Sign in to follow this  
JohnsonJones

JohnsonJones Gospel Topics thread

Recommended Posts

So, though I'll revisit my other thread on culture and traditions which cover some gospel topics, this thread covers more straightforward topics and ideas.  Rather than deviating into what could be called speculation, I'll try to center more specifically on the more basic ideas and thoughts concerning gospel topics and ideas.  Basically, this will reflect what I'm reading or studying each week...and it makes a good period to start with as I'll be starting the Book of Mormon over again this week.  This could also prompt me to continue further into other books of scripture and read them more often.

Thus starting with 1st Nephi...and some impressions...

1. It's always interesting that the very start of his writing (though this is the small plates rather than the large plates, who knows how the large plates was started) he mentions he was raised by goodly parents.  This is in line with the 5th commandment, to honor your Father and your Mother.  This could be expanded to all of our thoughts and even beyond our mortal parents to our eternal parents (though at this time we really only know our eternal father).  We should also honor our eternal or Heavenly Father in all we do, and have him foremost in our thoughts along with his son Jesus Christ.  In some ways, the families we have on Earth are modeled on an eternal model of family in the heavens. 

2.  Later on in Chapter 4 I thought about Nephi's comparison of them and Moses.  Here he is relating on the power the Lord showed to Moses in dividing the Red Sea and saving them from Captivity.  I wonder if there is more in his thought than it seems on the surface.  I can see parallels between what the family of Lehi and what Moses and the Children of Israel went through.  Both were fleeing capture, though the Children of Israel were escaping, and Lehi was evading it in the present before it could occur in the future.  At the time, though unknown to Nephi, they would spend many years in the wilderness, though not as long as the Children of Israel, long enough in their wanderings that it would be many years before they would settle down permanently.

3. Chapter 4 also covers one of the more controversial items that some people have trouble with, which is Nephi slaying Laban.  I think this comes to the core of whether we believe Nephi is able to recieve revelation.  Can someone recieve revelation of that sort that has such deep implications on their's and other's lives.  Nephi's revelation had ramifications for his family, and he needed that revelation at that time to make a critical decision.  It is important to note that though the spirit talking to him affected his family and those who were descended from them, that revelation from the spirit was NOT for the entirety of Israel.  It was not like his father or the other prophets who were prophesying to Israel and Jerusalem at that time.  Instead it dealt more personally. 

In this, I think we can see some things about the seriousness of revelation and personal revelation..  If we have heard the Holy Spirit and can testify that it has told us the Book of Mormon is true, this is actually because the Holy Ghost has revealed or told us that it is true..  We are NOT prophets as the Prophet of the Church, or the one who leads the rest of the Church, but in regards to personal revelation we are able to receive such things that help us personally, or those within our areas of authority (for example, a father for his family, or mother for her children).  This does not make us prophets as we understand the prophets of the scriptures AT ALL.  I'm simply saying that we can receive PERSONAL revelation which sometimes can be of vital importance to us and our situations at the time.  I see Nephi's situation as him receiving personal revelation.

Of course, there are those who question whether Nephi's choice was actually due to the spirit, or his own personal bias.  I think this reflects our own doubts in our own lives regarding how to tell when something is revelation, when we hear something from the spirit, vs. that of our own feelings on the  matter.  How many times are our own personal feelings confused with being revelation, and how can one tell the difference.  I think Nephi also questions this in his mind in chapter 4.  He does not act immediately, instead verifying if what he is being told is actually correct.  It is then that the spirit talks more explicitly to him.

I know in my life I have had times where I have had feelings or promptings...but there are also other times when you actually hear a small voice that is a literal voice talking to you as the Holy Ghost.  I think Nephi had one of these moments, where the Holy Ghost wasn't just a feeling, but was actually talking to him at that time.  However, he goes both into what it talks to him about and tells him, and his own impressions that it is relaying to him...showing that it is not just the voice talking to him, but the spirit moving upon him.  Nevertheless, it is a serious choice and one not easily made. 

I think it shows the importance of being able to recognize the spirit, and even moreso, perhaps hearing the spirit in our day.  President Nelson has told us that in these perilous times we need to specifically tuned to hear the promptings of the Holy Spirit, that it will become a very important ability to have.  I think Nephi's story can help us understand more on reflecting on our own need for personal revelation, as well as the need to be able to be clean and pure enough to hear it when it talks to us.

(PS: this is not saying you should go out and slay someone to preserve the gospel...I hope we never have that choice and I don't think this happens all that often.  In fact, I think things like this happen very infrequently and HIGHLY DOUBT any of us will ever get something like that happening to us.  More likely it may be promptings to perhaps buy something in the store (perhaps toilet paper a few months back before the rush went on and it disappeared from the shelves for a few weeks/months), or to build something or talk to our children about something.  It may not be that it seems important at the time, but if we listen to the spirit and heed it's promptings, sometimes we will find what we thought was unimportant originally was a major thing or a major influence in the future.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, JohnsonJones said:

Thus starting with 1st Nephi...and some impressions...

1. It's always interesting that the very start of his writing (though this is the small plates rather than the large plates, who knows how the large plates was started) he mentions he was raised by goodly parents.  This is in line with the 5th commandment, to honor your Father and your Mother.  This could be expanded to all of our thoughts and even beyond our mortal parents to our eternal parents (though at this time we really only know our eternal father).  We should also honor our eternal or Heavenly Father in all we do, and have him foremost in our thoughts along with his son Jesus Christ.  In some ways, the families we have on Earth are modeled on an eternal model of family in the heavens. 

It is interesting to me that the Book of Mormon open with an ancient Egyptian writing method called a Colophon.   I will reference a typical Colophon from the famous Bremer-Rhind Papyrus and I will also note that in Joseph Smith's day ancient Egyptian colophons were not known.  This is the format from Bremer-Rhind:

1. The Date

2. The titles and names of the author

3. The name of the author's parents and their virtues.

4. A curse against anyone that attempts to alter the text or to use it for impure purposes. 

Compare to Nephi's colophon

1. His name

2. The merits of his parents and the divine calling of his father

3. A solemn avowal that the record is true (to be used by those that are pure).

Quote

3. Chapter 4 also covers one of the more controversial items that some people have trouble with, which is Nephi slaying Laban.  I think this comes to the core of whether we believe Nephi is able to recieve revelation.  Can someone recieve revelation of that sort that has such deep implications on their's and other's lives.  Nephi's revelation had ramifications for his family, and he needed that revelation at that time to make a critical decision.  It is important to note that though the spirit talking to him affected his family and those who were descended from them, that revelation from the spirit was NOT for the entirety of Israel.  It was not like his father or the other prophets who were prophesying to Israel and Jerusalem at that time.  Instead it dealt more personally. 

