If You Believe the Bible Ye Will Also Believe the Book of Mormon

A message to the descendants of Lehi:

“And now, behold, I would speak somewhat unto the remnant of this people who are spared, if it so be that God may give unto them my words, that they may know of the things of their fathers; yea, I speak unto you, ye remnant of the house of Israel; and these are the words which I speak: Know ye that ye are of the house of Israel. Know ye that ye must come unto repentance, or ye cannot be saved. Know ye that ye must lay down your weapons of war, and delight no more in the shedding of blood, and take them not again, save it be that God shall command you. Know ye that ye must come to the knowledge of your fathers, and repent of all your sins and iniquities, and believe in Jesus Christ, that he is the Son of God, and that he was slain by the Jews, and by the power of the Father he hath risen again, whereby he hath gained the victory over the grave; and also in him is the sting of death swallowed up.” (Mormon 7:1-5)

“And he bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead, whereby man must be raised to stand before his judgment-seat. And he hath brought to pass the redemption of the world, whereby he that is found guiltless before him at the judgment day hath it given unto him to dwell in the presence of God in his kingdom, to sing ceaseless praises with the choirs above, unto the Father, and unto the Son, and unto the Holy Ghost, which are one God, in a state of happiness which hath no end. Therefore repent, and be baptized in the name of Jesus, and lay hold upon the gospel of Christ, which shall be set before you, not only this record but also in the record which shall come unto the Gentiles from the Jews, which record shall come from the Gentiles unto you. For behold, this is written for the intent that ye may believe that; and if ye believe that ye will believe this also; and if ye believe this ye will know concerning your fathers, and also the marvelous works which were wrought by the power of God among them. And ye will also know that ye are a remnant of the seed of Jacob; therefore ye are numbered among the people of the first covenant; and if it so be that ye believe in Christ and are baptized, first with water then with fire and with the Holy Ghost, following the example of our Savior, according to that which he hath commanded us, it shall be well with you in the day of judgment. Amen.” (Mormon 7:6-10)

Questions:

-Will this message from the prophet Mormon resonate, according to the power and truth of the Holy Ghost, in the hearts of those to whom it is directed?

-Will it also resonate with those to whom it was not directly written but are humble seekers of God’s truth?

O Ye Gentiles, How Can Ye Stand Before the Power of God?

Lamenting the apostasy and subsequent societal destruction that occurred among his people (about 385 A.D.), Mormon looks forward to prophesy about the covenant-based strength they will receive from God as the Second Coming of Jesus Christ approaches (i.e., during the days in which we now live).

“…The Lord hath reserved their [Lehi’s descendants’] blessings, which they might have received in the land, for the Gentiles who shall possess the land. But behold, it shall come to pass that they shall be driven and scattered by the Gentiles; and after they have been driven and scattered by the Gentiles, behold, then will the Lord remember the covenant which he made unto Abraham and unto all the house of Israel. And also the Lord will remember the prayers of the righteous, which have been put up unto him for them. And then, O ye Gentiles, how can ye stand before the power of God, except ye shall repent and turn from your evil ways? Know ye not ye are in the hands of God? Know ye not that he hath all power, and at his great command the earth shall be rolled together as a scroll? Therefore, repent ye, and humble yourselves before him, lest he shall come out in justice against you—lest a remnant of the seed of Jacob shall go forth among you as a lion, and tear you in pieces, and there is none to deliver.” (Mormon 5:19-24)

Questions:

-Are the Gentiles of the Americas (in general) in a repentant posture towards their Savior, Jesus Christ?

These Things are Written unto the Remnant of the House of Jacob

The Book of Mormon was recorded on metal plates and translated by the power of God as a message to scattered Israel in the latter days before the return of Jesus Christ. The record that would become the Book of Mormon was written according to God’s will when the prophet Moroni hid the plates in the ground about 421 A.D., and it was translated, faithfully, according to His will by an unsophisticated young man (Joseph Smith) who was called and prepared by the Lord for this purpose in the early 1800’s. To stand as a second witness of Jesus Christ, avoiding the intellectually and spiritually corrupted systems of the world, God saw fit that the Book of Mormon would come forth in this miraculous manner. The Book of Mormon is an invitation to “more fully believe” the gospel of Jesus Christ.

