Monday, February 29, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Helaman 1:11

Today's Favorite Verse: Helaman 1:11
"And he went unto those that sent him, and they all entered into a covenant, yea swearing by their everlasting Maker, that they would tell no man that Kishkumen had murdered Pahoran."

Pahoran, the chief judge and governor of the Nephites dies and three of his sons are seriously contenting to reign in his stead. The voice of the people chose his son named Pahoran. His son Paanchi was wroth. He flattered the people to rise up in rebellion to destroy the liberty of the people. He was taken and tried and condemned to death. In revenge his supporters, send Kishkumen to murder Pahoran on the judgment-seat. Then they all covenant to tell no one it was Kishkumen that killed him. The remaining son Pacumeni, who had supported his brother Pahoran when the voice of the people selected him, is now made governor. 

I had a hard time finding an inspiring verse. There is nothing about faith, repentance and Christ. The everlasting Maker here is not God the Father or his son Jesus Christ. Their master is mayhem the prince of darkness, Lucifer that son of perdition. It made me think of how people can yell their God tells them to do one thing, and others say their God tells them something totally different. The question will always be what master are you serving?

If your master inspires to get power and gain and take away the free agency of man, even if they choose wickedness, then he is a false god. If you are compelled and even covenant to withhold the truth, then you are minions of a false god. As I ponder on these brothers, no where does it tell us what their political affiliations were. I pondered over each taking a turn being a member of the democratrepublican and independent party. It doesn't change who is right or wrong its how they behaved in responding to the will of the people when it had spoken. Just because your side doesn't win, doesn't mean you overthrow your government.  

The courage that I take as I read the Book of Mormon is that somehow, somewhere the truth had to have come out. That lies were eventually exposed and brought to light. Otherwise how would they ever tell how these events unfolded. It is my prayer always that truth will come to light and evil will not prosper. Yet, if evil is prospering by the voice of the people, I cannot support taking away their agency to do so. I will step out of the way, and leave it in God's hands. Then pray with all the energy of my heart that when his wrath does come, my brothers and sisters will be ready to come back to him.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 63:5

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 63:5
"And it came to pass that Hagoth, he being an exceedingly curious man, therefore he went forth and built him an exceedinly large ship, on the borders of the land Bountiful, by the land Desolations, and launched it forth into the west sea, by the narrow neck which led into the land northward."

The chapter begins still in the 36th year of the judges. Sadly I learn Moroni has died. He had a very short retirement. He was only 43 years old when he died. I wonder if it was war injury? I look back and see it said "He retired to his own house that he might spend the remainder of his days in peace." He must have been dying. How sad. That made me cry.

In this chapter I can see how peace in the land now gives people the opportunity to prosper and be innovative. Hagoth takes 5,400 men and their families and migrate northward. He builds many ships and they sail northward going through the west sea. I had to sit and ponder on this. In the Book of Mormon there are references to a Sea North, Sea South, Sea West and a Sea East.

I pondered on what someone once told me about this. Looking at the layout of the holy land, I would have never thought to call the Sea of Galilee, or the Dead Sea a sea. To me they are lakes because I see them surrounded by land. If you look at the great lake region in the United States that include Lake Ontario, Erie, Huron, Superior, and Lake Michigan you can see why I use the terminology of calling them lakes. Given the size these bodies of waters are, I can understand how ancient Israelites coming to the Americas might call my great lakes the Sea North, Sea South, Sea West and a Sea East in the Book of Mormon.

I don't really know which one would be which because I suspect given this verse being before the changes made on the land at the coming of Christ to the Americas, some of those lakes might of once been joined together. The narrow neck of land could be just about anywhere between those lakes. I just need to look at seas and lakes as a Israelite might have. I know its totally possible to sail from the great lakes out to the Atlantic Ocean. So Hagoth might have been on one of the great lakes when he and thousands of people sailed northward.

I wanted to find a nice photo to show the comparison of the great lakes in the United States to the seas in the Holy Land. Then I got caught up in all this discussion online about Hagath and the Mesoamerica theories, and the people of Polynesia being descendants of Hagath. I saw something in myself and these theories that made me stop and ponder. Was I going off on a tangent? Was I speculating and missing something very important in this chapter of the Book of Mormon? How can all this things make sense? Would finding a theory I believe in proven false shake my faith of the Book of Mormon? Of course not. There are gospel truths in there that speak to my soul. It matters not if theories are struck down. If fact I came up with a few new ones myself.

No where does it say who Hagath is? Where did he come from? I can't just assume he was a Nephite. The Book of Mormon comes from the spiritual record of the Nephites not the record of their history. Not everything historical is mentioned because it didn't matter spiritually. I wondered if Hagath was already an explorer before this event or did he meet an explorer from somewhere else? What if Hagath was a Viking that sailed in and captured the Nephites imaginations and they built more ships to sail away to new lands. What if Hagath was from Asia? He very easily could have populated the Polynesia island before sailing around the Americas to where the Nephites were. The possibilities are endless, because we know other people were lead to the Americas at different times. The Jaredites and Mulekites are just some of them mentioned. The people of Zarahemla were already there when king Mosiah and his people joined with them. Having mixed races of people in the Americas is nothing shocking. People leaving America to other lands we know from this verse happened too.

