Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2018, November 8

“The Calling of Suffering: Called to Serve, Called to Suffer” by grego

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“The Calling of Suffering: Called to Serve, Called to Suffer”
by grego (c)2018

My thoughts…

Most of us, at some time or another, are called to suffer. Just like being an elder means you are automatically “called” to minister, living in this life means you are automatically “called” to suffer.

For some more than others, this will take on a more prominent role as part of our life mission.

We have been told that when we suffer for God, we will be rewarded:
Matthew 5:11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

3 Nephi 12:11 And blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake;

1 Corinthians 4:12 And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:

3 Nephi 6:13 Some were lifted up in pride, and others were exceedingly humble; some did return railing for railing, while others would receive railing and persecution and all manner of afflictions, and would not turn and revile again, but were humble and penitent before God.

Acts 9:15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.
And yes, Paul did suffer greatly for Jesus’ name.

I believe that one of Satan’s greatest weaknesses that led to his downfall was that he was NOT willing to suffer for salvation. He was the exact opposite of Jesus Christ, who was willing to suffer whatever was needed. Along these same lines, if we are not willing to suffer for salvation, we will suffer for damnation.

Did Jesus suffer as He fulfilled his calling and life mission?
Helaman 13:6 …the Lord Jesus Christ, who surely shall come into the world, and shall suffer many things and shall be slain for his people.

Acts 17:3 Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.

Mark 8:31 And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
Mark 9:12 …it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nought.
Luke 9:22 Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.

Luke 24:26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?

Alma 16:19 … the coming of the Son of God, his sufferings and death, and also the resurrection of the dead.

Alma 22:14 And since man had fallen he could not merit anything of himself; but the sufferings and death of Christ atone for their sins, through faith and repentance, and so forth….

We are here to love God and our fellow man. When we serve others, we serve God:
Mosiah 2:16 Behold, I say unto you that because I said unto you that I had spent my days in your service, I do not desire to boast, for I have only been in the service of God.
17 And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.

We are also told this:
DC 18:10 Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;
11 For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him.
12 And he hath risen again from the dead, that he might bring all men unto him, on conditions of repentance.
13 And how great is his joy in the soul that repenteth!
14 Wherefore, you are called to cry repentance unto this people.
15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
16 And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!

Nephi says that the words of Christ and the Holy Ghost will show us all things what [we] should do–whether they fit the lives we want, or not. Nephi doesn’t say God will give us explanations, especially at the time. We must just accept that some things were, are, and will be. On the other hand, some things will never be or get done, and will have to fall by the wayside for better and best things. There is too much in life to do it all; we must be committed to doing the Lord’s will, above all else. Some dreams will never come true (another part to the sacrifice and suffering).

Our lives might not be anywhere near as we wished—-but with the help of God, they will be better. It might take an entire lifetime for us to truly understand or even realize this. It might come sooner (See Garth Brooks, “Unanswered Prayers”.) I don’t doubt that for some of us, much of that realization and understanding will come after we die. Perhaps we will understand the chain of influence and events that occur in someone’s life when we serve them.

Part of service to God and others to pay for spirituality and a glorious life in this fallen world where Satan works, is that we will suffer. We might suffer deeply, or for years, or both. We will suffer innocently. It will require, as King Benjamin says,
Mosiah 3:19 [that we yield] 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.;

or as Alma says,
Alma 7:23 … be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things…
Alma 13:28 But that ye would humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus be led by the Holy Spirit, becoming humble, meek, submissive, patient, full of love and all long-suffering…

Bringing people to repentance and joy, or justice and condemnation, always requires sacrifice. That might sound weird… I’ll explain a little, then give some examples.

There seem to be three main reasons for a calling to suffer:
1. that others might repent;
2. that others might be warned or condemned;
3. that we might experience, learn, do better, share, or perform another important work.

From the Book of Mormon:
1. *Alma and Amulek suffered to bring Zeezrom and many in Ammonihah to full repentance;
*most of the missionaries with Ammon suffered so that the Lamanites would be converted;
*the Anti-Nephi-Lehies suffered so that their Lamanite brethren could be brought to the truth;
2. *Gideon was slain so that Nehor could be stopped;
*the believers in Ammonihah suffered burning so that a just judgment would come upon their murderers;
*many prophets were slain for warning people to repent;
*Nephi and the other righteous members of his family suffered so that Laman and his would have opportunities to repent;
3. *Alma and his people were to bear testimony that God had delivered them;
*Mormon watched his people nearly destroyed;
*Moroni was a witness to the utter destruction of his people.

