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Showing posts from 2011

"Who Shall Declare His Generation?" Mosiah 15:10-17

Mosiah 15:10-17

Abinadi explains how those who access Christ's atonement by making his soul an offering for their sins, these are they who become his seed, or as King Benjamin had put it, the children of Christ.

I have had a struggle with these verses this morning. I read and reread verses 10 and 11 about 10 to 15 times this morning. I was trying to look at it from the roll of the believer, then I tried to understand the role of the Lord, but that wasn't what the Lord wanted me to understand this time. Feeling rather distraught about the lack of spiritual information being communicated, I realized that there is one other perspective that could be taken: the role of the prophets. For without the instructive words of the prophets, there is nothing for the children of men to exercise their faith upon, to the end that they might apply the atoning blood of Christ and become heirs of salvation.

Thus Abinadi's question, or  Isaiah's question:  who shall declare his generation?…

"God Himself Shall Come Down... and Shall Redeem His People," Mosiah 15:1-10

Mosiah 15:1-10

Immediately after quoting this extended passage from Isaiah, Abinadi explains that "God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people." This one statement puts to an end the ambiguity, and confusion of religion and gives me a clear and direct line of belief. This is the what and the why of my belief.

Verses 2 - 5 cannot be lightly passed over because they offer profound context for one of the greatest theological mysteries of our times. Especially helpful are the footnotes which reference a multitude of other scriptural sources that state the same thing: that Christ is one God, the Son of God and the Eternal Father of heaven and earth. 

The verses leading up to verse 8 demonstrate how Christ was able to overcome and break the bands of death. It impresses me that this is as much in reference to the spiritual death as it is to the physical death. Verse 9 puts it in these terms: "having broken the bands of death, taken upon him…

"A Man of Sorrows, and Aquainted with Grief," Mosiah 14

Mosiah 14

I am memorizing this entire chapter. I already had it committed to memory at one point in my past. Having done so, has made it very familiar to me as I read through it again. As I have read though the chapter again those feelings of familiarity seem to also be reminders of Savior's friendship and concern for each of us.

It is an interesting thing to contemplate that in the equity of the Lord's plan, relatively very few ever had the opportunity to know Christ during His mortal ministry. Perhaps a lie of the adversary is that thought that had we been alive and know Christ personally, intimately, then we would believe and have as much conviction as the apostles of Christ did.

However, I wonder how I would have responded to Christ if my first interaction with Him would have been to meet him personally in mortality. Without any knowledge of the plan of God, or being subject wholly to the tendencies of the natural man, I fear that I would (as would probably many others) disco…

"In Remembrance of God and Their Duty Towards Him," Mosiah 13:27-35

Mosiah 13:27-35

This is to me a very striking revelation, and leaves me appreciating the purpose for the law of Moses: to keep the people in remembrance of their God and their duty towards Him. So striking to me is this at this moment in time where I'm considering Priesthood duties and responsibilities, that it almost causes me to wonder why it was ever taken away. The remembrance of our God and our duties towards Him are of paramount importance in matters of salvation and enduring to the end. However, without a knowledge and proper understanding of the atonement of Christ, these reminders and the whole law has no significance. Moses understood this though when he gave the law.
For behold, did not Moses prophesy unto them concerning the coming of the Messiah, and that God should redeem his people? Yea, and even all the prophets who have prophesied ever since the world began—have they not spoken more or less concerning these things? (vs. 33)   Now perhaps I've come across as to…

"The Commandments of God... Written in your Hearts," Mosiah 13:11-26

Mosiah 13:11-26

Abinadi proceeds to recount the remainder of the Ten Commandments. He says that he is doing so because it was his perception that the commandments were not written in their hearts. For the benefit of review, I will proceed to list and discuss the remaining eight commandments:
"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image." The Lord's explanation for the purpose of this commandment is to not deviate from the true form of worship. Praying to idols, or rendering service to them is grievous to the Lord. So He reminds us that so doing will bring upon us the judgments of God unto both us and our children even up until our great-grandchildren. There is a blessing to those that are obedient as well, and that is that mercy is extended to those who love God. "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain." The Lord goes on to explain that those who do take the Lord's name in vain will be found guiltless. Why? To use the name of Diety as a f…

"With Power and Authority from God," Mosiah 13:1-10

Mosiah 13:1-10

King Noah commands at the start of this chapter that Abinadi be taken, bound, and put away. The king discounted the prophet as a mad man, stating that he had no more business with this "fellow." Perhaps, but really what seems to be going on here is that Noah is being reminded of things that he already knows to be wrong.