In this, I think we can see some things about the seriousness of revelation and personal revelation..  If we have heard the Holy Spirit and can testify that it has told us the Book of Mormon is true, this is actually because the Holy Ghost has revealed or told us that it is true..  We are NOT prophets as the Prophet of the Church, or the one who leads the rest of the Church, but in regards to personal revelation we are able to receive such things that help us personally, or those within our areas of authority (for example, a father for his family, or mother for her children).  This does not make us prophets as we understand the prophets of the scriptures AT ALL.  I'm simply saying that we can receive PERSONAL revelation which sometimes can be of vital importance to us and our situations at the time.  I see Nephi's situation as him receiving personal revelation.

Of course, there are those who question whether Nephi's choice was actually due to the spirit, or his own personal bias.  I think this reflects our own doubts in our own lives regarding how to tell when something is revelation, when we hear something from the spirit, vs. that of our own feelings on the  matter.  How many times are our own personal feelings confused with being revelation, and how can one tell the difference.  I think Nephi also questions this in his mind in chapter 4.  He does not act immediately, instead verifying if what he is being told is actually correct.  It is then that the spirit talks more explicitly to him.

I know in my life I have had times where I have had feelings or promptings...but there are also other times when you actually hear a small voice that is a literal voice talking to you as the Holy Ghost.  I think Nephi had one of these moments, where the Holy Ghost wasn't just a feeling, but was actually talking to him at that time.  However, he goes both into what it talks to him about and tells him, and his own impressions that it is relaying to him...showing that it is not just the voice talking to him, but the spirit moving upon him.  Nevertheless, it is a serious choice and one not easily made. 

I think it shows the importance of being able to recognize the spirit, and even moreso, perhaps hearing the spirit in our day.  President Nelson has told us that in these perilous times we need to specifically tuned to hear the promptings of the Holy Spirit, that it will become a very important ability to have.  I think Nephi's story can help us understand more on reflecting on our own need for personal revelation, as well as the need to be able to be clean and pure enough to hear it when it talks to us.

(PS: this is not saying you should go out and slay someone to preserve the gospel...I hope we never have that choice and I don't think this happens all that often.  In fact, I think things like this happen very infrequently and HIGHLY DOUBT any of us will ever get something like that happening to us.  More likely it may be promptings to perhaps buy something in the store (perhaps toilet paper a few months back before the rush went on and it disappeared from the shelves for a few weeks/months), or to build something or talk to our children about something.  It may not be that it seems important at the time, but if we listen to the spirit and heed it's promptings, sometimes we will find what we thought was unimportant originally was a major thing or a major influence in the future.

I appreciate your reference to the slaying of Laban.  But again if we become familiar with ancient the covenant with G-d, this will be understood in a whole new light.  I was introduced to this understanding by a Muslim friend from the Persian Gulf.  He was reading the Book of Mormon while I was reading the Quran.  His immediate response was that this proves that Nephi was called of G-d.

I studied this in greater detail  and here is a short summary.  Laban was appointed by covenant (lineage) to take care of the sacred record of the Jews.  Many scholars believed that there was a copy of the Jewish scripture records kept and maintained in the Temple - specifically in the Ark of the Covenant.  To remove this sacred record from the temple was not only an infraction of his covenant but a gross sin and an offence towards G-d - which according to ancient covenants was punishable by death.  This death covenant was the right and responsibility of the proctor of the covenant.  Since Nephi was commanded by G-d through the spirit - this was a sign that Nephi was called of G-d to be the proctor of a new covenant and also through covenant become the rightful heir to oversee and become the "keeper" of the sacred scripture record.

Again this is another "sign" that the Book of Mormon is an ancient record and not a modern manufactured counterfeit.  I agree with your witness that we must seek the spirit to understand and have a testimony of the Book of Mormon - but folded into the texts of this sacred book are physical signs that testify of its sacred and ancient origin and stand as a warning to those that take it upon themselves to lie (in their own heart to themselves or verbally to others) that it is not authentic and prove against such lies. 

There are evidences missing concerning the Book of Mormon but in the nearly 200 years since it was first published - There are discoveries and things learned that witness to its truthfulness that stands against those that construct lies in efforts to disprove.  I understand that such things are not proof but to the serious seeker of truth - it ought to be evidence enough to ask G-d the Father, in faith in the name of Christ; if this record is a true and sacred witness given to the world in preparation of the return of Christ. 

 

The Traveler

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1.  One thing that is mentioned in chapter 6 is that the genealogy of Lehi and Nephi was given in the large plates of Lehi.  I wonder if this was written by Mormon when he did his abridgement as I think this would have been important to the people of Nephi as well as evidence of where they came from and their lineage.

2.  Chapter 7 they return to Jerusalem to pick up Ishmael and his family.  This is one where I wonder if they had just the right amount of daughters and sons that were unmarried for the sons and daughters of Lehi.  Of course, it could be that there were some that were already married, but with the daughters it appears that there were 5 daughters (which matched the number of boys/men mentioned beyond Lehi at that time, that being Laban, Lemuel, Sam, Nephi and Zoram).  This could mean Lehi also had two daughters at this time.  Seeing the demeanor of the Sons of Ishmael, I wonder what those daughters attitudes were towards leaving Jerusalem.  Two of the daughters of Ishmael seem to be mentioned in their attitudes in being a good match for Laban and Lemuel, I wonder if in the Lord's wisdom he had chosen a family which had attitudes which closely mirrored those found in Lehi's family.

