Saturday, April 30, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Ether 6:21-23

Today's Favorite Verse: Ether 6:21-23
"And it came to pass that they did number their people; and after that they had numbered them, they did desire of them the things which they would that they should do before they went down to their graves.
And it came to pass that the people desired of them that they should anoint one of their sons to be a king over them.
And now behold, this was grievous unto them. And the brother of Jared said unto them: Surely this thing leadeth into captivity."

The people of Jared arrive in the promise land. Beside Jared and his brother, there are 22 friends of Jared. I wonder if that is only counting the men which they usually do in the scriptures. So there would be 24 families that came over in eight vessels. Jared had 12 children, four of them sons. The brother of Jared had 22 children. By the time Jared and his brother were old and ready to die there were a lot of people. 

I notice that they numbered their people, so basically they are taking a census. After this census they are voting on who they want to rule them. I could see a parallel to how we do our voting. Unfortunately they wanted a king. Having an order of kings is eventually what leads them into captivity and destroys their nation. The words of the brother of Jared are a warning to us, to not do the same. The voice of the people must never accept having a king on this land. I had to sit and think about the voice of the people. It can be a marvelous thing when the people are righteous. Then it can also be so hard when the hearts of the people desire things that they should not have. Through it all the Lord gives us the free agency to decide. The son that accepted to be king was righteous so for now the Jaredites are blessed. It's down the line when wickedness is in the hearts of the people that these conditions, with an unrighteous king, leads the people to captivity.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Ether 5:4

Today's Favorite Verse: Ether 5:4
"And in the mouth of three witnesses shall these things be established; and the testimony of three, and this work, in the which shall be shown forth the power of God and also his word, of which the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost bear record - and all this shall stand as a testimony against the world at the last day."

I had to ponder on the role of witnesses. There are witnesses in every ordinance I could think of. If there isn't a witness then there are at least two people performing the ordinance, which I would think makes them witnesses. With the Book of Mormon the Lord made sure there would be witnesses to the reality of the golden plates. There were three witnesses not only to the golden plates but Moroni actually appeared and showed them to them. They were Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer and Martin Harris. We have their testimonies at the beginning of the Book of Mormon. Then there were eight witnesses that saw and handled the golden plates. They were: Christian Whitmer, Jacob Whitmer, Peter Whitmer, Jr., John Whitmer, Hiram Page, Joseph Smith, Sr., Hyrum Smith and Samuel H. Smith. Their testimony follows the three witnesses testimony in the Book of Mormon.

What joy it must have given Joseph Smith, Jr. to have other witnesses the reality of the golden plates and know that the Book of Mormon was translated by the power of God. My husband said he got no farther in the Book of Mormon than the testimonies of the witnesses and he already knew the book was true. 

I also had to ponder on my baptism covenant and how I need to stand as a witness. It is found in Mosiah 18:9
"Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witness of God at all times and in all things, and in places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye my have eternal life."

I know that not only do I need to stand as a witness of God to others, but one day I will account for my role. I pray I am found worthy in the end.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Ether 4:13-14

Today's Favorite Verse: Ether 4:13-14
"Come unto me, O ye Gentiles, and I will show unto you the greater things, the knowledge which is hid up because of unbelief.
Come unto me, O ye house of Israel, and it shall be made manifest unto you how great things the Father hath laid up for you, from the foundation of the world; and it hath not come unto you, because of unbelief."

This chapter made me cry, for myself. It talks about the brother of Jared's record being sealed up until there were people with faith such as his, on earth again to receive them. That the revelations of John, that we don't have now, will come forth at that time too. They are all sealed because of unbelief.

I realized today I'm OK not seeing them. I already know its true, even though I don't know a word of what's in them. I already accept them and i don't need to see it. These are things I have wanted to read and hold all my life, and now its changed. I have to leave this to the wisdom of God. My heart remembered how I so longed to see my Savior. Then I had a near-death experience, and coming back and living in this world with knowledge of the other side was to much. I needed the veil so I could function in this life. It took a while to get it back, and I'm OK with that. There is a purpose for having a veil over our eyes. I can't even imagine seeing all the Father had in store for me and then being made to remain on this earth. I already grieve for the sins I see around me, I can't imagine feeling even greater pain for them. It would hurt to much. If I was to see all things I would have to stay on the other side, I couldn't come back.

