Condemn Not the Things of God

The very first messages of the Book of Mormon come from an introduction likely written by a prophet named Moroni who lived in the Americas around 400 A.D. To introduce the record his father Mormon had put together and abridged, Moroni declares the following truths about its purpose and meaning:

  • “It is an abridgment of the record of the people of Nephi
  • “Written to the Lamanites, who are a remnant of the house of Israel; and also to Jew and Gentile
  • “Written by way of commandment, and also by the spirit of prophesy and of revelation
  • “Written and sealed up, and hid up unto the Lord, that they [the metal plates on which the record was kept] might not be destroyed”
  • “To come forth by the gift and power of God
  • “To come forth in due time by way of the Gentile…the interpretation thereof by the gift of God”
  • “To show unto the remnant of the house of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers…that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever”
  • “To…convinc[e] Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations”
  • “If there are faults they are the mistakes of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgement-seat of Christ” (For full text see Title Page of the Book of Mormon)

Questions:

-How important would it be to make meaningful use of a gift, readily available to you in the form of a book, that was brought into being by the power of God?

-If God made covenants with those who lived before our time — who sought His help and guidance in their lives – is there any doubt that He would follow through with the promises He made to them? Could our relationship to God in the present have important ties to those promises He made in the past and is now fulfilling?

 Prophets, Seers, and Revelators…

“The title-page of the Book of Mormon is a literal translation, taken from the very last leaf, on the left hand side of the … book of plates, which contained the record which has been translated, … and … said title page is not by any means a modern composition, either of mine or of any other man who has lived or does live in this generation” (Joseph Smith quoted in History of the Church, 1:71)

“The major mission of the Book of Mormon, as recorded on its title page, is ‘to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations.’ The honest seeker after truth can gain the testimony that Jesus is the Christ as he prayerfully ponders the inspired words of the Book of Mormon. Over one-half of all the verses in the Book of Mormon refer to our Lord. Some form of Christ’s name is mentioned more frequently per verse in the Book of Mormon than even in the New Testament. He is given over one hundred different names in the Book of Mormon. Those names have a particular significance in describing His divine nature” (Ezra Taft Benson from “Come unto Christ,” Ensign, Nov. 1987, 83).

Video from Book of Mormon Central:

There Never Were Greater Things Made Manifest

The brother of Jared was the first prophet among the Jaredite civilization that existed in the Americas prior to 600 B.C. He recorded a revelation from the Lord that was translated by the Nephite king, Mosiah, and included in the sealed portion of the Gold Plates that the prophet Joseph Smith was commanded by God not to translate (the unsealed portion of the Gold Plates that was translated became the Book of Mormon).

The Nephite prophet Moroni, who abridged the record of the Jaredites after it was translated, testifies that the power, meaning, and contents of the Lord’s revelation to the brother of Jared were as great as any other revelation received by a human being.

“Behold, I have written upon these plates the very things which the brother of Jared saw; and there never were greater things made manifest than those which were made manifest unto the brother of Jared. Wherefore the Lord hath commanded me to write them; and I have written them. And he commanded me that I should seal them up…For the Lord said unto me: They shall not go forth unto the Gentiles until the day that they shall repent of their iniquity, and become clean before the Lord. And in that day that they shall exercise faith in me, saith the Lord, even as the brother of Jared did, that they may become sanctified in me, then will I manifest unto them the things which the brother of Jared saw, even to the unfolding unto them all my revelations, saith Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of the heavens and of the earth, and all things that in them are.” (Ether 4:4-7)

Questions:

-Who is Moroni referring to when he uses the word “Gentiles”?

-Could a revelation as great as that which the brother of Jared received be accurately captured by an earthly language?

For a free copy of the Book of Mormon please go to https://www.ComeUntoChrist.org/site/book-of-mormon

If It So Be That They Shall Believe These Things Then Shall Greater Things Be Made Manifest unto Them

In about 34 AD, Jesus Christ visited and taught a group of Lehi’s descendants living in the Americas. In about 385 AD, Mormon, the Nephite prophet who abridged the record that became the Book of Mormon (after Joseph Smith translated it by the power of God), describes how only part of what Christ taught to Mormon’s ancestors was allowed by God to become part of the Book of Mormon. The remainder of what was taught would be revealed by God only if the smaller part offered in the Book of Mormon was accepted and believed.

