Friday, December 31, 2010

Fear God, not Man

Today I read Doctrine and Covenants section 3 which is a revelation given to Joseph Smith after Joseph became aware of the fact that Martin Harris had lost the 116 pages they had translated which contain the book of Lehi. Critics of Joseph Smith can say whatever they want about the man, but the fact remains, he was a very humble man when it came to his own image. How many of us would include a revelation for publication where we were getting absolutely slammed by the Lord? It would certainly be embarrassing.

But perhaps that is part of the point. God tells Joseph Smith that he should have feared God and not man. I remember a year ago or so, my wife and I got into a discussion on what we thought it meant to fear God. I don't remember much about the discussion other than we differed in our opinions on the matter. My definition actually comes from this section as well as Mosiah 26 where is says Alma fears to do that which is wrong in the sight of God. I have always felt that the phrase "fear God" meant that we were afraid of displeasing Him, of doing that which is wrong in His sight.

So perhaps God had Joseph include this revelation to help him learn to worry more about what God thinks, rather than about what man thinks of him. It is a hard lesson to learn but a very important one that needs to be learned by all who desire eternal life. It also goes hand in hand with godly sorrow. When we have godly sorrow, we are more concerned with what God thinks of us as opposed to what anyone else thinks.

Unfortunately this is one of those areas where it is really hard to overcome on our own and we need the help of the Spirit to change us in this regard. But like all the other areas we need the help of the Lord to overcome, He is more than willing to help us learn to overcome and do what is right. There are somethings we can do to help facilitate our change though. Immersing ourselves in the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon, for one thing is a great way to overcome the natural man and have the desire to please God. More time reading the scriptures will lead to more time in prayer which will result in more desire to please Him.

Those of you reading this who are a member of the LDS church know that in our church meetings we like to refer to certain things as "the primary answers". The primary answers usually include things like scripture reading, prayer, family home evening, and other basic things that our children our taught on a weekly basis in primary. But the reason so many questions have the primary answers as their actual answer is because we have to perfect the basics before we can move onto the more complex. If we haven't mastered reading our scriptures, it is highly unlikely we are going to master temple attendance. If we are not praying regularly, it is very unlikely that we will have regular church attendance. I could go on and on but you see my point I think. We have to have the basics as our building blocks before we can build any higher.

The closer we get to Him by doing the things we have been asked to do, the more we will fear displeasing Him. And the more we fear displeasing Him, the more we will be doing what is right and not have cause to displease Him. Just as the song says, "do what is right, let the consequence follow", because when we do what is right, we can be confident that the consequence is the one God wants to have happen, because it will be for our benefit. Until tomorrow.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Promises Made to the Fathers

Today I read Doctrine and Covenants 2, which is only 3 verses long. It is a extract from the words Moroni spoke to Joseph Smith when Moroni came to visit him 3 times in one night on September 21, 1823. Moroni is quoting Malachi chapter 4 here but he quotes it a little different.

The standard version of this scripture, the one found in the Bible states that Elijah will turn the hearts of the children to the fathers and the hearts of the fathers to the children, lest the Lord smite the earth with a curse. When the Savior quotes it to the Nephites upon His visit to them in 3 Nephi, he quotes it the exact same way. But Moroni changes it ever so slightly. Moroni tells Joseph Smith that "[Elijah] will plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers and the hearts of the children will turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at His coming."

That is a very interesting change of wording to me but it is also very clear to me. It helps to clarify what Malachi and later the Savior meant when they said this. We know today from our modern day prophets that they are referring to genealogy and sealing the parents to their children etc. And as we have previously discussed, genealogy is one of the hottest internet hobbies around now a days. But Moroni's phrasing gives us another aspect to Elijah's coming. Moroni said that with Elijah's coming he would plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers.

That to me indicates an increase in religion and an increase of spirituality. Now, we know that Elijah returned to the Kirtland Temple in 1836, so let me ask you, has there been an increase since that time of spirituality and a turning to religion? I think the answer you get might depend entirely upon who you ask. Some would say no way, this world is more irreverent than ever. However, if you ask any missionary or returned missionary, they will tell you about the dozens of people they came into contact with who just one day literally woke up feeling the need to change their life and find a church and to start attending it. Nothing changed in their lives, they just literally one day felt the desire to get to know God better.

Now, most return missionaries could also tell you about the hundreds of people they met that had crisis' in their lives and how it turned them to religion also. Some of those even stick with it once they are there. But the point is, most definitely yes, there has been an increase of religious fervor since Elijah's coming. I think the exact phrasing of this scripture also refers to the scriptures. If we are to take it literally, how can we know what the promises that were made to the fathers were if we do not have access to the scriptures to tell us? Much like the Nephites needed the brass plates to know what commandments they needed to keep while in the wilderness, the people could not understand the promises made to their fathers without a record of it.

It is food for thought and we have certainly seen this prophecy fulfilled in our day no matter how you slice it. We most definitely have seen what is commonly referred to as the spirit of Elijah in this day and age and will continue to see it until the second coming of our Savior. And we could all use a little more genealogy and religion in this world, it would do it some good I think. Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Word Shall not Pass Away

Today I started reading the Doctrine and Covenants and of course, I started with reading D&C 1. It's interesting to me, thanks to seminary there are a lot of chapters in the 4 standard works that I could tell you what the basis of that chapter is just by hearing which chapter it is. Mostly it has to do with the scripture masteries in the case of the Doctrine and Covenants. D&C section 1 is one such case.

Before I re-read it today I could have told you that it was the preface to the original publication of the Book of Commandments that was published around 1831. I could have told you that it contains the verse were the Lord states He is pleased with the church, collectively and not individually, and that the Lord declares that the church is the only true and living church upon the face of the earth. And finally I could have told you that it contains the phrase whether by mine own voice or the voice of my servants, it is the same, one of the scripture masteries.

There was quite a bit we could have chosen from here to talk about today. However, I think the part that stood out to me today was the part about the Lord's prophecies and His word will not pass away but must all be fulfilled. We live in a day and age where it seems to me that people not only doubt the word of God, but they almost seem to be defying God to prove that He is in fact there. I don't see how anyone can doubt a God exists with all the miracles that happen each and every day.

To get the most out of the Doctrine and Covenants I think we have to understand the context that the sections are given in. For example, this section was given in 1831 and persecution, both from without, and also from within the church was starting to get intense. And so the Lord is here re-assuring His saints that He is God and that what they are doing is the right thing. It is also a reassurance that the Lord's word will not pass away and will in fact be fulfilled as they have been spoken.

Now, in some cases this is extremely comforting, I don't mind having the Lord's prophecies about the good things come to pass. But I also see an alarming trend in where the world is heading and by consequence I see where the prophecies of the Lord that aren't so pleasant must soon come to pass. In a way, a very sad way, this is necessary and needed to bring people back to Christ. People have a tendency to forget about the spiritual matters during the day to day drudgery of life. I too have at times in my life tossed spiritual matters aside and not given them the attention that they needed in my life. I have since repented and tried my best to make sure that I am not putting off the things of the Lord for more secular reasons. It can be hard at times that is for sure.

But it is also a comfort to know that God is in charge and that He will not abandon us. It is a comfort to know we can rely upon the Lord and trust Him to take care of us and to give us the experiences that are necessary for our growth and eternal progression. And no matter how bad things get, He will not abandon us, and even though there are some really scary prophecies out there of what is to come, as we do what is right, you can know that whatever happens to you will be for your benefit and you will not be taken before your time if you remain righteous and true. And that is also a comfort, at least it is to me. Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Testimony of Moroni

Today I read Moroni 10, the last chapter in the Book of Mormon. There is a lot here in this chapter that we could talk about. Perhaps the most famous part of the chapter is what is referred to as Moroni's Promise. In verses 3 - 5 Moroni states that if you read these things with real intent that you should pray, and if you do it with a desire to know if these things are true, then the Lord will make it known unto you that they are in fact true.

I've often wondered just how many people have read the Book of Mormon without real intent to know if it is true? I'm sure there are lots who have read the Book of Mormon for the purpose of debunking it or proving that it was false. But it is just so hard to believe that they could read the entire Book of Mormon without feeling the Spirit even once. But we see what we want to see I suppose.

Nevertheless, as any person who knows the Book of Mormon to be true can attest, Moroni's Promise is real. The Lord does answer that particular prayer very, very quickly and with a firmness that has surprised some. But the Lord takes our salvation very seriously. He does not dilly dally around with it. It is only us that don't seem to take it seriously.

The rest of this chapter is a reiteration of what Moroni has already told us time and time again. He restates that our God is a God of miracles and that if there are those among us that have faith we can do miracles too in His name. But if miracles have ceased, it will be because of the unbelief of man. But Moroni states that if even one faithful person believes then there will still be miracles. That is a comfort to me. I see miracles each and every day. But I think what people quantify as a miracle is different these days. They are looking to see mana fall from the sky to feed them. They don't see the everyday miracles around them.

And finally the chapter, and Book, closes with Moroni's testimony. I have always found it neat that he is so confident in what he is telling us that he promises to testify against us at the judgment seat of God! That's faith my friends! As we read the Book of Mormon, yes it teaches us the history of the Nephites and his people, but it's true purpose is to convert people to Jesus Christ and to help them know that He is and what He has done for us. It really is that simple to read the Book of Mormon, live by it's precepts, and have everlasting life. Just as the Savior says, do this and you shall live!

