Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2011, August 31

“Book of Mormon: 1 Nephi 7:16—“Wild Beasts” in the Arabian Desert??” by grego

Book of Mormon: 1 Nephi 7:16—“Wild Beasts” in the Arabian Desert??

grego
(c)2011

1 Nephi 7:16 says: “And it came to pass that when I, Nephi, had spoken these words unto my brethren, they were angry with me. And it came to pass that they did lay their hands upon me, for behold, they were exceedingly wroth, and they did bind me with cords, for they sought to take away my life, that they might *leave me in the wilderness to be devoured by wild beasts*.”

Ok, when I usually picture Arabian deserts, I think of… nothing. It’s much more likely that an 1825 American would write “leave me in the wilderness to die of thirst/ heat/ hunger/ robbers/ bitten by snakes”. Perhaps even “vultures”. But “to be devoured by wild beasts”? What wild beasts??

Actually, there are. There are jackals, hyenas, perhaps lions at the time, and leopards. I imagine they would have found Nephi before his time was up. Who woulda thunk?

Could Joseph Smith have known this at the time? Would Joseph Smith have known this at the time?

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“Girl in Taiwan Might Get Three Years in Jail for Saving Mom’s Life with a CO2 Gun from Boxcutter Boyfriend; ‘Premeditated Injury'” by grego

Girl in Taiwan Might Get Three Years in Jail for Saving Mom’s Life with a CO2 Gun from Boxcutter Boyfriend; “Premeditated Injury”

grego
(c)2011

A girl in Taiwan (a non-ownership gun country) will go to trial for using a CO2 cartridge gun to save her mom’s life.

The mom’s boyfriend was using a boxcutter to stab her mom; her mom cried out for help. Her daughter ran to her room, grabbed the gun, came back, and shot the man 8 times. He stopped stabbing her mom; the police came; the nightmare was over.

Well, not really.

See, the girl could get up to THREE YEARS OF JAIL for what she did.

No, the legal gun is not really the issue, the police say. The real issue is that it wasn’t really protection/ defense.

Why?

Because she had to run to her room to get the gun!! See, thus, it became a premeditated crime! True defense would have her run into the room and die along with her mom.

Yea, who knows, maybe the boyfriend will get out of jail before her… X(

If you’re thinking, Huh?? right now…

We know how bad being violent is. But this story makes you wonder how screwed up countries (not just people) can get sometimes when they are trying to be pacifists. Taiwan, get a clue and wake up before it’s too late; before you get put out for good by people with guns who aren’t going to be hesitating, thinking that running to a room in an emergency to grab a CO2 gun is immoral and therefore shouldn’t be done…

You’re training your own people to be stupid sitting ducks. While your gang problem grows, and you encourage people to rely on the police for any type of self-defense through cases like this, your safety/ security infrastructure will collapse, taking many lives with it.

People have a basic right to defend themselves.

2011, August 30

“Book of Mormon: ‘The Tent of My Father’ as Figurative Speech Meaning ‘Destination’ in 1 Nephi 3 – 1 Nephi 7 and Its Discontinuation of Use Afterward” by grego

Book of Mormon: ‘The Tent of My Father’ as Figurative Speech Meaning ‘Destination’ in 1 Nephi 3 – 1 Nephi 7 and Its Discontinuation of Use Afterward

grego
(c)2011

Hugh Nibley writes about how “my father dwelt in a tent” (1 Nephi 2:15) denotes a way of Bedouin desert life, etc., etc. I want to point out something different, that Nibley touches on once but no more:
“If Nephi seems to think of his father’s tent as the hub of everything, he is simply expressing the view of any normal Bedouin (Arabian tent dweller).” (Lehi in the Desert and The World of the Jaredites, pp. 57-8).

Note that where in English—like say, if Joseph Smith were writing the Book of Mormon—one would use the term “our camp”, “my parents”, “where we stayed”, “our destination”, “the valley of Lemuel” (the name of the place they were staying), etc.; but Nephi consistently uses “unto my father”/ “tent of my father” or some very similar term.

Here are the Book of Mormon references:
1 Nephi 3:14 But Laman fled out of his presence, and told the things which Laban had done, unto us. And we began to be exceedingly sorrowful, and my brethren were about to return *unto my father in the wilderness*.

1 Nephi 3:15 But behold I said unto them that: As the Lord liveth, and as we live, we will not *go down unto our father in the wilderness* until we have accomplished the thing which the Lord hath commanded us.

1 Nephi 4:34 And I also spake unto him, saying: Surely the Lord hath commanded us to do this thing; and shall we not be diligent in keeping the commandments of the Lord? Therefore, if thou wilt *go down into the wilderness to my father thou shalt have place with us*.

1 Nephi 4:35 …Now Zoram was the name of the servant; and he promised that he would *go down into the wilderness unto our father*. Yea, and he also made an oath unto us that he would tarry with us from that time forth.

1 Nephi 4:38 And it came to pass that we took the plates of brass and the servant of Laban, and departed into the wilderness, and *journeyed unto the tent of our father*.

1 Nephi 5:1 And it came to pass that after we had *come down into the wilderness unto our father*, behold, he was filled with joy, and also my mother, Sariah, was exceedingly glad…

1 Nephi 5:7 And when *we had returned to the tent of my father*, behold their joy was full, and my mother was comforted.

1 Nephi 7:5 And it came to pass that the Lord did soften the heart of Ishmael, and also his household, insomuch that they took their journey with us *down into the wilderness to the tent of our father*.

1 Nephi 7:21 … And after they had done praying unto the Lord we did again travel on *our journey towards the tent of our father*.

1 Nephi 7:22 And it came to pass that we did come down unto the tent of our father. And after I and my brethren and all the house of Ishmael had *come down unto the tent of my father*, they did give thanks unto the Lord their God; and they did offer sacrifice and burnt offerings unto him.