As I sat here pondering all this I realized I am late in reading the lessons for church today. I have wasted time on things that make no difference in the scheme of things. The beauty of the Book of Mormon is it being a second witness of Jesus Christ. In the Bible the Lord said he had sheep of other folds and he would visit them after his death. The Book of Mormon testifies that the house of Israel was scattered on the isles of the sea and they are numbered unto him. The most important thing today is that I am one of his sheep. The eternal truths contained in the Book of Mormon help me enter into his fold. Having physical evidence of the Book of Mormon will never do that for me. Focusing on the gospel message is what brings me peace.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 62:45, 49-50

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 62:45, 49-50
"Therefore, Helaman and his brethren went forth, and did declare the word of God with much power unto the convincing of many people of their wickedness, which did cause them to repent of their sins and to be baptized unto the Lord their God.
But notwithstanding their riches, or their strength, or their prosperity, they were not lifted up in the pride of their eyes; neither were they slow to remember the Lord their God; but they did humble themselves exceedingly before him.
Yea, they did remember how great things the Lord had done for them, that he had delivered them from death, and from bonds, and from prisons, and from all manner of afflictions, and he had delivered them out of the hands of their enemies."

Upon receiving word of what has happened to Pahoran and the freeman, Moroni and part of the army go to restore the government. As he passes cities he calls men to arms and they follow. When they finally reach Pahoran the strength of their army is greater than the Lamanites. They are then able to take back the city of Zarahemla, removing the kingsmen and Lamanites that had infested it. Pahoran is restored to the judgment seat. Once the government is restored within, they are then ready to defeat the enemy without. By stratagem they take back the city of Nephihah and not a single man is lost to them. The Nephites are able to restore their liberty and lands and peace comes to them again. 
I had to do a little math here. Moroni was 25 years old in the 18th year of the judges, when he took command of the Nephite armies. It is now the 36th year of the judges, so he is 43 years old. He has seen war for 18 years, maybe more. He now gives command of his armies to his son Moronihah, so he can retire and spend the remainder of his days in peace. All that son must have known is his father being away at war.  At some point he must have joined his father in battle to learn from him. That just reminds me of the faithful military families our nation has, and all the sacrifices they make to preserve the freedoms I so enjoy. There has to be a very special place in heaven for such people.

With peace restored Helaman and his brethren go to declare the word of God to the people. Because of all the people have been through, their hearts are open and ready to receive it. It made me ponder on the role of war, and trials in our lives. No one ever wants to see either. But, it seems God allows it because it is a way to soften men's hearts and humble themselves before him. I reflected on my pains and sorrows, the grief my trials have given me in my life. I would not trade any of those experiences because of the relationship they have given me with the Lord. I need to remind myself that trials and war do and will come, but the Lord will always turn them to our good if we let him.

I pondered on how the Nephites needed to clean house within before they could conquer the enemy without. I can see a parallel in my life that cleansing my inner vessel is the only way I have had the strength to conquer the forces against me. Cleaning house within works in all areas of our lives, spiritually, physically and temporarily. I've seen it work for businesses. I cannot help but see the need for it in our own government too. Once the inner vessel is clean it is ready to conquer, prosper and grow. It just leaves me in awe sometimes how the scriptures can teach us things that effect every area of our lives.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 61:8

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 61:8
"They have got possession of the land, or the city, of Zarahemla; they have appointed a king over them, and he hath written unto the king of the Lamanites, in the which he hath joined an alliance with him; in the which alliance he hath agreed to maintain the city of Zarahemla, which maintenance he supposeth will enable the Lamanites to conquer the remainder of the land, and he shall be placed king over this people when they shall be conquered under the Lamanites."

Pahoran after receiving Moroni's epistle, writes one back. He tells that the kingmen had removed him as chief judge, and thrown out the freeman that supported him. They were fighting to keep their nation, that is why Moroni's armies were not receiving any support. These were the same kingmen that Moroni fought earlier.

Now that the kingmen had control of the government they wanted to destroy it completely. They wanted the Lamanites to come in and conquer them. This was all part of an earlier plan to destroy their nation and then be made ruler over it. 

