Sunday, May 27, 2012

Bible Videos

The Church has a new collection of Bible videos that are free to watch online. The church has spent quite a bit of effort to create these videos, and I think they have done a wonderful job. You can also get apps so that you can watch them on your phone. You can watch them by clicking this link, or you can also watch them on Youtube.

Here is an example of the videos that have been produced:

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Conference Messages: Elder Dallin H. Oaks: Sacrifice

Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Our lives of service and sacrifice are the most appropriate expressions of our commitment to serve the Master and our fellowmen.
The atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ has been called the “most transcendent of all events from creation’s dawn to the endless ages of eternity.”1 That sacrifice is the central message of all the prophets. It was prefigured by the animal sacrifices prescribed by the law of Moses. A prophet declared that their whole meaning “point[ed] to that great and last sacrifice [of] … the Son of God, yea, infinite and eternal” (Alma 34:14). Jesus Christ endured incomprehensible suffering to make Himself a sacrifice for the sins of all. That sacrifice offered the ultimate good—the pure Lamb without blemish—for the ultimate measure of evil—the sins of the entire world. In the memorable words of Eliza R. Snow:

His precious blood he freely spilt;
His life he freely gave,
A sinless sacrifice for guilt,
A dying world to save. 2
That sacrifice—the Atonement of Jesus Christ—is at the center of the plan of salvation.

The incomprehensible suffering of Jesus Christ ended sacrifice by the shedding of blood, but it did not end the importance of sacrifice in the gospel plan. Our Savior requires us to continue to offer sacrifices, but the sacrifices He now commands are that we “offer for a sacrifice unto [Him] a broken heart and a contrite spirit” (3 Nephi 9:20). He also commands each of us to love and serve one another—in effect, to offer a small imitation of His own sacrifice by making sacrifices of our own time and selfish priorities. In an inspired hymn, we sing, “Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven.”3

I will speak of these mortal sacrifices our Savior asks us to make. This will not include sacrifices we are compelled to make or actions that may be motivated by personal advantage rather than service or sacrifice (see 2 Nephi 26:29).

The Christian faith has a history of sacrifice, including the ultimate sacrifice. In the early years of the Christian era, Rome martyred thousands for their faith in Jesus Christ. In later centuries, as doctrinal controversies divided Christians, some groups persecuted and even put to death the members of other groups. Christians killed by other Christians are the most tragic martyrs of the Christian faith.

Many Christians have voluntarily given sacrifices motivated by faith in Christ and the desire to serve Him. Some have chosen to devote their entire adult lives to the service of the Master. This noble group includes those in the religious orders of the Catholic Church and those who have given lifelong service as Christian missionaries in various Protestant faiths. Their examples are challenging and inspiring, but most believers in Christ are neither expected nor able to devote their entire lives to religious service.

For most followers of Christ, our sacrifices involve what we can do on a day-to-day basis in our ordinary personal lives. In that experience I know of no group whose members make more sacrifices than Latter-day Saints. Their sacrifices—your sacrifices, my brothers and sisters—stand in contrast to the familiar worldly quests for personal fulfillment.

My first examples are our Mormon pioneers. Their epic sacrifices of lives, family relationships, homes, and comforts are at the foundation of the restored gospel. Sarah Rich spoke for what motivated these pioneers when she described her husband, Charles, being called away on a mission: “This truly was a trying time for me as well as for my husband; but duty called us to part for a season and knowing that we [were] obeying the will of the Lord, we felt to sacrifice our own feelings in order to help establish the work … of helping to build up the Kingdom of God on earth.”4

Today the most visible strength of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the unselfish service and sacrifice of its members. Prior to the rededication of one of our temples, a Christian minister asked President Gordon B. Hinckley why it did not contain any representation of the cross, the most common symbol of the Christian faith. President Hinckley replied that the symbols of our Christian faith are “the lives of our people.”5 Truly, our lives of service and sacrifice are the most appropriate expressions of our commitment to serve the Master and our fellowmen.