Other verses that instead refer to Lehi’s tent, literally:

1 Nephi 2:6 And it came to pass that when he had traveled three days in the wilderness, he pitched his tent in a valley by the side of a river of water.

1 Nephi 2:15 And my father dwelt in a tent.

1 Nephi 3:1 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, returned from speaking with the Lord, to the tent of my father.

1 Nephi 9:1 And all these things did my father see, and hear, and speak, as he dwelt in a tent, in the valley of Lemuel, and also a great many more things, which cannot be written upon these plates.

1 Nephi 10:16 And all these things, of which I have spoken, were done as my father dwelt in a tent, in the valley of Lemuel.

1 Nephi 15:1 And it came to pass that after I, Nephi, had been carried away in the spirit, and seen all these things, I returned to the tent of my father. (Likely)

1 Nephi 16:6 Now, all these things were said and done as my father dwelt in a tent in the valley which he called Lemuel.

After Ishmael and his family join the group, however, Nephi stops referring to their camp as “tent of my father” and instead talks about “our tents”:

1 Nephi 16:12 And it came to pass that *we did take our tents* and depart into the wilderness, across the river Laman.

1 Nephi 16:13 And it came to pass that we traveled for the space of four days, nearly a south-southeast direction, and *we did pitch our tents* again; and we did call the name of the place Shazer.

1 Nephi 16:17 And after we had traveled for the space of many days, *we did pitch our tents* for the space of a time, that we might again rest ourselves and obtain food for our families.

1 Nephi 16:32 And it came to pass that *I did return to our tents*, bearing the beasts which I had slain…

1 Nephi 16:33 And it came to pass that we did again take our journey, traveling nearly the same course as in the beginning; and after we had traveled for the space of many days *we did pitch our tents again*, that we might tarry for the space of a time.

1 Nephi 17:6 And it came to pass that *we did pitch our tents* by the seashore…

1 Nephi 18:23 And it came to pass that after we had sailed for the space of many days we did arrive at the promised land; and *we went forth upon the land, and did pitch our tents*; and we did call it the promised land.

2 Nephi 5:7 And *we did take our tents* and whatsoever things were possible for us, and did journey in the wilderness for the space of many days. And after we had journeyed for the space of many days *we did pitch our tents*.

It could be because now:
1) it was no longer just their family;
2) maybe Ishmael was older than Lehi;
3) Nephi and his brothers were all married and had their own families.

Any Bedouin experts care to comment? :)

-=
Enos 1:20 And I bear record that the people of Nephi did seek diligently to restore the Lamanites unto the true faith in God. But our labors were vain; their hatred was fixed, and they were led by their evil nature that they became wild, and ferocious, and a blood-thirsty people, full of idolatry and filthiness; feeding upon beasts of prey; dwelling in tents, and wandering about in the wilderness with a short skin girdle about their loins and their heads shaven; and their skill was in the bow, and in the cimeter, and the ax. And many of them did eat nothing save it was raw meat; and they were continually seeking to destroy us.

Mosiah 2:5 And it came to pass that when they came up to the temple, they pitched their tents round about, every man according to his family, consisting of his wife, and his sons, and his daughters, and their sons, and their daughters, from the eldest down to the youngest, every family being separate one from another.

Mosiah 2:6 And they pitched their tents round about the temple, every man having his tent with the door thereof towards the temple…

Mosiah 7:5 And when they had wandered forty days they came to a hill, which is north of the land of Shilom, and there they pitched their tents.

Mosiah 9:4 Nevertheless, after many days’ wandering in the wilderness we pitched our tents in the place where our brethren were slain, which was near to the land of our fathers.

“Book of Mormon: ‘Desolate Houses'” by grego

Book of Mormon: “Desolate Houses”

grego
(c)2011

Have you ever gone home to a desolate house, like after someone leaves for good? In the Book of Mormon, “desolate” is not a happy word.

The unrepentant people of Ammonihah had this experience:
Alma 16:10 But behold, in one day it was left **desolate**; and the carcasses were mangled by dogs and wild beasts of the wilderness.
Alma 16:11 Nevertheless, after many days their dead bodies were heaped up upon the face of the earth, and they were covered with a shallow covering. And now so great was the scent thereof that the people did not go in to possess the land of Ammonihah for many years. And it was called **Desolation** of Nehors; for they were of the profession of Nehor, who were slain; and their lands remained **desolate**.

Samuel the Lamanite prophesies:
Helaman 14:24 And many highways shall be broken up, and many cities shall become **desolate**.

Helaman 15:1 And now, my beloved brethren, behold, I declare unto you that except ye shall repent your houses shall be left unto you **desolate**.

Samuel the Lamanite’s prophecies are fulfilled:
3 Nephi 8:14 And many great and notable cities were sunk, and many were burned, and many were shaken till the buildings thereof had fallen to the earth, and the inhabitants thereof were slain, and the places were left **desolate**.

Jesus Christ reminds the Nephites the price of unrepentance:
3 Nephi 10:7 But if not, O house of Israel, the places of your dwellings shall become **desolate** until the time of the fulfilling of the covenant to your fathers.

Have faith in Jesus Christ, repent, receive Him, and endure to the end; or your house will be desolate, and even if you survive, you will likely feel like this:
3 Nephi 10:8 And now it came to pass that after the people had heard these words, behold, they began to weep and howl again because of the loss of their kindred and friends.