I think I used to want to know what was hidden because in a way I really wanted to see to believe. Now I believe and don't need to see. I'm OK leaving that all in God's hands. He knows better than I what I can handle seeing. He knows now I don't need to see to believe. It's still kind a odd to have a desire I've had all my life leave me, even if the reason for wanting to see was wrong.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Ether 3:11-13, 19

Today's Favorite Verse: Ether 3:11-13, 19
"And the Lord said unto him: Believest thou the words which I shall speak?
And he answered: Yea, Lord, I know that thou speakest the truth, for thou art a God of truth, and canst not lie.
And when he had said these words, behold, the Lord showed himself unto him, and said: Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall; therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I show myself unto you.
And because of the knowledge of this man he could not be kept from beholding within the veil; and he saw the finger of Jesus, which, when he saw, he fell with fear; for he knew that it was the finger of the Lord; and he had faith no longer, for he knew, nothing doubting"

What a beautiful conversation the brother of Jared has with the Lord. I wish I could have quoted more verses. It shows such reverence, humility and faith. Because of the brother of Jared's faith the veil was taken from his eyes and he was able to see the Lord. He had a pure faith that God spoke the truth and could not lie. I ponder on how different it makes me feel to say God cannot lie. It's one things to say you believe something. But to say you know God cannot lie and speaks truth, that is more than belief. I don't have the words to explain it but my heart is changed by looking at faith in this manner. I can see better how this would be like the faith of a little child, Innocent and true to what a loving parent tells them. The beauty of the gospel of Christ is not how complicated it is. Its how simple it is. It all boils down to faith, the most powerful thing in the world. Knowing that God does not lie, ever, and I just need to trust him. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Ether 2:14-15

Today's Favorite Verse: Ether 2:14-15
"And it came to pass at the end of four years that the Lord came again unto the brother of Jared, and stood in a cloud and talked with him. And for the space of three hours did the Lord talk with the brother of Jared, and chastened him because he remembered not to call upon the name of the Lord.
And the brother of Jared repented of the evil which he had done, and did call upon the name of the Lord for his brethren who were with him. And the Lord said unto him: I will forgive thee and thy brethren of their sins; but thou shalt not sin any more, for ye shall remember that my Spirit will not always strive with man; wherefore, if ye will sin until ye are fully ripe ye shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord. And these are my thoughts upon the land which I shall give you for your inheritance; for it shall be a land choice above all other lands."

I have always been uncomfortable when people have said that the brother of Jared was chastened for not praying. It has never made sense to me that he would one day just stop doing that, and even more so over a 4 year period of time. The more I attend the temple I realize that a typical prayer to the Lord is not what is being talked about, when it says "he remembered not to call upon the name of the Lord". In fact it doesn't even mention prayer here. I believe the brother of Jared, their spiritual leader was neglectful of kneeing at the alter and calling upon the name of the Lord in their behalf. He was guilty of not calling to mind the covenants they had made with the Lord in a holy prayer. 

As I ponder on that it makes me think of temple attendance. How frequently does a person need to go? How often should we "call upon the name of the Lord". If the brother of Jared, their prophet and spiritual leader was guilty of not remembering to do it, how long had it been since he did? Is not attending the temple sin?  It says it is. But so is not reading our scriptures daily a sin unto us. They are sins of omission, these are things that keep us in remembrance of the Lord. Without them the spirit will not strive with us and become a distant memory. Isn't it something that the Lord could chastise the brother of Jared and then spend three hours with him. That was not a man that wasn't prayerful and deserving, his sin was omission. The Lord loved him enough to chasten him to keep him on the path of righteousness. 

The Jaredites at this point in time had been very busy gathering all the things the Lord had commanded them to put together for their trip north and then "across many waters" to the land of promise. Yeah, they got to busy to "go to the temple". There were very pressing things they needed to get done. How many times in my life have a I felt that way. Even last night I thought about rescheduling my Tuesday morning temple worship for another day. After all I go all the time, one week of missing it wouldn't hurt. Honestly, that was my thought last night. I decided it would hurt and went anyways with only 5 hrs of sleep, and it was wonderful. I sat in the celestial room and read this chapter. It really put these verses into context in my life.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Ether 1:6, 32-34

Today's Favorite Verse: Ether 1:6, 32-34
"And on this wise do I give the account. He that wrote this record was Ether, and he was a descendant of Coriantor.
[genealogy for 26 generations]
And Kib was the son of Orihah, who was the son of Jared;
Which Jared came forth with his brother and their families, with some others and their families, from the great tower, at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people, and swore in his wrath that they should be scattered upon all the face of the earth; and according to the word of the Lord the people were scattered.
And the brother of Jared being a large and mighty man, and a man highly favored of the Lord, Jared, his brother, said unto him: Cry unto the Lord, that he will not confound us that we may not understand our words."

It is now somewhere between 401-421 AD. Moroni the last surviving Nephite must be safe inside a cave within the Hill Cumorah. He has at his disposal all the records of the Nephite Nation. One set of records was actually not their own. It was the records of an ancient group of people at the time of the great tower (Tower of Babel). Starting around 2600-2100 BC. God had promised them he would not confuse their language, so they were led away to the American continent. This group of people were called the Jaredites. 