I hope you have enjoyed our reading of the Book of Mormon together as much as I have. Starting tomorrow I will be blogging about the Doctrine and Covenants! Until tomorrow.

Monday, December 27, 2010

My Least Favorite Chapter

Today I read Moroni 9, my least favorite chapter in the entire Book of Mormon. I do not like this chapter because this is another epistle of Mormon to his son Moroni and in this chapter Mormon shares the state of his people and what seems to me to vent to Moroni. But it pains my heart to read about such depravity. I can't help but wonder why it was included in the Book of Mormon.

Obviously it was included for a reason, but I have never been able to tell what that reason is because I do not want to ponder on this chapter any more than I absolutely have to. Now, of course there is always the idea of course that this is an example of what not to be like and signs to watch out for when a civilization is nearing a fullness of iniquity. I mean, compared to the Nephites and Lamanites during this time period, we in this day an age are the epitome of righteousness and charity.

This will be my shortest entry ever because I really cannot think of anything to talk about from this chapter and I do not like dwelling on such horrors. Until tomorrow when we can talk of more pleasant things.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Baptism of Little Children

Today I read Moroni 8, an epistle that Mormon wrote to his son Moroni about baptism and its purpose. Once again I am struck by the memory of the people in the Book of Mormon. Moroni received this epistle at least 20 - 40 years prior to recording this for us. And he seems to have remembered it word for word. Even if he actually had the epistle still with him, that an interesting thing to tote around for so long.

However he remembered so perfectly the word of Mormon, we are the beneficiary of it here in Moroni 8. Here we see, that like the ancient church, the Nephites too were misunderstanding the ordinance of baptism and needed correction. I believe it arises from the commandment that all must be baptized or they cannot inherit the kingdom of God.

However, they have forgotten that little children are innocent before God and need no baptism. I'm not sure if Jesus ever taught that to the Apostles in His time, it's certainly never recorded that I can see. And yet the ancient Apostles knew that it was not only not needed, but a mockery of the sacred ordinance of baptism. Perhaps it was some of the teachings during the 40 days he spent with His Apostles before His ascension into heaven.

And yet they knew that they should not baptize little children, it was known already and had been forgotten so Mormon had to remind them of it is the purpose of this epistle. It is much like Paul's letter to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 15:29 where he asks why are the dead baptized if the dead rise not at all? It was understood what baptism for the dead was already so there was no need to explain it. So it is with infants, little children and baptism.

Thank goodness for Mormon and for Moroni for recording this clarification otherwise we would not have it, although I think the Lord would have revealed it to Joseph Smith eventually in the Doctrine and Covenants. But here Mormon teaches us that children are alive in Christ and cannot commit any sin until the age of accountability. We learn from modern day revelation that the age of accountability is age 8. I remember as a teenager/young adult I once asked my parents how it is children cannot commit sin until age 8 when a child can do any number of wrong things, including murder in some extremely rare cases. The answer I was given is that prior to age 8 it is not counted a sin for those children, rather it is on the heads of those who have responsibility for the child.

But baptism, as we discussed two days ago, is the next step after true repentance. Mormon calls it the first fruits of repentance, because if we truly repent of our sins, we will desire to be baptized by proper authority. This is why it is an abomination and a mockery to baptize little children, if they cannot sin, then they have no need of repentance and therefore they have no need to be baptized. Mormon teaches us that little Children are alive in Christ, and we know from modern day revelation that all little children that die before the age of accountability are taken home to Christ and are saved by His grace.

To baptize little children, is a sin before God. Baptism is only for those who are capable of sin and should only be administered to those who are truly repentant. That is why there is an interview for baptism to determine the person's worthiness. I remember once on my mission that we had a man we were helping to prepare for baptism and he was needing to quit smoking. He was REALLY struggling with it and it came time to do his interview and the Elder who did the interviewing came up to me and my companion and shared his concerns. He said that while he had passed him on to be baptized, the brother had not. By his demeanor he still felt really guilty and unworthy of baptism. He didn't feel he had truly repented. That is humility. We kept working with him and he did get baptized and was able to quit smoking eventually.

Like with most of our topics, I could go on for a very long time, but what I have said will suffice. Thank goodness for Mormon and Moroni and the scriptures they sacrificed so much for us to receive. We benefit from their knowledge and what they have recorded for us each and every day! Until tomorrow.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Light of Christ

Today I read Moroni 7, a spiritual feast! There is so much we could talk about in this chapter. There’s faith, hope, charity and of course, the Light of Christ. How appropriate it is on the day where we celebrate His birth to read about the Light of Christ. I really do feel I could talk for hours on this chapter alone there is just SO much to talk about here.

However I do in fact wish to focus on the Light of Christ. Mormon tells us that it is given to all men to know good from evil. He calls it the Spirit of Christ and it is truly known by several names including as I have called it, the Light of Christ. In one cartoon it was even known as Jiminy Cricket! But whatever name we give it, we are all born with an innate sense of what is right, and what is wrong. The only people who were ever placed on this earth without it, were Adam and Eve, and by partaking of the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they too learned what was right and what was wrong.

In the Doctrine and Covenants we learn that truth is light. D&C 84:45 - “For the word of the Lord is truth and whatsoever is truth is light, and whatsoever is light is Spirit, even the Spirit of Jesus Christ.” So, really if you think about it, the Light of Christ, is the ability to discern what is truth and what is falsehood. That is why those who are close to the Spirit can have what is commonly called a discerning spirit. I know that it is often a joke how easy it is to dupe some Latter-day Saints and how trusting we are and it is true that all humans have weaknesses and some do not heed the warnings of the Spirit or are not living worthy enough to have the companionship of the Spirit to guide them at all.

But those that are living a good and righteous life and have not deadened their Spirits by riotous living know that the Spirit of God can lead us to do that which is right and to feel uncomfortable in the presence of sin. For those of you who have seen the movie or read the book, “the Fellowship of the Ring” you may remember when the hobbits meet Aragorn for the first time Sam asks Frodo how they know he isn’t a servant of their enemy and Frodo tells Sam that a servant of the evil one would look more fair, but feel more foul. How right he is too! Have you ever met someone that from the moment you saw them they almost made your skin crawl you felt so uncomfortable? I sure have. I never found out why because I did not stick around long enough to associate with that individual. But likewise there are those people that from the moment you see them you are drawn to them like a moth to a flame. And I'm not just talking about a pretty lady or handsome man! :) There are those people that just seem to radiate light and goodness. If you have the good fortune to meet such a one, you will have a perfect example to emulate.

Now, just like we can drive away the Spirit from being our constant companion, we can also drive away the Light of Christ from ourselves and we can lose our ability to discern between what is right, and what is wrong. Anyone reading this who has engaged in too much sin for too long knows that. After awhile you stop feeling guilty about it. This is dangerous because Satan will try and trap you by whispering lies in your ear and telling you that because you don’t feel guilty about it, it must not be bad. But it is in fact a lie and the reason you do not feel guilty anymore is because you have deadened the Light of Christ in you to tell you that it is wrong.

It takes surprisingly little effort to lose the potency of the Light of Christ and it goes really fast. But fortunately, like the Prodigal Son, it can be brought back. Through sincere repentance and a LOT of effort, one can rebuild the Light of Christ in themselves. I hope none of you all put yourselves in that position that you need to find out first-hand what I am referring to. I hope that all of you treasure what a gift you have in your ability to discern between good and evil, between truth and lies. Until tomorrow and Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2010

The First 4 Principles and Ordinances of the Gospel

Today I read Moroni 6, in this chapter Moroni tells us about how the Church was during his day and after Christ came. We have already talked about the importance of church meetings so today I thought we could talk about the first 4 principles and ordinances of the Gospel: Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Repentance, Baptism by Immersion for the remission of sins, and the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

Moroni covers all 4 of these topics in this chapter, just not very extensively. The first principle of the restored Gospel is Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The reason this is the first principle is because if you do not have it, you will not do any of the others. Think about it, if you did not believe Jesus was out there and did not believe that there was something else after this life, then why do we care about going to church? We have to believe that Jesus is the Christ and that we are doing all of this for a reason otherwise it is all for naught, at least in our own minds.

Repentance is the second principle. It is next because, one faith without some kind of works is dead. We have to do something to demonstrate our faith in Jesus Christ and he asks us to come follow Him. Well, can we follow Him if we do not do what he asks? No, we cannot. We cannot be a follower of Him if we do not follow His teachings and do what He taught. Also, we have to repent of our sins because no unclean thing can enter into the Kingdom of God, nor, as we have discussed many times, would we desire to enter into His Kingdom unclean. We have to be clean in order come into His presence.

The first ordinance in the Gospel is Baptism by Immersion for the remission of sins. After we repent of our sins we are ready for the next step, to be baptized. We know from the Gospel of John that we must be baptized in order to enter into the Kingdom of God. Baptism is a commandment of God and even Jesus Christ was baptized in order to comply with that commandment during his mortal ministry. We are all commanded to be baptized in order to enter the kingdom. We baptize by immersion because that is how Jesus Christ himself was baptized and because that is the model He left for us to follow.

