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This blog is devoted to people like us who need a daily spiritual outlet and motivation to keep up with our personal scripture study.
Join us as we begin and discuss the Book of Mormon daily--an online Institute class of sorts!

We welcome your comments, your experiences, and your thoughts.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Mosiah 28

The sons of Mosiah shall have eternal life—They go to preach to the Lamanites—Mosiah translates the Jaredite plates with the two seer stones.

The sons of Mosiah want to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Lamanites. They have six purposes for doing this (v. 2-3):

  • to bring them to the knowledge of the Lord their God
  • to convince them of the iniquity of their fathers
  • to cure them of their hatred towards the Nephites
  • to rejoice in the Lord their God
  • to become friendly to one another
  • they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble.

v. 4 "And thus did the Spirit of the Lord work upon them, for they were the very avilest of sinners. And the Lord saw fit in his infinite bmercy to spare them; nevertheless they suffered much anguish of soul because of their iniquities, suffering much and fearing that they should be cast off forever."

- I don't know about you, but that is pretty heavy. They were the vilest of sinners. I don't even want to imagine what you would have to have done to be labeled that. It such a blessing to repent, and the sons of Mosiah must have had an incredible understanding of the gospel to want so desperately to share it and undo what wrongs they could.

Mosiah inquire of the Lord, and receives a promise that "they shall have eternal life; and [The Lord] will adeliver thy sons out of the hands of the Lamanites." (v.6-7)

Again, the sons of Mosiah must have had an incredible understanding of the gospel, because they all refused their father's kingdom! They would rather be missionaries than kings! What an example!

We learn more about the "adventures" of the sons of Mosiah, and the story of the Jaredite people later in the Book of Mormon.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Mosiah 26

In this chapter, the rising generation who were children when King Benjamin gave his address begin to be a problem because of their unbelief and dissension. I find myself a little confused by this. Sure, we all know people who have grown up more wild than their active, church-going parents, but this sounds like it was really widespread. And the author makes it sound like it was directly related to the fact that these kids were too young to understand that address. I'm guessing that King Benjamin's speech and the resulting spiritual renewal that followed was a really big deal, as in, people still talked about it for years afterwards. Could it be that the younger generation basically felt left out? I am totally grasping at straws here, but I am just intrigued at the difference between these youth and their parents. We find out in the next chapter that the sons of Mosiah and Alma the Younger were included in this group.

So the priests of the church take the issue to Alma, the high priest. He is very disturbed, and decides to take the issue to the king. Here, he learns a lesson--as the leader of the church, people's spiritual welfare is his concern, not King Mosiah's. I think it's interesting that King Benjamin was spiritual and temporal leader, but that his son decided to split that office. It makes sense, because it would be really hard to run both the church and the kingdom. And we know that King Mosiah had a seerstone that he used to interpret the Jaredite plates, so it wasn't as if he lacked in righteousness. He just chose to put the church in the hands of Alma, another righteous prophet.

So Alma has the problem back in his lap. He prays hard for guidance. The Lord answers him and blesses him for his obedience. He also tells Alma that those who are repentant will be accepted back into the church, but those who are still rebellious will have their names taken from the records. This makes sense to us now, but I think to Alma, it didn't seem right for his fellow citizens to not be apart of the church. Their whole society was based on principles of the gospel. But the Lord understands the principle of agency better than we do and instructed Alma to forgive the repentant and judge those who were wicked.

Alma labors diligently after this and the church moves forward. It is also mentioned that they are greatly persecuted by those not of the church. It's such a shame that people who decide to leave the Church today always are its worst enemies afterwards. Satan really tries to turn us against the church because he knows he can turn the resultant bitterness into a tool against the Church. I hope that he won't ever turn me into such an evil tool! I love the Church and the Gospel and I feel so blessed to be a member. And even though I may not have had the same spiritual experiences as some of my ancestors, I am determined to not be like this generation of Nephites, and instead to be a righteous member of the Church.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Mosiah 25

Summary: The people (the Mulekites) of Zarahemla become Nephites—They learn of the people of Alma and of Zeniff—Alma baptizes Limhi and all his people—Mosiah authorizes Alma to organize the Church of God. About 120 B.C.

The chapter starts off by stating something interesting. It says that there weren't as many Nephites as there were Mulekites. And there weren't so many of them combined as there were Lamanites.

Mosiah gathers his people together and reads about the people of Zeniff. When he was done, the poeple were struck with wonder and amazement. The rejoiced that they had been delivered by bondage, and they wept for those that had been slain.

That really impressed me to think that the people were that unified and that caring of one another. I think that can happen within our church family - our wards our stakes. And it's really a neat thing when it does happen. But isn't it incredible when it happens as a people. I mean, remember September 11th and the incredible unity it brought to our nation. It's sad that it took such a tragic even to bring that to pass, but wow. I remember the feeling. I remember the kindness that everyone had to each other. All the flags, all the prayers. It was amazing.

7 And now, when Mosiah had made an end of reading the records, his people who tarried in the land were struck with wonder and amazement.

8 For they knew not what to think; for when they beheld those that had been delivered out of bondage they were filled with exceedingly great joy.

9 And again, when they thought of their brethren who had been slain by the Lamanites they were filled with sorrow, and even shed many tears of sorrow.

10 And again, when they thought of the immediate goodness of God, and his power in delivering Alma and his brethren out of the hands of the Lamanites and of bondage, they did raise their voices and give thanks to God.

11 And again, when they thought upon the Lamanites, who were their brethren, of their sinful and polluted state, they were filled with pain and anguish for the welfare of their souls.

Then it explains that all the people united together, became the people of Zarahemla and were numbered with the Nephites.

After Mosiah finished all these things, he then had Alma preach to the people. And when he was done speaking, King Limhi and all of his people were desirious to be baptized. Wow, what a cool mission story. It's like the stories people have with then convert a minister and his whole congregation. Well, not completely the same, but that's what it reminds me of. :)

Then Mosiah gave power to Alma to establish churches, and ordain priests and teacher. Okay, what a perfect system. The king and the prophet working hand in hand. Boy, wouldn't it be great if our nation could do that?! The President and the Prophet working together. I believe in the government of the church. It seems to work most excellent and could be a good example for our nation's government.

In the land of Zarahemla, they did organize 7 churches. (I wonder if that was wards or stakes :)..) And anyone who believed on the word of God, joined the church and the Lord's spirit poured out upon them.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Mosiah 24

Read it HERE.

