Sunday, March 28, 2010

Moroni 10

3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember 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, and ponder it in your hearts.
4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

As I conclude my 40th reading of the Book of Mormon, I testify that I have asked God if the book is true, and God has manifested the truth of it to me by the power of the Holy Ghost. It is the word of God. My reading and study of the Book of Mormon has been the key to my witness of Jesus Christ. He lives and love us. I feel my Savior's love as I read of these ancient Americans who knew of Him and taught His truths.

22 And if ye have no hope ye must needs be in despair; and despair cometh because of iniquity.

When you have hope, there is no reason to despair. I have known people who have faced incredible tragedy in their lives but who have found a way to look forward with hope and faith and have not been miserable or despairing in any way.

23 And Christ truly said unto our fathers: If ye have faith ye can do all things which are expedient unto me.

Moroni 9

6 And now, my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor diligently; 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, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God.

We all have a labor to perform. If we work to conquer Satan in our own lives and help others to overcome his temptations, we will be free to rest our souls in the kingdom of God some day.

25 My son, be faithful in Christ; and may not the things which I have written grieve thee, to weigh thee down unto death; but may Christ lift thee up, and may his sufferings and death, and the showing his body unto our fathers, and his mercy and long-suffering, and the hope of his glory and of eternal life, rest in your mind forever.
26 And may the grace of God the Father, whose throne is high in the heavens, and our Lord Jesus Christ, who sitteth on the right hand of his power, until all things shall become subject unto him, be, and abide with you forever. Amen.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if the hope of glory and eternal life could "rest in your mind forever?"

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Moroni 8

I love my children in a way I never imagined possible. I think of them continually and want more than anything else for them to have joy, peace, and happiness in their lives. I want them to have all of the blessings that flow from faith in Jesus Christ and obedience to His commandments. So, when I read the beginning of this tender letter from Mormon to his son Moroni, my heart responds. Mormon writes exactly what I feel.

3 I am mindful of you always in my prayers, continually praying unto God the Father in the name of his Holy Child, Jesus, that he, through his infinite goodness and grace, will keep you through the endurance of faith on his name to the end.

Mormon was forced to condemn the growing practice of infant baptism with these words:

10 Behold I say unto you that this thing shall ye teach—repentance and baptism unto those who are accountable and capable of committing sin; yea, teach parents that they must repent and be baptized, and humble themselves as their little children, and they shall all be saved with their little children.
11 And their little children need no repentance, neither baptism. Behold, baptism is unto repentance to the fulfilling the commandments unto the remission of sins.
12 But little children are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of the world; 

Who could believe that an innocent little child could be damned because of the absence of an earthly ordinance?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Moroni 7

3 Wherefore, I would speak unto you that are of the church, that are the peaceable followers of Christ, and that have obtained a sufficient hope by which ye can enter into the rest of the Lord, from this time henceforth until ye shall rest with him in heaven.
4 And now my brethren, I judge these things of you because of your peaceable walk with the children of men.
5 For I remember the word of God which saith by their works ye shall know them; for if their works be good, then they are good also.

What does it mean to be "the peaceable followers of Christ?" In this sermon of Mormon's recorded by his son, Mormon indicates that true followers of Christ are at peace with their fellow men and are full of good works. Mormon established a simple test:

13 But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.
16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.
17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.
19 Wherefore, I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ.

Any pursuit that leads to strife cannot be from God. The Savior said (3 Nephi 11):

29 For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.

Any pursuit based on a lie cannot be from God. Moses 4:

4 And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice.

Moroni 6

5 And the church did meet together oft, to fast and to pray, and to speak one with another concerning the welfare of their souls.

Our weekly church meetings are a safe harbor in the stormy seas of life. I look forward to that respite from the rush of every day events. When my heart is prepared, I can attend sacrament meeting and feel peace as I contemplate the sacrifice of the Savior. I feel His love as I sit quietly and take the emblems of bread and water in remembrance of Him. The pattern of our meetings is then to spend the remainder of the time speaking "with one another concerning the welfare of [our] souls." In our current ward, our gospel doctrine teacher teaches pure doctrine and always ends her lesson with her heart-felt testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I feel uplifted and ready to be better. What a great way to begin each week.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Moroni 5

2...that they do always remember him

In chapter 4 when the administration of the sacramental bread is recorded, it says

3...they are willing to ... always remember him

It's important to be willing, but it is also important to do. Having good intentions and good thoughts is not enough.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Moroni 4

3 O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it; that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him, and keep his commandments which he hath given them, that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.

