Posts Tagged 'God'

Exodus Chapter 20

The Israelites are traveling in the wilderness at this point in Exodus. They are camped at the base of Mount Sinai. The Lord has appeared in a cloud upon the mount and Moses has been instructed to return to the Lord with Aaron and no one else. The people have been blessed to hear the voice of the Lord, so that they might believe on the words of their prophet, Moses. The book of Exodus continues as follows:

1 And God spake all these words, saying,
2 I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
7 Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

I believe that the Lord gave these words to the people, through the prophet Moses. Here they begin to learn of what we call the Ten Commandments. These are the things which the people of God covenant to follow. First, God establishes that He is the one and only God, whom they should worship. They are commanded that they should not make any idols for worship of any other Gods. In our day, I believe that the higher law is that we not only do not worship idols of other gods, but that we do not place anything above God in our hearts. Any worldly thing that we spend greater energy and time on, then the things of God, is the thing we worship more than Him. We break this commandment when we do this, and so we should often be taking inventory of what we do with our time, money, energy and talents. Are we using them for the purposes of God, so that we might appropriately worship Him? Furthermore, no one is to take the name of the Lord in vain. His name is sacred above all other names. In the language of today, meaning has been taken out of the word God and it has been used in every inappropriate context imagined. If we use His name in this manner, we are not treating Him with the reverence and respect that our Father in Heaven deserves. Every time we use His name, we should mean what we say and do what we say we will do. That is how we use His name without doing it in vain. Those of us who are parents, have a strict obligation to teach our children never to worship false gods or use the Lord’s name in vain. If we do not teach our children, the sin will be on our heads.

Next, the Lord commands that the sabbath is to be kept holy and free from the daily toil of work. Instead, it is a day for God, and is blessed and holy. They were to make sure that all within their household kept the sabbath holy. The sabbath should be a day of rest for us now. This does not mean that we spend the day sleeping, but that we rest from the work of the world and focus on the work of worshipping the Lord. There are many ways to worship the lord, which would still be considered a type of work. Making the sabbath a holy day, means to sanctify it to the Lord. Each person has to look at their own life and determine what they need to do in order to keep the sabbath holy to the Lord.

These first four commandments are how we show our love and respect to God. In short, the higher law to these four laws is that we are to love the Lord, our God. When we love Him with all our heart, soul and might (see Deuteronomy 6:5), we will follow these individual commandments without fail.

12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
13 Thou shalt not kill.
14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.
15 Thou shalt not steal.
16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

These next commandments are pretty straight forward; honor your parents, do not kill, commit adultery, steal, lie, or covet. I love that in honoring our parents, we are given a promise for longer life upon the land. There is great value in family and in our relationships with our parents, as they are a type for our eternal relationship with our heavenly parents. To honor our earthly parents, we do not have to agree with all that they say, or even do all that they tell us to do. Honoring is showing respect and showing them that we value them and their wisdom. We honor our parents when we do what is right and listen and hearken to their wise counsel and instruction.

The commandment not to kill is referring to the act of murder. There are instances when self-defense or defense of what is right, requires killing. These exceptions are not against the laws of God.

The act of adultery is a grievous sin in the eyes of God. Marriage is an eternal principle, which was established by God for the salvation of His children. When someone gives way to temptations outside the bonds of marriage, they are putting themselves in line with the enemy of marriage, which is Satan.

The verse which talks about bearing false witness, references gossip, honesty (or dishonesty), lying, and slander. It is more than strictly lying that causes us to break this commandment, though I think in most cases any of these things results in some form of lies. Sometimes we may feel that it doesn’t hurt to join in the gossip, especially if we believe it to be truth. It is never good to gossip, because really the intent is to raise ourselves above someone else by talking about things which may or may not be true. The best way to avoid breaking this commandment by gossip, is to avoid it completely.

These 6 commandments are laws which deal with how we are towards others. Again, if we obey the higher law to love our neighbors as ourselves, we would keep these commandments without any difficulty. I know that the Lord would have us keep the two higher laws and that these lesser laws were given as a preparatory step to the greater laws. If we can keep these ten commandments, we would be well on our way to loving God and our fellow man.

18 And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.
19 And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.
20 And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.
21 And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.

The people had witnessed the physical manifestations of God in the thunder, lightening, blaring trumpet, and the fire and smoke of the mountain. The people asked Moses to be their mediator between them and God, for fear that they should die. Moses went towards the Lord, without fear of death.

22 And the Lord said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven.
23 Ye shall not make with me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you gods of gold.

The Lord instructed Moses, to tell the people they they had witnessed the Lord speak with them and they were not to make gods of silver or gold. I gather that it was common to make idols of Gods in that time. They had come from spending their entire lives in Egypt, where there were many statues and idols of the many pagan Gods they believed in. This was probably something they expected was right to do, but God told them not to do this thing.

24 An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee.
25 And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it.
26 Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon.

Instead, the children of Israel, were instructed to build an altar to the Lord. On this altar, they were to make sacrifices of burnt offerings and the like. They were not to build their altars of hewn stone. We have altars today, where we can make covenants with the Lord. These holy alters can be found in the temples of the Lord, and all who are worthy, are welcome to come to these alters. I am so glad that I have been able to make sacred covenants with the Lord. I hope to live worthy of the blessings received as I keep the commandments and sacred covenants.

How Do We Know We Are Spiritually Born of God?

As a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), I am a member of the largest women’s organization in the world. This group is called the Relief Society. Several years ago, a declaration was written for the Relief Society and the posts in this series are an attempt to apply this declaration to my life more. In this attempt I will be breaking down the parts of it into questions that I would like to try to answer through study. To view other posts related to this declaration, go here: Relief Society Declaration.

The declaration begins “we are beloved spirit daughters of God”. As I reflect on that line, I wonder how I know that I am spiritually born of God. I think there are two ways to look answer this question. First, I believe that we are literal children of God. I believe that he is the Father of our spirits because he created us spiritually before we were physically created on this earth. In Acts 17:28 we read, “For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.” To take that even further, God created our first father, Adam, both spiritually in heaven and physically on the earth. All of us our the descendants of Adam, who was created in all ways by the hand of God. In the Bible Dictionary it says, “Latter-day revelation confirms the biblical account of God as the literal father of the human family; as a being who is concerned for the welfare of mankind, and a Personage who hears and answers prayers.” I have a testimony of the truth in this latter-day revelation, and therefore I feel strongly that we must be children of God (See Bible Dictionary, God). Also in the Bible Dictionary we read, “Every person is literally a son or a daughter of God, having been born as a spirit to Heavenly Parents previous to being born to mortal parents on the earth (cf. Heb. 12:9). Thus each one of us is a dual being: an immortal spirit body, clothed with a body of flesh and bone. (See Bible Dictionary, Spirit)”

We are taught throughout the scriptures that mankind are children of God, born spiritually. The scriptures are written for all mankind, not just those who believe in them, and therefore they apply to all of us. In Malachi 2:10 we read, “Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? . . .”. Ephesians 4:6 reads, “One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” Psalms 82:6 says, “I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.” In 1 Nephi 17:36 we read, “Behold, the Lord hath created the earth that it should be inhabited; and he hath created his children that they should possess it.” Doctrine and Covenants 84:83 reads, “For your Father, who is in heaven, knoweth that you have need of all these things.” Moses 3:5 reads, “And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew. For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth. For I, the Lord God, had not caused it to rain upon the face of the earth. And I, the Lord God, had created all the children of men; and not yet a man to till the ground; for in heaven created I them; and there was not yet flesh upon the earth, neither in the water, neither in the air;”. And again in Moses 6:51 we read, “And he called upon our father Adam by his own voice, saying: I am God; I made the world, and men before they were in the flesh.”

Our modern prophets and apostles have also shared there own witness to the knowledge that we are all children of God. In The Family:A Proclamation to the World they write, “ALL HUMAN BEINGS—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny.” I believe we were part of the spiritual family of Heavenly Father, just as surely as we are a part of a physical family here.

Even the Savior himself, taught us that He was not alone in being a child of God. In the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew, we read the following in 5:48:

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Then later we can read the Lord’s Prayer in 6:9, where he teaches us the proper way to pray. “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” The Savior did not single Himself out in this. God is our Father in Heaven, because He is the Father of our spirits.

I have experienced sweet moments of confirmation in this fact. I know that I am a child of God and that He loves me, personally, as His daughter. I know this because the spirit, or the Holy Ghost, as born witness to me of these things. In Romans 8:16-17 we read the following:

16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

One of my favorite songs as a child, which remains a favorite even now, is “I Am a Child of God”.

