Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2011, October 19

“Book of Mormon | Lessons from Alma: What to Do When You Are Sad and Worried about Someone You Love (Alma 4-15)” by grego

Book of Mormon | Lessons from Alma: What to Do When You Are Sad and Worried about Someone You Love (Alma 4-15)

grego
(c)2011

Alma is very sad seeing the big problems in the church and its members:
Alma 14:15 And now it came to pass that Alma, having seen the afflictions of the humble followers of God, and the persecutions which were heaped upon them by the remainder of his people, and seeing all their inequality, began to be very sorrowful; nevertheless the Spirit of the Lord did not fail him.

But here’s a key: he doesn’t let his sadness move him to inaction, but to action! Sitting and being sad, sitting and worrying, does not help anyone!!

Alma makes a decision:
20 And thus in the commencement of the ninth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi, Alma delivered up the judgment-seat to Nephihah, and confined himself wholly to the high priesthood of the holy order of God, to the testimony of the word, according to the spirit of revelation and prophecy.

Who is Nephihah?
16 And [Alma] selected a wise man (Nephihah) who was among the elders of the church, and gave him power according to the voice of the people, that he might have power to enact laws according to the laws which had been given.

Why does Alma make this decision?
19 And this [Alma] did that he himself might go forth among his people, or among the people of Nephi, that he might preach the word of God unto them, to stir them up in remembrance of their duty, and that he might pull down, by the word of God, all the pride and craftiness and all the contentions which were among his people, seeing no way that he might reclaim them save it were in bearing down in pure testimony against them.

So, his plan is to preach to everyone, by his calling, the word of God, his testimony, the spirit of revelation and prophecy, and he carries out his plan.
Things go well, but then he gets to Ammonihah, and he is kicked out.

What does Alma do so as to get help in Ammonihah?
Alma 8:10 Nevertheless Alma labored much in the spirit, wrestling with God in mighty prayer, that he would pour out his Spirit upon the people who were in the city; that he would also grant that he might baptize them unto repentance.
26 …for I was an hungered, for I had fasted many days.

Unfortunately, things don’t work out the way Alma wishes:
Alma 8:13 Now when the people had said this, and withstood all [of Alma’s] words, and reviled him, and spit upon him, and caused that he should be cast out of their city, he departed thence and took his journey towards the city which was called Aaron.

That happens; it’s life. Even when we have the best intention, and we know it’s right, it just might not happen, especially if others are involved. It doesn’t always mean you were wrong to think or do, or that you should have tried harder, or that you made a mistake; it just means it didn’t happen, OK?
You know what? You can’t force people to accept what they don’t want, even if they need it!
Alma realizes that, and rests from them.
Alma 8:24 And behold, I have been called to preach the word of God among all this people, according to the spirit of revelation and prophecy; and I was in this land and they would not receive me, but they cast me out and I was about to set my back towards this land forever.

Still, when you love someone and hope to help them and they refuse it and prefer their unhappiness, it is natural that you are sad for the decision they make:
Alma 8:14 And it came to pass that while [Alma] was journeying thither, being weighed down with sorrow, wading through much tribulation and anguish of soul, because of the wickedness of the people who were in the city of Ammonihah, it came to pass while Alma was thus weighed down with sorrow…

Sometimes, when you do your part the best you can, God steps in. He might take care of the problem, find someone else to help, etc., or He might tell you to try again.
God sends an angel to comfort, edify, and instruct Alma to return and try again:
Alma 8:14 …an angel of the Lord appeared unto him, saying:
15 Blessed art thou, Alma; therefore, lift up thy head and rejoice, for thou hast great cause to rejoice; for thou hast been faithful in keeping the commandments of God from the time which thou receivedst thy first message from him. Behold, I am he that delivered it unto you.
16 And behold, I am sent to command thee that thou return to the city of Ammonihah, and preach again unto the people of the city; yea, preach unto them. Yea, say unto them, except they repent the Lord God will destroy them.
God helps us. Sometimes he sends angels, sometimes in other ways.