We have no professionally trained and salaried clergy in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As a result, the lay members who are called to lead and serve our congregations must carry the whole load of our numerous Church meetings, programs, and activities. They do this in more than 14,000 congregations just in the United States and Canada. Of course, we are not unique in having lay members of our congregations serve as teachers and lay leaders. But the amount of time donated by our members to train and minister to one another is uniquely large. Our efforts to have each family in our congregations visited by home teachers each month and to have each adult woman visited by Relief Society visiting teachers each month are examples of this. We know of no comparable service in any organization in the world.

The best-known examples of unique LDS service and sacrifice are the work of our missionaries. Currently they number more than 50,000 young men and young women and over 5,000 adult men and women. They devote from six months to two years of their lives to teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and providing humanitarian service in more than 160 countries in the world. Their work always involves sacrifice, including the years they give to the work of the Lord and also the sacrifices made in providing funds for their support.

Those who remain at home—parents and other family members—also sacrifice by forgoing the companionship and service of the missionaries they send forth. For example, a young Brazilian received a missionary call while he was working to support his brothers and sisters after his father and mother died. A General Authority described these children’s meeting in council and remembering that their deceased parents had taught them that they should always be prepared to serve the Lord. The young man accepted his missionary call, and a 16-year-old brother took over the responsibility of working to support the family.6 Most of us know of many other examples of sacrifice to serve a mission or to support a missionary. We know of no other voluntary service and sacrifice like this in any other organization in the world.

We are frequently asked, “How do you persuade your young people and your older members to leave their schooling or their retirement to sacrifice in this way?” I have heard many give this explanation: “Knowing what my Savior did for me—His grace in suffering for my sins and in overcoming death so I can live again—I feel privileged to make the small sacrifice I am asked to make in His service. I want to share the understanding He has given me.” How do we persuade such followers of Christ to serve? As a prophet explained, “We [just] ask them.”7

Other sacrifices resulting from missionary service are the sacrifices of those who act on the teachings of the missionaries and become members of the Church. For many converts, these sacrifices are very significant, including the loss of friends and family associations.

Many years ago this conference heard of a young man who found the restored gospel while he was studying in the United States. As this man was about to return to his native land, President Gordon B. Hinckley asked him what would happen to him when he returned home as a Christian. “My family will be disappointed,” the young man answered. “They may cast me out and regard me as dead. As for my future and my career, all opportunity may be foreclosed against me.”

“Are you willing to pay so great a price for the gospel?” President Hinckley asked.

Tearfully the young man answered, “It’s true, isn’t it?” When that was affirmed, he replied, “Then what else matters?”8 That is the spirit of sacrifice among many of our new members.

Other examples of service and sacrifice appear in the lives of the faithful members who serve in our temples. Temple service is unique to Latter-day Saints, but the significance of such sacrifice should be understandable to all Christians. Latter-day Saints have no tradition of service in a monastery, but we can still understand and honor the sacrifice of those whose Christian faith motivates them to devote their lives to that religious activity.

In this conference just a year ago, President Thomas S. Monson shared an example of sacrifice in connection with temple service. A faithful Latter-day Saint father on a remote island in the Pacific did heavy physical work in a faraway place for six years to earn the money necessary to take his wife and 10 children for marriage and sealing for eternity in the New Zealand Temple. President Monson explained, “Those who understand the eternal blessings which come from the temple know that no sacrifice is too great, no price too heavy, no struggle too difficult in order to receive those blessings.”9

I am grateful for the marvelous examples of Christian love, service, and sacrifice I have seen among the Latter-day Saints. I see you performing your Church callings, often at great sacrifice of time and means. I see you serving missions at your own expense. I see you cheerfully donating your professional skills in service to your fellowmen. I see you caring for the poor through personal efforts and through supporting Church welfare and humanitarian contributions.10 All of this is affirmed in a nationwide study which concluded that active members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints “volunteer and donate significantly more than the average American and are even more generous in time and money than the upper [20 percent] of religious people in America.”11

Such examples of giving to others strengthen all of us. They remind us of the Savior’s teaching:

“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself. …

“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:24–25).

Perhaps the most familiar and most important examples of unselfish service and sacrifice are performed in our families. Mothers devote themselves to the bearing and nurturing of their children. Husbands give themselves to supporting their wives and children. The sacrifices involved in the eternally important service to our families are too numerous to mention and too familiar to need mention.