It made me wonder why would anyone in a nation want to destroy it and change it completely? Why wouldn't you just leave and go to a land that had similar values. Wouldn't you be much happier there? Then I realized I could say that about some people and their political affiliations now. If you wanted the United States to change into something we have never been, and is against our constitution, then they are no better than a kingmen. What a dangerous sentiment that's trying to overtake our nation. The source of that inspiration is Satan. He has blinded their hearts and minds. They have no understanding of the selfishness of their ways. Happily I know how this story eventually ends, they don't win. That makes me hopeful that people that want to completely change the United States won't win either.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 60:13

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 60:13
"For the Lord suffereth the righteous to be slain that his justice and judgment may come upon the wicked; therefore ye need not suppose that the righteous are lost because they are slain; but behold, they do enter into the rest of the Lord their God."

I have been pondering on Moroni's words. I know he wrote a pretty strong letter to Pahoran the governor of the Nephites. He was upset over the lack of support for his armies and his supposed reasons for it. I know in the next chapter it will show he was wrong.

Why would this letter be included if Moroni was wrong about Pahoran and his motives?  Then I saw Moroni words are for us today. What he supposed was happening in his day was in reality what will happen in ours. These are truths, but they were coming as a message to us.

I have doubted and been concerned that righteousness will prevail in our coming presidential elections. I wanted peace because I know God is in charge of all of this. I have seen character assassinations as men have been slain and taken out of the running. It continues, and I know it will get worse. Do we just give up and do nothing to let wickedness prevail?
No, I can see we keep trying because the Lord will take us into his rest after we have done all that we can do. We must fight even if we lose the battle. We are judged upon our efforts and not if our side has won. I will continue to look for good men to lead our nation, in whom I can give my support. If there are none left standing then I will ask the Lord at the time who I should vote for. But, what I know I must not do is give up, even if I know tough days are ahead of us. The Lord will be my anchor and my support no matter what comes. Oh, happy day if in the end we are spared, and I can rejoice. For now I need to rejoice in the one true Master and King, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 59:11-13

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 59:11-13
"And now, when Moroni saw that the city of Nephihah was lost he was exceedingly sorrowful, and began to doubt, because of the wickedness of the people, whether they should not fall into the hands of their brethren.
Now this was the case with all his chief captains. They doubted and marveled also because of the wickedness of the people, and this because of the success of the Lamanites over them.
And it came to pass that Moroni was angry with the government, because of their indifference concerning the freedom of their country."

I can't help it, these verses fit the way I feel right now with our presidential election process. I have such a feeling of doubt that a good righteous leader will win. I see character assassination of good men taking place. I see people that want to take away the freedom of this country prevailing. It grieves my heart that people can love what is in it for them, more than our freedoms that need to be preserved. This country is in danger and ready to be taken over, or already has been. My heart grieves and I doubt. As I pray I feel nothing. I told my son today this calls for a time of fasting. I don't have the wisdom or power to fix this, but God can. He can inspire men on the course that needs to be taken. Yet I mourn because I saw a good man fail winning the presidency last time and so much damage done to our nation because of it. Will it happen again? These are the times of doubt and you can not find peace as the world will give it. These are the times for fasting and prayer. 

This chapter is short I am left with Moroni being angry with the government. Anger makes you miss the point of what is going on around you. Anger is what a lot of people are feeling right now about our government. I think that anger is being miss directed and causing people to back candidates they would normally never back. I can tell that the message I will read tomorrow or in the coming days, are something I really need to ponder over deeply. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 58:2, 10-11

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 58:2, 10-11
"And they were so much more numerous than was our army that we durst not go forth and attack them in their strongholds.
Therefore we did pour out our souls in prayer to God, that he would strengthen us and deliver us out of the hands of our enemies, yea, and also give us strength that we might retain our cities, and our lands, and our possessions, for the support of our people.
Yea, and it came to pass that the Lord our God did visit us with assurances that he would deliver us; yea, insomuch that he did speak peace to our souls, and did grant unto us great faith, and did cause us that we should hope for our deliverance in him."

This chapter shows another interesting stratagem that Helaman used to take back a city that the Lamanites had control over. What I noticed was in this story is how they waited many months until they had the assurance of the Lord that they would be delivered. It made me ponder on patience. I don't know if I have increased in my patience because I am older, or if its because I have greater faith in the Lord's timing?

In my age I have come to understand how wise the Lord is in his timing. He knows far better than I when I am ready to receive inspiration or deliverance. The interesting thing is that the more willing I am able to wait for his answers the faster my questions are answered. I can say that life is less stressful for me as I have come to rely on the Lord and his timing for all things in my life.

I know faith has something to do with patience too. Knowing that the Lord is always there for me brings me peace as I wait. Faith gives me the patience to wait. I knows the Lord's timing is perfect, all his judgments are just. As I grow every day reading his words I know the answers do come when I am ready for them. He is the source of all light and inspiration, he awakens my mind when I am ready for it. He is patient with me and I have learned to be patient with myself. I used to get so angry with the Lord, and angry with myself when problems came. Anger never brings answers. It's only through loving the Lord, relying on him, having faith and patience in him, that he will speak.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 57:25-26

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 57:25-26
"And it came to pass that there were two hundred, out of my two thousand and sixty, who had fainted because of the loss of blood; nevertheless, according to the goodness of God, and to our great astonishment, and also the joy of our whole army, there was not one soul of them who did perish; yea, and neither was there one soul among them who had not received many wounds.
And now, their preservation was astonishing to our whole army, yea, that they should be spared while there was a thousand of our brethren who were slain. And we do justly ascribe it to the miraculous power of God, because of their exceeding faith in that which they had been taught to believe - that there was a just God, and whosoever did not doubt, that they should be preserved by his marvelous power."