Alma obeys, yet likely by his own smarts and the help of the Spirit (like with Nephi getting the brass plates), he doesn’t just think, “Oh, I’ll just run in the main gate and start yelling”; I think he’s thinking, “Last way didn’t work, what can I do this time?”:
Alma 8:18 Now it came to pass that after Alma had received his message from the angel of the Lord he returned speedily to the land of Ammonihah. And he entered the city by another way, yea, by the way which is on the south of the city of Ammonihah.
19 And as he entered the city he was an hungered, and he said to a man: Will ye give to an humble servant of God something to eat?

And what do you know, unbeknown to prophet Alma (who had just spoken with an angel!), the Lord has prepared the way before him:
Alma 8:20 And the man said unto him: I am a Nephite, and I know that thou art a holy prophet of God, for thou art the man whom an angel said in a vision: Thou shalt receive. Therefore, go with me into my house and I will impart unto thee of my food; and I know that thou wilt be a blessing unto me and my house.

The people of Ammonihah have and will have a very “all of US in our great city” vs. “you from outside” mentality; a very “JUST you, one witness, one foolish man” mentality:
Alma 8:11 …Behold, we know that thou art Alma; and we know that thou art high priest over the church which thou hast established in many parts of the land, according to your tradition; and we are not of thy church, and we do not believe in such foolish traditions.
Alma 9:2 Who art thou? Suppose ye that we shall believe the testimony of one man…?
6 And they said: Who is God, that sendeth no more authority than one man among this people, to declare unto them the truth of such great and marvelous things?
Alma 10:12 And now, when Amulek had spoken these words the people began to be astonished, seeing there was more than one witness who testified of the things whereof they were accused, and also of the things which were to come, according to the spirit of prophecy which was in them.

There needs to be preparation for this, though it will take time; it is necessary so as to not have the same results as the previous attempt at preaching. It comes through the addition of Amulek:
Alma 8:27 And Alma tarried many days with Amulek before he began to preach unto the people.

Did you notice that he is commanded to return, and does so “speedily”; but then he waits for a while before preaching again? Don’t confuse God’s instructions! (Been there, done that.)

Alma receives the revelation that it is time (so important as often is with situations, this timing!!):
Alma 8:29 And the word came to Alma, saying: Go; and also say unto my servant Amulek, go forth and prophesy unto this people…

And both are prepared in the most important way:
Alma 8:30 And Alma went forth, and also Amulek, among the people, to declare the words of God unto them; and they were filled with the Holy Ghost.

They preach, but it’s not easy. They finally win some people over, but in the end they get arrested (oh the shame!) and put in jail. There is no shame in doing the right thing and being unjustly punished, even if it is “the authorities”.

The believing men are cast out of the city and many injured, and the believing women and children are burned alive. This was not part of Alma’s plan of trying to help people! But Alma is not worrying about what others will think of him and his plan; he wants to know what the Lord wants him to do. He gets an answer, and follows it.

They wonder if they might die, but know the time is not yet. They are put in prison, but later are delivered by the power of God, and they know it is time for them to leave the city; besides, they have other important things to do:
Alma 15:1 And it came to pass that Alma and Amulek were commanded to depart out of that city; and they departed, and came out even into the land of Sidom; and behold, there they found all the people who had departed out of the land of Ammonihah, who had been cast out and stoned, because they believed in the words of Alma.

They can only help the people so much, after that it is up to the people to decide. There might be a time to “wash your hands” AFTER hard labor, and LEAVE and LET ALONE. The Spirit can tell you when that time is, etc.

Alma knows he is NOT the Savior of the people of Ammonihah; that is not his identity, nor his life purpose. He has, however, by choice and love, received a call to help them and be the means of bringing them to their Savior. I believe that that is an important distinction.

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2011, October 13

“Holy Bible: A Suggested Viewpoint for Reading and Gaining from Matthew 5:38-48: God?” by grego

Holy Bible: A Suggested Viewpoint for Reading and Gaining from Matthew 5:38-48: Jesus?

grego
(c)2011

Here are the verses in consideration:
Matthew 5:38 ¶Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.
41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.

43 ¶Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

I started out reading these verses as talking about bad people.

Then I have read these verses before linking the words: “evil, whosoever, man, him, enemy” to Satan and his.

Just a few days ago, I had a different thought: What if I read “enemy” et. al. in these verses as God?

At first, it seems preposterous, a sick twisting of the scriptures. But to me, it brought more insight than it ever has.