I also see unselfish Latter-day Saints adopting children, including those with special needs, and seeking to provide foster children the hope and opportunities denied them by earlier circumstances. I see you caring for family members and neighbors who suffer from birth defects, mental and physical ailments, and the effects of advancing years. The Lord sees you also, and He has caused His prophets to declare that “as you sacrifice for each other and your children, the Lord will bless you.”12

I believe that Latter-day Saints who give unselfish service and sacrifice in worshipful imitation of our Savior adhere to eternal values to a greater extent than any other group of people. Latter-day Saints look on their sacrifices of time and means as a part of their schooling and qualifying for eternity. This is a truth revealed in the Lectures on Faith, which teach that “a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation. … It [is] through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life.”13

Just as the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ is at the center of the plan of salvation, we followers of Christ must make our own sacrifices to prepare for the destiny that plan provides for us.

I know that Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten Son of God the Eternal Father. I know that because of His atoning sacrifice, we have the assurance of immortality and the opportunity for eternal life. He is our Lord, our Savior, and our Redeemer, and I testify of Him in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Conference Messages: Donald L. Halstrom: Converted to His Gospel through His Church

Elder Donald L. Halstrom of the Presidency of the Seventy

"I love the gospel of Jesus Christ and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Sometimes we use the terms gospel and Church interchangeably, but they are not the same. They are, however, exquisitely interconnected, and we need both.

The gospel is the glorious plan of God in which we, as His children, are given the opportunity to receive all that the Father has (see D&C 84:38). This is called eternal life and is described as “the greatest of all the gifts of God” (D&C 14:7). A vital part of the plan is our earthly experience—a time to develop faith (see Moroni 7:26), to repent (see Mosiah 3:12), and to reconcile ourselves with God (see Jacob 4:11).

Because our mortal frailties and “opposition in all things” (2 Nephi 2:11) would make this life profoundly difficult and because we could not cleanse our own sins, a Savior was needed. When Elohim, the Eternal God and Father of all our spirits, presented His plan of salvation, there was one among us who said, “Here am I, send me” (Abraham 3:27). His name was Jehovah.

Born of a Heavenly Father, both spiritually and physically, He possessed the omnipotence to overcome the world. Born of an earthly mother, He was subject to the pain and suffering of mortality. The great Jehovah was also named Jesus and additionally was given the title of Christ, meaning the Messiah or Anointed One. His crowning achievement was the Atonement, wherein Jesus the Christ “descended below all things” (D&C 88:6), making it possible for Him to pay a redeeming ransom for each of us.

The Church was established by Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry, “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets” (Ephesians 2:20). In this, “the dispensation of the fulness of times” (D&C 128:18), the Lord restored what once was, specifically telling the Prophet Joseph Smith, “I will establish a church by your hand” (D&C 31:7). Jesus Christ was and is the head of His Church, represented on earth by prophets holding apostolic authority.

This is a magnificent Church. Its organization, effectiveness, and sheer goodness are respected by all who sincerely seek to understand it. The Church has programs for children, youth, men, and women. It has beautiful meetinghouses that number more than 18,000. Majestic temples—now totaling 136—dot the earth, with another 30 under construction or announced. A full-time missionary force of over 56,000, comprised of the young and less so, are serving in 150 countries. The Church’s worldwide humanitarian work is a marvelous display of the generosity of our members. Our welfare system cares for our members and promotes self-reliance in a manner unduplicated anywhere. In this Church we have selfless lay leaders and a community of Saints who are willing to serve one another in a remarkable way. There is nothing like this Church in all the world.

When I was born, our family lived in a tiny cottage on the grounds of one of the great and historic meetinghouses of the Church, the Honolulu Tabernacle. I now apologize to my dear friends in the Presiding Bishopric, who oversee the facilities of the Church, but as a boy I climbed over and under and through every inch of that property, from the bottom of the water-filled reflecting pool to the top of the inside of the imposing lighted steeple. We even swung (Tarzan-like) on the long hanging vines of the huge banyan trees that are on the site.

The Church was everything to us. We went to lots of meetings, even more than we have today. We attended Primary on Thursday afternoons. Relief Society meetings were on Tuesday mornings. Mutual for the youth was Wednesday night. Saturday was for ward activities. On Sunday, men and young men would go to priesthood meeting in the morning. Midday we would attend Sunday School. Then in the evening we returned for sacrament meeting. With comings and goings and meetings, it seemed our time was consumed with Church activities all day Sunday and most other days of the week.

