Thursday, January 28, 2010

Christ in 2 Nephi

I don’t understand all of the chapters in 2 Nephi which quote the words of Isaiah, but I do understand the main theme. The House of Israel must turn to Christ. He is the only means of deliverance, the only way to peace, and the only way to the Father.
Since I am of that house, the message holds true for me. In trouble, in sadness, in everything, I must turn to Christ. When life becomes overwhelming, I know my Savior will help me.
I echo these words, “ Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also has become my salvation” (2 Nephi 22:2). I know this is true.

The Temple

As I read the description of the world in this chapter, I realize how much it describes our day. There is so much evil in the world, and sometimes it can be overwhelming. But, I don’t think it a coincidence that this chapter starts with the temple and, to me, a reminder to go up to it.
I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have to worship in the house of the Lord. It is wonderful to go often and to hear the promises that are mine according to my faithfulness. I take comfort and receive peace through sacred covenants which I have made there, and know that however wicked this world becomes; there is safety in the Lord.
Recently, I have received a prompting that, honestly, I didn’t want to have to obey. While in the temple, I pondered and prayed. I asked Father in Heaven if he really wanted me to do this particular thing, and I was given feelings and thoughts in my mind that confirmed that prompting. I knew that it was the Spirit communicating truth to my spirit, and I knew I could obey with the help of the Lord.
I am so grateful for a place of peace where I can commune with the Father, receive light and truth, and learn the sacred things of eternity that help me through the difficulties right here and now.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Are you Happy?

Nephi makes a statement in 2 Nephi 5 that has always intrigued me. He says, “we lived after the manner of happiness” (2Nephi 5:27). I’ve thought a lot about this. What does that mean- the manner of happiness? We are given clues in this chapter to the Nephites’ habits of happiness. After Nephi prayed, having been threatened again by those darn angry brothers, the people followed counsel and left their dangerous circumstances. They believed the warnings and revelation of the Lord and the words of the prophet. The people tried to obey the commandments and the law. Then, here is the key, “the Lord was with us and we did prosper”( 2 Nephi 5:11). So, when they labored, they were blessed with abundance.
Perhaps, the “manner of happiness” is actually a way to live –a method or a standard which will lead to happiness. When I think of the most happy person, I think of the Lord filled with joy. If we substitute his name for the word “happiness”, then maybe this will make more sense. Nephi could have said that they lived after the manner of Christ. The things they did, the way they live, pointed their souls to Christ, who brings true happiness and joy.
Also, Nephi did not say that they were always happy. He just described the way they lived –“after the manner of happiness”. So, they didn’t walk around in a constant state of glee, but they directed their lives in such a way that they were in the right position to receive happiness.
The next time you or I are not feeling happy, we can look closely at our lives and the direction we are pointed. Are we following the habits Nephi described? Are we seeking to have the spirit of the Lord with us? Are we laboring with our might so that we can be in the best position to receive an abundance of joy? Are we really living“after the manner of happiness”- the manner of Christ? How will we change so that we can answer, “Yes.”?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Good Part

After teaching his sons of the great doctrine of agency, Lehi says, “I have chosen the good part” (2 Nephi 2:30). I love this statement. What a great example to his family and also to me. There is so much in this world that demands our attention, yet you and I are given the ability and responsibility to choose for ourselves. To what will we give our time and energies? Will it be “the good part”? Or, will we choose that which is evil and of no worth when we are enticed to do so?
Christ is” the good part”. His way, his gospel, his atonement is the part of this life which is truly good. All that is good around us comes from Him.
Additionally, after choosing, we then can act. Lehi teaches that there are “things to act, and things to be acted upon”(2 Nephi 2:14) As God’s children, you and I do not have to be acted upon, but we can and must do the acting. Our choices and actions must be deliberately focused on the “good part”. We do not have to be held back by our circumstances, disadvantages, disabilities, etc. We “are free to choose liberty and eternal life” (2 Nephi 2:27). What a wonderful gift!
Lehi’s statement, reminds me that each day, I should focus all my efforts on choosing “the good part” and then go forward and do it.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Tired & Hungry?