Matthew 5:38 ¶Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
[We want God to be fair with us, right? We want that “eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth”. And we really don’t like it when He’s not fair; when “life’s not fair”. In our eyes, He, His plan for us, life—become “evil”, our “enemy”, etc.]

That’s when Jesus’ advice is most pertinent:
39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not God: but if God(/ life) shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to Him the other also.
[How many times do we resist God? How many times do we try to run away like Jonah?]
40 And if God will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let Him have thy cloke also.
[What if we could be like Job, always ready to give back everything He has given us?]
41 And if God shall compel thee to go a mile, go with Him twain.
[What if we were like Elisha, voluntarily going with Elijah when asked three times to turn back, passing all obstacles and hardships, going all the way to the end?]
42 Give to Him that asketh thee, and from Him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
[What if we were ready to give all we had for his Church, kingdom, and will, even our entire lives through obedience, preparation, service, sacrifice, and death, like Jesus? What if we treated God and His requests as the most honest, righteous, pious, piteous beggar? What if we applied the teaching of king Benjamin (Mosiah 4) to God?]

43 ¶Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
[It’s easy to like and love God when “things are going well”; what about when they’re not? What if in the hardships God allows us and gives us, even when we know He’s cursed us through no big disobedience on our part, we were to remember, thank, and remain faithful to Him?]
45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
[Still thinking on this one… :) ]
46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
[If we’re faithful to God when we (and others? ;) ) can clearly see He’s blessing and helping us be bountiful, isn’t that normal?; shouldn’t we be?]
48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

The ideal disciple will remain faithful to, obey, serve, thank, and love Him.

2011, October 9

“Suggestions for Elder M. Russell Ballard Relating to His October 2011 General Conference Talk about ‘Helping Hands'” by grego

Suggestions for Elder M. Russell Ballard Relating to His October 2011 General Conference Talk about “Helping Hands”

grego
(c)2011

In his October 2011 General Conference talk, “The Importance of a Name”, Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said:

“A recent opinion poll indicated that far too many people still do not understand correctly that Mormon refers to members of our Church. And a majority of people are still not sure that Mormons are Christian. Even when they read of our **Helping Hands** work throughout the world in response to hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, and famines, they do not associate our humanitarian efforts with us as a Christian organization.” (** mine)

Who *would* understand that “Helping Hands” refers to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, except those in the know?? ;)

So, I have a few suggestions:
—the first one that popped into mind was: Why don’t you rename it, “Helping Mormons”, “Mormons/ LDS Helping Hands”, “Helping Mormon Hands”?
—Why not put a picture of Jesus on it (which I think would really help!)?
—Why not… put the name of the Church on it, as per “official use” standards, and maybe even add “The Mormons” underneath?
—Why not do a combination of the above: (front) picture of Jesus, with the name of the Church; (back) the redone “Helping Hands”? Or better, reversed.

Hopefully a decision like this would not have to sit in committee for weeks, months, or years… I mean, our “sports meet” T-shirts that are similarly done took one person (with a little input) a very short period of time to design and print.

“Book of Mormon: Jesus Preaches the Prophets’ Words (3 Nephi 23)” by grego

Book of Mormon: Jesus Preaches the Prophets’ Words (3 Nephi 23)

grego
(c)2011

In His mortal life, Jesus often quoted from the scriptures. He bore testimony that these scriptures testified of Him.

After His resurrection, He visits the Nephites. I find it very interesting that most of Jesus’ teachings to the Nephites are based on the scriptures. Instead of taking the part of the source—Jehovah—and just preaching His word, He quotes His prophets’ words—the words He gave them and told them to write! It is interesting that He uses their words as support/ testimony of the things He teaches them.

In their presence, He teaches the people that they must search the scriptures on their own.

Then He gives them quotations of other scriptures, and once more credits the prophets with them.

Then, He corrects the scriptures (the record) that they have been keeping—once more asking about a prophecy He gave a prophet (Samuel the Lamanite) to give to the people.

3 Nephi 23:1 And now, behold, I say unto you, that ye ought to search these things. Yea, a commandment I give unto you that ye search these things diligently; for great are the words of Isaiah.