3.  Chapter 8 is Lehi's dream, but I found some items in Chapter 10 rather interesting.  First, Lehi mentions that the Jews would slay their own Messiah...something which I think the Jews may not have believed themselves when during the Lord's mortal ministry.  They probably did not see themselves as doing something like that, but as we know, due to the evil intentions of men, the prophecy was fulfilled.  In many ways, even as we look forward to the Second Coming, it seems the righteous Jews (And probably Israelites, at least earlier in history) looked forward to the coming of the Lord and the Savior of the World.  Lehi mentions how they needed the Savior, and though we now know he fulfilled his mission, at that time it had not yet occurred.

4.  Near the end of Chapter 10 Nephi also seeks to know of the things his father saw, and specifically mentions the Holy Ghost.  Once again, as I read yesterday, Nephi talks about how the Holy Ghost shows and tells us truth.  I think this is an essential thing in our day.  This is how we are supposed to gain our testimony, by the Holy Ghost telling us the Book of Mormon and then the rest of the gospel is true.  However, it is not always given to us all at once, but piece by piece and segment by segment.  Nephi actively asked for truth and information from it, and I think that also shows a pattern to a degree for us to follow, or one way for us to obtain truth that we seek actively. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I got a little behind with doing work and such, not sure whether I should go where I currently read today, or go back and cover some thoughts I had earlier.  Probably, and from here on out, if things happen, perhaps a little of both.

1.  Nephi asks for and receives the vision that his father had and has it explained, at least in part to him.  The first part is rather glorious in that it reveals the Savior and his ministry to Nephi.  He sees many things in the vision including the wickedness of the world and the followers of the Lord.

2.  Of interest it is stated there are only two churches, in chapter 14:7-10 he relates to our own church, which is the Lord's Church, or the great and abominable church.  This part I think is directly relatable to our time, in that he shows that the numbers were few (v 12).  Nephi saw many more things, but which he can't reveal, but he directs us to the Book of Revelations found in the New Testament where we can read in more detail of these things. 

3.  Nephi is told to build a boat in chapter 17, but his brothers do not want to help him.  I think sometimes in life we also have these types of struggles where we are told to do something by the Lord (For example, Church callings) but feel, or actually are, inadequate for that task.  AT times like these it can be hard to keep going.  Nephi struggles to continue, but with his brothers as obstacles and having little help from them, it can be discouraging.  We see the Lord help him though, and through that help and following the Lord's inspiration, he obtains his brothers' cooperation and help in building the ship.

4.  We see how continually Nephi is reliant upon the Lord and how Lehi's family is reliant upon the Lord.  They rely on the Lord to lead them through the Wilderness, to show them how to build a boat, and finally, to actually guide them and direct the ship to the Promised Land.  When Nephi's brothers and the Sons of Ishmael decide to party and bind up Nephi, misfortune follows rapidly.  We soon see how reliant they were upon the Lord as the Lord withdraws and they are faced with the fury of nature and the natural consequences that ensue.  Only by pleading to the Lord for his aid and intervention once more are they able to  not just be saved out of their predicament, but also obtain the promised land.

I have been in circumstances of my own making many times where I get put in a situation due to my own foolishness which makes a great deal of trouble for me.  I can remember at those times pleading to the Lord for help and asking for his aid...many times when I did not know how I would survive or get out of it myself.  In his great mercy the Lord has come to my rescue on multiple events throughout my life, saving me from my own mistakes.  He also has at times made things turn out even better than I thought they would, not due to anything I did, but the marvelous blessings he granted me. 

On that I am thankful,  not just for the Lord's atonement, but for the great many blessings he has given me and the tremendous protection he has granted to me many times.  I know that most of what I've been able to do in life is because of him and without him, my failures would be more absolute and more abundant.  ONLY because of him have I had any success, and because of his blessings I have (at least thus far) been able to live and survive.  It is through him that I have hopes for salvation, and through him and the atonement that I have for exaltation in the life to come where I am with my family and those I love for eternity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't get here as often to do a daily summary of thoughts.  This week I am on 2 Nephi, but I'll do one last visit to a thought about 1 Nephi.

1.  The Isaiah Chapters are popping up at the end of 1 Nephi.  I have been thinking why Nephi put it down on the records.  The records he had were smaller than the large plates, and these chapters take up some room (and far more later on), so he must have thought (as he expresses) that they were incredibly important.  They could be seen as doing a double prophesy of the Savior's Mortal Ministry and our time, but Nephi seems to focus more on the OUR time in his records.

Previously he had mentioned that he was making these plates, but I'm not sure he recognized the purpose behind them.  It could be that at some point he recieved a prophetic revelation (he did get to see a similar vision, if not the same vision, as John the revelator so perhaps he learned of the Book of Mormon and the events of Joseph's Translation, the loss of the 160 pages, and why the small plates were necessary).

If he knew this, then perhaps he put this in the small plates as they were more for the spiritual aspects of his record keeping and he felt alerting us to things in our time were important.  It could be his way of trying to give us a heads up of things that were going to occur in our modern era, but which he couldn't go into specifically as John had the rights to cover it instead.  Because of this, he knew Isaiah's writing well enough that he utilized that because it had already been stated by someone else, thus, feasibly could be free game.

2.  Some people question why these verses are so similar in writing to the KJV and use it to ask whether Joseph Smith was actually translating.  I ascribe to the theory that the KJV was the form which Joseph Smith was most familiar with.  Because he was more familiar with it, the Lord had it's wording and language in these parts of the Book of Mormon so Joseph could more easily translate.

I find Isaiah being quoted in the Book of Mormon as one of the strongest PHYSICAL evidences that Joseph Smith actually did a translation.  The reason is because if he had been carrying the Bible and reading off of it in front of the scribes he used, I think they would have noticed very easily that he was reading rather than translating.  It would be more than just noticing he was reading it to them by physically seeing him do so, but also that when one reads vs. when one is speaking in other ways, the cadence and way they speak is normally different.  Many can tell when one is reading rather than talking in another manner.