As much as I loved the Church, it was during those boyhood days that, for the first time, I had a sense there was something even more. When I was five years old, a major conference was held at the tabernacle. We walked down the lane on which we lived and over a small bridge leading to the stately meetinghouse and sat on about the 10th row in the large chapel. Presiding and speaking at the meeting was David O. McKay, the President of the Church. I do not recall anything he said, but I vividly remember what I saw and what I felt. President McKay was dressed in a cream-colored suit and, with his wavy white hair, looked very regal. In the tradition of the islands, he wore a triple-thick red carnation lei. As he spoke, I felt something quite intense and very personal. I later understood that I was feeling the influence of the Holy Spirit. We sang the closing hymn.

Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?
Now is the time to show.
We ask it fearlessly:
Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?
(“Who’s on the Lord’s Side?” Hymns, no. 260)
With those words being sung by nearly 2,000 people but seeming to be a question posed just to me, I wanted to stand and say, “I am!”

Some have come to think of activity in the Church as the ultimate goal. Therein lies a danger. It is possible to be active in the Church and less active in the gospel. Let me stress: activity in the Church is a highly desirable goal; however, it is insufficient. Activity in the Church is an outward indication of our spiritual desire. If we attend our meetings, hold and fulfill Church responsibilities, and serve others, it is publicly observed.

By contrast, the things of the gospel are usually less visible and more difficult to measure, but they are of greater eternal importance. For example, how much faith do we really have? How repentant are we? How meaningful are the ordinances in our lives? How focused are we on our covenants?

I repeat: we need the gospel and the Church. In fact, the purpose of the Church is to help us live the gospel. We often wonder: How can someone be fully active in the Church as a youth and then not be when they are older? How can an adult who has regularly attended and served stop coming? How can a person who was disappointed by a leader or another member allow that to end their Church participation? Perhaps the reason is they were not sufficiently converted to the gospel—the things of eternity.

I suggest three fundamental ways to have the gospel be our foundation:

1. Deepen our understanding of Deity. A sustained knowledge of and love for the three members of the Godhead are indispensable. Mindfully pray to the Father, in the name of the Son, and seek direction from the Holy Ghost. Couple prayer with constant study and humble pondering to continually build unshakable faith in Jesus Christ. “For how knoweth a man the master … who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?” (Mosiah 5:13).
2. Focus on the ordinances and covenants. If there are any of the essential ordinances yet to be performed in your life, intently prepare to receive each of them. Then we need to establish the discipline to live faithful to our covenants, fully using the weekly gift of the sacrament. Many of us are not being regularly changed by its cleansing power because of our lack of reverence for this holy ordinance.
3. Unite the gospel with the Church. As we concentrate on the gospel, the Church will become more, not less, of a blessing in our lives. As we come to each meeting prepared to “seek learning, even by study and also by faith” (D&C 88:118), the Holy Spirit will be our teacher. If we come to be entertained, we often will be disappointed. President Spencer W. Kimball was once asked, “What do you do when you find yourself in a boring sacrament meeting?” His response: “I don’t know. I’ve never been in one” (quoted by Gene R. Cook, in Gerry Avant, “Learning Gospel Is Lifetime Pursuit,” Church News, Mar. 24, 1990, 10).
In our lives we should desire what occurred after the Lord came to the people of the New World and established His Church. The scriptures read, “And it came to pass that thus they [meaning His disciples] did go forth among all the people of Nephi, and did preach the gospel of Christ unto all people upon the face of the land; and they were converted unto the Lord, and were united unto the church of Christ, and thus the people of that generation were blessed” (3 Nephi 28:23).

The Lord wants the members of His Church to be fully converted to His gospel. This is the only sure way to have spiritual safety now and happiness forever. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen."

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Mormon Messages: Mary the Mother of Jesus

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Conference Messages: Elder L. Tom Perry, The Power of Deliverance

What I love about this talk is that it shows how the Bible and Book of Mormon can help us to resist evil.