I am a child of God,
And he has sent me here,
Has given me an earthly home
With parents kind and dear.
(Chorus)

I am a child of God,
And so my needs are great;
Help me to understand his words
Before it grows to late.
(Chorus)

I am a child of God.
Rich blessings are in store;
If I but learn to do his will
I’ll live with hime once more.
(Chorus)

I am a child of God.
His promises are sure;
Celestial glory shall be mine
If I can but endure.
(Chorus)

Chorus:
Lead me, guide me, walk beside me,
Help me find the way.
Teach me all that I must do
To live with him someday.

When I sing it with my daughters today, I feel the spirit testify to me that what it teaches is true. I know that I am a spiritual daughter of God.

The second answer to this question, has to do with the choices we make in this life. All of mankind are the literal sons and daughters of God, but the scriptures teach us of becoming children of God, or being born of God, in this life. In The Guide to the Scriptures under “Born Again, Born of God” we read the following:

“To have the Spirit of the Lord cause a mighty change in a person’s heart so that he has no more desire to do evil, but rather desires to seek the things of God.” – Whosoever is born of God does not continue in sin, JST, 1 Jn. 3:9

We are born of God when we seek after Him, have a change of heart, repent of our wrongs, and live according to His will for us. In the October 1999 session of General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, James E. Faust said the following:

To be a daughter of God means that you are the offspring of Deity, literal descendants of a Divine Father, inheriting godly attributes and potential. To be a daughter of God also means that you have been born again, changed from a “carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness.”

In Mosiah 27:25-26 we read the following:

25 And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters;
26 And thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.

Our natural state is that which was brought about by the fall of Adam. We tend to think of our immediate wants and desires, which seem more often then not, to be selfish and lean towards immediate satisfaction. The natural man is not able to become like God or dwell in heaven with him. The nature of God is eternal righteousness and happiness. To be that kind of person, we have to be willing to work harder to make better choices and change our wills to be like His. We should want this because we have the ability to become like Him. Not only do we have that ability, but it is exactly what He wants for us.

President Gordon B. Hinckey said the following in the October 1991 session of conference (LDS):

I wish to affirm also at the outset . . ., that you are very precious, each of you, regardless of your circumstances. You occupy a high and sacred place in the eternal plan of God, our Father in Heaven. You are His daughters, precious to Him, loved by Him, and very important to Him. His grand design cannot succeed without you.

God’s work is “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39). His grand design is fulfilled when we choose to become born of him in this life, and receive the gifts of immortality and eternal life as our reward after this life. We cannot be born of God in this life, unless we follow his commandments and make and keep sacred covenants with him. When we are baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost we are spiritually born of God. In Alma 36:23-24 we read the following related verses:

23 But behold, my limbs did receive their strength again, and I stood upon my feet, and did manifest unto the people that I had been born of God.
24 Yea, and from that time even until now, I have labored without ceasing, that I might bring souls unto repentance; that I might bring them to taste of the exceeding joy of which I did taste; that they might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.

Baptism

I have been baptized and received the gift of the Spirit. I know that through this act I was and have since become a spiritual daughter of God in the sense that although I was spiritually born of him before this life, I naturally have been separated from him in this life. Through receiving His gift of the spirit in my life, I have the ability to return as part of his spiritual family after this life, if I will remain true and faithful to his commandments. I am so grateful for this knowledge and for the gospel in my life. I don’t know what kind of person I would have chosen to be without the influence of the gospel. I believe that knowing I am a daughter of God has given me the reason for living a good life and being a good person. I want to live worthy of the spirit, so that I can return to live with God again someday.

Our Father in Heaven

I recently studied the last chapter of the LDS Gospel Principles manual, but I realized that when I had studied the first few chapters back in 2010, I did not post about them. I want that category to be complete, so I am going to do a few posts from the beginning of the book. To view the entire lesson, go here: Our Father in Heaven.

As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I believe that there truly is a God. I believe that there is only one true God and that He is our creator and Father of our spirits. I believe that he loves us and that he wants us to become like Him and live with Him again someday.

What are some things that testify to you that there is a God?

There is evidence of God all around us. In my opinion, it is impossible to look at the expanse of the stars in heaven and doubt that something wonderful created them for us. There is evidence of a creator in the amazing things of nature that are all around us. How the planets move is evidence to me. The cycle of water is evidence to me. The way our bodies work is evidence to me. Just the other day, I was watching a flock of birds in their v-shaped pattern. There was one in front making it easier for the rest to fly and then moving gracefully together. As I watched, I thought of how perfect the natural instinct to work together was for those birds and how there must have been a God to create such beauty and skill. My favorite scripture passage is about nature in relation to God. In Doctrine and Covenants 88 we read the following:

42 And again, verily I say unto you, he hath given a law unto all things, by which they move in their times and their seasons;
43 And their courses are fixed, even the courses of the heavens and the earth, which comprehend the earth and all the planets.
44 And they give light to each other in their times and in their seasons, in their minutes, in their hours, in their days, in their weeks, in their months, in their years—all these are one year with God, but not with man.
45 The earth rolls upon her wings, and the sun giveth his light by day, and the moon giveth her light by night, and the stars also give their light, as they roll upon their wings in their glory, in the midst of the power of God.

This is a testimony of the power and majesty of God. I have grown up in the church, so I’ve heard of God for as long as I can remember. This however, is not the reason for my belief in God. I have felt the witness of the spirit in my own heart, confirming that God is real and that he loves me. The spirit testifies to me that there is a God.

The scriptures, which I believe to be true, testify of God. In Moses 7:4 we read, “And I saw the Lord; and he stood before my face, and he talked with me, even as a man talketh one with another, face to face; and he said unto me: Look, and I will show unto thee the world for the space of many generations.” Moses saw God and talked with him face-to-face. Also, in Genesis 32 we read the following:

29 And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there.
30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.

Jacob also saw God face to face. These are just two witnesses of a physical manifestation of God to man on the earth.

What are some of God’s attributes?

God is eternal, all-powerful, all-knowing, wise, loving, merciful and kind. As a member of the LDS faith, I believe that there is a great deal we can understand about God’s physical attributes as well. God is our spiritual Father, and therefore we are created in His image. In Genesis 1:27 we read, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” This means that God has a body with flesh and bones, just as we do. In Genesis 32:30 we read, “And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” God has a face, just as we have a face. In Exodus 24:10 we read, “And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.” He has feet, as we have feet. In Exodus 31:18 we read, “And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.” God has hands with fingers, just as we do. Then in Matthew 3:17 we read, “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” God speaks as we speak. He is not always understood by mankind, but he does speak to us.He is a resurrected, perfected being Himself, so he does not have the blood of mortality, but I believe that He did at one time. His body is one of glory, which has been described with words such as fire and light. In short, God is not some unknown mass in his physical nature, but we can know what He looks like, because He created us to be like Him.

He is a separate being from His Son, Jesus Christ, and His Spirit, the Holy Ghost. When He appeared with His Son, to the prophet, Joseph Smith, it was witnessed that they were two personages. In Joseph Smith-History 1:17 we read the account, “It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!” Likewise, we read in Acts 7:55, “But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,” God, the Father, sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be the Savior of all mankind. God is a being of order and has a plan laid out for all people, so that we would have the best opportunity to have eternal life and salvation. In his great love, He does all that He we allow Him to do, to bring us back to dwell with him forever. He is the master teacher and gives us every opportunity to learn of Him. He knows us better than anyone else and therefore knows just how we will learn eternal principles the best. He gives us the gift of His Spirit to be with us and help us in so many ways. God is the giver of agency and awesome spiritual gifts as well. I am so grateful for the gifts that God gives me.

Why is it important for us to understand the nature of God?

If we are able to understand the nature of God, we can better understand His plan and why we should do what is right. When we understand that God is a loving and kind father, we know that all things that make us feel unloved and mis-treated are not from Him, but are counterfeits of Satan. God’s ways are always good because that is the nature of God. In Alma 7:20 we read, ” 20 I perceive that it has been made known unto you, by the testimony of his word, that he cannot walk in crooked paths; neither doth he vary from that which he hath said; neither hath he a shadow of turning from the right to the left, or from that which is right to that which is wrong; therefore, his course is one eternal round.” When we understand that God is the same now as he was in ancient times, we will not be led astray by those who say we need to change with the times. When we understand that God is a being that we are created after, we can better see ourselves coming closer to Him, and eventually being able to be like Him. When we understand that his plan is to give us joy and happiness forever, we can make choices that will lead us down His path of righteousness. In John 17:3 we read, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” Knowing God is what will bring us salvation. If we do not try to understand and know Him, when the opportunity has been placed before us, then we bring about our own destruction here and damnation in the spirit world.

How can we come to know God?

