Search Diligently in the Light of Christ

Moroni provides powerful keys to discerning good from evil.

“Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually. But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God. Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil. For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night. For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God. But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him. And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged. Wherefore, I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ.” (Moroni 7:12-19)

Questions:

-Do those seeking to follow Christ sometimes have difficulty discerning the difference between being condemnatory of others (on the one hand) and the above commandment to judge righteously between good and evil (on the other hand)?

-Do many struggle with the necessity to hate the sin (unflinchingly recognizing evil for what it is) but still love the sinner (extending love and forgiveness to others regardless of whether the other person’s sins are similar in type or perceived magnitude in comparison to one’s own)?

-Because of the difficulty found in squarely confronting sin in themselves and their loved ones, have many tender-hearted people been lured into making poor judgments about evil in our time?

All Men Were Created in the Beginning after My Own Image

In seeking a way to cross the ocean in enclosed barges, the brother of Jared, prays to the Lord and asks that He would touch a number of clear stones so they could serve as a light source during the ocean journey. In seeking this help from the Lord, he also learns important truths about the nature of God.

“…I know, O Lord, that thou hast all power, and can do whatsoever thou wilt for the benefit of man; therefore touch these stones, O Lord, with thy finger, and prepare them that they shine forth in darkness; and they shall shine forth unto us in the vessels which we have prepared, that we may have light while we shall cross the sea. Behold, O Lord, thou canst do this. We know that thou art able to show forth great power, which looks small unto the understanding of men. And it came to pass that when the brother of Jared had said these words, behold, the Lord stretched forth his hand and touched the stones one by one with his finger. And the veil was taken from off the eyes of the brother of Jared, and he saw the finger of the Lord; and it was as the finger of a man, like unto flesh and blood; and the brother of Jared fell down before the Lord, for he was struck with fear.” (Ether 3:4-6)

“And the Lord saw that the brother of Jared had fallen to the earth; and the Lord said unto him: Arise, why hast thou fallen? And he saith unto the Lord: I saw the finger of the Lord, and I feared lest he should smite me; for I knew not that the Lord had flesh and blood. And the Lord said unto him; Because of thy faith thou hast seen that I shall take upon me flesh and blood; and never has man come before me with such exceeding faith as thou hast; for were it not so ye could not have seen my finger. Sawest thou more than this? And he answered: Nay; Lord, show thyself unto me. And the Lord said unto him: Believest thou the words which I shall speak? And he answered: Yea, Lord, I know that thou speakest the truth, for thou art a God of truth, and canst not lie. And when he had said these words, behold, the Lord showed himself unto him, and said: Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall; therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I show myself unto you.” (Ether 3:7-13)

“Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold, I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son. In me shall all mankind have life, and that eternally, even they who shall believe on my name; and they shall become my sons and daughters. And never have I showed myself unto man whom I have created, for never has man believed in me as thou hast. Seest thou that ye are created after mine own image? Yea, even all men were created in the beginning after mine own image. Behold, this body, which ye now behold, is the body of my spirit; and man have I created after the body of my spirit; and even as I appear unto thee to be in the spirit will I appear unto my people in the flesh.” (Ether 3:14-16)

Questions:

-Do you believe that the human form is not a semi-arbitrary function of some kind of evolutionary force, but is, actually, intentionally patterned by God after the same form He has always taken?

Despise Not the Works of the Lord

Those who despise the work of the Lord and mock His faithful followers will despise themselves when the truth of their position, in relation to the true and living God, is inevitably revealed to them. But there is rich opportunity for repentance during this life.

“And now, behold, who can stand against the works of the Lord? Who can deny his sayings? Who will rise up against the almighty power of the Lord? Who will despise the works of the Lord? Who will despise the children of Christ? Behold, all ye who are despisers of the works of the Lord, for ye shall wonder and perish. O then despise not, and wonder not, but hearken unto the words of the Lord, and ask the Father in the name of Jesus for what things soever ye shall stand in need. Doubt not, but be believing, and begin as in times of old, and come unto the Lord with all your heart, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him.” (Mormon 9:26-27)

Questions

-Is it easy to think of God in casual terms rather than with the deep awe and reverence He should inspire (and will inspire when we are brought back into His presence)?

-How important is it to obtain the correct sense of awe and reverence now as opposed to wondering – at the immensity of the revelation — and perishing, when it is everlastingly too late?

All Mankind Must Be Born Again

Alma the Younger openly rebelled against Christ’s church and his father, Alma, who was the leader of the church. After seeing an angel of God, who called him to repentance, the younger Alma was tormented by the realization of the seriousness his sins to the point where he couldn’t speak or perform basic physical tasks for two days. After passing through this deep trial and regaining his strength, he testified to all present as follows:

“I have repented of my sins, and have been redeemed of the Lord; behold I am born of the Spirit.”

And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters; And thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God. I say unto you, unless this be the case, they must be cast off.” (Mosiah 27:24-27)

Questions:

-Is Alma the Younger’s experience of being born again typical or exceptional?

-Is sudden and dramatic change better than incremental change in God’s eyes?

-What kind of change is more likely to have lasting results?

They Are One God, Yea the Very Eternal Father of Heaven and of Earth

The prophet Abinadi teaches how God the Father and Jesus Christ are one God in the sense that Christ never did anything but the Father’s will despite taking on the temptations of mortality.

“I would that ye should understand that God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people. And because he dwelleth in flesh he shall be called the Son of God, and having subjected the flesh to the will of the Father, being the Father and the Son—The Father, because he was conceived by the power of God; and the Son, because of the flesh; thus becoming the Father and Son—And they are one God, yea the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth. And thus the flesh becoming subject to the Spirit, or the Son to the Father, being one God, suffereth temptation, and yieldeth not to the temptation, but suffereth himself to be mocked, and scourged, and cast out, and disowned by his people.” (Mosiah 15:1-5)

Questions:

-Is Heavenly Father and Christ being in perfect harmony, in terms of purpose, the same as their somehow being one in form?

-When God asks us to be one (see Doctrine and Covenants 38:27), is He asking us to somehow be the same person? Or, is He asking us to be one in righteous purpose?

-Who are the children of Christ?