“…There cannot be written in this book even a hundredth part of the things which Jesus did truly teach unto the people; But behold the plates of Nephi do contain the more part of the things which he taught the people; And these things have I written, which are a lesser part of the things which he taught the people; and I have written them to the intent that they may be brought again unto this people, from the Gentiles, according to the words which Jesus hath spoken. And when they shall have received this, which is expedient that they should have first, to try their faith, and if it shall so be that they shall believe these things then shall greater things be made manifest unto them. And if it so be that they will not believe these things, then shall the greater things be withheld from them, unto their condemnation. Behold I was about to write them, all which were engraven upon the plates of Nephi, but the Lord forbade it, saying: I will try the faith of my people.” (3 Nephi 26:6-11)

Questions:

-Does the condemnation referenced by Mormon fall on those who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who have professed to receive Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon (another testament of Christ) but do not take it’s teachings to heart?

Seek, and Ye Shall Find

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, 6 and 7) were again taught by the Savior when he visited Lehi’s descendants after His resurrection.

The passage below shows the words from verses 7  through 11 of the King James version of Matthew 7 and the comparable verses from 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon.

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matthew 7:7-11)

“Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seekth, findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, who, if his son ask bread, will give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (3 Nephi 26:7-11 [italics added to show word variations from King James Version])

Questions:

-Does the Savior define the timetable by which the asker/seeker will find?

-Does He leave any doubt that the acts of faithful asking, seeking, and knocking will bear fruit (even if the expectations of harvest in a person’s mind may not be exactly aligned with God’s actual blessings and timetable)?

The Spirit of the Lord Doth not Dwell in Unholy Temples

Wickedness and weakness are closely tied together. The Nephites became weak when they committed sin and no longer sought a connection (through revelation and prophecy) with God.

“Because of their iniquity the church had begun to dwindle and they began to disbelieve in the spirit of prophecy and in the spirit of revelation; and the judgments of God did stare them in the face. And they saw that they had become weak…and that the Spirit of the Lord did no more preserve them; yea, it had withdrawn from them because the Spirit of the Lord doth not dwell in unholy temples…” (Helaman 4:23-24)

Questions:

-Are there some who believe God is still a God of miracles and, therefore, seek the spirit of revelation and prophecy in our times?

-Is seeking revelation and prophetic insight even a consideration for most?

-Without revelation and prophetic insight, is it possible to truly be in line with God’s will?

Unto Such Is Given to Know the Mysteries of God

Ammon teaches that the combination of…

…brings extraordinary spiritual blessings.

“…He that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing—unto such is given to know the mysteries of God; yea, unto such it shall be given to reveal things which never have been revealed; yea, and it shall be given unto such to bring thousands of souls to repentance.” (Alma 26:22)

Questions:

-How can one maintain a prayerful connection with God while still going about day-to-day activities?

-Is it always possible to maintain a repentant demeanor toward God?

-How meaningful would our works be without Christ’s Atonement? How meaningful are they through Christ’s Atonement (when one is moving forward with a repentant demeanor and a sincere prayer is always in one’s heart)?

No Man Knoweth of God’s Ways Save It Be Revealed unto Him

Jacob teaches that revelation is essential to begin to understand God’s ways.

“Behold, great and marvelous are the works of the Lord. How unsearchable are the depths of the mysteries of him; and it is impossible that man should find out all his ways. And no man knoweth of his ways save it be revealed unto him; wherefore, brethren, despise not the revelations of God.” (Jacob 4:8)

Questions:

-How much false belief about God has come into being through the ages due to men and women relying on their intellect more than on revelation from God himself?

-Based on Jacob’s teachings, is a lifetime long enough to understand God intellectually?

-Can the Holy Spirit testify to one’s heart what one’s mind cannot yet understand (so it is possible to develop a meaningful relationship with God within a lifetime)?

-If someone despises the idea of receiving divine revelation, how likely is he or she to gain an understanding of who God really is?