ‘Why me?’ ‘Why now?’ ‘Why this?’-for as Moroni observed, ‘Ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.’ (Ether 12:6. Italics added.)

“As we see ourselves, and others, passing through fiery trials, the wisdom of Peter, who had his own share of fiery trials, is very useful: ‘Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you.’ (1 Peter 4:12.)” (Neal A Maxwell, All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience, p. 44)

Ether 12-8-22 Faith and Miracles

“Faith is not only the principle of action, but of power also, in all intelligent beings, whether in heaven or on earth. …

“… It was by faith that the worlds were framed. God spake, chaos heard, and worlds came into order by reason of the faith there was in Him. So with man also; he spake by faith in the name of God, and the sun stood still, the moon obeyed, mountains removed, prisons fell, lions’ mouths were closed, the human heart lost its enmity, fire its violence, armies their power, the sword its terror, and death its dominion; and all this by reason of the faith which was in him” (Joseph Smith, Lectures on Faith).

2. The Lord teaches Moroni that He gives us weakness that we may be humble.

Ether 12:23 Because of our weakness in writing

“The weakness that troubles Moroni is his inability to express in writing what he feels inside, what he can express in speech through the power of the Spirit. He is obviously moved by the literary power and skill of the brother of Jared. His own writing pales by comparison, and he feels below the task of translating and abridging the work of this great writer and prophet. We can understand Moroni’s feelings of inadequacy. A comparable task for us might be to paraphrase and abridge all 38 of Shakespeare’s plays, preserving some of the continuity and brilliance of the originals. We, too, would worry that others would mock at our words.” (Gary Hatch, Book of Mormon Symposium Series, 4 Nephi – Moroni, edited by PR Cheesman, MS Nyman, and CD Tate, Jr., 1988, p. 111)

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Ether 12:26 Fools mock, but they shall mourn

‘Yahweh responds to Moroni’s sincere concern that his personal inadequacies may jeopardize the great work. The Lord assures him that, although some will mock, “my grace is sufficient for the meek.” The Book of Mormon’s effectiveness will continue in spite of efforts to discredit it. Indeed, the history of the Book of Mormon has been one of divided approaches. Those who perceive it as true accept it as a witness of Christ, while others who cannot “see” reject it.’ (Brant Gardner, Second Witness)

Ether 12:27 Weakness

“When we read in the scriptures of man’s ‘weakness,’ this term includes the generic but necessary weakness inherent in the general human condition in which the flesh has such an incessant impact upon the spirit (see Ether 12:28–29). Weakness likewise includes, however, our specific, individual weaknesses, which we are expected to overcome (see D&C 66:3; Jacob 4:7). Life has a way of exposing these weaknesses” (Neal A Maxwell, Lord, Increase Our Faith [1994], 84).

Ether 12:30 The brother of Jared said unto the mountain Zerin, Remove—and it was removed

“In the New Testament the Savior said that “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove” (Matthew 17:20). Many people have assumed that the Savior was simply giving a dramatic illustration to portray the great power of faith. However, He may have been referring to an actual incident, forEther 12:30 says that the brother of Jared “said unto the mountain Zerin, Remove–and it was removed.” [Daniel H. Ludlow, A Companion to Your Study of the Book of Mormon, p. 325]

Ether 12:41 Seek this Jesus

‘You too can seek our Heavenly Father and “this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have [testified]” (Ether 12:41) in the scriptures and in this general conference. As you seek a personal witness—your personal revelation—you will discover that Heavenly Father has provided a special way for you to know the truth for yourself: through the third member of the Godhead, a personage of spirit we know as the Holy Ghost.’ (Robert D Hales, General Conference, October 2014)

3. Moroni records Ether’s prophecies concerning the promised land.

Ether 13:3 The New Jerusalem

‘The establishment of Zion and the New Jerusalem will come “down out of heaven” (Ether 13:3) in both a literal and a symbolic way. In the symbolic way, the New Jerusalem will be built upon heavenly principles and under the influence of revelation to the Lord’s chosen officers. . . . There is, however, an additional meaning–a very literal meaning–to this phrase. Enoch’s city–the city of Holiness that was taken up into heaven (see Moses 7:13–21) will come down from heaven and be united with the earthly New Jerusalem.’ ([Joseph F. McConkie, Robert L. Millet, Brent L. Top, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. IV, p. 307]

4. War rages throughout the land. The Jaredite civilization is destroyed.

Ether 13:13 Cast him out

“Ether was deprived of social status whereas Mormon was granted it by the Nephites. Ether, the heir apparent to the Jaredite throne, was rejected by the people in power, and they even tried to kill him. The fact that Ether was the grandson of a deposed king and that he was making accusations against king Coriantumr must have created a strong bias against him. Because both his person and his message were unwelcome in Coriantumr’s court, Ether had to flee for his life (Ether 13:20-22). He lived without influence among the people rather than as a king in a castle. In fact, he was considered to be an enemy, and lived as a recluse in a cave. He warned the people, observed the war by night, and recorded the tragic events (Ether 13:13-14).”  (E. Dale LaBaron, Book of Mormon Symposium Series, 4 Nephi – Moroni, edited by PR Cheesman, MS Nyman, and CD Tate, Jr., 1988, p. 154)

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Ether 13:22 Coriantumr repented not

‘The king again rejects the prophet and attempts to kill him. The warnings in the prophecy are now on Coriantumr’s head. Ether’s remaining record documents the fulfillment of that terrible pronouncement.’ (Brant Gardner, Second Witness)