What is most fascinating about these verses is the power of the priesthood authority that is manifested as Abinadi uses it to deliver the message which he was sent to give. Guards attempt to lay hands upon him to take him away. He withstands them with words, the words of God, and it is so profoundly received that they who should have taken him away will not touch him. Later, his countenance begins to shine "with exceeding luster, even as Moses’ did while in the mount of Sinai, while speaking with the Lord."

Once Abinadi comes to realize that he has a captive audience, or that they cannot prevail against him at that time, Abinadi helps t…

"If Ye Keep the Commandments of God, Ye Shall Be Saved," Mosiah 12:33-37

Mosiah 12:33-37

A review of the ten commandments would seem to be a bit elementary for this seasoned student of the scriptures. Yet, I am finding that I cannot casually gloss over them.

Abinadi introduces the ten commandments as a starting point of "common" ground. Not that the priests of Noah were teaching or applying such principles, but it was familiar to them, or would be once Abinadi reminded them of it.

Abinadi presents the first two commandments to prove to these priests their deviation from the commandments of God.
Thou shalt have no other God before me. (Notably distinct from the Exodus translation wherein it reads "gods.") Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing in heaven above, or things which are in the earth beneath.I find it interesting that when the Lord gave these commandments to Moses, he prefaced them with a reminder to remember their deliverance from bondage. Gratitude for blessings received is a powerful motivato…

"Are Ye Priests?" Mosiah 12:25-32

Mosiah 12:25-32

This stirring rebuke that I have chosen as title for this entry causes me to reflect upon my own ministry/stewardship. I appreciate that in Abinadi's probings there is an inherent understanding of the duties and responsibilities which accompany the office and calling of a servant of the Lord. What is even more interesting are the first two points of expectation that he hold for these pretended priests: 1) He expects them to teach. 2) He expects them to understand the spirit of prophecy.

What follows is then something of a checklist of pitfalls to avoid as a priest or minister of God's children:
Observe your own teachings. Be not a hypocrite. Do not set your hearts upon riches. Do not waste your strength in riotous living. Do not cause those who follow you to sin because of your unrighteousness. As I contemplate this situation further, Abinadi is talking to them as if they had been ordained ministers of God. He is ignoring the fact that their appointment was entir…

"How Beautiful Upon the Mountains," Mosiah 12:20-24

Mosiah 12:20-24

The verses quoted in this section are taken from Isaiah 52:7-10.  In context, I have to remind myself that these priests that quoted them where utterly clueless on the very points of doctrine that make this verse of scripture so rich in meaning and significance. Perhaps they used this passage of scripture through some gross distortion of it, as justification for their vain and pacifying promises to the people of Noah.

But oh how beautiful and rich in symbolism is the true meaning of these verses. There is a verse of one of our hymns ("Come, Ye Disconsolate") that concludes with this line: "Earth has no sorrow that heav’n cannot heal." I feel that the significance of these verses is in the reality of that statement.

As I work through these verses, I am asking myself why are these verses so significant and reassuring at the same time. What follows is a personal Q and A relative to the verses quoted from Isaiah.
What is the significance of being in the mou…

"And They Began to Question Him," Mosiah 12:17-19

Mosiah 12:17-19

There is a footnote in verse 19 on the word "withstand," stating that Abinadi was able to withstand all the wicked priests' questions. The footnote leads to Doctrine and Covenants 100:5-6 which describes the spiritual gift used by Abinadi. In my opinion, this requires a great deal of faith to execute:
Therefore, verily I say unto you, lift up your voices unto this people; speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and you shall not be confounded before men;
For it shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say. How do I keep myself in such a mood of Spiritual discernment that I may be able to hear the Spirit whispering to my heart? There is more to this instruction, because I find myself this morning asking if I have ever been able to do this: to speak in the very moment that it is needed. There are a few choice experiences where in capacity as a ward missionary I have been blessed to do so. I suppose I was conscien…

"What Great Evil Hast Thou Done?" Mosiah 12:9-16

Mosiah 12:9-16

It is a common attitude among the wicked to deny their wickedness. I've cross referenced a couple of other scriptures on verse 14 for the term "guiltless" where people are found to take the same stance.

This causes me to ask myself, what is the difference between a wicked and righteous individual. The wicked will profess their perfection and guiltless state. The wicked will ask questions such as "What great evil [have we] done?" (vs. 13) or "How knowest though that we have cause for repentance?" (Alma 21:6). In all cases they are in complete denial of any wrong  doing on their part.