Summary: Amulon persecutes Alma and his people—They are to be put to death if they pray—The Lord makes their burdens seem light—He delivers them from bondage, and they return to Zarahemla. Between 145 and 120 B.C.

I LOVE the Book of Mormon. I love how it relates to my life and I feel empowered by its words and the feeling of peace and love I get when I read it. This chapter is one of those that I completed related with TODAY for selfish, self-pity reasons.... because the Lord shows His great love for His people and delivers them from their bondage and burdens. It's always a testimony builder to me that He really is a part of our everyday lives.... he cares about the good and the bad that happens to us and wants us to be HAPPY. He will deliver us from the turmoil and burdens of our lives if we are faithful in Him.

Here are a few of my favorite verses that illustrate this with Alma and his people:

12 And Alma and his people did not raise their voices to the Lord their God, but did pour out their hearts to him; and he did know the thoughts of their hearts.
13 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.
14 And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.
15 And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.
16 And it came to pass that so great was their faith and their patience that the voice of the Lord came unto them again, saying: Be of good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you out of bondage.

And the deliverance and thanks:

19 And in the morning the Lord caused a deep sleep to come upon the Lamanites, yea, and all their task-masters were in a profound sleep.
20 And Alma and his people departed into the wilderness; and when they had traveled all day they pitched their tents in a valley, and they called the valley Alma, because he led their way in the wilderness.
21 Yea, and in the valley of Alma they poured out their thanks to God because he had been merciful unto them, and eased their burdens, and had delivered them out of bondage; for they were in bondage, and none could deliver them except it were the Lord their God.
22 And they gave thanks to God, yea, all their men and all their women and all their children that could speak lifted their voices in the praises of their God.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Mosiah 23

I owe everyone an apology for missing the last 2 weeks! The previous week, I was without a computer because it crashed, but last week I completely forgot to post! I totally dropped the ball on that one. It was the day of my final, and I guess everything else just slipped my mind. I am so sorry!

On to chapter 23. There is a lot of history in this chapter--Alma escapes King Noah with his people, and they start to build their own land in Helam. They prosper for a while before the Lord decides to chasten his people. The armies of the Lamanites arrive and trick them into bondage.

The first principle I wanted to touch on in this chapter is one I feel like I have mentioned before, but I would like to mention it again. The power of one man. Abinadi died having only touched the heart of one man--Alma. But through this one man, thousands and thousands of people were converted to the Lord. it was as if Abinadi's entire purpose was to convert Alma to the ways of the Lord so that Alma could finish the work Abinadi started. This is a missionary principle we hear of over and over again. I am reminded of a story I heard in Relief Society once. This lady was the granddaughter of a woman who happened to be the only baptism a certain missionary had had on his mission. She said that because of that one baptism, at least 70 people joined the church because of posterity or friends or this woman's children and grandchildren serving missions. You just never know what kind of impact you may have in this life.

Another thought I had was of Alma. I never thought of him as being wicked previous to this time. I had always thought of him as the convert that lead thousands of people to repentance. But he says that he did things that were abominable in the sight of the Lord and that required sore repentence. It got me thinking of his son, who essentially went through the same process. How much better was Alma prepared to teach his son because of his own experiences? He experienced wickedness, then the joy of repentence and turning his heart to the Lord. We all know his son required a visit from an angel to soften his heart, but I still believe that Alma's experiences at this time helped prepare him to be a father. It is interesting the paths we must take, and the ways in which the Lord prepares us for things to come.

The last principle I wanted to touch on was that the Lord felt He needed to chasten His people, whom He loved. Trials of any sort are frightening. There will always be moments in our lives where we will feel overwhelmed and that we might not survive. But the Lord does what He does for a reason, and this is something I think I may spend the rest of my life struggling to understand. We must experience these thigns so that we will learn and grow stronger. It is how the Lord refines us. But no matter the trial, the Lord has provided a way to seek comfort during the trial, and a way to move on if we so choose to follow that path. I was reading Elder Holland's talk yesterday about Jesus, when He was suffering in Gethsemane and on the cross, He had to experience moments of total loneliness and abandonment. He had to do this so that we never would. What an incredible gift. Our Savior will always be at our side. He will carry us through the hard times. He will always love us. Considering it from that perspective has truly given me a deeper appreciation of what He did for us. How blessed and fortunate are we to have such a loving, constant, stable support in our lives. We truly have a Father in Heaven who loves us all, and an Elder Brother who made the greatest sacrifice of all because He also loves us more than we can fathom. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


Mosiah 22

Read Chapter 22 HERE.

Plans are made for the people to escape from Lamanite bondage—The Lamanites are made drunk—The people escape, return to Zarahemla, and become subject to King Mosiah.

When Ammon is with Limhi and his people, they "brainstorm" about a way to escape from Lamanite bondage. I think it's interesting that they consulted with the people, "and even they did cause that all the people should gather themselves together; and this they did that they might have the voice of the people concerning the matter."

I guess I would have expected the leaders to make a decision and instruct the people likewise, but here we see a "true" democracy...

I think Gideon is the bomb. He is a valiant servant of his God and country, and eventually seals his valiance with his death. I wish we knew more about him! Well, Gideon comes up with a plan to get the Lamanite guards drunk, and escape through the back wall.

This plan is successful and the people of Limhi join with King Mosiah in the city of Zarahemla!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Mosiah Ch. 21

Read it HERE.

Summary: Limhi’s people are smitten and defeated by the Lamanites—They meet Ammon and are converted—They tell Ammon of the twenty-four Jaredite plates. Between 145 and 121 B.C.

There is a lot we could discuss in this chapter, but here are the things that stood out to me. Feel free to share your thoughts as well; I'm sure we each took away something different.

At the beginning of this chapter, the people of Limhi are doing well. However, the Lamanites begin to become angry with them again. In order to not break the oath they made with Limhi that they wouldn't kill his people, they take them into bondage. (Interestingly enough, Abinadi prophesied that this would happen.)

So, how do the people of Limhi react? They want to go to war. They pester and pester King Limhi until he agrees, but they lose terribly; many are slain. The worst part is, they didn't learn their lesson! They go to battle TWO MORE times, each time losing more men. I have a hard time understanding their reasoning here, but I suppose desperation drove them to try it.

So, after the third time, they finally humble themselves "even to the dust," and allow themselves to comply with their enemy. But this isn't all. Finally they learn the right approach:

14 And they did ahumble themselves even in the depths of humility; and they did cry mightily to God; yea, even all the day long did they cry unto their God that he would bdeliver them out of their afflictions.

