Monday, January 26, 2015
Keep on Reading!
Dear ACAD Friends,
Thank you for the many months of following along with me as we read the Book of Mormon together. I won't be posting daily anymore, but I will post here again from time to time as I continue reading the Book of Mormon and gain new insights on it. I hope you found some things to think about as you read it this time. And as you go forward, please feel free to jump into past posts and comment further about this wonderful glimpse at our Savior.
On that topic, I must share the following that I heard from someone at church a few months ago (sorry, but I don't know his name). He declared: "We call this the Book of Mormon. But I call it the Book of Jesus Christ, because that's what it is." I must say, I agree wholeheartedly. And even though I'll continue to refer to it as the Book of Mormon, I know it really is a Book of Jesus Christ. I hope you do, too.
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Whatever a person thinks about the Book of Mormon; whatever a person thinks about Joseph Smith, Jr., who produced it; whatever a person thinks about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who reveres it as scripture, there’s one thing we all have to admit as a fact: the Book of Mormon exists. So there are only two possibilities: either Joseph Smith, Jr. translated the Book of Mormon from metal plates and it is an ancient record of God’s dealings with His children in the Western Hemisphere, or it came about some other way and is not true. It’s a question worth answering, and the Book of Mormon itself tells us how to find the answer to the question. This chapter teaches that, first, we must remember how merciful God has been to mankind “and ponder it in [our] hearts” (v. 3). Then we must “ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true” (v. 4). An all-knowing God who is merciful would not only know the answer to the question, but would share that answer with anyone who seeks it. But Moroni tells us we must “ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ” (v. 4). The promise for asking in this way is that God “will manifest the truth of it unto you by the power of the Holy Ghost” (v. 4).
The take away is this: once you know from the Holy Ghost the truth about the Book of Mormon, you’ll know how God uses the Holy Ghost to communicate truth to you, personally, for He will testify of the Book of Mormon in a way that you’ll be able to understand. And once you know exactly how God uses the Holy Ghost to communicate truth to you, personally, you “may know the truth of all things” (v. 5).
Saturday, January 24, 2015
The description of Mormon’s world at the end of his life is the most gruesome of all. Moroni saw our day, and perhaps that’s why he chose to add this letter of his father’s to the record. How do we and our loved ones survive a world that gets worse and worse? Mormon wrote: “My son, be faithful in Christ; and may not the things which I have written (describing the events Mormon was witnessing) grieve thee, to weigh thee down unto death, but may Christ lift thee up, and may his sufferings and death, and the showing his body unto our fathers, and his mercy and long-suffering, and the hope of his glory and of eternal life, rest in your mind forever.
“And may the grace of God the Father…and our Lord Jesus Christ…be, and abide with you forever” (verses 25 – 26).
So it would appear that the atonement of Jesus Christ not only has the power to get us successfully to the next life, but it also has the power to get us successfully through this one.
Friday, January 23, 2015
All Book of Mormon prophets have taught us about faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. Mormon also taught about faith, hope and charity (see Moroni 7). In this chapter amidst some of the strongest reprimands for wrong thinking, Mormon blends all of this in very practical terms. It goes like this:
- Repentance leads to Baptism.
- Baptism comes by having Faith that being baptized fulfills God’s commandments.
- Fulfilling commandments leads to Meekness and Lowliness of Heart.
- Meekness and Lowliness of Heart lead to the visitation of the Holy Ghost.
- The visitation of the Holy Ghost fills us with Hope and perfect Love.
- Love endures by diligence unto prayer until the end comes.
Indeed, couple this with the gospel of Christ (Jesus came to do the will of the Father, He suffered for our sins and died on the Cross, and He rose again the third day so all will live again) and you have the best recipe for Christianity.
Thursday, January 22, 2015
How do we distinguish good from evil? Some things are obvious; others are not. Mormon taught us in a speech that Moroni recorded here that judging between good and evil is as “plain as the daylight is from the dark night” (v. 15). Simply put it’s this: If something invites us to do good and to believe in Christ, it is something good (see v. 16). If something invites us to do evil and not believe in Christ, but to deny Him, it is evil (see v.17). Mormon further teaches that persuasion to do good does not come from the devil, nor his angels, nor his followers here. So the litmus test is: Good = God and Evil = devil.
I find that life’s greater challenge is choosing between good and good, but that becomes easier by practicing faith, hope and charity, which are so excellently treated in the rest of this chapter.
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Attention all Bishops, Branch Presidents, Stake Presidents, Quorum and Auxiliary Leaders: The Nephite General Handbook of Instructions is found in Moroni Chapter 6. And it would be a good supplement to our current Handbooks. After laying out the requirements to receive someone unto baptism, we’re told in verse 4 why their names were put onto a record of members – so they would be remembered and nourished by other members, “to keep them in the right way, to keep them continually watchful unto prayer, relying alone upon the merits of Christ, who was the author and the finisher of their faith.”
What was the purpose of their Sacrament Meetings? See verses 5 and 6 where we read that they met to remember the Lord Jesus through partaking of the sacrament and “to fast and pray and to speak one with another concerning the welfare of their souls.”
The Nephites did not allow iniquity to flourish among them. In verses 7 & 8 we find that they dealt with iniquity head on and with fairness.
Their meetings were directed by the power of the Spirit. Leaders listened and obeyed, and I’m certain the people were blessed (see v. 9).
Moroni 6 is the ultimate “how-to” guide in the scriptures for leading a Stake, Ward or Branch family to the Savior.
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
At the Last Supper, Jesus explained that the wine He gave the disciples to drink was to remind them of His blood. Though they didn't realize it at the time, very soon thereafter the blood that He would spill in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the Cross would help pay the price necessary to wipe out everyone’s sins. Because He paid the price, those who repent of their sins can be forgiven, as if those sins never happened. Thanks to the Savior’s atoning sacrifice, we do not have to remain separate from Heavenly Father when we die, but can go home to Him, and go home clean.
Speaking of clean, when we are baptized, the water symbolically washes away all of our sins just as the blood of Jesus actually did. When we partake of the Sacrament, our first priority is to remember and appreciate the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We also are to be reminded of our baptismal covenants. In August 1830 Joseph Smith was warned not to purchase wine for use during the Sacrament service, but for the Latter-day Saints to make their own wine or to use some other drink, instead (see D&C 27).
Today in our Sacrament Meetings you will find we use water to represent the Savior’s blood. For me, using water during the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, I’m reminded not only of the Precious Blood, but of the water than cleansed me when I was baptized and personally covenanted to always follow Him.