Except Men Shall Have Charity They Cannot Inherit the Father’s Mansions

Thinking that he would have no more occasion to add to the Gold Plates, the prophet Moroni records a prayer to the Lord and bids farewell to his readers.

“…I…remember that thou hast said that thou hast prepared a house for man, yea, even among the mansions of thy Father, in which man might have a more excellent hope; wherefore man must hope, or he cannot receive an inheritance in the place which thou hast prepared. And again, I remember that thou hast said that thou hast loved the world, even unto the laying down of thy life for the world, that thou mightest take it again to prepare a place for the children of men. And now I know this love which thou hast had for the children of men is charity; wherefore, except men shall have charity they cannot inherit that place which thou hast prepared in the mansions of thy Father. Wherefore, I know by this thing which thou hast said, that if the Gentiles have not charity, because of our weakness, that thou wilt prove them, and take away their talent, yea, even that which they have received, and give unto them who shall have more abundantly.” (Ether 12:32-35)

“And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord that he would give unto the Gentiles grace, that they might have charity. And it came to pass that the Lord said unto me: If they have not charity it mattereth not unto thee, thou hast been faithful; wherefore thy garments shall be made clean. And because thou hast seen thy weakness thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father.” (Ether 12:36-37)

“And now I, Moroni bid farewell unto the Gentiles, yea, and also unto my brethren whom I love, until we shall meet before the judgment seat of Christ, where all men shall know that my garments are not spotted with your blood. And then shall ye know that I have seen Jesus, and that he hath talked with me face to face in plain humility, even as a man telleth another in mine own language, concerning these things: And only a few have I written, because of my weakness in writing. And now I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be abide in you forever. Amen.” (Ether 12:38-41)

Questions:

-What is the sacrifice that God requires of his children now that the ancient practice of animal sacrifice, as prescribed in the law of Moses, has been done away?

-Is pride, and distain for others, an easy thing to let go of in order to offer a broken heart and a contrite spirit to the Lord?

-Would there be any hope for humanity if Christ chose to condemn us rather than doing all in His power to emphasize the good in us and lift us?

-Will a person ever be right with the Lord if they don’t take on His name and reflect His pure love in the way they live with and view others?

Great and Marvelous Works Shall Be Wrought by Them

Before finishing His ministry to the descendants of Lehi (A.D. 34-35), Jesus Christ blessed three of the twelve disciples He called in the New World so they would not die but, instead, remain on the Earth until His second coming (similar to the blessing John received from Christ in the Old World). In the following verses, the prophet Mormon discusses these three American-based apostles’ role leading up to Christ’s return:

“Behold, I was about to write the names of those who were never to taste death, but the Lord forbade; therefore I write them not, for they are hid from the world. But behold, I have seen them, and they have ministered unto me. And behold they will be among the Gentiles, and the Gentiles shall know them not. They will also be among the Jews, and the Jews shall know them not. And it shall come to pass, when the Lord seeth fit in his wisdom that they shall minister unto all the scattered tribes of Israel, and unto all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, and shall bring out of them unto Jesus many souls, that their desire may be fulfilled, and also because of the convincing power of God which is in them. And they are as the angels of God, and if they shall pray unto the Father in the name of Jesus they can show themselves unto whatsoever man it seemeth them good. Therefore, great and marvelous works shall be wrought by them, before the great and coming day when all people must surely stand before the judgment-seat of Christ; Yea even among the Gentiles shall there be a great and marvelous work wrought by them, before that judgment day.” (3 Nephi 28:27-32)

Questions:

-Are there signs that the three apostles discussed above are working with the Gentiles, Jews, and the scattered tribes of Israel in our time?

-Who would they reveal themselves to in order to bring many souls to Christ?

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)

They Have Taken Away from the Gospel of the Lamb Many Parts which are Plain and Most Precious

As Nephi continues to see future events through vision, he is shown by an angel how the gospel of Jesus Christ would be altered by the great and abominable church prior to the Bible coming to the Americas.

“Wherefore, these things go forth from the Jews in purity unto the Gentiles, according to the truth which is in God. And after they go forth by the hand of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, from the Jews unto the Gentiles, thou seest the formation of that great and abominable church, which is most abominable above all other churches; for behold, they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away. And all this they have done that they might pervert the right ways of the Lord, that they might blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men. Wherefore, thou seest that after the book hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God.” (1 Nephi 13:25-28)

Questions:

-Is it possible for there to be a perfect book in a fallen world where men and women use imperfect written language to preserve texts?

-Would it surprise you if God allowed aspects of Christ’s teachings, the apostles’ teachings, and the words of the ancient prophets to be altered as described in the verses above? By what eternal principle would God withhold His intervention to stop such detrimental changes? Does God ever force those on the earth to do what is right? Or, does He always – as long as they are permitted by Him to live — allow them to show their true colors in relationship to His standards and righteousness?

-If you believe the angel’s declaration to Nephi that truths would be intentionally taken away from the gospel record, what plain and precious truths do you think may have been lost? Is there any way these truths can be (or have been) restored?

-Are there truths and covenants emphasized in the Book of Mormon that help reconstruct the full, undiminished gospel of Jesus Christ? How can you know the truth about this important question (see Moroni 10:3-5)?

Video from Book of Mormon Central:

The Multitudes of the Earth Fight Against the Apostles of the Lamb

The angel continues to teach Nephi about the meaning of his father’s dream, which had as one of its main elements a great and spacious building.

“…I saw the multitudes of the earth, that they were gathered together to fight against the apostles of the Lamb; for thus were the twelve called by the angel of the Lord. And the multitude of the earth was gathered together; and I beheld that they were in a large and spacious building, like unto the building which my father saw. And the angel of the Lord spake unto me again, saying: Behold the world and the wisdom thereof…And it came to pass that I saw and bear record that the great and spacious building was the pride of the world; and it fell, and the fall thereof was exceedingly great. And the angel of the Lord spake unto me again, saying: Thus shall be the destruction of all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, that shall fight against the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” (1 Nephi 10:34-36)

Questions:

-Who were the twelve apostles who Christ called during his earthly ministry?

-Did the twelve stay the same? Or, where replacements called for those who died?

-Has there been a quorum of twelve apostles on the earth, without interruption since the time of Christ?

-Is there a church which has a quorum of twelve apostles today? If so, by whom were they called and from where do they derive their authority?

-How did those who did not accept or believe in the full gospel of Jesus Christ treat the original apostles?

-Would you expect apostles who were called in our time to be popular and accepted by the majority of people?

-How is pride related to whether a person (or group of people) fight against Christ’s apostles?

-If you came to know that Christ had called twelve apostles in our time, how important would it be for you to align yourself with these apostles rather than resisting their message and efforts?

Latter-day Prophets, Seers, and Revelators…

“To those of you who are inching your way closer and closer to that great and spacious building, let me make it completely clear that the people in that building have absolutely nothing to offer except instant, short-term gratification inescapably connected to long-term sorrow and suffering. The commandments you observe were not given by a dispassionate God to prevent you from having fun, but by a loving Father in Heaven who wants you to be happy while you are living on this earth as well as in the hereafter” (Elder Glen L. Pace, “They’re Not Really Happy,” Ensign, Nov. 1987, 40).