Friday, April 30, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
I like verse 26 which says that those who were ordained priests by Alma didn't not relay on the people for their sustenance but instead received the grace of God. To me this means they were sustained and supported by God and as a result they waxed strong in the Spirit, received knowledge from God, as well as power and authority. There is much to be spiritually learned by working with our own hands and making our own way in life if our eyes and hearts are open. It's easy to let the duties of life become mundane and ordinary when great things can be discovered by the Spirit if we're sensitive.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
From now on, everything we read in the Book of Mormon will be from records kept by Alma's descendents, Abinadi's one convert.
Monday, April 26, 2010
Abinadi's arguments are so logical and so powerful that undoubtedly Noah and his priests would have been left sitting their in silence not knowing what to say. But as we shall see in the next chapter, they are so saturated in their wickedness and pride that their being dumb founded is not based on he's right, what should we do? But on how can they get rid of this man so they don't have to face what he says? There is no concern for right or wrong, only concern for their power and position and the desire to continue in their wickedness. These are all, except one, truly wicked men.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Abinadi now begins to explain the meaning of the scripture Noah's priests quoted thinking they were going to trick Abinadi into contradicting himself. But Abinadi interprets the passage in such a sublime and powerful way the priests must have been both embarrassed of their lack of knowledge and in awe of Abinadi's. As background, Abinadi tells them what Isaiah 53, that he has just quoted, and explains who the seed of Christ is. He says they are the ones who are his spiritual offspring. They are all those who have heard the words of the prophets (the prophets are also the seed of Christ) and believed their words and believed that redemption comes through Christ. These are his seed. These are the ones who will be redeemed. Then he says shows how this is what is meant by the scripture quoted by the priests, "How beautiful are the feet of those that publish peace." This refers to Christ and all those who testify of him because if it weren't for Christ, all mankind would perish for eternity upon their death. But because of Christ, all will be resurrected and those who are righteous will come forth in the first resurrection and gain eternal life in the celestial kingdom. Abinadi explains that there are three groups of people who will come forth in the first resurrection: those who are the seed of Christ who believed and kept the words of the prophets, the righteous who died in ignorance of Christ, and little children. Then he tells the priests they should be should be scared to death and shaking in their boots because anyone who knows the commandments and turns their back on Christ and lives wickedly as the priests do will face the demands of justice. Mercy will not be available to them and they will not be redeemed.
I am in awe of the power of Abinadi's courageous testimony. The power of his words must have set the priests back on their heels. It certainly affected one of them, the one being Alma.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Monday, April 19, 2010
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Enter Abinadi. He goes among the people and warns them of their wickedness saying the Lord will deliver them into the hands of their enemies and they will be placed in bondage. He tells them that after they have suffered and they begin to turn back to him, he will be slow to hear their prayers. Noah hears about Abinadi and wants Abinadi brought before him so he can kill him. It's always interesting that those who don't want to hear the truth, do everything they need to bury it.
Friday, April 16, 2010
If Zeniff was a man of the Lord, and he appears to have been, I wonder why he conferred his kingdom on Noah. Was Noah the oldest and so by birthright given the right to rule? It was a bad choice for sure.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Monday, April 12, 2010
In Omni verse 27, a large group of people who evidently missed the land of Nephi where Nephi’s temple is, left Zarahemla and went back to the land of Nephi and they were never heard from again. King Mosiah agrees to let Ammon lead 16 people back to Nephi to see what happened to them. They find them and their appointed king Zeniff. After learning that Ammon and his men are not Lamanite spies, Zeniff is hopeful that Ammon will be able to lead his people in an escape from the Lamanites back to Zarahemla and he calls the people together to speak to them.
Getting the people to flee will be difficult because of their great fear of the Lamanites. Zeniff recounts how the Lamanites have killed Abinadi and how they will lose the help of the Lord because they will dwindle in unbelief. Then he makes a promise, “If ye will turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and put your trust in him, and serve him with all diligence of mind, if ye do this, he will, according to his own will and pleasure, deliver you out of bondage.”