In Doctrine and Covenants 93:1 we read, “Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am;”. These are the ways that we come to know God: repentance, faith, prayer, and obedience to the commandments. This may sound like the typical Sunday School response, but sometimes the simplest answer is the best. I believe that this is true. We come to know God by following His words, which we find when we study the scriptures and listen to the prophets today. His words teach us these principles of repentance, faith, prayer, and obedience. We cannot expect to live with God again, if we do not take the time to understand the ways of His kingdom. When we live His word, we will become more like Him and will be deserving of His glory when we face Him again someday.

Jesus taught his disciples that if we would look to Him, we would come to know God, the Father. In John 14:6-9 we read the following:

6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?

We know the Father, by following His Son. I am so grateful that we have the example of Jesus Christ to look towards, so that we can become more like God. I know that God lives and that He loves each of us. I know that we can truly know Him, by following His commandments. I am so grateful for the gospel which teaches us these things, and that the scriptures are made available to us in so many ways today. I hope that all people can discover the nature of God and experience the blessings of joy that come from living to know God.

The First Article of Faith

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,

We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

This is the heart of everything that we do in the gospel of Jesus Christ. It pushes us to do what we know to be right. It gives us hope in a glorious future. It gives us purpose and comfort in this life. There are three separate members of the Godhead.

First of all, we believe in God, the Eternal Father. We believe that there is a God, or a supreme being, who watches over all of us. We believe that he created each of us. In Mosiah 4:9 we read, “Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth…”. We believe that he is the Father of our spirits. We believe that we are His children. We believe that as God, he is all-knowing and all-powerful. We believe that he is perfect and as His spiritual offspring, we too can become perfect. Throughout the scriptures we have witnesses which teach us of God. Even the Savior, often referred to His Father, who sent Him. In John 17:3 we read, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” Because of the witness of the prophet, Joseph Smith, we believe that we are created in His image. We believe that He also has a body, and that because of that he is more than a spiritual being or some unknown entity. Something that I have not felt the need to question in my life, is where I came from. I have felt this in my heart and mind. I am a daughter of God and I came from His presence to live on this earth.

Second, we believe in His Son, Jesus Christ. We believe that Jesus is the spiritual and physical Son of God the Father. In 1 John we read the following:

20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.
21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.
22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

We believe that he is the Only Begotten Son of God. He did not have an earthly father as the rest of us do. In Luke 1:35 we read, “And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” He is not one in being with God, but he is one in purpose with Him. We believe that he was chosen before this life, to be the Savior and redeemer of all mankind. We believe that because of His divinity, He was the only person who ever lived, who could experience the atonement and therefore make it possible for all of us to return to live with God again. In 1 Peter 3:18 we read, “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit”. Also, in Hebrews 2:9 we read, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” We believe that he was resurrected, and that because of Him, we all will be resurrected some day. We believe that he also has a body of flesh and blood, just as the Father. As a resurrected being he appeared to his disciples and said, “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have (Luke 24:39).” We believe that he is perfect, and that he lived a perfect life. We believe that in His perfection, He has been completely obedient to the will of God. We believe that he created all things physically, under the direction of God the Father. In Doctrine and Covenants 14:9 we read, “Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, who created the heavens and the earth, a light which cannot be hid in darkness”. He lived his life as an example to each of us, of how we should live. He is loving and kind, merciful and charitable, forgiving and always waiting for us. We believe that He is our spirit brother. He led the way for us and we believe that he has a desire for us to return to live with Him. I have turned to Christ for many things in my life, most especially for forgiveness of my sins. I am so grateful for the atonement and for his never-ending love for me.

Third, we believe in the Holy Ghost. We believe that He is also a separate being without a body of flesh and bone, and that He has the power to influence each and every one of us if we are trying to live a good life. We believe that He is also one in purpose with God and Jesus Christ. He has the power to influence each of us for good. We believe that He inspires all people to choose the right. We believe that He is the eternal witness of truth. In John 15:26 we read, “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me”. We believe that He is the teacher to our spirits, and that it is through Him, that we can gain a testimony of the gospel. In 1 Corinthians 2:13 we read, “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” We believe that when we are baptized, we can receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost as a constant companion in our lives. In Acts 2:38 we read, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” We believe that He will help us to stay on the path that leads us back to God. We believe that he can only do this, if we are living righteously, because as a member of the Godhead, He cannot dwell in unholy places. This gives us a greater purpose for doing those things that we know are right. When we are worthy of Him, he can warn us of the dangers that are coming our way. We believe that we can receive gifts from him. These gifts are to be used for good and righteous purposes. These gifts include things like the gift of tongues and the gift of healing. In Acts 19:6 we read, “And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.” We believe that he can give us comfort at all times in our lives. I have had experiences with this in my life, at times when I needed comfort the most. I have prayed for help and have felt as if arms were wrapped around me with love and support. The Holy Ghost has been so important to me in my life and I am so grateful that I have been baptized and given this gift to bless my life.

I don’t know what my life would be like without the knowledge of God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. I am so grateful for all that they give to me, have done for me, and are to me. I have a knowledge of where I came from, why I am here, and where I am going because of my understanding of the Godhead and their purpose. I hope that more people will be able to come to know God the Father and their Savior, Jesus Christ, through the witness of the Holy Ghost in their own lives.

Abraham Chapter 4

One of the many things revealed to the prophet Abraham, was the plan of salvation. In this chapter, Abraham wrote down what he knew of the creation. This chapter begins:

1 And then the Lord said: Let us go down. And they went down at the beginning, and they, that is the Gods, organized and formed the heavens and the earth.

This is one of three writings which tell about the creation. The Lord has said that two to three witnesses will establish his gospel. I have a testimony that the scriptural accounts of the creation is true. Our Father in Heaven, as the ultimate creator, directed His Son, Jesus Christ, to create the heavens and the earth. We learn earlier in the Book of Abraham, that other righteous foreordained leaders assisted Him in the physical creation. I believe that when it says “the Gods”, it is referring to God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. The creation of the heavens and the earth, were from matter that already existed. It would not make sense to organize them from nothing. I think that you can only organize things which already exist. In this sense, I don’t believe that their was some “big-bang” that made them exist.

2 And the earth, after it was formed, was empty and desolate, because they had not formed anything but the earth; and darkness reigned upon the face of the deep, and the Spirit of the Gods was brooding upon the face of the waters.
3 And they (the Gods) said: Let there be light; and there was light.
4 And they (the Gods) comprehended the light, for it was bright; and they divided the light, or caused it to be divided, from the darkness.
5 And the Gods called the light Day, and the darkness they called Night. And it came to pass that from the evening until morning they called night; and from the morning until the evening they called day; and this was the first, or the beginning, of that which they called day and night.

The spirit of God brooding over the world. The word brooding is the word used for the work of a mother bird. My understanding of this is that the spirit watches over the creations of God, just like a mother bird broods over her eggs or babies after they are hatched. The spirit continues to watch over God’s creations, and we can feel this watchful eye when we feel the guidance and comfort of the spirit. God cannot physically be with us or we would never learn the gospel for ourselves. Instead, the spirit is there to watch over us and to help us to find our way.

God created the light and called it day. It was separated from the darkness, or the night. The footnotes in verse four, say that God saw the light and it was good. I can picture God as an artist who created the light and then stood back to view His work, making sure that it was exactly the way he wanted it. Then He decided that it was good, gave it a name and then moved on to the next step. These verses teach us about the origin of what we know as days and nights. God established that the time from morning until evening was day, and that the time from evening until morning was night. This idea is not a man-made idea. I think it is important for us to recognize this, because there are many references to day and night throughout the scriptures. With this understanding, we may comprehend what is meant and be able to live the gospel more fully.

6 And the Gods also said: Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and it shall divide the waters from the waters.
7 And the Gods ordered the expanse, so that it divided the waters which were under the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so, even as they ordered.
8 And the Gods called the expanse, Heaven. And it came to pass that it was from evening until morning that they called night; and it came to pass that it was from morning until evening that they called day; and this was the second time that they called night and day.
9 And the Gods ordered, saying: Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the earth come up dry; and it was so as they ordered;
10 And the Gods pronounced the dry land, Earth; and the gathering together of the waters, pronounced they, Great Waters; and the Gods saw that they were obeyed.

The waters of heaven were divided from the waters of the earth. I believe that this is referring to the atmosphere being separate from the water on the earth. Then the waters of the earth were gathered together, and the land was gathered as the earth. I believe that it was at this time that the cycles of water began to work on the earth.

11 And the Gods said: Let us prepare the earth to bring forth grass; the herb yielding seed; the fruit tree yielding fruit, after his kind, whose seed in itself yieldeth its own likeness upon the earth; and it was so, even as they ordered.
12 And the Gods organized the earth to bring forth grass from its own seed, and the herb to bring forth herb from its own seed, yielding seed after his kind; and the earth to bring forth the tree from its own seed, yielding fruit, whose seed could only bring forth the same in itself, after his kind; and the Gods saw that they were obeyed.
13 And it came to pass that they numbered the days; from the evening until the morning they called night; and it came to pass, from the morning until the evening they called day; and it was the third time.