Contrast this with attitude of the truly righteous, who in other terms are also called "the truly penitent and humble seeker of happiness". (See Alma 27:18). In Luke 7, the centurion who seeks the Savior to heal one of his servants, says "Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof:" (Luke 7:6) Je…

"Thus Hath the Lord Commanded Me," Mosiah 12:1-8

Mosiah 12:1-8

This is a good case study in what it means to have a hardened heart. This is important to properly understand the relationship between us and the Lord, because to have a hardened heart is essentially to have withdrawn from the presence and the Spirit of the Lord.We cut off the lifeline of Life, our relationship to the Divine, and attempt to take salvation into our own hands, which is hopelessly impossible.

The Lord doesn't offer more than a second chance to these people who are already deeply engulfed in sin. Pestilence, plagues, and destruction are prophesied of in these verses. Then at the end of this prophecy, Abinadi explains that if there is no repentance that the only thing that will be left of their people is a record which will stand as a witness of their destruction.

The first footnote in this chapter is on the word "prophecy" but it leads to the Topical Guide entry for "Missionary Work." At first glance, I asked myself, "What does this…

"A Man Among Them Whose Name Was Abinadi," Mosiah 11:20-29

Mosiah 11:20-29

These verses contain the account of Abinadi's first appearance to the people of King Noah. According to the record, Abinadi came from among this people. There is no mention of a family but I wonder if he is not leaving his family to accomplish this great assignment.

Though King Noah plays complete ignorance to the acknowledgement that there is a God, Abinadi's words from the Lord clearly demonstrates that there is a vested interest that the Lord has in this particular people. The Lord refers to the people of Noah as "my people" (vs. 22). There must have been a covenant in place between the people of Zeniff and the Lord for the Lord to acknowledge them as such. They must have been a God-fearing people before the reign of Noah.

The harshness of the prophecy is another reason that I am concluding that there were covenants and righteousness before Noah.The greater the sins, the more extreme requirements for repentance, such as girding one's self in sackc…

"He Did not Keep the Commandments of God," Mosiah 11:1-19

Mosiah 11: 1-19

This simple phrase that explains the deviation of King Noah from the truth is a double-edged accusation. A footnote in verse 2 compares King Noah to Jeraboam of the Old Testament who caused the children of Israel to sin. Noah's deviation is just that. Clearly, we must assume that King Noah is not ignorantly sinning. He was the son of Zeniff and grew up in his household. Beyond this, he took a people, who previous to this had learned to fear God and to recognize the strength of the Lord in protecting them from their enemies, and had altered the affairs of the kingdom to support his wickedness.

Perhaps the most telling part of this account are the verses that relate their attitude towards the conflict with the Lamanites, when they came back victorious from fighting the Lamanites this time, they were boastful of their own strength, and blood thirsty. (Verse 19 attributes this fully to the wickedness of the king and the priests.) Boasting and blood thirsty, both are diab…

"Believing in the Traditions of thier Fathers," Mosiah 10

Mosiah 10

Work leads to prosperity. In the first few verses of this chapter, Zeniff explains how he gave his men the assignment of farming the land, while the woman had the assignment of producing clothing. Because of this work, they were led to "prosper in the land."(vs. 5)

The bulk of the chapter has to do with their preparations for war and the war that was fought. Now it is fair to note that during the 35 years or so that have been accounted for of Zeniff's reign that there had only been two conflicts with the Lamanites. As I read this even from Zeniff's own account, I keep thinking to myself, if only they had stayed in Zarahemla, they would have had peace. I don't know if this a productive line of thought though. What was done was done. However, it is only two generation later that the ultimate solution to their conflicts with the Lamanites is to leave and make the trip back to Zarahemla.

On the other hand, there are great leaders for the future church, and f…

"In the Strength of the Lord," Mosiah 9:3-19

Mosiah 9:3-19

A twelve year span is found in these verses. It is curious to note that Zeniff recognizes that he was too zealous to possess the land of Lehi-Nephi. He also makes note of their afflictions in the wilderness as being caused by their neglect in forgetting the Lord, the source of their strength. 12 years of prosperity pass after this. Then are they brought to a moment of crisis as they are brought into battle against the Lamanites. Their approach to this conflict is much different however, for they called upon the Lord for strength, and this time he heard their prayers.