2011, August 29

“Book of Mormon: Even More about Getting the Brass Plates (1 Nephi 3-4)” by grego

Book of Mormon: Even More about Getting the Brass Plates (1 Nephi 3-4)

grego
(c)2011

In addition to these two previous posts:
https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/2008/01/10/book-of-mormon-lessons-from-the-three-episodes-of-getting-the-brass-plates-nephi-vs-moses-nephi-and-laban-vs-david-and-goliath-laman-and-lemuel-vs-saul-zoram-vs-jonathan-sariah-vs-miriam/

https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/2008/01/21/book-of-mormon-the-symbolism-in-nephi-meeting-labans-sword-more-about-the-brass-plates-why-did-nephi-kill-laban-reasons-for-the-nephites-to-have-the-brass-plates-by-grego/

there are just a few more things about this part of the Book of Mormon…

Why Did They Take Tents?
After reading this:
“1 Nephi 3:9 And I, Nephi, and my brethren took our journey in the wilderness, with our tents, to go up to the land of Jerusalem.”,
I realized that Nephi and his brothers were likely living outside the walls of Jerusalem. It was only a two-three-day trip, and tents would only have slowed them down, otherwise. But why wouldn’t they live in their house? Perhaps they were worried that it was “being staked out”? Why didn’t they live with Ishmael or someone else? I don’t know…

-=
Losing Treasure

1 Nephi 3:15 But behold I said unto them that: As the Lord liveth, and as we live, we will not go down unto our father in the wilderness until we have accomplished the thing which the Lord hath commanded us.
16 Wherefore, let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord; therefore let us go down to the land of *our father’s inheritance, for behold he left gold and silver, and all manner of riches*. And all this he hath done because of the commandments of the Lord.
17 For he knew that Jerusalem must be destroyed, because of the wickedness of the people.
18 For behold, they have rejected the words of the prophets. Wherefore, if my father should dwell in the land after he hath been commanded to flee out of the land, behold, he would also perish. Wherefore, it must needs be that he flee out of the land.
19 And behold, it is wisdom in God that we should obtain these records, that we may preserve unto our children the language of our fathers;
20 And also that we may preserve unto them the words which have been spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets, which have been delivered unto them by the Spirit and power of God, since the world began, even down unto this present time.
21 And it came to pass that after this manner of language did I persuade my brethren, that they might be faithful in keeping the commandments of God.
22 And it came to pass that we went down to the land of *our inheritance, and we did gather together our gold, and our silver, and our precious things*.
23 And after we had gathered these things together, we went up again unto the house of Laban.
24 And it came to pass that we went in unto Laban, and desired him that he would give unto us the records which were engraven upon the plates of brass, for which we would give unto him *our gold, and our silver, and all our precious things*.
25 And it came to pass that when Laban saw *our property*, and that it was exceedingly great, he did lust after it, insomuch that he thrust us out, and sent his servants to slay us, that he might obtain *our property*.
26 And it came to pass that we did flee before the servants of Laban, and we were obliged to leave behind *our property*, and it fell into the hands of Laban.
27 And it came to pass that we fled into the wilderness, and the servants of Laban did not overtake us, and we hid ourselves in the cavity of a rock.
28 And it came to pass that Laman was angry with me, and also with my father; and also was Lemuel, for he hearkened unto the words of Laman. Wherefore Laman and Lemuel did speak many hard words unto us, their younger brothers, and they did smite us even with a rod.

I used to think that Laman and Lemuel were beating Nephi because they had almost gotten killed. This time, I could only see one reason: the loss of the already lost riches. (Even with that big explanation from Nephi ahead of time about the need for Lehi to leave it behind, the coming destruction and death in Jerusalem, etc.)
And Nephi is clear—it’s *our* family property, not Laman and Lemuel’s property; and it seems everyone was in agreement about the plan.
Even though it was Nephi’s plan, he was no more responsible for the loss of their property than anyone else; who could have known that Laban would have done that?
I’m sure this had to do with future stories to their children about Nephi stealing the brass plates from them–without compensation!
In verse 28, I still see that Laman (and Lemuel) think the request for the plates is from their father. “It’s always the prophet’s fault when obeying commandments is hard!” That goes along well with, “It’s always the prophet’s fault when the commandments is impossible!” Well, yes, it often is—when you rely completely on your own wisdom, without heavenly help. The big lesson: Commandments are always spiritual, and must be fulfilled by the Spirit.

-=
Note the following vocabulary words and where they occur:
1 Nephi 3:3 For behold, Laban hath the record of the Jews and also a *genealogy of my forefathers*, and they are engraven upon plates of brass.
12 And he desired of Laban the records which were engraven upon the plates of brass, which contained the *genealogy of my father*.

1 Nephi 5:14 And it came to pass that my father, Lehi, also found upon the plates of brass a *genealogy of his fathers*; wherefore he knew that he was *a descendant of Joseph*; yea, even that Joseph who was the son of Jacob, who was sold into Egypt, and who was preserved by the hand of the Lord, that he might preserve his father, Jacob, and all his household from perishing with famine.
15 And they were also led out of captivity and out of the land of Egypt, by that same God who had preserved them.
16 And thus my father, Lehi, did discover the *genealogy of his fathers*. And Laban also was a descendant of Joseph, wherefore he and his fathers had kept the records.

Just a small thing, but Joseph Smith keeps it in order—genealogy of forefathers-)descendant of Joseph; from unknown to known.

“Belief vs. Action” by grego

Filed under: Book of Mormon — grego @ 11:00 am
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Belief vs. Action

grego
(c)2011

I’d rather have someone with 5% belief and 95% action,
than someone with 95% belief and 5% action.

Of course, 100% belief and 100% action would be the best…

“Book of Mormon | Internal Consistency: Jesus Christ to Manifest Himself to the Gentiles through the Holy Ghost (1 Nephi 10:11 and 3 Nephi 15:21)” by grego

Book of Mormon | Internal Consistency: Jesus Christ to Manifest Himself to the Gentiles through the Holy Ghost (1 Nephi 10:11 and 3 Nephi 15:21)

grego
(c)2011

These books were written far apart, yet there is consistency in the doctrine that Jesus Christ would manifest himself to the Gentiles through the Holy Ghost, not in person. One more point for Joseph Smith?