This promise is based on a principle that can bless our lives. Whenever our lives are governed by fear, we are in bondage because fear stops us from acting, and our inaction keeps us from enjoying the real desires of our hearts. If we move forward trusting the Lord, we can move through the fear and find the blessings we seek. I know for a fact that the things we fear are never a reality and do not come to pass. Satan uses fear to keep us from enjoying the important things of life, what we would most want and what the Lord would also want for us. And the fear I believe to be the most common and universal is the fear to love and be loved. Whether it is the fear to love another person or to love the Lord or both, that fear keeps us from experiencing the greatest thing life has to offer us and it is what the Lord wants us to experience more than anything else in this life.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
This chapter deals with taking upon you the name of Christ and what that implies. Since I wrote about that in Your Divine Purpose, I’m going to focus two words as they are used in this chapter: faith and knowledge. These really are two simple principles and so important. The people say they have faith in the words the King Benjamin spoke, and because of that faith, they know of their truth and are sure of it. As a result, they say the Spirit has manifested unto them great views of that which is to come and it has brought to them a great knowledge. Later, in verse 13, King Benjamin tells them that the way to know the Savior is to serve him and drawing the logical comparison of a servant and a master. If a servant never meets or serves a master, he asks how could the servant ever know him? If we put that in today’s vernacular, we would say, “If I never met my boss and never worked for him, how would I know anything about him?” For us, if we believe the words of King Benjamin (or any prophet or scripture), we can gain great views of that which has come and come to a great knowledge.
It’s so important to have faith in something, to believe it is true. A person can start with something simple as a starting point. If they act on that belief, the Spirit will confirm the truth of that belief and reveal more truth. It isn’t true, the Spirit will let them know that also and because of that that a correct truth will replace the error. A most important thing for them is to not fear the truth or what the reactions of people might be who have not yet learned it.
When you act on a belief, learn it’s truth, that is both an act of faith and brings us knowledge. When we continue in that knowledge, we come to more truth. Since all truth is revealed through the Spirit, it will eventually lead us to the source of all truth and that is our Father in Heaven and Christ.
Mormon gives us a little history telling us of the great unity of beliefe among all of the people except children who are too young to understand. In chapter 26, these children will become rebellious. Mormon also tells us of King Benjamin’s death three years after conferring the crown upon Mosiah and how Mosiah is much like his father, working along side the people so he does not burden them with having to support him.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Mormon describes the people of King Benjamin as having a peace of consciousness. I think this is a great gift that the Lord gives us when we live our lives right. Peace of consciousness puts things in perspective. When we have it, everything else seems to fall into place. King Benjamin’s people obtained this by allowing the atonement to remove the objectionable things that were a part of their lives. When our lives conform to the Lord’s will, not the church’s (although there is a connection there), not other people’s will, but to the Lord’s, we discover that our life is where it should be. Then like it says of King Benjamin’s people, we come to a knowledge of the goodness of God, we understand his power, his wisdom, and just how extensive his patience and understanding of us is. Some people feel they just can’t be that perfect, or they shouldn’t be forced to be a certain way. But there is no need to be perfect and the Lord doesn’t force to be anything. We are already who and what we should be. The Lord just makes us a little better. I believe that deep inside, we understand our own uniqueness and we don’t want to ever lose that. We will do anything to hold onto it because to be someone else would be to betray our own selves. The Lord doesn’t want us to lose that uniqueness either.
King Benjamin teaches that if we can come to understand our dependence on God, if we will be humble, pray every day and be steadfast in our belief, we will always have a reason to rejoice because we have this peace of consciousness. King Benjamin promises that we will grow in our knowledge, not just of God, but a knowledge of his glory. He explains that this is to grow in the knowledge of what is true.
I like what he says about caring for the poor. If we have the means, we should give without ever judging why the person is poor. If we don’t have the means and our hearts are such that we would give if we could, that is sufficient to the Lord. He also says that all of these things should be done in wisdom and in order. To me, the order is the fast donation program. It also means that I will give when I can to others who need it, but I don’t have to give to every person on the street that I see.
