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Friday, October 2, 2009

Helaman 11

Nephi persuades the Lord to replace their war with a famine—Many people perish—They repent, and Nephi importunes the Lord for rain—Nephi and Lehi receive many revelations—The Gadianton robbers entrench themselves in the land. Between 20 and 7 B.C.

This chapter is yet another example of the Pride Cycle cycling over and over and over again. When I was younger, I used to wonder why there were so many chapters like this in the Book of Mormon. These chapters didn't seem to have "quotable" scriptures and neat stories to repeat. It wasn't until later that I realized that even though these people lived much before our time, we can learn from them. With scriptures like this we can start to recognize the world that we live in and the pride cycles we are going through. As I grow up, this cycle becomes more and more apparent to me.

Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles lamented mankind’s failure to break outof negative cycles: (in Conference Report, Oct. 1992, 19;or Ensign, Nov. 1992, 16). Surely the Lord has placed these obvious patterns of behavior in scripture for ourbenefit, to help us avoid the same problems in our own lives (see D&C 52:14–19).

3 And it came to pass that in this year Nephi did cry unto the Lord, saying:

4 O Lord, do not suffer that this people shall be destroyed by the sword; but O Lord, rather let there be a famine in the land, to stir them up in remembrance of the Lord their God, and perhaps they will repent and turn unto thee.

And so it was done. A famine came upon the land, and the work of destruction did cease by the sword, but became sore by famine.

7 And it came to pass that the people saw that they were about to perish by famine, and they began to remember the Lord their God; and they began to remember the words of Nephi.

9 ......when Nephi saw that the people had repented and did humble themselves in sackcloth, he cried again unto the Lord, saying:

10 O Lord, behold this people repenteth; and they have swept away the band of Gadianton from amongst them insomuch that they have become extinct, and they have concealed their secret plans in the earth.

11 Now, O Lord, because of this their humility wilt thou turn away thine anger, and let thine anger be appeased in the destruction of those wicked men whom thou hast already destroyed.

12 O Lord, wilt thou turn away thine anger, yea, thy fierce anger, and cause that this famine may cease in this land.

13 O Lord, wilt thou hearken unto me, and cause that it may be done according to my words, and send forth rain upon the face of the earth, that she may bring forth her fruit, and her grain in the season of grain.

14 O Lord, thou didst hearken unto amy words when I said, Let there be a famine, that the pestilence of the sword might cease; and I know that thou wilt, even at this time, hearken unto my words, for thou saidst that: If this people repent I will spare them.

15 Yea, O Lord, and thou seest that they have repented, because of the famine and the pestilence and destruction which has come unto them.

16 And now, O Lord, wilt thou turn away thine anger, and try again if they will serve thee? And if so, O Lord, thou canst bless them according to thy words which thou hast said.

You know what this reminded me of? It actually reminded me of September 11th. When our whole nation stopped and turned to God. It was a tragic time, and a spiritual time. At this time of our suffering, our Prophet also prayed to Heaven Father. His prayer is recorded:

“O God, our Eternal Father, . . . whose children we are, we look to Thee in faith in this dark and solemn time. Please, dear Father, bless us with faith. Bless us with love. Bless us with charity in our hearts. Bless us with a spirit of perseverance to root out the terrible evils that are in this world. Give protection and guidance tothose who are engaged actively in carrying forth thet hings of battle. Bless them; preserve their lives; save them from harm and evil. Hear the prayers of their loved ones for their safety. . . .“O Father, look with mercy upon this, our own nation, and its friends in this time of need. Spare us and helpus to walk with faith ever in Thee and ever in Thy Beloved Son, on whose mercy we count and to whom we look as our Savior and our Lord. Bless the causeof peace and bring it quickly to us again, we humbly plead with Thee, asking that Thou wilt forgive our arrogance, pass by our sins, be kind and gracious to us, and cause our hearts to turn with love toward Thee. We humbly pray in the name of Him who loves us all, even the Lord Jesus Christ, our Redeemer and our Savior, amen” (in Conference Report, Oct. 2001, 112; orEnsign, Nov. 2001, 90).

Back to the seventy and sixth year....The Lord heard the prayer of Nephi and turned away his anger from the people.

I have always felt awe, peace, appreciation, and gratitude that God is such a loving and Forgiving God. We just need to turn to Him, ask for his forgiveness, and we are sincere, it's done. Even when He should probably hold a grudge! I stand all amazed at the love....

So.. the people began to prosper again! Yet... it only lasted about three years! In time, the Gadianton robbers were built up again. I don't think history will ever get rid of them.

33 Yea, for they did visit many parts of the land, and did do great destruction unto them; yea, did kill many, and did carry away others captive into the wilderness, yea, and more especially their women and their children.

34 Now this great evil, which came unto the people because of their iniquity, did stir them up again in remembrance of the Lord their God.

36 And in the eighty and second year they began again to forget the Lord their God. And in the eighty and third year they began to wax strong in iniquity. And in the eighty and fourth year they did not mend their ways.

37 And it came to pass in the *eighty and fifth year they did wax stronger and stronger in their pride, and in their wickedness; and thus they were ripening again for destruction.

38 And thus ended the eighty and fifth year.

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