15 And now the Lord was slow to ahear their cry because of their iniquities; nevertheless the Lord did hear their bcries, and began to soften the hearts of the Lamanites that they began to ease their burdens; yet the Lord did not see fit to deliver them out of bondage.

Why was the Lord slow to respond to their cries?

We can find a really good answer to this in D&C 101.

"5 For all those who will not aendure chastening, but bdeny me, cannot be sanctified."
8 In the day of their peace they esteemed lightly my counsel; but, in the day of their atrouble, of necessity they bfeel after me.
9 Verily I say unto you, notwithstanding their sins, my bowels are filled with acompassionbcast them off; and in the day of cwrath I will remember mercy."

Although the Lord did not deliver the people of Limhi immediately, what did He do for them? (See Mosiah 21:15–16--their crops, flocks, and herds began to flourish so they were not hungry; they began to prosper by degrees)

How does the Lord sometimes permit us to “prosper by degrees”?

"A knowledge of the gospel comes by degrees: one learns a little, obeys what he learns; learns a little more and obeys that. This cycle continues in an endless round. Such is the pattern by which one can move on to a full knowledge of the gospel." Marion G. Romney, “‘Records of Great Worth’,” Ensign, Sep 1980, 3

I think we can apply this quote to the situation here. Sometimes I think the Lord blesses us little by little in order to give us the chance to learn how to be righteous and grateful stewards over what He has blessed us with. This isn't always how it works, but that is what is so beautiful about the Gospel. Each of us has a personal plan of Salvation, which guarantees us the necessary experiences for us to reach our full potential. Experiencing the kind of tribulation King Limhi's people did was necessary for them at that time.

One last thought:

"The gospel plan requires giving and receiving. Faith alone is not enough. We need “works” to serve and to be served. We can’t do it alone." Robert D. Hales, “We Can’t Do It Alone,” New Era, Jan 1977, 35–3

We need to remember the Lord. We need to have faith in the Lord. But we also need to be faithful. Faith without action is moot. King Limhi's people needed to first remember to be humble and show the Lord they were ready to be blessed. Faith alone is not always enough.

This was a great chapter. Any more thoughts? There is so much in here!


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Mosiah 20

I had to double check my chapter this week because I was in Utah all week and away from reliable internet. But it's nice to be home!

This chapter relates an interesting story. It really shows how the greediness and lust of a handful of men caused so much death and destruction among both the Lamanites and people of Limhi.
The priests of King Noah are afraid that if they returned to their city, they will receive the same treatment as Noah, so they hide in the jungle. They come across the daughters of the Lamanites singing and dancing together and one day, when there is a smaller group, they kidnap 24 young women! I can't even imagine being those women. They were kidnapped and forced to marry their enemies.

Because of that, the Lamanites assume the Nephites have stolen the girls and attack the people of Limhi without provocation. I wonder how often wars have been fought in which one side has no idea why they are fighting, but are instead just fighting in self defense.

Luckily Limhi had a tower built that oversaw the Lamanite lands and he sees the attack in time to warn his people. The Lamanites are driven away and their king wounded and left behind. Limhi is a fair man and speaks with the king before ordering him killed. Also, as soon as he hears the king's accusation, he takes the responsibility upon himself to find out who committed the crime, even if it turns out to be his own people. I respect him for being a fair, righteous leader who was doing his best with the situation left to him by wicked and no-so-righteous forbearers.

Another righteous man, Gideon, comes to the rescue. He remembers the priests, and everyone agrees that it must have been them that kidnapped the girls. Even more admirably (though maybe not the best tactics), he encourages the king to continue to fulfil their oath to the Lamanites, even though they are under a huge burden. Everyone continues on happily, though the people of Limhi are still in bondage. This is the set-up for the next few chapters where Ammon comes and helps the people to escape. I always love the escape stories in the Book of Mormon! :]


Friday, June 19, 2009

Mosiah 19

Summary: Gideon seeks to slay King Noah—The Lamanites invade the land—King Noah suffers death by fire—Limhi rules as a tributary monarch. Between 145 and 122 B.C.

Note: Chapters 19–22 of Mosiah are taken from the record of the Zeniff colony. These chapters contain a detailed account of the events that led to the state of bondage in which Ammon found Limhi’s people and also to their eventual deliverance. Note what finally leads to their deliverance. Contrast this event with the end of King Noah and his priests in fulfillment of Abinadi’s prophecies.

Has anyone ever seen the Living Scripture Animated series? I can't help but picture the movie in my head while reading this chapter. :)

SO...The king's army is not able to find Alma and his people. Whew. They return and when they do, the people are starting to be divided. There are murmurings and threatenings against the king. Yeah, he's not such a great king, is he!

Gideon, who was strong, and angry at the king, decided he would take matters into his own hands and slay the king with his sword. He fought with the king. I wonder where the kings servants were... or security guards. Maybe no one cared at this point? Interesting.

Gideon chased him up to the tower, where the king saw that the Lamanites were coming. He pretended to be concerned for his people. Gideon spared his life.

King Noah then ran and told his people to flee into the wilderness. The Lamanites came upon them, so he told the men to leave behind their women and their children. Now, doesn't that make you a little mad? Sheesh. The nerve. At least some men did not listen to him, and they stayed with their wives and children. They'd rather perish with them. But the Lamanites did not destroy them, since they thought their daughters were beautiful.

Instead they took them captive and taxed them 50%. Makes me not want to complain so much about my taxes. :) But that was not all. They also wanted them to deliver King Noah unto them. I'm sure they were probably very willing to do that part.

And isn't it interesting that one of the men that stayed behind, was King Noah's son, Limhi. And even thought his father was wicked, Limhi was a just man. He understood his father's iniquities, but he did not want to see him destroyed.

Meanwhile, they send some more men into the wilderness to find those that escaped. They find everyone except the priest and the King. They find out that the men were so angry with the king when he told them that they could not go back and check on their wives and children, so the burned him to death. Just as was prophesied by Abinidi. The priests fled the scene. The men rejoiced when the found out that their wives and children were still alive.

They all returned to the city where Limhi became their king while in captivity to the Lamanites. The Lamanites made an oath that they would not slay them, and the people had peace for two years.

After the rest of them had fled, the really became angry with King Noah.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Mosiah 18

Read it HERE.

