Ether 7: 26 – 27; 8: 23 – 26

Verse 26: And because the people did repent of their iniquities and idolatries the Lord did spare them, and they began to prosper again in the land. And it came to pass that Shule begat sons and daughters in his old age.

Verse 27: And there were no more wars in the days of Shule; and he remembered the great things that the Lord had done for his fathers in bringing them across the great deep into the promised land; wherefore he did execute judgment in righteousness all his days.

            This is the prescription of safety for dwelling in the land of America. It is to remember the great things that the Lord has done for our fathers in bringing them to this promised land. It is to repent of our iniquities and idolatries and worship the Lord Jesus Christ. It is to live in righteousness all of our days.

            If our society will do these things, we will prosper safely all of our days and accomplish the great work the Lord has for us to do in the world. We will be led by His Holy Spirit in what we do. The Book of Mormon teaches us these truths. It is one of the reasons it is needed in these last days. Other societies who have dwelt on this continent have perished because they didn’t follow this formula the Lord gave them.

            We are in the last days before the Lord Jesus Christ returns to the earth. Will our nation be ready to receive Him? Will we, in gratitude and humility, worship the God of this land? Will we have accomplished the mission He gave to all who are brought to and dwell in this special land? Will we have listened and acted more on what the still small voice of the Spirit whispered to our hearts than to the loud, pushy voices of the media and promoters of chaos? Daily the choice is ours. At the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, the consequences of our choices will tell for us and those we have influenced.

Chapter 8

Verse 23: Wherefore, O ye Gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins, and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to get power and gain—and the work, yea, even the work of destruction come upon you, yea, even the sword of the justice of the Eternal God shall fall upon you, to your overthrow and destruction if ye shall suffer these things to be.

Verse 24: Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you; or wo be unto it, because of the blood of them who have been slain; for they cry from the dust for vengeance upon it, and also upon those who built it up.

Verse 25: For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it up seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries; and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people, for it is built up by the devil, who is the father of all lies; even that same liar who beguiled our first parents, yea, even that same liar who hath caused man to commit murder from the beginning; who hath hardened the hearts of men that they have murdered the prophets, and stoned them, and cast them out from the beginning.

Verse 26: Wherefore, I, Moroni, am commanded to write these things that evil may be done away, and that the time may come that Satan may have no power upon the hearts of the children of men, but that they may be persuaded to do good continually, that they may come unto the fountain of all righteousness and be saved.

            Moroni outlines clearly the need of our day. He describes it as if he were here now. He describes it as he saw it by the power of God. He shows it with his words to us. The choice is up to us. We have let liars and murders gain power in our land. Will those who love right and justice stand up against those who are working destruction among us.

            Are we awake to our awful situation that the secret murderous combinations are in power? If we do not act for good, the justice of the Eternal God shall fall upon our nation. Let those who love the Lord stand together in righteous purpose to strengthen each other and govern our communities, states, and nations with God’s work as our desire. Let us help each other. Let us turn to the Lord and plead for His deliverance. Let us stand in His name for good in our daily words and actions.

Dani

Ether 2: 11 – 12, 14, 15

Verse 4:  And it came to pass that when they had come down into the valley of Nimrod the Lord came down and talked with the brother of Jared; and He was in a cloud, and the brother of Jared saw Him not.

Verse 5:  And it came to pass that the Lord commanded them that they should go forth into the wilderness, yea, into that quarter where there never had man been. And it came to pass that the Lord did go before them, and did talk with them as He stood in a cloud, and gave directions whither they should travel.

            The time period of the book of Ether was the Tower of Babel from the Bible. It is about one group who asked God not to confound the language of family and friends and the Lord’s dealings with them.

            We live in difficult times. I have experienced answers to my prayers when I have turned to the Lord in my struggles and difficulties and asked for His help. I know that the Lord will help us to do His will when we ask of Him and have faith to do what He tells us. Like the brother of Jared, we can talk with the Lord even though we do not see Him.

Verse 7:  And the Lord would not suffer that they should stop beyond the sea in the wilderness, but He would that they should come forth even unto the land of promise, which was choice above all other lands, which the Lord God had preserved for a righteous people.

Verse 8:  And He had sworn in his wrath unto the brother of Jared, that whoso should possess this land of promise, from that time henceforth and forever, should serve Him, the true and only God, or they should be swept off when the fulness of His wrath should come upon them.

Verse 9: And now, we can behold the decrees of God concerning this land, that it is a land of promise; and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fulness of His wrath shall come upon them. And the fulness of His wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity.

