Remember That My Spirit Will Not Always Strive with Man

The Lord teaches the brother of Jared that it is a sin (and a spiritual hazard) to forgo praying to God as consistent action in one’s life.

“The Lord…chastened [The brother of Jared] because he remembered not to call upon the name of the Lord. And the brother of Jared repented of the evil which he had done, and did call upon the name of the Lord for his brethren who were with him. And the Lord said unto him: I will forgive thee and thy brethren of their sins; but thou shalt not sin any more, for ye shall remember that my Spirit will not always strive with man; wherefore, if ye will sin until ye are fully ripe ye shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord. And these are my thoughts upon the land which I shall give you for your inheritance; for it shall be a land choice above all other lands.” (Ether 2:14-15)

Questions:

-Is prayer a form of seeking the Lord’s presence in your life?

-Is there any hope of drawing closer to the Lord without regular, diligent, and sincere prayer?

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?

Ye May Stand Spotless Before Me at the Last Day

Christ teaches that no unclean thing can persist in the kingdom of God, but all who repent, are baptized, and remain faithful to Christ to the end will be sanctified by the Holy Ghost and will stand clean in His presence at the Last Judgment (ready to enter into God’s kingdom).

“…No unclean thing can enter into [the Father’s] kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end. Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day.” (3 Nephi 27:19-20)

Questions:

-Are the words of Christ designed to work within us to keep us spiritually alert and focused?

-Do His teachings in these verses lead one to be complacent about God’s saving power? Or, do the qualifications of baptism and faithfulness to the end, through continual repentance, challenge a soul to actively gather greater spiritual intelligence through the application of free will in line with God’s commandments?

-If God loves us and can magnify the spiritual intelligence we obtain in this life throughout eternity, how import would it be for Him to encourage His children to gain as much light as possible during their mortal probation?   

This Is My Gospel

Christ describes His gospel to His disciples in the Americas (about A.D. 34). The culmination of His atoning sacrifice —having suffered for all the sins of mankind and having felt all the pains of mankind before dying on the cross outside of Jerusalem — established His unalterable place as the Judge of all mankind. Accordingly, God the Father has given his Son, Jesus Christ, the power to draw every human soul into His presence to be judged at the time of the Resurrection.  

“…This is my gospel…that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me. And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil—And for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works. And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world. And he that endureth not unto the end, the same is he that is also hewn down and cast into the fire, from whence they can no more return, because of the justice of the Father.” (3 Nephi 27:13-17)

Questions:

-What does it mean to endure to the end (after repenting and being baptized in Christ’s name)?

-Is the opportunity to be held guiltless before God (the ultimate Authority) something that your soul yearns for?

Whosoever Will Not Repent and Come unto My Beloved Son, Them Will I Cut Off from Among My People

Speaking to a group of the descendants of Lehi in the Americas (about A.D. 34), Christ continues to prophesy concerning the fate of the unrepentant Gentiles who reject His gospel. He also foretells the subsequent establishment of the New Jerusalem on the American continent.  

“…My people who are a remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles, yea, in the midst of them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he go through both treadeth down and teareth into pieces, and none can deliver. Their hand shall be lifted up upon their adversaries, and all their enemies shall be cut off. Yea, wo be unto the Gentiles except they repent; for it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Father, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots; And I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strongholds; And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thy land, and thou shalt have no more soothsayers; Thy graven images I will also cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee, and thou shalt no more worship the works of thy hands; And I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee; so will I destroy thy cities. And it shall come to pass that all lyings, and deceivings, and envyings, and strifes, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, shall be done away. For it shall come to pass, saith the Father, that at that day whosoever will not repent and come unto my Beloved Son, them will I cut off from among my people, O house of Israel; And I will execute vengeance and fury upon them, even as upon the heathen, such as they have not heard. But if they will repent and hearken unto my words, and harden not their hearts, I will establish my church among them, and they shall come in unto the covenant and be numbered among this the remnant of Jacob, unto whom I have given this land for their inheritance; And they shall assist my people, the remnant of Jacob, and also as many of the house of Israel as shall come, that they may build a city, which shall be called the New Jerusalem. And then shall the power of heaven come down among them; and I also will be in the midst.” (3 Nephi 21:12-25)

Questions:

-Is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints well-received and respected among the Gentile nation of the United States? Or, is it more marginalized and disrespected?