Summary: Alma preaches in private—He sets forth the covenant of baptism and baptizes at the waters of Mormon—He organizes the Church of Christ and ordains priests—They support themselves and teach the people—Alma and his people flee from King Noah into the wilderness. About 148—145 B.C.

This chapter shows how righteous of a soul and how much God loves and is willing to protect his children who willingly choose good and follow him. Alma, a servant of the wicked King Noah, was converted by the words of Abinadi and realizes he needs to remove himself from his environment and position.... so he flees. How scary that must have been knowing that he could have been caught and imprisoned and killed... but he felt and knew too much to stay in his wicked state. He is kept safe at the hand of the Lord and repents and then immediately begins to teach (privately) the words of Abinadi to people he meets in the wilderness. I would say that is true conversion!

In the private place Alma taught these people there was a fountain of pure water.... where he hides himself in the thicket of trees from the searches of the kings... and where he begins baptizing about 240 souls! A new convert preaching, teaching, and baptizing hundreds of new converts! Sounds like amazing missionary work.

In 2002 I had the opportunity to travel with my family to Guatemala with my sister's mission president on a "Book of Mormon lands" tour. It was amazing! As we were in the middle of the gorgeous green jungle somewhere in Guatemala President Mask (now a member of the 70) took us to the place HE thinks is the Waters of Mormon... the very place spoken of in this chapter. We sat there near the water and read the account in the scriptures and I felt that it very well could have been the place. He let us form our own opinions based on our experiences. I tell you what, it was neat, but I don't know any better now, having stood in that place, than I did before that the Book of Mormon is true and that the prophets and doctrines found therein are real and applicable for our modern lives.

As the chapter continues to unfold we see how Alma, after converting and baptizing so many, Alma continued to establish the Church complete with teachers and priests.

21 And he commanded them that there should be no acontention one with another, but that they should look forward with bone eye, having one faith and one baptism, having their hearts cknit together in unity and in love one towards another.

Somehow the wicked King Noah discovered the movement among the people....

33 And now the king said that Alma was stirring up the people to rebellion against him; therefore he sent his aarmy to destroy them.
34 And it came to pass that Alma and the people of the Lord were aapprised of the coming of the king’s army; therefore they took their tents and their families and bdeparted into the wilderness.
35 And they were in number about afour hundred and fifty souls.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Mosiah 16

Are the words of Abinadi not inspiring? How pure and simple are the words throughout the Book of Mormon! I love it! Literally words of God.

Chapter 16 is relatively short, but full of doctrine!

"The time shall come when all shall see the salvation of the Lord; when every nation, kindred, tongue and and people shall see eye to eye and shall confess before God that his judgements are just." (v.1)

But even though everyone will know of God and that He is God... not everyone will accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There will still be sin and wickedness and, until the devil is bound, "organized temptation" as well.  I guess I cannot comprehend how some will not be converted and believe in Christ after witnessing his Return. I suppose it goes to say that "seeing isn't believing".

"And if Christ had not risen from the dead, or have broken the bands of death that the grave should have no victory, and that death should have no sting, there could have been no resurrection.

But there is a resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ." (v. 7-8)

I try not to dwell on what it would be like if there were no resurrection, but that's just depressing! I am so grateful for the atonement and the blessing of resurrection! When my 20 year old brother died after a motorcycle accident it was truly the most real the Plan of Salvation had ever been to me. I have always been a "believer", but after Ryan's death I really had to ask myself, "Do I really believe that I will see him again?" My answer was,  "Yes! Yes, I will see Ryan again! Yes, this is real!"  And because I knew this, and it is real, I need to get my act together! This is the real deal. I know what I have to do. Ever since, my life has been more focused and I am more determined to be obedient. I'm not perfect by any means, but I want to attain eternal perfection so badly!

"Teach them that redemption cometh through Christ the Lord, who is the very Eternal Father..." (v.15)

When I read this verse, my thought was that this is what I need to teach my children. It was direct instruction from the Lord of what I need to focus on when teaching my family. :) I love moments like that.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Mosiah Ch. 15

Read it HERE.

Summary: How Christ is both the Father and the Son—He shall make intercession and bear the transgressions of his people—They and all the holy prophets are his seed—He bringeth to pass the resurrection—Little children have eternal life. About 148 B.C.

This is a powerful chapter; it is Abinadi bearing testimony of Christ and His mission as our Savior, and all He did for us. Since this is the most important part of our gospel, it is a touching reminder.

6 And after all this, after working many mighty miracles among the children of men, he shall be led, yea, even aas Isaiah said, as a sheep before the shearer is dumb, so he bopened not his mouth.
7 Yea, even so he shall be led, acrucified, and slain, the bflesh becoming subject even unto death, the cwill of the Son being swallowed up in the will of the Father.

A fantastic summary of Christ's purpose and mission can be found in these verses:

8 And thus God breaketh the abands of death, having gained the bvictory over death; giving the Son power to make cintercession for the children of men—
9 Having ascended into heaven, having the bowels of mercy; being filled with compassion towards the children of men; standing betwixt them and justice; having broken the bands of death, taken upon ahimself their iniquity and their transgressions, having redeemed them, and bsatisfied the demands of justice.

There is some good information about Christ's roles found in the Institute manual. It is really worth a read:

On 30June 1916 the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles set forth a detailed statement on the Father and the Son. In this exposition Christ, the literal son of God the Eternal Father, is represented as the Father in three ways:

He is the Father as Creator. Christ is referred to in many scriptural passages as “the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth” (see Mosiah 15:4 , 16:15 , Alma 11:38–39 , Ether 4:7 ).

He is the Father of all who accept his atoning sacrifice and covenant with him to obey his everlasting gospel. There are numerous scriptural passages that express this relationship (see Mosiah 5:7 , 15:10–13 , Ether 3:14 , D&C 25:1 , 34:1–3 , 39:1–4 ).

He is the Father by divine investiture of authority. This means that the Savior is the fully authorized and commissioned representative of his Father, and as such can speak and act for the Father.

The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve explained divine investiture of authority as follows: “In all His dealings with the human family Jesus the Son has represented and yet represents Elohim His Father in power and authority. This is true of Christ in His preexistent, antemortal, or unembodied state, in the which He was known as Jehovah; also during His embodiment in the flesh; and during His labors as a disembodied spirit in the realm of the dead. ... Thus the Father placed His name upon the Son; and Jesus Christ spoke and ministered in and through the Father’s name; and so far as power, authority, and Godship are concerned His words and acts were and are those of the Father” (in JamesE. Talmage, The Articles of Faith, p.471; the entire statement, “The Father and the Son: A Doctrinal Exposition by the First Presidency and the Twelve,” is found on pages466–73 of The Articles of Faith ).