Verse 10: For behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God. And it is not until the fulness of iniquity among the children of the land, that they are swept off.

Verse 11: And this cometh unto you, O ye Gentiles, that ye may know the decrees of God—that ye may repent, and not continue in your iniquities until the fulness come, that ye may not bring down the fulness of the wrath of God upon you as the inhabitants of the land have hitherto done.

Verse 12: Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ, who hath been manifested by the things which we have written.

            These verses tell us that this land of America has a specific role. It was a land reserved for those who believed and served God. Lehi’s family, the Mulekites, the Jaredites, the Pilgrims, and groups from other countries have been allowed to come here to serve God in freedom. The Lord’s promise to those on this land is that as long as they serve Him, they will be free. If they turn from Him, when they are ripe in iniquity, they will lose that blessing.

            How simple a requirement to remain free from bondage, captivity, and from all other nations. Why does society not choose this freedom which comes from serving Jesus Christ. His arms are outstretched to each of us, to come unto Him and be saved. Salvation includes freedom in this life as well as eternal life in the next.

Verse 14: And it came to pass at the end of four years that the Lord came again unto the brother of Jared, and stood in a cloud and talked with him. And for the space of three hours did the Lord talk with the brother of Jared, and chastened him because he remembered not to call upon the name of the Lord.

Verse 15:  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.

           This verse helps me understand many principles. I like the example of the way the Lord disciplines. After the great blessings He had given to Jared’s family through Jared’s brother’s prayers, Jared’s brother didn’t pray for four years. Prayer is talking with the Lord. It is a commandment to bring the Lord daily into our thoughts and lives. For four years, the brother of Jared didn’t take time for the Lord. When the Lord appeared to the brother of Jared after that time, He chastened him for not “remembering” to call upon Him.

            Prayer helps us remember the goodness of God in our lives. It helps us focus on His commandments so we can live His way. Repenting, or changing, of this evil, the brother of Jared prayed for his brethren. The Lord was merciful and forgave them with the reminder that to keep His Spirit with them, they needed to not sin and to worship the Lord and keep His commandments. This loving chastising from the Lord was teaching not punishment. We can teach others, especially children, the ways of the Lord, with love. That is His way.

Verse 25:  And behold, I prepare you against these things; for ye cannot cross this great deep save I prepare you against the waves of the sea, and the winds which have gone forth, and the floods which shall come. Therefore what will ye that I should prepare for you that ye may have light when ye are swallowed up in the depths of the sea?

            The Lord had a plan that included a great undertaking for the people of Jared. It required their obedience, their faithfulness, and their prayers both in preparation and the almost year time it would take to accomplish it. He helped them with the preparation and asked them for ideas in meeting the needs they would have. This teaches us the ways the Lord helps us in our trials and challenges. Some things He just gives as a result of our prayers. Some things He wants us to think about how to solve and ask for His confirmation and help in accomplishing.  

            I’m grateful for these verses on learning how to be a better disciple of Jesus Christ. I’m grateful for the truth that teaches me to trust Him. It brings peace to my life. It helps me trust Him when I don’t know the outcome of a situation.

            The Book of Mormon prophets bless my life every day because they took the time to keep records of their interactions with God. Our daily journals will also bless our descendants.

            Let us obey the commandments and look to the future God has for us and our families.

Dani

3 Nephi 21: 1, 2, 3 – 6, 7 – 9

Verse 1: And verily I say unto you, I give unto you a sign, that ye may know the time when these things shall be about to take place—that I shall gather in, from their long dispersion, my people, O house of Israel, and shall establish again among them my Zion;

            God’s influence exists on earth. In spite of the crazy worldly fads today with values and people turning upside down, I have peace knowing that the Lord’s work is still being done and will be completed.

            The Lord’s Zion is a place of peace and righteousness. It is a place where He can dwell because it is clean and pure and will be inhabited by the clean and pure of mankind.

Verse 2: And behold, 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;

            When the Gentiles are given the fullness of the Gospel and knowledge of the scattered remnant of the house of Israel, and after the Gentiles have scattered the remnant of Israel on the American continent, then it will be known that the sign has been given and the gathering is happening.

Verse 3: 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;

Verse 4: For it is wisdom in the Father that they 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;

Verse 5: 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;

Verse 6: For thus it behooveth the Father that it 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;

            One of the wonderful ways in which Heavenly Father showed His power unto the Gentiles was the making of America. That the colonists should beat the greatest power in the world of that time, Great Britain, in two wars thus establishing their separate nation, has been acknowledged over and over that it was the hand of God that made it happen.

