Pray to Thy Father in Secret and Thy Father Who Seeth in Secret Shall Reward Thee Openly

Jesus Christ taught the descendants of Lehi in the Americas (who were of the house of Israel) many of the same gospel principles He taught to His Jewish disciples in the Old World. The teachings as recorded in the book of Matthew, found in the New Testament, known as the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5 and 6) were again taught by the Savior when he visited Lehi’s descendants after His resurrection.

The passages below show the words from verses 5 through 6 of the King James version of Matthew 6 and the comparable verses from 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon.

“And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. (Matthew 6:5-6)

“And when thou prayest thou shalt not do as the hypocrites, for they love to pray, standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father who is in secret; and thy Father, who seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.” (3 Nephi 13:5-6)

Questions:

-What is the appeal that draws some to ostentatious religious displays?

-How many cherish the opportunity to develop a private relationship with God separate from the vain displays Christ warns against?

When Thou Doest Alms Let Not Thy Left Hand Know What Thy Right Hand Doeth

Jesus Christ taught the descendants of Lehi in the Americas (who were of the house of Israel) many of the same gospel principles He taught to His Jewish disciples in the Old World. The teachings as recorded in the book of Matthew, found in the New Testament, known as the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5 and 6) were again taught by the Savior when he visited Lehi’s descendants after His resurrection.

The passages below show the words from verses 1 through 4 of the King James version of Matthew 6 and the comparable verses from 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon.

“Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.” (Matthew 6:1-4)

Verily, verily I say that I would that ye should do alms unto the poor; but take heed that ye do not your alms before men to be seen of them; otherwise ye have no reward of your Father who is in heaven. Therefore, when ye shall do your alms do not sound a trumpet before you, as will hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward. But when thou doest alms let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth; That thine alms may be in secret; and thy Father who seeth in secret, himself shall reward thee openly.” (3 Nephi 13:1-4)

Questions:

-How does seeking the public approval of other mortals, when helping those in need, poison the spiritual well, so to speak?

Be Ye Therefore Perfect, Even as Your Father Which is in Heaven is Perfect

Jesus Christ taught the descendants of Lehi in the Americas (who were of the house of Israel) many of the same gospel principles He taught to His Jewish disciples in the Old World. The teachings as recorded in the book of Matthew, found in the New Testament, known as the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5) were again taught by the Savior when he visited Lehi’s descendants after His resurrection.

The passages below show the words from verses 43 and 48 of the King James version of Matthew and the comparable verses from 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon.

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 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; That ye may be the children of your Father which is heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans do the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48)

And behold it is written also, that thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy; But behold I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father who is in heaven; for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good. Therefore those things which were of old time, which were under the law, in me are all fulfilled. Old things are done away, and all things have become new. Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect.” (3 Nephi 12:43-48)

Questions:

-How difficult is it to extend love to evil-doers in as indiscriminatory and consistent manner as God sends sunlight to all the the Earth?

-Is letting go of all anger and malice the same as being naïve about interacting with evil people in an unguarded fashion?

Ye Shall Not Resist Evil

Jesus Christ taught the descendants of Lehi in the Americas (who were of the house of Israel) many of the same gospel principles He taught to His Jewish disciples in the Old World. The teachings as recorded in the book of Matthew, found in the New Testament, known as the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5) were again taught by the Savior when he visited Lehi’s descendants after His resurrection.

The passages below show the words from verses 38 and 42 of the King James version of Matthew and the comparable verses from 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon.

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 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. And if any man sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.” (Matthew 5:38-42)

And behold, it is written, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth; But I say unto you, that ye shall not resist evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also; And if any man will sue thee at the law and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also; And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn thou not away.” (3 Nephi 12:38-42)

Questions:

-Does the image of turning the other cheek suggest a person who is cowardly or obsequious? Or, a person who is confident and intentional in neutralizing the dreary vicious cycles created by knee-jerk reprisal?

-Does the Lord expect a person (or group) to continually turn the other cheek? Or, does a time to fight and defend become appropriate when evil intention on the offender’s part persists? (See: Thou Shalt Defend Thy Families Even unto Bloodshed)  

Let Your Communication be Yea, Yea, Nay, Nay

Jesus Christ taught the descendants of Lehi in the Americas (who were of the house of Israel) many of the same gospel principles He taught to His Jewish disciples in the Old World. The teachings as recorded in the book of Matthew, found in the New Testament, known as the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5) were again taught by the Savior when he visited Lehi’s descendants after his Resurrection.

The passages below show the words from verses 33 and 37 of the King James version of Matthew and the comparable verses from 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon.

“Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths. But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.” (Matthew 5:33-37)

“And again it is written, thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths; But verily, verily, I say unto you, swear not at all; neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; Nor by the earth, for it is his footstool. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair black or white; But let your communication be Yea, yea; Nay, nay; for whatsoever cometh of more than these is evil.” (3 Nephi 12:33-37)

Questions:

-What is the Lord communicating when He teaches us to limit our commitments with others to a simple “yes” or “no”?

-While He teaches His followers not to engage in oaths, is there any question that He expects a person’s word to be upheld by their actions?