I am grateful we have modern day prophets to help us remember what many, many prophets have testified: That Christ lives. That He loves us. That He is our Savior. That He knows us and understands our hardships.

I can't think of any knowledge that is more important to me or more comforting to me.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Mosiah 14

This is such a great chapter (and it's even from Isaiah!). I think the reason that I like it so much is that it is one of the Isaiah chapters that I actually understand a lot of the references.

This chapter describes how the Savior grows up seemingly as a normal man. He isn't particularly noticeable in appearance. As he starts his ministry, he is despised of men. It calls him a "man of sorrows, acquainted with grief." That struck me because I think that with the persecutions he endured in life, he must really understand a lot of the sorrows and griefs we experience (completely aside from the Atonement, through which we know he understands everything).

I especially like verses 4 and 5. Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. This makes me think of the song that the Tabernacle Choir has sung before that President Faust wrote the words to, "This is the Christ." In the song, they sing "How many drops of blood were shed for me?" That line is always really hard for me to sing and think about without getting really emotional.

Verse 7: He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb so he opened not his mouth. When I read this verse, I not only think of Christ, but of Joseph Smith, who described himself as going as a lamb to the slaughter when he went to Carthage Jail. Joseph Smith is probably the most Christ-like man I can think of, and he furthers that comparison by the manner in which he went to certain death. Both had opportunity to escape; Joseph could have fled instead of willingly going to his trial, and Christ had the power to bring down angels upon his enemies, but didn't.

The final verse says, he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bore the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. Even though we are not thieves and murderers like the men crucified on either side of Jesus, we are transgressors all the same, and Christ bore our sins and interceded for us to God. I am so thankful for this sacrifice for me and for all of us, and I hope to be able to grow to understand the Atonement more, little by little, and to be able to use it's cleansing, purifying, and enabling power to become more like Christ and eventually be able to live with him again!


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Mosiah 12

Read it HERE.

Summary: Abinadi is imprisoned for prophesying the destruction of the people and the death of King Noah—The false priests quote the scriptures and pretend to keep the law of Moses—Abinadi begins to teach them the Ten Commandments. About 148 B.C.

Abinadi is quite tricky here to think of dressing in a disguise in order to prophecy to the wicked people of King Noah. The Lord uses very potent words here to describe his anger, such as: "fierce", "bondage", "smitten", "slain", "and the vultures of the air, and the dogs, yea, and the wild beasts, shall devour their flesh." Would you call that poetic? He continues to describe King Noah's life as the value of a garment in a hot furnace. (A little ironic foreshadowing going on.) Sounds awful. Can you imagine being smitten by the Lord for your iniquities so much that you would howl all the day long? Not only their physical bodies and spirits would be smitten and slain, but also their lands and their grain.

Verse 8 is one that is written for us:
8- And it shall come to pass that except they repent I will utterly adestroy them from off the face of the earth; yet they shall leave a brecord behind them, and I will preserve them for other nations which shall possess the land; yea, even this will I do that I may discover the abominations of this people to other nations. [That is for US!] And many things did Abinadi prophesy against this people.

Hence, after all this prophecy from the Lord the people are upset and take Abinadi and bind him before King Noah. The servants of King Noah try to justify themselves as well as their King and claim that Abinadi has falsely accused them and prophesied evil and in vain. So, Noah puts Abinadi in prison and asks the priests to gather in council in order to decide what to do with him.

During questioning the priests tried to cross Abinadi but he answered boldly and withstood all their questions.... so much that he confounded them. Begs the question of us... are we strong and wise enough in our testimonies to not "be crossed".... so much that we can withstand the questions of others and confound them? Food for thought.

One priests then asks Abinadi about the writings of Isaiah... "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings;...." (v. 21-24) Abinadi then catches him and asks... "Are you priests, and pretend to teach this people, and to understand the spirit of prophesying, and yet desire to know of me what these things mean?" (v.25).

This leads Abinadi into scolding the priests for perverting the ways of the Lord and not applying their hearts to understanding. Abinadi turns the interrogation on them and continues to question them about the Law of Moses and why they have not kept it and taught the people correctly. He then pierces their heart by saying, "Yeah, ye know that I speak the truth; and you ought to tremble before God" (v.30).

This was a powerful sermon given by Abinadi to the servants/priests of King Noah who had not correctly taught the people. It's inspiring to me to see how the Lord strengthens his servants in the very hour they need it.... and he does the same with us. Even as a prisoner Abinadi finds the strength and conviction and words/strategy to turn the interrogation on the false priests in order to teach them and humble them. I know He can and does provide us with that same spirit and revelation in order to bring about His work. Such a powerful chapter. Reminds me of a few things I need to do:

1- Be well read in the scriptures so I can quote them, reference them, use their stories in conversations with others.
2- Be in tune with the Holy Ghost/spirit in order to gain revelation in the very hour of need.
3- To be BOLD in my speaking and questioning with others.... in a LOVING way.

I'm grateful for Abinadi and his powerful example.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Mosiah Chapter 10

King Laman dies - His people are wild and ferocious and believe in false traditions - Zeniff and his people prevail against them.

(1-2) "And I caused that there should be weapons of war made of every kind, that thereby I might have weapons for my people against the time the Lamanites should come up again to war against my people."  Zeniff doesn't say "if" they come, it sounds more like "when" they come. What would it be like to live in fear and constantly preparing for war? I am so grateful to live in such a big country that we can pretty much live in ignorance (not recommended ;-p) of the war outside of our communities, and feel safe. 

(4-5) The men raised grain and fruit and the women made cloth.

They lived in Peace for 22 years.

When King Laman died, his son became the new king and got the Lamanites riled up to war against Zeniff's people.

The women and children were hid in the wilderness and the rest of the men (old and young) joined the ranks. This would be so hard for me, as a mother and wife to send my boys and husband off to war! What faith those women had to have! Even if their side won the battle, there would undoubtedly be losses.  Hopefully the time will never come that I will have to send my boys to war (though I have a feeling I am raising little warriors). I draw strength knowing that there are Women of God who had enough faith to do what the Lord required of them.

v.11 - "... the Lamanites knew nothing concerning the Lord... therefore they depended on their own strength."