"We can be delivered from the ways of evil and wickedness by turning to the teachings of the holy scriptures."
Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

I have a very good friend who sends me a new tie to wear during the session I speak at each general conference. He has excellent taste, don’t you think?

My young friend has some difficult challenges. They limit him in some ways, but in other ways he is extraordinary. For example, his boldness as a missionary rivals the sons of Mosiah. The simplicity of his beliefs makes his convictions incredibly firm and steady. I believe that in Scott’s mind it’s unimaginable that everyone isn’t a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and that everyone hasn’t read the Book of Mormon and doesn’t have a testimony of its truthfulness.

Let me tell you of an event in Scott’s life when he was making his first airplane flight alone to visit his brother. A neighbor who was seated nearby overheard Scott’s conversation with the person next to him:

“Hello, my name is Scott. What is yours?”

His seatmate shared his name.

“What do you do?”

“I am an engineer.”

“That’s nice. Where do you live?”

“In Las Vegas.”

“We have a temple there. Do you know where the Mormon temple is?”

“Yes. It is a beautiful building.”

“Are you a Mormon?”


“Well, you should be. It is a great religion. Have you read the Book of Mormon?”


“Well, you should. It’s a great book.”

I agree wholeheartedly with Scott—the Book of Mormon is a great book. The words of the Prophet Joseph Smith cited on the introduction page of the Book of Mormon have always resonated with me: “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.”

This year in our Sunday School classes, we are studying the Book of Mormon. As we prepare and participate, may we be motivated to follow Scott’s bold example to share our love of this special scripture with others not of our faith.

A dominant theme of the Book of Mormon is expressed in the final verse of the first chapter of 1 Nephi. Nephi writes, “But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance” (1 Nephi 1:20).

I wish to speak about how the Book of Mormon, which is a tender mercy of the Lord preserved for these latter days, delivers us by teaching us in a pure and “most correct” way the doctrine of Christ.

Many of the stories of the Book of Mormon are stories of deliverance. Lehi’s departure into the wilderness with his family was about deliverance from the destruction of Jerusalem. The story of the Jaredites is a story of deliverance, as is the story of the Mulekites. Alma the Younger was delivered from sin. Helaman’s stripling warriors were delivered in battle. Nephi and Lehi were delivered from prison. The theme of deliverance is evident throughout the entire Book of Mormon.

There are two stories in the Book of Mormon which are very similar and teach an important lesson. The first is from the book of Mosiah, starting with the 19th chapter. Here we learn of King Limhi living in the land of Nephi. The Lamanites had waged war against the people of Limhi. The result of the war was that the Lamanites would allow King Limhi to rule over his own people, but they would be in bondage to them. It was a very uneasy peace. (See Mosiah 19–20.)

When Limhi’s people had their fill of Lamanite abuses, they convinced their king to go against the Lamanites in battle. Three times Limhi’s people were defeated. Heavy burdens were laid upon them. Finally they humbled themselves and cried mightily unto the Lord that He would deliver them. (See Mosiah 21:1–14.) Verse 15 of chapter 21 tells us of the Lord’s response: “And now the Lord was slow to hear their cry because of their iniquities; nevertheless the Lord did hear their cries, and began to soften the hearts of the Lamanites that they began to ease their burdens; yet the Lord did not see fit to deliver them out of bondage.”

Soon after, Ammon and a small band of men from Zarahemla arrived, and with Gideon—one of the leaders of Limhi’s people—they worked out a plan which was successful, and they escaped from the Lamanite abuses. The Lord was slow to hear their cries. Why? Because of their iniquities.

The second story is similar in many respects but also different. The account is recorded in Mosiah 24.

Alma and his people had settled in the land of Helam, when an army of the Lamanites came into the borders of the land. They met and worked out a peaceful solution. (See Mosiah 23:25–29.) Soon the leaders of the Lamanites began to impose their will on the people of Alma and placed heavy burdens on them to bear (see Mosiah 24:8). In verse 13 we read, “And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.”

The people of Alma were delivered from the hands of the Lamanites and safely made their way back to be united with the people of Zarahemla.