It is interesting to me to see the polar opposites in the behaviors and attitudes of Nephi and Laman and Lemuel. Take the situation they faced in 1 Nephi 16. They were exhausted and hungry-which I can relate to. When Nephi’s bow would no longer work to obtain food, the rest of the group blamed him for their misery. Although the bows of the other family members had broken as well, they still blamed Nephi. I can picture them all gathered around complaining and getting angry. They didn’t choose to better their predicament.
Instead of getting angry and defensive, Nephi got to work and made another bow. Then he went to his father and priesthood leader for direction. He received instructions from the Lord through the Liahona, and went to the mountain tops where he was able to find food.
Now, I’m pretty grouchy when I am tired and hungry, so I can understand the natural temptation to become upset; however, Nephi provides a better way to deal with the situation. When things are difficult and I feel like blaming another, or getting upset, which doesn’t change anything, I can get up, get to work, seek direction and help from my father and priesthood leaders, and then receive instructions through the Spirit. I then can move forward, take action and progress with a plan to correct the problem, or make it through the challenge. I hope that I can act more like Nephi.
This talk about food is making me hungry. I think I’ll go have some lunch, but probably not wild beasts.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Dwell vs. Dwindle

I have always love words. It seems that some words sound like their meaning. Take for example, “dwell” and “dwindle” from The Book of Mormon. When the people dwell in righteousness, they are stable and firm in the gospel-they dwell in the bright light provided by Christ. But, when they “dwindled in unbelief” (1Nephi 12:22), their faithfulness faded away, decreased, or shrank. I picture the fading light of a candle as it burns down.
Whenever I hear these two words as I read, I ask myself questions to determine how stable or firm I am in the faith of Jesus Christ. Am I doing those things which will keep me anchored to my Savior? Are there things I should stop doing which are causing me to dwindle from that which I know is true?
It is interesting that as we read the story of the Nephites and Lamanites, we can see which way their behaviors, attitudes and words will lead them. They are either pointed in the direction to dwindle, or to stay firm in the faith and dwell.
I invite you to join me in evaluating your direction. Are you dwindling, or dwelling? What will you do or stop doing to keep you pointed to and dwelling with Christ?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Nephi's Example

Nephi is a great example to me when I am faced with a difficult challenge. Sometimes things seem simply impossible. I struggle to see how they will work out, but I have to trust that Father will direct things for my good.
When he goes back to get the plates from Laban, after he and his brothers had tried everything they could think of on their own, Nephi says, “And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do” (1 Nephi 4:6).
Nephi didn’t know how to solve the problem, but moved forward, trusting he would be directed. That is a key, I think, when things seem too hard. If we seek the Spirit, and live worthy of its companionship, we will be led, even if we don’t know exactly how to accomplish what we are asked to do.
I am dealing with a difficult situation right now, and I can’t see what I can do to help the outcome be positive. I am doing all I know how to do, and it may not be enough. But, I am trying to trust that I will be led by the Spirit. It’s hard, but it has got to be better than cutting off Laban’s head and then putting on his dirty clothes. I’ll have to remember that when I feel like cracking under the stress. J

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Testimony of The Prophet Joseph

I am so grateful that Father in Heaven knows each of us by name and will teach us individually, in the exact way we can understand, what we need to know to accomplish the difficult things we are called to do. Joseph was taught by Moroni. This in its self is amazing to my human mind, but so natural to my spirit. Of course, Father would send the one who had charge over the plates to instruct the next person in his duty concerning them. And the repetition of his instructions to Joseph remind me that Father will do all he can to help us learn all we need to know.
I think of my children, and how often I say something like, “How many times do I have to tell you to do this?” Well, if I were trying to be like Father, I would ask, instruct, help and encourage as many times as it takes. Maybe these little children, are my little “angels” actually teaching me the lessons I need to learn- patience, tolerance, kindness, charity…. It sure is difficult sometimes, but if I look at it this way, hopefully, I can learn the lesson and not get disgusted that it takes so long and is so tiring. Afterall, Joseph got no sleep the night his instructions were repeated over and over. The next day, he was exhausted, and couldn’t do his work. It was then that his instructions continued and the message was repeated again.

