Monday, June 30, 2014

It is Dangerous to Fear Man More Than God

So our ward has been challenged to read the Book of Mormon in 90 days and my families reading just caught up to my personal reading.  So today we read Mosiah 13 – 17.  I wonder if Alma had a true testimony before hearing the words of Abinadi?  We do not know anything about him prior to his conversion upon hearing the testimony of Abinadi.  I would imagine that maybe Alma had a spark of a testimony but then fell off the path of righteousness when surrounded by the other priests who were not doing what they should be doing.  But then again maybe he just liked the prestige and then became truly converted once he heard Abinadi’s words. 

It is also interesting to me that King Noah almost let’s Abinadi go and it says that he feared the Lord and what Abinadi prophesied.  But he apparently, like Martin Harris, feared his fellow men more than he did the Lord.  It is really sad to see men that could have been more, but allowed the people around them to dictate what they would do.  I try really hard to do what is right, no matter who is around, because I know that God is always there, watching over me.  He wants me to do what is right, and I love Him so I want to do what is right also.  Until tomorrow.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Stand Firm in Your Faith

Today I read Mosiah 12 where the people capture Abinadi and deliver him to King Noah.  I often wonder why people try and trick one another.  In this chapter the priests of Noah are trying to trick Abinadi into going back on something he has said supposedly to show that he is not a prophet of God.  I love how Abinadi however stands tall and firm in his knowledge of the Gospel and his calling as a prophet.  He testifies against the priests of Noah and testifies of their iniquities.  It reminds me of a statement I recall one of the Apostles saying once, that good chooses not to associate with evil, but evil cannot abide goodness and so must flee.  I suppose that is why the servants of God are content to speak our minds and then let it be, but the agents of the evil one continuously try and prove that they are right and that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is false.  And sadly for them, they can’t do it, because the Gospel is truth.  Like Abinadi, we need to stand tall and firm in our faith when questioned by those that would seek to destroy our faith.  Darkness cannot cover light, it will always shine forth and we need to let it out of us and share our testimony with all those around us.  Until tomorrow.

Friday, June 27, 2014

How Did the People Fall So Quickly?

Today I read Mosiah 11 where Noah is given the kingdom and leads his people on to wickedness.  I am honestly rather surprised that the people turned to wickedness so quickly after being taught the right way by Zeniff and the priest he appointed.  I wonder if they justified the wickedness and the unhappy feelings they felt based on the fact that their king was doing it?  I know when I step out of line I feel bad, the Spirit leaves me and it leaves an ache behind.  Surely these people also felt this way.  So did they just ignore it?  Or were they already desensitized to the Spirit?  Surely not all of them saw the example of King Noah and just dove right into sin.  I know sin for the more part is enjoyable to the natural man, but to the righteous person who is trying to do what is right, it takes a lot longer to fall off the path of righteousness and feel comfortable committing sin.  Although from an eternal standpoint it happens very fast, or can I should say.  So perhaps it was not as quickly as this chapter makes it out to be.  And there were good and righteous people, as evidenced by the amount of people that Alma baptized when he preached the Gospel and the words of Abinadi.  Perhaps they were just uncomfortable speaking up when they were surrounded by such debauchery.  I know I probably would be.  Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Why Did the Lamanites Hate the Nephites So Much?

Today I read Mosiah 10 and I find it interesting that the Lamanites hold on to their cultural hatred for so long.  It really makes me wonder why.  Again I think it has to do with the culture.  I think back to my childhood during the Cold War and the enemies of all Americans were the Russians.  I remember playing games where the bad guys were the Russians.  Did I hate them though?  Absolutely not.  I just knew they were the enemy.  Is this how the Lamanites were?  Perhaps as children but then as they got older their parents instilled in them more hatred and fear.  When I was 9 the Berlin wall came down and so the Russians were no longer the enemy.  We had no enemy.  So for the bulk of my life I have not feared or seen any group of people as an enemy.  I'm honestly not sure what to make of the Lamanites true, unwavering hatred of the Nephites.  I think it must be a cultural thing and I suspect it did not afflict each and every one of them.  Just the majority.  Until tomorrow.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Zeniff Sees the Good in the Lamanites

Today I read Mosiah 9 which is the first chapter in the history of the people of Limhi, starting with his grandfather, Zeniff.  I have always liked how Zeniff sees the good in everyone.  Of course he is blinded by this trait later when he gives the kingdom to his son, Noah.  But it is really good how he sees that the Lamanites are just like the Nephites and does not want to hurt them.  If we all looked at our "enemies" in that light there would be no more war I think.  Shouldn't we all want to see the good in each other?  I know God prefers to see us be good and act appropriately.  So that is enough for me to want to behave in an appropriate manner also.  Until tomorrow.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Limhi Used Plates for His Records