The second ordinance of the Gospel is the laying on of hand for the Gift of the Holy Ghost. This is perhaps the most important of the first 4 principles and ordinances and if it does not happen the others are done in vain. The reason I say this, is because it is this that cleanses us from our sins. The Holy Ghost's job is varied and many. However, His role immediately after baptism is to justify and sanctify us. He justifies us by making us worthy to stand in His presence. But it is the sanctification that we are concerned with at this point. To Sanctify something is to set it aside as holy essentially and in this instance it is my belief that it is the Holy Ghost, or the Baptism of Fire as He is sometimes referred to, the cleanses us from our sins at the time of our baptism, and not the baptism itself. I may be incorrect, but I do think that I am. Fire has long been used as a metaphor to talk about cleansing and purification. It is so here as well.

If we do not have these first 4 principles and ordinances in the Gospel then all our efforts are for naught. We need to continually have Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we need to repent of our sins each and every day. We need to renew our baptismal covenants each week by partaking of the sacrament worthily. And finally we need to invite the Holy Ghost into our lives to change our very natures and to sanctify us on a daily basis by living a pure and righteous life and, as Elder Bednar stated in his October 2010 conference talk, seeking daily after the companionship of the Holy Ghost.

As we strive to live these principles we are living the true and everlasting Gospel. All the rest is added on top of these, this is why they are the first, they are the foundation of all that follows. Master these and you will have nothing to worry about in the life to come! Until tomorrow.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Sacrament

Today I read Moroni 4 and 5. Like yesterday, these 2 chapters are so similar that I decided to combine them in my reading. I'm glad Moroni included the sacramental prayers in the Book of Mormon, they are not contained in 3 Nephi where the Savior institutes the Sacrament, so until the Lord gave Joseph Smith Doctrine and Covenants section 20 it was the only place we had the Sacramental prayer.

It does remind me though of a Priesthood lesson we had 3 weeks ago on the Sacrament. The instructor asked us at the beginning of the lesson to be thinking about what it means to remember the Savior. Obviously we are not going to forget that the Savior performed the Atonement for us, so what does it mean that we eat in remembrance of Him? The teacher actually used the analogy of the wedding ring, what is it for? It's obviously not to remind us that we are married, no one who is married is going to suddenly forget that they are married.

About half way through the lesson he stopped and asked if anyone had come up with any ideas on what the scriptures meant by remembrance? I had been batting around an idea that had come to me and would not leave me so I shared it with the class. I shared that I had served my mission in Arcadia, California(Eastern Los Angles) among the Chinese people. In Chinese culture they really revere their ancestors and even have holidays specifically to clean up their tombs and grave-sites. Well, one of things they frequently do for their ancestors is to burn paper money, and place offerings of fruit outside their door. They do this so that the ancestor in question will have a great afterlife and to honor the life they led.

And to me that's what the word remembrance is. We are not reminding ourselves that the Savior suffered and died for us as if we would forget, but rather we are honoring His sacrifice for us and what He did. We do it in remembrance of all He suffered for us, to honor Him. I think also, when it was given by Him personally, it really was to remind His apostles and disciples of the times He was with them. But for those of us who have not met Him physically in this life, it is more about taking a moment to give thanks and honor His sacrifice for us.

I've often wondered if the reason so many people in olden days drank wine, or juice or whatever, was the lack of sanitary drinking water? Nevertheless, we know that with the Sacrament any edible item and any drinkable item can be used for the Sacrament, it does not have to be bread and wine or water as it were. Military men and women quite frequently use crackers instead of bread when they do not have access to bread.

If you have not read the Sacramental prayers in a long time, I urge you to go back and read them. Remind yourself of the promises contained in them and just as importantly, what YOU promise to do in return. If you have been a member of the church for a few years you will recognize that it is the same promises we made when we were baptized. And we are promised the same thing we were when we were confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that the Spirit may always be with us.

I have heard in several talks that partaking of the Sacrament and renewing our covenants with God is the most important thing we do at church, and truly they are correct. The other parts of our meetings are also very important, but partaking of the Sacrament each and every week is so important. I again urge you to re-read the sacramental prayers, but don't just read through them like the priests at church usually do, going so fast they stumble and mumble over half the words. Really take your time and read them, ponder them and see if you learn anything new. Remember, these are such sacred prayers that they are some of the very, very few prayers in the church that have to be word for word perfect. Study them and pray about them, see if you learn anything new. I promise that the effort will be worth it. Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Use of the Priesthood Authority

Today I read Moroni 2 and 3. I often wonder why Moroni chose to include certain things in his writings. For example chapter 2 is a repeat of what we have already read in 3 Nephi when the Savior actually gave them the power to give the gift of the Holy Ghost as we have already talked about.

Chapter 3 is new information and it is interesting enough to see how they ordained men to the Priesthood and it is a comfort to know that things have not changed in how things are done in the church of God. One thing I often wonder though is if a teacher and a priest had the same function in ancient times as they do in modern day. I would assume so, but did they ordain their men as young as we do now? It's fun to think about.

I have often wondered though what the purpose of a physical laying on of hands is. I sometimes think it is nothing more than a focus point for the person who is acting as voice for the ordinance to focus on. We have, that I can think of, only one recorded instance where someone was baptized and given the gift of the Holy Ghost without the laying on of hands or even baptized with physical hands, that of course is Adam, the first man. We read in the book of Moses that he was caught up in the Spirit and baptized. I can only assume that he was given the Priesthood in the same fashion since there was no one one else with a physical body to give him the Priesthood by the laying on of hands.

We know that God is a God of order and that His church is a church or order too. The majority of the revelations Joseph Smith received in the early days of the church were to organize the church and ensure that it was running appropriately. Some naysayers may incorrectly state that God was changing His mind and updating what He wanted, however, it was actually the people of the church who weren't ready for certain things. Also, God has always followed the pattern of line upon line when revealing doctrine and spiritual things. I cannot think of any recorded instance where he just gave it all in one solid lump.

So there is comfort in knowing that matters of the church have always been the same even in ancient days. At least there is comfort if like me you do not like change. I can't really at this moment think of another reason why Moroni would have included this information. Obviously the Lord thought it was important for us to have, but other than to give us the knowledge that here on the American continent in ancient days they too gave the gift of the Holy Ghost and had the office of Teachers and Priests, I am not sure.

For me personally it is enough that is is knowledge about the church in ancient times, which is a comfort and another testament that God does not change. And perhaps it really is just that simple. Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

True Charity

Today I read Moroni 1, it is a very short chapter but I could not help but be moved by the perfect charity of Moroni. At this point in his life he has been alone for close to 40 years and for every single day of those years he has been hunted by the Lamanites. Now, I seriously doubt that there was a band of the Lamanites following him every step of the way, but you can feel his genuine surprise that he is still alive.

I always feel so sad for Moroni being alone for so long. I am sure that he had angels minister to him, I'm sure he met with the 3 Nephites and other heavenly messengers of some sort kept him bolstered up but I cannot even imagine being alone for 40 years! I can't even imagine being alone for 40 days.

And yet, despite it all, he states that the purpose of these last few chapters is to try and write something of great benefit to the Lamanites. I'm not so sure I would be as charitable as he is here. Of course, after 40 years I'm sure anyone's temper, anger and frustration would have had time to cool off and then die down completely. After all, back in the book of Mormon, the first time we hear from Moroni it's already been 15 years since the final battle.

Still, for some people, 15 years is not enough time to overcome feelings of hatred. I have never personally known anyone who could not overcome feelings of hatred for someone or a people, but there are dozens of literary examples over the years and most media is based on at least a spark of truth at one point. At least I would assume so. I have also personally never met a politician but the media portrays them so one way that I can only assume there is a reason behind the stereotype.

Now, Moroni does mention that what he is about to write is the will of the Lord which I find very interesting. I am not trying to tarnish the character of Moroni, far from it, we know that we was resurrected with a glorified body and will one day be exalted. But he was human too and I cannot but wonder at how in the world he did it, how did he survive those 40 plus years? I know of course it was with the help of the Lord and that he was comforted by the Lord.

But also, is it not possible that Moroni's talk about weaknesses to strength's in Ether 12 might not have included his own struggle for charity to the Lamanites? Perhaps, but then again perhaps not. Moroni might be one of those rare individuals that has always been a good upright man and never struggled with feelings of hatred or other uncharitable feelings. We are just not told. However he got there, there is one thing we can say for absolute certain, when he wrote this part of the writings, he had perfect charity for the Lamanites. There is not an ounce of irony or upset attitude at this point in Moroni's writings.

Whatever transpired before this, we know for a fact that we can emulate Moroni. He was a man who did all that the Lord asked of him without complaint and with perfect exactness. I do personally believe that he was a man much after the manner of his namesake, Captain Moroni from the book of Alma, one of Mormon's heroes. And we owe Moroni a debt of gratitude, because if he had not wandered the Americas for 40 plus years, we would not have the Book of Mormon today. He is another example of obeying the commandments of the Lord and listening to the promptings of the Spirit. Because you never know what the Spirit is going to lead you to do. Until tomorrow.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The End of the Jaredites

Today I read Ether 15, the last chapter in the book of Ether and the end of the Jaredite people and nation. I remember once having a conversation about the Book of Mormon and how graphically violent it is with my best friend at the time and his dad. I was about 15 and all 3 of us cited this chapter as an example of how if the Book of Mormon were ever made into a movie it would be at best rated R if not NC-17.

This chapter is sad for many reasons, but I can't help but feel sad that Coriantumr saw what was happening and tried to stop it but was unable to do so because of the hatred and anger of the people. It seems to me that even if he had been willing to sacrifice his own life to save the rest of the people, the people would not have been spared and would have continued the fight anyway.

