Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Why Was Moses Bad at Speaking?

Today I read 2 Nephi 3 where Lehi speaks to his son Joseph.  I find the context of this speech to his son, especially given how young Joseph was, very interesting.  Why would Lehi talk about Joseph who was sold into Egypt as the last thing he would say to his son on this earth.  The last speech he would give.  Now there is a lot to find in this chapter and it is all good to hear.  But as a final speech to his son?  The last things he said to Laman and Lemuel and Jacob were more fitting in my opinion.  Perhaps Lehi wanted little Joseph to know the reason he was named Joseph. 

As I was reading this chapter I got to wondering, why did the Lord make Moses mighty in writing but not in speaking?  Could it be He was trying to help Moses be humble?  I know it would be hard to be humble if you were good at everything.  Perhaps it was all meant to help Moses learn humility?  To ask for help.  Like most of the thoughts that come to me, I don’t have an answer, but I know that the Lord does everything for a reason.  We also know from the book of Ether that the Lord gives men weaknesses to bring them to Him, so it is entirely possible that He gave Moses this weakness for that very reason.  We do know that Moses was one of the most humble men to have lived so if that is why the Lord gave it to him, it worked!  Each of us needs to turn to the Lord when we have a weakness to make sure that we are relying upon Him and the Atonement.  He is the one who can help us overcome out trials and our weaknesses.  If we don’t turn to Him, they are almost impossible to overcome.  Until tomorrow.

Monday, April 21, 2014

We Are Meant to Enjoy Life

Today I read 2 Nephi 2 and I was just thinking about this chapter yesterday.  Yesterday in Elder’s Quorum meeting we were learning about Joseph Fielding Smith and his teachings and we were reading the chapter on the Kingdom of God.  One of the headings states that the Gospel is designed to bring happiness to us in this life as well as in the life to come.  That really struck me yesterday and again today as I was reading verse 25.  Sometimes I think we get so focused on the fact that we need to do what is right and secure blessings for us in the life to come that we don’t take the time to enjoy ourselves here and now.

I have a friend whose sister is married to one of President Monson’s grandsons.  One of the things I learned from my friends is that President Monson still goes on vacation every year.  He generally goes fishing.  I met Elder Bednar a few years ago who talked about going golfing during his free time.  This is not something that we normally think about.  I know when I think about the Apostles and the Prophet I think of them working all the time.  But that is not the case.  They have down time.  They watch wholesome TV and read good books.  They find enjoyment in this life.  They spend time with their families.  We are meant to find pleasure in this life in the right places and in the proper methods.  But it should not be our focus.  We should not be so consumed with pleasure and leisure that we lose sight of why we are here and we absolutely should not find pleasure in the wrong things.  We need to practice temperance in all things, especially our pleasure.  But we need to make sure we are enjoying our life here on the earth.  Otherwise, why are we here?  Until tomorrow.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Lehi's Last Words to Laman, Lemuel, Sam and Zoram

Today I read 2 Nephi 1 where Lehi speaks to Laman, Lemuel, Sam and Zoram.  Zoram is a very interesting man.  He was given the choice to come with them on their journey or be killed.  Now, most of us in that situation would in fact chose to go on the journey.  But it appears that he really did adapt and become a member of the family.  Lehi here says that Zoram is a true friend to Nephi forever.  And we hear nothing of him other than this and that he goes along with Nephi and the others when they flee from Laman and Lemuel.  He is a very unique man indeed.

Just when I think that maybe Laman and Lemuel may not be so different from me after all I read a chapter like this that reminds me that while I have failings and may have grumbled in a similar situation, I am nothing like Laman and Lemuel.  In verse 26 Lehi states that Laman and Lemuel are angry all the time with Nephi because Nephi speaks in plainness and is angry with them.  So, let's put that into modern terminology.  Laman and Lemuel want to kill Nephi all the time because, wait for it, Nephi yells at them!  Yup, according to Lehi that's all there is to it.  Nephi is trying to be a leader and he speaks angrily and perhaps even rudely to them.  This verse more than any other proves how corrupted Laman and Lemuel really are.  They are murderers in their hearts simply because they are evil men.