What was the difference between the people of Alma and the people of King Limhi? Obviously, there were several differences: the people of Alma were peaceful and more righteous; they had already been baptized and entered into a covenant with the Lord; they humbled themselves before the Lord even before their tribulations started. All these differences made it appropriate and fair that the Lord would deliver them quickly in a miraculous way from the hand which kept them in bondage. These scriptures teach us of the Lord’s power of deliverance.

Prophecies foretelling the life and mission of Jesus Christ promise us the deliverance that He will provide. His Atonement and Resurrection provide all of us an escape from physical death and, if we repent, an escape from spiritual death, bringing with it the blessings of eternal life. The promises of the Atonement and Resurrection, the promises of deliverance from physical and spiritual death, were declared by God to Moses when He said, “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39).

In contrast to the beautifully designed beliefs for us in the holy scriptures, we find the opposing forces of secularism engaged in challenging the long-standing beliefs in the holy writings—writings which have given us guidance through these many centuries in defining the eternal values and standards for our conduct through life. They declare that the teachings in the Bible are false and the teachings of the Master out of date. Their voices cry that each person must have the freedom to set his or her own standards; they attempt to alter the rights of the believers, contrary to that which is taught in the scriptures and in the words of the prophets.

What a blessing it is to have the account of the mission of our Lord and Savior declared in the Book of Mormon to add a second witness to the doctrine declared in the Bible. Why is it important for the world to have both the Bible and the Book of Mormon? I believe the answer is found in the 13th chapter of 1 Nephi. Nephi records: “And the angel spake unto me, saying: These last records, which thou hast seen among the Gentiles [the Book of Mormon], shall establish the truth of the first [the Bible], which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved” (verse 40).

Neither the Bible nor the Book of Mormon in and of themselves is sufficient. Both are necessary for us to teach and learn about the full and complete doctrine of Christ. The need for the other does not diminish either one of them. Both the Bible and the Book of Mormon are necessary for our salvation and exaltation. As President Ezra Taft Benson so powerfully taught, “When used together, the Bible and the Book of Mormon confound false doctrines” (“A New Witness for Christ,” Ensign, Nov. 1984, 8).

I want to close by noting two stories—one from the Old Testament, the other from the Book of Mormon—to show how the books work harmoniously together.

The story of Abraham begins with his deliverance from the idol-worshipping Chaldeans (see Genesis 11:27–31; Abraham 2:1–4). He and his wife Sarah were later delivered from their sorrow and promised that through their posterity all the nations of the earth would be blessed (see Genesis 18:18).

The Old Testament contains the account of Abraham taking Lot, his nephew, with him out of Egypt. Given a choice of land, Lot chose the plain of Jordan, and he pitched his tent facing Sodom, a city of great wickedness. (See Genesis 13:1–12.) Most of the problems that Lot later encountered in his life, and there were several, can be traced back to his early decision to position the door of his tent to look upon Sodom.

Abraham, the father of the faithful, experienced life differently. Certainly there were many challenges, but it was to be a blessed life. We do not know which way Abraham’s tent door faced, but there’s a strong hint in the last verse of the 13th chapter of Genesis. It reports, “Then Abram [or Abraham] removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the Lord” (Genesis 13:18).

While I do not know, I personally believe the door of Abraham’s tent faced the altar he built unto the Lord. How do I draw this conclusion? It is because I know the Book of Mormon story about King Benjamin’s instructions to his people when they gathered to hear his final address. King Benjamin instructed them to position the doors of their tents facing the temple (see Mosiah 2:1–6).

We can be delivered from the ways of evil and wickedness by turning to the teachings of the holy scriptures. The Savior is the Great Deliverer, for He delivers us from death and from sin (see Romans 11:26; 2 Nephi 9:12).

I declare that Jesus is the Christ and that we can draw close to Him by reading the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. The first testaments of our Savior are the Old and New Testaments—or the Bible.

Again, let’s remember my friend Scott’s description of the Book of Mormon: “It’s a great book.” I testify to you that much of the Book of Mormon’s greatness stems from its harmony with the Holy Bible, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Book of Mormon Sampler: Mosiah 15

As I read these verses yesterday, I was moved by the great testimony that is born of the Savior in them. I thought about picking out a few of the best parts, but it is so well said, that I decided to include the entire chapter in this post. What a great witness of Jesus Christ!