In addition, as I think he was not reading as that would have been easily discerned, the ONLY way for him to have given these chapters would have been by memorization.  With the amount of Isaiah we are given in the Books of Nephi, he would have needed to have been a scripture scholar greater than any I've met these days.  It is possible he had this much of Isaiah memorized, but extremely unlikely, especially as exact and word for word as he gives it throughout Nephi.  Unless one thinks he was some memorization savant in his early 20s and a Biblical scholar to boot (and there have been those who have been, so it is possible, but they also normally had more focus to do so, more time, and more education), I think it is an actual physical evidence that shows that this is a translation rather than something he made up.

If he made it all up AND was such a scriptural savant, we'd see a LOT more quoting (perhaps 1/2 or 3/4 or more) as this would be FAR easier than trying to make up a whole bunch of scriptural or other type of writing.  The amount of Isaiah tossed in is just large enough to show that it is exact, but small enough that you cannot really say one is trying to quote a book to make it easier to write than not.  Thus, for me, it stands as a physical evidence in regards to the idea that Joseph actually was doing a translation.

ON the otherhand, it seems Nephi, though I understand he felt the writing was important, with the amount of the book that is Isaiah, could have been taking the easy route of quoting rather than writing...in addition to the divine purposes he was directed by in putting it on his records.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

2nd Nephi...

1.  Chapter 2 is perhaps one of the hardest doctrines that I had accepting.  My view has been one where heaven has no evil, where wickedness does not exist.  If we believe that in heaven the Lord cannot tolerate even the smallest sin, how is it that evil and wickedness could exist?  However, the Prophet Lehi points out that there must be sin, or that wickedness must exist, for without opposition in all things, there can be no sin, and without sin there can be no righteousness and without righteousness there cannot be any happiness.  This is something that I am still struggling to understand.

I have never felt inclined to smoke, and as such have not had to suffer from the ravages of tobacco.  I have not had to struggle with that addiction, never suffered from the cancers caused by it, and can say I am happier from not having participated in it.  Does this mean that I have not had any opposition in regards to tobacco use?

I feel that it is not necessarily that we participate in sin or wickedness which makes us happy, but it is the choice between good and evil, or two different oppositions which enables us to be happy?  It is the choice between the two or the free agency that enables our freedom and happiness?

IN verse 27 Lehi says men are free to choose liberty and eternal life, or to choose captivity which would make us miserable.  So, perhaps it is not that wickedness must exist in our lives, per se, but that we have the choice exist between them?  That in heaven, wickedness and sin might be possible, but because of freedom and our choice to be happy, we will always choose NOT to do such.

We know in heaven it is possible to go against the wishes of the Lord.  We had a third of our heavenly siblings rebel against the Lord and be tossed out.  Obviously they must have been able to make that choice, which implies choices still exist, but we will choose righteousness rather than wickedness if we choose to be with the Lord in heaven?

2.  Lehi passes away and promptly Laman and Lemuel seem to start falling away from his wishes.  I wonder if this also implies a lack of honoring their parents.  Because of this, great strife comes upon the people.  It seems contentions, and even wars start.  I wonder how big those wars were though, considering that there would not be that many from Lehi's family yet.  Even one death would be a pretty big impact upon a group of that size, or at least among those who have been mentioned thus far (Lehi and Ishamael's families and their children).

3.  Nephi builds a temple and refuses to be a King.  He also consecrates his younger brothers (Jacob and Joseph) to be Priests and teachers.  Reminds me that today we also have Priests and teachers in the Church.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In 2 Nephi Jacob talks a LOT about our time and the second coming.  I'd just like to highlight two verses I underlined on this read through.

First...2 Nephi 6:12-15

Quote

12 And blessed are the Gentiles, they of whom the prophet has written; for behold, if it so be that they shall repent and fight not against Zion, and do not unite themselves to that great and abominable church, they shall be saved; for the Lord God will fulfil his covenants which he has made unto his children; and for this cause the prophet has written these things.

13 Wherefore, they that fight against Zion and the covenant people of the Lord shall lick up the dust of their feet; and the people of the Lord shall not be ashamed. For the people of the Lord are they who wait for him; for they still wait for the coming of the Messiah.

14 And behold, according to the words of the prophet, the Messiah will set himself again the second time to recover them; wherefore, he will manifest himself unto them in power and great glory, unto the destruction of their enemies, when that day cometh when they shall believe in him; and none will he destroy that believe in him.

15 And they that believe not in him shall be destroyed, both by fire, and by tempest, and by earthquakes, and by bloodsheds, and by pestilence, and by famine. And they shall know that the Lord is God, the Holy One of Israel.

We can see these things happening already in our time and our day.  Much alarm is given about global warming and the events ensuing from them, or so they suppose with increased storms, droughts, hurricanes, and much more.  Just this past week we've discussed in the news tempests and hurricanes as well as the ongoing pestilence of plague and disease. 

Quote

29 But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.

30 But wo unto the rich, who are rich as to the things of the world. For because they are rich they despise the poor, and they persecute the meek, and their hearts are upon their treasures; wherefore, their treasure is their god. And behold, their treasure shall perish with them also.

31 And wo unto the deaf that will not hear; for they shall perish.

32 Wo unto the blind that will not see; for they shall perish also.

33 Wo unto the uncircumcised of heart, for a knowledge of their iniquities shall smite them at the last day.

34 Wo unto the liar, for he shall be thrust down to hell.

35 Wo unto the murderer who deliberately killeth, for he shall die.

36 Wo unto them who commit whoredoms, for they shall be thrust down to hell.

37 Yea, wo unto those that worship idols, for the devil of all devils delighteth in them.

38 And, in fine, wo unto all those who die in their sins; for they shall return to God, and behold his face, and remain in their sins.

39 O, my beloved brethren, remember the awfulness in transgressing against that Holy God, and also the awfulness of yielding to the enticings of that cunning one. Remember, to be carnally-minded is death, and to be spiritually-minded is life eternal.

Here are lists of many things we see today regarding our Western Morality and those who participate in what the world considers good.  They do not heed the counsels of our Lord or the scriptures and instead tell us things that the world puts forth.  Carnality and whoredoms abound (they say only 5% of those in the US are still clean when they get married...if that), we put sports figures and actors as our heroes (and pay them millions to do so), we see the desire to earn money and riches as more important than lives, and the economy as more important than health, we see the desire to retain our riches and money and worldly stuff as more important than trying to help the poor or ensure they have places to live, a safe place to go or food to eat...and much, much more.