Today I read Mosiah 8 and I was very curious that the people of Limhi kept their records on plates also.  I wonder if they even thought about doing it that way or if they were just doing the way they had always known about?  I suspect they were doing it just because their fathers and so on did it that way.  I wonder if at any time the Nephites kept any kind of a record on regular old paper?  I truly don't know but I suspect that if it was a record of any kind it was kept on plates.  It is also interesting to me that the people of Limhi were so interested in the Jaredites and their destroyed civilization.  Apparently the Jaredites were not very advanced in terms of civilization if they were still using copper and brass for armor.  It is very sad though that they destroyed themselves and allowed Satan to get so great a hold on their hearts.  It is a great lesson to us not to allow ourselves to be consumed by hate and bitterness.  We know the consequences already if we do!  Until tomorrow.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Limhi's Curiosity Saves Ammon

Today I read Mosiah 7 where Ammon and his brethren seek out the people of Limhi.  It has always interested me how Limhi states that the only reason he did not have Ammon and his brethren put to death right away is because he was curious why Ammon was so bold as to approach the city when he knew he would be captured.  How lucky Ammon is, to owe his life to Limhi's curiosity.  I know if I were Ammon at that point I would be praying hard to Heavenly Father in thanks for Limhi and his curious mind.  If often amazes me how events unfold and happen on the basis of one single decision by one person.  Because I made one decision one night 8 years ago, both my best friends got married.  It would not have happened otherwise.  It is always so fun and strange how the smallest choices can yield large results.  Never doubt the power of choice and agency.  Until tomorrow.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Were King Benjamin's People Baptized?

Today I read Mosiah 6 and I have often wondered at the wording in this chapter.  Did the people get baptized at this time?  I know in the Gospel and the Church of Jesus Christ one does not make a covenant without an ordinance happening at the same time.  But every other time it talks about the people making a covenant with God it does specifically mention baptism.  So maybe this time they did not get baptized.  But I do like that King Benjamin appointed priests and teachers to make sure that the people knew the Gospel and the will of God.  It was a very happy time for the people of Nephi during this time I believe.  I wonder if they took care of the poor among themselves?  I’ll bet they did and they were working towards becoming a Zion people.  I just think they did not have enough time to make it happen.  Little by little we are told.  One step at a time.  That is the way to achieve perfection.  Until tomorrow.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Always Abound in Good Works

Today I read Mosiah 5 and I liked the very last verse, 15, where King Benjamin states that he hopes his people will always abound in good works.  It reminds me that it is not enough to covenant with God and that while it is ultimately by Grace that we are saved, it is after all we can do.  God likes it when we fulfill our covenants with Him and when we take care of those around us, just like we talked about yesterday.  When we are in the service of others, we are happy and we want to share those good feelings that we have.  There is almost nothing that compares to the feeling of the Spirit and the happiness that it causes.  Why would we not want to share that with everyone around us?  Life is good when you are feeling the Spirit and doing what is right.  Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Impart of Your Substance - One Heart and One Mind

Today I read Mosiah 4 which makes a lot of Latter-day Saints very uncomfortable, because King Benjamin commands us to impart of our substance to others who stand in need.  As I was reading this and pondering on it, I could not help but have Moses 7:18 come into my mind which of course is a description of the people of Zion.  It says that they were of one heart and one mind and there was no poor among them.

I have been thinking on what it means to be of one heart and one mind and I think I might have an inkling of what it means.  If you are of one heart and mind, it bothers you that there are those who do not have enough.  You look around at those who are suffering and your heart aches for them and so you give, not because you feel obligated, but because you feel the love of Christ coursing through you and you cannot help but give.  You give out of love for the individual.  You want them to be happy and to have the good things of life.  Just like a good man or woman wants their family to be well cared for, they view everyone as their family.  That is what it means to be of one heart and one mind I think.  You cannot stand to see those without and suffering so you do something about it.  That is where we need to get to.  Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Lord Will Purify Our Hearts

Today I read Mosiah 3 and was struck by the phrasing of verse 6.  King Benjamin tells his people that the Savior will cast out devils, or the evil spirits that dwell in the hearts of the children of men.  Before now, I had always taken this phrase to mean that He will actually cast out devils.  Now however, I think it actually means that through His teachings, He will help mankind overcome the natural man.  Certainly He did cast out actual evil spirits, but the evil spirit that dwells in the hearts of man to me is more along the lines of men choosing to do that which is contrary to the will of God.  It’s always fun when I read verses I have read dozens of times in my life and find a new meaning in them!  Until tomorrow.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Repentance Will Set You Free

Today I read Mosiah 2 and there are a lot of things that one can pick out of this chapter.  The main thing I was personally struck with how King Benjamin tells his people to ponder on the awful state of the wicked.  We learn much later in the Book of Alma that wickedness never was happiness.  If you think about other stories from the scriptures, particularly the Prodigal Son, we learn this is true.  That when people are in the depths of debauchery, they are unhappy and depressed.  I think truly the real reason so many people are depressed in this life is because they are living a life of wickedness and sin. 

I remember when I was a missionary how happy and amazing it was to see someone truly repent of their sins and turn their life around for the better.  The weight of sin is so heavy and harsh and we often don’t even realize it is there until it is lifted from our shoulders.  Once we become clean and turn our lives around we realize how much we missed the light of Christ.  It is something that we take for granted too often I think.  But it is so sweet when we get it back after we have lost it.  It is wonderful indeed!  Until tomorrow.