4 Therefore give heed to my words; write the things which I have told you; and according to the time and the will of the Father they shall go forth unto the Gentiles.
5 And whosoever will hearken unto my words and repenteth and is baptized, the same shall be saved. Search the prophets, for many there be that testify of these things.
6 And now it came to pass that when Jesus had said these words he said unto them again, after he had expounded all the scriptures unto them which they had received, he said unto them: Behold, other scriptures I would that ye should write, that ye have not.
7 And it came to pass that he said unto Nephi: Bring forth the record which ye have kept.
8 And when Nephi had brought forth the records, and laid them before him, he cast his eyes upon them and said:
9 Verily I say unto you, I commanded my servant Samuel, the Lamanite , that he should testify unto this people, that at the day that the Father should glorify his name in me that there were many saints who should arise from the dead, and should appear unto many, and should minister unto them. And he said unto them: Was it not so?
10 And his disciples answered him and said: Yea, Lord, Samuel did prophesy according to thy words, and they were all fulfilled.
11 And Jesus said unto them: How be it that ye have not written this thing, that many saints did arise and appear unto many and did minister unto them?
12 And it came to pass that Nephi remembered that this thing had not been written.
13 And it came to pass that Jesus commanded that it should be written; therefore it was written according as he commanded.
14 And now it came to pass that when Jesus had expounded all the scriptures in one, which they had written, he commanded them that they should teach the things which he had expounded unto them.

“Book of Mormon | Alma: A Type of Christ?” by grego

Book of Mormon | Alma: A Type of Christ?

grego
(c)2011

A few years ago I wrote this:

Alma was the chief judge of the Nephites, but he left his judgment seat as the only way to save his people.
Yet, the people he was sent to save, took him before their little itsy-bitsy proud chief judge to be judged illegally and unjustly.
That chief judge passed illegal and unfair judgment.
The chief judge then made Alma suffer the agony of watching others die, and then Alma was taken to prison.
Before they were to kill him (I strongly suppose), he was delivered from prison, and “rose up” out of the prison ruins.

I see a sort of type in this.

2011, October 6

“Book of Mormon: Prophecy of Isaiah (2 Nephi 15:23) about False Judgment and Its Consequences Happens to the Nephites and Lamanites (Helaman 7-11)” by grego

Book of Mormon: Prophecy of Isaiah (2 Nephi 15:23) about False Judgment and Its Consequences Happens to the Nephites and Lamanites (Helaman 7-11)

grego
(c)2011

This prophecy of Isaiah (see also Isaiah 5) in the Book of Mormon:
2 Nephi 15:23 Who justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!
24 Therefore, as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, *their root shall be rottenness, and their blossoms shall go up as dust*; because *they have cast away the law of the Lord of Hosts*, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
25 Therefore, is the anger of the Lord kindled against his people, and he hath stretched forth his hand against them, and *hath smitten them*; and *the hills did tremble*, and *their carcasses* were torn in the midst of the streets. *For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still*.

happens here:
(Helaman 7:4 And seeing the people in a state of such awful wickedness, and those Gadianton robbers filling the judgment-seats—having usurped the power and authority of the land; *laying aside the commandments of God, and not in the least aright before him*; doing no justice unto the children of men;)
5 *Condemning the righteous because of their righteousness; letting the guilty and the wicked go unpunished because of their money;*

Helaman 10:6 …ye (Nephi) shall have power over this people, and shall *smite the earth* with famine, and with pestilence, and destruction…
9 And if ye shall say unto *this mountain, Be thou cast down and become smooth, it shall be done*.
10 And behold, if ye shall say that *God shall smite this people*, it shall come to pass.
11 And now behold, I command you, that ye shall go and declare unto this people, that thus saith the Lord God, who is the Almighty: Except ye repent *ye shall be smitten, even unto destruction*.
18 And it came to pass that they would not hearken unto his words; and there began to be contentions, insomuch that they were divided against themselves and began to *slay one another* with the sword.

Helaman 11:6 And this work of destruction did also continue in the seventy and fifth year. For *the earth was smitten* that it was dry, and did not yield forth grain in the season of grain; and *the whole earth was smitten*, even among the Lamanites as well as among the Nephites, so that *they were smitten* that *they did perish by thousands* in the more wicked parts of the land.
7 And it came to pass that the people saw that they were about to perish by famine, and they began to remember the Lord their God…
10 O Lord, behold this people repenteth; and they have swept away the band of Gadianton from amongst them insomuch that they have become extinct…

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