            Heavenly Father blessed the Gentiles with the wonderful opportunity of seeing His work happen among them. He loves all of His children and wants them each to receive His full blessings. By allowing the work of the Gospel restoration to happen in their midst, He gave the Gentiles the opportunity to repent, come unto Christ, be baptized and to know the truth. Knowing the truth helps us to choose freedom.

            There is great emphasis here that the descendants of Lehi would have the truth through the Gentiles. It is repeated in each of the preceding verses. Therefore, there must be significance that the Lord wants understood. It is good to ask ourselves as we study, “What does the Lord want me to understand from this?” As we ask this question, we open our minds to receive inspiration from the Holy Ghost to teach us. It is wonderful to be taught of the Holy Ghost by having answers, thoughts, and ideas come into our minds while studying.

            There is so much to learn. It is good to ask of God what is most important for us to know as individuals. There are truths that will aid us in our own problems as we understand them. The scriptures are good to help us find these solutions. I’ve been blessed so much through my life as I’ve sought answers through studying the scriptures. It is amazing to be studying and to have ideas come into the mind and then realize that it is understanding that will help with a problem I’ve been facing at that time.

Verse 7: 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.

Verse 8: 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.

Verse 9: For in that day, for my sake shall the Father work a work, which shall be a great and a marvelous work among them; and there shall be among them those who will not believe it, although a man shall declare it unto them.

            Heavenly Father’s work is marvelous. There are people who don’t believe it. Lack of belief does not change truth. It does not stop Heavenly Father’s plans. However, lack of belief does stop individuals from progressing in His plan. The winning side of earth will be God’s side. Those who choose a different side will not accomplish what they could have if they had chosen to participate in Heavenly Father’s plan.

            The agency He gave us to choose for ourselves on earth means that some will not choose His ways. That is sad since His ways are the ways of happiness and salvation. But these gifts would not be appreciated unless worked for. Their value could not be full unless individual choice and sacrifice was made to obtain them.

            May we look and seek and knock that we may see, find, and receive God’s truth in our lives.

Dani

3 Nephi 14: 15 – 20, 21 – 23, 24 – 27

Verse 15: Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

Verse 16: Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

Verse 17: Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

Verse 18: A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

Verse 19: Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

Verse 20: Wherefore, by their fruits ye shall know them.

            We will know people who seek to lead others by the way they act in private as well as public. What we put into our hearts by our thoughts and choices is what grows and eventually comes out in our words and actions. Good will produce good and evil will produce evil – this is a natural law as well as a spiritual one. We can know others inward motives by the outward products of their lives. While we all have weaknesses as well as strengths, there is a difference between sincerely trying to be better and the hypocrisy of pretending for outward appearances.

Verse 21: Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven.

Verse 22: Many will say to me in that day: Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name, and in thy name have cast out devils, and in thy name done many wonderful works?

Verse 23: And then will I profess unto them: I never knew you; depart me from, ye that work iniquity.

            These verses help me see that for us to know the Lord we must do the kinds of acts He did with the same type of love and motivation He had. I learned a few years ago that I must always be kind in my dealing with others because He was kind. This understanding has changed my choices when interacting with those who aren’t easy for me to be kind to. And in choosing to follow Jesus Christ in this way, I have changed; my love for others has increased, and I have become kinder to all people.

            Jesus came to do His Father’s work – to help everyone on their pathway Home to Heavenly Father. If we have any other motive, we cannot know the Savior in the way we need to to live in the kingdom of heaven after this life is over. Like King Lamoni’s father, I want to give away all my sins so that I can return Home to our Heavenly Father and stay there. It’s not always easy to do what I know is right but I’ll keep trying so that our Savior can say that I seek to know Him and He knows me when it is time to enter that heavenly kingdom.

Verse 24: Therefore, whoso heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them, I will like him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock

Verse 25: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not, for it was founded upon a rock.

Verse 26: And every one that heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them not shall be likened unto a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand

Verse 27: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell, and great was the fall of it.

            Hearing and doing what Jesus teaches builds our lives upon a firm foundation that will safely get us through the storms of life even when storms beat upon us. We all have storms, or adversity, in our lives. Whether or not we survive them depends upon what we build our lives upon. True principles of belief and behavior becomes strength for us when the too hard or too easy times come. When we are committed in our hearts and actions to follow Jesus Christ in all situations, we will have the solid foundation that will keep us through unbelievable challenges.