Really they shouldn't have gone back to the land of Lehi-Nephi. But the Lord who is merciful, when they sincerely turned to Him for strength, gave them power over their enemies. This is a God of mercy.

"When I Saw that Which Was Good," Mosiah 9:1-2

Mosiah 9:1-2

I find this chapter very interesting for several reasons. Zeniff became leader of a people that returned to the land of Lehi-Nephi. We learn however from the first account given of this group over in Omni 1:27-29 that Zeniff wasn't the first leader of this group, but that it was a stiff-necked individual that caused them to fight amongst themselves. With both references in context, it appears that their purpose in going back up to the land of Nephi-Lehi was so that they could possess the land. One leader sought to do it contentiously. He was destroyed. The next (Zeniff) sought an agreement or treaty with Lamanites. Neither worked in the end, but the latter did give them a season of peace and prosperity.

So as a spy, Zeniff was part of an army that was commanded to destroy the Lamanites. When he saw that which was good among them, he had no desire to destroy them. However, his leader commanded that Zeniff should also be killed for his opinion. A great battle resulted am…

"A Seer... Revelator and Prophet," Mosiah 8

Mosiah 8

It is interesting that Ammon was called upon to relate to the people of Limhi all that had happened in the Zarahemla. Not only that, but he was also able to declare unto them the words of king Benjamin. This reminded me of a recent visit where we were talking about prophets and how it is that we have a living prophet today. The natural question that followed was, "What has the prophet said today?" It was my responsibility to relate from memory the most recent words of the prophet. Do I really recognize the great blessing that it is to have a prophet among the people of the Church?

After the meeting with the people of Limhi, the chapter goes on to relate a discussion between the king and Ammon. Limhi asks him if he is able to translate some records that his people had obtained. Why did Limhi ask Ammon if he could translate? Perhaps it was because of the power of the words that had been delivered to his people concerning the history of Zarahelma and the words of king Be…

"Put Your Trust in God," Mosiah 7:14-33

Mosiah 7:14-33

There have been just a few thoughts regarding bondage and spiritual slavery as I've reviewed these verses in English. It seems that in many cases spiritual bondage as a result of sin precedes physical bondage or limitation in one form or another. Other times, physical limitations or disabilities are not the direct result of sin, but to teach us the difference between the physical and the spiritual. Indeed, the physical can be severely handicapped, while the spiritual side of our beings is allowed to grow and flourish.

The essence of a vibrant spirit is one that has complete trust in God and is completely, unconditionally filled with the love of God and love of our fellow man. This can be misunderstood as naivety or plain foolishness by our mortal capacities. But make no mistake, one who can freely forgive and love without condition is free from a host of spiritual limitations.

In theses verses, king Limhi counsels his people to prepare to leave the land of Nephi. The d…

"If Ye Had Known Me," Mosiah 7:6-13

Mosiah 7:6-13

These verses relate how Ammon and his brethren were taken and imprisoned. I am impressed by the attitude of Ammon in these circumstances.  In verse 13, he says that if the king had known Ammon and his brethren, he would not have permitted that they suffered in prison. This is the Spirit of peace and it avoids contention. Ammon was possessor of this Spirit.

"They Wandered Many Days in the Wilderness," Mosiah 7:1-5

Mosiah 7:1-5

In all reality, these verses at the beginning of this chapter would have no significance to me, if it where not for the circumstances that I find myself in at present. Ammon and the other members of his company wondered without direction for forty days (verse 4). On occasion, we receive commandments that require that we go out into the wilderness without direction. We don't know how to fulfill the commandment, but we go anyways.

This is contrary to the line of thought we should wait to keep the commandments until we have received direction from the Spirit as to how to keep the commandments. Even more common is the thought that we should wait until circumstances are better or more convenient to keep the commandments. Many times, the essential guiding influence that we need to keep the commandments doesn't come until after we have started to do so.

"A Covenant with God," Mosiah 6

Mosiah 6

At the beginning of the chapter, "king Benjamin thought it was expedient... that he should take the names of all those who had entered into a covenant with God to keep his commandments." There is a footnote that leads to Doctrine and Covenants 128:8 where it speaks of the relationship between records made on earth and records made in heaven. It impresses me, then, the importance of the priesthood in the maintenance of the records and ordinances of the Church.

The relationship of making covenants to keep the commandments is also noteworthy. To help the people in this covenant, Benjamin consecrated priests with the purpose of teaching the people how to continue keeping the commandments. It is curious that to assist in keeping the commandments, they made covenants.