Somewhere around 200 BC the people of king Limhi discovered the 24 Jaredite plates and king Mosiah was able to translate them. Their history could have covered anywhere from 1500 to 2500 years. It tells a history of the Jaredite people, and what caused the complete destruction of their civilization. The last surviving Jaredite was Coriantumr who was discovered by the Mulekites before king Mosiah and his people arrived in the land of Zarahemla. Moroni is now abridging their records and including them at the end of the Book of Mormon. It is called the Book of Ether, after the last Jaredite prophet who recorded this record. I'm sure Moroni saw much parallel to what had happened to his people, and since he has seen our day, he is including the most important parts for our profit and learning.

One of the things I have often wondered about is why is the reference always made of the brother of Jared and never his name? Why doesn't it just begin with the brother of Jared because he sounds like he is their prophet. Jared is always going to him to ask him to speak to the Lord for them. As I was reading the genealogy I realized that Ether is a direct descendant of Jared. Not a descendant of the brother of Jared. He is honoring his direct ancestor by starting this records with Jared. I think it also possible that Jared is the eldest brother and the leader of this group. His brother is their spiritual leader. That is why there is always a reference to Jared asking his brother to speak to the Lord for them. It really made me think about what a difference the roles would have been if Laman and Lemuel the elder brothers of Nephi could have adopted this same respect for their roles. Laman could have led his family, but referred to Nephi as their spiritual leader. Both are vital roles and didn't need to be held by just one person in the family. Each family member is unique with strengths and weaknesses, we are sent here with defined roles to play that will bless each member. It makes me appreciate these brothers even more that they could work together and humbly play their parts. Jared was never challenged by what his brother told him were the words of the Lord, and would do whatever was commanded. This make me appreciate Jared all the more. That would be a sign of a great leader.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Mormon 9:27-28

Today's Favorite Verse: Mormon 9:27-28
"O then despise not, and wonder not, but hearken unto the words of the Lord, and ask the Father in the name of Jesus for what things soever ye shall stand in need. Doubt not, but be believing, and begin as in times of old, and come unto the Lord with all your heart, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him.
Be wise in the days of your probation; strip yourselves of all uncleanness; ask not, that ye may consume it on your lusts, but ask with a firmness unshaken, that ye will yield to no temptation, but that ye will serve the true and living God."

There was so many choice things in this chapter that I pondered on. It was hard to select just one point of doctrine to share. Moroni spoke of miracles and these verses speak about prayers being answered.

It struck me how my own salvation needs to be worked out in fear and trembling before the Lord. This would be sought in heartfelt prayer to the Father in Jesus' name. No one can pray for me and work this out. I need to have a personal one on one relationship with my Savior. Through the Holy Spirit I have come to know where I stand.

I know it is through the spirit that I am given what to pray for. I also know that the desire of my heart needs to be turned to pleasing God and doing his will. What I ask for needs to be in his service. When I have prayed for things I want, with no thought if what I ask will serve God, I have asked wrong. When I ask for things that help me serve others I have been humbled by how quickly those prayers are answered. So as I ponder this does that mean that I never get what I want?  What I have found is that as I turn to the Lord my desires change. What satisfies me change. How simply my needs have become. I have become a new person. The happiness in my life is serving God and helping my fellow man. Yes, I am finding my wants have changed. What God wants is what I want, and there is peace and my prayers are answered.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Mormon 8:5, 10-12

Today's Favorite Verse: Mormon 8:5, 10-12
"Behold, my father hath made this record, and he hath written the intent thereof. And behold, I would write it also if I had room upon the plates, but I have not; and ore I have none, for I am alone. My father hath been slain in battle, and all my kinsfolk, and I have not friends nor whither to go; and how long the Lord will suffer that I may live I know not.
And there are none that do know the true God save it be the disciples of Jesus, who did tarry in the land until the wickedness of the people was so great that the Lord would not suffer them to remain with the people; and whether they be upon the face of the land no man knoweth.
But behold, my father and I have seen them, and they have ministered unto me.
And whoso receiveth this record, and shall not condemn it because of the imperfections which are in it, the same shall know of greater things than these. Behold, I am Mormon; and were it possible, I would make all things known unto you"

It just breaks my heart to think of Moroni, son of Mormon, left alone. I can hear his grieving in this chapter. What would I do if I was left alone like that? All I could do is worship Christ all the more, for in him would be my only solace. I would read the very plates I was to hide up in the earth for a future generation, and it would give me comfort and peace. It fills my heart with gratitude that the Lord saw fit to send his disciples, those three Nephites that would never taste of death, to minister to Moroni. In Christ we are really never left completely alone.

I am so grateful for Moroni's life, and every prophet that ever wrote in the Book of Mormon. I am grateful for what it has done for me. I know they saw my day and hope they saw how much I treasured every word of what they wrote. I am so grateful for the spirit that teaches me beyond even the words that are written. There is power is this book. Many times as I have read there have been other words that come to me beyond these pages. It speaks to me the words of Christ and of greater things. To hold it is to have the greatest treasure found upon this earth.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Mormon 7:8-9

Today's Favorite Verse: Mormon 7:8-9
"Therefore repent, and be baptized in the name of Jesus, and lay hold upon the gospel of Christ, which shall be set before you, not only in this record but also in the record which shall come unto the Gentiles from the Jews, which record shall come from the Gentiles unto you.
For behold, this is written for the intent that ye may believe that; and if ye believe that ye will believe this also; and if ye believe ye will believe this also; and if ye believe this ye will know concerning your fathers, and also the marvelous works which were wrought by the power of God among them."