-In what direction is the above relationship headed? Is United States culture, as a whole, moving toward greater acceptance and respect for the Church? Or, is it moving toward creating greater marginalization and disrespect for the Church?  

This Is the Thing Which I Give unto You for a Sign

The coming forth of Christ’s words in the Book of Mormon is a sign that God has commenced a great and marvelous work to gather the house of Israel in the latter days. The Book of Mormon and the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is an invitation to the Gentiles to become part of the house of Israel and an invitation to the house of Israel to gather in unto their Savior.

Below is Jesus Christ speaking to a group of the descendants of the house of Israel in the Americas about A.D. 34.

“…This is the thing which I will give unto you for a sign—for verily I say unto you that when these things which I declare unto you, and which I shall declare unto you hereafter of myself, and by the power of the Holy Ghost which shall be given unto you of the Father, shall be made known unto the Gentiles that they may know concerning this people who are a remnant of the house of Jacob, and concerning this my people who shall be scattered by them. Verily, Verily, I say unto you, when these things shall be made known unto them of the Father, and shall come forth of the Father, from them unto you; For it is wisdom in the Father that [the Gentiles] should be established in this land, and be set up as a free people by the power of the Father, that these things might come forth from them unto a remnant of your seed, that the covenant of the Father may be fulfilled which he hath covenanted with his people, O house of Israel. Therefore, when these works and the works which shall be wrought among you hereafter shall come forth from the Gentiles, unto your seed which shall dwindle in unbelief because of iniquity; For thus it behooveth the Father that is should come forth from the Gentiles, that he may show forth his power unto the Gentiles, for this cause that the Gentiles, if they will not harden their hearts, that they may repent and come unto me and be baptized in my name and know of the true points of my doctrine, that they may be numbered among my people, O house of Israel.” (3 Nephi 21:2-6)

“And when these things come to pass that thy seed shall begin to know these things—it shall be a sign unto them, that they may know that the work of the Father hath already commenced unto the fulfilling of the covenant which he hath made unto the people who are of the house of Israel. And when that day shall come, it shall come to pass that kings shall shut their mouths; for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider. For in that day, for my sake shall the Father work a work, which shall be a great and marvelous work among them; and there shall be among them those who will not believe it, although a man shall declare it unto them…Therefore it shall come to pass that whosoever will not believe in my words, who am Jesus Christ, which the Father shall cause him to bring forth unto the Gentiles, and shall give unto him power that he shall bring them forth unto the Gentiles, (it shall be done even as Moses said) they shall be cut off from among my people who are of the covenant.” (3 Nephi 21:7-11)

Questions:

-How important is it to be numbered among the faithful members of house of Israel in the last days prior to Christ’s return?

-Does biological relation to the house of Israel amount to much if a person does not align his or her life with the true authority and commandments of the Holy One of Israel?

If the Gentiles Shall Harden Their Hearts Against Me, I Will Return Their Iniquities Upon Their Own Heads

The earthly ministry of Jesus Christ and His early Jewish disciples set off a chain of events where (especially after the Reformation when many more souls were able to read the teachings in the Bible) the Holy Ghost influenced the Christian nations in such a way that they became the most powerful — politically and technologically — in the world. Without the impetus created by the Lord’s covenant people – starting with Abraham and culminating in the Lord Himself coming to His people in the flesh – none of these blessings and powers would have come to the Christian (i.e. Gentile) nations. The truths and teachings in the Bible were (and are) a blessing from the house of Israel and were a conduit for the Holy Spirit to influence the cultures and peoples who embraced them. See the following video, which touches on some of these themes: Because of Him—Easter Video – YouTube

As the nations that have previously been Christian turn away from the spiritual wellspring given to them by the house of Israel — firstly through the Bible and subsequently from the added testimony of Jesus Christ found in the Book of Mormon — they will no longer be strengthened and upheld by God. Their sin, instead of being forgiven through repentance and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ, will be turned upon them.