            I’ve been amazed at what turning to the Savior and striving to hear and do what His teachings and commandments during the challenges I’ve faced has done for my faith in Him, my love for others, and my increased understanding and empathy and patience for my fellow travelers. I have experienced the solidness in building upon the Rock of our Redeemer.

            May we have willingness to listen and obey His loving voice.

Dani

3 Nephi 12: 14 – 18, 19 – 20, 21 – 24, 25 – 26

Verse 14: 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.

Verse 15: 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;

Verse 16: Therefore let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

Verse 17: Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets. I am not come to destroy but to fulfil;

Verse 18: For verily I say unto you, one jot nor one tittle hath not passed away from the law, but in me it hath all been fulfilled.

            Those who have the light of truth, the testimony of Jesus Christ, are to live so that the gospel in their lives might bless others’ lives. We are to be an example of His way in the ways we live so that our knowledge will bless others. We are to be living examples of His teachings so others can know how to live righteously.   We are to honor God by the way we live.

            Jesus Christ came to the earth to fulfill all that the prophets had testified regarding Him and His mission on the earth. He is the One who came to make Heavenly Father’s Plan of Happiness operable. His Atonement fulfilled the Plan. All the words that He has spoken will be verified even to the tiniest one. He speaks truth. His truth will be completed. His Atonement enables the completion of the purpose of life on earth.

            What marvelous thoughts and ideas and truth were spoken by Jesus to the people of ancient America as well as to those in Jerusalem. His words have blessed people through earth’s history. They have blessed my life and continue to do so. They bring me light and peace and hope and love and strength. I want to be part of His work. I want to live and do as He taught. I love Him and our Father in Heaven.

Verse 19:  And behold, I have given you the law and the commandments of my Father, that ye shall believe in me, and that ye shall repent of your sins, and come unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Behold, ye have the commandments before you, and the law is fulfilled.

Verse 20: Therefore come unto me and be ye saved; for verily I say unto you, that except ye shall keep my commandments, which I have commanded you at this time, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

            I feel the Savior’s love in these verses. He tells us that the commandments He gives are of His Father – our Father. The commandments and the law are to help us believe in Him. Believing in Jesus Christ and keeping the commandments help us to want to repent of our sins.

            Believing, obeying, and repenting is the process of coming unto Jesus. These help our hearts to be broken because we realize that we need Him to change, to obey, to believe, and to be healed. We need Him to get Home to Heavenly Father.

            He obeyed Heavenly Father in every commandment. We must strive to do the same in order to fulfill Heavenly Father’s law and to go Home to Him. Fulfilling Heavenly Father’s law for us is to seek Jesus and to learn how to fulfill our individual missions given to us in the premortal life. It is learning to submit our will to His because we love Him.

Verse 21:  Ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, and it is also written before you, that thou shalt not kill, and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment of God;

Verse 22: But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of His judgment. And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; and whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

Verse 23: Therefore, if ye shall come unto me, or shall desire to come unto me, and rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee—

Verse 24: Go thy way unto thy brother, and first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I will receive you.

            The commandments are given to help us become pure and clean. It is through our obedience and the Savior’s Atonement that we choose to become ready to live in God’s presence. It is not just our actions, but also our motivations, we need to change. When our full purpose of our heart is to be willing to do all Heavenly Father asks of us, then we are preparing to be received into His presence.

            Changing the heart takes a lot of work especially in our relationships with each other. No matter my desires to do right, it is my thoughts, words, and actions that show the degree to which I’m living my desires.

Verse 25: 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.

Verse 26: 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.

            Verse 25 confused me for many years. Finally, I have understood it to mean to settle disagreements as they occur and not to leave them festering. Relationships need to be as positive as we can make them. It is our responsibility individually to make them as whole as we can. To resolve problems immediately frees us, and others, to continue individual growth. To leave them festering in hearts and minds imprisons our emotional and spiritual growth.

            May we seek His light and truth to bless our lives.

Dani

3 Nephi 6: 4, 14, 20; 7: 15 – 16, 18 – 22, 23 – 26

Verse 4: And they began again to prosper and to wax great; and the twenty and sixth and seventh years passed away, and there was great order in the land; and they had formed their laws according to equity and justice.

            I have found peace in my life as I follow the laws of equity and justice. To share what I have with others and to obey God’s laws and the laws of the land brings me peace and satisfaction. These help me to be satisfied with the goodness of my life even as I strive to improve myself and the world around me.