What the world seems to value today seems to be the exact opposite of what the Lord would have us do.  However, I find the last verse hopeful, for it has the thought that if we can be spiritually minded, it is life eternal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Short bit as it is later than normal, but I've been occupied throughout the week.  A Lot of Isaiah has been discussed in 2 Nephi.  It is perhaps some of the greatest prophecies of Isaiah that we can read.  It covers the atonement and great sacrifice of our Lord and Savior.  This is one of the shining prophecies Isaiah made, and Nephi also finds the glory of it as he not only records it but also how they are plain and that it will be easy for many to understand them in the last days.

I know that at least much of what Nephi writes, is easier for us to understand as we look back on the Savior's life and see how it fulfilled all the prophecies that had been made about it.  Nephi mentions that it could be hard for some to understand it during his time, and I wonder in reflection if we do not face the same thing with the prophecies of the second coming for our time. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The very end of 2 Nephi has some very pertinent things to us of which I'll note briefly.

1.  Nephi talks about the apostasy and how it affects us.  We see it today with all the various different beliefs that cover the earth.  The Book of Mormon accurately predicts the reaction of many to it, where people will say they already have the Bible and nothing can be further revealed and all there is to be known is to be found within it's covers.  I've heard people discuss this with various reasons all my life (you cannot add or take away as per Revelations...even though if that is so, any version of the Bible is condemning them who read it already for not using ALL of the books, plus the misunderstanding that this phrase is for the revelation of Revelations, not the Bible, or the Law of Moses when taken from the Old Testament...etc).  He discusses the coming of the Book of Mormon and the conversion of many, as well as those who do not believe.

It should be noted that we can see many of these things occur throughout Church history...but this translation was written BEFORE it occurred.  The Book of Mormon predicted people's reactions to it before it ever occurred.  Another evidence I would have of the Book of Mormon.

2.  It is interesting that after going over the apostasy and the coming forth of the gospel and the truth, Nephi talks about the atonement and the Holy Ghost.  It is as if he is trying to explain how people in the midst of this darkness can find the truth and find the gospel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This week starting on Jacob, and I imagine I'll go through all the short books up until Mosiah. 

1.  It sounds as if they had problems very shortly after Nephi's death, which indicates it does not take time for a people to fall into iniquity.  It does not sound as evil as we are today, but it indicates what their sins are.  They are trying to marry multiple wives without the commandments of the Lord to do so.  They are wanting to practice polygamy with wives and concubines, but without the approval of the Lord which brings much sorrow to their families.  In addition they are seeking after riches, and it seems are elevating themselves above each other based upon how rich or poor one is. 

Unless they met some larger group of people I think the group is still relatively small at this point (compared to how large the Nephite and Lamanite civilization later become) so I wonder how widespread this was.  I wonder if it was just a few bad apples among the group, or if it was more than a couple dozen or if it were more than that.  It is interesting that, if the group was still relatively small, how quickly such things came up and how they were trying to go about it.

2.  Jacob is teaching from the temple, meaning they had a temple at that time.  This also indicates that they probably had the Higher Priesthood and were able to do certain temple ordinances performed by the High Priests (such as those in Jerusalem).  As Levites were the ones who held the priesthood, questions arise to what manner they received this authority.  Was it via the Lord in vision to Lehi, who subsequently passed it down to his sons, or was it some other manner?

3.  Jacob in chapter 2 is condemning the search for riches.  That the primary use of one's life being the pursuit of such is a terrible way to spend one's life.  Instead one should seek after the Kingdom of God and then, the only reason to really seek riches is to do goo to clothe the naked and feed the hungry, liberate the captive and administer relief to the sick and afflicted (Jacob 2:19).

4.  A worse sin is being exercised, and that is breaking the law of chastity and the vows of marriage.  We see these sins among us today as well.  It is interesting such things could arise among the Nephites in such a short time, but then I am reminded that just within my lifetime promiscuity has risen massively.  When I was a kid, breaking the law of chastity was frowned upon and morality was seen as the right way to do things in life.  By the Late 60s there was a downward spiral occurring where promiscuity was on the rise on an exponential scale.  Today, the entire family unit is threatened by such careless thoughts in regards to chastity and morality. 

That said, if people will just repent and turn to following the Lord, the atonement can redeem society.  We are more wicked today in Western society than any other time in memory, and only through repentance can I see the Western society turning back to morality and chastity.  I think it will finally occur when the Lord comes again, but I'm not sure if I'll see it in my lifetime.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1.  A long parable of the Olive trees.  In this read through of the Book of Mormon thus far I have been impressed with how much of it is speaking about our latter days and the things that we either need to know, or things that relate to us.  The Book of Mormon really was written for us in many ways.  The parable relates to Israel, its scattering, and even our part in it.  It also talks about the gathering in and the great judgement at the last days.  It is a sort of roadmap for the history of Israel and can give us distinct things to ponder and think about.

2.  The story of Sherem introduces us to an Atheist...though at times he tries to masquerade as an agnostic.  It is interesting his defenses and how they, in some ways, parallel the very arguments utilized today.  Just as now, he wanted a sign and thought to hide behind the idea that signs would not be given or affect others rather than himself.  However, he refused to admit any belief unless he saw a sign. 

Today we have many who mock Christianity because the do not see or recognize the signs of the Lord.  They state that if such things were given they would believe.  They, in many ways, are a direct reflection of Sherem's discussion with Jacob. 

Unlike Sherem, who was given a sign and then recanted what he had said, I do not think that they would believe even if given a sign.  They would die rebellious, for it may be the world is an even more wicked place now than it has ever been before.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. Enos has an interesting idea that I've never actually accomplished.  Enos prayed for a pretty long time, while the longest prayers I've ever had were probably one or two hours.  We pray continually, but a formal prayer where one is kneeling can be harder than it first appears, especially after you get going for awhile, at least for me.

It makes one wonder (or me) what could be accomplished if we prayed all day and all night.  What marvelous things would be revealed to us?

2.  It is interesting that Enos has the promise of the records being saved and preserved.  We can see this in our day with the Book of Mormon and it has been taken to the Native Americans of our day, as well as the rest of the world.