Helaman is recounting to Moroni the battles they have been involved in. He is two years further into the war than last chapter. The 2,000 stripling warriors are now 17 and even with such a sore battle they all survive. It made me think of how with all the faith and obedience we have to God we will still have to fight battles. We will still get wounded, but we will be preserved if our faith is firm in Christ.

It made me think of those battles that are spiritual and not just physical. Everyone has battles they must overcome in life the spiritual battles just never cease. I could not help but think of the plague of pornography fighting to claim the souls of so many youth right now. They have all been exposed and wounded because its everywhere. The world will tell them there is nothing wrong with it. How important it is to be faithful and obedient, and not doubt the words of the prophet in the dangers pornography has on the soul. Only keeping their hearts and minds pure will preserve them in the end. I think when this earth life is done and we look back to our day many will marvel at the faithful youth that kept their bodies and minds clean and pure with all the temptations that surrounded them in such a wicked world.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 56:46-47, 56-56

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 56:46-47, 56-56
"For as I had ever called them my sons (for they were all of them very young) even so they said unto me: Father, behold our God is with us, and he will not suffer that we should fall; then let us go forth; we would not slay our brethren if they would let us along; therefore let us go, lest they should overpower the army of Antipus.
Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.
And now it came to pass that when they had surrendered themselves up unto us, behold, I numbered those young men who had fought with me, fearing lest there were many of them slain.
But behold, to my great joy, there had not one soul of them fallen to the earth; yea, and they had fought as if with the strength of God; yea, never were men known to have fought with such miraculous strength; and with such mighty power did they fall upon the Lamanites, that they did frighten them; and for this cause did the Lamanites deliver themselves up as prisoners of war."

In this chapter Helaman writes an epistle to Moroni recounting the story of his battles. I just wept over how many lives were being lost. Then I wept over his account of the 2,000 young sons of the people of Ammon, that had made an oath to never take up weapons of war. Their sons had made no such oath, this is why they could fight. This made we wonder how old would their sons be?  

The people of Ammonihah were destroyed in the 11th year of the judges. Which happened right after the people of Ammon laid down their weapons of war and were slaughtered by the Lamanites. The story of the sons of Helaman happened in the 26th year of the judges. So these young men would be no older than 15 years old. I can see why Helaman called them very young, and referred to them as his sons. After this battle they deserved the honor of being called the 2,000 stripling warriors. 

There are so many lessons I have learned over the years of the 2,000 stripling warriors. The most important is trusting the Lord and not doubting he will deliver you. Their mothers instilled that belief in them. What an important role mothers have. Yet, it takes an honest heart to listen to a mother's wisdom and the spirit of the Lord. Their mothers hadn't been raised to have such believing hearts. They had been converted. It shows me that we are blessed in our youth if we have mothers that teach us to believe, but anyone's heart can change at any point in their life. There are never missed opportunities in life, we just have to keep moving towards Christ. God will do amazing things to protect those that trust in him. He will make weak things strong that put their faith in Him and never doubt. 

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 55:31

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 55:31
"But behold, the Nephties were not slow to remember the Lord their God in this time of afflication. They could not be taken in their snares; yea, they would not partake of their wine, save they had first given to some of the Lamanite prisoners."

The chapter has another fascinating story of how Moroni decides not to do a prisoner exchange with Ammoron. Instead he finds a descendant of Laman to go to the city of Gid where the Nephite were kept prisoners. They gave wine to the guards and while they were drunk Moroni and his men passed weapons into the prisoners. They did this in complete silence even though the Lamanite guards were in a drunken sleep. Then Moroni and his men surrounded the city. In the morning when the Lamanites awake they find the prisoners within the city are armed and they are surround outside the city too. They give up their arms and surrendered. Another amazing example of the Lord inspiring Moroni on how to fight this battle.

Then the Lamanites turn around and attempt to do the same thing to the Nephites that were done to them. Because the Nephites remember the Lord they cannot be caught in these same snares. What I pondered on was how the Lamanites even thought they could do the same things to the Nephites. Did they really think the Nephites stupid enough to fall for the same thing? Then it occurred to me that Satan never has any new tricks to play on people. His methods and tactics are always the same. He has been using the same tools and devices to capture the hearts of mens since before time. No wonder the Lamanites cannot receive any new sources of inspiration. To their darkened minds it doesn't even occur to them others would know what they are doing.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 54:8, 17

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 54:8, 17
"But as ye have once rejected these things, and have fought against the people of the Lord, even so I may expect you will do it again.
For behold, your fathers did wrong their brethren, insomuch that they did rob them of their right to the government when it rightly belonged unto them."