            I like order. My life goes smoother when it is orderly. It takes work to make it so. I’m still striving to have every part of my life in complete order. I imagine I’ll be working on it to the end of this life.

Verse 14:  And thus there became a great inequality in all the land, insomuch that the church began to be broken up; yea, insomuch that in the thirtieth year the church was broken up in all the land save it were among a few of the Lamanites who were converted unto the true faith; and they would not depart from it, for they were firm, and steadfast, and immovable, willing with all diligence to keep the commandments of the Lord.

            When people make themselves above others and feel that they are better, for whatever reason, relationships as well as organizations are broken. Heavenly Father has told us that to Him every soul is precious. It is against God’s way for man to think he or she is better than another. To hold steadfast and immovable in the ways of God is to value freedom and equality in our very core.

Chapter 7

Verse 15: And it came to pass that Nephi—having been visited by angels and also the voice of the Lord, therefore having seen angels, and being eye-witness, and having had power given unto him that he might know concerning the ministry of Christ, and also being eye-witness to their quick return from righteousness unto their wickedness and abominations;

Verse 16: Therefore, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts and the blindness of their minds—went forth among them in that same year, and began to testify, boldly, repentance and remission of sins through faith on the Lord Jesus Christ.

            Nephi knew God. He knew His ways and obeyed His commandments.   As he saw the people of his nation turn from the ways of God, he went among them to share his testimony of the truth and the importance of living the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He wanted peace to return to their land. It is only through God that we can have peace in our hearts and minds and thus in our families, communities, and nations.

Verse 18: And it came to pass that they were angry with him, even because he had greater power than they, for it were not possible that they could disbelieve his words, for so great was his faith on the Lord Jesus Christ that angels did minister unto him daily.

Verse 19: And in the name of Jesus did he cast out devils and unclean spirits; and even his brother did he raise from the dead, after he had been stoned and suffered death by the people.

Verse 20: And the people saw it, and did witness of it, and were angry with him because of his power; and he did also do many more miracles, in the sight of the people, in the name of Jesus.

Verse 21: And it came to pass that the thirty and first year did pass away, and there were but few who were converted unto the Lord; but as many as were converted did truly signify unto the people that they had been visited by the power and Spirit of God, which was in Jesus Christ, in whom they believed.

Verse 22: And as many as had devils cast out from them, and were healed of their sicknesses and their infirmities, did truly manifest unto the people that they had been wrought upon by the Spirit of God, and had been healed; and they did show forth signs also and did do some miracles among the people.

            It is a wonder that people get angry at goodness. What condition exists within someone that goodness would make them angry? Could it be pride – enmity – that feels that goodness in others affects one negatively? Many of the people of Nephi’s time were angry because he had greater power than they did. His power came from God because of his righteousness and service. They knew his words were true but they were angry that he could heal others with the power of God.

            Those who were healed were converted unto the Lord – their attitudes toward God changed. Belief, faith, obedience take a humble heart and a contrite spirit. Repentance requires that we are willing to learn and change.

            Does the goodness that happens in others’ lives cause us to rejoice because we are glad for them? Do we rejoice in goodness wherever it is?

Verse 23: Thus passed away the thirty and second year also. And Nephi did cry unto the people in the commencement of the thirty and third year; and he did preach unto them repentance and remission of sins.

Verse 24: Now I would have you to remember also, that there were none who were brought unto repentance who were not baptized with water.

Verse 25: Therefore, there were ordained of Nephi, men unto this ministry, that all such as should come unto them should be baptized with water, and this as a witness and a testimony before God, and unto the people, that they had repented and received a remission of their sins.

Verse 26: And there were many in the commencement of this year that were baptized unto repentance; and thus the more part of the year did pass away.

            Nephi was diligent in teaching people to repent and to be baptized to receive a remission of their sins. Other worthy men helped in the Lord’s labor of bringing souls unto God. Do we also do our part in helping others learn of Heavenly Father and His love? Do we stand as witnesses of Jesus Christ in all ways and places? Do we rejoice in Their goodness?

            These verses help remind me to take time to evaluate my feelings and perspective. They help me to measure whether I need a course correction in my heart.

            May we seek the goodness of God in our lives and rejoice at it in the lives of others.

Dani

3 Nephi 5: 1 – 4, 8, 9 – 11

Verse 1: And now behold, there was not a living soul among all the people of the Nephites who did doubt in the least the words of all the holy prophets who had spoken; for they knew that it must needs be that they must be fulfilled.