Finally, King Benjamin says we should govern our words, are thoughts and our deeds. That is a good way to govern our life.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
An angel has come to King Benjamin in the night. I wonder who he was, if he could have been Nephi. That would make sense to me. The angel testifies to King Benjamin of the coming of Christ and his testimony starts with verse 5 and goes to the end of the chapter. King Benjamin is quoting the angel’s words to the people. King Benjamin would have known about Christ’s coming, but having it testified of by an angel must have been a deeply moving experience and impressed on his mind the importance of his bearing witness of this to the people. This great prophecy of Christ is the only prophecy of his birth that we have where Mary is mentioned by name.
It is in this verse that we learn more of the Savior suffering in the atonement for our sins to the extent that it caused him to bleed at every pore. The angel testifies of the resurrection and also clarifies something that hasn’t been discussed very much yet and that is how the atonement covers children and people who have never had the opportunity to learn the gospel, who sinned without knowing they were sinning. The angel also tells Benjamin the importance of the name of Christ which will greatly have an effect on his people and we’ll learn more of in Chapter 5.
The angel also tells how it is possible to put of the natural man and become a spiritual person. To me this is how we tune into our best selves, how we learn to not be selfish, to find more meaning and purpose in life and how we can have deeper and more loving relationships.
The great thing about this prophecy is how positive it is. The angel tells King Benjamin that the Lord has heard his prayers and recognized his righteousness, and because of those two things, the angel is appearing to him. The angel commands King Benjamin that he is to teach the people what he will say so he and the people can find joy and rejoice. Promises fill the chapter and we can’t help but feel better about life and ourselves if we ponder the meaning of how these promises effect each of our lives and the lives of those around us.
Monday, April 5, 2010
I have always pictured King Benjamin as a kind, loving grandfather figure. He tells everyone that he’s no better than they are, that is not going to accuse anyone of anything, or condemn them, but in order to fulfill his responsibilities as a prophet, he must teach them certain things so that once the people know, they will be responsible. As a prophet, if he doesn’t teach them, he will be accountable for their sins. That is a heavy and fearful responsibility. He asks the people to open theirs ears so they will hear, their hearts so they will understand, and their minds so the mysteries of God can be seen. I shut these down far too often.
There are many memorable and important verses in this chapter, but what I gather from them is isn’t explicitly said. What impresses me is that God wants us to do two things, one is be true to our best selves, who we really are, to do those things that we know make us a better person. To do that, I have to look deep inside and honestly ask myself on a continual basis if I’m being true to the person that God knows I am, the one I seem to lose track of. The second thing is, I have no conception of how much God blesses me every day. I am totally unaware of the number of times that he has guided me and protected me without my knowing it. If I were aware, I think I would be amazed. King Benjamin tells us that each breath we take is because God gives it to us. I think from that, we can know that he is blessing us every moment of every day, even at times when we don’t deserve it. And if we are true to who we really are, much greater blessings will flow, far beyond what we would have expected. Too often, we sell ourselves far too short.
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Thursday, April 1, 2010
This could be the very last thing that Mormon wrote and it is very poignant
in places. He knows his life will not last much longer and has seen most of
his people and his family killed. To understand the setting, we have to
consider where we are in relation to what's been written on the plates.
Nephi made two sets of plates, the small and the large. Nephi first started
engraving the large plates writing the history of his people. While doing
this, the Lord commanded him to make a set of smaller plates and write more
sacred things on them along with an abbreviated version of their history.
Everything up to now that we've been reading was on these smaller plates.
The large plates continued to be written on up to the time of Mormon and
Moroni and the end of the Book of Mormon. Because there was so much
rcorded, Mormon wrote a shortened version on his own set of plates. Joseph
Smith first started translating Mormon's plates and got up to the point
where we are in the Book of Mormon, but Martin Harris lost that translation.
Before Mormon gave his plates to Moroni, he found the small plates of Nephi.
He saw a small amount of space for engraving on them so he wrote these
words, the Words of Mormon, at the end of the small plates saying how he was
inspired to attach the small plates to his own. He says the Spirit
whispered to him to attach them for a wise purpose that he didn't
understand. He hoped that it would help convert his people some time in
Mormon also gives a bit of background to take us into the Book of Mosiah.