3.  He talks about how quickly the people fall into iniquity except for strictness in teaching the word to them.  In addition, though he pled for the Lamanites, he still engaged in defending his people from them.  It sort of explains how we can love our enemies, even while we defend ourselves against them.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Books of Jarom and Omni and the words of Mormon are short books in the Book of Mormon. 

1. Jarom mentions that their laws were exceedingly stricts.  I have seen very strict laws in the Middle East and upon reflecting on those laws and the state of people in relation to the US, I think at times perhaps strict laws of morality keep people more righteous than when laws become more lax. 

In the Middle East in many of the nations where the laws are exceedingly strict, I could lose my wallet (and in fact have done so) with several hundred dollars in it, and the wallet would be returned with all the money still in it.  I have not had this happen in the US, on occasion when it was lost (or stolen) it never had any of the money in it from before.  The safety of items and other protections are there because of the strictness of the laws.

Jarom also mentions how the people remain righteous and abiding (well the Nephites, the Lamanites are not doing so) in the commandments for 200 years!  200 Years is a long time.  If we went back in time, that would mean from 1820 until today (2020).  Joseph Smith said that the people in his day were as wicked as those during the days of Noah (I'd have to double check that, but I think it was Joseph Smith), however, from all accounts they were still more righteous in general then the people in the United States today.  Just imagine if they had remained as righteous as they were in 1820 (though still wicked, as I noted above) to now!  Most of the problems we have with the immorality, the breaking up of the family, and many other moral difficulties our society is currently engaged in would no longer be large problems we are dealing with (at least I am thinking so).

In this way, perhaps strict laws that enforce moral values are necessary to keep a people moral, or perhaps it works the other way around.   A moral people have strict laws to enforce morality and as they become more immoral, the laws enforcing such become less strict.

2.  Omni has many various people write.  Obviously the space on the records is getting much shorter.  I wonder why they could not make more plates, but perhaps there was something about the plates that they could not recreate themselves.  Perhaps at the time they lacked the technology or knowledge to do so?  Whatever the reason, the space seems to be getting short and the notations are shorter.  It shows that they are keeping their genealogy and a sort of journal. 

My take away of this is the importance of keeping our own records, from our journals to our Genealogy. 

3.  The words of Mormon talk to his son and mention the inspiration he has in making the records he is abridging as well as these small plates he found that he is putting at the end of his records (and Book of Nephi 1 and 2 and the other small plates were found after the rest of the Book of Mormon were complete, but nicely fill in the lost 116 pages, almost as if the Lord knew what would happen...which he did).

I wonder if the 116 pages were ever restored, if we would be able to compare and organize things against the records on the small plates that we already have.  It could be interesting.  Nonetheless, even as we do not have it, I think it talks about the importance for each of us to keep our own records.

If something should happen to me, my wife has many journals filled that account for her's and my life.  I, though I have journals, have been much more brief in my accounting.  They could still be something to fall back on should anything happen to her records though, so we have two records that talk about our lives.

I also have my genealogy which I think will be important for my children, both online and hard copy.

 

Edited by JohnsonJones

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Starting with Mosiah...we see King Benjamin getting old and passing the reins of the rulership to his son Mosiah.

1.  I find his counsel to leaders (indirect counsel) from his example inspiring.  He mentions that he works with his own hands for his own support.  That we do not question the beggar, but try to give if we can or if we cannot, feel as if we would if we could.  (more on that below).

Today we see most leaders not working as Benjamin mentions he did.  They sit in lofty offices or palatial workspaces to make rules and regulations on their underlings without really getting in the dirt with others.  Instead of trying to help others it is all about getting more wealth and status.

King Benjamin also notes that if we do seek wealth than it will be to help the Kingdom (of the Lord) and to help others...not ourselves.  I fall into the trap that I want to leave as much for my children as possible, but that's not what the sermon is teaching here.  If I were to be a better person, it would be to help others and the Lord rather than I and my progeny.

2.  The necessity of the atonement.  We, as ourselves, cannot be saved.  WE CANNOT do it ourselves, this is why a Savior was needed.  The Savior is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things and he is the one through which we can have salvation through faith on his name.  We can repent and have faith in him to receive salvation.

3.  One part of chapter 4 strikes me on this read through.  We need to teach our children the gospel and the right way to do things.  It makes me wonder how good a job I have done, and how much I could have done better.  

4.  We are all as beggars before the Lord.  He gives what I see as both a truth and a parable at the same time.  He talks about how we need to help the beggar if asked...and then uses that as a direct comparison on how we are also all beggars before the Lord.

5.  In the Church I have heard the first principles and ordinances are Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Second is Repentance, third Baptism by Immersion and Fourth the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the Laying on of Hands.  After this, I often have heard that we then must endure to the end.  In Chapter 5 of Mosiah verse 15 he basically says this exact thing.  The people have heard his message, accepted under Covenant the Lord, and now he urges them to remain steadfast.  This is true in our lives as well.  Once we have taken those steps in the gospel we must endure to the end.  It is not a sprint, but a marathon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Reading the next chapters of Mosiah one portion stands out to me this morning.

1.  We call our prophets, Prophets, Seers and Revelators.  WE find out that a Seer is greater than a Prophet, being both a Revelator and a Seer.  This indicates, that all three are separate items.

On that note, what are prophets, seers, and revelators?

A prophet is Church Website - Prophet

Quote

A person who has been called by and speaks for God. As a messenger of God, a prophet receives commandments, prophecies, and revelations from God. His responsibility is to make known God’s will and true character to mankind and to show the meaning of His dealings with them. A prophet denounces sin and foretells its consequences. He is a preacher of righteousness. On occasion, prophets may be inspired to foretell the future for the benefit of mankind. His primary responsibility, however, is to bear witness of Christ. The President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God’s prophet on earth today. Members of the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles are sustained as prophets, seers, and revelators.

Gospel Topics - Prophets

Quote

Like the prophets of old, prophets today testify of Jesus Christ and teach His gospel. They make known God’s will and true character. They speak boldly and clearly, denouncing sin and warning of its consequences. At times, they may be inspired to prophesy of future events for our benefit.