This is what happens to a people when the Spirit of the Lord stops striving with them. You would think that in the 4 years they were gathering people to their cause, at least some of them would have tried to escape into the wilderness and save their family, but from the way it is written and what we know of history, it appears that none of them did that. They just all came like lambs to the slaughter. It is hard to imagine a people so totally consumed with hatred that they would just come and join an army and fight and bring their women and children and make them fight too. Of course we don't have all the details, some of them may have honestly believed it was the only way to protect them. I still think if it had been me though I would have taken our chances with being out in the woods.

As I have stated before to me the Jaredites are the ultimate example of what not to do. I don't see a point to their record otherwise. Yes, Mahonri, Jared and their families and friends tell a great story, but almost from the moment those 2 men die it is a horrible example of human depravity. As we have said before, the best way to combat such things is to live a good and righteous life and let your life shine forth. Be an example of good around you and do what the Lord asks of you. Focus on living the Gospel and loving the Gospel. Do this and your life will not only have meaning, but it will be the happiest life you can have in this life. And of course you will be blessed for it too. Until tomorrow.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Total loss of Civilization

Today I read Ether 14 which is a very depressing chapter. Ether 14 starts the war among the Jaredites that never ends and culminates in their destruction. I remember as a teenager my Dad once giving a Family Home Evening lesson that consisted of a scripture chain of how you could tell when a civilization was ripe for destruction, as the scriptures always say. I have marked in the set of scriptures that I used to use in seminary and later my mission.

Every time I get to this part of the Book of Mormon I think of those scriptures, for obvious reasons. Today when I read this chapter I was appalled at the sheer blood lust and total disregard for human life that the Jaredites had at this point. As I read the account of Shiz pursuing Coriantumr and how he would just slaughter any and all cities that he came across, for no reason that we are given, I couldn't help think to myself that this is indeed what it means to lose civilization.

Such an idea is totally foreign to me. How can someone just enjoy killing so much that they would randomly kill every woman and children in a city, just because they were there? As a teenager I had never noticed those verses and what was going on at the time of destruction of the Jaredites and I had felt sorry for the loss of life and the fact that they were destroyed.

Now that I am older and can read what was actually going on, I feel only that the Lord was justified in his wiping such evil off the face of the earth. I know we live in a very violent time and that people's emotions are dampened, but how could those men just kill innocent women and children like that? Just yesterday during my lunch break, 3 ladies came in and changed the channel to some show where they were talking about a woman whose husband had tried to kill her and the only reason he failed was someone who heard the commotion called the police. I was not watching it, I was reading a book, but just listening to it all made me sick to my stomach. Apparently they showed really graphic photos because one of the women protested at one point, but these 3 women were watching it quite calmly while eating lunch! I couldn't believe it. And it wasn't even fiction, it was real, it had happened several years ago and they could not only watch it quite calmly, but even eat lunch during it all.

It was quite sad to see. I could not believe that we, as a society, have become so desensitized to violence and have come to value human life and happiness so completely that we can not be disturbed by it when we come face to face with it. It makes me really worried about us as a race and as a civilization. Because we are no different than the Nephites and the Jaredites, once we become fully ripe, we too can and will be swept off the face of this land. It's just sad to me that the technology that makes it so much easier to share the gospel, to keep in touch with old friends and do all these wonderful things, is the same technology that is slowly but surely eating away at us and making us more prone to these types of atrocities.

I do not wish to dwell on such horrible topics so I will not. But the fact of the matter is, as horrible as it is, there are lessons to learn in the downfall of the Jaredites. Pray that we learn them, so they are not repeated. Until tomorrow.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Prophecies of Ether

Today I read Ether 13, the first half of the chapter is really neat, the prophecies of Ether and a New Jerusalem and all the other things that Ether prophesied about to his people. The 2nd half of this chapter is about the war that was started during his days that caused the entire destruction of the people.

It is really, really sad to read about the destruction of these people and I once again am just in awe that people and their loyalty can be so complete and blinding. I have read books and histories of the many various kingdoms in the history of the human race and I know many, many kings have had their soldiers do many horrible and despicable things over the many years and I'm sure that some of those soldiers even enjoyed doing those things, but surely there must have been soldiers who would balk at such orders and hesitate to perform them?

Or perhaps not. Perhaps I am actually the vast minority and it is only me whose spirit weeps at such destruction and atrocities. I would like to think not, but power seems to attract a certain type of individual and that type does not seem like the kind you would bring home to mother as the saying goes. Nevertheless, in the case of the Jaredites, it would appear that all of them were past feeling as we will read over the next 2 days.

As for the prophecies of Ether, have you ever noticed that certain groups of people get to hear really neat things? For example, the Jaredites by this point had become totally corrupt and ripe for destruction. We know this because from this point on it was continual bloodshed and warfare and they were completely annihilated in the space of about a decade. And yet according to Moroni there were not many prophecies that were greater! Why in the world is it that a people who were beyond saving would get to hear such wonderful prophecies? Why would they be wasted on an unrepentant people who would not take them to heart and actually change their lives because of them?

Well there's the obvious reason that Ether wrote them all down and some day we will have them, or at least Mahonri's vision which I am sure contain all the things Ether prophesied about. But that does not change the fact that Ether was commanded to preach them to his people. In my opinion the last three books in the Book of Mormon, Mormon, Ether and Moroni are the most sad because of all the destruction and I think those 3 men, Mormon, Ether and Moroni, are the saddest in the entire Book of Mormon. Just like Mormon, and Moroni, Ether had to witness the entire destruction of his people. I would hope that these 3 men had heavenly comforts and angels to minister to them. They must have been incredibly strong because my heart and spirit ache just from reading these accounts, I could not even imagine witnessing them first hand!

So why was Ether commanded to preach such marvelous things to his people? I honestly think, despite what Moroni says, it is because there were a few that believed him. Just as in the days of Noah, the people as a whole rejected all his words. However, in Noah's day there were 1 here, a family there, a couple here, a child there, who believed his words and were caught up to the fled city of Enoch. I believe that this is also the case with the Jaredites, that while the people completely rejected all his words, there were some few that believed him. Perhaps not, and perhaps if there were those who did believe they were immediately executed just like the saints in Ammonihah, we are not told, but I like to think that there were some few who believed Ether.

Well, I guess I should say repented because Moroni said that Ether's faith was such that they could not disbelieve his words so they believed, it would just seem they did not care. That is a funny thing to think about, but how many of us do that every single day? Those of us who read this and are LDS believe all the words our prophets say, yet how many of us make the changes we are asked to make? How many of us actually do the things we are asked to do? How many of you are working towards getting out of debt? Towards a food storage? Towards a family? It's a sobering thought! I must admit this just came to me as I sit here writing this, but I really do think this is what Moroni is talking about. We all believe the words of our prophets, but do we honestly heed them like we should? I wonder. I know I personally could do better.

When I first finished this chapter, I was sorely tempted to just read chapters 14 and 15 and just lump them all together since they are all talking about the destruction of the Jaredites, and now I see that even the repetition of destruction in the Book of Mormon serves a purpose and can be expounded upon by the Spirit of the Lord. I look forward to what the Spirit will teach me tomorrow. Until then!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Faith and Weaknesses

Today I read Ether 12, a very famous chapter as any who took seminary well knows. This chapter is mostly about having faith and about why we have weaknesses in this life. We are also reaching the end of the civilization of the Jaredites. Ether has been born and is a prophet of the Lord and begins to prophesy, and as we have seen in the past the people are upset because they cannot disbelieve Ether's words because of his faith.

The majority of this chapter is taken up by Moroni talking about faith and explaining about it and how all the prophets have had faith and used it to perform their mighty miracles. I have always been fascinated to learn that apparently the brother of Jared moved an entire mountain at some point in his life! Kinda makes me wish we didn't just have an abrigement of the record.

Faith is things which are hoped for, which are not seen, wherefore dispute not because you see not, for you receive no witness until after the trial of your faith. Those are the words of Moroni from verse 6 of this chapter. There are so many things we have to take on faith in this life. I once read, or rather had read to me, a paper called the Efficacy of Prayer by C.S. Lewis I believe it was who wrote it. And he talked about where or not prayer was really effective and if things worked out because we prayed about them or for other reasons. I am always reminded of this paper when I think of faith because one of his examples in there was getting married and does the woman you propose to say yes because you prayed about it, or would she have said yes even if you hadn't prayed?

Every man who has ever asked a woman to marry him knows about faith. You have the faith that she will say yes, but like Moroni says, you don't get the witness of that faith, her saying yes, until after the trial of that faith, that ridiculously long few seconds before she answers you! Most people would not think of proposing to your wife as faith, but it is. Now Alma actually adds the important verbiage to the definition of faith that helps us really define what faith is, he says that faith is to hope for things which are not seen which are true. We typically reserve the word faith for spiritual things but faith is a hope in anything which is true that is not seen, like your intended's love for you and desire to marry you.

One of the reasons we think of faith as only for spiritual things though is because we cannot perform anything unto the Lord without faith. We cannot pray without faith, we cannot give a blessing without it, we can't get baptized without it, we cannot approach God without it. That's why Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the first principle of the Gospel. But even non-spiritual things require faith. Anything you have heard about that you believe but have never personally experienced requires you to take it on faith. If you have never before had a baby, then in reality you are taking it on faith that sex is required to have a baby. But once you have that first baby your faith becomes knowledge. And so it is with all things we have faith in.