I'm contemplating the process in which one arrives at that point of wanting to make a covenant to keep the commandments. This can only happen when one has listened to the words of Christ, whether from hea…

Mosiah 5

Mosiah 5

This particular chapter has impacted me in a particularly personal way. I've taken a few personal notes, but have otherwise chosen not to publish a blog post about this particular chapter. Thank you.

"All Things Must Be Done in Order," Mosiah 4:24-30

Mosiah 4:24-30

In these verse, King Benjamin has a few more words to say in regards to caring for the poor. These words however are curious in that he is addressing those who are poor (in material goods) and how they ought to approach charitable giving. He concludes that group of verses by say that "all things should be done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man run faster than he has strength." He goes on to say that diligence is required, concluding that "all things must be done in order." (verse 27)

At the end of the chapter, King Benjamin makes an impassioned plea to avoid sin in all its forms. The responsibility is ultimately individual. "Watch yourselves." The footnote leads to Deuteronomy 4:9(6-9), wherein Moses is reminding the children of Israel the distinct advantage that they have over all other nations. He asks them, "For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things t…

"No Interest in the Kingdom of God," Mosiah 4:16-23

Mosiah 4:16-23

On the topic of charitable giving, these verses address erroneous attitudes towards the poor.

It is commonplace, at least in my own experience, to rationalize away every petition for charitable assistance. There are some interesting diagnosis of this type of attitude. What strikes me as even more profoundly important is that an attitude of neglect towards the poor is in direct defiance to the work of God:
"Whosoever [jugdeth the poor] the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God." (vs. 18, emphasis added)"Whoso mocketh the poor reproacheth his Maker: and he that is glad at calamities shall not be unpunished." (Proverbs 17:5, emphasis added)Isaiah 58 is for me one of the most inspiring chapters on charitable giving that is found in holy writ, for it helps me to see the blessing or the fruits that come from engaging in such activities. One of the…

"Ye will... have a mind... to live peacably," Mosiah 4:13-15

Mosiah 4:13-15

There are indicators in the Gospel of Jesus Christ that allow us to gauge our spiritual progress. These verses from Mosiah are particularly useful for such measurement. What is difficult, however, is to find the motivation to change what doesn't line up with these standards.

The Savior's beatitude in Matthew 5:6 is a starting point.  "Blessed are those that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled." Those that desire it, that hunger and thirst for righteousness, they are they that are filled and find even that which they were not looking for. As I have visited with those around me and as I consider my own exertions to change and repent, I realize that this is indeed very hard to do.

However, in the realization that most often we are naturally inclined to turn away from repentance and change, I am coming to realize how a young high councilor once was able to encourage me to make sure I was working as hard as I could. It seemed to me …

"The Knowledge of the Goodness of God," Mosiah 4:4-12

Mosiah 4:4-12

In verse 6, king Benjamin talks of an Atonement which had been prepared from the foundation of the world. There are two other prophets in the Book of Mormon that also make reference to this:
"...the redemption which he hath made for his people, which was prepared from the foundation of the world," (Mosiah 15:19)"...through the redemption of Christ, whom he has prepared from the foundation of the world."(Mosiah 18:13)How does this change my attitude or feelings towards the Atonement, knowing that it was prepared from the beginning of the world? In chapter 18, instead of saying the Atonement, Alma says it was Christ who was prepared to redeem us. How does this change my attitudes towards my Savior, knowing that he was the one who was prepared and did prepare to accomplish the Atonement on my behalf, and on behalf of all?

Verses 11 and 12 lead up to a prize which is beyond mortal comprehension. Throughout this group of verses, king Benjamin contrasts the no…

"A Remission of Their Sins," Mosiah 4: 1-3

Mosiah 4: 1-3

The effect of King Benjamin delivering the angelic message caused the fear of the Lord to come upon the people. (I am trying to imagine how this happened.) It impresses me that this happened at the end of Benjamin's lifetime and reign as king. His people must have already had a deep love, a profound sense of respect, and absolute trust toward him to allow themselves to be influenced in this manner. This too then is testament to a lifetime of diligent labors.

In verse 2, the people cry:
O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things; who shall come down among the children of men. 
This has always left me a little confused as to how this happened. How does a multitude of people "cry aloud with one voice?" Perhaps it was given them what to say? Or was it purely improvised?  Does it matter? …

"No More Blameless," Mosiah 3:20-27

Mosiah 3:20-27

This is about faith and repentance. The time will come when everyone will be required to exercise faith on the Lord Jesus Christ or perish... there will be no more blameless, except those that King Benjamin had already addressed earlier in this chapter.