We can always trust the living prophets. Their teachings reflect the will of the Lord, who declared: “What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same”

the Word Revelator is harder to find on the Church site, though it has some connections on the Bible Dictionary.

Quote

Thus, it seems a revelator can get revelations and as such, reveal the truth by these revelations.

A Seer is greater than both, being both and more.

Mosiah 8:16-18

Quote

16 And Ammon said that a seer is a revelator and a prophet also; and a gift which is greater can no man have, except he should possess the power of God, which no man can; yet a man may have great power given him from God.

17 But a seer can know of things which are past, and also of things which are to come, and by them shall all things be revealed, or, rather, shall secret things be made manifest, and hidden things shall come to light, and things which are not known shall be made known by them, and also things shall be made known by them which otherwise could not be known.

18 Thus God has provided a means that man, through faith, might work mighty miracles; therefore he becometh a great benefit to his fellow beings.

I have heard that we all are prophets in a limited degree, at least those who have received a testimony for themselves of the truth found in the gospel by the Power of the Holy Ghost.  We have received personal revelation in this, and by this can know the true character of the Lord.  It is not something that makes us THE PROPHET, as in the prophet of the Church, but prophets in that we have been called to be members of the Church in these latter days and as such should bear our testimonies while involved with missionary work or at testimony meeting to strengthen the members, or whenever the spirit itself prompts us to do so.

Our calling as such are much more personal and limited, though the bearing of our testimony can stand as witnesses of truth in our day. 

If we receive callings in the Church, we also can be called to be teachers, and as such, if we have truth revealed to us by the Holy Ghost that is in conjunction with our calling, prophets in that way.  Once again, we are not THE PROPHET, but a more limited form within the authority granted unto us by the Lord.

In a similar way we may receive revelations, though I'm not sure if this would make one a revelator.  These revelations we receive through the Holy Ghost are for our personal lives in general, and can help guide us personally.  Occasionally it may extend to family and if a calling such as a Bishop, to our ward...though these may be less often than others.

We are NOT seers though, and we are NEVER prophets, seers, and revelators.  There are 12 called that have these keys for the Church, but only ONE holds and is the one that can dispense them at any one time.  They are THE Prophet, Seer, and Revelator for the Church.  They are also normally called the President of the Church.  That would be President Russel M. Nelson today.

Seers have things greater than the others, and from appearances seem to normally be in a great leadership position over most of the Saints or members of the Church or those that follow the Lord.  There is some indication that Seers also may have in their possession certain stones given to them of the Lord, though which greater manifestations, revelations, and knowledge come through.  These may be seer stones, or urim and thummim or otherwise.  This allows them to see more, and all that is hidden as well as which is hard to understand.  They can translate and if possible and needed, know ALL things.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have missed a couple days here, so I will surmise some of my writing more briefly overall.

1.  The story of Zeniff.  I'm not sure if his was a righteous desire or not, but he himself seemed to try to lead the people in righteousness, and in doing so allowed them so degree of prosperity.   It is interesting how quickly they fell into iniquity after his death.  It was not long until his own son led the people and society into a more wicked way.  It reminds us how quickly our own society has fallen to wickedness, and how quickly it could happen to our own families if we are not careful.

2.  Abinadi comes and preaches to the people.  They do not want to listen to him.  I wonder how often we hear what our leaders and General Authorities say, but choose not to listen ourselves.

I have notes on chapter 15, but I am going to lump them in together with more from Abinadi in my next post.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mosiah Chapter 15 has a something which many have commented is an extremely strong support of the Trinity belief.  It explains how the Father and the Son are one.

In our Church we believe that Jesus Christ is the Father and the Son, but normally not related in the same way that it seems to imply in this chapter.  We believe he is the Father because he is the creator of this earth, even if we do not believe he is the Father of our Spirits.  Thus, he is also known as the Father. 

In Mosiah, it comments he is the Father because he was conceived by the Power of God, and the Son because of the Flesh.  If we combine both it indicates that he is being called the Father because he is the Creator of the Earth and us, and in this it is also his will for the atonement and his mission in that role.  The Son because he descend to this earth in the Flesh to redeem us.  As both he has the ability to break the bonds of Sin and Death.  Because he is God he is able to atone for our sins and resurrect, because he was also mortal he could die which allowed him to resurrect himself. 

If left to ourselves, we would all die spiritually and physically.  We cannot overcome either ourselves.  It is only through the atonement that the Lord overcame both for us, and thus we can live again and live with him.

2.  For his obedience Abinadi suffers death, which really is more a condemnation of King Noah and his Priests.  One does believe which is Alma and he goes to preach others.  He baptizes himself and another, but it implies he already had the authority.  To me this indicates that Alma had been ordained a Priest, or even a High Priest under the correct authority originally, but the corruption in King Noah's court had corrupted the proper order of things. 

It also indicates that even if we fall away, if we repent, we can have all our blessings that we have received.  Each of us  (well, at least I do) sin everyday despite our best efforts.  In this, each of us our condemned, but as we can be redeemed through repentance and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ, we also are able to retain those blessings (including the Priesthood authority granted to us) throughout the week as long as we continually repent and strive to follow him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1.  In Mosiah Chapter 21 I wonder if the People and Limhi have the afflictions come upon them so that they are humble enough to accept the gospel again when Ammon brings it to them.  Sometimes the prideful will not accept things (such as the gospel) which the humble will.

2.  Chapter 23 has more troubling things depending on how you read it.  Alma's People were more righteous and yet they too become captured and brought into slavery.  I suppose on thing to see is that even the righteous can have bad things happen to them in this life.  Just because you are righteous and follow the Lord may not stop terrible things from occurring. 

Alma's people do not need an outside group to come rescue them from the rest of the Nephites though, instead having the Lord lead him and his people in how to escape from their captivity.  I suppose in the same way, if we remain true and loyal to the Lord, he will deliver us from the burdens that are cast upon us, and help us overcome the things in this life that threaten to overwhelm us. 