The other half of this chapter is about weaknesses, which we have already talked about in the past. I did a quick review of all my posts and it seems that we have talked about weaknesses quite a bit already. It seems to be a repeating theme in the Book of Mormon. I believe that is because we are all given weaknesses to overcome in this life. Some are easier than others to overcome, some we never overcome in this life. The scriptures allude to the fact that we are each given a weakness in this life that we cannot overcome without God's help. And that is done on purpose so that we will turn to Him and humble ourselves so that we will turn to Him so that we can overcome those weaknesses with His help.

Some people would never turn to God without those weaknesses. They would try and do everything on their own and they would try and do everything they can without His help, which is contrary to the will of God. We must humble ourselves and turn to God so that with His help we can be prepared to enter the kingdom of heaven. Poor Moroni was so worried that all who read the Book of Mormon would make fun of him because of his weakness and I don't think a single person who reads the Book of Mormon knows or sees what weakness Moroni is talking about. I know he is comparing himself to Mahonri's writing and apparently his writing was very powerful, but without anything else to compare it to, I think Moroni's writing is also quite powerful.

But Moroni clearly thought of his writing as a weakness of his. Whether or not it was, we are all given weaknesses and we are all meant to turn to the Lord. As we do we will become better men and women and better able to serve the Lord and our fellow man. Come to Him who is mighty to save, who stands with open arms ready to receive you the scriptures say. Come unto Him and find rest from your cares and sorrows. He can heal you, and what's more, He WILL! Until tomorrow.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Sad Lot of Prophets in Days of Old

It sure doesn't pay to be a prophet in the old days, have you ever noticed that? Today I read Ether 11. And once again the Jaredites are so wicked that a huge war breaks out reducing their civilization back to just a handful of people. But before the war broke out, the Lord sent His prophets as He always does to tell them of the impending destruction that is hanging over their heads.

And just like seems to happen 90% of the time with prophets in the olden days the people rejected the prophets for their words and even killed them. Now, of course I understand that in the eternal scheme of things it does not matter that the prophets were killed because this life is not the end and to die doing what the Lord has asked of us is the best way to go. We know that those prophets who have met their end while testifying to the people as the Lord had asked them to do returned to their God.

However, despite an eternal outlook of things I am very glad that our prophets are safe in this day and age. Even though I know that if someone were to kill President Monson he would return swiftly back to our Heavenly Father where he would be welcomed with open arms, it would be extremely sad for all of us here as we dearly love our prophet and all the Apostles. So in that regard I am very glad that I live in this day and age.

The rest of chapter 11 is a continuation of the history of the Jaredites as told through the line of Jared and Ether. It is very repititous as is honestly true of all human history. Except for a small percentage it would seem that the vast majority of mankind does what it wants to and does not repent unless faced with some sort of calamity such as the terrorist incident that happened here in America on September 11, 2001. That really jolted America into being more religious and aware of its own people but it only lasted a few years. It seems sad to me that the work of these great men who kept these scriptures all these thousands of years would go to waste on so many people who won't learn the lessons of ages past and instead continue in their same old rut refusing to accept the things of God and repent and choose instead to follow Him. They listen to the whisperings of Satan and think they are happy when they are being cheated down to Hell.

Wickedness never was happiness the scriptures teach us, and they are right. When people live a life of debauchery, if you see them during the wee hours of the night when they are not engaging in sin, the are sad. At night when I lie down to go to sleep, I am happy and content with my life, living the gospel with my wife and daughter. The Gospel is the only road to happiness. Learn from the mistakes of the past that we read in the scriptures and choose happiness. Choose the Gospel and choose eternal life. Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Musings about the Jaredites

Today I read Ether 10 which is more of the same thing we talked about yesterday. It never ceases to fascinate me when I read about these people and their history. I mean in this chapter we read about more than a dozen men and their lifetimes. You gotta figure if each man lived even just an average of 60 years a piece, that's over 720 years of history I just read this morning in only 2 and 1/2 pages!

It is also interesting to me that instead of just following the line of kings, Moroni is specifically following the line of Jared and the original kings. We find out in the next chapter that is because Ether is a direct descendant of Jared and that is who Moroni is leading us to. As I have mentioned before, when it says that such and such person dwelt in captivity all their days, I do not think it is like a European dungeon but rather more like house arrest since they are obviously having children and families. Moroni tells us of 4 men who were in captivity all their lives. I wonder what that would be like to be under house arrest for your entire life? I don't think it would be very fun.

It never ceases to amaze me how fallible mankind is. Granted, as I said before, when we read these scriptures we are not talking about just a few years in most cases, rather we are talking about decades in the case of the Jaredites, but still you would think that the people would learn from their mistakes. And the thing is that they do learn! But just like with the Nephites in the time of King Mosiah, and in our own generation, it's their children. In the scriptures, and apparently our day, if the children did not suffer through it themselves, they seem to not take the lesson learned from it from their parents. Instead they rebel against their parents, make ridiculous statements like, "you just don't understand" and rebel against the Lord and what is right.

We see it all the time in our own generation, and yet sometimes rebelling against their parents means the children turn to the Lord. In our own generation, as I'm sure has happened in days past, people are turning to the Lord, especially if they did not have religion as a child. However, just as many are rebelling against their parents and not turning to the Lord. Satan has great hold over many of the hearts in our generation. The only way to combat it, is by living our religion and being an example for good wherever we are. In other words living up to our baptismal covenants. As we continue to do what is right in a world increasingly doing what is wrong, we will stand out like a sore thumb. And like Elder Nelson said in his last conference talk, be prepared to answer the questions that will arise because of your being different. They will come and use them as the opportunities that they are. Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Life and Culture of the Jaredites

Today I read Ether 9 which is just a look into their history and their culture. One thing that I find interesting about this chapter is the fact that the Jaredites seem to be more wicked than the Nephites were. The Jaredites in this chapter were almost completely destroyed except for Omer's family who had fled. According to this chapter, the Jaredite nation was completely destroyed except for 30 of them and Omer's family. The Nephites were never so wicked that they were all destroyed until the end.

If there is one thing the Book of Mormon does really well, is prove how stupid of an idea it is to have the leadership of a people be hereditary. Have you noticed that, especially with the Jaredites, they almost never seem to have more than 3 righteous kings in a row? And think about all the other societies that have had monarchies for their system of government. It almost seems like kings or queens with supreme power over their subjects seem to be prime picking grounds for Satan. Or perhaps it's just that the raising of the princes and princesses is so contrary to the laws of God that it makes it that much easier for Satan to influence them. The sense of entitlement, to deserve whatever it is they want, is contrary to the proper order of things. And we are running into this problem now with the general population here in America even without the royalty aspect. We have an entire generation that feel entitled to whatever they want because they are alive, for no other reason.

This chapter has always intrigued me also because of the insight we get into the Jaredite culture. I once came across a man on my mission that endeavored to prove to my companion and I that the Book of Mormon was not true by the fact that when Cortez and the other conquerors of South and Latin America who left records arrived, they did not find any wheels. He also went on to prove it as incorrect because the American Indians had no knowledge of horses when the Europeans arrived and yet the Book of Mormon states they had horses. I smile every time I read this because I wonder what this gentleman would think if he read this chapter that states they had elephants too. I also always wonder just what exactly a curelom and cumom are. I've heard people suppose they were llamas or what not but given that they are listed with the elephants as being especially useful for man, I'm not too sure about that, but it's all just fun speculation.

It also amuses me every time I read this chapter because while the Jaredites had the same issues with wickedness that the Nephites did, the Jaredite history is so condensed it makes it seem a lot shorter than it was even though they were around almost twice as long as the Nephites were. But it is really easy to see the pride cycle and the wickedness of the Jaredites with such a condensed history. It makes it seem like as soon as they started progressing again after nearly being destroyed they returned to their wicked ways, when in reality it was at least 253 years, based on the dates we are given, before Moroni states they were ripening for destruction again. 253 years, that is less time than America has been a country! We are given false sense of how wicked they were because of the condensed method of Moroni's telling us of their history.

The rest of this chapter is pretty typical stuff, the Lord sends a famine and poisonous serpents to remind the people to repent and to invite them to turn again unto him. I have never understood why secret combinations are such an interesting thing to so many people. I guess it's the idea of something for nothing and not having to work for what they want. And yet the people who are enticed to them never seem to learn this one lesson, that wickedness never was happiness. True happiness only comes from living the Gospel of Christ. Choose happiness that will last, choose Christ. Until tomorrow.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Bridle your Passions

Today I read Ether 8, which I have always found to be an interesting chapter. It is interesting to me for several reasons, with the overall reason being if everyone in this chapter would just bridle their passions, things would have happened a lot differently. When I was single and having trouble finding girls I wanted to date I because a little bitter and used to point to this chapter and facetiously say that the downfall of the Jaredite nation was brought about by a woman. While that is stretching the truth quite a bit, it was a woman who caused secret combinations to start among the Jaredites.

Today while I was reading this chapter though I had a funny thought about the daughter of Jared who is so conniving and evil at heart. She has read her scriptures! She reminds her father about the secret combinations that existed in the old days before they left. She could not have known that if she had not read the scriptures. That is my funny thought from the scriptures today.