Verse 2: And they knew that it must be expedient that Christ had come, because of the many signs which had been given, according to the words of the prophets; and because of the things which had come to pass already they knew that it must needs be that all things should come to pass according to that which had been spoken.

Verse 3: Therefore they did forsake all their sins, and their abominations, and their whoredoms, and did serve God with all diligence day and night.

Verse 4: And now it came to pass that when they had taken all the robbers prisoners, insomuch that none did escape who were not slain, they did cast their prisoners into prison, and did cause the word of God to be preached unto them; and as many as would repent of their sins and enter into a covenant that they would murder no more were set at liberty.

            What a great example of faith these Nephites were. Why did they not doubt in the least the words of all the holy prophets? I believe it was because they had experience with them in their lives. They studied the scriptures, they lived the principles taught, they prayed to know for themselves the truths of God – in other words, they chose faith (which is an action word) in their lives. Faith strengthens us and helps us forsake sins and to serve God with diligence. Serving God diligently takes faith because it is hard work. It has joy too but it’s sometimes hard when one is tired or feels poorly to go ahead and do God’s work (serving others). But the effort brings the joy and peace that enables us to keep going.

            To teach the word of God to the prisoners they had captured is also faith. I also admire that even the robbers kept their word when they made covenant to do so. To let one’s word be one’s bond is a true sign of faith and trust.

            I also believe the words of the prophets that Jesus Christ will come again. I have faith in His work and find joy and peace in His ways. Peace even when trials are abundant.

Verse 8: And there had many things transpired which, in the eyes of some, would be great and marvelous; nevertheless, they cannot all be written in this book; yea, this book cannot contain even a hundredth part of what was done among so many people in the space of twenty and five years;

            I look forward to the time when the Lord gives us the rest of the history of the Nephites and Lamanites those great and marvelous things which they lived which could not be contained in the book that Mormon is recording. Those twenty five years Mormon mentions must have been high adventure experiences for the people. I look forward to reading of them.

Verse 9: But behold there are records which do contain all the proceedings of this people; and a shorter but true account was given by Nephi.

Verse 10: Therefore I have made my record of these things according to the record of Nephi, which was engraven on the plates which were called the plates of Nephi.

Verse 11: And behold, I do make the record on plates which I have made with mine own hands.

            Mormon’s explanation of the records kept is helpful to understand why and how they were kept. Not only that they were engraven, not quite as simple a process as writing with pen, but Mormon engraved his own edition of Nephi’s record as a shorter version of their history. He had to leave many things out. He had to justify what he put in. I do look forward to the day when all the records will be made available for studying.

            Mormon had the skill, that Nephi also had, to work with metal and make “plates” for recording their history. It would be fun to meet these two great men who did what the Spirit of the Lord directed them to do probably not understanding fully why and how. What a blessing their effort has been for my life. The Book of Mormon truths have strengthened me since I began reading it as a child and continues to give me strength beyond my own. I love our Savior who I know and understand better because of my study of the Book of Mormon.

            May we show our value of the sacrifices and efforts made to bring us these records which testify of Jesus Christ and His gospel by studying it.

Dani

Helaman 15: 7 – 9, 12 – 14

Verse 7: And behold, ye do know of yourselves, for ye have witnessed it, that as many of them as are brought to the knowledge of the truth, and to know of the wicked and abominable traditions of their fathers, and are led to believe the holy scriptures, yea, the prophecies of the holy prophets, which are written, which leadeth them to faith on the Lord, and unto repentance, which faith and repentance bringeth a change of heart unto them

Verse 8: Therefore, as many as have come to this, ye know of yourselves are firm and steadfast in the faith, and in the thing wherewith they have been made free.

Verse 9: And ye know also that they have buried their weapons of war, and they fear to take them up lest by any means they should sin; yea, ye can see that they fear to sin—for behold they will suffer themselves that they be trodden down and slain by their enemies, and will not lift their swords against them, and this because of their faith in Christ.

            Samuel the Lamanite’s recounting of the faith and endurance of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies identifies that these people changed their hearts, minds, and society. They chose God over the tradition of their pasts. They made new traditions for their children which centered on their faith in Jesus Christ.

            It is interesting to me that they were made free by knowing truth. In that freedom they buried their weapons of war. They wanted the freedom of eternity more even than life.

            When they were brought to know the truth, and that the traditions of their ancestors were wrong, they believed the holy scriptures and the prophets. They developed faith in Jesus Christ, repented, and were baptized. They became new people. This is a description of what happened to them but their individual experiences are not known. I’ve learned that changing thoughts, attitudes, habits can be difficult. I am sure that the process of doing this took effort and faith and much help from Heaven.

