The Great Experiment

So what if Nephi and his brethren did not return to Jerusalem and obtain the brass plates? What if they had no scripture, or records of their ancestors?

Well, my guess is they would have become as the people in Zarahemla. The people of Zarahemla also came from Jarusalem, shortly after Lehi and his family left. They were also brought to the american continent, yet they had no scripture with them.

And at the time that Mosiah discovered them, they had become exceedingly numerous. Nevertheless, they had had many wars and serious contentions, and had fallen by the sword from time to time; and their language had become corrupted; and they had brought no records with them; and they denied the being of their Creator; and Mosiah, nor the people of Mosiah, could understand them. (Omni 1:17)

So within 300 years after leaving Jarusalem, their language became so corrupt that they could not be understood by the Nephites, and worst of all, they denied the existence of the Savior.

Wise purpose indeed that Nephi should obtain the brass plates.

Jacob 5

Oh the dreaded Jacob 5, 77 verses long! While growing up, I never quite understood this chapter. Even after a number of lessons in Sunday school and seminary. I think we spent a couple days in seminary talking about it and all I got out of it was what it meant to graft a branch into another tree, and how it was done.

Then one day in Sunday school, we had a returned missionary, Brother Woodland, that was just thrilled to give us the lesson on the aligory of the olive tree. It was very easy to tell that the class was much less excited about the subject. I don’t think anyone in the room understood it. It’s hard enough to teach a bunch of high school kids, without having such a confusing topic.

Then it happened. We read a verse that opened it all up to me. I can’t remember exactly what the verse was, but I’m guessing it was Jacob 5:25

And he said unto the servant: Look hither and behold the last. Behold, this have I planted in a good spot of ground; and I have nourished it this long time, and only a part of the tree hath brought forth tame fruit, and the other part of the tree hath brought forth wild fruit; behold, I have nourished this tree like unto the others.

After reading this verse our teacher explained that this verse talked about the Nephites and Lamanites. After that one statement the whole aligory finally opened up to me. I went home and read it and understood it all perfectly. I understood the history of the house of Israel. I shared his excitement. I love the aligory of the olive tree now!

Believing Christ

While reading this morning, I came across the following verses:

2 Nephi 25:23-26

23 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.
24 And, notwithstanding we believe in Christ, we keep the law of Moses, and look forward with steadfastness unto Christ, until the law shall be fulfilled.
25 For, for this end was the law given; wherefore the law hath become dead unto us, and we are made alive in Christ because of our faith; yet we keep the law because of the commandments.
26 And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.

This reminded me of a book I read recently by the title of Believing Christ. This book explains clearly the role of Christ and our absolute need for his atonement. It makes things so clear and more than anything gives a person hope. While discussing this book a with a woman I know, she said this was the book that brought her back in to the church. Before reading it, she didn’t feel she had the strength to come back.

If you’ve ever felt that you’ve done something so terribly wrong that you cannot be forgiven, you don’t believe Christ when He says He can heal you. You may believe in Him. You may believe that He can forgive others, because certainly other people have not done things as terrible as you feel you have done. Well, this thinking is wrong. He can forgive you. He said He will forgive you. You must believe Him when He says this.

No matter how good or righteous you may feel anther person may be, they need the atonement just as much as you do – daily even. As verse 23 states, it is by grace we are saved, after all we can do. Ultimately, if not for the Savior’s grace, we are lost and fallen and no amount of righteousness can restore us until we accept the atonement of Christ and ask for forgiveness.

Book of Mormon Reading Goal

President Hinckley has challenged members of the church to read the Book of Mormon completely by the end of the year. I’ve created this spreadsheet to track my progress.

BOM Reading Goal

Basically, I’ve listed each chapter in the Book of Mormon and how many verses are in it. To the left I’ve listed how many of those verses I have read. Below each chapter is a summary of how many chapters I have left to read, the date I want to read them all, how many days I have left to do so, How many chapters I have to read each day, and finally, how far behind (or ahead) of my goal I am to read two chapters per day.

If you want to use this spreadsheet for yourself, feel free to download it here.

Faith of a Child / Childlike Faith

[The following is the talk I gave in church yesterday]

As far as
the gospel is concerned, faith is a very broad subject. There have been many
talks given on the subject of faith. Faith has always been one of my favorite
and most intriguing topics because, without faith, we can do nothing [D&C 8:10],
and without faith we cannot please God [Heb 11:6], and without faith there
cannot be any hope [Moroni 7:42].

According to the prophet Joseph Smith, “Faith is … the
moving cause of all action in … intelligent beings.” In other words, we would
not do anything in life if we did not have faith that it would lead to some sort
of desired outcome. Think about it. Would you drive through green light if you
did not have faith that the lights for cars moving in the opposite direction
were red, and that cars moving in that direction would stop for the red light?
On a more spiritual level, would you read your scriptures if you did not have
faith that doing so would lead you to greater spiritually? Would you pray if you
did not believe there was a God, and that He was listening? That may be a loaded
question, because there may be many instances in which we pray without faith.

Continue reading Faith of a Child / Childlike Faith