Weekly renewal through the simple ordinance of the sacrament is such a blessing. The sacred symbols of the Lord's flesh and blood remind us to eat and drink of the Bread of Life and the Living Waters promised by Jesus Christ to the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus said to her (John 4)

14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

I feel such love for Him when I reverently partake of the sacrament. I feel healed and ready to carry on.

Moroni 3

3 In the name of Jesus Christ I ordain you to be a priest, (or, if he be a teacher) I ordain you to be a teacher, to preach repentance and remission of sins through Jesus Christ, by the endurance of faith on his name to the end. Amen.

Men are ordained to the priesthood with a call to teach. We are all teachers. And what we are to teach is repentance, baptism, and enduring to the end in faith. The gospel really is simple.

Moroni 2

1 The words of Christ, which he spake unto his disciples, the twelve whom he had chosen, as he laid his hands upon them—
2 And he called them by name, saying: Ye shall call on the Father in my name, in mighty prayer; and after ye have done this ye shall have power that to him upon whom ye shall lay your hands, ye shall give the Holy Ghost; and in my name shall ye give it, for thus do mine apostles.

I'm grateful that the priesthood authority and power to convey the gift and promise of the Holy Ghost has been restored. Last weekend, I had the honor and privilege of exercising that priesthood power to confirm my sweet granddaughter a member of the church and give her the gift of the Holy Ghost. When we have received that ordinance, we have the right to the constant companionship of the Holy Spirit as long as we live our lives in a way that qualifies us for His presence. I have felt His presence often when troubled, perplexed, or just joyful. The Savior promised his disciples in John 14

16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

Moroni 1

3 And I, Moroni, will not deny the Christ; wherefore, I wander whithersoever I can for the safety of mine own life.

How strong is my commitment to the Lord? Am I willing to sacrifice all in His service?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Ether 15

Coriantumr was driven to repentance, but his wish to stop the bloodshed and save his people was ultimately frustrated not by his wish to change but by the depravity of the people. They were too far gone.

3 He began to repent of the evil which he had done; he began to remember the words which had been spoken by the mouth of all the prophets, and he saw them that they were fulfilled thus far, every whit; and his soul mourned and refused to be comforted.

6 And it came to pass that the people repented not of their iniquity; and the people of Coriantumr were stirred up to anger against the people of Shiz; and the people of Shiz were stirred up to anger against the people of Coriantumr; wherefore, the people of Shiz did give battle unto the people of Coriantumr.

How could a people who had been so blessed become so cold that they would fight until every last one of them was dead? This kind of downward spiral is hard for me to imagine, but people in our time have determined to slaughter innocents in the name of what they consider to be a higher cause. Satan is stirring up the hearts of people to anger so that they accept that killing others is acceptable and even righteous. We need to look to the Savior and pray for his swift return in glory to bring an end to evil and a return to peace.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Ether 14

1 And now there began to be a great curse upon all the land because of the iniquity of the people, in which, if a man should lay his tool or his sword upon his shelf, or upon the place whither he would keep it, behold, upon the morrow, he could not find it, so great was the curse upon the land.
2 Wherefore every man did cleave unto that which was his own, with his hands, and would not borrow neither would he lend; and every man kept the hilt of his sword in his right hand, in the defense of his property and his own life and of his wives and children.

When moral character disintegrates far enough, no law enforcement or government can make any difference.

Ether 13

2 For behold, they rejected all the words of Ether; for he truly told them of all things, from the beginning of man; and that after the waters had receded from off the face of this land it became a choice land above all other lands, a chosen land of the Lord; wherefore the Lord would have that all men should serve him who dwell upon the face thereof

This land -- the Americas -- is meant to be a choice place where the New Jerusalem will be built. Jesus Christ is the god of this land and we are meant to serve him. If we fail to serve the god who blessed us with this place and the freedom and bounty we enjoy, then we deserve to be swept off just as the Jaredites were.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ether 12

2 And Ether was a prophet of the Lord; wherefore Ether came forth in the days of Coriantumr, and began to prophesy unto the people, for he could not be restrained because of the Spirit of the Lord which was in him.
3 For he did cry from the morning, even until the going down of the sun, exhorting the people to believe in God unto repentance lest they should be destroyed, saying unto them that by faith all things are fulfilled—
4 Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.

When our life is imbued with the Spirit of the Lord, we can't be restrained from sharing what we know to be true. Associating with recent converts is the most invigorating experience because they love the gospel. It reminds us of why we accepted baptism and made the covenants we have made.