One semester I moved to a ward that was the worst I’ve ever been in. I could have been invisible and my voice silenced and not really been worse off. My roommates were okay, though. However, one of them was very cold to me all semester long. Ironically, he was the Elders Quorum President, and was getting married to a nice young lady. The last Sunday of the semester, he gave a scathing talk that ripped the ward members for being unfriendly. I thought that was interesting… As he was moving out that afternoon, he turned to me and said, “grego, I am sorry for how bad I have treated you. You did nothing to deserve it. You reminded me of someone who was mean to me, and so I treated you bad. Please forgive me.” I thought, “Wow, all semester long for that??” Oh well. I said, “Sure.” and meant it. I thought, maybe it was for the good, in the end. Maybe he needed to see and understand it, and maybe that gave him the understanding and drive to say what he had said in his talk, a talk I never would have been able to give and have accepted by any ward member. Maybe it helped me. I had a feeling that nothing about that situation was coincidence.

I had a long relationship that I didn’t understand. I really had the feeling I was called to suffer in that. Most all the time, I felt like I was walking in darkness. Figuratively, many times in that time period, I stumbled, stubbed my toes, tripped, fell, and wandered through the darkness, though every so often a voice would warn me so I wouldn’t fall and die. I remember a really rough period; one night, I was overwhelmed by bad feelings and left a church meeting, and went outside to sit on the curb and look up at the stars. “Heavenly Father, this situation is horrible. Nothing seems to be working out for me. I don’t know why I am here, nor what I am supposed to be doing. It’s really hard to feel the Spirit, and very easy to feel the devil and his angels and their temptations. Is this really where you want me to be??” “Yes.” That was it. I would have loved much more of an answer, but that was what God allotted me, and I felt strengthened. Like the young warriors, I made it through; like the young warriors, I still bear scars and injuries from that experience. (Ha ha, reminds me of my mission…)

Andy and Satto were roommates. Andy was big in many good ways. Satto was small in many ways, too. Satto was nice to me. He was a pain to Andy. (It’s usually opposite.) He didn’t go to church, he wouldn’t do much of anything spiritual. No one mentioned much about it. I didn’t understand it. One day after a severe uncalled-for berating from Satto, I asked him, “Why do you put up with it??” He just shook his head and hum-hawed. About a month after I had left the apartment, I went back to visit. I didn’t recognize Satto. He might not have grown any more physically, but he had grown incredibly in other ways. He was nice—NICE—to Andy. They read scriptures together, went to church together, and did other good things together. I asked Andy what had happened. He shook his head and hum-hawed. I understand. Andy was called to suffer for Satto, and had helped “bring [his] soul unto [Jesus]”.

Yes, part of our life mission is to suffer for others so that more good might happen. This is part of serving others. If we have been called to suffer so that mercy can come to others who might not “deserve” it, or so that justice and a just judgment comes to someone, we are only following the example of Jesus Christ, who suffered the will of the Father by suffering so that we could have eternal life.

3 Nephi 11:10 Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world.
11 And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning.
14 Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world.

DC 19:16 For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;
17 But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;
18 Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—
19 Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.

Moroni 9:25 My son, be faithful in Christ; and may not the things which I have written grieve thee, to weigh thee down unto death; but may Christ lift thee up, and may his sufferings and death, and the showing his body unto our fathers, and his mercy and long-suffering, and the hope of his glory and of eternal life, rest in your mind forever.

And how are his disciples expected to act, and what are they expected to do, and why? Notice the one word that connects the following verses:

Gal. 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

2 Corinthians 6:3 Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed:
4 But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,
5 In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings;
6 By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,

Ephesians 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;

Colossians 1:10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;

Colossians 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

Alma 7:23 And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive.

Alma 13:28 But that ye would humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus be led by the Holy Spirit, becoming humble, meek, submissive, patient, full of love and all long-suffering;

Alma 38:3 I say unto you, my son, that I have had great joy in thee already, because of thy faithfulness and thy diligence, and thy patience and thy long-suffering among the people of the Zoramites.

DC 121:41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;

When we strive to follow the Spirit and do something hoping to do good, who knows what the results will be for us or others. Sometimes we find out a little, sometimes we never do. We might wonder, but at least we will hopefully be content of having been an instrument in the hands of God. God blesses us with the Spirit and blessings as we serve. These are some of the choicest experiences I have had.

We should be praying that all the good—for everyone—that can come from a situation of suffering, will be brought to pass.

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