Once the earth was prepared to receive seeds of plants, God created the grass, herbs, and fruit which grow from the ground. This is noted here as the third time, instead of the third day as in other versions of the creation. I think that this is a reminder that our version of time is not the same as God’s. This was probably more like a period of time marked by the light. We don’t know how long the days were at that time, and it is likely that they were a lot longer than we know them to be now.

14 And the Gods organized the lights in the expanse of the heaven, and caused them to divide the day from the night; and organized them to be for signs and for seasons, and for days and for years;
15 And organized them to be for lights in the expanse of the heaven to give light upon the earth; and it was so.
16 And the Gods organized the two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; with the lesser light they set the stars also;
17 And the Gods set them in the expanse of the heavens, to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to cause to divide the light from the darkness.
18 And the Gods watched those things which they had ordered until they obeyed.
19 And it came to pass that it was from evening until morning that it was night; and it came to pass that it was from morning until evening that it was day; and it was the fourth time.

God created the sun, moon, and stars which were set to distinguish the day from the night. It was at this time, that they were organized into their times and seasons as well. There is no coincidence to how the stars come and go. They were placed specifically to serve their own purposes. They truly are a beautiful site to see. Another note here, is that Abraham calls the sun the greater light, which rules the day. In the previous chapters, we have learned that the use of the word greater can mean closer to God. I think that this is true. The sun is the greater light, because it is closer to God, or closer to being a celestial body. It’s power is therefore greater, which is why it can more fully dispel the darkness of the night.

20 And the Gods said: Let us prepare the waters to bring forth abundantly the moving creatures that have life; and the fowl, that they may fly above the earth in the open expanse of heaven.
21 And the Gods prepared the waters that they might bring forth great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters were to bring forth abundantly after their kind; and every winged fowl after their kind. And the Gods saw that they would be obeyed, and that their plan was good.
22 And the Gods said: We will bless them, and cause them to be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas or great waters; and cause the fowl to multiply in the earth.
23 And it came to pass that it was from evening until morning that they called night; and it came to pass that it was from morning until evening that they called day; and it was the fifth time.
24 And the Gods prepared the earth to bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle and creeping things, and beasts of the earth after their kind; and it was so, as they had said.
25 And the Gods organized the earth to bring forth the beasts after their kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after its kind; and the Gods saw they would obey.

The water and earth were then prepared for the animals of every kind. All things were created to reproduce “after their kind”, meaning that the fish have been fish, and that the monkey did not come from the waters. I don’t know everything about the beliefs of evolution and such, but I do believe that animals were created to be what they are and that one did not come from another. I do understand that within our own species, there are changes to adapt to our environments, but that is as far as it goes for me.

26 And the Gods took counsel among themselves and said: Let us go down and form man in our image, after our likeness; and we will give them dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27 So the Gods went down to organize man in their own image, in the image of the Gods to form they him, male and female to form they them.
28 And the Gods said: We will bless them. And the Gods said: We will cause them to be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it, and to have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
29 And the Gods said: Behold, we will give them every herb bearing seed that shall come upon the face of all the earth, and every tree which shall have fruit upon it; yea, the fruit of the tree yielding seed to them we will give it; it shall be for their meat.
30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, behold, we will give them life, and also we will give to them every green herb for meat, and all these things shall be thus organized.
31 And the Gods said: We will do everything that we have said, and organize them; and behold, they shall be very obedient. And it came to pass that it was from evening until morning they called night; and it came to pass that it was from morning until evening that they called day; and they numbered the sixth time.

In the sixth creation period, man was created. Here is another account, that teaches us that we are created in the image of God. This belief has always made perfect sense to me. I am created like God, and I am able to become like God as well. Mankind was given dominion over all living things on the earth. I know there was great wisdom in man being created last on this earth. It makes logical sense that man was after animals, which would provide food and clothing among other things. Animals and man came after the sun and moon, because they needed to be able to have light to survive. Plants came before the animals, because that is how the animals would have food. The water and earth were separated and prepared in order for the plants to grow and animals to have the proper place to live. The waters were separated so that the cycle – water in the atmosphere giving water to the earth, and the earth giving back its water to the atmosphere – would sustain everything living, and so on. This is just another example that God is a being of order.

I am so grateful to have all the beautiful creations of God around me. I know that all things serve a purpose in the plan of salvation, and that I can be blessed because of the perfection in that plan. I am so grateful to be created after the image of my Father in Heaven. I have a great hope and faith in being able to become like Him someday.

Facsimile 2 and 3

Abraham was taught and shown many great things by the Lord. He did not hide this knowledge, but was commanded to share with the people. I am sure that there were things that he was told to hold sacred and not reveal, but there was also a lot of doctrinal truths that he was expected to teach others. I think that the facsimilies, or the images that are included in the Pearl of Great Price, go along with my most recent post from Abraham 3. My study guide says that the explanations given along with the images, that are printed in the scriptures at this time, are not set in stone. They may be revised as modern revelation comes to the prophets of our day.

According to my guide, this image is of an item that the Egyptians would lay under the head of one who had died to make the individual divine. It is supposed to be a representation of what they believed of the afterlife and the item itself (called a hypocephalus) was the eye of God. I don’t know if this image was found with the mummy that was with the writings when the church came into possession of them, but if so, this gives me an indication that the mummy and writings they found were probably from a person who followed the teachings of Abraham. I write that because if the image placed under the head, included the teachings of Abraham, than that individual must have believed his teachings to be true. It is great that they would hold their religious beliefs so strongly that they would symbolically take them with themselves after this life. I wish that more people today, would think this much about the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In Abraham 3, we learn about Kolob, which is the creation of the Lord that is closet to God. In the figure, the number 1, which can be found in the center, is to represent Kolob. I think that it is fittingly placed in the center of this image, because it represents where our focus should be. Whether the character in the center is a representation of the physical location Kolob, which was the first place created by God, or of Jesus Christ, which was the first spiritual being created by God, we should be drawn to that center. We should be working towards having the intelligence to be brought closer to God physically and spiritually. Jesus Christ, should be the center of our lives, just as Kolob is the center of this image. In this part of the image, there are two figures on the side of Kolob (noted as 22 and 23), with circles above their heads. These circles represent light, and it is my understanding that they are representing stars, which receive their light from Kolob. I think that this represents that all light, both physical and spiritual, comes from Jesus Christ.

The second portion is located just above the center of the image, called Oliblish. The descriptions says that it stands next to Kolob and is next in line in the order of governing powers. It says that this was revealed to Abraham when he made sacrifice to the Lord. I think that from this I learn that there is an order in the planets and stars, which determine how all the creations of God are governed. I love knowing that there is order in all of God’s creations.

The third part is in the upper-right portion of the hypocephalus. The descriptions says that this is representative of God. The circle above his head, is his crown of eternal light. His light is forever. I feel like God is at the top because he watches over us all as our eternal Father in Heaven.

The part that is marked as number 4, is on the upper-left portion of the circle. It looks to me, like a bird on a boat. The description says that this figure answers the question of time. It represents the measurement of time for Kolob as one thousand. Abraham was taught by the Lord, that one revolution for Kolob is one thousand years for our time.

The fifth figure is located under the center figure of Kolob. It looks like some four-legged animal. It is another governing planet, which the Egyptians called Enish-go-on-dosh. The descriptions explains that it receives its light from Kolob, just as the stars. It seems to me that it is showing that the governing power of the priesthood, gives the planets their power. I think I learn from this, that the priesthood is the power that moves and governs all the planets, the sun, the moon and the stars. If Kolob represents Jesus Christ, then this may represent another of the great prophets who was called to be a righteous leader and a governing spirit under the direction of Jesus Christ. The prophets ultimately receive the power of the priesthood from Jesus Christ.

The sixth portion is to the left of the fifth, and the description says that it represents the earth and its four quarters. It looks like four different individuals as well as some different animals next to them. I think that it shows that all the people and animals of the earth are also governed by the Savior. Plus they are all turned towards the figure in the middle of that row of the image. We, as people on the earth, look towards the prophets. I believe that in the time after this life, we will continue to look towards the prophets, because their callings to lead us our eternal. In other words, they have been called to be leaders not only on this earth, but in the life after this as well.