The gospel is an anchor to my soul and blesses me with hope that things will be good after trials. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

In Christ, all things are possible. The children's song "Jesus Loves Me" includes the phrase "we are weak, but He is strong." In Jacob 4, we read

7 Nevertheless, the Lord God showeth us our weakness that we may know that it is by his grace, and his great condescensions unto the children of men, that we have power to do these things.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ether 11

The Lord repeatedly sent messengers -- prophets -- to the Jaredites to warn them to repent or be destroyed. They ignored the warning or persecuted the messengers.

20 And in the days of Coriantor there also came many prophets, and prophesied of great and marvelous things, and cried repentance unto the people, and except they should repent the Lord God would execute judgment against them to their utter destruction;
21 And that the Lord God would send or bring forth another people to possess the land, by his power, after the manner by which he brought their fathers.
22 And they did reject all the words of the prophets

Words of warning from a loving Lord had no effect on them except to anger them. The one reference in this chapter to repentance notes a different source:

7 And they hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord, because of their wicked combinations; wherefore, there began to be wars and contentions in all the land, and also many famines and pestilences, insomuch that there was a great destruction, such an one as never had been known upon the face of the earth; and all this came to pass in the days of Shiblom.
8 And the people began to repent of their iniquity; and inasmuch as they did the Lord did have mercy on them.

People of faith hearken to the prophets and apostles and follow the teachings of Jesus. They repent because they love God. Those whose hearts are hard are condemned to learn the hard lessons that flow from the consequences of their own choices.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Ether 10

3 And his eldest son, whose name was Shez, did rebel against him; nevertheless, Shez was smitten by the hand of a robber, because of his exceeding riches, which brought peace again unto his father.

My heart aches for parents who experience tremendous pain as they see the troubled lives of rebellious children. How tragic is it when peace comes to a parent when their child is taken?

11 And he did do justice unto the people, but not unto himself because of his many whoredoms; wherefore he was cut off from the presence of the Lord.
I have often heard someone say that someone is a "good man" because he was just and kind in ways that people could observe publicly, but underneath that public veneer of respectability there was corruption and lasciviousness. Character and integrity matter. What we do when no one is watching is more important in some ways than the actions everyone can observe.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Ether 9

35 And it came to pass that when they had humbled themselves sufficiently before the Lord he did send rain upon the face of the earth; and the people began to revive again, and there began to be fruit in the north countries, and in all the countries round about. And the Lord did show forth his power unto them in preserving them from famine.

Pride can dry up the well-spring of revelation in our lives and create a drought of the Spirit and a famine that leaves us empty. The Old Testament prophet Amos prophesied (Amos 8):

11  Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord:
12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.

That famine doesn't happen because the word of the Lord is not spoken but because we won't hear it. If we are humble, the windows of heaven can open and we can feast on the bread of life and quench our souls with living water.  He will preserve us from famine.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ether 8

Moroni describes the beginning of the secret combinations that led to the destruction of the Jaredites and also of Moroni's own people. A secret combination is not just a club with a secret handshake. This is organized criminal activity. The members swear to protect each other from prosecution for their wickedness and keep each other's criminal deeds secret. Their purpose is to get power.

We clearly have these in our day. Organizations like Al Qaeda and its cousins seem obvious. What is concerning is that there are certainly secret combinations among us.

Moroni gives this warning to us:

23 Wherefore, O ye Gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins, and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to get power and gain—and the work, yea, even the work of destruction come upon you, yea, even the sword of the justice of the Eternal God shall fall upon you, to your overthrow and destruction if ye shall suffer these things to be.
24 Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you; or wo be unto it, because of the blood of them who have been slain; for they cry from the dust for vengeance upon it, and also upon those who built it up.
25 For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it up seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries; and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people, for it is built up by the devil, who is the father of all lies

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ether 7

8 And it came to pass that Shule . . . waxed strong, and became mighty as to the strength of a man; and he was also mighty in judgment.

How can we become "mighty in judgment?" Shule exercised good judgment by listening to the prophets and by keeping the commandments of God. If we do the same, we will be "mighty in judgment" and make decisions that will bless our lives and the lives of those we love just as Shule was a blessing to his family and people.

Psalm 119
66 Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments.

Ezekiel 20
11 And I gave them my statutes, and shewed them my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ether 6

One of the consistent messages in the scriptures is that political, secular power concentrated in the hands of one man "leadeth into captivity." The Old Testament is full of stories of the impact of unrighteous kings on the people as a whole. The history of the ancient world (I'm reading one now written by Susan Wise Bauer -- fascinating) has the same pattern we see in the scriptures. Men consolidate power in their hands and some use that power to defend the people and work for the good and prosperity of all, but most use it for their own aggrandizement. The Lord said through the prophet Joseph Smith (D&C 121): 

39 We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.

Orihah was the first king of the Jaredite people when they reached the new world. He was selected by the people. He remembered his father and uncle and he remembered the goodness the Lord had shown them.