Angry words are shared in epistles between Moroni, captain of the Nephite armies, and Ammoron, king of the Lamanites. I sat and pondered on each side's anger. The first verse are Moroni's words. Moroni is angry because the Lamanites keep coming to battle against the Nephites. He tells Ammoron that the wrath of God will come against them if they attack them again. He is calling them to repent, but he knows that they will attack again. They are incapable of anything else unless they repent.

The next verse is Ammoron's words. I realized the issue he says he is angry over happened 525 years earlier. He still thinks the Lamanites and Nephites need to be one group of people and he is to have power over them all. That Nephi shouldn't have left his brothers when they had sought to take his life. This act divided them into two separate nations. That rational would be like the British government trying to attack the United States still after 240 years of us fighting the Revolutionary War. How could our two governments separate and all these years later be allies, and the Lamanites and Nephites are not?

The only answer I can seem to think of is a belief in God. Ammoron even says he doesn't believe there is a God in his reply to Moroni. When God has left people's heart there is no ability to forgive others. No ability to move past previous offenses. Hearts just don't mend when God is out of their life. That hatred and disbelief in God has been passed down to untold generations. That is why 525 years can pass and still the Lamanites want to destroy the Nephites. What a witness to the wickedness and hardness of hearts when God is not in their lives. The only hope to heal these two nations would be for them to repent, exactly what Moroni was asking them to do.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 53:13-16

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 53:13-16
"But it came to pass that when they saw the danger, and the many afflictions and tribulations which the Nephites bore for them, they were moved with compassion and were desirous to take up arms in the defence of their country.
But behold, as they were about to take their weapons of war, they were overpowered by the persuasions of Helaman and his brethren, for they were about to break the oath which they had made.
And Helaman feared lest by so doing they should lose their souls; therefore all those who had entered into this covenant were compelled to behold their brethren wade through their afflictions, in their dangerous circumstances at this time.
But behold, it came to pass they had many sons, who had not entered into a covenant that they would not take their weapons of war to defend themselves against their enemies; therefore they did assemble themselves together at this time, as many as were able to take up arms, and they called themselves Nephites."

I love this story of the sons of Helaman or the two thousands stripling warriors that fought in the place of their fathers to defend their land. Their fathers were the people of Ammon that buried their weapons of war and covenanted to never pick them up again. This is the oath that Helaman was afraid for them to break to help defend their land. 

There are so many things I have learned from the stories of the sons of Helaman. It always touches my heart to see them portrayed or stories read about them. In my own life I hope to have sons like this. The passion of my life is genealogy. I have worked on mine since my youth. I was getting ready to begin work on my husband's Polish and French lines by taking classes in doing this research. My mother-in-law heard about this and was so upset that I was going to research her family. I have never seen her so upset by something in my life. I had to promise her that I and my husband, which is her son, would not research her family history. By association we agreed to not research his deceased father's Polish line either. We have kept that promise. I will honor it until the day she dies. You do not break your word, no matter how great the cause may be. 

But, a though does keep coming to me that my sons made no such promise to her. If any work for the redemption of the dead on that side of the family will be done it will be done by my sons. Sometimes children can do what their parents where never allowed to. This idea would have never come to me if I hadn't read the story of the sons of Helaman and applied it to my life.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 52:21-23

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 52:21-23
"And it came to pass that Moroni, having no hopes of meeting them upon fair grounds, therefore, he resolved upon a plan that he might decoy the Lamanites out of their strongholds.
Therefore he caused that Teancum should take a small number of men and march down near the seashore; and Moroni and his army, by night, marched in the wilderness, on the west of the city Mulek; and thus, on the morrow, when the guards of the Lamanites had discovered Teancum, they ran and told it unto Jacob, their leader.
And it came to pass that the armies of the Lamanites did march forth against Teancum, supposing by their numbers to overpower Teancum because of the smallness of his numbers. And as Teancum saw the armies of the Lamanites coming out against him he began to retreat down by the seashore, northward."

The decoy that Moroni setup was ingenious. He sends Teancum with a small number of men to entice the Lamanites that are held up in the city of Mulek. I think pride is the downfall that causes the Lamanites to look at that small number of men and decide they can overpower them. That gets them out to march after Teancum's men. Little did they know Moroni was waiting for the city to be open so they could come in and reclaim it back. Then Moroni sends men after the Lamanites. Along the way the Lamanites see Lehi and his men. They turn back towards the city of Mulek and are being chased by Lehi's men. Eventually they come against Moroni's men which had been following them. They are now surrounded and a battle takes place. The Nephites overcome the Lamanites and captured their city back. I just love how the Lord inspired Moroni to set this all up.