If you've read the Book of Mormon before, you know that this is only the beginning of the many many many wars to come. But there is a lesson to be learn about relying on ones own strength. It doesn't work near as well as relying on the Lord! It is proven time and time again!  I think this is so important to remember and teach our children! Not only in the case of wars, but in all we do!

v.12-16 The Lamanites believe in false traditions and are what they are because of the teachings and beliefs of their fathers (Laman, Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael). "they were wronged... they were wronged... they were wroth because they were wronged... " I don't know about you, but this sounds like a ZERO Accountability attitude to me! Blaming the Nephites (or Nephi) for all of their problems! That is no way to live!

v. 20-21 Zeniff's people defeat the Lamanites, and go back to their "chores".

Monday, June 8, 2009

Mosiah Ch. 9

Read it HERE.

Summary: Zeniff leads a group from Zarahemla to possess the land of Lehi-Nephi--The Lamanite king permits them to inherit the land—There is war between the Lamanites and Zeniff’s people. About 200—187 B.C.

In case any of you are like me and need to see the lineage written out, here is the order of the kings we will be reading about:

In the land of Zarahemla (north):
Mosiah I
Benjamin (Mosiah I's son)
Mosiah II (Benjamin's son)

In the land of Lehi-Nephi (to the south):
Noah (Zeniff's son)
Limhi (Noah's son)

3 And yet, I being aover-zealous to inherit the land of our fathers, collected as many as were desirous to go up to possess the land, and started again on our bjourney into the wilderness to go up to the land; but we were smitten with famine and sore afflictions; for we were slow to remember the Lord our God.

Why doesn't Heavenly Father just send us an Angel every time we need to align our will with His? Wouldn't that make life a whole lot easier?

I think the answer is yes, it would make life easier, but only in the short-term. We all know we are not here for the short-term. We are here to be students to prepare for the long-term. What is a student without a course (the Gospel), without texts (scriptures), without tests (trials) of what we have learned for ourselves. What we experience here, while important, will not seem long once we are at the end of it. We will struggle with some things our entire lives here on earth, and some of these things will be as difficult as we could possibly bear. But our worry can ease by knowing two things:

1) The Lord is always mindful of us, knows us better than we know ourselves, knows exactly the pain we are going through, and still lets us experience these things.

2) If we continually try to endure in righteousness, it will always, always, always, be worth it in the end.

17 Yea, in the astrength of the Lord did we go forth to battle against the Lamanites; for I and my people did cry mightily to the Lord that he would bdeliver us out of the hands of our enemies, for we were awakened to a remembrance of the deliverance of our fathers.

18 And God did ahear our cries and did answer our prayers; and we did go forth in his might; yea, we did go forth against the Lamanites, and in one day and a night we did slay three thousand and forty-three; we did slay them even until we had driven them out of our land.

279 people were killed in these battles, and Zeniff helped bury them himself. If you had lost your husband in this battle, would you have felt that the Lord had answered your prayers? I am sure there were families at home praying for the safe return of their men. Maybe there were a few embittered women, but the majority of the people had gratitude in their hearts.

This made me think about the hardship the saints experienced while crossing the plains. I came across this touching quote (you can find it here.)

Mary Ann Jones described their arrival [to the salt lake valley]: “It was a day never to be forgotten. We had reached our goal, traveling on foot all of the way. … We had left comfortable homes, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, and friends all for our testimony of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and for the privilege of hearing a prophet’s voice and to live with the Saints of God. I have never regretted the trip.”

I was struck by how similarly we might express our journey in this life on earth once we get to the other side. We will never regret the trip. Never regret it.

Brigham Young said this about knowing the saints could find it within themselves to cross the plains:
"Many people have believed that they could not walk much of a distance, if they had to walk right along in a road, but this is not so. …

“I wanted to tell one secret. While those brethren and sisters were faltering, and did not know whether to stop or go along, there was faith in this valley that bound them to that journey. … That is the secret of the movement.”

And, one final quote (sorry!). This a pretty well-known one. I have been thinking about the pioneers because it has really hit me how similar our journey through life is to the journey the struggling handcart companies made. This is a beautiful quote and it really makes me examine my own experiences in a new way.

"A man who crossed the plains in the Martin handcart company lived in Utah for many years. One day he was in a group of people who began sharply criticizing the Church leaders for ever allowing the Saints to cross the plains with no more supplies or protection than a handcart company provided. The old man listened until he could stand no more; then he arose and said with great emotion:

“I was in that company and my wife was in it. … We suffered beyond anything you can imagine and many died of exposure and starvation, but did you ever hear a survivor of that company utter a word of criticism? … [We] came through with the absolute knowledge that God lives for we became acquainted with him in our extremities.

“I have pulled my handcart when I was so weak and weary from illness and lack of food that I could hardly put one foot ahead of the other. I have looked ahead and seen a patch of sand or a hill slope and I have said, I can go only that far and there I must give up, for I cannot pull the load through it. … I have gone on to that sand and when I reached it, the cart began pushing me. I have looked back many times to see who was pushing my cart, but my eyes saw no one. I knew then that the angels of God were there.

“Was I sorry that I chose to come by handcart? No. Neither then nor any minute of my life since. The price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay, and I am thankful that I was privileged to come in the Martin Handcart Company.” (find it here)


P.S. If you would like to read a touching account of Janetta Ann McBride's pioneer trek, go here. It is worth a read, and if you look, you can see a lot of parallels between her journey on the trek and our journey in this life.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Mosiah 8

In this chapter Ammon has been fully welcomed by the people of Zeniff and he basically fills them in on what they have missed. I really like that he made sure to relate to them the last address that King Benjamin gave. King Benjamin was not just their ruler, he was their prophet, and I think it definitely shows that Ammon had his priorities in order that the first thing he told the people was the most current word from the prophet.

I like that the people of Zeniff kept a record that Ammon was able to read. If you remember, the Mulekites, who came from Jerusalem just after Nephi and his family, did not keep records and by the time they were found, their language was completely different. But the people of Zeniff, even though they had periods of wickedness, had records, which speaks good things about them.

Limhi tells Ammon about their expedition to find Zarahemla in which they found a land of desolation and bones and retrieved the 24 Jaredite plates. Ammon is not able to translate them, but he knows that King Mosiah can.