It is 385 AD and Mormon is writing to the "remnant of this people". For they are of the House of Israel. That the record that he writes will come to them by way of the Gentiles. After they have received the record of the Jews, which is the Holy Bible. The record that would come after is the Book of Mormon, named after him. Mormon saw our day and abridged the plates of Nephi to give us exactly what we needed in the latter-days. It is not a complete history of the people, those are upon other plates that are now hidden. This record is from the tribe of Joseph and contains the truths we need to fully understand the gospel of Christ. I know reading the Book of Mormon does help me understand and strengthen my testimony of the words contained in the bible. It is because of words of the bible I can also believe the Book of Mormon. They go together, and bare witness of Christ. One would not be complete without the other. The Book of Mormon is not just for the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is for the world. It truly does testify of Christ. I pray you will desire to read it. 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Mormon 6:16-20

Today's Favorite Verse: Mormon 6:16-20
"And my soul was rent with anguish, because of the slain of my people, and I cried:
O ye fair ones, how could ye have departed from the ways of the Lord! O ye fair ones, how could ye have rejected that Jesus, who stood with open arms to receive you!
Behold, if ye had not done this, ye would not have fallen. But behold, ye are fallen, and I mourn your loss.
O ye fair sons and daughters, ye fathers and mothers, ye husbands and wives, ye fair ones, how is it that ye could have fallen!
But behold, ye are gone, and my sorrows cannot bring your return."

This is the final battle of the Nephites. They gathered the remaining 230,000 men, with their women and children around the hill Cumorah and they were all slaughtered by the Lamanites, except for 24 of them. Mormon is 75 years old and lays wounded on top of the hill Cumorah overlooking the slain of his people. Prior to this battle he had hid up in the Hill Cumorah all the records that Ammaron had once hid in the hill Shim, except for the records he made out of the plates of Nephi. These he gave to his son Moroni. As I read this chapter I just cried for Mormon and his sorrow. I cry for what could have been, if these people would have only repented. I also cry because of the wickedness of the people today, that don't need to face what they faced. Jesus still stands with open arms to receive everyone, if we would just come to him.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Mormon 5:17-18

Today's Favorite Verse: Mormon 5:17-18
"They were once a delightsome people, and they had Christ for their shepherd; yea, they were led even by God the Father.
But, now, behold, they are led about by Satan, even as chaff is driven before the wind, or as a vessel is tossed about upon the waves, without sail or anchor, or without anything wherewith to steer her; and even as she is, so are they."

I know Mormon is talking about the Nephites but I can so relate this to my feelings today. I am mourning. I grieve for the insanity I see overcoming the people. They have not only left God but they are doing everything in their power to make all types of sins called good now. When you leave God you have no anchor. You start to accommodate all types of debased lifestyles and actions. Things just get out of control and the laws just get crazier and crazier. Can not a sane person see how non-restrictive following God's commands are to everyone. These laws bless our societies, even those that do not believe. 

Right now I'm saying to myself can I not go shopping, and use a restroom anymore out of fear for my own safety? I was never one to boycott anything but do I have to start doing so now? Will it soon be that there is no place I can shop that is safe for me?  I keep thinking about the mark of the beast in my forehead or hand. Maybe I myself don't even need the mark. Maybe I just don't want to shop there and support their business. Soon there would be no place I could shop.

If I had school age children would I now not even let them attend public school? Evil designing men are after the hearts of the children. They are being polluted and indoctrinated. Even the very bases of their eternal identity as a male or female is being taken away. In just a few years the things I have seen them start teaching the children would make me never put my child in a public school, maybe not even private schools. I would have to home-school through all the grades now. Why do things have to get so crazy? Why now do I look like the paranoid and crazy one, when just a decade or more ago this all made common sense to everyone. Why, because the heart of this nation is drunk in their own wickedness. It just makes me grieve. Mormon you were seeing the end of your people, I have to wonder if I am seeing the end of mine.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Mormon 4:5

Today's Favorite Verse: Mormon 4:5
"But, behold, the judgments of God will overtake the wicked; and it is by the wicked that the wicked are punished; for it is the wicked that stir up the hearts of the children of men unto bloodshed."