1 Nephi 10:11 …And after [the Jews] had slain the Messiah, who should come, and after he had been slain he should rise from the dead, and *should make himself manifest, by the Holy Ghost, unto the Gentiles*.

3 Nephi 15:21 And verily I (Jesus) say unto you (the Nephites), that ye are they of whom I said: Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
22 And they (the church leaders in Jerusalem) understood me not, for they supposed it had been the Gentiles; for they understood not that the Gentiles should be converted through their preaching.
23 And they understood me not that I said they shall hear my voice; and they understood me not that the Gentiles should not at any time hear my voice—that I should not manifest myself unto them save it were by the Holy Ghost.

2011, August 26

“Costco FAQ: Lies and Reading Between the Lines about Shoplifting” by grego

Costco FAQ: Lies and Reading Between the Lines about Shoplifting

grego
(c)2011

This was pretty hilarious, from a Costco FAQ:

“(Question:) Why am I asked to show my receipts as I exit the warehouse?

(Answer:) Staffing the doors is our most effective method of maintaining accuracy in inventory control. It benefits both us Costco and our members. This practice ensures that you received everything you paid for and were not overcharged or undercharged for any item.”

Ha, ha—whatever! They stand there and check your receipt to make sure you didn’t steal anything!
Of course, that is another interpretation of “accuracy in inventory control” and stopping shoplifting really “benefits both us and Costco and our members”…

P.S. Can you seriously believe minimum-wage workers standing at the door are checking to make sure the cashiers didn’t overcharge you??

“Book of Mormon: Lehi’s Faith among Trials” by grego

Book of Mormon: Lehi’s Faith among Trials

grego
(c)2011

I’ve thought this interesting:
1 Nephi 2:1 For behold, it came to pass that the Lord spake unto my father, yea, even in a dream, and said unto him: Blessed art thou Lehi, because of the things which thou hast done; and because thou hast been faithful and declared unto this people the things which I commanded thee, behold, they seek to take away thy life.

Yeah, people are trying to kill you because you do what is right, you are blessed!!
And thus Lehi will leave Jerusalem for the promised land. But it is not an easy, happy trip.

Lehi gave up a lot, and went through a lot.
God could have said, “Stay in Jerusalem, I’ll protect you”.
He could have said, “Here’s a guide to take you through the desert in one year”.
He could have killed Laman and Lemuel, or at least shut them up for a long time or made them sick for a few years.
Nope.

Instead, it was a very hard trip through the desert—for eight years. Yet, during that time Lehi and his family received many blessings.

Lehi entrusts his sons to the Lord for protection on the mission with Laban, and during the trip for Ishmael, too.
Lehi entrusts his, his wife’s, Sam’s, Nephi’s, Jacob’s, and Joseph’s lives to the Lord for protection against Laman and Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael, too.
He could have left Laman and Lemuel in Jerusalem, where they would have been “happy” and out of his life.
Nephi could have let Laman and Lemuel stay in or go back to Jerusalem, especially after the Ishmael episode.

Nope.

Lehi and Nephi would have Laman and Lemuel blaming them for anything other than the perfect lazy happy life, and trying to kill them off and on for the rest of their lives—literally. Which means Lehi will continually be teaching, admonishing, and pleading with Laman and Lemuel—which usually leads to short-term success, but to no seeming avail over the long run.

Lehi and Sariah die in a strange land, saddened by the wickedness of many of their children, in-laws, and grandchildren.

And yet, through all that, Lehi is faithful.
Yes, he murmurs during a hard time of famine. He receives correction, and repents.

Just like Joseph Smith, he was moved upon at the beginning of a time of prophetic raising of the voices. He prayed, and received visions and dreams where God led his life.
Much of Lehi’s drive comes from his testimony, his faith, and his hope in the eternal blessings of the Lord.

The future might be a lot like Lehi’s life for some of us. May we remember his life for greater greatness in ours.

2011, August 23

“Book of Mormon: A Lesson on Food Storage from Laman and Lemuel’s Bad Start—Murmuring; Prophecy; Hearts Set on the Wrong Things; and Unbelief (1 Nephi 2; 3)” by grego

Book of Mormon: A Lesson on Food Storage from Laman and Lemuel’s Bad Start—Murmuring, Prophecy, Hearts Set on the Wrong Things, and Unbelief (1 Nephi 2; 3)

grego
(c)2011

Nephi describes Laman and Lemuel:
1 Nephi 2:11 Now this he spake because of the stiffneckedness of Laman and Lemuel; for behold they did murmur in many things against their father, because he was a visionary man, and had led them out of the land of Jerusalem, to leave the land of their inheritance, and their gold, and their silver, and their precious things, to perish in the wilderness. And this they said he had done because of the foolish imaginations of his heart.
12 And thus Laman and Lemuel, being the eldest, did murmur against their father. And they did murmur because they knew not the dealings of that God who had created them.
13 Neither did they believe that Jerusalem, that great city, could be destroyed according to the words of the prophets…

So, they:
–were stiffnecked;
–murmured against Lehi;
–accused Lehi of being a foolish “prophet”;
–were upset all their precious things (which were really *Lehi’s* precious things!) had been left/ hearts set on the wrong things;
–and now they were going to die.
–didn’t understand God and how he deals with man (even with all that Old Testament history!),
–didn’t they believe that *their* city, *the* great Jerusalem, could be destroyed.

Then, when asked to go back and get the brass plates, Lehi says that they say:
1 Nephi 3:5 …it is a hard thing which thou hast required of them; but behold I have not required it of them, but it is a commandment of the Lord.

Let’s shift over to food storage. Do we have the same attitudes towards this much simpler commandment that has come from the Lord?

If you haven’t done yours yet, which one is it?