I also had another thought occur to me as I read the scriptures today. The Jaredites have a very different meaning of the word captivity than I do. When I think of the phrase "dwelt in captivity" I think of medieval dungeons, the Count of Monte Cristo type things. However, that is obviously not what the Jaredites mean when they say their king dwelt in captivity. These kings have children while in captivity, they are obviously healthy enough than when liberated they do not need to recover but rather can just go right back to ruling. What I think they mean by captivity is they are put away on an estate somewhere and have guards all around them so they cannot escape, but their wife and children still live with them and they have a pretty comfortable life, they just are not rulers anymore.

At least that is the impression I get from reading about these kings and with no sense of a time line really that is the best we can do. Now, in a later chapter at least one of the people we read about seems to have been indeed thrown into a dungeon and starved to death as the scripture reads, but that is not for another couple of chapters.

Now, back to the title of our blog post, to bridle our passions. I chose that title today because as I stated above, if everyone would just bridle their passions this chapter almost wouldn't have happened. For example, Jared desired the kingdom, so he dissented and made war upon his father and took him captive, then Jared's brothers were angry so they made war upon him and restored the kingdom to his father. Jared still desired the kingdom, so his daughter, a pretty evil woman in her own right, devised a plan to get her father what he wanted.

Next, Akish desires Jared's daughter that he may have sex with her because of the, I assume, provocative dance she performed for him. So in order to fulfill this desire he agrees to commit murder, and not just any murder, but to kill the king, who we are told is his friend. If any one of these 4 people could have just controlled their passions and been level headed this chapter would not have happened that way.

And likewise it is with us. What a lesson this chapter is for us! How many of us have sinned because we could not control our passions? How many of us have done damage to our spirits because we allowed the flesh to take complete control and did not resist our temptations? Anyone who has committed grievous sins can tell you that the process of repentance is interesting as you don't get the companionship of the Spirit back for a long time. And if you have been sinning long enough, the sensitivity to the Spirit comes back in stages. I sincerely hope that none reading this will know of what I speak from first hand experience, but I fear all too many who will read this will understand my words because of their own experiences.

The Book of Mormon is there for us to learn from and to help us to not make mistakes that have already been made. It is very rare for one to learn from another's mistake if one has their passions out of control. When one is not thinking properly because of their passions, all around them can see the dangers like a giant meteor crashing towards the earth. And yet the person in question is as oblivious as an ostrich with its head in the sand.

Bridle all your passions. If you hope for exaltation one day you are going to have to learn to do it anyway, use this life to get a head start. You will not be sorry you did. Until tomorrow.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Weakness of Men

Today I read Ether 7 a continuation of the story of the Jaredites. As I read the story of the Jaredites I can't help but wonder at the folly of men and their desire for power. In this chapter alone we read of several men who desired power above all others, so much so that they were willing to start wars and people died to grant them their desires.

When I think about those things, I often wonder why so many people are willing to lay down their lives to help the person in question become king. I know in the Book of Mormon there are many times where someone wants to become king and they are supported by people who also want power and promised that they will be placed within positions of power so that they can have the desires of their heart. But why would entire armies go to war just because one certain man desires power? One thought is perhaps they were mercenaries. Perhaps they desired money and so they sold themselves to the highest bidder.

I cannot understand why some men, and women for that matter, will do all these things just for power and to try and be king, or be in a position of authority. And we still see it today. Every election year we see people campaigning to become a senator, or a representative of the state or a governor or even President of the United States. And they have such a following of people. I can't help but wonder why they desire these things. But we each have our own trials and weaknesses to overcome. Everyone has their own weaknesses.

I believe we have talked about this before, but it is interesting to me how each person's weakness is tailored to what will help them grow the most. Someone like me who has no desire to drink alcohol or smoke a cigarette is not tempted by these things. It is not one of my weaknesses and never has been. Likewise I have never desired power or positions of authority. These are not my trials. My trials lean in other directions. For example I had a really bad temper as a child and teenager that I struggled with for many, many years that I had to overcome. I still have to wrestle with my emotions at times, but I do not have the temper I once had. I feel extremely lucky that even though I had a bad temper, it was never accompanied by violence. I've always been a very gentle hearted man and am extremely grateful to my Father in Heaven that I never had the problem of controlling urges to do violence.

Now there are those who look at my life and my trials and wonder why I struggle with them at all, but that is because they are my trials and they tailored to me and to help me grow. To be honest I look at most people's trials and just shake my head, often in disgust. It blows my mind how many people we have addicted to alcohol in this country, and what's even worse to me is the sheer amount of people who would claim they are not alcoholics. And yet I cannot go to a sit down restaurant with my wife without it being assumed we are going to consume liquor! Tell me we are not a nation of people addicted to alcoholics and I will call you a liar. But I think we are also addicted to violence and sex in this country. So many shows focus on violence. And yet we justify it because it is the "good guys" doing all the violence. Cop shows glorify criminals even if we don't realize it. But we have already talked about this in another post. I don't think anyone over the age of 10 needs me to expand on just how we are addicted to sex in this country.

In a few chapters we will read that the Lord gives men weaknesses to humble them so that we will turn to the Lord. He gives us weaknesses we cannot defeat on our own so that we will come to Him and ask for His help. I truly believe we progressed as much as we could in our past life and when we could progress no further, what we still needed to work on because our trial here on earth. We learn in Alma 13 that we could choose to disobey God's commands when in our previous life and so we must have had challenges in our past life just like we do in this one. And that is exactly why this life is the time to prepare to return to God. As we strive to be better men and women in this life, we will be so much further ahead than those who squandered their time here on this life. Use your time wisely and do what He has asked of us to do. Strive to improve yourself and overcome your weakness and you will find joy in the journey. Until tomorrow.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Surely this thing leadeth to Captivity

Today I read Ether 6 where the Jaredites travel via barges to the promised land. This chapter almost makes my brain hurt as I think of the sheer logistics of the entire chapter. They are in these barges 344 days. That's only 21 days shy of a year! Now there are 8 barges and 22 people, plus all their provisions and their animals. So if they split up the people evenly that is less than 3 people per barge! So you don't have many people to talk to, plus there's all the other problems. Where did they go to the bathroom? How gently did the barges turn when they would flip over? And lastly, I would not have volunteered to ride over with the bees! :)

I bring this up to one, have a quick laugh, but also to point out the sheer planning capacity of the Lord. Just like with the Israelites and Moses, the Lord knew what all was going to be required for His people to be safe and He took care of it. For all we know, the Lord may have told Mahonri to put all the animals into other barges so that they would all be safe and the Lord sent angels to care for the animals or just calmed them, etc. The bottom line is the Lord had it all under control.

Now if the Lord can handle something so mind blowing as this, can't He help you with your problems? We fall into this trap from time to time of not believing the Lord can or perhaps will help us. We think He has better things to do, or perhaps He doesn't love us enough or whatever reason we imagine up in our hearts. We need to understand that God has the power to help us with our concerns and problems, also that He wants to.

The other part of this chapter that I find intriguing is how in scripture the constant, almost irrational, desire for a king. I've never understood people's desires for kings and their almost paranoid desire for them. I guess people just need to have someone in charge. They need to have someone, besides the Lord I guess, to go to for problems. Someone that can settle disputes, etc. It amuses me that the Israelites had people to do that for them, but they wanted a king anyway.

With the Jaredites I think it is different. I think they were looking to Jared and to his brother to be that person, or people, for them and now faced with the prospect of losing their leaders, this is why they desired a king. Poor Mahonri knew right away it was a bad idea, uttering the prophecy that giving them a king would lead to captivity. How right he was! But Jared convinced him to let them have their king.

Now, a word or two about kings. As Mosiah stated, if the people could always have righteous men to be their king, it would be a great idea to have kings. However, the Lord teaches us in D&C 121 that unfortunately you can take a good man, give him power and suddenly he changes and immediately begins to exercise unrighteous dominion. It is really sad to watch too. I watched a good friend of mine on my mission change radically when he was given some authority. I am happy to say he eventually came around and went back to being the man I had met and admired, but for several months, well the word tyrant comes to mind. Mahonri knows this and this is why he does not want to grant his people their desire.

Nephi knew it too. When the Nephites broke off from the Lamanites when they first arrived in the promised land, his people wanted him to be their king and he not only refused but tried to talk them out of having a king at all. Now, we keep using the word king, but this applies to any system of government, or people, where the power is given to all one person. Dictators come to mind such as Adolf Hitler. Communist governments such as China under Chairman Mao ze dong come to mind too. You can even see it among children at times when they play and appoint someone to be their leader. With children though if the child selected starts behaving out of line, the other children just start ignoring him/her. Sadly with a government that is not an option.

This is why it is so very important to pick good leaders and to make sure that we are selecting good men and women to lead us. This is also another reason we need to always remain close to the Lord. He wants to help us and be happy so He will help us choose good leaders if we will listen. And we must always listen to the prophet and his counsel to us also. He will lead us in the right ways of the Lord. The prophets are humble men who do not desire the power given them and are way more concerned with the Lord and what He wants than the world. If we could only have such men (and women) to lead us politically too! Until tomorrow.

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Self Fulfilling Prophecy

Today I read Ether 5, what I like to call a self fulfilling prophecy. A self fulfilling prophecy is one that most likely would never have come to pass if it hadn't been made. Having hind sight of all events involved in this particular prophecy, I have to wonder if it would have happened if it had not been recorded by Moroni?