I have often pondered on this verse, and others like it found in 2 Peter 2:12 and Doctrine & Covenants 63:33. The wicked will destroy the wicked. Why? Because they no longer have the protection of the Lord. Those that deny and curse God are no longer under his protection. The Lord will leave them to the buffetings of Satan, whom they profess to love. Followers of Satan do not get any protection from their master. Satan despises his followers because those that follow him that have a body, denied him what he thought his rightful place. He glories in their utter destruction, and that they will be miserable like himself. If they have no protection from the Lord then they are his. That is a horrible fate to be left alone to the buffetings of Satan. You are left deaf, dumb and blind to any reason. You only see things to the end of your nose. Your anger and revenge is all you can focus on. It will destroy you, because you destroy yourself. There are no friends in that crowd for they will turn their backs on you in a heartbeat. The only loyalty is to your own selfish needs. To me that is a living nightmare. Sadly, I have only to watch the news to see this behavior is happening today. Society's ills will only be solved if people repent.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Mormon 3:11-12

Today's Favorite Verse: Mormon 3:11-12
"And it came to pass that I, Mormon, did utterly refuse from this time forth to be a commander and a leader of this people, because of their wickedness and abomination.
Behold, I had led them, notwithstanding their wickedness I had led them many times to battle, and had loved them, according to the love of God which was in me, with all my heart; and my soul had been poured out in prayer unto my God all the day long for them; nevertheless, it was without faith, because of the hardness of their hearts."

It is so hard to see the ending of the Nephite nation. Its now 360 AD and Mormon would be 50 years old. He has lead their armies for 35 years. The people could not acknowledge that God had spared them in battle. They swore by all that was forbidden that they would destroy their enemies and avenge themselves. The voice of the Lord came to Mormon and said "Vengeance is mine, and I will repay; and because this people repented not after I delivered them, behold, they shall be cut off from the face of the earth." It would appear that it is acceptable to the Lord to go into battle with your enemies to preserve your liberty, land, and family but not for vengeance. The vengeance you seek on another will come back at you by the hand of the Lord.

Mormon said he did as the Lord commanded, "utterly refused to go to battle and did stand as an idle witness to manifest unto the world the things which I saw and heard, according to the manifestations of the Spirit which had testified of things to come." Mormon was letting the prophecies come true of the destruction of the Nephite nation. He was our witness to these events.

How this grieves my heart. How could Mormon pray for them, even without faith? I would think this necessary so he could continue to have love in his heart for his people. The prayers for my enemies and the wicked even if unheard, because of the hardness of their hearts, does something for me. It shows the righteous desires of my heart to the Father. It allows me to continue on and not be weighed down with this grief. I'm sure Mormon had a peace and comfort that only the Lord could give him during this time. He also had myself and thousands of others to speak to. Even if his words would be sealed up and hidden for hundreds of years to come, he had faith they would come. The chapter gives his words to help us come to Christ. He knew he would see the destruction of his people. But, he also knew someday they would blossom like a rose by way of the Gentiles. That must have been both bitter and sweet what he was going through.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Mormon 2:13-15

Today's Favorite Verse: Mormon 2:13-15
"But behold, this my joy was vain, for their sorrowing was not unto repentance, because of the goodness of God; but it was rather the sorrowing of the damned, because the Lord would not always suffer them to take happiness in sin.
And they did not come unto Jesus with broken hearts and contrite spirits, but they did curse God, and wish to die. Nevertheless they would struggle with the sword for their lives.
And it came to pass that my sorrow did return unto me again, and I saw that the day of grace was passed with them, both temporally and spiritually; for I saw thousands of them hewn down in open rebellion against their God, and heaped up as dung upon the face of the land. And thus three hundred and forty and four years had passed away.

In 325 AD Mormon is 15 years old and made leader of the Nephite army. A year later he takes them into battle. I grieved as I read what he recorded about their history when 34 years old. "I did forbear to make a full account of their wickedness and abominations, for behold, a continual scene of wickedness and abominations has been before mine eyes ever since I have been sufficient to behold the ways of man."  

The verses I selected happened in 330 AD so he was only 20 years old. Already he knew their mourning wasn't for repentance but was the sorrow of the damned. Why were they damned? Because they knew the Lord and openly rejected him. They just didn't get along with what he wanted them to do. They loved sin more than God. They thought they had a better way and could take care of things in their own strength. Unfortunately we will see how that works out for them. It doesn't, as Mormon says "The strength of the Lord was not with us; yea, we were left to ourselves, that the Spirit of the Lord did not abide in us; therefore we had become weak like unto our brethren." That just breaks my heart.

All they needed to do is repent. Turn away from their sins and come to Christ. He would have been their strength and guide. He would have protected and lifted them up. They would have won the battle both physically and spiritually. Now what I see as Mormon writes is the mourning of the damned. My only comfort is knowing that Mormon loved the Lord and protected these sacred records. He wrote the end of his people so I could profit from it, and not become like them. 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: Mormon 1:15-17

Today's Favorite Verse: Mormon 1:15-17
"And I, being fifteen years of age and being somewhat of a sober mind, therefore I was visited of the Lord, and tasted and knew of the goodness of Jesus.
And I did endeavor to preach unto this people, but my mouth was shut, and i was forbidden that I should preach unto them; for behold they had willfully rebelled against their God; and the beloved disciples were taken away out of the land, because of their iniquity.
But I did remain among them, but I was forbidden to preach unto them, because of the hardness of their hearts; and because of the hardness of their hearts the land was cursed for their sake."