Whosoever Shall Put Away His Wife, Saving for the Cause of Fornication, Causeth Her to Commit Adultery

Jesus Christ taught the descendants of Lehi in the Americas (who were of the house of Israel) many of the same gospel principles He taught to His Jewish disciples in the Old World. The teachings as recorded in the book of Matthew, found in the New Testament, known as the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5) were again taught by the Savior when he visited Lehi’s descendants.

The passages below show the words from verses 31 and 32 of the King James version of Matthew and the comparable verses from 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon.

“It has been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.” (Matthew 5:31-32)

“It hath been written, that whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement. Verily, verily, I say unto you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery; and whoso shall marry her who is divorced committeth adultery.” (3 Nephi 12:31-32)

Questions:

-Realizing that the above is a standard for a couple who are committed to be true disciples of Jesus Christ, would it have been helpful for Christ to start enumerating other marriage-breaking behaviors here (beyond adultery) such as physical abuse or other extremely harmful narcissistic behaviors?    

Whosoever Looketh on a Woman, to Lust after Her, Hath Committed Adultery Already in His Heart

Jesus Christ taught the descendants of Lehi in the Americas (who were of the house of Israel) many of the same gospel principles He taught to His Jewish disciples in the Old World. The teachings as recorded in the book of Matthew, found in the New Testament, known as the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5) were again taught by the Savior when he visited Lehi’s descendants.

The passages below show the words from verses 27 and 30 of the King James version of Matthew and the comparable verses from 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon.

“Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh upon a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee; for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that they whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.” (Matthew 5:27-30)

Behold, it is written by them of old time, that thou shalt not commit adultery; But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman, to lust after her, hath committed adultery already in his heart. Behold, I give unto you a commandment, that ye suffer none of these things to enter into your heart; For it is better that ye should deny yourselves of these things, wherein ye will take up your cross, than that ye should be cast into hell.” (3 Nephi 12:27-30)

Questions:

-Why did Christ not mention dismemberment to the descendants of Lehi when teaching of the evils of adultery (as he did when teaching the Jews in the Old World)?

Agree with Thine Adversary Quickly

Jesus Christ taught the descendants of Lehi in the Americas (who were of the house of Israel) many of the same gospel principles He taught to His Jewish disciples in the Old World. The teachings as recorded in the book of Matthew, found in the New Testament, known as the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5) were again taught by the Savior when he visited Lehi’s descendants.

The passages below show the words from verses 25 and 26 of the King James version of Matthew and the comparable verses from 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon.

“Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou has paid the uttermost farthing.” (Matthew 5:25-26)

“Agree with thine adversary quickly while thou art in the way with him, lest at any time he shall get thee, and thou shalt be cast into prison. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, thou shalt by no means come out thence until thou hast paid the uttermost senine. And while ye are in prison can ye pay even one senine? Verily, verily, I say unto you, Nay.” (3 Nephi 12:25-26)

Questions:

-Is this admonition from the Savior geared toward the apostles and missionaries to steer them clear of legal entanglements? (see quote below)

-If so, is this also a warning from the Savior that He will not apply His divine powers to rescue those who do not heed his teaching and warning?

Teachings of Prophets, Seers, and Revelators

“Counsel to avoid law suits and entangling legal difficulties, lest fine and imprisonment result, is directed particularly to the apostles and missionaries as they go forth to carry the gospel message to a wicked world. It is more important that they suffer legal wrongs than that their ministries be hindered or halted by legal processes.” (Bruce R McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary 1:223)

Whosoever Shall Say, Thou Fool, Shall Be in Danger of Hell Fire

Jesus Christ taught the descendants of Lehi in the Americas (who were of the house of Israel) many of the same gospel principles He taught to His Jewish disciples in the Old World. The teachings as recorded in the book of Matthew, found in the New Testament, known as the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5) were again taught by the Savior when he visited Lehi’s descendants.

The passages below show the words from verses 21 through 24 of the King James version of Matthew and the comparable verses from 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon.

“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say unto his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that they brother has aught against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” (Matthew 5:21-24)

“Ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, and it is also written before you, that you shalt not kill, and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment of God: But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of his judgment. And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; and whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore, if ye shall come unto me, or shall desire to come unto me, and rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee—Go thy way unto thy brother, and first be reconciled to thy brother and then come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I will receive you.” (3 Nephi 12:21-24)

Questions:

-Given the versus above, is there any question how seriously God views our attitudes (and language used) towards others?

Come unto Me and Be Ye Saved

Christ (shortly after his crucifixion and resurrection) visited a group of Lehi’s descendants living in the Americas. Below He succinctly reviews what he had taught them up to that point.

“…I have given you the law and the commandments of my Father, that ye shall believe in me, and that ye shall repent of your sins, and come unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Behold, ye have the commandments before you, and the law is fulfilled. Therefore come unto me and be ye saved; for verily I say unto you, that except ye shall keep my commandments, which I have commanded you at this time, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (3 Nephi 12:19-20)

Questions:

-How does one make the choice to believe in Jesus Christ?

-Is it possible to truly repent of one’s sins without having a broken heart and a contrite spirit?

-How does one come unto Christ as commanded?