I hope that I can have the same response as Joseph when I am asked to do extremely difficult things in my life. Joseph simply stated, “I obeyed”.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


The thing that most stands out to me in the introduction is that The Book of Mormon, “puts forth the doctrines of the gospel, outlines the plan of salvation, and tells men what they must do to gain peace in this life”. When I think of the book in this light, why wouldn’t I study from its pages and feast on its words? Why would I let insignificant yet pressing things take me away from spending times in its pages? Yet, I all too often fall into that trap.

However, I know that the truths expressed above from the Introduction are true. There have been so many times in my life when I’ve been discouraged or have just needed comfort and peace. In these times, I have often turned to the passage in 2 Nephi 4 to receive these blessings. As I have read Nephi expressing his sorrows and subsequent determination to trust Christ, it has given me reassurance and the comfort I have so desperately needed.

So many in the world seek this peace, and it is right here in the Book of Mormon, because it leads men to Jesus Christ and his doctrine and saving atonement.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Title Page?

As I asked myself, “What in the world can the title page of The Book of Mormon teach be about making my hard times into holy places?”, I found the answer in the first few lines. This ancient record was made by “
commandment, and also by the spirit of prophecy and of revelation.” So, if I read the record looking for help and answers, I will receive them in the same way it was written- through prophesy and revelation.

The Spirit can and has taught me through personal revelation as I have studied The Book of Mormon and searched for the doctrine of Christ within its pages. For example, I remember a time on my mission when I just felt like giving up. Every day was so difficult and I didn’t feel like I was doing much good. I came across a passage in 1 Nephi 3. No, it’s not verse 7- which you’d expect. It was the verse before. I read it this way,” Therefore go, my ]daughter], and thou shalt be favored of the Lord, because thou hast not murmured.”

I knew that, although things were very difficult and I wanted to complain and give up, I would receive the Lord’s help if I did not murmur. It was that simple –not easy, but simple. Each time I was tempted to complain, I recited this verse in my mind and remembered the promise to Nephi. This helped me resist my impulse to murmur. I was definitely blessed by the Lord to find happiness even when it was difficult. I am grateful for the merciful gift of personal revelation.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Invitation

My ward’s Releif Society has invited its members to read the Book of Mormon in six months, and I am extending that invitation to you. Now, don’t worry, this isn’t one of the challenges where you have to read 10 pages per day. It goes by week and doesn’t fill me with stress to look at the assignments.

I love this promise from President Gordon B. Hinckley: “I hope that for you [studying the scriptures] will become something far more enjoyable than a duty; that, rather, it will become a love affair with the word of God. I promise you that as you read, your minds will be enlightened and your spirits will be lifted” (“The Light within You,” Ensign, May 1995, 99).

I certainly need an enlightened mind and a lifted spirit, so I am putting President Hinckley’s words to the test. I hope you will join me in this adventure to come to know the Savior better through the words of The Book of Mormon. Please let me know what the Spirit teaches you as you read, and please pass along this invitation to those around you. I know that the words we will study are true and will bring us the promises given by President Hinckley and will help us as we try to make our hard times become holy places.

January 3-Title Page, Introduction, Testimonies, 1 Nephi 1-11

January 10-1 Nephi 12-20

January 17-1 Nephi 21-2 Nephi 8

January 24-2 Nephi 9-25

January 31-2 Nephi 26 - Jacob 4

February 7- Jacob 5-Jacob 7, Enos, Jarom, Omni, Words of Mormon, Mosiah 1-3

February 14-Mosiah 4-16

February 21-Mosiah 17-29

February 28-Alma 1-10

March 7- Alma 11-19

March 14-Alma 20-31

March 21- Alma 32-42

Mar 28- Alma 43-52

Apr 4- Alma 53-63

April 11-Helaman 1-10

April 18-Helaman 11-3 Nephi 4

April 25- 3 Nephi 5-18

May 2- 3 Nephi 19-Mormon 3

May 9- Mormon 4-Ether 8

May 16- Ether 9-Moroni 10