Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2010, February 10

“Book of Mormon: You Never Know about Bearing Testimony… Lamoni and His Father” by grego

“Book of Mormon: You Never Know about Bearing Testimony… Lamoni and His Father”

grego
(c) 2010

Lamoni shares his conversion story and bears his testimony of the gospel to his father, and his father is *not* happy:
Alma 20:9 And behold, the father of Lamoni said unto him: Why did ye not come to the feast on that great day when I made a feast unto my sons, and unto my people?
10 And he also said: Whither art thou going with this Nephite, who is one of the children of a liar?
12 And he also told him all the cause of his tarrying in his own kingdom, that he did not go unto his father to the feast which he had prepared.
13 And now when Lamoni had rehearsed unto him all these things, behold, to his astonishment, his father was angry with him, and said: Lamoni, thou art going to deliver these Nephites, who are sons of a liar. Behold, he robbed our fathers; and now his children are also come amongst us that they may, by their cunning and their lyings, deceive us, that they again may rob us of our property.
14 Now the father of Lamoni commanded him that he should slay Ammon with the sword. And he also commanded him that he should not go to the land of Middoni, but that he should return with him to the land of Ishmael.

Lamoni stands by his words and knowledge, and bears testimony:
15 But Lamoni said unto him: I will not slay Ammon, neither will I return to the land of Ishmael, but I go to the land of Middoni that I may release the brethren of Ammon, for I know that they are just men and holy prophets of the true God.

His father is very, very unhappy, and wants to kill him:
16 Now when his father had heard these words, he was angry with him, and he drew his sword that he might smite him to the earth.

Ammon has a few words, they fight, Ammon wins, and:
17 But Ammon stood forth and said unto him: Behold, thou shalt not slay thy son; nevertheless, it were better that he should fall than thee, for behold, he has repented of his sins; but if thou shouldst fall at this time, in thine anger, thy soul could not be saved.
18 And again, it is expedient that thou shouldst forbear; for if thou shouldst slay thy son, he being an innocent man, his blood would cry from the ground to the Lord his God, for vengeance to come upon thee; and perhaps thou wouldst lose thy soul.
19 Now when Ammon had said these words unto him, he answered him, saying: I know that if I should slay my son, that I should shed innocent blood; for it is thou that hast sought to destroy him.
20 And he stretched forth his hand to slay Ammon. But Ammon withstood his blows, and also smote his arm that he could not use it.
23 Now the king, fearing he should lose his life, said: If thou wilt spare me I will grant unto thee whatsoever thou wilt ask, even to half of the kingdom.
24 Now when Ammon saw that he had wrought upon the old king according to his desire, he said unto him: If thou wilt grant that my brethren may be cast out of prison, and also that Lamoni may retain his kingdom, and that ye be not displeased with him, but grant that he may do according to his own desires in whatsoever thing he thinketh, then will I spare thee; otherwise I will smite thee to the earth.
25 Now when Ammon had said these words, the king began to rejoice because of his life.

The king is happy for his life! Then he realizes what is happening and what he is experiencing, and that perhaps his frame is off–Ammon could have had half the kingdom (and the king likely would have raised up the other half of the kingdom to war against him), but Ammon took so much less:
26 And when he saw that Ammon had no desire to destroy him, and when he also saw the great love he had for his son Lamoni, he was astonished exceedingly, and said: Because this is all that thou hast desired, that I would release thy brethren, and suffer that my son Lamoni should retain his kingdom, behold, I will grant unto you that my son may retain his kingdom from this time and forever; and I will govern him no more—
27 And I will also grant unto thee that thy brethren may be cast out of prison, and thou and thy brethren may come unto me, in my kingdom; for I shall greatly desire to see thee. For the king was greatly astonished at the words which he had spoken, and also at the words which had been spoken by his son Lamoni, therefore he was desirous to learn them.

This experience really opens his eyes; he is humble enough to admit it, especially to himself.

The missionaries go visit him:
Alma 22:3 And now, O king, if thou wilt spare our lives, we will be thy servants. And the king said unto them: Arise, for I will grant unto you your lives, and I will not suffer that ye shall be my servants; but I will insist that ye shall administer unto me; for I have been somewhat troubled in mind because of the generosity and the greatness of the words of thy brother Ammon; and I desire to know the cause why he has not come up out of Middoni with thee.
5 Now the king said unto them: What is this that ye have said concerning the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, this is the thing which doth trouble me.
6 And also, what is this that Ammon said—If ye will repent ye shall be saved, and if ye will not repent, ye shall be cast off at the last day?

Note that Ammon does not speak about the Spirit of the Lord; it must have been Lamoni. So, while in this situation bearing a testimony seems to mean death for the bearer, in the end it is a way to eternal life for the hearer.

