Monday, June 30, 2014

Mosiah 25-29

In Mosiah 25 we read about the different tribes, or groups of people, who make up the Nephites. There were the people of Nephi, who are literal descendants of Nephi, but there were also those who were the descendants of Jacob, Joseph, Mulek and Zarahemla, as well as many others. These peoples may have not had blood in common, but they did have one thing in common: they followed the commandants of God.
Today, there are many different people, from many different countries in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Yet, we all gather together every week, in our different meeting houses all over the world, and learn the same things. We also have more in common, as Latter-day Saints, with other Christians all over the world, with our beliefs in the Bible and in Jesus Christ. Further, we can remember that other religions believe in God, and in an afterlife that we can earn as we are good. And one step further, we know that each of the people on earth are children of our Heavenly Father, and our brothers and sisters, and as such, we should be one with them, as the Nephites were.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Mosiah 18-24

In Mosiah 23 the people of Alma were living in righteousness for the most part. They had repented, and were humble before the Lord. Though they were in bondage, they understood they alone could not succeed in getting themselves out of this predicament. They had tried several times, and to no avail. They were a little dejected, but humbled and ready to rely on the Lord. He did not immediately release them, but allowed them to learn from their terrible trial for a bit longer. Once they are finally free, the Lord still does not let them have full relief. In verse 21and 22, we read "Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith. Nevertheless—whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the last day. Yea, and thus it was with this people".

It is not always our fate to be blessed with riches and wealth and absence of trials. Sometimes those conditions can be a trial anyway, so we might just be looking at things too temporally. We are put through trials to test our patience and faith, just as we read before. If we submit to the Lord's will, and accept our lives with patience and faith, we are learning exactly what the Lord wants us to, and we can then progress, and work toward our salvation.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Mosiah 12-17

Another questions I am often asked as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is 'How is your Godhead different than my trinity?'. The answer to this is usually surprising and often leads to an argument, which is not something I like to do: argue about deity. So, in hopes that I won't start an argument, here is my answer, from the words of a prophet of God, an unwavering source of our knowledge on earth.

"How can Jesus Christ be both the Father and the Son? It really isn’t as complicated as it sounds. Though He is the Son of God, He is the head of the Church, which is the family of believers. When we are spiritually born again, we are adopted into His family. He becomes our Father or leader. …In no way does this doctrine denigrate the role of God the Father. Rather, we believe it enhances our understanding of the role of God the Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. God our Heavenly Father is the Father of our spirits; we speak of God the Son as the Father of the righteous. He is regarded as the ‘Father’ because of the relationship between Him and those who accept His gospel, thereby becoming heirs of eternal life. And the third member of the Godhead, God the Holy Ghost, has the specific mission to teach and to testify of truth as it pertains to the divinity of both God the Father and God the Son".

We believe that God the Father, is the literal father of us all. He created us, and through Him the world was created. We believe that a separate, andd different personage is Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God the Father, who is sometimes referred to as our Father, as explained above. Then, a third separate personage is the Holy Ghost, who does not posses a body, but is a spirit. These three make up the Godhead, and are very seperate beings, with one purpose which is the exact same.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Mosiah 10

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I am often asked, or rather accused, if I even believe anything I am taught, or if I just am appeasing my parents and friends by agreeing. This is a valid question, and a problem many could face. A testimony, or declared belief in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, is something personal and sacred. However, before a solid testimony is built in an individual, one must base their beliefs on those of their parents or friends. While this isn't an essentially bad thing to do, long term it can be detrimental. One must explore their beliefs, ponder what they mean, both to themselves and in a broader sense, and decide if this belief is something they would like to continue in. So, in answer to those who ask me if I believe in this "Mormon Stuff", or if I am just following in the steps of my parents, I would tell them I have a testimony of my own, and while my beliefs do coincide with my parents, I do not base my beliefs off of theirs. I gained this testimony on my own, by researching, praying, pondering and asking God if this was right.

In the Book of Mormon we learn the terrible consequences of following blindly in our parents; beliefs. In Mosiah 10, we read about the Lamanites' main downfall, and the source of their wickedness. In this verse, we read about the 'traditions of their fathers,' in that the Lamanites blindly followed their ancestors, and never stopped to ask for themselves what was right, or at least they didn't until much much later. This caused them to believe that the Nephites were wicked, tricksey people who manipulated the Lamanites and caused all of the grief they had ever experienced. This caused wars, hatred, torture and most importantly, loss of blessings from God. All of this could have been avoided, had the Lamanites simply thought to ask God themselves if what they were doing was right. If they had simply listened to the promptings of the Spirit and done what was right.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Enos, Jarom, Omni, Words of Mormon

Though these books are little, they cover a vast 400 year span. Enos, the son of Jacob, was a man mighty in prayer. His son Jarom saw peace and prosperity in the land that came from the people's strict obedience and diligence. Omni, and several others who wrote small snippets in his book, saw much sadness and war, and the dissension of their people. These small books are followed up by a book titled Words of Mormon, that the compiler of the entire book, Mormon, wrote as bridge between times. His words jump from the year 130BC to 385AD, more than 500 years later. These short pages are packed with movement, while showing little action. It seems the spiritual side of the plates were temporarily set aside, while the more historical events were taking place.

What I would like to focus on, though, is the words of Jarom. As the grandson of Jacob, he had much spiritual lineage to look up to. His grandfather was the first solely consecrated priest in the promised land, his father a wayward son who had a mighty change of heart and learned much about prayer, service and promises of the Lord. The Nephites were very righteous people at the time, and were being extremely blessed by the Lord for their obedience. Jarom says "our kings and our leaders were mighty men in the faith of the Lord; and they taught the people the ways of the Lord" (Jarom 1:7).

We can see symbolism in our own lives here. As we are obedient we are blessed by the Lord, and become mighty in faith. The less we are obedient, the less we are blessed. It is a simple way to live, but harder once it comes to application.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Jacob 6-7

In the seventh, and final chapter of the book of Jacob, which happens to be my favorite chapter in the book, and maybe even in the book of Mormon, we meet a man named Sharem. Sharem is a knowledgeable man with a silver tongue, who used his skills to flatter the good people of Nephi into doing wrong. Upon learning that Jacob was a man of faith, who believed in Christ, Sharem immediately wanted to meet with him, in order to shake Jacob's faith in Christ, even though Jacob had personally seen the Savior, and had been visited by angels, and received many revelations from God. Even though Sharem knew Jacob's claim, he still wanted to take that faith away from him.

In modern days there are few who believe in the Savior, and many who seek to take away the faith of those who do. Symbolically, we see Sharem doing this to not only the regular people, but the prophet and spiritual leader himself. We, as Christians have an obligation to stand as "witnesses of God at all times and in all things and in all places that ye may be in..." (Mosiah 18:9). We must withstand the draws of evil men and women who seek to take away our faith, and stand firm as Jacob does.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Jacob 1-5

Again, these chapters are full of rich symbolism, and an abundance of important messages for our time. Jacob 5, in particular is a wonderful symbolic story about the scattering and gathering of Israel. It is talked about a lot, so I won't go into too much detail about it, but will leave it up to you to study and read about.

Instead, I am going to talk about a tender, and very symbolic moment at the first part of the book of Jacob. This is the first time in the Book of Mormon that we have had a switch of main authors, and Nephi has given Jacob the gold plates, and given him a charge to keep the sacred record, and the duty of being prophet is in his hands.

This is a symbolic moment, because we see this happening today- we know that there is a never-ending succession of prophets and apostles, and those keys of the priesthood never leave the earth. When one prophet dies, there is another to take his place, so the Church continues onward, uninterrupted.