So I sat and pondered on how this effects my day. All I see around me today is political intrigue. I do wish God would inspire a righteous man to expose those who are full of lies, that way truth would come out. We cannot make good decisions as a nation if we do not have truth. We need a decoy that would cause a prideful person to run after. As that decoy causes the prideful person to attack their opponents, because they feel their opponents are weak, it will in turn exposed them for what they really are. They would be surrounded by truth and that would cause them to fall. 

As I spiritually look at this I see the downfall all starts with pride. Pride will cause people to do things they may never consider wise prior. For me the lesson I need to learn is to stay far, far away from pride. When you are not caught up in pride and only seek the Lord's will, he will inspire you on how to prevail against your enemies. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 51:13

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 51:13
"And it came to pass that when the men who were called king-men had heard that the Lamanites were coming down to battle against them, they were glad in their hearts; and they refused to take up arms, for they were wrath with the chief judge, and also with the people of liberty, that they would not take up arms to defend their country."

Pahoran is named chief judge of the land. People of noble birth decided they wanted a king instead. They wanted Pahoran to change their laws so they could have a king. Instead the people voted to not support the kingmen and the freeman won. Even when they lose, and knowing the voice of the people, the kingmen would rather the Lamanites come in and destroy them then to fight to defend their country. It makes me ask why would you do that? If the Lamanites overpowered them there would absolutely be no kingmen.

I see as Moroni is having to gain control over the kingmen that they needed to pull down their pride. The issue was their pride and thinking because of noble birth they were greater than everyone else. They wanted power and authority over others. I think Satan would have blinded their eyes to falsely believe that if the Lamanites took over their lands the kingmen would be recognized and setup to rule over it. What heights Satan can cause a man to believe they are invincible. What blindness is caused by pride and hate. To the point you would destroy yourself so no one else can win. It did make me ponder on the message it gives for my day. Is the message of this story about how prideful and wicked people would much rather see our nation destroyed as long as they can have power over others for a season?  

Monday, February 15, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 50:23, 27-28

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 50:23, 27-28
"But behold there never was a happier time among the people of Nephi, since the days of Nephi, than in the days of Moroni, yea, even at this time, in the twenty and first year of the reign of the judges.
But behold, the people who possessed the land of Lehi feld to the camp of Moroni, and appealed unto him for assistance; for behold they were not in the wrong.
And it came to pass that when the people of Morianton, who were led by a man whose name was Morianton, found that the people of Lehi had fled to the camp of Moroni, they were exceedingly fearful lest the army of Moroni should come upon them and destroy them."

The people of Nephi were a happy people. They kept the laws and commandments. They honored and worshiped God. They had Moroni, that prepared for their defense and safety. The people were prospering in the land. Those that were wronged by others went to Moroni to appeal for his assistance. I notice that just the fear of Moroni coming to resolve the matter put things to rest.

I could not help but think of the long history our nation has had with police officers. How safe and secure I felt growing up that policemen would always be there to protect me. I still feel that way. But, what grieves my heart is the wickedness of people that have no respect for them. As they have turned their hearts from God and hate those that protect us, the happiness and safety of our country has changed. I can't help but think that the lack of respect for police officers is a direct connection to the wickedness of the people. We will never have safety and security if this terrible wave of destruction and disrespect is not resolved. The happiness of a nation depends on our ability to honor God, our fellowman, and the laws.

This has made me think a little differently about our 12th Article of Faith "We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law." The blessings when we keeps laws brings happiness, security and prosperity to the people. 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 49:4-5

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 49:4-5
"But behold, how great was their disappointment; for behold, the Nephites had dug a ridge of earth round about them, which was so high that the Lamanites could not cast their stones and their arrows at them that they might take effect, neither could they come upon them save it was by their place of entrance.
Now at this time the chief captains of the Lamanites were astonished exceedingly, because of the wisdom of the Nephites in preparing their places of security."

The Lamanites came upon a Nephite city they thought they would have no problem destroying. Instead they are surprised to see the fortifications Moroni has made to the city and to others. Great mounds of earth were thrown up then wooden stockades on top of that. I have see videos showing exactly what was described in the Book of Mormon in the Hopewell Earthworks in Ohio and other areas in the Heartland. It really does amaze me to see archaeological evidence. There is one I wish I could find the picture of that has the mounds of earth and a place of entrance. Beyond the point of entrance was another mound. Archers could shoot down at the enemies trying to enter at the point and just kill them off. It was ingenious. 

When I ponder on wisdom, at the time the Lamanites nor the Nephite never had the wisdom to defend themselves in such a way. I know it was inspired of the Lord. But in our day we never would have had the knowledge of what these mounds of earth where until Joseph Smith translated the golden plates that described them. At the time in 1830 these mounds in Ohio were not even public knowledge. A young farm boy in upstate New York would have no reason to make up such a tale of things he never saw. It just amazes me how the Lord works in revealing things to people and his timing. I know this line of defense was to endure the ages so we could see these things today.