They then have an interesting discussion about whether a seer is greater than a prophet. Limhi thinks so, but Ammon says that a seer is a revelator and prophet too, and that no one could have greater gifts than that. I think that's cool to think that our prophet and apostles have the greatest of God's gifts. It definitely makes sense, since they are his most trusted servants here on earth.


Friday, June 5, 2009

Mosiah 7

Summary: Ammon finds the land of Lehi-Nephi where Limhi is king—Limhi’s people are in bondage to the Lamanites—Limhi recounts their history—A prophet (Abinadi) had testified that Christ is the God and Father of all things—Those who sow filthiness reap the whirlwind, and those who put their trust in the Lord shall be delivered. About 121 B.C.

So after a few years of peace, Mosiah is anxious to know about the people who went up to the land of Lehi-Nephi. He sent 16 of his strong men to travel. Now they did not know exactly where to go so they wandered for 40 days. (40 is an interesting number as it pertains to wandering, don't you think?) :)

Then they finally came to a city and four men went down unto it. They just happened to run into the king and his guards, who took them and cast them into prison for two days. (I wonder why, if the king was so curious as to who they were, did he wait for 2 days? He must have been busy with something.)

Anyway, after that the king told them that he had spared their lives because he wanted to know who they were. When they all finally realized that the men had come from Zarahemla and that Limhi was the grandson of Zeniff, they rejoiced. It must have been exciting for them to all realize that both communities were alive.

The people of Limhi were currently under bondage to the Lamanites and had to pay a grievous tax. But now, they had hope of being delivered from bondage.

Limhi gathered the people the next day to the temple. Isn't that great? They gathered at the temple. What does that tell us? That we can learn great things there? That we must always be worthy to gather at the temple at a moment's notice?

He spoke to the people and recounted a bit of their history - that they were in bondage because the people had not been righteous. They had even slain a prophet - Abinidi.

(I'm excited to go back in time and read about Noah, and Abinidia, and Alma. Such great stories with great teachings.)

The people are reaping the punishments that came from sowing sins. But Limhi gives them hope. He ends with:
33 But if ye will aturn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and put your trust in him, and serve him with all bdiligence of mind, if ye do this, he will, according to his own will and pleasure, deliver you out of bondage.

Now if you are all confused (as is easy to be) about all the travels of the different groups of Nephites, here is a little bit of help for ya.

Using the map “Significant Journeys in the Book of Mormon” locate the city of Zarahemla (A) and Zeniff’s colony in the land of Lehi-Nephi (B). Also locate the following journeys between Zarahemla and the land of Lehi-Nephi:

The ill-fated expedition (1)
Zeniff’s expedition (2)
The expedition of forty-three men to find Zarahemla (3)
Alma’s escape (4) to the Waters of Mormon (C) and the establishment of the city of Helam (E)
Ammon’s expedition to find Zeniff’s colony (5)
Limhi’s escape to Zarahemla (6)
Alma’s escape to Zarahemla (7)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Mosiah 6

Read HERE.

Summary: King Benjamin records the names of the people and appoints priests to teach them—Mosiah reigns as a righteous king. About 124—121 B.C.

I find it extremely interesting that after preaching and teaching and committing the people, King Benjamin felt impressed to record the names of those who entered into a covenant with God to keep His commandments. In reality this does occur quite literally when we are baptized members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and take His name upon us and covenant to always remember Him.... those actions are recorded in the Book of Life by the angels in heaven. But I am pretty sure (and hopeful) the last "post" about my commitment and covenants to my Heavenly Father was not on my 8th birthday (the day I was baptized). Hopefully the angels have found more recent actions of mine worthy to enter in that same book (i.e.- a fortified testimony, receiving my own endowment in the temple, my temple sealing/marriage, the birth/blessings of my children, each testimony I bear, the times I re-commit to my covenants during weekly sacrament meeting, my daily actions, etc.)

In this chapter all the people (except little children) were seen to have covenanted with God. I can't imagine what that would FEEL like to live among such a Christlike/God-fearing community. Then again, I think that is how it feels when I attend church and am surrounded by other members, especially other mothers who keep the same schedule/agenda I do. (i.e.- YOU LADIES).

Mosiah thoughtfully prepares for his own death by consecrating his son Mosiah to be the next ruler over the people, giving him all the charges concerning the kingdom. He then appoints priests to teach the people (stir them up to remember their covenants), and then DISMISSES the multitude unto their own homes.

Hereafter Mosiah's son, Mosiah, begins to reign and after 3 years Mosiah the elder dies (about 121 B.C. or 479 years after Lehi left Jerusalem). King Mosiah continued to walk in the ways of the Lord and (I love this... something I'm dying to work on when I move into my new house):

vs 7 - And king Mosiah did cause his people that they should till the earth. And he also, himself, did till the earth, that thereby he might anot become burdensome to his people, that he might do according to that which his father had done in all things. And there was no contention among all his people for the space of three years.

Isn't it interesting how Mosiah himself tilled the earth (gardened/farmed) along with the people, in order not to be a burden to his people..... he didn't want them waiting on him, he got down and worked along side them. This reminds me of the work ethic/love of our modern-day prophets. Kind of a fun note to end on. So, GET YOUR GARDEN IN!

Mosiah 5

Summary: The saints become the sons and daughters of Christ through faith—They are then called by the name of Christ—King Benjamin exhorts them to be steadfast and immovable in good works. About 124 B.C.

I want to start off with the verse that hit me the strongest in this chapter: 13 "For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?"How can we know our Savior if we have not served him? How can we know our Savior if we never take the time in our day to do something that helps us turn our hearts and thoughts to Him? We are going to spend our entire lives trying to be more like Him and better understand and appreciate what He did for us and how He served while on this earth. At least, I feel that it will take a lifetime to try to perfect this. I just don't remember seeing it spelled out like this before: How can we know Him if we do not serve Him? There is a reason for all the commandments we are given. They are for the purpose of bringing us closer to Christ. And as King Benjamin says:
15 "Therefore, I would that ye should be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in good works, that Christ, the Lord God Omnipotent, may seal you his, that you may be brought to heaven, that ye may have everlasting salvation and eternal life, through the wisdom, and power, and justice, and mercy of him who created all things, in heaven and in earth, who is God above all. Amen."