“…These things are written unto the remnant of the house of Jacob; and they are written after this manner, because it is known of God that wickedness will not bring them forth unto them; and they are to be hid up unto the Lord that they may come forth in his own due time. And this is the commandment which I have received; and behold, they shall come forth according to the commandment of the Lord, when he shall see fit, in his wisdom. And behold, they shall go unto the unbelieving of the Jews; and for this intent shall they go—that they be persuaded that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God; that the Father may bring about, through his most Beloved, the great and eternal purpose, in restoring the Jews, or all the house of Israel, to the land of their inheritance, which the Lord their God hath given them, unto the fulfilling of his covenant. And also that [the descendants of Lehi] may more fully believe his gospel, which shall go forth unto them from the Gentiles…” (Mormon 5:12-15)

Questions:

-How sure are God’s promises to His covenant people, including the Jews and all the descendants of Israel?

-Are His promises any less sure for those who are not descendants of Jacob but have taken upon themselves the covenants of the Restored Gospel and, thereby, joined themselves with Israel?

It Is by the Wicked That the Wicked are Punished

The prophet Mormon notes that the judgments of God are allowed to fall upon wicked people through the undeterred actions other wicked people.

“…Behold, the judgments of God will overtake the wicked; and it is by the wicked that the wicked are punished; for it is the wicked that stir up the hearts of the children of men unto bloodshed.” (Mormon 4:5)

Questions:

-How do the ungodly and spiritually compromised fall prey to one another in the vicious cycles that form in this fallen world?

I Write unto You All

The prophet Mormon, writing about 320 A.D. somewhere in the Americas, testifies the following to all the inhabitants of the Earth:

“…I write unto you all. And for this cause I write unto you, that ye may know that ye must all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ, yea, every soul who belongs to the whole human family of Adam; and ye must stand to be judged of your works, whether they be good or evil; And also that ye may believe the gospel of Jesus Christ, which ye shall have among you; and also that the Jews, the covenant people of the Lord, shall have other witness besides him whom they saw and heard, that Jesus, whom they slew, was the very Christ and the very God. And I would that I could persuade all ye ends of the earth to repent and prepare to stand before the judgment-seat of Christ.” (Mormon 3Mormon 3:20-22)

Questions:

-Having perfect love for all, how willing will Christ be to emphasize the positive and reduce the impact of the negative at the time of judgment?

-Will the love and pure light that emanates from the Savior say everything that needs to be said so that each person will see themselves for what they have become in the perfect context of God’s presence?

-What does it mean to repent in preparation for standing before the judgment-seat of Christ?

Hearken, O Ye Gentiles, and Hear the Words of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God

Below, the prophet Mormon writes the words He was commanded by Christ to speak to those not yet gathered into the house of Israel in our times:

Hearken, O ye Gentiles, and hear the words of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, which he hath commanded me that I should speak concerning you, for, behold he commandeth me that I should write saying: Turn, all ye Gentiles, from your wicked ways; and repent of your evil doings, of your lyings and deceivings, and of your whoredoms, and of your secret abominations, and your idolatries, and of your murders, and your priestcrafts, and your envyings, and your strifes, and from all your wickedness and abominations, and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, that ye may receive a remission of your sins, and be filled with the Holy Ghost, that ye may be numbered with my people who are of the house of Israel.” (3 Nephi 30:1-2)

Questions:

-What must happen, according to these verses, for the Gentiles of the last days to be numbered among the house of Israel?

-Who has authority directly from God to perform the baptism mentioned in the passage above?

-Who is willing to repent away from the negative actions and characteristics listed above (in preparation for a meaningful baptism by one who holds authority)?

He will Gather in from the Four Quarters of the Earth All the Remnant of the Seed of Jacob

Mormon, a Nephite prophet and historian, prophesies about the literal physical gathering of Jacob’s descendants in the last days.

“As surely as the Lord liveth, will he gather in from the four quarters of the earth all the remnant of the seed of Jacob, who are scattered abroad upon all the face of the earth. And as he hath covenanted with all the house of Jacob, even so shall the covenant wherewith he hath covenanted with the house of Jacob be fulfilled in his own due time, unto the restoring all the house of Jacob unto the knowledge of the covenant that he hath covenanted with them. And then shall they know their Redeemer, who is Jesus Christ, the Son of God; and then shall they be gathered in from the four quarters of the earth unto their own lands, from whence they have been dispersed; yea, as the Lord liveth so shall it be. Amen.” (3 Nephi 5:24-26)

Questions:

-Clearly the Jews have gathered (and continue to gather) to the nation of Israel. Have other descendants of Jacob begun to be gathered to their homelands?