The seventh figure is on the other side of what I believe represent the prophets. It seems that this row of images represents the order of revelation. This image (7) is God, who reveals the Priesthood and the gospel to the prophets (5), who then in turn reveal them to the world (6). There is also a bird like image next to the image of God, which we learn in the description in the scriptures is the form of a dove and the sign of the Holy Ghost. I think that their is an image of some type of guard standing between the prophets and God. There are things that we must do in order to return to be with God again. If we make covenants and do the ordinances that have been revealed to us through the prophets of God, we will be able to pass through the veil that keeps us from God’s presence. We can only do this through sacred ordinances and covenants that are made in the temple of the Lord.

The eighth figure is on the left side of the center image of Kolob. The description for this line says that these writings are not to be revealed to the world, but may be received in the temple. My understand would be that this represent the ordinances such as the endowment that are completed in the temple. When we make the covenants in the endowment, we receive further revelations regarding what we need to know to be able to return to live with God again. Our pathway to eternal life is incomplete without these things, but they are so sacred that they cannot be revealed to the world openly.

I believe that the figures for the ninth, tenth and eleventh images, located above the eighth, represent things that have been revealed to the prophets, but are not to be revealed to the world yet. Likewise, the figures for the twelfth through the twenty-first image are given the description that they “will be given in the own due time of the Lord”. We don’t know at this time if they have been revealed to anyone else, but I believe that they will be eventually. I look forward to the time of the second coming, when all things will be revealed and the righteous will be blessed for their works. I think that having this image in the scriptures, is a testimony to me that the gospel has been on the earth from the beginning. I cannot even imagine the number of people who have had the gospel in their lives and did their very best to live it and to follow great prophets such as Abraham. I think that the heavenly reunion of the righteous sons and daughters of God, will be amazing.

This image is also from the Book of Abraham. It is believable based on the teachings of Abraham from the revelations he received. Their are six numbers found on the image. The first one, is described as “Abraham sitting upon Pharaoh’s throne, by the politeness of the king, with a crown upon his head, representing the Priesthood, as emblematical of the grand Presidency in Heaven; with the scepter of justice and judgment in his hand.” It seems to show the Priesthood leadership role of Abraham, or the reward that awaited Abraham in the eternities.

The second is marked as King Pharaoh. I think that this shows that in the eternities, the Pharaoh would look towards Abraham for leadership. I think also that this shows that Pharaoh, the first righteous leader of Egypt, supported and sustained the prophet Abraham. (This is just my interpretation of it.) The other people in the image are the Prince of Pharaoh, King of Egypt (4), a waiter of the king, Shulem (5), and a slave of the prince, Olimlah (6). The plant-like character (3) represents that Abraham was in Egypt. I think that this facsimile, shows the story of Abraham’s experience in Egypt. He was the spiritual leader brought to Egypt by the hand of the Lord. When there, he or his teachings were not accepted by the leader of Egypt, Prince of Pharaoh, which is why his image is turned away. It seems to me that the waiter and slave of the prince may have been trying to listen and change the mind of Prince of Pharaoh, but he refused to listen. There are other interpretations of this image and as I have been studying it, I have read some. There is a lot of explanation on the way Egyptian customs were, such as Pharaoh would have allowed Abraham to sit in his throne to be a teacher of astronomy to those in the court and that perhaps this was customarily a right given to the son of the Pharoah. I don’t know this kind of historical information, so I will leave that to the scholars. In any case, I find both of these images or facsimiles to be very fascinating and I believe that they are truly inspired recordings from Abraham.

D&C Section 88 (Part 2)

This is a continuation of the previous post (D&C Section 88 Part 1).

In the previous post, we learned that this revelation was given as a message of peace to the saints. We have learned that progression and growth come from the light of Christ, which is given to all men. We have also learned that all men will be resurrected because of the redemption, through the Savior, Jesus Christ.

The section continues:

17 And the redemption of the soul is through him that quickeneth all things, in whose bosom it is decreed that the poor and the meek of the earth shall inherit it.
18 Therefore, it must needs be sanctified from all unrighteousness, that it may be prepared for the celestial glory;
19 For after it hath filled the measure of its creation, it shall be crowned with glory, even with the presence of God the Father;
20 That bodies who are of the celestial kingdom may possess it forever and ever; for, for this intent was it made and created, and for this intent are they sanctified.

The earth will be the inheritance of the righteous, so it must be sanctified. It was created for the souls of the righteous and it will be the possession of those worthy of the celestial kingdom. I love imagining my own little piece of paradise on this beautiful world that the Lord created for us.

21 And they who are not sanctified through the law which I have given unto you, even the law of Christ, must inherit another kingdom, even that of a terrestrial kingdom, or that of a telestial kingdom.
22 For he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory.
23 And he who cannot abide the law of a terrestrial kingdom cannot abide a terrestrial glory.
24 And he who cannot abide the law of a telestial kingdom cannot abide a telestial glory; therefore he is not meet for a kingdom of glory. Therefore he must abide a kingdom which is not a kingdom of glory.

I’ve written about this a few times before. My understanding of this, is that we will not live where we would be unworthy because we are among others who are more righteous. We will gain the degree of glory that will fit who we are – meaning our behaviors, attitudes, and the way we live this life. Those who are worthy of the celestial glory, because they lived a life of righteousness, will feel at home in the celestial kingdom. Others who lived an unrighteous life, would not feel at home there and so they will be where they fit best. God knows us. He knows our hearts and minds and he will judge us righteously and we will gain the glory that is perfect for us. This is why it is so important to change our hearts and minds today. I want to be worthy of the celestial glory, so I must work on my own faults and have a change of heart where it is needed. This separation into kingdoms of glory, is the reason we have come to learn and grow on this earth.

25 And again, verily I say unto you, the earth abideth the law of a celestial kingdom, for it filleth the measure of its creation, and transgresseth not the law—
26 Wherefore, it shall be sanctified; yea, notwithstanding it shall die, it shall be quickened again, and shall abide the power by which it is quickened, and the righteous shall inherit it.

The end of the world is not as destructive as movies and books make it out to be. I learn from this scripture, that the earth will die and in a sense come to an end. This ending only means that it will no longer be what we know it as today. It will be resurrected as a perfected celestial body. This scripture says that the earth follows the celestial law because it does what it was created for. If we do what we have been created for, then we too will gain a celestial glory.

27 For notwithstanding they die, they also shall rise again, a spiritual body.
28 They who are of a celestial spirit shall receive the same body which was a natural body; even ye shall receive your bodies, and your glory shall be that glory by which your bodies are quickened.

The righteous will die and be resurrected as a spiritual body. This modern revelation, through the prophet Joseph Smith, teaches us that when we are resurrected we will not be a body of spirit, meaning that our spirits alone will come back from the dead. It teaches us that we will be spiritual bodies. We will be resurrected as souls with both a body and a spirit. The difference in our resurrected bodies and the ones we have now, is that our bodies will become immortal. We will never die again. Our bodies will be the same as we have now, in their perfected state.

29 Ye who are quickened by a portion of the celestial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fulness.
30 And they who are quickened by a portion of the terrestrial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fulness.
31 And also they who are quickened by a portion of the telestial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fulness.

If we have the desire and ability to live the celestial laws now, we will be resurrected and receive a celestial glory, a celestial spirit, a celestial body, and a celestial reward. If however, we only have the desire and ability to live a terrestrial or telestial law, that is what we will be blessed with when we are resurrected.

32 And they who remain shall also be quickened; nevertheless, they shall return again to their own place, to enjoy that which they are willing to receive, because they were not willing to enjoy that which they might have received.
33 For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift.
34 And again, verily I say unto you, that which is governed by law is also preserved by law and perfected and sanctified by the same.
35 That which breaketh a law, and abideth not by law, but seeketh to become a law unto itself, and willeth to abide in sin, and altogether abideth in sin, cannot be sanctified by law, neither by mercy, justice, nor judgment. Therefore, they must remain filthy still.

After all who are worthy of one of the degrees of glory (celestial, terrestrial, or telestial) has gained their reward, those who were not worthy of any of them will still be resurrected. However, they will not receive any reward and instead will remain as they were before. These that are left, are also known as the sons of perdition.

36 All kingdoms have a law given;
37 And there are many kingdoms; for there is no space in the which there is no kingdom; and there is no kingdom in which there is no space, either a greater or a lesser kingdom.

Every kingdom that exists has laws given by God and those souls who are there must follow those laws. To me this is just fitting for my understanding of God as a just and true God. If this were not the case, then it would not be necessary for us to follow a certain set of laws on this earth today.

38 And unto every kingdom is given a law; and unto every law there are certain bounds also and conditions.
39 All beings who abide not in those conditions are not justified.

For every law there must be consequences for either following it or not. Some of the laws we have are for all people everywhere, such as the ten commandments. Other laws, like those of each nation or land, are specific to those people. There must be laws in all the kingdoms of God, so that everything will be in order.