3.  Alma establishes churches in Chapter 25.  I wonder what they mean by that.  Churches may not have existed as we understand it in that time period of Judaism...though the teachings of religion would have.  Does this mean they established something more along the lines of a Church like what we understand today, in how we have churches, or was it something different?  Just something I am thinking about.  My illogical mind wants to think that they established churches much like we have wards and stakes today, but I do not know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought I would add another ancient Egyptian connection in the Book of Mormon (that was not know at the time of Joseph Smith).  Often we see the phrase "And it came to pass" in the Book of Mormon.  In ancient Egypt there was a deity and divine concept represented by the scarab or dung Beatle.  Scarabs are often used in ancient Egyptian funerial rites.  The scarab was symbolic of divine change or a change brought about (both blessings and curses) by G-d.

In our Latter-day Saint culture we understand repentance as divine change - change is a very important principle.  And it came to pass is a phrase that symbolizes this divine relationship to a change.  I, personally now find joy when encountering this phrase and look to discover what it is drawing attention to in scripture and then to see how it applies to me and my life.  This is a testament to me of the divinity of the Book of Mormon and to its particular purpose to our day and time.

 

The Traveler

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Slower at reading today...gut thoughts on Chapter 26 of Mosiah...

1.  Many of the children of those who were converted by King Benjamin's speech do not believe in the gospel.  They are falling away from the truth and refusing to believe.  This shows that this is a problem that has always existed in the Church.  Today I see this occurring with many of the young people.  There were many converts in the latter half of the 20th century which increased the membership of the church greatly.  Many of us had children (and now grandchildren).  However, there are many of the young people that are falling away.

There are many and varied reasons they are doing so, but the thought occurred to me while reading chapter 26 that it has precedent of things that have happened before.  It does not really go into how to change the flow of this in the chapter itself, but it does discuss something similar to our Church court system.  Those who were repentant were accepted back into the rolls of the church, but those who were not...were not numbered among those of the People of the Lord. 

I think we are very merciful today towards many who are rebelling against the commandments of the Lord.  We exhibit love and charity to the members, even those engrossed in sin.  However, I see a similar exodus to a degree from many of the younger generation who never gained a testimony of their own and instead follow the whims of the world.  I believe Alma goes on a preaching mission later on, and of course prays seriously for the Lord's help (especially in the case of his own son and his son's friends) in the matter.  It's not covered in this chapter, but it is also something we can each do for those we love who may be falling away from the church.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1.  Alma the Younger and the Sons of Mosiah go around persecuting the Saints.  They are visited by an Angel and Alma is struck down.  He has a deep and absolute soul wrenching experience in which he repents and is forgiven.  He describes his situation and his yearning for repentance at that time, and how great the mercy he has received was.  I wonder if we realize how wonderful the atonement is.  I am grateful I have not had the experience Alma did in which I was struck down by an Angel (at least in a way) but I wonder if I should be more sorrowful by far when I repent.  Alma was dormant for days in his agony, something which I have not experienced.  It signifies how terrible our sins are though, any of our sins, as any of them separate us from the Lord.  More gratefulness should be exhibited by me to the Lord for the atonement and for the forgiveness of my sins.

2.  It talks about a Seer in chapter 28 and having a Urim and Thummim.  We know today they have Seer Stones, but not necessarily the Urim and Thummim of Book of Mormon Translation fame. 

3.  In chapter 29 of Mosiah, a new system of Government is chosen, that of Judges.  It is similar to that of the Old Testament form with Judges.  It is not quite the same as we have today, but with the power of the Judiciary today, we are getting closer.  Judges now determine MANY things for us, and we, as a society in the US have become very litigious and rely on the judicial in much of our every day lives, from the granting of business license and various other licensing, to the simple patrol of our streets and legal jurisdictions.  Of interest, as it appears their judges were elected, it gives a stark warning to us in our time.  While a majority choose good, we are preserved, but when the times come when the majority starts choosing wicked leaders, they are ripe in iniquity.  I fear that we are in the latter stages of this today.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alma Chapter 1 talks about Korihor.

1.  One thing that is mentioned is Priestcraft, or the practice where men are set up by others and supported by the money of others to teach the gospel.  It was a thing when I was younger and newly in the church to point out this practice among other religions while our laity, or the leaders of our Wards and Stakes recieved no money for their adminstrations to the ward members, but instead labored with their own hands.  On the surface, especially as I was raised Catholic, I did not understand why this was a bad thing.  Afterall, some of the best people I thought I knew were priests (though undoubtedly, there were those who also knew some of the worst people as priests, as history now shows).    However, there are times you take things on faith, and as such, it is taught to be a bad thing in the Book of Mormon and thus something we should not practice.  Instead, those who teach the gospel furnish their living through the labor of their own hands or however they can, rather than take the money from those they teach to.  Salvation is a free gift and not something one needs to pay for.

2.  Korihor taught something that is reminiscent of some (not all of the Protestant churches teach it in this manner or this way, not even close) of the Protestant teachings (though his teaching goes further, some Protestant teachings are that those who accept the Lord and his atonement are saved by his grace...period, no works or at least anything showing that you accept him and his grave are necessary...though one could counter with James I suppose to a degree on that).  He teaches that all will be saved (and in truth, this is true for salvation, or almost, though it ignores many crucial aspects that we need to know, and want to know), but also extends it to eternal life rather than just salvation.  There are many today that do go further than even the Protestant teachings and basically believe all will be saved, or granted eternal life in heaven no matter what they do for the most part.  They teach that as long as you are good, what type of Holy Being would not grant you such.  I see it as a common idea among many young people, and I think it is getting greater.  They lack the idea of the belief in the Lord and that we need to believe in the Lord and be baptized in his name.  We also need repentance and the ordinances of the gospel.

In many ways, this chapter talks to those in our day and one of the many teachings that are going around that we deal with on a daily basis.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It will be a very busy week for me.  I'm still doing my Come Follow me scripture study, but my read through of the Book of Mormon and commentary probably will be put on pause until next week.

It looks like it may be a little longer.  I'm going into isolation for a few days/weeks due to an unexpected situation with one of my classes (for which all the classes will be effected, though this forum is not one of the classes, it means I won't have access to the usual machine I access these forums from).  I apologize.

Edited by JohnsonJones
Unexpected situation

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this