They That Have Done Good Shall Have Everlasting Life and They That Have Done Evil Shall Have Everlasting Damnation

Mormon reinforces that there are real and eternal consequences when it comes to one’s thoughts, intents and actions.

“…In the great and last day there are some who shall be cast out, yea, who shall be cast off from the presence of the Lord; Yea, who shall be consigned to a state of endless misery, fulfilling the words which say: They that have done good shall have everlasting life; and they that have done evil shall have everlasting damnation. And thus it is. Amen.” (Helaman 12:25-26)

Questions:

-If the Lord has revealed that there are three degrees of glory (and outer darkness) and that all souls will inhabit one of these degrees for all eternity after the Judgment: Why does Mormon use such stark contrast in describing only those who choose evil and those who choose good?

-Is he intentionally drawing attention to the worst and the best case in terms of the different degrees (i.e. focusing on outer darkness and the Celestial Kingdom)?  

At the Power of God’s Voice Do the Foundations Rock Even to the Very Center

Mormon teaches how nature gives way in obedience to God’s voice and that His voice will irrevocably remove the wicked from His presence.

“…At [God’s] voice do the hills and the mountains tremble and quake. And by the power of his voice they are broken up, and become smooth, yea, even like unto a valley. Yea, by the power of his voice doth the whole earth shake; Yea, by the power of his voice do the foundations rock, even to the very center. Yea, and if he say unto the earth—Move—it is moved. Yea, if he say unto the earth—Thou shalt go back, that it lengthen out the day for many hours—it is done; And thus, according to his word the earth goeth back, and it appeareth unto man that the sun standeth still; yea, and behold, this is so; for surely it is the earth that moveth and not the sun. And behold, also, if he say unto the waters of the great deep—be thou dried up—it is done. Behold, if he say unto this mountain—Be thou raised up, and come over and fall upon that city, that it be buried up—behold it is done. And behold, if a man hide up a treasure in the earth, and the Lord shall say—Let it be accursed, because of the iniquity of him who hath hid it up—behold, it shall be accursed. And if the Lord shall say—Be thou accursed, that no man shall find thee from this time henceforth and forever—behold, no man getteth it henceforth and forever. (Helaman 12:9-19)

And behold, if the Lord shall say unto a man—Because of thine iniquities, thou shalt be accursed forever—it shall be done. And if the Lord shall say—Because of thine iniquities thou shalt be cut off from my presence—he will cause that it shall be so. And wo unto him to whom he shall say this, for it shall be unto him that will do iniquity, and he cannot be saved; therefore, for this cause, that men might be saved, hath repentance been declared. Therefore, blessed are they who will repent and hearken unto the voice of the Lord their God; for these are they that shall be saved. (Helaman 12:20-23)

Questions:

-How did God’s voice impact the formation of the DNA that exists in, and guides the form of, all living things?

-Did the foundations of biology rock to the very center at the sound of God’s voice?

They Will Not That the Lord Should Be Their Guide

While abridging Nephite history, and giving yet another account of the Nephites falling into a state of wickedness, Mormon pauses to lament the general spiritual fecklessness of the Nephites (and humanity more broadly).   

“O how foolish, and how vain, and how evil, and devilish, and how quick to do iniquity, and how slow to do good, are the children of men; yea, how quick to hearken unto the words of the evil one, and to set their hearts upon the vain things of the world! Yea, how quick to be lifted up in pride; yea, how quick to boast, and do all manner of that which is iniquity; and how slow are they to remember the Lord their God, and to give ear unto his counsels, yea, how slow to walk in wisdom’s paths!” (Helaman 12:4-5)

“Behold, they do not desire that the Lord their God, who hath created them, should rule and reign over them; notwithstanding his great goodness and his mercy towards them, they do set at naught his counsels, and they will not that he should be their guide. O how great is the nothingness of the children of men; yea, even they are less than the dust of the earth. For behold, the dust of the earth moveth hither and thither, to the dividing asunder, at the command of our great and everlasting God.” (Helaman 12:6-8)

Questions:

-Do you ever feel spiritually unstable? Are you ever taken aback by dark corners in your soul that have somehow formed and festered?

-Why is it often difficult to let God guide (rather than letting evil influences creep in and take control)?

-Are repentance, obedience to God’s commandments, and gratitude powerful spiritual stabilizers?