40 For intelligence cleaveth unto intelligence; wisdom receiveth wisdom; truth embraceth truth; virtue loveth virtue; light cleaveth unto light; mercy hath compassion on mercy and claimeth her own; justice continueth its course and claimeth its own; judgment goeth before the face of him who sitteth upon the throne and governeth and executeth all things.
41 He comprehendeth all things, and all things are before him, and all things are round about him; and he is above all things, and in all things, and is through all things, and is round about all things; and all things are by him, and of him, even God, forever and ever.

God is the ruler of all kingdoms that exist and he knows and understands all things. This idea is way beyond my ability to understand, but I feel in my heart that it is true. I know that my Father in Heaven, knows all things including the thoughts and desires of my heart. I know that I am personally known and loved by my Father in Heaven. I also know that he loves all His children this way. I have the smallest glimpse of this as I have more than one child and I can still manage to have great love for all of them.

I think that the Lord wanted the early saints to know that even though times would be tough and following his laws would be difficult, He knew them all. He wanted them to know that all the laws they were being told to follow, were His laws. He wanted them to understand that if they chose to follow those laws, they would inherit the glory they deserved after this life. I know that these scriptures are for our understanding of these things as well. I look forward to the promised blessings that will come if I can stay faithful to the laws that my Father in Heaven has created for us all.

This section will be continued.

D&C Section 38 (Part 1)

Historical Background

In January of 1831, there was a church conference and this revelation was given at that time through the Prophet, Joseph Smith. This revelation was needed to strengthen the saints. In it they received a reason for the commandment to move to Ohio, and they learned more of the Lord’s plan for the saints and His church.

Jesus Christ Is the Great I Am, Alpha and Omega

“THUS saith the Lord your God, even Jesus Christ, the Great I Am, Alpha and Omega, . . . (v. 1)”. In Exodus 3:14 we read, “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” To the Jews, the Lord was know as the great I Am. He is all things that can be found “from A to Z”. I don’t think that we can fully comprehend the meaning of this because it has to do with the infinite and eternal nature of God, which we can only slightly grasp as mortals.

“Seraphic Hosts of Heaven”

“. . . the beginning and the end, the same which looked upon the wide expanse of eternity, and all the seraphic hosts of heaven, before the world was made (v. 1);”. The angles of the pre-existence, or the time before the world was created, are the seraphic hosts of heaven. They are known here as angels who have not yet received a body. The God of Moses was He who saw all of the time of this world and knew us all before we came to this earth.

Omniscience of God

“The same which knoweth all things, for all things are present before mine eyes (v. 2);”. In this revelation, we learn that God knows all things. He is not still learning like we are and like we will continue to do after this life, He can see all things and knows them all. The manual I am using to study, helps to further establish this fact. If we know that with knowledge comes power and we believe that God has the power to do all things, then he must have all the knowledge to have that power. He could not have all of one without all of the other. Our faith in the power of the atonement and hope in salvation, comes from believing that God knows everything that anyone has experienced and knows in every life that has ever been. Without this belief, there can be no hope in the blessings of eternal life.

Christ the Creator

“I am the same which spake, and the world was made, and all things came by me (v. 3).” Jesus Christ was the being who created the world under the direction of God the Father. I think that everyone needs to have a reminder on a regular basis of who our Savior is. Christ created this world for us and it is important to remember this and be grateful for it.

I Have “Taken the Zion of Enoch into Mine Own Bosom”

“I am the same which have taken the Zion of Enoch into mine own bosom; and verily, I say, even as many as have believed in my name, for I am Christ, and in mine own name, by the virtue of the blood which I have spilt, have I pleaded before the Father for them (v. 4).” Christ took up the city of Enoch to be with God, because of their righteousness. They were highly favored of the Lord, because they had faith and obeyed His commandments. We are promised in this verse that all those who believe in Christ and his atonement, will have the mercy of the Savior on their side. We show we believe by following the commandments and living righteously, just as the people of Enoch did.

Why Are the Wicked Facing Doom?

“But behold, the residue of the wicked have I kept in chains of darkness until the judgment of the great day, which shall come at the end of the earth (v. 5); And even so will I cause the wicked to be kept, that will not hear my voice but harden their hearts, and wo, wo, wo, is their doom (v. 6). But behold, verily, verily, I say unto you that mine eyes are upon you. I am in your midst and ye cannot see me (v. 7); But the day soon cometh that ye shall asee me, and know that I am; for the veil of darkness shall soon be rent, and he that is not purified shall not abide the day (v. 8 ).”

The wicked face doom because they cannot hear the voice of the lord and they harden their hearts against Him. As long as they are wicked, they cannot be purified, and nothing can be saved that cannot be purified through the Savior. Anything that is not purified, will not survive the Second Coming of the Lord.

“I Am in Your Midst”

The spirit of the Lord, is always around us even if we do not know that it is there. We are responsible for allowing it to enter our hearts and staying righteous enough, for it to be able to stay there.

“The Enemy Shall Not Overcome”

“Wherefore, gird up your loins and be prepared. Behold, the kingdom is yours, and the enemy shall not overcome (v. 9). . . Therefore, be ye strong from henceforth; fear not, for the kingdom is yours (v. 15).” The work of the Lord, will always win in the end. We may loose faith and fail on our own, but if we can keep the faith, we will be on the winning side. If we are prepared, than we can stand firm against the enemy of righteousness and we will prevail.

Alma, Chapter 33

What did Alma want the Zoramites to plant in their hearts?

“Now after Alma had spoken these words, they sent forth unto him desiring to know whether they should believe in one God, that they might obtain this fruit of which he had spoken, or how they should plant the seed, or the word of which he had spoken, which he said must be planted in their hearts; or in what manner they should begin to exercise their faith.”  The Zoramites asked Alma some questions.  Should we believe in one God?  How do we plant the seed of the word of God in our hearts?  How do we begin to exercise our faith?

Faith is a Sunrise

Should we believe in one God?  My answer is yes, because there is only one true and living God and we have been commanded to only worship him and none else.  How do we plant the seed of the word of God in our hearts?  First we must learn of the word of God.  We read the scriptures, listen to the prophets, and then the spirit, which will tell us what we need to do.  How do we begin to exercise our faith?  We start by doing what we have been commanded to do.  The first step is to obediently try it and the faith that we have in that thing will grow.

Alma answers these questions with the words of the prophets.  “And Alma said unto them: Behold, ye have said that ye could not worship your God because ye are cast out of your synagogues. But behold, I say unto you, if ye suppose that ye cannot worship God, ye do greatly err, and ye ought to search the scriptures; if ye suppose that they have taught you this, ye do not understand them (v. 2).  Do ye remember to have read what Zenos, the prophet of old, has said concerning prayer or worship (v. 3)?  For he said: Thou art merciful, O God, for thou hast heard my prayer, even when I was in the wilderness; yea, thou wast merciful when I prayed concerning those who were mine enemies, and thou didst turn them to me (v. 4).  Yea, O God, and thou wast merciful unto me when I did cry unto thee in my field; when I did cry unto thee in my prayer, and thou didst hear me (v. 5).  And again, O God, when I did turn to my house thou didst hear me in my prayer (v. 6).  And when I did turn unto my closet, O Lord, and prayed unto thee, thou didst hear me (v. 7).  Yea, thou art merciful unto thy children when they cry unto thee, to be heard of thee and not of men, and thou awilt hear them (v. 8 ).  Yea, O God, thou hast been merciful unto me, and heard my cries in the midst of thy congregations (v. 9).  Yea, and thou hast also heard me when I have been cast out and have been despised by mine enemies; yea, thou didst hear my cries, and wast angry with mine enemies, and thou didst visit them in thine anger with speedy destruction (v. 10).  And thou didst hear me because of mine afflictions and my sincerity; and it is because of thy Son that thou hast been thus merciful unto me, therefore I will cry unto thee in all mine afflictions, for in thee is my joy; for thou hast turned thy judgments away from me, because of thy Son (v. 11).”

From the scriptures, or the word of God, Zenos taught that we pray to one God.  We can pray to Him anywhere that we are and He will here our prayers.  Our prayers are personal messages of gratitude and pleadings for help which should be sincere.  Heavenly Father is able to show us mercy because His Son.

Alma continued by asking if they believed the words of the scriptures as they claimed they did.  He said, “Now behold, my brethren, I would ask if ye have read the scriptures? If ye have, how can ye disbelieve on the Son of God (v. 14)?  For it is not written that Zenos alone spake of these things, but Zenock also spake of these things (v. 15)—For behold, he said: Thou art angry, O Lord, with this people, because they will not understand thy mercies which thou hast bestowed upon them because of thy Son (v. 16).  And now, my brethren, ye see that a second prophet of old has testified of the Son of God, and because the people would not understand his words they stoned him to death (v. 17).”  From Zenock we learn again that Heavenly Father bestows mercy upon us because of His Son.