2009, December 22

“Book of Mormon: Is Knowing the Truth Enough?” by grego

“Book of Mormon: Is Knowing the Truth Enough?”

grego
(c) 2009

There are a few scriptures in 3 Nephi especially that stress the importance of doing after knowing. Here are some:

3 Nephi 4:33 And their hearts were swollen with joy, unto the gushing out of many tears, because of the great goodness of God in delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; and they knew it was because of their repentance and their humility that they had been delivered from an everlasting destruction.
3 Nephi 5:1 And now behold, there was not a living soul among all the people of the Nephites who did doubt in the least the words of all the holy prophets who had spoken; for they knew that it must needs be that they must be fulfilled.
2 And they knew that it must be expedient that Christ had come, because of the many signs which had been given, according to the words of the prophets; and because of the things which had come to pass already they knew that it must needs be that all things should come to pass according to that which had been spoken.

3 Nephi 6:1 And now it came to pass that the people of the Nephites did all return to their own lands in the *twenty and sixth year…
10 But it came to pass in the *twenty and ninth year there began to be some disputings among the people; and some were lifted up unto pride and boastings because of their exceedingly great riches, yea, even unto great persecutions;
11 For there were many merchants in the land, and also many lawyers, and many officers.
12 And the people began to be distinguished by ranks, according to their riches and their chances for learning; yea, some were ignorant because of their poverty, and others did receive great learning because of their riches.
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.
14 And thus there became a great inequality in all the land, insomuch that the church began to be broken up; yea, insomuch that in the *thirtieth year the church was broken up in all the land save it were among a few of the Lamanites who were converted unto the true faith; and they would not depart from it, for they were firm, and steadfast, and immovable, willing with all diligence to keep the commandments of the Lord.
15 Now the cause of this iniquity of the people was this—Satan had great power, unto the stirring up of the people to do all manner of iniquity, and to the puffing them up with pride, tempting them to seek for power, and authority, and riches, and the vain things of the world.
16 And thus Satan did lead away the hearts of the people to do all manner of iniquity; therefore they had enjoyed peace but a few years.
17 And thus, in the commencement of the thirtieth year—the people having been delivered up for the space of a long time to be carried about by the temptations of the devil whithersoever he desired to carry them, and to do whatsoever iniquity he desired they should—and thus in the commencement of this, the thirtieth year, they were in a state of awful wickedness.
18 Now they did not sin ignorantly, for they knew the will of God concerning them, for it had been taught unto them; therefore they did wilfully rebel against God.

3 Nephi 7:7  And they did cause a great contention in the land, insomuch that the more righteous part of the people had nearly all become wicked; yea, there were but few righteous men among them.  
8 And thus six years had not passed away since the more part of the people had turned from their righteousness, like the dog to his vomit, or like the sow to her wallowing in the mire.
14 And it came to pass in the *thirty and first year … nevertheless, their hearts were turned from the Lord their God, and they did stone the prophets and did cast them out from among them.
15 And it came to pass that Nephi—having been visited by angels and also the voice of the Lord, therefore having seen angels, and being eye-witness, and having had power given unto him that he might know concerning the ministry of Christ, and also being eye-witness to their quick return from righteousness unto their wickedness and abominations;
16 Therefore, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts and the blindness of their minds—went forth among them in that same year, and began to testify, boldly, repentance and remission of sins through faith on the Lord Jesus Christ.
17 … And Nephi did minister with power and with great authority.
18 And it came to pass that they were angry with him, even because he had greater power than they, for it were not possible that they could disbelieve his words, for so great was his faith on the Lord Jesus Christ that angels did minister unto him daily.
19 And in the name of Jesus did he cast out devils and unclean spirits; and even his brother did he raise from the dead, after he had been stoned and suffered death by the people.
20 And the people saw it, and did witness of it, and were angry with him because of his power; and he did also do many more miracles, in the sight of the people, in the name of Jesus.
21 And it came to pass that the thirty and first year did pass away, and there were but few who were converted unto the Lord…

It only took three-four years for the Nephites to go from complete knowledge of the truth of, and acceptance of the gospel, and obedience to the gospel; to becoming so wicked that the church was broken up, leaving mainly individuals. 

These scriptures make it clear:  even *knowing* the gospel is true, beyond the ability to doubt in the least, is not enough; doing–along with faith and hope–is essential!  So many times we hope and concentrate on helping someone gain a testimony, as if that would solve all their problems of conversion; it won’t. True conversion takes more than a testimony or knowledge. In fact, even when the Nephites couldn’t disbelieve Nephi, they only got angry with all his preaching!

This account also supports another interesting concept: when people are not “forced” to be righteous, many won’t be (Helaman 12:3).

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