For those of you who might not be familiar with the story, when Joseph Smith was translating the plates, he and his scribe at the time, Oliver Cowdery, translated this chapter and learned that the golden plates were going to be shown to 3 witnesses. Oliver ask Joseph to supplicate the Lord that he may be one of those 3, thus setting into motion the events that fulfilled this prophecy. So again, one has to wonder, if Moroni had not recorded this prophecy, would it have happened at all? Of course, one could also argue that all prophecies the Lord gives are self fulfilling.

However, I am not trying to make light of so important an event. We have discussed in the past the sheer absurdity of the fact that there have been more than enough witnesses to the truth that any court of law would have to declare the truthfulness of whatever the event was, and yet still people doubt it. But there is another reason why the Lord wanted to have 3 witnesses to the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. It's the same reason that we send missionaries out in pairs or sometimes in three's but no more.

2 Corinthians 13 tells us that out of the mouth of 2 or 3 witnesses shall every word be established. This is God's established pattern and He will not deviate from it. This is important for several reasons, but perhaps the most important being because God does not change. As Moroni in Mormon 9 has taught us that there is not even a shadow of changing in the Lord and so it must needs be that He will not change in this regard either, and He has not. The Lord still uses 2 or 3 people to be His witness, this is why we send missionaries out in pairs, and sometimes threes. Yes, it is a nice way to keep safe and not be lonely, but the bigger picture is because it is the Lord's established pattern.

So, knowing this, it should be no surprise that the Lord established the truthfulness of the golden plates, and by extension, the Book of Mormon in the same manner that He has all His other scriptures. And yet people doubt. They cannot see the truth when it is before them and are blinded by the craftiness of the devil who whispers in their ears and twists holy scripture in their minds to deceive them. But those with eyes to see will see the truth. Those with hearts to feel will be touched by the Spirit and will know the truth of Moroni's words, and all the prophets. That has been God's pattern in the past, and it will continue in the future. Until tomorrow.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Light and Knowledge

Today I read Ether 4, where Moroni was commanded to write the vision which Mahonri saw and then seal it until we display the faith that the brother of Jared did. Most of the chapter is a direct quotation of the Savior that Moroni recorded. Jesus states that these things are not had among the children of men because of unbelief.

It really makes me wonder why people would not believe in God. But then I got to thinking that Satan is good at his job. I say that because I've been having my own experience with Satan trying to convince me of something. I've been having a bit of a rough time recently and been doubting some things. I made a big decision with my wife last year and now because of what is happening I've been doubting if we made the right decision. Once I was removed from the situation that is troubling me, I remembered that we both had received spiritual confirmation that this decision was the right one and that God wanted us to do this. But because of the tough time I've been having Satan has been able to put that worm of doubt in my mind and because of the way I've been feeling, downtrodden and sad, it has allowed that worm to fester and grow.

So I can understand how people can ignore all the evidences before them and disbelieve God. Also as we mentioned yesterday, we are never standing still, we are either progressing or regressing. If we regress, and do not live up to the light and knowledge that we have been given to that point, then it will be taken away. We've seen it in several cultures over the centuries, not the least of which is the Lamanites or American Indians. I'm sure most of you have seen it in someone you know in your personal life. I have a friend that was a good strong member during his childhood, fell away for 20 years, and then came back as an adult and he had to be retaught everything except the most basic of basics.

It is really interesting to me that so many people, including me at times, in their times of most distress do not turn to God. Some will try and handle it on their own, like me. Some will turn to other less wholesome pursuits to help them cope with it. It never ceases to amaze me that Satan is so good at what he does an in convincing us that his way is the best way. The one that has always amused me the most is feeling unworthy or being afraid to pray. I have a friend, a bishop in past ward that I was executive secretary to for a little over a year, who used to say, why are people afraid to pray after sinning? We are not going to tell God anything He doesn't already know. How true that is! God sees all and hears all, He already knows you screwed up. But guess what, we still need to talk to Him and pray about it. Because if we do not, then someone else will be talking to us, and we don't want that, I promise you.

It is important to increase in light and knowledge in this life, as much as we can. But it is perhaps even more important to make sure that we don't increase faster than we can keep up with. Whatever level we attain to, we will be expected to live up to whatever covenants we have made and whatever knowledge we have obtained. That is why it is so important to not rush people to go to the temple their first time. They need to be ready. That is why God teaches us line upon line and then waits to see if we will live up to that line He has given us. That is why such a marvelous and wonderful revelation as was shown the brother of Jared is not just out there for the world to read. They are not ready for the level of light and knowledge it would give them. Most of us are not ready for it either.

It is another tender mercy of the Lord that He does things this way or we would all be doomed. I don't say that lightly. It is a very real fact that we need to live up to what we have been taught up to this point or it will be taken away from us. And if that happens, our eternal progression is severely hampered. So, keep your covenants and live up to the promises you have made. Trust me when I tell you from personal and close friend experience, it is a long hard road to get back what you once had. Much harder and longer than the first time it was given to you, because you have to prove yourself even more. Don't put yourself through it. No sin is worth it. I promise you that. Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Mahonri sees the Lord

Today I read Ether 3 where Mahonri sees the Lord for the first time and sees all mankind and the history of the entire world. I think it was so neat that the Lord confounded the language that Mahonri wrote the vision he was given in. I can't help but wonder if He taught Mahonri the language or if Mahonri was given a temporary gift of tongues to write it. But like I've said before I like languages.

The focal point of this chapter of course is the Lord appearing unto the brother of Jared. As we discussed yesterday Mahonri supplicated the Lord and the Lord allowed him to exercise his agency by coming up with the solution to his problem on his own. Mahonri does not disappoint and brings the stones he has molten to the Lord and asks Him to touch them.

When Elder Bednar visited in September, he actually talked about this. I had never really thought about it, but Elder Bednar brought it up and asked why did the Lord touch the stones one at a time? Why did He touch them at all? The Lord could have caused them to glow in any number of ways, so why did He touch them? Elder Bednar suggested that it was an opportunity for the brother of Jared to exercise his faith. Mahonri was able to see the finger of the Lord not because the Lord made a mistake. It was because he exercised his faith and did not doubt the Lord would grant unto his supplication.

Now, one has to wonder, what changed in Mahonri? We already know he had great faith. The Lord had already appeared to him dozens, perhaps hundreds of times already. It was always in a cloud before, but Mahonri already knew the Lord existed and he had a pretty good knowledge of the Lord's nature I believe. So why was this time any different? As I was sitting here pondering this question a thought occurred to me. What if this was the first time the Lord had required the brother of Jared to come up with the solution on his own?

We do not know much about Mahonri's life prior to the Tower of Babel. In fact we know nothing. But we do know that of the 4 questions he asked the Lord, that we know of, the Lord answered 3 of them outright and only this one did He require Mahonri to come up with the answer himself. What if this was the first time the Lord had done that to him? If that is the case that would have required great faith on the brother of Jared's part and would make a lot of sense why this time his faith would have grown so much.

I do not know if this is the right answer, as I said, it was what occurred to me as I sat here pondering this question. I think it takes more faith to come to the Lord with a plan you have come up with yourself and ask if it is alright than it does to just ask the Lord what you should do. It's kind of like we said yesterday, going to your boss and asking him/her what you should do, or coming to him/her saying, hey this happened and I handled it like this, is that ok? It's a much greater risk to take care of the issue yourself, THEN report it, but the rewards are so much greater.

The more I think on this, the more I think this is the right answer. It required a lot more faith on Mahonri's part because he was required to be part of the solution, not just a receptacle for knowledge from the Lord's part. As we exercise our agency and become agents to act, as Elder Bednar is always saying, we are exercising true faith. Because as we know faith is belief followed by action. Faith without action is incomplete. We must act on the knowledge we have been given or in the part we have been allowed to participate in, like Mahonri was allowed to do, and we will grow. I'm sure I have said it before on here, but we are never standing still in the gospel, or life really. We either progressing or we are regressing. If we stop moving forward we will actually move backwards, like walking on a moving sidewalk that is going the wrong way.

It is vitally important that we act and not just be acted upon, so important that 1/3 of Heavenly Father's children lost their chance of a mortal body because they disagreed with the idea before the earth was created. When we choose to act we are exercising our most important right, one that will never ever be taken away from us. We can however voluntarily give it up, through addictions and other sins. But always remember, no one forced you to sin, in 99% of the cases anyway. You chose the path you are on and thus voluntarily gave up your agency. Don't give it up wantonly. Make sure you offer it instead to your Heavenly Father and use it to build the Kingdom. It's what you fought for before you were born! Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The proper order to supplicate the Lord

Today I read Ether 2, where the Jaredites travel through the wilderness and arrive at the land of Moriancumer and live there for 4 years. I think the thing that surprises me the most about them living there for 4 years is they lived in tents that entire time. You would think it they were going to live there for so long they would have made more permanent dwellings. And perhaps they did, but that is not what we were led to believe.

We are also led to believe that the brother of Jared while living in this land of Moriancumer for 4 years did not pray. We do know that he did not pray for a long time, but we are not specifically told that it was for 4 years. It was however long enough that the Lord came and visited him and spoke with him for the space of 3 hours. I think it is interesting that we are told exactly how long Mahonri spoke with the Lord. Also during this visit from the Lord, He chastened the brother of Jared for not praying for such a long time. I do not think He chastened the brother of Jared for the entire 3 hours as some would suppose. I think he was chastened and then he received instructions from the Lord.