Because the words which King Benjamin had shared with his people, they had become subject to the demands of justice. And every one of them were to be judged according to their works whether they be good or whether they be evil. (see 22-24)

Verses 25 to 27 address the horrible state of they that are evil. It impresses me that it is the choice to do evil, to be evil that consigns them (the wicked) to become keenly aware of their guilt and wicked works. Such a course of choice will disqualify anyone from the claims of mercy. Therefore, what we choose to do in this life does matter.

" He... Becometh a Saint Through the Atonement of Christ the Lord," Mosiah 3:13-19

Mosiah 3:13-19

The purpose of a prophet is to afford the people the opportunity to exercise faith in Jesus Christ, and repent so that they may receive a remission of their sins. Their teaching makes it as if Christ himself were there among the people where a prophet is found. (see vs 13)

The law of Moses was calculated to remind the people of God of the coming of Christ. Additionally, the Lord sent signs, wonders, types, and shadows of his coming. Also, he sent prophets to testify of Christ and his coming. Yet, what was not understood was that there was no salvation  in the laws, rites, and rituals associated with the law of Moses, but salvation was to come through the atonement of  Jesus Christ. (see vs 14-15)

The focus of this chapter keeps coming back to Christ and his atoning blood. Christ's blood atoned for those who have ignorantly sinned (vs 11). It is the atonement, not the law of Moses, through which salvation comes (vs 15). Little children are redeemed from their sins throu…

"For Salvation Cometh... Through Repentance and Faith on the Lord Jesus Christ," Mosiah 3:5-13

Mosiah 3:5-13

Having the recent General Priesthood Meeting fresh in my mind, the phrase "that with power" stands out in my mind. I'm thinking about my son who is a few years off yet from receiving the Aaronic priesthood. I'm thinking of Christ as a young man of twelve years old being found in the temple of God already aware of what his mission was and what his relationship to God was. I am reminded of what a young Aaronic priesthood holder can do at just 12 years old and the ministering of angels.

Christ's blood atoned for the sins of those who have died not knowing the will of God concerning them (see verse 11). Then those that do know the will of God, what of them? "But wo, wo unto him that knoweth that he rebelleth against God! Salvation cometh unto none such except it be through repentance and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ," (verse 12).

This group of verses specifically is centered on Christ, and consequently I find myself wondering can we ever think …

"The Glad Tidings of Great Joy," Mosiah 3:1-4

Mosiah 3:1-4

This new chapter is a continuation of King Benjamin's remarks to his people. Having just preached obedience to the commandments of God, my first thought was, "Why not conclude there?" The answer that I find in chapter 3 is, "Because he is now about to preach unto them Christ Jesus."

In verse three, the phrase "the glad tidings of great joy" has two footnotes on it. One for "glad" and the other for "joy."  The first reference for "glad" takes me to Isaiah 52:7-10:
"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!
"Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion. "Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the Lord hath c…

"O Remember, Remember That These Things Are True," Mosiah 2:18-41

Mosiah 2:18-41

And again, the words that I have chosen for the title of this post (from verse 41) I find to be timely and profound. King Benjamin's reminder to remember was exactly what I needed. Having recently done battle with the "super flu" which had me laid up for more than a week, I have also had a spiritual battle of sorts with some false notions that I had permitted to get planted just a little too deep. What had resulted were feelings of blackness and uneasiness, a loss of peace generally, which peace was as real and significant as any physical blessing of health.

What King Benjamin lays out in the last half of this chapter is a recipe for perfect peace and happiness in this life. After concluding that no degree of praise or thankfulness would be enough to resolve our indebtedness to God (though praise and gratitude are important ingredients of discipleship), King Benjamin concludes that the best thing that we can do to show our appreciation towards God is to kee…

"When Ye Are in the Service of Your Fellow Beings," Mosiah 2:17

Mosiah 2:17

Just typing the title phrase this morning has brought a great deal of peace to a presently weary mind. King Benjamin in this part of his discourse to his people is sharing a profoundly unique perspective, which was the source of peace to him as king, and most likely the source of peace for his nation.

Since a week ago Sunday, I've been much impressed by the Savior's injunction to "take [his] yoke upon [me], and learn of [him]," (Matt 11:29).  In the class where this was presented to me, the general discussion hovered around how Christ could make our burdens light. However, we then began to discuss the symbolism of the yoke. A yoke is what an ox uses to carry its load. We, like the oxen, have loads that we carry.