The rest of this chapter focuses on the great change of heart that the people experience after listening to and internalizing King Benjamin's sermon.
2 "And they all cried with one voice, saying: Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually."
I can't help but think of the countless times I have felt this way after going to church or listening to conference or studying the words of the prophets. But we must do more than feel. We must act on those feelings. Don't just make empty promises to yourself or to the Lord. Follow through. Change your life or your course. Incorporate what you learn actively into your life. I'm telling myself this more than anyone else, but I think that it is such an important principle that will help us progress daily. And I also feel like I should add: Never underestimate the power of sharing your testimony. We hesitate mostly out of fear of any number of things. And when we do get up the courage to share our testimony, we may not feel like it made that much of a difference to that person or group. But I truly feel that, in the long run, sharing your testimony will help you and will plant seeds in the hearts of those with whom you share it. Good will come from it, even if it doesn't happen immediately. Look at the difference that King Benjamin made in the lives of thousands of people! If he can do it, why can't we? That is why we are here now!


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Mosiah 4

I love King Benjamin's address! Don't miss out - make sure you Read it!

Here are some notes I jotted down"

v.2 less than the dust of the earth, 5 nothingness and worthless and fallen state, 11 unworthy creatures (insulting?! maybe. but it is what it is. This is a good test to see how humble we are... how would you react to being called  these things?)

v.6 "...the atonement which has been prepared from the foundation of the world, that thereby salvation might come to him that put his trust in the Lord, and should be diligent in keeping his commandments and continue in the faith even unto the end of his life..."

v.9& 10... Believe:

  • in God;
  • that He is, and that he created all things both in heaven and in earth;
  • that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth;
  • that man doth not comprehend all things which the Lord can comprehend.
  • that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you (v.10)

"...and now, if you believe all these things, see that ye do them." (10)

I love finding if/then promises in the scriptures... like this one:

v.11 If you...

  • Remember the... greatness of God
  • Humble yourself
  • Call on the name of the Lord daily
  • Stand steadfast in the faith

v.12 Then, "ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true."

v 16-23 King Benjamin talks about helping those who are in need of help. How we are not to judge, and we should impart of our substances. "For behold, are we not all abeggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?"19

I think this is a very very important principle that we too often forget. It is the tool of the devil to use prosperity to cause pride and cause us to neglect the second great commandment "Love they neighbor as thyself." Which goes back to what Elise said yesterday about why we do what we do. We have to be careful not to judge other that choose differently than we do!

I am guilty of judging, and while reading this got a "reality check" and realized how much I need to improve. Maybe this was for me!?

I found verse 27 comforting: "And see that all these things are done in wisdom and aorder; for it is not requisite that a man should run bfaster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize..." We shouldn't fool ourselves into thinking we can do more than we really can because we will end up burnt out and will more than likely be less of a help to those who need us.

Wow, and verse 30 "But this much I can tell you, that if ye do not awatch yourselves, and your bthoughts, and your cwords, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and dcontinue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish. And now, O man, remember, and perish not."

Remembering the things we hear and learn is the key.

-I am so glad to be doing this again! Thanks, ladies!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Mosiah Ch. 3--Finishing Up King Benjamin's Address

Read it HERE.

Summary: King Benjamin continues his address--The Lord Omnipotent shall minister among men in a tabernacle of clay--Blood shall come from every pore as he atones for the sins of the world--His is the only name whereby salvation comes--Men can put off the natural man and become saints through the atonement--The torment of the wicked shall be as a lake of fire and brimstone.

There are a couple of things I'd like to point out in this chapter. I'm sure most of you noticed the same things, so feel free to leave comments and add your thoughts. Mine are somewhat incomplete this week.

Verses 5-10 talk about Christ's mission. The Angel who gave King Benjamin this message was very specific in saying that this was a message "of great joy" (v. 3). This is a little interesting because the verses deal a lot with the difficult things Christ will go through--he will experience all kinds of pain and temptation; he will be salvation for all mankind, yet people will still say he is only a man (and even that he "has a devil"). However, verse 10 talks about how Christ will rise from the dead, and that all these things were done so it is possible for mankind to be judged righteously.

Elder Hales said this (it is long, but good):

“What we must remember about the Savior is that He and He alone had the power to lay down His life and take it up again. He had the ability to die from His mortal mother, Mary, and the ability to overcome death from His immortal Father. Our Savior, Jesus Christ, went willingly and deliberately to His death, having told His followers that this would happen. Why? one might ask. The answer: to give immortality to all mankind and the promise of eternal life to those who believed in Him (see John 3:15), to give His own life for a ransom for others (see Matthew 20:28), to overcome Satan’s power, and to make it possible for sins to be forgiven. Without Jesus’ Atonement, there would be an impassable barrier between God and mortal men and women. When we comprehend the Atonement, we remember Him with awe and gratitude” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1997, 34; or Ensign, Nov. 1997, 26)

Another thing I thought about a lot in this chapter is the concept of the natural man. I think we're all familiar with verse 19, the one that says, "The natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam."

There is a lot we could go into from that sentence, but what I have been thinking about lately is this verse in relation to verses 14 and 15:

"The Lord God saw that his people were a stiffnecked people, and he appointed unto them a law, even the law of Moses."

". . .[God's people] hardened their hearts, and understood not that the law of Moses availeth nothing except it were through the atonement of His blood."

This was important to me because it made me consider my reasons for following not only the commandments, but the little things that aren't expressly outlined in the scriptures. Take the intake of caffeine, for example. Why have I made the choice to not drink caffeine? Is it because it is a "tradition" in my family? Do I do it while frowning upon those who do not make the same choice as me? What is worse, "breaking" this "rule" or having pride against those who do? Do I follow this "rule" because I feel it is important or because I am only concerned with it as a rule, for the sake of following rules?

This is a very minor example, but it really got me thinking.

When I consider the commandments Heavenly Father has given us, I realize that almost all of them have to do with overcoming the natural man. Why is this? After a little thought, I think a lot of it has to do with the way we can become close to Heavenly Father. We cannot be physically close to Him at this time, hence our trial of faith in this life. So how can we prepare ourselves to be close to Him spiritually? By exercising our spiritual capabilities. So really, following the commandments will bring us closer to Heavenly Father because we are strengthening our spiritual side and making ourselves less reliant on our physical side. I think we can really only do this when we follow the commandments because we have a testimony of the principles, rather than doing them because we think we are supposed to. This is similar to fasting--if we focus on the deprivation of food rather than the increase in spirit and prayer for a certain purpose, our fast is not doing us extra good.

"The natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of tho Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and beconeth as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father."

It's a good reminder. It's a good thing we have small children in our houses so we can remember the good qualities we need to exercise!

What thoughts did you have on this chapter?