They are a living witness that God does inspire his people and protect them. If we only turn to him for our every need. If we acknowledge our dependency on him he will bless us. The wisdom that was never known to man will be given as needed by the Lord. I marvel at the technology I have seen developed during my lifetime. They have all been instruments to further His work. There is no end to what the Lord can inspire man to do.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 48:15-16

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 48:15-16
"And this was their faith, that by so doing God would prosper them in the land, or in other words, if they were faithful in keeping the commandments of God that he would prosper them in the land; yea, warn them to flee, or to prepare for war, according to their danger;
And also, that God would make it known unto them whither they should go to defend themselves against their enemies, and by so doing, the Lord would deliver them; and this was the faith of Moroni, and his heart did glory in it; not in the shedding of blood but in doing good, in preserving his people, yea, in keeping the commandments of God, yea, and resisting iniquity."

Even though there is four years of peace for the Nephites, all the while they are being prepared by Moroni to have faith in God and make preparations for battle with the Lamanites. Not because they want to shed their blood, but for their own protection. Amalickiah is inspiring the hearts of the Lamanites against the Nephites. He wants to be king over all the people. He wants to destroy everything that is Nephite.

The message that comes to me is the need for a nation to serve God and he will inspire them on how to protect themselves. There is a need to build a strong defense. It is not war mongering to do so when its for your nation's protection. Satan cannot leave God's people alone. He cannot see people happy. There will always be people to come to destroy it. That is why we must have our defenses ever ready. How sad our nation's military is at the lowest level of readiness since before World War II. When our leaders and people no longer serve God they do not have the wisdom to protect the people. Do we ever need a righteous people and leader so God will help us protect this land.

When a nation and people serve God he will in turn warn them to flee, prepare for war, or where to go to defend themselves. Is that not the inspiration every leader of a nation would desire to have information on? I think that even if our government is not doing it, that little families can have that same inspiration on how to protect themselves. I'm not talking stock piles of guns and being lone wolves. I am thinking of when our family was told by the Lord to leave Massachusetts in the late 1980's and move to Utah. We knew the economy was bad and we needed to get out. When we sold our home it was at the highest price possible before the market crashed. The same thing happened in 2006 when we sold our home and moved to the one we have now. All before the housing market crashed again. We have always had too little, but the little we have had has been protect by the Lord. I know if I live in such a way to be worthy to have His spirit to always be with me, the ways for safety will always be open to me. Even if I walk through fire I will not feel the heat.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 47:35-36

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 47:35-36
"And it came to pass that Amalickiah sought the favor of the queen, and took her unto him to wife; and thus by his fraud, and by the assistance of his cunning servants, he obtained the kingdom; yea, he was acknowledged king throughout all the land, among all the people of the Lamanites, who were composed of the Lamanites and the Lemuelites and the Ishmaelites, and all the dissenters of the Nephites, from the reign of Nephi down to the present time.
Now these dissenters, having the same instruction and same information of the Nephites, yea, having been instructed in the same knowledge of the Lord, nevertheless, it is strange to relate, not long after their dissensions they became more hardened and impenitent, and more wild, wicked and ferocious than the Lamanites - drinking in with the traditions of the Lamanites; giving way to indolence, and all manner of lasciviousness; yea, entirely forgetting the Lord their God." 

What an incredible story of intrigue Amalickiah created all to become king of the Lamanites, so he could in turn destroy the Nephites, of once he belonged. I know when people joke about people and their conspiracy theories I have only to look at the secret combinations that happened in the Book of Mormon to know conspiracies are live and well. That is a warning message the speaks very loudly to me in this book. I remember in the 80's hearing some conspiracy theories and I thought people rather nuts that believed them. Today I see them as theories no more, but realities openly spoken of. Never would I have believed I would see the time and days I am living in. I know with all my heart that when Mormon compiled the golden plates together, which was to become the Book of Mormon, that he indeed saw our day. These stories apply to us and I must learn from them. The saddest thing to me is to see the worse dissenters are those that left the church. They are the most wicked and do the most damage to others. When the spirit withdraws from a person all that is replaced is pure evil. What a precious thing the gospel light is, and must be cherished always. I never want to have this taken away.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 46:10

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 46:10
"Yea, we see that Amalickiah, because he was a man of cunning device and a man of many flattering words, that he led away the hearts of many people to do wickedly; yea, and to seek to destroy the church of God, and to destroy the foundation of liberty which God had granted unto them, or which blessing God had sent upon the face of the land for righteous sake."

This chapter speaks of Moroni and raising the title of liberty across the land. This was after Amalickiah sought to become a king and change the liberty that they had. I love how the people come rushing to support Moroni in raising the title of liberty throughout the land. Because of their numbers Amalickiah and those that followed him gave up their quest. 