What impressed me about Christ's invitation, is not that he is inviting us to let him carry our load. No not at all! The paradox of the invitation is that to the burdened and the weary he says in effect "Come and labor in my vineyard."…

"Not... More Than a Mortal Man," Mosiah 2:1-14

Mosiah 2:1-14

A historic occasion is recorded in these opening chapters of the book of Mosiah.In the first few verses of chapter 2, we get a glimpse in the heritage of the Mosaic law that had been preserved and honored by this people. Verse 3 explains that they offered sacrifices to comply with the law of Moses. Verse 4 is where the Spirit brings the law to life. It explains that they also saw this as a means of expressing their gratitude to God for the blessings that they enjoyed, namely:
Having been brought out of the land of JerusalemHaving been delivered from their enemiesHaving just men appointed as their teachersHaving a just man appointed as their kingHaving peace established by their king throughout their landHaving been taught by their king to "keep the commandments of God, that they might rejoice and be filled with love towards God and all men".
In light of all these blessings, it strikes me as very important the perspective that King Benjamin sees himself in:
I have …

"These Records Are True," Mosiah 1

Mosiah 1

The value of education, as being requisite to exercising faith in Christ, is reinforced in these opening verses. Typically, in the eyes of the world, those with education are regarded as less spiritually inclined. However, one of the unique characteristics of the Church of Jesus Christ is that this is just the opposite, the more educated the more inclined the individual is to be spiritual.

The first half of this chapter discusses Benjamin's efforts to educate his three sons. The second half deals with the transfer of the kingdom to his oldest son, Mosiah.  In both settings, Benjamin puts greatest emphasis in the simple principles of faithfulness and obedience. This explains how this leader was able to obtain peace in his lifetime, for he knew 1) from what he had studied in the scriptures of civilizations past and 2) his own experience in a leadership capacity that those who kept the commandments of God should prosper in the land according to the promises which the Lord had…

"Once Again... a Delightsome People," The Words of Mormon

The Words of Mormon

This morning I find myself thinking about the gentle Lord, Christ Jesus, and even as I read these words of commentary by the prophet historian Mormon, I find that his primary motivation for the decisions that he made as he was compiling this collection of records was whether or not the accounts would increase faith in Christ.

And so he explains that while creating an abridged account of the plates of Nephi (this was from the record of the kings, containing a full account of the history of his people), that he had discovered a record containing prophecies concerning the coming of Christ from Nephi and other prophets. It ended with the Amaleki's account of King Benjamin. In verse 5, Mormon states that he will finish making his abridgment from the plates of Nephi (the record of the kings).

Mormon's singular motivation is conveyed in verse 8:
And my prayer to God is concerning my brethren, that they may once again come to the knowledge of God, yea, the redemption…

"Led by the Power of His Arm," Omni 1:13, 20-26

Omni 1:13, 20-26

I am yet still compelled by the fact that Amaleki is so distinctly aware of his faith in contrast to his immediate fathers. In verse 23, we learn that he was born during the reign of Mosiah. What has impressed me about the change that Amaleki had in contrast to his fathers are his concluding remarks, which clearly demonstrate conviction, testimony, and faith in God.

It impresses me as I consider this, that it is because Amaleki was a part of the group that left the land of Nephi and was with King Mosiah in the wilderness, where they probably came to know God intimately. Indeed, this is most likely what happened, like Nephi and his family when they left Jerusalem, or Moses and the Children of Israel, or even in our time, the Mormon Pioneers' exodus from Navuoo to Salt Lake. This lengthy journey from the land of Nephi to the land of Zarahemla afforded Mosiah's people the opportunity to be "led by the power of his arm." (verse 13) But what's more, in …

"They Should Be Taught," Omni 1:14-19,27-30

Omni 1:14-19,27-30

The difference between a righteous leader and one who is lead by their own ambitions is inadvertently addressed in this verses. It still impresses me how one righteous leader can make such an impact and influence for good on others.

How is it that a righteous leader leads? By persuasion and by instruction. In these verses, King Mosiah and his people discover a land that is inhabited by another people, who language had become corrupt and who had lost all knowledge of any existence of their Creator. Verse 18 is pivotal. "But it came to pass that Mosiah caused that they should be taught in his language." The way to end the corruption was to teach them.