            Samuel was reminding the Nephites of faith experiences of which they knew. He wanted the Nephites to remember God’s work among them. The example of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies inspires me. It helps me maintain my determination to endure to the end of my life to continue striving to become the best disciple of Jesus Christ that I can be. I want to be as converted as these Lamanite descendants became.

Verse 12: Yea, I say unto you, that in the latter times the promises of the Lord have been extended to our brethren, the Lamanites; and notwithstanding the many afflictions which they shall have, and notwithstanding they shall be driven to and fro upon the face of the earth, and be hunted, and shall be smitten and scattered abroad, having no place for refuge, the Lord shall be merciful unto them.

Verse 13: And this is according to the prophecy, that they shall again be brought to the true knowledge, which is the knowledge of their Redeemer, and their great and true shepherd, and be numbered among His sheep.

Verse 14: Therefore I say unto you, it shall be better for them than for you except ye repent.

            The prophets of old foresaw that the American Indians, descendants of the Lamanites would not be treated right in modern times, but some of the descendants would survive and learn the true Gospel of Jesus Christ that their Anti-Nephi-Lehi ancestors knew. These descendants would be numbered among the Savior’s fold. He would become their shepherd as He had been for their ancestors.

            On the other hand, the Nephites were told that unless they repented from the wickedness to which they had turned, they would have no descendants. Their family lines would be destroyed.

            We each choose daily for ourselves whether or not we will receive the promises of eternity. Let us look to our Lord Jesus Christ an His prophets and live.

Dani

Helaman 14: 20 – 24, 25, 26 – 27, 28 – 31

Verse 20: But behold, as I said unto you concerning another sign, a sign of His death, behold, in that day that He shall suffer death the sun shall be darkened and refuse to give his light unto you; and also the moon and the stars; and there shall be no light upon the face of this land, even from the time that He shall suffer death, for the space of three days, to the time that He shall rise again from the dead.

Verse 21: Yea, at the time that He shall yield up the ghost there shall be thunderings and lightnings for the space of many hours, and the earth shall shake and tremble; and the rocks which are upon the face of this earth, which are both above the earth and beneath, which ye know at this time are solid, or the more part of it is one solid mass, shall be broken up;

Verse 22: Yea, they shall be rent in twain, and shall ever after be found in seams and in cracks, and in broken fragments upon the face of the whole earth, yea, both above the earth and beneath.

Verse 23: And behold, there shall be great tempests, and there shall be many mountains laid low, like unto a valley, and there shall be many places which are now called valleys which shall become mountains, whose height is great.

Verse 24: And many highways shall be broken up, and many cities shall become desolate.

            This destruction that would happen in America at the time of the Savior’s death, was tremendous. Often as I’ve driven in southern Utah and marveled at the beauty of that colorful desert, I have also seen the evidence of mountains raised up slanted where the underground layers are exposed. Massive force impacted that land at some point and created interesting landscape.   The heaven and earth gave a witness as a sign to the people of this land that their Creator had been rejected and killed.

Verse 25: And many graves shall be opened, and shall yield up many of their dead; and many saints shall appear unto many.

           This sign is a wonder as it would show that death had been overcome. How joyful for those who had lost loved ones for them to see them at this time when the earth was in an unpredictable state.

Verse 26: And behold, thus hath the angel spoken unto me; for he said unto me that there should be thunderings and lightnings for the space of many hours.

Verse 27: And he said unto me that while the thunder and the lightning lasted, and the tempest, that these things should be, and that darkness should cover the face of the whole earth for the space of three days.

            Even the earth, at the death of the Son of God, moaned over the wickedness of man who would kill their Creator. The systems of the physical world recognize the hand of God so much more easily than mankind does. We, who have the ability to think and act according to our wills, are so often behind in obedience to our Creator than His creations that follow His directions instinctively.

Verse 28: And the angel said unto me that many shall see greater things than these, to the intent that they might believe that these signs and these wonders should come to pass upon all the face of this land, to the intent that there should be no cause for unbelief among the children of men—

Verse 29:  And this to the intent that whosoever will believe might be saved, and that whosoever will not believe, a righteous judgment might come upon them; and also if they are condemned they bring upon themselves their own condemnation.

