Archive for May 2012

Ether 15-14: War

I read these two chapters today and it was pretty depressing. It is sad to see how two groups of people who hate each other so much will go to any ends (including dying them selves in the process) to try to kill the other.

At the very end though Ether said something that I really liked. He was unsure whether or not he would be translated or walk around the earth until he died. To that he said in verse 34, "it mattereth not, if it so be that I am save in the kingdom of God. Amen"

I think that these are great words to live by. What I do in my life and how I live it doesn't matter if I am saved in God's kingdom. I could be rich or poor. I could be the most famous person in the world or no one knows who I am. None of that matters. The only thing that matters is that I am doing what is right so that I can be saved in the kingdom of God.

Does that mean I will have no ambition in life or pursue a great career? No - but what it means is that I will focus on attaining salvation before I do any of those things.

Moroni 5-1: Remember Jesus at all times

I read these chapters Saturday night - the day before taking the sacrament. I found that very fitting and it helped me focus a lot more on why we as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints partake of the sacrament every sunday.

We renew our baptismal covenants every time that we partake of the sacrament. Like every covenant there are two parts: what we promise to do and what the Lord will do.

What we promise to do is:

  1. Take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ
  2. Always remember Jesus Christ
  3. Keep the commandments that Jesus Christ has given us
What we get in return is that His spirit will always be with us. 

I noticed that what we promised to do is mentioned in the prayer over the bread. The prayer over the wine (water) mentions that we partake of it in remembrance of the blood Jesus shed and that we always remember him. I think that the Lord does that to drive home a point. We need to remember Jesus in our lives at all times. In both the good and the bad. Thank him for what we have and pray for what we need. If we remember Him and what He sacrificed we will always have His spirit with us.

What I learned that I need to remember:
  1. The blood of Jesus that was shed for me
  2. The body of Jesus that was sacrificed for me
  3. Jesus Christ - at all times

Moroni 6: You cannot out-sin the Savior

This chapter has a lot of instructions on how to properly run the Savior's church. What stuck out to me was in verse 5 where it said that the members of the church would meet and talk with each other about the welfare of their souls. I wonder why we do not do this in the church more.

I think that it would be great if when talking about a gospel principal for people to be able to stand up and say, "You know - I have a problem with this and I have tried fixing it before and nothing has worked for me. What do you guys think I could do better?" Then people would be able to give advice and help each other out. I think that we would not only be following the advice from Moroni but we would be more able to help each other out as a congregation. I also feel that there would be less judgement all around because everybody loses their "I'm not as perfect as Jesus but I am pretty close."

The next part I liked was in verse 8 when they discussed forgiving the members of the church. It is so beautiful to read that "as oft as they repented and sought forgiveness...they were forgiven." The Savior will truly forgive us 70 times 7.

A teacher of mine at BYU-Idaho helped me learn this concept. He said, "You cannot out-sin the Savior." When the Lord said that his atonement was infinite he meant it. You will never be able to sin more than what the Lord had suffered for you. You will never be lost. There is always hope where there is faith.

This makes me remember that Jesus Christ is merciful and loves each and everyone of us more than we can imagine.

What Moroni says I need to remember:

  1. I need to help all the members of the church be nourished by the Word of God

Moroni 7: Faith, Hope and Charity Part 2

Moroni 7 starts with Moroni summarizing what his father Mormon wrote in the rest of the chapter. He stated simply that his father spoke about "faith, hope, and charity." This was a theme that I saw also in Moroni 8-9.

Mormon also speaks a lot about the sources of both good and evil. He gives a good analogy that "a bitter fountain cannot bring forth good water." Our outward actions of goodness can't mean anything if inwards we are not worthy. When we try to be perfected in him we need to focus on changing ourselves on the inside first because the result will be a change on the outside. 

If someone has a problem with pornography they need to focus on having pure thoughts. Just like the Doctrine and Covenants says, "Let virtue garnish thy thoughts."

If someone has a problem with Sabbath Day observance they need to focus on their love of God so that they outwardly express that love by keeping the Sabbath Day holy.

If someone breaks the Word of Wisdom they should focus on gaining a testimony that their body is a temple of God and needs to be respected.

Later on in the chapter (verse 37), Mormon talks about how miracles cease because of the lack of faith. I need many miracles in my life it seems and many times I feel like the Lord is not helping me out. Sometimes it might be because He is testing me but other times I feel like it is because I don't have enough faith in him. 

Also with faith comes hope. Hope comes to us "through the power of the atonement" so that we can "be raised unto life eternal." However all of this comes back to faith because hope comes through faith.

However if we have faith and hope but we don't have charity we are nothing. Charity is something that we need to pray for to get. It is actually something that we need to pray for with all the energy that we have.

These three things are the basics of the Gospel: Faith, Hope and Charity. Hope comes through faith and without charity we are nothing.

I feel like I need to ask myself everyday - What am I doing to develop these three?

Moroni 9 - 8: Faith, Hope & Charity

Moroni 9 and 8 gave me a lot to study about today. In these chapters Mormon is writing to his son Moroni .What really stuck out to me was the end of chapter 8.

Moroni said that those who are in the bonds of iniquity don't have faith, hope or charity. The thought that came to my mind when I read this was that these three attributes are the basic foundations of the Gospel. Everything else is based on these three: Faith, Hope, Charity.

As I read further I found more evidence of this. In verses 25 through 26 Mormon explained how someone comes to repentance and what happens afterwards. I had never seen the Gospel broken down to these essentials before so I read it over again. 

The first parts: Faith, Baptism, Repentance are made possible by the saving grace of Jesus Christ's Atonement. This brings the Remission of our Sins. After receiving the Remission of Sins comes the next parts: Meekness and Lowliness of Heart, Hope, Perfect Love. These are things that come because of the enabling power of the Atonement.

I really liked what was said but had trouble organizing it in my mind so I made a color-coordinated chart of the verses to help me understand how it all goes together. It was my first attempt at doing something like this but I think it turned out well and demonstrates what I learned from this scripture.

As you can see, Faith, Hope and Charity (Perfect Love) were all part of this.

Moroni 10 - Love God

Moroni 10 focuses a lot on faith and the power of God. In verse 7 I was able to learn how the two go together. It says that God works by power according to our faith. The power I need to overcome obstacles in life comes from the same faith that I have in the one who gives me power.

I feel like that anytime I am struggling in the Gospel or having a hard time living the standards of the Church I need to go back to square one - which is faith. I feel that as anyone develops and strengthens their faith they will then receive the power to do what they couldn't do before. Faith definitely procedes the miracle, but it also procedes following the commandments, prayer, worship, and repenting.

The last three verses in Moroni 10 are my favorite scriptures of all time. I have read them a lot of times and this time something stuck out to me. Moroni said in verse 32 - love God with all your might, mind, and strength. This is actually something that is mentioned a lot in the scriptures but this time what stuck out to me is the first part - love God. It reminded me of John 14:15, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." In my scriptures where it says "love God" I wrote "keep the commandments."Whenever I read this passage I think to my self I need to keep the commandments with all my might, mind, and strength.

What Moroni said I need to remember: 

  1. How merciful the Lord has been with the Children of Men (aka me and you)
  2. Every good gift cometh of Christ
  3. The Lord is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow
  4. If I die in my sins I cannot be saved in the Kingdom of God