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?

On This Wise Shall Ye Baptize

Christ called priesthood holders in the Americas (around 34 A.D.) and taught them the specific way in which baptisms should be performed:

“Verily I say unto you, that whoso repenteth of his sins through your words, and desireth to be baptized in my name, on this wise shall ye baptize them—Behold, ye shall go down and stand in the water, and in my name shall ye baptize them. And now behold, these are the words which ye shall say, calling them by name, saying: Having authority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. And then shall ye immerse them in the water, and come forth again out of the water. And after this manner shall ye baptize in my name; for behold, verily I say unto you, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one; and I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one. And according as I have commanded you thus shall ye baptize.” (3 Nephi 11:23-28)

Questions:

-Why did Christ, while visiting a group of Lehi’s descendants, focus on teaching the correct manner of baptism?

-What does this say about how important the proper baptismal ordinance is to God?

How Oft Will I Gather Israel as a Hen Gathereth Her Chickens If They Will Repent

After a massively destructive natural upheaval, Christ speaks to the surviving descendants of Lehi (who was of the tribe of Manasseh) living in the Americas.

“O ye house of Israel whom I have spared, how oft will I gather you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, if ye will repent and return unto me with full purpose of heart. But if not, O house of Israel, the places of your dwellings shall become desolate until the time of the fulfilling of the covenant to your fathers.” (3 Nephi 10:6)

Questions:

-Is now the time when the covenants made regarding the restoration of Israel are being fulfilled?

-What does it entail to turn with “full purpose of heart” to Christ?

Whoso Repenteth and Cometh unto Me as a Little Child, Him Will I Receive

Christ continues to teach the descendants of Lehi (living in the Americas shortly after His death and Resurrection) about His purposes and redemptive power.

“Behold, I have come unto the world to bring redemption unto the world, to save the world from sin. Therefore, whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child, him will I receive, for of such is the kingdom of God. Behold, for such I have laid down my life, and have taken it up again; therefore repent, and come unto me ye ends of the earth and be saved.” (3 Nephi 9:21-22)

Questions:

-What does it mean to come unto Christ as a little child?

-What prevents one from taking this all-import step in their lives?

The Resurrection of Christ Redeemeth Mankind from the Fall of Adam

Samuel, a Lamanite prophet, teaches important truths about Christ’s Resurrection:

  • Christ’s death was a necessary part of His working out salvation for mankind.
  • The salvation Christ extends is not only spiritual. It also overcomes the death that came into the world through Adam and Eve’s fall providing physical salvation as well (preparing the way for the Resurrection of all who ever lived).
  • The Resurrection ensured that no person will be held responsible for the “original sin” of Adam and Eve and, thereby, laid the groundwork for repentance to be meaningful—each individual only being responsible for his or her own sins that are not repented of.
  • There is an important link between physical resurrection and being brought back into the presence of the Lord for the Final Judgment.

“…[Christ] surely must die that salvation may come; yea, it behooveth him and becometh expedient that he dieth, to bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, that thereby men may be brought into the presence of the Lord. Yea, behold, this death bringeth to pass the resurrection, and redeemeth all mankind from the first death—that spiritual death; for all mankind, by the fall of Adam being cut off from the presence of the Lord, are considered as dead, both as to things temporal and to things spiritual. But behold, the resurrection of Christ redeemeth mankind, yea, even all mankind, and bringeth them back into the presence of the Lord. Yea, and it bringeth to pass the condition of repentance, that whosoever repenteth the same is not hewn down and cast into the fire; but whosoever repenteth not is hewn down and cast into the fire; and there cometh upon them again a spiritual death, yea, a second death, for they are cut off again as to things pertaining to righteousness.” (Helaman 14:15-18)

Questions:

-How did Christ’s Resurrection overcome the first death or “original sin” for all?

-Why will all be physically resurrected before they are brought to the Last Judgment?

If Ye Believe on His Name Ye Will Repent of All Your Sins

Samuel, a Lamanite prophet, teaches that true belief in Jesus Christ leads one to change his or her life comprehensively. All sins are unacceptable for the person who does not take for granted the escape Christ has prepared. Those who truly believe in the power of Christ’s Atonement do not take the opportunity to repent lightly.

“…Whosoever shall believe on the Son of God, the same shall have everlasting life…And if ye believe on his name ye will repent of all your sins, that thereby ye may have a remission of them through his merits.” (Helaman 14:8,13)

Questions:

-How does James 2:17 relate to the above verses?

Blessed Are They Who Will Repent and Turn unto Me

Repentance, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, makes or breaks the soul of one who understands who Christ is and what He has done to prepare the way for each individual person spiritually and eternally.

“…Thus saith the Lord, blessed are they who will repent and turn unto me, but wo unto him that repenteth not.” (Helaman 13:11)  

Questions:

-Will everyone who ever lived have a chance to receive or reject Christ’s Atonement before the Last Judgment?

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?