The situation is an interesting one. King Mosiah and his people are the refugees, yet they have with them the plates of brass, and have maintained their language and their faith in God.  In very next verse, Mosiah is appointed king over the land. There was no hostile invasion; no show of arms. Quiet and peacefully…

"According to the Commandments of Our Fathers," Omini1:1-13

Omni 1:1-13

It impresses me the sense of obligation, and honor that these men felt towards the instruction given them from their fathers, at least in this regard. Perhaps this is evidence of the Lord's preserving hand upon this record.

The record goes from Omni (son of Jarom) to his son, Amaron. Amaron points out that the word of the Lord had been verified in the destruction of the more wicked part of the Nephites, while the righteous had been preserved.  Then Amaron give the record to his brother, Chemish. Chemish's only contribution is to point out that Amaron made his record on the day that he gave the records  to Chemish. Abinadom, the son of Chemish, following his fathers, makes only a few remarks, one being evident of the spiritual decay that had transpired: "I know of no revelation save that which has been written, neither prophecy;"(verse 11).

But then Abindom's son, Amaleki, tells of quite a different change of events when he begins by saying that their kin…

"Prosper in the Land," Jarom 1:8-15

Jarom 1:8-15

The remainder of the book of Jarom is evidence to this promise of the Lord: "Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land." Which promise was first extended to Nephi and his brothers by their father, Lehi. (see 2 Nephi 1:20)

Jarom also continues to elaborate upon the theme of teaching the people. He explains that those prophets, priests, and teachers that were among them labored diligently to remind the people of the above stated truth. The one thing that these observations of Jarom have helped me to understand is that the purpose of their preaching was to "stir them up unto repentance." (verse 12) Previous to this in the same verse, Jarom states that this is what kept the people from being destroyed.

Coming back at this a second morning, I'm addressing the connection between prosperity and obedience to the commandments. I really appreciated the footnotes on the word "prosper" in verse 9. One leads to the Lord'…

"[To Teach]...the Ways of the Lord," Jarom1:1-7


Jarom's primary reason for making his record was to preserve the genealogy of his people, according to the commandment that he had received of his father, Enos. He also understands that the primary benefactors will be the Lamanites at some future date.(verse 1)

Though he had prophecies and revelations of his own, one of the marks of Jarom's humility is that he points to what had already been written by Nephi, Jacob, and Enos, explaining that the plan of Salvation had already been revealed by them. (verse 2)

After explaining the difference between the Nephites (a God-fearing people, vs 5) and the Lamanites (a blood-thirsty group, vs 6), Jarom explains how the leadership of the Nephites caused their people to prevail against the Lamanites. "Our leaders were mighty men in the faith of the Lord; and they taught the people the ways of the Lord;" (verse 7). Mighty men of faith teach the ways of the Lord to the people, and thus the people are strengthened to unders…

"Wrought Upon," Enos 1:22-27

Enos 1:22-27

I've been thinking as of late of some of the great ordeals that prophets have to go through in the process of having their faith tried and refined. It makes me wonder how I could hope to qualify to stand along side the ancients who had to go through so much hardship, if I myself do not have to be tested as they were tested. Some of these final remarks suggest that such were the days of Enos as well.

There is one verse however that stands  out in my reading this morning, verse 26, wherein he talks about "having been wrought upon by the power of God that I must preach and prophecy unto this people, and declare the word according to the truth which is in Christ."  Particularly, what does it mean to be "wrought upon by the power of God".  In Spanish, it is translated as being influenced by the power of God. (Perhaps the irony of this post is that yesterday, I would have been done, published, and moved on to the next group of verses if I hadn't been &…

"A Desire for the Welfare of My Brethern," Enos 1:9-21

Enos 1:9-21

Enos's subsequent comment in verse 9 is evidence of his repentance being complete. Afterward, he felt a desire toward his brethren to receive of the same blessing. Christ taught Peter, "And when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren." (Luke 22:32) What strikes me as interesting is that I never had considered that "natural" fruit of repentance and conversion to be a desire to share it with others. This must have been then what Elder Ballard meant back in 2006 when he said:
Our love for the Lord and appreciation for the Restoration of the gospel are all the motivation we need to share what gives us much joy and happiness. It is the most natural thing in the world for us to do, and yet far too many of us are hesitant to share our testimonies with others. ("Creating a Gospel Sharing Home," Elder M. Russell Ballard, General Conference, April 2006, emphasis added)
Enos had learned the power and effectiveness of prayer in being able to wor…