I have been angry at people before.  I have even wanted to get into a fist fight before with other people.  But never in all my life, have I wanted to just up and kill someone.  And for sure not because they were giving me correction.  Because that's what Nephi is doing.  He is telling them that they are wrong and then listing the reasons why.  Annoying?  Most definitely.  Worth killing over?  Don't make me laugh.  Who would kill someone that annoys them or that is constantly telling them that they are doing it wrong?  I understand correction can be difficult to take, but seriously, Laman and Lemuel are crazy, evil men and I am pleased to say I am nothing like them.  Until tomorrow.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Laman and Lemuel's Light and Knowledge

Today I read 1 Nephi 22 where Nephi explains the chapters he just read in Isaiah to his brothers.  As I sit and ponder on this chapter it makes me wonder, how much did Laman and Lemuel know before they forgot?  Before their light and knowledge was taken from them?  Were they as faithful as Nephi when they were younger?  Or were they always wicked and rejecting the teachings of God? 

No one is born unrighteous.  All men have the light of Christ in them when they are born.  All men are born innocent.  So where does the change come from?  Why do some men reject the truth?  What causes them to go against the light and knowledge they have been given by their parents and the teachings?  Is it merely getting blinded by the enticements of the world?  Or is there a deeper reason?  We were put here on the earth in order to choose for ourselves what we wanted out of this world.  The veil is in place so we cannot remember how happy we were with Heavenly Father so we would be unbiased when we choose.  But it is so sad how many of us choose poorly.  It breaks my heart to see in the news that so many people are not teaching their children the right way to live.  And I don’t even like to dwell on the more ghastly stories in the news.  Each of us has to choose for ourselves what we want out of life.  If we want the things of the world, or the things of the Spirit.  I have made my choice.  This world sickens me more each day.  I cannot wait for the Millennium to come and wash away all the junk of this world.  May it come quickly.  Until tomorrow.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Led Astray By Pastor's Wickedness

Today I read 1 Nephi 21 and I was very intrigued by a phrase right in the first verse.  The Lord, through Isaiah, states that Israel is broken off and driven out because of the wickedness of the pastors of His people.  I have never noticed that phrase before.  It is a very interesting phrase.  It implies that the Israelites were led astray because of the wickedness of His church’s leaders.  It reminds me of King Mosiah in the Book of Mormon.  He taught the people that a wicked king leads his people to do iniquity and from one sin to another. 

Truly this is the case.  When people trust someone, they look at their example.  They follow them.  They use them as an excuse for their own wickedness.  It starts from the time we are children.  Our children watch us and use any example of wrongdoing on our part to justify what they want to do.  In a child it is understandable because they don’t know any better and are watching their children to find out how to live and what they need to be doing in life.  In an adult however, there is less excuse.  Each of us knows what is right and what is wrong generally speaking.  And to say that we were led astray by someone else is generally not a good excuse.  But here the Lord states that the people of Israel were led astray by the wickedness of His pastors.  How do we reconcile this with the idea of agency?

The answer to me is simple.  It happens over generations.  The reason people at the time of the Savior did not recognize Him is because generations of religious leaders had led the people so far away from where they should have been, that they did not recognize Him when He came to them.  The example of the leaders had led them far away from where they were meant to be.  It takes a strong person who can recognize that the leaders are doing things that are not in keeping with the doctrine and can hold strong against their bad example.  However you have to first know the doctrine, that is the first step.  It is up to all of us to make sure we know the doctrine, we have to search it out and understand it.  Then we have to have the strength to stand by the doctrine.  Finally, anything a leader tells us that does not seem in keeping with the doctrine we have to search out on our own and find out for ourselves if it is what the Lord wants us to be doing.  We have to ask and act on what He tells us.  This is the only way we will keep strong against all the buffeting winds of Satan.  Until tomorrow.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

How Does the Lord Choose?

Today I read 1 Nephi 20 where Nephi records Isaiah 48.  Nephi states that Isaiah is easy to understand for those who are learned in the manner of the Jews.  I wonder what makes the difference?  I wonder why knowing the learning of the Jews makes it easier.  I have tried over the years to draw a similar comparison to say President Monson’s talks, but his talks are so straightforward and easy to understand, I don’t see how anyone could misinterpret them.  Perhaps Isaiah is like the Savior Himself, speaking in imagery so that those who are not ready to understand the Gospel will not be held accountable as if they heard it. 

I wonder how the Lord chooses which of His prophets will record which writings?  Nephi was shown the same vision as John the Revelator but was told not to write it because John had that responsibility.  The Lord clearly has assigned certain prophets to write about certain things, but we are not told what things each one is told to write.  I wonder if certain prophets have certain strengths that the Lord capitalizes on and that is how He chooses?  Like so many things, we are not told.  But as we read each one’s writings, we can feel the Spirit behind the words and can harken to the words in the scriptures.  That is the best thing we can do in all situations.  Until tomorrow.