Alma goes on, “But behold, this is not all; these are not the only ones who have spoken concerning the Son of God (v. 18 ).  Behold, he was spoken of by Moses; yea, and behold a type was raised up in the wilderness, that whosoever would look upon it might live. And many did look and live (v. 19).  But few understood the meaning of those things, and this because of the hardness of their hearts. But there were many who were so hardened that they would not look, therefore they perished. Now the reason they would not look is because they did not believe that it would heal them (v. 20).”

In Numbers 21:4-9 we read, “And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way (v. 4).  And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread (v. 5).  And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died (v. 6).  Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people (v. 7).  And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live (v. 8 ).  And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived (v. 9).”

Here we learn from Moses, that there was to be a Christ.  That they showed the people a staff with a serpent on top, to represent what Christ would be able to do for the people.  Many would believe in Christ and live, just as those who looked at the serpent were spared.  Still, many would not believe and perish, just as those who died because they would not believe that looking at the serpent would save them.  The thing that the people would chose not to believe was the atonement.  The atonement has the power to heal us of everything that hurts our physical and spiritual bodies.  The atonement is that thing which Christ did, that allows God to show us the mercy.

Alma continues, “O my brethren, if ye could be healed by merely casting about your eyes that ye might be healed, would ye not behold quickly, or would ye rather harden your hearts in unbelief, and be slothful, that ye would not cast about your eyes, that ye might perish (v. 21)?  If so, wo shall come upon you; but if not so, then cast about your eyes and begin to believe in the Son of God, that he will come to redeem his people, and that he shall suffer and die to atone for their sins; and that he shall rise again from the dead, which shall bring to pass the resurrection, that all men shall stand before him, to be judged at the last and judgment day, according to their works (v. 22).  And now, my brethren, I desire that ye shall plant this word in your hearts, and as it beginneth to swell even so nourish it by your faith. And behold, it will become a tree, springing up in you unto everlasting life. And then may God grant unto you that your burdens may be light, through the joy of his Son. And even all this can ye do if ye will. Amen (v. 23).”

How did this answer the questions:  Should we believe in one God?  How do we plant the seed of the word of God in our hearts?  How do we begin to exercise our faith?  There is one God that the prophets speak of in the scriptures.  The planting comes from learning the truth of the word of God and then we exercise the faith, but praying as Zenos did and looking to Christ for the blessings of the atonement as Moses has taught us.  Alma is trying to show the Zoramites that we exercise our faith, or plant the seed, by experimenting upon the word of God in the scriptures.  It tells them that they should believe in Christ, so they need to test it out.  Believe, even a little, and the faith in Him will grow and bring blessings to their lives.

And Alma said unto them: Behold, ye have said that ye acould not bworship your God because ye are cast out of your synagogues. But behold, I say unto you, if ye suppose that ye cannot worship God, ye do greatly err, and ye ought to search the cscriptures; if ye suppose that they have taught you this, ye do not understand them.
3 Do ye remember to have read what aZenos, the prophet of old, has said concerning prayer or bworship?
4 For he said: Thou art merciful, O God, for thou hast heard my prayer, even when I was ain the wilderness; yea, thou wast merciful when I prayed concerning those who were mine benemies, and thou didst turn them to me.
5 Yea, O God, and thou wast merciful unto me when I did cry unto thee in my afield; when I did cry unto thee in my prayer, and thou didst hear me.
6 And again, O God, when I did turn to my house thou didst hear me in my prayer.
7 And when I did turn unto my acloset, O Lord, and prayed unto thee, thou didst hear me.
8 Yea, thou art merciful unto thy children when they cry unto thee, to be heard of thee and not of men, and thou awilt hear them.
9 Yea, O God, thou hast been merciful unto me, and heard my cries in the midst of thy congregations.
10 Yea, and thou hast also heard me when I have been acast out and have been despised by mine enemies; yea, thou didst hear my cries, and wast angry with mine enemies, and thou didst bvisit them in thine anger with speedy destruction.
11 And thou didst hear me because of mine afflictions and my asincerity; and it is because of thy Son that thou hast been thus merciful unto me, therefore I will cry unto thee in all mine bafflictions, for in thee is my joy; for thou hast turned thy judgments away from me, cbecause of thy Son.

Alma, Chapter 18

What did the Lamanites believe about God?

God is our eternal Father in Heaven.  He is all-knowing and all-powerful.  He loves me and wants me to be able to live with Him again, so much so that he allowed his Son, Jesus Christ, to come and be sacrificed to save us all.  He knows what is the best thing for me.  He can allow miracles to happen and can give man the power to do anything.  He wants me to be like him.  He looks just like we look and is a living God.  In D&C 130:22 we read, “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.”  I think other churches believe that God, His Son, and the Holy Ghost are one being.  I think that they believe that this being is a spirit of sorts, or some unknown power.  I’m glad that I know what God is because I don’t think I would know how to believe or pray to some unknown being or anything other than what He is.

“And it came to pass that king Lamoni caused that his servants should stand forth and testify to all the things which they had seen concerning the matter (v. 1).  And when they had all testified to the things which they had seen, and he had learned of the faithfulness of Ammon in preserving his flocks, and also of his great power in contending against those who sought to slay him, he was astonished exceedingly, and said: Surely, this is more than a man. Behold, is not this the Great Spirit who doth send such great punishments upon this people, because of their murders (v. 2)?  And they answered the king, and said: Whether he be the Great Spirit or a man, we know not; but this much we do know, that he cannot be slain by the enemies of the king; neither can they scatter the king’s flocks when he is with us, because of his expertness and great strength; therefore, we know that he is a friend to the king. And now, O king, we do not believe that a man has such great power, for we know he cannot be slain (v. 3).  And now, when the king heard these words, he said unto them: Now I know that it is the Great Spirit; and he has come down at this time to preserve your lives, that I might not slay you as I did your brethren. Now this is the Great Spirit of whom our fathers have spoken (v. 4).  Now this was the tradition of Lamoni, which he had received from his father, that there was a Great Spirit. Notwithstanding they believed in a Great Spirit, they supposed that whatsoever they did was right; nevertheless, Lamoni began to fear exceedingly, with fear lest he had done wrong in slaying his servants (v. 5);”

The Lamanites called God, the Great Spirit.  King Lamoni thought that Ammon was the Great Spirit (or God) because of his power.  He thought the Great Spirit was mad at him for killing the servants who had not been able to protect his sheep.  Lamoni’s ideas came from the traditions of his ancestors, who had thought that everything they did was right.  When we do not know truly who God is, we cannot truly know who we are.  We cannot possible know the meaning of our lives, without understanding true principals about God.  If I just felt that God was something that had created me, but not my Heavenly Father, I don’t think I would try very hard to please him.  If I did not believe that I could ever become like him, I would probably never think about trying to be “God-like” because it would be an impossible thing that would probably just make me feel inadequate all the time.  I am very grateful for the testimonies in the scriptures, that bear witness of who God is.  I am so glad that Joseph Smith saw the Father and the Son and that he shared what he witnessed with so many.  I love my Father in Heaven and am so grateful to Him for this opportunity to prove myself worthy to return and be with Him again.

I’ll listen to you when I know I can trust you

It is easier to trust people we know rather than those we do not.  We live with our family members every day and know them so well, that we develop either a great trust in them, or not.  We build relationships of trust when we allow others to get to know us and we serve them and show them that we love them.

“And the king answered him, and said: Yea, I will believe all thy words. And thus he was caught with guile.”  Lamoni said that he would believe all of Ammon’s words, which showed that he trusted Ammon.  Ammon had earned his trust by protecting his sheep and shepherds.  If more missionaries could gain this trust from those they try to serve, so many more would be willing to listen to their testimonies of the gospel.  Trust is a barrier that missionaries have to break in order to be able to teach people.  It is one reason why member missionaries are so important.  Because our families and neighbors have already learned to trust us and will be more willing to hear us.

“And it came to pass that king Lamoni inquired of his servants, saying: Where is this man that has such great power (v. 8 )?  And they said unto him: Behold, he is feeding thy horses. Now the king had commanded his servants, previous to the time of the watering of their flocks, that they should prepare his horses and chariots, and conduct him forth to the land of Nephi; for there had been a great feast appointed at the land of Nephi, by the father of Lamoni, who was king over all the land (v. 9).  Now when king Lamoni heard that Ammon was preparing his horses and his chariots he was more astonished, because of the faithfulness of Ammon, saying: Surely there has not been any servant among all my servants that has been so faithful as this man; for even he doth remember all my commandments to execute them (v. 10).”  Here Ammon has earned an even greater trust from King Lamoni.  Ammon could have done anything at this time, because He had shown such great power, but he continued on working and serving the King.