I cannot help but think of our political processes today. We do have people trying to change our foundation of liberty, our constitution, our rights and beliefs. We live in such dangerous times. What I see as a warning message in the Book of Mormon is that that such people live in our day that desire to destroy all that God has blessed us with. I don't think this is a one time occurrence. I think its a warning that it will be a continual battle with evil to not allow them to overcome our land and take away our rights. Just because someone tried to make themselves king doesn't mean that is what we will see too. What the danger is, is that they tried to change the government that was setup by God.

We need to group together to not have them change what God has divinely inspired. I am afraid that if people cannot see there are different political voices and how they aim to change and destroy this land, then their souls are in danger for being blinded by Satan. It's not something coming, its already here. The battle has been going on a long time and will continue until the end. The questions I ask myself is the person purposes leading people to righteousness. Do they instill bondage or freedom? Do they support or tear down our constitution? It amazes me what people are willing to give up with false hope and promises when the Lords standards has already been set. How can we ever think we know better than God.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 45:1

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 45:1
Behold, now it came to pass that the people of Nephi were exceedingly rejoiced, because the Lord had again delivered them out of the hands of their enemies; therefore they gave thanks unto the Lord their God; yea, and they did fast much and pray much, and they did worship God with exceedingly great joy."

When I read this verse I realized that when I have been so grateful for the Lord's blessings I have never thought to fast in gratitude. I have said prayers of thanks but never fasted for thanks. I should do that. I think nothing of fasting when I need blessings. It seems so fitting now to fast for the joy of what I have received.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 44:9

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 44:9
"Behold, we are not of your faith; we do not believe that is God that has delivered us into your hands; but we believe that is your cunning that has preserved you from our swords. Behold, it is your breastplates and your shields that have preserved you."

Captain Moroni in battle had sought the prophet Alma to find out from the Lord where the Lamanites were planning to attack. With this knowledge he was able to devise a cunning plan to surround the Lamanites and preserve their freedom. He also was inspired to prepare weapons of war and protection for his men for doing battle. This knowledge all came from the Lord and not from a 25 year man's cunning mind. 

Zerahemnah upon being surrounded and asked to lay down his weapons of war declares it was not God that allowed them to be delivered into the Nephites hands. I could not help but wonder at that comment. Both sides had equal opportunity to come up with these plans, yet the Lamanites did not. Why would that be? If God didn't do that then what would you expect him to do to save them? You don't have to have lightening or floods come destroy your enemies to show the power of God. God works with all the common things around us first. If he can give us strength to do amazing things then he will have us be His instrument. God's will inspire and bless men to do his work by small and simple means. Then great things will be accomplished. The greatest of all is what happens to the heart of the man that acknowledges his strength comes from the Lord. Such a person grows in faith and trust in the Lord that he will fight all their battles, even the one to save their souls.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 43:19-20

Today's Favorite Verse: Alma 43:19-20
"And when the armies of the Lamanites saw that the people of Nephi, or that Moroni, had prepared his people with breastplates and with arm-shields, yea, and also shields to defend their heads, and also they were dressed with thick clothing - 
Now the army of Zerahemnah was not prepare with any such thing; they had only their swords and their cimeters, their bows and their arrows, their stones and their slings; and they were naked, save it were a skin which was girded about their loins; yea, all were naked, save it were the Zoramites and the Amalekites;"

I have entered the war chapters in the Book of Mormon. The Lamanites and all those that dissented from the Nephites joined together to came upon the Nephites. Their desire was to gain power over the Nephites and bring them into bondage. A righteous 25 year old man was appointed chief captain over the Nephite armies. The Nephites were motivated by their desire to support and preserve their lands, homes and families from their enemies. They desired to preserve their rights and privileges, their liberty and the right to worship God according to their desires.

The war chapters have always been hard to read. I weep at the loss of so much life, it just breaks my heart. As I have learned of the archaeological evidence that supports the time frame and people of the Book of Mormon, in the lands of North America, I have come to see these chapters differently. The evidence fits with these war chapters, showing how the people protected themselves with weapons of war and the physical changes made to the land for their defense. It's almost like there was another purpose for these Lamanite - Nephite battles. It was to leave a physically record to my generation of what will become us, if we do not listen to the warning message of what destroyed the Nephite people. They left more than the book I now hold in my hands. The greatest witness of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon is borne by the spirit. Those with doubting hearts that want it laid out in their hands can see the evidence from the earth. 

To learn more go to: 

Though I must warn, there is a need for moderation in looking at physical evidence and ignoring the spirit and message of the Book of Mormon itself. Greater time should be spent reading the scriptures than having others tell you about it. Only then can the spirit guide and not have you deceived going off on strange tangents. I have had to learn to sift the good from the bad. I don't attend the Firm Foundation Expos anymore because of spiritual speculation. There is an over focus on the last days that has overtake some, that troubles my soul. If it only focused on the Book of Mormon evidence then I would attend.