Is it too hard? It won’t/ *can’t* happen to you (especially in Utah)? It won’t/ *can’t* happen where you live? You’ll be ok because you haven’t committed any big sin? You’ll be worse off if you did it than if you didn’t? It costs too much, and you’ll have to sacrifice too many precious things? The prophets don’t really know, it’s just good ideas, or maybe stupid ideas? Or is your neck too stiff?

Repent, get your food storage! Be faithful like Nephi, and receive blessings like Nephi.

2011, August 20

“Unity and Duality in LDS/ Mormon Thought (Book of Mormon/ Bible/ Doctrine and Covenants/ Pearl of Great Price)” by grego

Unity and Duality in LDS/ Mormon Thought (Book of Mormon, Bible, Pearl of Great Price)

grego
(c)2011

From the Book of Mormon, we have this most famous duality reference in Mormonism:

2 Nephi 2:11 For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so… righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.
12 Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught…
15 And to bring about his eternal purposes in the end of man, after he had created our first parents, and… all things which are created, it must needs be that there was an opposition; even the forbidden fruit in opposition to the tree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter.
16 Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other.

Notwithstanding the above verses, I didn’t get unity and duality for a long time (and am still far from really getting it). As I’ve been learning more (especially through Zivorad Slavinski’s “Return to Oneness”), I’ve naturally thought about how it relates to the gospel. This article is a work in progress, with more thoughts and references to be added over time.

(Unity/ duality: Unity was first; all was together. Then came separations, which brought about action, life, and more. Possibly the most known example to Westerners would be Yin-yang.)

Here are some great separations Mormons believe the gospel of Jesus Christ talks about (and I believe most Christians would agree with most on this list):
**Satan and his followers from God and his followers in heaven (evil from good).
**The Creation is a series of separations (light and darkness/ day and night, waters into two sections with firmament/ heaven in between, land and seas; sea, land, air creatures).
**The Creation concludes with the separation of Woman from Man (search “male female electric magnetic sex” for more on this interesting aspect of separation and creation).
**Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil/ Forbidden Fruit in opposition to the Tree of Life (the great separation).
**Man (Adam and Eve) being pulled out of the Garden of Eden from God(‘s presence).
**spirit from body (death).
**punishment in opposition to happiness (2 Nephi 2:10).

Interestingly, these separations used an outside force to “start the ball rolling”.

Lehi notes that for action, there must be: 1)things to act; 2)things to be acted upon; 3) polarities that entice/ drive action—the main one being good vs. evil; 4)the ability/ freedom to choose.

God’s plan is that man is given knowledge and agency, and is thereupon responsible for choices made; thus, he is an act-or.
He will also be acted upon by the consequences of his actions, and will be held responsible for how he acts/ reacts.
The main poles are good and evil.
Alma (a prophet in the Book of Mormon) explains:
Alma 12:31 Wherefore, [God] gave commandments unto men (Adam and Eve, and later their children), they having first transgressed the first commandments as to things which were temporal, and becoming as gods, knowing good from evil, placing themselves in a state to act, or being placed in a state to act according to their wills and pleasures, whether to do evil or to do good—
32 Therefore God gave unto them commandments, after having made known unto them the plan of redemption, that they should not do evil, the penalty thereof being a second death, which was an everlasting death as to things pertaining unto righteousness; for on such the plan of redemption could have no power, for the works of justice could not be destroyed, according to the supreme goodness of God.
Lehi also explains:
2 Nephi 2:27 Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.

For man to progress to his result, it is necessary for man to partake of duality, then be brought back to true eternal unity. This is God’s plan of salvation/ redemption for mankind. This can only be done through Jesus Christ.
1) If man never partook of duality, there could be no eternal unity.
2) If man were to partake of duality, but there were no Atonement, there could be no return to eternal unity.
3) If Adam and Eve were to have partaken of the fruit of knowledge, then the fruit of the tree of life, they would have lived forever in their sins, having no chance to repent and die:
Alma 12:26 And now behold, if it were possible that our first parents could have gone forth and partaken of the tree of life they would have been forever miserable, having no preparatory state; and thus the plan of redemption would have been frustrated, and the word of God would have been void, taking none effect.

Mormons believe in two main separations:
**before this life, we all lived with God in heaven. When we come to this earth through birth, we separate physically from God’s presence and forget everything.
**through sin, each person spiritually separates from God.

While other religions/ beliefs use what has been called the neutralization of primordial primes for spiritual progress, LDS see Jesus Christ—through His Atonement—as the great re-Unifier.
Doctrine and Covenants 76:69 [Those who return to the presence of God the Father in unity] are just men made perfect through Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, who wrought out this perfect atonement through the shedding of his own blood.
Paul says:
1 Timothy 2:3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
6 Who gave himself a ransom for all…
Lehi teaches:
8 Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah…
9 [Jesus] shall make intercession for all the children of men; and they that believe in him shall be saved.

This required a balancing of sin by paying for it, similar to black and red ink adding up to zero in an accounting ledger.

Through birth, there is a unity of the spirit with the body.
Abraham 5:7 And the Gods formed man from the dust of the ground, and took his spirit (that is, the man’s spirit), and put it into him; and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.

Death brings separation; the resurrection (brought about by the resurrection of Jesus Christ) reunifies the spirit with the body, eternally.
Amulek teaches:
Alma 11: 42 Now, there is a death which is called a temporal death; and the death of Christ shall loose the bands of this temporal death, that all shall be raised from this temporal death.
43 The spirit and the body shall be reunited again in its perfect form; both limb and joint shall be restored to its proper frame, even as we now are at this time…
44 Now, this restoration shall come to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, both the wicked and the righteous; and even there shall not so much as a hair of their heads be lost; but every thing shall be restored to its perfect frame, as it is now, or in the body…
45 Now, behold, I have spoken unto you concerning the death of the mortal body, and also concerning the resurrection of the mortal body. I say unto you that this mortal body is raised to an immortal body, that is from death, even from the first death unto life, that they can die no more; their spirits uniting with their bodies, never to be divided; thus the whole becoming spiritual and immortal, that they can no more see corruption.