Ether 13:25 Every man with his band fighting for that which he desired

“Preceding the second coming, will there be such similar and widespread violence, disorder, and anarchy again? Yet even in the midst of such destruction, the Lord’s purposes unfold, not only generally but individually, as He keeps His individualized promises to His servants.” (Neal A Maxwell, Plain and Precious Things, p. 90)

Ether 14-15 The final Jaredite battle

‘Coriantumr and Shiz allowed all of their followers to be killed without ending the conflict. We cannot fully comprehend the horror of the final Jaredite battle in which even women and children were armed and sent to war (see Ether 15:15). This does, however, provide a graphic picture of what people become when the Spirit of the Lord withdraws and no longer strives with them (see verse 19).’ (Book of Mormon Institute Manual)

Ether 15:29 All had fallen…save it were Coriantumr and Shiz

‘Two circumstances peculiar to Asiatic warfare explain why the phenomenon is by no means without parallel: (1) Since every war is strictly a personal contest between kings, the battle must continue until one of the kings falls or is taken. (2) And yet things are so arranged that the king must be the very last to fall, the whole army existing for the sole purpose of defending his person. . . . As long as the war went on, the king could not die, for whenever he did die, the war was over, no matter how strong his surviving forces. Even so, Shiz was willing to spare all of Coriantumr’s subjects if he could only behead Coriantumr with his own sword.’  [Hugh Nibley, The World of the Jaredites, pp. 235-236]

Posted in Book of Mormon, Christmas story, Scriptural advent calendar

Scriptural advent calendar 2016 – December 5

2 Nephi 2:9

Wherefore, he is the firstfruits unto God, inasmuch as he shall make intercession for all the children of men; and they that believe in him shall be saved.

Bruce R. McConkie wrote:

“Jesus is the great Mediator, Advocate, and Intercessor. His mission is to plead the cause of his saints in the courts above. He makes intercession for them, advocates their causes, and performs the divine service of mediation which reconciles them to God. ‘There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.’ (1 Tim. 2:5.)”

The Lord’s great plan of happiness for us depended on Jesus Christ . He was foreordained to be Saviour and Redeemer and there was no Plan B! The story of Christmas is not just the story of a baby in a manger but the story of an infinite and omnipotent being who willingly condescended to come to this earth to save God’s children throughout the Universe.

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Posted in Book of Mormon, Christmas story, Scriptural advent calendar

Scriptural advent calendar 2016 – December 4

Alma 7:10  And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God.

Nativity

‘Jesus was the son of Mary, a mortal woman.  And he was the son of Elohim, the Eternal Father.  He was not the son of the Holy Ghost, as some have supposed from the New Testament account (Matthew 1:18).’  (McConkie and Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 3, p. 51)

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Many who have sought to show that the Book of Mormon is a fraud have seized on this verse as evidence of an error by Joseph Smith as everybody knows that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and not Jerusalem. (Do they think that Joseph Smith didn’t know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem?)

Elder Parley P Pratt explained that the use of the name Jerusalem rather than Bethlehem was appropriate to the audience that Alma was addressing:

‘This you say, is a contradiction of his being born in Bethlehem, (a little place, six miles from Jerusalem,) but mark the local difference in the places where each was spoken. One prophet stands in the vicinity where the thing was fulfilled, and points out the exact location, (Bethlehem.) The other stands on the other side of the globe, from Jerusalem, and addresses a people who knew but little concerning the localities of the various towns and villages of Judea. The prophet speaks in general terms concerning a thing which should transpire in the land of Jerusalem, as they had a general idea of the great capital city and country, from whence they sprang, rather than a distinct idea of all its villages. This is in perfect accordance with all the circumstances under which they wrote, and a great proof in favour of the Book of Mormon; because an imposter, in forging a book, would have said Bethlehem; for every school boy knows, that Bethlehem is the place where the Lord was born’. (Parley P. Pratt, Mormonism Unveiled, [1838] pp. 17-18.)

Commenting on verse 10, President Joseph Fielding Smith said:

“There is no conflict or contradiction in the Book of Mormon with any truth recorded in the Bible. A careful reading of what Alma said will show that he had no intention of declaring that Jesus would be born in Jerusalem. Alma knew better. So did Joseph Smith and those who were associated with him in the bringing forth of the Book of Mormon. Had Alma said, ‘born in Jerusalem, the city of our fathers, ’ it would have made all the difference in the world. Then we would have said he made an error. Alma made no mistake, and what he said is true.

“Dr. Hugh Nibley, in his course of study for the priesthood for 1957, An Approach to the Book of Mormon, in Lesson 8, page 85, has this to say on this point:

“‘. . . One of the favorite points of attack on the Book of Mormon has been the statement in Alma 7:10 that the Savior would be born “at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers.” Here Jerusalem is not the city “in the land of our forefathers,” it is the land. Christ was born in a village some six miles from the city of Jerusalem; it was not in the city, but it was in what we now know the ancients themselves designated as “the land of Jerusalem.” Such a neat test of authenticity is not often found in ancient documents.’ . . .

“. . . [Alma] did not say that the Lord would be born in Jerusalem. The preposition ‘at’ has several meanings. The Standard Dictionary lists the following:

“‘Of a point in space; on; upon; close to; by; near; within. . . . When we think merely of the local or geographical point, we use at; when we think of inclusive space, we employ in.’

“Alma was thinking of a geographical point, therefore he spoke properly according to the usage of language even in our own day when he said, ‘at Jerusalem, the land of our forefathers, ’ Jerusalem being the central point of the land of their fathers”

(Answers to Gospel Questions, 1:174–75).