1 And now Abinadi said unto them: I would that ye should understand that God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people.

2 And because he dwelleth in flesh he shall be called the Son of God, and having subjected the flesh to the will of the Father, being the Father and the Son—

3 The Father, because he was conceived by the power of God; and the Son, because of the flesh; thus becoming the Father and Son—

4 And they are one God, yea, the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth.

5 And thus the flesh becoming subject to the Spirit, or the Son to the Father, being one God, suffereth temptation, and yieldeth not to the temptation, but suffereth himself to be mocked, and scourged, and cast out, and disowned by his people.

6 And after all this, after working many mighty miracles among the children of men, he shall be led, yea, even as Isaiah said, as a sheep before the shearer is dumb, so he opened not his mouth.

7 Yea, even so he shall be led, crucified, and slain, the flesh becoming subject even unto death, the will of the Son being swallowed up in the will of the Father.

8 And thus God breaketh the bands of death, having gained the victory over death; giving the Son power to make intercession for the children of men—

9 Having ascended into heaven, having the bowels of mercy; being filled with compassion towards the children of men; standing betwixt them and justice; having broken the bands of death, taken upon himself their iniquity and their transgressions, having redeemed them, and satisfied the demands of justice.

10 And now I say unto you, who shall declare his generation? Behold, I say unto you, that when his soul has been made an offering for sin he shall see his seed. And now what say ye? And who shall be his seed?

11 Behold I say unto you, that whosoever has heard the words of the prophets, yea, all the holy prophets who have prophesied concerning the coming of the Lord—I say unto you, that all those who have hearkened unto their words, and believed that the Lord would redeem his people, and have looked forward to that day for a remission of their sins, I say unto you, that these are his seed, or they are the heirs of the kingdom of God.

12 For these are they whose sins he has borne; these are they for whom he has died, to redeem them from their transgressions. And now, are they not his seed?

13 Yea, and are not the prophets, every one that has opened his mouth to prophesy, that has not fallen into transgression, I mean all the holy prophets ever since the world began? I say unto you that they are his seed.

14 And these are they who have published peace, who have brought good tidings of good, who have published salvation; and said unto Zion: Thy God reigneth!

15 And O how beautiful upon the mountains were their feet!

16 And again, how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those that are still publishing peace!

17 And again, how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those who shall hereafter publish peace, yea, from this time henceforth and forever!

18 And behold, I say unto you, this is not all. For O how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that is the founder of peace, yea, even the Lord, who has redeemed his people; yea, him who has granted salvation unto his people;

19 For were it not for the redemption which he hath made for his people, which was prepared from the foundation of the world, I say unto you, were it not for this, all mankind must have perished.

20 But behold, the bands of death shall be broken, and the Son reigneth, and hath power over the dead; therefore, he bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead.

21 And there cometh a resurrection, even a first resurrection; yea, even a resurrection of those that have been, and who are, and who shall be, even until the resurrection of Christ—for so shall he be called.

22 And now, the resurrection of all the prophets, and all those that have believed in their words, or all those that have kept the commandments of God, shall come forth in the first resurrection; therefore, they are the first resurrection.

23 They are raised to dwell with God who has redeemed them; thus they have eternal life through Christ, who has broken the bands of death.

24 And these are those who have part in the first resurrection; and these are they that have died before Christ came, in their ignorance, not having salvation declared unto them. And thus the Lord bringeth about the restoration of these; and they have a part in the first resurrection, or have eternal life, being redeemed by the Lord.

25 And little children also have eternal life.

26 But behold, and fear, and tremble before God, for ye ought to tremble; for the Lord redeemeth none such that rebel against him and die in their sins; yea, even all those that have perished in their sins ever since the world began, that have wilfully rebelled against God, that have known the commandments of God, and would not keep them; these are they that have no part in the first resurrection.

27 Therefore ought ye not to tremble? For salvation cometh to none such; for the Lord hath redeemed none such; yea, neither can the Lord redeem such; for he cannot deny himself; for he cannot deny justice when it has its claim.

28 And now I say unto you that the time shall come that the salvation of the Lord shall be declared to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.

29 Yea, Lord, thy watchmen shall lift up their voice; with the voice together shall they sing; for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion.

30 Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem.

31 The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.