Through the Atonement, sin (which keeps us dual with God) is overcome, allowing reunification:
1 Nephi 10:6 Wherefore, all mankind were in a lost and in a fallen state, and ever would be save they should rely on this Redeemer.

The reunification is with God, and more complete than other reunifications. On the other hand, some unifications might have a more apparent current effect on life. Nevertheless, nothing can compare with what I would call “eternal unification” that Mormonism provides.

The natural man, in his separated state, is an enemy to God, and will never be able to fully appreciate both the separation and the unification like the man who has been unified by Jesus Christ.

Zivorad explains that when someone’s polarities are collapsed, they usually experience a state of confusion, dizziness, etc.; or, a state of pleroma.
Here’s what it’s like in the Book of Mormon when king Lamoni “neutralizes his polarities”:
Alma 19:5 …I would that ye should go in and see my husband, *for he has been laid upon his bed for the space of two days and two nights*; and some say that he is not dead, but others say that he is dead…
Alma 19:6 Now, this was what Ammon desired, for he knew that king Lamoni was under the power of God; he knew that *the dark veil of unbelief was being cast away from his mind, and the light which did light up his mind, which was the light of the glory of God, which was a marvelous light of his goodness—yea, this light had infused such joy into his soul, the cloud of darkness having been dispelled, and that the light of everlasting life was lit up in his soul, yea, he knew that this had overcome his natural frame, and he was carried away in God—*.

Here is the fuller context of 2 Nephi 2:
2 Nephi 2:5 And men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil. And the law is given unto men. And by the law no flesh is justified; or, by the law men are cut off. Yea, by the temporal law they were cut off; and also, by the spiritual law they perish from that which is good, and become miserable forever.
6 Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth.
7 Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered.
8 Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise.
9 Wherefore, he is the firstfruits unto God, inasmuch as he shall make intercession for all the children of men; and they that believe in him shall be saved.
10 And because of the intercession for all, all men come unto God; wherefore, they stand in the presence of him, to be judged of him according to the truth and holiness which is in him. Wherefore, the ends of the law which the Holy One hath given, unto the inflicting of the punishment which is affixed, which punishment that is affixed is in opposition to that of the happiness which is affixed, to answer the ends of the atonement—
11 For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.
12 Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation. Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the justice of God.
13 And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away.
14 And now, my sons, I speak unto you these things for your profit and learning; for there is a God, and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon.
15 And to bring about his eternal purposes in the end of man, after he had created our first parents, and the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and in fine, all things which are created, it must needs be that there was an opposition; even the forbidden fruit in opposition to the tree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter.
16 Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other.
17 And I, Lehi, according to the things which I have read, must needs suppose that an angel of God, according to that which is written, had fallen from heaven; wherefore, he became a devil, having sought that which was evil before God.
18 And because he had fallen from heaven, and had become miserable forever, he sought also the misery of all mankind. Wherefore, he said unto Eve, yea, even that old serpent, who is the devil, who is the father of all lies, wherefore he said: Partake of the forbidden fruit, and ye shall not die, but ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil.

2011, August 18

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints/ LDS/ Mormons: ‘Be One’ with our Church Leaders” by grego

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints/ LDS/ Mormons: “Be One” with our Church Leaders

grego
(c)2009/1; 2011

Here are ways that we can be one in our church/ ecclesiastical units and with our church/ ecclesiastical leaders:

1. Gain a testimony that the leader’s call is from the Lord.
2. Follow/ obey the leader.
3. Pray for and sustain the leader.
4. Understand that it might be a misunderstanding, or even a lie on someone’s part. (Ever heard a disgruntled member blame someone for something, only to find out later how different the *real* story was?)
5. Pray to gain a testimony of the leader’s decision(s).
6. Ask yourself, “Does it matter? Is it important? Does it contradict gospel principles?”
7. Ask yourself, “Am I being proud? Do I have the Spirit?” Remember, it’s possible for people to “feel the Spirit” about something, and have different conclusions.
8. See if it’s wrong or perhaps just a difference of point of view, decision, or personality.
9. Wonder if there are things you might not know (about).
10. Discuss it with the leader in love and without hypocrisy.
11. Have patience and forbearance; sometimes leaders are wrong and know it, but won’t admit or change; sometimes they even purposefully lead people astray or serve Satan, to a degree.
12. Tell the leaders’ leader, and maybe even that leader’s leader. (Sometimes this is the best way to do it from the start. “I’m concerned…” is a good way to start.)
13. Write a letter to the Council of the Twelve or the First Presidency.
14. Also, why do you care about this?

2011, August 17

“Book of Mormon | “Remember the Captivity of Thy Fathers” (Mosiah 27:16)—and Alma Obeys” by grego

Book of Mormon | “Remember the Captivity of Thy Fathers” (Mosiah 27:16)—and Alma Obeys

grego
(c)2011

Alma the younger receives this message from an angel of God:
Mosiah 27:16 Now I say unto thee: Go, and remember the captivity of thy fathers in the land of Helam, and in the land of Nephi; and remember how great things he has done for them; for they were in bondage, and he has delivered them. And now I say unto thee, Alma, go thy way, and seek to destroy the church no more, that their prayers may be answered, and this even if thou wilt of thyself be cast off.
17 And now it came to pass that these were the last words which the angel spake unto Alma, and he departed.

And he does:
Alma 5:6 And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, you that belong to this church, have you sufficiently retained in remembrance the captivity of your fathers? Yea, and have you sufficiently retained in remembrance his mercy and long-suffering towards them? And moreover, have ye sufficiently retained in remembrance that he has delivered their souls from hell?

Alma 29:11 Yea, and I also remember the captivity of my fathers; for I surely do know that the Lord did deliver them out of bondage, and by this did establish his church; yea, the Lord God, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, did deliver them out of bondage.

