When Thou Fastest, Anoint Thy Head and Wash Thy Face

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

The passages below show the words from verses 16 through 18 of the King James version of Matthew 6 and the comparable verses from 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon.

“Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.” (Matthew 6:16-18)

“Moreover, when ye fast be not as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance, for they disfigure their faces that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thy head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father, who is in secret; and thy Father, who seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.” (3 Nephi 13:16-18)

Questions:

-Can the principle of anointing one’s head and washing one’s face be applied to religious service in general? Is this part of giving a good gift to God when we seek to do His will by serving others?

When Ye Pray, Use Not Vain Repetitions, For Your Father Knoweth What Things Ye Have Need of Before Ye Ask Him

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

The passages below show the words from verses 7 through 8 of the King James version of Matthew 6 and the comparable verses from 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon.

“But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” (Matthew 6:7-8)

“But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen, for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them, for your Father knoweth what thing ye have need of before ye ask him.” (3 Nephi 13:7-8)

Questions:

-What is the difference between God knowing what you need without you asking for help and God knowing what you need with you sincerely seeking help with the need?

Whosoever Shall Put Away His Wife, Saving for the Cause of Fornication, Causeth Her to Commit Adultery

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 31 and 32 of the King James version of Matthew and the comparable verses from 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon.

“It has been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.” (Matthew 5:31-32)

“It hath been written, that whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement. Verily, verily, I say unto you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery; and whoso shall marry her who is divorced committeth adultery.” (3 Nephi 12:31-32)

Questions:

-Realizing that the above is a standard for a couple who are committed to be true disciples of Jesus Christ, would it have been helpful for Christ to start enumerating other marriage-breaking behaviors here (beyond adultery) such as physical abuse or other extremely harmful narcissistic behaviors?    

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)

Let Your Light So Shine before This People, That They May See Your Good Works and Glorify Your Father Who is in Heaven

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 fourteen through sixteen of the King James version of Matthew and the comparable verses from 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon.

“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)

Verily, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you to be the light of this people. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Behold, do men light a candle and put it under a bushel? Nay, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light to all that are in the house; Therefore, let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (3 Nephi 12:14-16)

Questions:

-Is there a light in some peoples’ countenances which testifies they have received the Holy Ghost (and Jesus Christ of whom the Holy Ghost testifies)?

-Are these the same people whose good works glorify the Father?

-Why does Christ refer to glorifying His Father rather than himself?

If the Salt Shall Lose Its Savor…It Shall Be Thenceforth Good For Nothing

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 verse thirteen of the King James version of Matthew and the comparable verses from 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon.

“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” (Matthew 5:13)

Verily, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you to be the salt of the earth; but if the salt shall lose its savor wherewith shall the earth be salted? The salt shall be thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and to be trodden under foot of men” (3 Nephi 12:13)

Questions:

-What does it mean to be the “salt of the earth?”

-What causes those who are salt of the earth (through Christ’s calling) to lose their savor?

-Why does Christ speak in such strong terms about the fate of the salt that has lost its savor (it being cast out and trampled)?

Blessed Are All They Who Are Persecuted for My Name’s Sake

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 Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12) were again taught by the Savior when he visited Lehi’s descendants.

Below is the final portion of the Beatitudes, as recorded in the King James version of Matthew, and the comparable teaching as found in 3 Nephi of the Book of Mormon.

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” (Matthew 5:10-12)

And blessed are all they who are persecuted for my name’s sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. And blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake; for ye shall have great joy and be exceedingly glad, for great shall be your reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets who were before you.” (3 Nephi 12:10-12)

Questions:

-Is a true and faithful follower of Jesus Christ prone to suffer persecution, regardless of the country or culture he or she lives in?

-Is Christ preparing His most faithful followers for the inevitable in these verses?

Blessed Are the Peacemakers, For They Shall Be Called the Children of God

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 Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12) were again taught by the Savior when he visited Lehi’s descendants.

Below is the seventh of the Beatitudes, as recorded in the King James version of Matthew, and the comparable teaching as found in 3 Nephi of the Book of Mormon.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. (Matthew 5:9)

And blessed are all the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. (3 Nephi 12:9)

Questions:

  • Is peace one of the main results created in the world by those who Christ calls His children?

Blessed Are the Merciful, For They Shall Obtain Mercy

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 Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12) were again taught by the Savior when he visited Lehi’s descendants.

Below is the fifth of the Beatitudes, as recorded in the King James version of Matthew, and the comparable teaching as found in 3 Nephi of the Book of Mormon.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” (Matthew 5:7)

And blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” (3 Nephi 12:7)

Questions:

-Is it possible for a person to be both merciful and just in their actions? Or, does insisting on justice always downplay mercy and vice versa?

If the Children of Men Keep the Commandments of God He Doth Nourish Them and Strengthen Them

In giving an account of his family’s journey through portions of the Saudi Arabian Peninsula, Nephi recognizes the great blessings they had received from God as vulnerable travelers far from their home and comfort zones. Although it was very difficult going, they were never attacked, no one died of starvation, and women in the group bore children and successfully nurtured them despite the harsh conditions. Nephi knew his father had received a commandment to leave Jerusalem and to seek a promised land for his family. As he is writing, Nephi pauses in his narrative to share a general truth about the blessings that come from obedience to God’s commands:

“…If it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them, and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them.” (1 Nephi 17:3)

Questions:

-How does the Lord nourish and strengthen those who keep His commandments? Is it often by small and simple means that can be easily overlooked?

-If you care about keeping the commandments, is it more likely that you will care about getting help from God to accomplish what He has asked you to do? Is commandment keeping a key to building a relationship with God?

Where can the ten commandments be found? Are there more than the ten commandments found in the book of Exodus? What about receiving personal commandments such as the one Lehi received to leave Jerusalem. Does God still give such commandments, specific to individuals, in our time?

-Which commandments are the most important? Are the two great commandments, affirmed by Jesus Christ in the New Testament, a summary of the ten commandments? Or, do they transcend the ten commandments to some degree?

-Is obedience to God’s commandments a key to bringing His power into your life? How meaningful and empowering would it be to receive nourishment and strength from God himself?