When Mormon was 10 years old Ammaron gave him instruction that when he was 24 years old he was to go to the hill Shim and find all the records of this people. He was to leave them there except for the  plates of Nephi. Upon those plates he was to record all that he had seen in his day. When he was 11 years old his father took him to the land southward to Zarahelma. Where he witnesses the war that began between the Lamanites and Nephites. When this battle breaks out the Lord took away the beloved disciples that would never taste death, and the work of miracles and healing did cease. How very alone Mormon must have felt at such a young age. It totally makes sense to me that at the age of 15 the Lord visits him. He needed to be incredible strong spiritual to record the destruction of the Nephite people. 

I wish I couldn't say I understand the forbidding of preaching the gospel to someone. I have had to experience this when someone close to me willfully rebelled against the Lord. You can love them, care for them, but you cannot discuss the gospel with them. Not only for your personal safety, but to prevent the mocking of the Lord. That is such a painful thing to go through. I was blessed to have other family members that I could discuss the gospel with so it was never a subject I couldn't talk to anyone about. It just breaks my heart for Mormon to be so totally alone. Yet, I know he really wasn't because the Lord visited him, and I am sure all the Nephite prophets throughout the ages were surrounding him, just on the other side of the veil. When we are on the errand of the Lord, we are never left alone.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: 4 Nephi 1:12-13, 20

Today's Favorite Verse: 4 Nephi 1:12-13, 20
"And they did not walk any more after the performances and ordinances of the law of Moses; but they did walk after the commandments which they had received from their Lord and their God, continuing in fasting and prayer, and in meeting together oft both to pray and to hear the word of the Lord.
And it came to pass that there was no contention among all the people, in all the land; but there were mighty miracles wrought among the disciples of Jesus.
And he kept it eighty and four years, and there was still peace in the land, save it were a small part of the people who had revolted from the church and taken upon them the name of Lamanites; therefore there began to be Lamanites again in the land."

There is only one chapter in 4 Nephi and it covers 35-321 AD. Within a year or two of Jesus appearing in the Americas the people were all converted to the Lord, both Nephites and Lamanites and there was no contention among them. They were a beautiful peaceful people. By the time its 194 AD the signs of them turning from God happens. The rest of the chapter shows their decline until Ammaron the keeper of the records is constrained by the Holy Ghost to hide up all the sacred records in 320 AD. 

I pondered over what caused them to go from being one of the most righteous group of people that ever lived on the earth to denying the Christ and willfully rebelling. You know what I think it was - not keeping the Sabbath day holy. They felt they no longer needed to go to church. They left the church, and totally left their God. No wonder there is such a call from our prophet and apostles to keep the Sabbath day holy. We need to stand in holy places, and on that holy day meet with others in fasting and prayer and worshiping our God. Otherwise we have left Him, and no longer have his spirit to be with us. I can even see it now, we are becoming like their society. Never have more people left the churches, and left God, never has our society been more depraved, and it continues to grow darker. There is a direct correlation between the two.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: 3 Nephi 30:1-2

Today's Favorite Verse: 3 Nephi 30:1-2
"Hearken, O ye Gentiles, and hear the words of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, which he had commanded me that I should speak concerning you, for, behold he commandeth me that I should write saying:
Turn, all ye Gentiles, from your wicked ways; and repent of your evil doings, of your lyings and deceivings, and your whoredoms, and of your secret abominations, and your idolatries, and your murders, and your priestcrafts, and your envyings, and your strifes, and from all your wickedness and abominations, and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, that ye may receive a remission of your sins, and be filled with the Holy Ghost, that ye may be numbered with my people who are of the house of Israel."

This is the end of 3rd Nephi where the Savior came to his other sheep, the people of Nephi on this the American continent. I love the words of Christ. It always makes me sad to finish 3rd Nephi, because I know it won't be long before this beautiful people forget him again. This closing chapter is only two verses long. Yet it is so powerful.

The Lord doesn't care how dark my past or anyone else's has been. The only thing that matters to Him is what I am today. Being completely righteous 5 years ago means nothing if there are things I need to repent of today. A sinful past means nothing to Him if I have already repented of them. He will remember them no more. If I have forsaken my sins and come to Christ he will love me for what I am today, not how long I have been faithful or labored in his vineyard. He truly is no respecter of persons, but receives and loves all that come to Him.

My Savior, Jesus Christ arms are always outstretched and calling me home. He gives us so many chances to be redeemed. I am so grateful for the gift of repentance, and he never gives up on us. The only problem is we only have one life, and someday this period of probation will be over, and we will have to give a final accounting. It is so important to not procrastinate our day of repentance for we never know when the Lord will say "It is finished."