30 And it came to pass that Orihah did walk humbly before the Lord, and did remember how great things the Lord had done for his father, and also taught his people how great things the Lord had done for their fathers.

We need to teach our children what great things the Lord has done for us. They need to hear our testimonies and hear of our spiritual experiences and the blessings we have received from God. If they don't hear it from us, how will they know?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Ether 5

2 And behold, ye may be privileged that ye may show the plates unto those who shall assist to bring forth this work;
3 And unto three shall they be shown by the power of God; wherefore they shall know of a surety that these things are true.

The testimony of the three witnesses to the Book of Mormon endured in spite of persecution and the weaknesses of the three men. All three of the witnesses to the plates fell out with the prophet Joseph Smith, but all of them maintained the truthfulness of their testimony to the end of their lives. If their experience were not true, why would they continue to testify to its truthfulness long after they had anything to gain by doing so. It is true.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Ether 4

17 Therefore, when ye shall receive this record ye may know that the work of the Father has commenced upon all the face of the land.

Isaiah prophesied that in the last days a marvelous work and a wonder would come forth. The Book of Mormon and the restoration of the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ through the prophet Joseph Smith was the beginning of all the prophecy of John and other ancient prophets regarding the end of times.

Ether 3

3 . . .these many years we have been in the wilderness

The sublime experience of the brother of Jared when he saw Jesus Christ and had so much revealed to him was not the beginning of his experience. They had been many years in the wilderness. His faith had been tried over a period of years during which he had learned to call upon the Lord and to trust in and follow Him. The reward for enduring in faith is the know the Lord in such a way that we cannot be kept from His presence.

The 93rd section of the Doctrine and Covenants begins this way:

1 VERILY, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am;
2 And that I am the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world;

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Ether 2

Moroni's purpose in adding the Book of Ether to his father's record is stated clearly in chapter 2. He inserts his editorial comment in the story of Jared and his brother and warns that those who dwell in the promised land (this land in the Americas) must serve the god of this land who is Jesus Christ.

11 And this cometh unto you, O ye Gentiles, that ye may know the decrees of God—that ye may repent, and not continue in your iniquities until the fulness come, that ye may not bring down the fulness of the wrath of God upon you as the inhabitants of the land have hitherto done.
12 Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ, who hath been manifested by the things which we have written.

After this explanation, Moroni returns to Jared and his people. They were led to the shore of the ocean where they remained for four years. There immediate problems with the confusion in Babel solved, they apparently found a place of plenty and peace and settled in to enjoy themselves. But where the brother and Jared received great promises before "because this long time ye have cried unto me," he now has the experience where God "chastened him because he remembered not to call upon the name of the Lord." This chastening went on for three hours.

When we face crises, most people turn to God in prayer, pleading for relief from suffering, fear, and want. But when we are blessed with plenty, we sometimes forget to thank God and continue to call on Him. There may be no atheists in foxholes, but there are many in palaces.

After humbling himself, the brother of Jared received and followed instructions to build barges of unique design as shown him through revelation. There were two issues with the barges -- they were closed so Jared asked God how they were supposed to get air and light in their passage over the seas. God told him directly how to solve the problem of air circulation. But then instead of just giving the brother of Jared the answer to his concern about light, God asked him to come up with a solution. "
Therefore what will ye that I should prepare for you that ye may have light when ye are swallowed up in the depths of the sea?" (v. 25)

One of the great spiritual experiences of all recorded scripture occurred as the brother of Jared worked on this question. We need to use the mind God has given us and pray and listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit as we face problems. As we struggle to come up with solutions to problems we face, our spirits stretch and grow. Our capacity to receive revelation expands. God asked the brother of Jared to come up with a solution to the problem of darkness in the barges so that he could grow.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Ether 1

I'm fascinated by the Book of Ether. Moroni inserted this in the abridgment his father began and that he completed. Moroni was alone -- the last of his people. In his isolation and loneliness, why did he choose to add this to the record? Why did the people of our day need this?

And the Book of Ether is unique. Many new names appear here that are found no where else in the Book of Mormon record. Their politics and culture are markedly different. Through repeated readings of the Book of Mormon, I find the Book of Ether to be peculiar and believe it is a testimony to the truthfulness of the record as a whole.