Of course the most famous part of this chapter that everyone thinks of is the barges and Mahonri's conundrum with how to get air and light into his vessels. There is going to be so much to talk about in tomorrow's post so I will discuss a little bit more here than I normally would about this incident. As anyone who has ever read the Book of Mormon will recall, the brother of Jared was asked to build 8 barges for his people, their provisions and their animals. The ships were literally air tight and no light or air could get in. The question of what to do about the air was simple enough. But the question about what to do about light the Lord posed right back to the brother of Jared.

Now, the Lord could easily have produced a workable solution, but He wanted Mahonri to come up with a solution. Why is that? It is my belief it was because that is the proper order of things when supplicating the Lord. We learn in D&C 9:7 that the Lord wants us to do more than just ask Him when we want to know things. The proper order of things is to research the problem, come up with a solution that we think is best, and then come to the Lord with our answer and see if it is correct.

So I think the Lord wanted the brother of Jared to search out the solution to his problem on his own and ask the Lord if it be right. I think the Lord also wanted Mahonri to use his faith. The Lord knew what solution he would come back with. He knew that Mahonri would exercise such faith that he would see the finger of the Lord. But the brother of Jared had to exercise that faith first! The Lord was not going to just come out and give him such a wonderful gift as he was given.

It is the same for us. If we go to the Lord with a problem we have, He may give us an answer to the issue. He may do it because He loves us and wants to help us. But He much more prefers to have us come to Him, present the issue and our proposed plan and ask if it is acceptable to Him. Think about it, isn't that the way your boss, professor or parent would prefer you come to them with a problem too? Of course it is.

When we are forced to come up with an answer on our own, it causes us to grow. Very little, if any, growth is achieved when you are spoon fed ideas and answers. Children can learn that way, too a point, but really people remember things better when they look up answers themselves. The Lord or course knows this and that is why He asks us to seek out the answer on our own. It is the way we will grow the most. It is so important a lesson to learn that at times if we just come to the Lord without a solution in mind, He will not answer, or His answer will be to come back when we have thought it out like he did to the brother of Jared. Those are opportunities for growth that should not be shunned. Take advantage of them and you will be pleased with the results. Until tomorrow.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Mighty Man of Prayer

Today I read Ether 1, I have always been fascinated by the Jaredites. Partly because their history spanned twice that of the Nephites but we only have a 10th of the record of them. It also gives us an insight into how small and compact their writing must have been. When Ammon meets Limhi in the book of Mosiah, Limhi tells him that his people found 24 plates filled with engravings. Moroni later tells us that these plates contained the vision that the brother of Jared saw which included the entire history of the world as far as we know. That is a lot to include on just 24 plates!

As we start out learning about the history of the Jaredites we learn that during the time of the tower of Babel when the lord confounded the original language of the people and scattered them Jared and his brother, Mahonri Moriancumer, were spared because of the efforts of Mahonri. Jared requested of his brother that he pray unto the Lord that he would spare their language and that of their friends.

As I read this chapter today, I couldn't help but wonder, why didn't Jared just pray on his own? It seemed kind of weird to me that Jared would ask his brother to pray unto the Lord instead of just praying himself. Now I do not know anything of the culture of that time, I do know that based on how it is written that Mahonri was a prophet of the Lord and it seemed to be a well known fact that he had the Lord's favor, at least to his brother it was well known. Who knows but perhaps Jared felt since Mahonri was a prophet, he was more likely to get a favorable answer, who knows.

I also am intrigued that Jared had his brother ask the Lord if they were to leave the land. That to me shows remarkable insight into the workings of the Lord and an understanding of His ways which again showed me that Jared understood the things of the Lord. Perhaps since he did understand the Lord so much he was trying to follow the established pattern of the Lord by having his brother talk to God on their behalf. But Jared saw what was happening, and we can infer based on his questions he poses to Mahonri, he understood why it was happening and that they should distance themselves from such a place of great iniquity.

I often wonder why the Lord had the Jaredites take their animals with them. Seeds for planting I can understand, because even though the Americas were inhabited before this time, vegetables and fruits would not have necessarily still be around for them to cultivate. Fruits would have a greater chance than vegetables I think. But animals, surely there were already animals on the continents. Perhaps they brought animals for the journey so that they would have more to subside on than just grains, fruits and vegetables. I mean after all they are going to be living on the seashore in the land Moriancumer for 4 years! Although they did not know this at the time.

I also like the way that the last verse if phrased, the Lord is going to bless Mahonri and his family because of Mahonri's faithfulness in praying to him all this time. Prayer has been on my mind a lot lately. I honestly find it particularly difficult to pray, because of my own weakness; my mind seems to wander when I try and say silent prayers. But ever since I read Alma 32 3 months ago when prayer is likened to worshiping the Lord prayer has been on my mind.

The brother of Jared was a mighty man of prayer. He was used to conversing with the Lord and used to getting answers back from the Lord. Hence we know he was a prophet. The odd thing about this chapter though, to me at least, it makes it seem like he was the only one who was praying. Like I said, I really don't understand why when Jared, obviously a devout man of God, saw what was happening to the people around him didn't pray himself. He certainly had faith in the Lord and in His compassion, but seemed to believe that compassion would only be extended to another and not him personally.

I do not know this for a fact, it is pure speculation and I do not wish to slander Jared. But how many of us have felt like Jared at times in our lives? How many of us have felt "unworthy to pray" and fallen prey to the devil's tricks that teach us not to pray? How many of us have bought into the false mentality that the Lord will answer another's prayer but not mine? Whatever the reasons Jared had for just allowing his brother to do the praying instead of him, we can learn valuable lessons from it. Prayer is for everyone! We are all commanded to pray always. Elder Bednar explains that to mean we are to pray without ceasing and always have a prayer in our hearts. We are to dedicate each and every day to the Lord in our prayers.

We can all be mighty men and women of prayer if we so choose. But it must be a choice. We cannot simply pray like a drone and do it just because we are commanded to. Just like all other aspects of the Gospel of Christ, we must learn to love to pray. We should look forward to it, like we would a phone call to a cherished friend. We should all learn to be comfortable speaking to our Father in Heaven. As we do, our lives will change for the better, I promise it. You can put it to the test and you won't be disappointed. The best part about praying until you enjoy it, you can pray to Heavenly Father to help you enjoy praying, and He will help you. Give it a try! Until tomorrow.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Joy in the Journey

Today I read Mormon 9, the final chapter in the book of Mormon, written by his son, Moroni. The vast majority of what Moroni talks about in this chapter we have already talked about. He talks about the nature of God and why miracles have stopped, he reminds us to not take the sacrament unworthily, just as Jesus Christ did when he visited the Nephites. He asks us to not be baptized unworthily. He asks us to use this life wisely and prepare to meet God.

The part of this chapter that I have always found interesting is the end of the chapter when Moroni starts talking about him imperfections and the limitations of the language he and his people have used to write the Book of Mormon. Every time I read this, I wonder what are the imperfections that Moroni is referring to? I honestly don't see them. The Book of Mormon is so powerful and moving that I cannot honestly imagine what Moroni is referring to here.

I almost hesitate to talk about this here because I don't want to steal my own thunder. Everyone who has read the Book of Mormon before knows that Moroni talks about his weaknesses again in Ether 12 and that is when I had planned to talk about weaknesses. The part of this chapter that really intrigues me is the part about languages. I like languages and their intricacies. I like the little nuances of languages and I find it intriguing that Moroni talks a little bit about languages here.

I must admit that I don't know anything about the Hebrew language so I do not know why Moroni says the plates are not large enough for them to have written in Hebrew. To my way of thinking you write as much as you can on the size plate you have and you just add more plates or paper or whatever you are writing on. I honestly believe the real reason they did not write in Hebrew is just what Moroni says it is in the very next verse, that no one knows their language so no one could interpret it save God help them with it.

In the last chapter Moroni mentioned that the plates are of no worth to anyone for the metal that they are written on, but are of inestimable worth to wish to come unto Christ. Of course the amount of gold the plates are made out of would of course be worth much, but God will not allow this to happen. He will not allow His purposes to be frustrated. Therefore, as Moroni stated, they are of no worth to those seeking to get gain.

I also think it would have been neat to be in Moroni's shoes, he doesn't say it here but he does later that he writes unto us as though we were present. I think the Lord showed him our day and age to help Moroni, so he would have compassion on us and know that what he was doing is of worth. It must have been a little strange to know that what you are writing now would be read by someone hundreds of years in the future. It must have been an incredible burden on the prophets who wrote this.

But I believe it was all worth it to them. They speak of ridding their garments of our blood so that they can stand blameless before God at the last day, but I think there is more to it than that. I think these men who wrote this for us enjoyed it. I think they found pleasure in recording their testimony of Christ for future generations. Men who are so converted enjoy sharing their testimony of the gospel and of Jesus Christ. Even though it must have been incredibly challenging to scratch out these scriptures into metal plates, I know they would all say it was worth it. It makes me extremely glad for computers. If I make a typo, I just have to backspace it out. I can only imagine if these men made an error they must have had to smelt down the plate and start over again.

But I think that is what this life is all about, which we have discussed before. We are here to learn to find joy in the work of Christ. It does not come naturally to most. It is something we have to work at. But as Nephi taught us we are that we might have joy. God wants us to be happy. His most fervent desire is that we can be happy for the same reasons He is happy, but He allows us that choice. As Moroni pleads, lets not waste this probation and prepare now to meet God and find joy in His work. Until tomorrow.