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: 3 Nephi 29:1-2

Today's Favorite Verse: 3 Nephi 29:1-2
"And now behold, I say unto you that when the Lord shall see fit, in his wisdom, that these sayings shall come unto the Gentiles according to his word, then ye may know that the covenant which the Father hath made with the children of Israel, concerning their restoration to the lands of their inheritance, is already beginning to be fulfilled.
And ye may know that the words of the Lord, which have been spoken by the holy prophets, shall all be fulfilled; and ye need not say that the Lord delays his coming unto the children of Israel."

The sayings spoken of here are the Book of Mormon. When what was hidden was restored it ushered in the last dispensation of time, the fullness of times. Not only was the gospel of Jesus Christ restored, his people are being restored to their lands of inheritance. This was the line of demarcation when these events began to take place. I pondered on how blessed I am to live during this time frame. I lived during a time where prophesy is being fulfilled before my eyes. Sometimes as I watch the news and see the wickedness happening, and on the other hand see temples dot the earth, I marvel at what interesting times I am living in. I have to say to myself this is really real. All that the prophets have prophesied of are really starting to happen. The most wicked and the most righteous of God's children will live during these times. A person can go either way depending on the desires of their hearts. I pray with all my heart that I will be found righteous in the end. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: 3 Nephi 28:4, 6-7, 26-28, 30

Today's Favorite Verse: 3 Nephi 28:4, 6-7, 26-28, 30
"And when he had spoken unto them, he turned himself unto the three, and said unto them: What will ye that I should do unto you, when I am gone unto the Father?
And he said unto them: Behold, I know your thoughts, and ye have desired the thing which John, my beloved, who was with me in my ministry, before that I was lifted up by the Jews, desired of me.
Therefore, more blessed are ye, for ye shall never taste of death; but ye shall live to behold all the doings of the Father unto the children of men, even until all things shall be fulfilled according to the will of the Father, when I shall come in my glory with the powers of heaven.
But behold, I have seen them, and they have ministered unto me.
And behold they will be among the Gentiles, and the Gentiles shall know them not.
They will also be among the Jews, and the Jews shall know them not.
And they are as the angels of God, and if they shall pray unto the Father in the name of Jesus they can show themselves unto whatsoever man it seemeth them good."

This is what members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints refer to as the Three Nephites. Three of the apostles that Jesus chose among the people of Nephi desired that which the apostle John did in the Holy Land. To never taste of death and serve the Father until the end of this earth. The story means something to me because my family and I believe we may have been ministered by them.

When I was six years old I traveled with my parents and four siblings from Queensbury, New York to Salt Lake City, Utah to be sealed as a family in the House of the Lord. On our way home through Nebraska we were involved in a terrible car accident. Our brakes went out in heavy traffic on the highway and we crashed into the car in front of us and then went into the median strip with two Greyhound buses following. When we arrived at the hospital my father went to the phone book and found the name and number of the local Bishop of the LDS Church. He and his counselor came immediately to our aid and gave us all priesthood blessings. They took us to a hotel and helped my parents shop for a good used car to take us back home. They were solicitous to our needs and asked all the time if we had enough money to get back home, which we did. Their loving care, so far from our home, meant so much to our family. As soon as we arrived home my parents wrote that dear Bishop a letter, thanking him and his counselor for all that they did for us. That letter was later returned to us stamped "No such person". 

When my father traveled back to Nebraska for the lawsuit that followed he spent time there inquiring after this good Bishop and his counselor, no LDS or RLDS congregation in the area had ever heard of them. Yet, all of our family knew for a fact they did exist. It was not hard to imagine we had been helped by two of the three Nephites.

It was 28 years later when I was again in the hospital for a surgery that my heart was broken and concerned because I had no one to give me a blessing. While I sat alone I poured my heart out to my Heavenly Father that I had so wanted a priesthood blessing, and asked that he bless me as if I had, had one, for I could not face surgery without it. As they wheeled me to the surgery my gurney was left alone in the hallway outside the operating room. Two men came up to me and said they were there to give me a blessing. They laid their hands upon my head and gave me my longed for priesthood blessing. I remember looking up into their faces and realized I had seen them before as the men giving me a blessing as a small child. My heart had such peace and the surgery was a success. My healing was swift and complete. Today I could not tell you what they looked like.

As I pondered on this chapter of the three Nephites I realized that with John that makes four such "angels" on this earth. Would they not be like missionary companions. They all received their calls at the most within months of each other. Then again maybe there is not just four such men that walk the earth. If Christ had other sheep to visit could there not be more that desired the same as John? Their mission was not just to one group of people it was to the whole earth. The one thing I do know is we are never left alone. The Lord has provided men that hold the priesthood to bless me when I have needed it. They will always be ministering angels to me.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: 3 Nephi 27:14-15, 22

Today's Favorite Verse: 3 Nephi 27:14-15, 22
"And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil - 
And for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works.
Therefore, if ye do these things blessed are ye, for ye shall be lifted up at the last day."