The first chapter sets forth the genealogy of Ether who wrote the record. That's unique in the Book of Mormon, also. There isn't another place where a long family history is set forth. Ether was a descendant of Jared who with his brother and their friends and families left Babel when God confused the languages of the people. Jared appears to have been a righteous man, but it's interesting that he defers to his brother in spiritual things. He asks his brother to approach the Lord for guidance. Jared's brother never has a name in the Book of Mormon other than "the brother of Jared." That's another interesting and unique thing.

Jared and his brother go to the Lord repeatedly for help. After obtaining several promises from God, the brother of Jared receives instruction to go with Jared and their friends and family and they will be led by God to a promised land.

43 And there will I bless thee and thy seed, and raise up unto me of thy seed, and of the seed of thy brother, and they who shall go with thee, a great nation. And there shall be none greater than the nation which I will raise up unto me of thy seed, upon all the face of the earth. And thus I will do unto thee because this long time ye have cried unto me.

God tells the brother of Jared that he obtained this blessing "because this long time ye have cried unto me." Sometimes we have to exercise faith and patience in seeking blessings from the Lord. We have to wait on Him. We have to believe that His timing is right and continue to petition Him. A central message of the Book of Ether which begins with this last verse in chapter 1 is that faith precedes miracles.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Mormon 9

What is the role of doubt in our lives? Everyone has questions about truth and the meaning of things. But three times in what Moroni thought would be his final words he admonishes us not to doubt. I think this doubt is that doubt that leads us from truth -- an unwillingness to trust in God and in His timing, to be patient as we wait for all to be revealed.

21 Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth.

If we trust in Christ, what we ask of the Father in righteousness will be given to us. And this promise is to everyone.

25 And whosoever shall believe in my name, doubting nothing, unto him will I confirm all my words, even unto the ends of the earth.

Exercising faith in Jesus will lead to testimony of the truth, and he will confirm his words to us himself.

27 O then despise not, and wonder not, but hearken unto the words of the Lord, and ask the Father in the name of Jesus for what things soever ye shall stand in need. Doubt not, but be believing, and begin as in times of old, and come unto the Lord with all your heart, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him.

The continuous exercise of faith and trust in the Lord will lead to salvation.

To have doubts is perhaps the prelude to faith. The person struggling with doubt learns to exercise trust and prove the truth. We just have to have the courage to keep doubting until we receive the witness that all seekers of truth can obtain. Jesus will confirm all of his words to those who persist in faith.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Mormon 8

Moroni intended to close the record with this chapter as he was alone and had no ore to make plates to expand the record. He doesn't quite end the record (he adds the book of Ether and then appends 10 chapters of his own writing), but Mormon 8 is written as his summary. He speaks directly to the latter day recipients of the record, including its translator. 

35 Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing.

The principal thing that he condemns in our day is the love of things rather than people.

37 For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted.

The epistle of James supports Moroni's appeal to care for others as the essence of the gospel (James 1):

27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Moroni asks us some questions:

Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Have I hidden my faith and buried my testimony? Have I been in situations where I could have boldly declared my membership in the Church of Jesus Christ but have quietly demurred and left unsaid what the spirit prompted me to say?

Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies? Are we so attached to the things of the world that we are willing to sell ourselves for them and be miserable? Moroni says that we do it because we need the "praise of the world." We need others to think highly of us for reasons that have nothing to do with righteousness or integrity.

Why do ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and notice them not? If pure religion is service to our fellow men in the pure love of Christ, we should all be living a lot simpler lives.

Why do ye build up your secret abominations to get gain, and cause that widows should mourn before the Lord, and also orphans to mourn before the Lord, and also the blood of their fathers and their husbands to cry unto the Lord from the ground, for vengeance upon your heads?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Mormon 7

The last words of the prophet Mormon who was now almost 80 years old and had seen nothing but upheaval, carnage, and death for essentially his entire life are a direct appeal to our day. They are a call to repentance and acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Redeemer and Savior.

7 And he hath brought to pass the redemption of the world

I looked for definitions of the word "redeem." Included are some of the following:

Literally "to buy back." The act of buying back lands after a mortgage foreclosure, tax foreclosure, or other execution sale. We have sold ourselves for things that have no eternal significance. When we repent, Jesus buys us back - he pays the price for our sins to recover us from Satan.

To liberate by payment of a ransom. This is another way to say that Jesus has the power to free us from the bondage of sin. This can happen in this life as we turn to Him. He can relieve us and release us from things like addiction.

To save, rescue

To clear, release from debt or blame

To clear (someone else) of wrongdoing, especially by standing as an equivalent.

I'm grateful beyond words for a Redeemer. I love Him.