Below is Jesus Christ speaking to a group of the descendants of the house of Israel in the Americas about A.D. 34.

“…Ye are of the house of Israel; and ye are of the covenant which the Father made with your fathers, saying unto Abraham: And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. The Father having raised me up unto you first, and sent me to bless you in turning away every one of you from his iniquities; and this because ye are the children of the covenant—And after that ye were blessed then fulfilleth the Father the covenant which he made with Abraham saying: In thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed—unto the pouring out of the Holy Ghost through me upon the Gentiles which blessing upon the Gentiles shall make them mighty above all, unto the scattering of my people, O house of Israel. And they shall be a scourge unto the people of this land. Nevertheless, when they shall have received the fulness of my gospel, then if they shall harden their hearts against me I will return their iniquities upon their own heads, saith the Father.” (3 Nephi 20:25-28)

Questions:

-How many perceive — or believe in — the intervention of God in granting prosperity to countries influenced by the life and teachings of Jesus Christ and the testimony of the house of Israel (as found in the Bible)?

-How many believe that the Book of Mormon is a second witness of the truth of the Bible and was instrumental in restoring the fulness of Christ’s gospel?

Ye Shall Not Suffer Any One Knowingly to Partake of My Flesh and Blood Unworthily

Christ taught His priesthood leaders that partaking the Sacrament unworthily could bring condemnation to those they were charged to minister to. Accordingly, He taught them who should take part in the Sacrament and who should not as well as who should be numbered among His people and who should not. Through all disciplinary actions regarding the Sacrament and Church membership, the Savior commands his priesthood leaders to mercifully extend the opportunity to return.

“…Ye shall not suffer any one knowingly to partake of my flesh and blood unworthily, when ye shall minister it; For whoso eateth and drinketh my flesh and blood unworthily eateth and drinketh damnation to his soul; therefore if ye know that a man is unworthy to eat and drink of my flesh and blood ye shall forbid him. Nevertheless, ye shall not cast him out from among you, but ye shall minister unto him and shall pray for him unto the Father, in my name, and if it so be that he repenteth and is baptized in my name, then shall ye receive him, and shall minister unto him of my flesh and blood. But if he repent not he shall not be numbered among my people, that he may not destroy my people, for behold I know my sheep, and they are numbered. Nevertheless, ye shall not cast him out of your synagogues, or your places of worship, for unto such shall ye continue to minister; for ye know not but what they will return and repent, and come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I shall heal them; and ye shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them. Therefore, keep these sayings which I have commanded you that ye come not under condemnation; for wo unto him whom the Father condemneth. (3 Nephi 18:28-33)

Questions:

-Why would partaking of the bread and water of the Sacrament unworthily be spiritually detrimental to the person who does so?

-Since we all sin to some degree week after week, what kind of sin(s) would cause a person to be unworthy to eat and drink the emblems of Christ’s flesh and blood?

-If the symbolic emblems of Christ’s body and blood are administered by one who does not have authority from Christ to do so, would partaking unworthily in that circumstance have a negative spiritual affect?

First Cast the Beam out of Thine Own Eye

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, 6 and 7) were again taught by the Savior when he visited Lehi’s descendants after His resurrection.

The passage below shows the words from verses three through five of the King James version of Matthew 7 and the comparable verses from 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon.

“And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:3-5)

“And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother: Let me pull the mote out of thine eye—and behold a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” (3 Nephi 13:3-5)

Questions:

-Does the size of the mote versus the size of the beam reflect one’s capacity to change what needs to be changed in terms of faults and shortcomings?