Verse 30: And now remember, remember, my brethren, that whosoever perisheth, perisheth unto himself; and whosoever doeth iniquity, doeth it unto himself; for behold, ye are free; ye are permitted to act for yourselves; for behold, God hath given unto you a knowledge and He hath made you free.

Verse 31: He hath given unto you that ye might know good from evil, and He hath given unto you that ye might choose life or death; and ye can do good and be restored unto that which is good, or have that which is good restored unto you; or ye can do evil, and have that which is evil restored unto you.

            What great extent was made with the signs in heaven and earth to help people believe in Jesus Christ. How much Heavenly Father wants us to come Home to Him. We will each be judged. Only through accepting and using the Atonement of Jesus Christ to repent and do good will that judgment result in a positive outcome.

            We are free. God made us free. We act for ourselves. God gave us knowledge. We know good from evil. We choose life or death. Our actions save or condemn us. What we do on earth will be restored to us. Good or evil, our choices will be our judgment.

            It is with love that God gave mankind freedom and knowledge. Because of His love for us, He wants us to come Home to Him to live with Him forever. He lets us choose whether or not we will. He let us choose whether or not we will love Him and each other.

            Oh, let us show our love for Him by our choices.

Dani

Helaman 13: 6 – 7, 11, 38 – 39

Verse 6: Yea, heavy destruction awaiteth this people, and it surely cometh unto this people, and nothing can save this people save it be repentance and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ, who surely shall come into the world, and shall suffer many things and shall be slain for His people.

Verse 7: And behold, an angel of the Lord hath declared it unto me, and he did bring glad tidings to my soul. And behold, I was sent unto you to declare it unto you also, that ye might have glad tidings; but behold ye would not receive me.

            I believe and know that Jesus Christ came into the world to suffer and die for mankind to give us the opportunity to repent.   It is our faith on Him that will allow us to be saved. This is glad tidings to my soul as it was with ancient prophets.

            This knowledge of the Savior’s mission brings me great joy even when life’s problems seem overwhelming. I know there is a purpose to life and a way of salvation for people. There is a plan for this life which makes sense to me of the trials and pain that is so much a part of this existence. When I don’t understand the “why” of circumstances, I know God does. By turning to Him, I gain peace and help to get through or bear my trials. He has helped me over and over again through my life. I know He will continue to do so. Deep joy swells my soul with this knowledge.

Verse 11:  But if ye will repent and return unto the Lord your God I will turn away mine anger, saith the Lord; yea, thus saith the Lord, blessed are they who will repent and turn unto me, but wo unto him that repenteth not.

            Here is simple, vital truth. The Lord will bless us if we will repent and turn unto Him. We will be destroyed if we won’t repent. To act upon this truth is wisdom; to ignore it is foolishness.

Verse 38: But behold, your days of probation are past; ye have procrastinated the day of your salvation until it is everlastingly too late, and your destruction is made sure; yea, for ye have sought all the days of your lives for that which ye could not obtain; and ye have sought for happiness in doing iniquity, which thing is contrary to the nature of that righteousness which is in our great and Eternal Head.

Verse 39: O ye people of the land, that ye would hear my words! And I pray that the anger of the Lord be turned away from you, and that ye would repent and be saved.

   Nephi’s words to the people are words of sorrow because they would not see or understand God’s truth. He tells us another important truth that doing wrong does not bring happiness. Righteousness is God’s way and the only way to happiness. One cannot find happiness by doing that which is contrary, or opposite, of what produces happiness.

            The Lord gives us every opportunity to repent or change our ways to His ways. But there is a point at which repentance is no longer possible because the time of our salvation is over. We will need to face the results of our life choices. The Lord sends prophets to help people understand. When people ignore the prophets and keep going away from God refusing to hear His words, eventually they become so wicked that the only way to get rid of their wrongdoing is for God to destroy them.

            How sad that pride and stubbornness of individuals will keep them from receiving the goodness and blessings offered them. It is good for us to ask ourselves regularly whether we are refusing to receive some of the blessings of God because we will not hear His words. Sometimes I’ve been too stubborn to receive what Heavenly Father would give me. It has taken hard experience to realize that I was going my way and not His way. Once I realized that, with His help, I was able to repent and humble myself.

            This change of direction made all the difference for me. It helped me to receive happiness instead of misery. It brought peace and joy to into my soul. It has enabled me to receive righteous desires of my heart. God’s way is the way to happiness. His words are sure. No matter how hard it is to align our hearts and lives to His way, it is worth all the effort we make.

            May we make the choices of happiness. May we choose salvation which is in Jesus Christ.

Dani