I had one of the ah ha moments reading this chapter and it finally makes sense what being lifted up at the last day means. As Christ was lifted up upon the cross, it was done by man. They judged him and crucified him. On that final judgment day, the Father will lift me up, through the power of the resurrection, for Christ to look upon me, and judge me. He will judge all men now. What we did to Him he will now do to us. He will know me by my works, just like man should have known him by his works. If I had come to Christ during my life, and done works as he would have done, then I will truly be blessed at the last day. Thankfully this chapter reminds me of the principles and ordinances of His gospel that I must follow so my garments are washed white in the blood of the Lamb. That I might be found spotless and worthy before him. It just makes me weep.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: 3 Nephi 26:6-11

Today's Favorite Verse: 3 Nephi 26:6-11
"And now there cannot be written in this book even a hundreth part of the things which Jesus did truly teach unto the people;
But behold the plates of Nephi do contain the more part of the things which he taught the people.
And these things have I written, which are a lesser part of the things which he taught the people; and I have written them to the intent that they may be brought again unto this people, from the Gentiles, according to the words which Jesus hath spoken.
And when they shall have received this, which is expedient that they should have first, to try their faith, and if it shall so be that they shall believe these things then shall the greater things be made manifest unto them.
And if it so be that they will not believe these things, then shall the greater things be withheld from them, unto their condemnation.
Behold, I was about to write them, all which were engraven upon the plates of Nephi, but the Lord forbade it, saying: I will try the faith of my people."

I pondered on why faith is necessary before we can receive all that was written on the plates of Nephi, and also in the sealed portion of the golden plates. My mind kept going back to the temple. Why are things there not given to all the world? Without faith those that do not believe would mock and be under condemnation. You must believe the basics of the gospel, having faith in the restoration of the gospel before you can appreciate more. A loving God does not give us more than we are able to be accountable for. I have found in the temple layers of meanings, more than ever expressed. There is always something new to ponder on. The Holy Ghost questions and instructions beyond the outward signs and words. It only comes as I am ready to receive it.

As I pondered on this I had to ask myself what is the connection to the temple and that which is sealed? I have to think that what is sealed can be opened to an individual as they are ready. Nothing is denied if you are ready. Being ready means I have faith to the point it is faith no more, but pure knowledge. Like the brother of Jared, seeing the finger of Lord because he could not be kept behind the veil. Even Jared went up to mount Shelem to speak with the Lord. The holy mountains of the Lord are the temples that dot the earth. Even Christ as he appeared and taught the people of Nephi, and those once Lamanites, did so at the temple site in Bountiful. It would make sense to me that the manifesting of sealed things, greater things, would come in the house of the Lord as his saints are ready to receive them.

Maybe as I have been waiting for the seal portion to be made known to the church as a whole I am wrong. Maybe it will only be made known to those ready to receive it in the house of the Lord. In fact I know some of those greater things are already there. The sifting of the wheat and tares within his church would have to come, so all remaining would be worthy to enter into His House and receive greater things as a whole. Until that day comes I see an even greater need for us to be a temple worthy people. Just reading and accepting the Book of Mormon is not enough. As a people we must appreciate the temple too. No wonder there is a greater and greater emphasis on attending the temple by the prophet and church leaders.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Today's Favorite Verse: 3 Nephi 25:5-6

Today's Favorite Verse: 3 Nephi 25:5-6
"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord;
And he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse."

The Savior continues to give the words of Malachi in this chapter. I pondered on how each set of scriptures quotes them. The angel Moroni repeated Malachi's words to Joseph Smith when he appeared to him. The prophesy of the coming of Elijah was fulfilled April 3, 1836 in the Kirtland Temple, When the Savior Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and said he accepted the temple as His. Then three heavenly messengers appeared, Moses, Elias, and Elijah to restore priesthood keys. Elijah restored the sealing power.

I have often marveled on that day. For not only was it Easter Sunday it was also the Jewish Passover. While the Jew was setting a place for Elijah at their table, and opening the door to receive him as their guest, Elijah actually came. It wasn't to the home of the Jew. It was to the House of the Lord. The very first temple dedicated to the Lord in this the dispensation of the fullness of times. The timing of this happening was no coincidence. 

Since that date in 1836 the interest in people researching their family history has grown at a remarkable rate. Somewhere I had a paper with some of those stats. It told how many family history books were written before and after that date. Societies established and nations that changed laws to assist in gathering records. The oldest genealogical society in the United States is The New England Historic Genealogy Society and that wasn't formed until 1844.

The spirit of Elijah that motivates the passion for genealogy has effected people across the world, its not exclusive to the LDS community. The earth would be wasted and cursed if our hearts did not turn to each other. Healing comes through knowing your roots and finding your identity. Not only our earthly identity but on spiritual identity too. I could never number all the blessings I have received from the pursuit of not only researching my kindred dead, but also performing saving ordinances in the temple for them. I feel like my life would have been wasted if I was never involved in this great work.