Below are some of the words spoken by the resurrected Savior to a group of Lehi’s descendants. They had congregated at one of their temples, after a massive natural upheaval, when the Lord descended from heaven to bless and teach them.
“…Blessed are ye if ye shall give heed unto the words of these twelve whom I have chosen from among you to minister unto you, and to be your servants; and unto them I have given power that they may baptize you with water; and after that ye are baptized with water, behold, I will baptize you with fire and with the Holy Ghost; therefore blessed are ye if ye shall believe in me and be baptized, after that ye have seen me and know that I am. And again, more blessed are they who shall believe in your words because that ye shall testify that ye have seen me, and that ye know that I am. Yea, blessed are they who shall believe in your words, and come down in the depths of humility and be baptized, for they shall be visited with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and shall receive a remission of their sins.” (3 Nephi 12:1-2)
-Are there twelve who have been chosen to minister to the world in our time?
-Did they receive their authority from a line of priesthood directly instituted by Jesus Christ himself?
-Why does Christ speak of those who did not see him in person, but believed the words of those who did see Him in person, as being more blessed? -What are the depths of humility?
The Lord does not expect His followers to be pacifists. In cases where patience and repeatedly “turning the other cheek” are not sufficient to secure a people’s physical safety and freedom, defensive bloodshed is justified. The passage below describes why the Nephites went to war with the Lamanites (a group who was intent on destroying the Nephites)
“…The Nephites…were not fighting for monarchy nor power but they were fighting for their homes and their liberties, their wives and their children, and their all, yea, for their rites of worship and their church. And they were doing that which they felt was the duty which they owed to their God; for the Lord had said unto them, and also unto their fathers, that: Inasmuch as ye are not guilty of the first offense, neither the second, ye shall not suffer yourselves to be slain by the hands of your enemies. And again, the Lord has said that: Ye shall defend your families even unto bloodshed. Therefore for this cause were the Nephites contending with the Lamanites, to defend themselves, and their families, and their lands, their country, and their rights, and their religion.” (Alma 43:46-47)
-Is it easy to identify the situations where bloodshed is justified by God?
-Based on the passage above, is there any question that such action should be a last resort?
Alma teaches that God gives a portion of His perfect knowledge to each nation and people of the Earth according to His perfect wisdom regarding what they should have.
“…The Lord doth grant unto all nations, of their own nation and tongue, to teach his word, yea, in wisdom, all that he seeth fit that they should have; therefore we see that the Lord doth counsel in wisdom, according to that which is just and true.” (Alma 29:8)
-Can you start to better understand who God is when surveying the rich tapestry of the best and most refined aspects of all the different nations, languages, and cultures covering the Earth?
-Can you imagine bringing all that is good, wise, and praiseworthy among all the people of the Earth into your being?
- Does the potential of doing this (and more) in the eternities begin to give insight to what Christ meant when he told His disciples that His Father’s house has many mansions? (John 14:2)
- Is the wisdom and truth God has bestowed upon His creations limited to this Earth?
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)
-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?