Alma 29:12 Yea, I have always remembered the captivity of my fathers; and that same God who delivered them out of the hands of the Egyptians did deliver them out of bondage.

Alma 36:2 I would that ye should do as I have done, in remembering the captivity of our fathers; for they were in bondage, and none could deliver them except it was the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and he surely did deliver them in their afflictions.

Alma 36:28 And I know that he will raise me up at the last day, to dwell with him in glory; yea, and I will praise him forever, for he has brought our fathers out of Egypt, and he has swallowed up the Egyptians in the Red Sea; and he led them by his power into the promised land; yea, and he has delivered them out of bondage and captivity from time to time.

Alma 36:29 Yea, and he has also brought our fathers out of the land of Jerusalem; and he has also, by his everlasting power, delivered them out of bondage and captivity, from time to time even down to the present day; and I have always retained in remembrance their captivity; yea, and ye also ought to retain in remembrance, as I have done, their captivity.

Alma 60:20 Have ye forgotten the commandments of the Lord your God? Yea, have ye forgotten the captivity of our fathers? Have ye forgotten the many times we have been delivered out of the hands of our enemies?

One more little thing for Joseph Smith to remember and include correctly, critics? ;)

2011, August 15

“Book of Mormon: Both King Benjamin and Abinadi Preach that the Natural Man Is an Enemy of God (Mosiah 3:19; Mosiah 16:3-5)” by grego

Book of Mormon: Both King Benjamin and Abinadi Preach that the Natural Man Is an Enemy of God (Mosiah 3:19; Mosiah 16:3-5)

grego
(c)2011

King Benjamin
Mosiah 3:19 For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

Abinadi
Mosiah 16:3 …that old serpent that did beguile our first parents, which was the cause of their fall; which was the cause of all mankind becoming carnal, sensual, devilish, knowing evil from good, subjecting themselves to the devil.
4 Thus all mankind were lost; and behold, they would have been endlessly lost were it not that God redeemed his people from their lost and fallen state.
5 But remember that he that persists in his own carnal nature, and goes on in the ways of sin and rebellion against God, remaineth in his fallen state and the devil hath all power over him. Therefore he is as though there was no redemption made, being an enemy to God; and also is the devil an enemy to God.

“Peace and Freedom Poem” by grego

Filed under: Uncategorized — grego @ 1:09 am
Tags:

Peace and Freedom Poem

grego
(c)2011

They asked, “O why can’t there peace be?”
I replied, “O people can’t you see?
He wants to rule, I want to be free
I’ll choose death over his ruling me”.

2011, August 13

“LDS/ Mormons: Are We Saved by Grace or Works in the Gospel of Jesus Christ?” by grego

LDS/ Mormons: Are We Saved by Grace or Works in the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

grego
(c)2011

The scriptures are clear: both.

Grace has its limits (Jesus was very clear about that, notwithstanding what some may think Paul says). For example, grace can’t save an unrepentant sinner.

Works can’t save anyone, as everyone who passes the state of grace (past the age of eight) sins. Even one sin will keep us from returning to God—even if we pay for it.

God’s plan of redemption is pretty simple: by agreeing to accept and follow Jesus Christ—according to His stipulations, *not* otherwise—one is able to accept his grace and mercy.

When asked about grace and works, many Mormons/ LDS will quote this verse from the Book of Mormon:
2 Nephi 25:23 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

Without Nephi’s work of teaching and writing, his children wouldn’t even know of Christ and wouldn’t be able to accept His grace. Without grace, there would be no reason to teach about Christ with such diligence.

Here are two more verses about grace from the Book of Mormon:
2 Nephi 10:24 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved.

25 Wherefore, may God raise you from death by the power of the resurrection, and also from everlasting death by the power of the atonement, that ye may be received into the eternal kingdom of God, that ye may praise him through grace divine. Amen.

On the other hand, for those who don’t reconcile themselves to the will of God… sorry.

So will those people go to Hell forever and ever?

No.

After death, they will go the spirit world (where all spirits go after death, including where Jesus went after death). Everyone will have a chance to accept Jesus Christ and his gospel and commandments, and receive a just reward; because those that did those things while in this life will preach to them. From the Doctrine and Covenants:

Doctrine and Covenants 138:16 They (grego NOTE: the righteous who died before Jesus Christ) were assembled awaiting the advent of the Son of God into the spirit world, to declare their redemption from the bands of death.

18 While this vast multitude waited and conversed, rejoicing in the hour of their deliverance from the chains of death, the Son of God appeared, declaring liberty to the captives who had been faithful;

28 And I wondered at the words of Peter—wherein he said that the Son of God preached unto the spirits in prison, who sometime were disobedient, when once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah—and how it was possible for [Jesus] to preach to those spirits and perform the necessary labor among them in so short a time.

29 …I perceived that the Lord went not in person among the wicked and the disobedient who had rejected the truth, to teach them;

30 But behold, from among the righteous, he organized his forces and appointed messengers, clothed with power and authority, and commissioned them to go forth and carry the light of the gospel to them that were in darkness, even to all the spirits of men; and thus was the gospel preached to the dead.

31 And the chosen messengers went forth to declare the acceptable day of the Lord and proclaim liberty to the captives who were bound, even unto all who would repent of their sins and receive the gospel.

32 Thus was the gospel preached to those who had died in their sins, without a knowledge of the truth, or in transgression, having rejected the prophets.

33 These were taught faith in God, repentance from sin, vicarious baptism for the remission of sins, the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands,

34 And all other principles of the gospel that were necessary for them to know in order to qualify themselves that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

35 And so it was made known among the dead, both small and great, the unrighteous as well as the faithful, that redemption had been wrought through the sacrifice of the Son of God upon the cross.