“Now I surely know that this is the Great Spirit, and I would desire him that he come in unto me, but I durst not (v. 11).  And it came to pass that when Ammon had made ready the horses and the chariots for the king and his servants, he went in unto the king, and he saw that the countenance of the king was changed; therefore he was about to return out of his presence (v. 12).  And one of the king’s servants said unto him, Rabbanah, which is, being interpreted, powerful or great king, considering their kings to be powerful; and thus he said unto him: Rabbanah, the king desireth thee to stay (v. 13).  Therefore Ammon turned himself unto the king, and said unto him: What wilt thou that I should do for thee, O king? And the king answered him not for the space of an hour, according to their time, for he knew not what he should say unto him (v. 14).  And it came to pass that Ammon said unto him again: What desirest thou of me? But the king answered him not (v. 15).  And it came to pass that Ammon, being filled with the Spirit of God, therefore he perceived the thoughts of the king. And he said unto him: Is it because thou hast heard that I defended thy servants and thy flocks, and slew seven of their brethren with the sling and with the sword, and smote off the arms of others, in order to defend thy flocks and thy servants; behold, is it this that causeth thy marvelings (v. 16)?  I say unto you, what is it, that thy marvelings are so great? Behold, I am a man, and am thy servant; therefore, whatsoever thou desirest which is right, that will I do (v. 17).  Now when the king had heard these words, he marveled again, for he beheld that Ammon could discern his thoughts (v. 18 )…”.  This again increased King Lamoni’s trust in Him, because Ammon could tell what he was thinking.

“… but notwithstanding this, king Lamoni did open his mouth, and said unto him: Who art thou? Art thou that Great Spirit, who knows all things (v. 18 )?  Ammon answered and said unto him: I am not (v. 19).  And the king said: How knowest thou the thoughts of my heart? Thou mayest speak boldly, and tell me concerning these things; and also tell me by what power ye slew and smote off the arms of my brethren that scattered my flocks (v. 20)—And now, if thou wilt tell me concerning these things, whatsoever thou desirest I will give unto thee; and if it were needed, I would guard thee with my armies; but I know that thou art more powerful than all they; nevertheless, whatsoever thou desirest of me I will grant it unto thee (v. 21).  Now Ammon being wise, yet harmless, he said unto Lamoni: Wilt thou hearken unto my words, if I tell thee by what power I do these things? And this is the thing that I desire of thee (v. 22).”

We can teach the principals of the gospel to those around us, when we gain their trust, just as Ammon did.  If we trust in the Lord and use the power of the priesthood to bear witness of God and Jesus Christ, anything is possible.  When we truly love and serve others, they will see the light of Christ in us and want to know what it is.

How to be a great missionary

President Hinckley said the following to those who were not members of the church, “To these we say in a spirit of love, bring with you all that you have of good and truth which you have received from whatever source, and come and let us see if we may add to it.”  There are many good people out there who are living good lives because of what they have learned, but have not been introduced to the fullness of the gospel.  Most other religions have some or even a lot of truth in their teachings, but not all of the truth.  Our church and the gospel that we have can fill the gaps they may have in the truth.  What these souls can bring with them to us, can be a great blessing in our lives as well.  As a good missionary, it is important to use these true beliefs and build upon them.  If they believe in the resurrection, as many do, explaining that there is more details in the plan of salvation about what happens after we die that we believe, is just taking their belief one step further.  At times they may believe in something that is not true, such as the trinity.  In these cases, it is important to teach what we know to be true because the false teachings can lead people away from God.

“And Ammon began to speak unto him with boldness, and said unto him: Believest thou that there is a God (v. 24)?  And he answered, and said unto him: I do not know what that meaneth (v. 25).  And then Ammon said: Believest thou that there is a Great Spirit (v. 26)?  And he said, Yea (v. 27).  And Ammon said: This is God. And Ammon said unto him again: Believest thou that this Great Spirit, who is God, created all things which are in heaven and in the earth (v. 28 )?”  Lamoni and Ammon both believe in God.

“And he said: Yea, I believe that he created all things which are in the earth; but I do not know the heavens (v. 29).  And Ammon said unto him: The heavens is a place where God dwells and all his holy angels (v. 30).”  Ammon taught Lamoni that God created all things which are in heaven where God lives.

“And king Lamoni said: Is it above the earth (v. 31)?  And Ammon said: Yea, and he looketh down upon all the children of men; and he knows all the thoughts and intents of the heart; for by his hand were they all created from the beginning (v. 32).”  We learn precept upon precept, so because he already believe in God and that God had created everything on the earth, it was just the next step to believing that God had created everything in heaven and man also.

“And king Lamoni said: I believe all these things which thou hast spoken. Art thou sent from God (v. 33)?  Ammon said unto him: I am a man; and man in the beginning was created after the image of God, and I am called by his Holy Spirit to teach these things unto this people, that they may be brought to a knowledge of that which is just and true (v. 34);  And a portion of that Spirit dwelleth in me, which giveth me knowledge, and also power according to my faith and desires which are in God (v. 35).”  Next Ammon taught him that man is created in God’s image and can have the spirit of God in them.

“Now when Ammon had said these words, he began at the creation of the world, and also the creation of Adam, and told him all the things concerning the fall of man, and rehearsed and laid before him the records and the holy scriptures of the people, which had been spoken by the prophets, even down to the time that their father, Lehi, left Jerusalem (v. 36).  And he also rehearsed unto them (for it was unto the king and to his servants) all the journeyings of their fathers in the wilderness, and all their sufferings with hunger and thirst, and their travail, and so forth (v. 37).  And he also rehearsed unto them concerning the rebellions of Laman and Lemuel, and the sons of Ishmael, yea, all their rebellions did he relate unto them; and he expounded unto them all the records and scriptures from the time that Lehi left Jerusalem down to the present time (v. 38 ).”  Ammon taught Lamoni that Laman and Lemuel who were the ancestors of the Lamanites, had rebelled.  The Lamanites had believed that they had done nothing wrong, and this was just one false teaching that Ammon corrected with his teachings.

“But this is not all; for he expounded unto them the plan of redemption, which was prepared from the foundation of the world; and he also made known unto them concerning the coming of Christ, and all the works of the Lord did he make known unto them (v. 39).”  Ammon had already taught about the beginning of man on the earth and then he taught him about Christ and the plan of redemption.  I think it is easier for people to hear the parts of the plan of salvation that are to come, after they understand what has already happened.  A lot of religious people believe in Adam and that he transgressed, so teaching that Christ would bring about the ability for even Adam to be forgiven for what he had done against God, is important.

“And it came to pass that after he had said all these things, and expounded them to the king, that the king believed all his words (v. 40).”  Lamoni believed the words of Ammon, because Ammon was being led by the spirit and understood how these things needed to be taught.

At this point, king Lamoni pleaded to God for his sins and he was overcome by the spirit and fell to the earth.  His servants believing he was dead, took him to the queen and everyone began to mourn for 2 days and 2 nights (v. 41-43).

Ammon had been a great missionary and had taught king Lamoni true principles of the gospel through the spirit of God.  We can all be as great a missionary as Ammon, if we prepare ourselves and then seek for those who are ready.  The Lord will guide us, because he wants all people to have the opportunity to hear the gospel.  We need to have faith and courage to go outside of whatever comfort zones we may have.  In Ether 12: 27 we read, “And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”  The Lord will make up the difference if we teach others with a willing and a humble heart.

And it came to pass that king Lamoni caused that his aservants should stand forth and testify to all the things which they had seen concerning the matter.
2 And when they had all testified to the things which they had seen, and he had learned of the faithfulness of Ammon in preserving his flocks, and also of his agreat power in contending against those who sought to slay him, he was astonished exceedingly, and said: Surely, this is more than a man. Behold, is not this the Great Spirit who doth send such great punishments upon this people, because of their murders?
3 And they answered the king, and said: Whether he be the Great Spirit or a man, we know not; but this much we do know, that he acannot be slain by the enemies of the king; neither can they bscatter the king’s flocks when he is with us, because of his expertness and cgreat strength; therefore, we know that he is a friend to the king. And now, O king, we do not believe that a man has such great power, for we know he cannot be slain.
4 And now, when the king heard these words, he said unto them: Now I know that it is the Great Spirit; and he has come down at this time to preserve your lives, that I might not aslay you as I did your brethren. Now this is the Great Spirit of whom our fathers have spoken.

5 Now this was the atradition of Lamoni, which he had received from his father, that there was a bGreat Spirit. Notwithstanding they believed in a Great Spirit, they supposed that cwhatsoever they did was right; nevertheless, Lamoni began to fear exceedingly, with fear lest he had done wrong in slaying his servants;


About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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