So after death everyone definitely gets either a first chance (never had a good opportunity) or a second chance (had an opportunity but rejected it).

Everyone who hasn’t received the gospel will be in Hell, but there will be varying degrees of it. For those who never had an opportunity to accept the gospel of Jesus Christ, it is like a continuation of this life, but without a few bad things (like death, illness, etc.). For those who were believing but were blinded and hadn’t accepted the true gospel, it will be the time they will find what they were really looking for.

For the wicked others, it is a time of misery as they contemplate their sins, reap their temporary rewards for evil, and pay for their sins before being resurrected. After paying for their sins, they will receive help from God’s grace through the Atonement of Jesus Christ to receive a lesser degree of glory in heaven. The place where they won’t be with God or in family units that can increase, but where they can still enjoy a wonderful portion of His goodness.

But what about everlasting death? Adam dwelt in the presence of God the Father; when he was cast out of the Garden of Eden, he (and mankind) was cut off from His presence. Even though the great majority of the wicked in this life will be in heaven, they will be forever cut off from the presence of God the Father, our Heavenly Father—though they can enjoy the presences of Jesus Christ (more righteous wicked) or the Holy Ghost (more wicked).

All of these blessings come through the grace of Jesus Christ.

The sons of perdition will not partake of the grace of Jesus Christ. These are ones who knew the truth through the Holy Ghost and covenanted with God, then chose Satan over Him in clearness, according to their desires. Cain is their king, and they will dwell with him and Satan (previously Lucifer).

Grace? Works? Both! One without the other is incomplete and doesn’t work in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

2011, August 9

“Become Young: 100 Aborted Fetus Pills for US$10,700” by grego

Filed under: Book of Mormon — grego @ 10:51 am

“Become Young: 100 Aborted Fetus Pills for US$10,700”

grego
(c)2011

And you thought harvesting and selling body organs was good business…

Wow, this takes the cake. Talk about an incentive for enforcing the one-child policy and making sure people die.

Yes, you can buy these pills from China, and no, I doubt they will make you young.

If you are that desperate and that willing to be young, I suggest urine therapy, where everything is already “custom-made” for your body and health.

Not only that, it’s free.

Stop supporting an evil product that only encourages wickedness for money. And, just imagine what kind of karma those pills are carrying…

2011, August 2

“Book of Mormon | Alma 16:16 vs. Helaman 16:22: Both the Lord and Satan Prepare People–but for Different Results” by grego

Book of Mormon | Alma 16:16 vs. Helaman 16:22: Both The Lord and Satan Prepare People–but for Different Results

grego
(c)2011

Take a look at these two verses:
Alma 16:16 And there was no inequality among them; the Lord did pour out his Spirit on all the face of the land to prepare the minds of the children of men, or to prepare their hearts to receive the word which should be taught among them at the time of his coming—
17 That they might not be hardened against the word, that they might not be unbelieving, and go on to destruction, but that they might receive the word with joy, and as a branch be grafted into the true vine, that they might enter into the rest of the Lord their God.
18 Now those priests who did go forth among the people did preach against all [wickedness], crying that these things ought not so to be—
19 Holding forth things which must shortly come; yea, holding forth the coming of the Son of God, his sufferings and death, and also the resurrection of the dead.
20 And many of the people did inquire concerning the place where the Son of God should come; and they were taught that he would appear unto them after his resurrection; and this the people did hear with great joy and gladness.
21 And now after the church had been established throughout all the land—having got the victory over the devil, and the word of God being preached in its purity in all the land, and the Lord pouring out his blessings upon the people…

That was in 78 BC. In 2BC—76 years later—there were many similarities—but inverted:

Helaman 16:15 Nevertheless, the people began to harden their hearts, all save it were the most believing part of them, both of the Nephites and also of the Lamanites, and began to depend upon their own strength and upon their own wisdom, saying:
16 Some things they may have guessed right, among so many; but behold, we know that all these great and marvelous works cannot come to pass, of which has been spoken.
17 And they began to reason and to contend among themselves, saying:
18 That it is not reasonable that such a being as a Christ shall come…
20 But behold, we know that this is a wicked tradition, which has been handed down unto us by our fathers, to cause us that we should believe in some great and marvelous thing which should come to pass, but not among us, but in a land which is far distant, a land which we know not; therefore they can keep us in ignorance, for we cannot witness with our own eyes that they are true.
21 And they will, by the cunning and the mysterious arts of the evil one, work some great mystery which we cannot understand, which will keep us down to be servants to their words, and also servants unto them, for we depend upon them to teach us the word; and thus will they keep us in ignorance if we will yield ourselves unto them, all the days of our lives.
22 And many more things did the people imagine up in their hearts, which were foolish and vain; and they were much disturbed, for {Satan did stir them up to do iniquity continually; yea, he did go about spreading rumors and contentions upon all the face of the land, that he might harden the hearts of the people against that which was good and against that which should come}.
23 And notwithstanding the signs and the wonders which were wrought among the people of the Lord, and the many miracles which they did, {Satan did get great hold upon the hearts of the people upon all the face of the land}.

Here it’s clear to see that the Lord prepares people’s hearts to receive the word, repent, and enter into His rest, looking forward to the signs with faith; while Satan hardens people’s hearts so that they will refuse the current good and the coming good, and doubt the signs that come with it.

How does this work in your life? I’ve seen the same thing happen but for different reasons, and with different forces behind it.

I remember the story of a man who was deciding about getting baptized, then received anti-Mormon literature in the mail that day—this was his sign—from the Lord, he believed—he wasn’t supposed to get baptized.

Another young man thought Satan was trying to control his heart through the Book of Mormon, until asked if maybe it was the Holy Ghost. After a second of thought, he realized that was a possibility, and later had a clear and firm testimony of the Book of Mormon.

It’s necessary to be able to distinguish whether the Lord is trying to soften your heart or Satan is trying to harden it!

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