Do Not Bury Your Head in the Sand

I’m just saying.

Check out 2 Nephi 5.

14 And I, Nephi, did take the sword of Laban, and after the manner of it did make many swords, lest by any means the people who were now called Lamanites should come upon us and destroy us; for I knew their hatred towards me and my children and those who were called my people.

 

We are to be of good cheer.

We’re also to be in the world but not of it.

Aaaaand we are also instructed to be prepared.

That means dealing with reality, being aware of the world we live in. Not hiding under a rock and isolating. 

Keep an eye on how the world is doing. But regardless, always remember that the good guys will win, everything hard and painful and terrible will work out in our favor (whether here or once Christ comes again), and everything we do matters in the grand scheme of things and to our Heavenly Father.

 

Nephi knew his siblings hated him, knew they wanted him dead.

And even though we are to be Christlike and never murder, never joy in taking life, never go looking for a fight – we are to prepare for what we know is coming.

 

Now, this whole, siblings coming to slaughter you probably doesn’t have anything to do with your own life.

But there are uncomfortable and inconvenient truths we all have to live with. That’s part of our coming down here and living this mortal life. How we deal with them literally defines us.

Be of good cheer, even while preparing for what yick thing may or may not come. And never quit preparing for the day you meet God face to face.

 

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In Times of Peril

In 1 Nephi 14: 13-16, Nephi begins talking about all the terrible things that will happen on earth and some that are happening now. Wars and rumors of wars. Great abominations. The wicked outnumbering the saints by hordes.

And yet, verse 14 goes thusly:

14 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory.

 

God will never leave us alone.

If we are following Christ and forsaking our sins, Heavenly Father will pour His power into us.

Stay on the covenant path. Follow the current prophet’s counsel.

God loves us. He will send His grace and His strength if we are righteous. 

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The Gift and the Power

1 Nephi 13: 37

37 And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure unto the end they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb; and whoso shall publish peace, yea, tidings of great joy, how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be.

 

The gift and the power.

Do we sometimes take the Spirit for granted?

He is a huge gift. A constant companion who can guide us away from danger, down the correct paths, enlighten us to truths, and comfort us when upset by this life’s troubles.

 

Heavenly Father wants us to be safely following His Son’s path. He wants us to return to Him and receive all the possible blessings of exaltation.

The Spirit is a huge gift.

How often are we warned away from something only to later find it could have spelled catastrophe for us?

How often do we find ourselves ready to give up or lost, and the Spirit whispers comfort to us?

We can have the Spirit’s guidance with us every day and night. If we follow God.

 

But it’s more than that.

Having the Spirit with us gives us power. Strength to overcome temptation and weaknesses. The ability to become more than we ever could on our own.

 

I have a digestive disease and eating is a really hard thing for me. Which causes a problem since it’s not like I can just ignore it. I have to eat three times. Every day.

Ugh.

Being able to hardly eat, leaves me starving for flavor and to feel full. But if I eat foods that my digestive disease doesn’t like (which is like 90% of all foods), I’m in a lot of pain and can’t do much.

I know this. Yet, I still give in and eat foods that I know will hurt me. I always regret it later. But in the moment, it’s hard to say no to foods that I know are healthy and good for me, but my body won’t digest.

In comes the Spirit.

If I am praying and reading my scriptures, being still and thinking eternally, I gave space within myself for the Holy Ghost to work his magic.

And I have the strength to stop and think about what I’m about to eat. God fills me with grace enough to find something that won’t hurt me for the coming days.

If I was left to my own devices, I would be miserable.

I know God sends His loving help my way through the Holy Spirit.

 

We need God’s help.

And he’s given us the ability to not only pray but to have a companion to guide us.

 

We need the Holy Spirit in our lives. Every day.

Let’s not take him for granted.

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Bible and the Book of Mormon

We need the Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price because… 

1 Nephi 13: 28 Wherefore, thou seest that after the book hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God.

 

In 1 Nephi 13:20-29 it talks about how the Bible was messed with before it was ever distributed. We never had the full truth in the Bible.

Because of this, 

1 Nephi 13:29 “…because of the many plain and precious things which have been taken out of the book, which were plain unto the understanding of the children of men, according to the plainness which is in the Lamb of God—because of these things which are taken away out of the gospel of the Lamb, an exceedingly great many do stumble, yea, insomuch that Satan hath great power over them.”

As people followed the teachings of the Bible as they interpreted them, they fell under Satan’s control.

They didn’t have the full truth.

 

The Institute Book of Mormon church manual states the following:

“Apparently the original manuscripts of the Bible disappeared very early. This seems particularly true of the New Testament. Sir Frederic Kenyon, one of the greatest textual scholars of the early twentieth century, commented thus: ‘The originals of the several books have long ago disappeared. They must have perished in the very infancy of the Church; for no allusion is ever made to them by any Christian writer.’ Kenyon’s statement is particularly important to us because it means that for centuries there has not been an original Bible manuscript to guide the reader. Even in the early decades of the original Christian church, the original texts seem to have been absent. …

“The angel [in 1 Nephi 13:21–29] makes it clear that he is not talking about subtle accidents of hand and eye, resulting in a few misplaced letters or words—the unplanned errors of copyists. He pointedly ascribes these changes to the planned editorial work of designing men [see 1 Nephi 13:27–28]. …

“As we read the words of the angel, we discover that the world never has had a complete Bible, for it was massively—even cataclysmically—corrupted before it was distributed. Of course, in addition to the major willful corruption of the Bible in the early Christian era, the manuscripts have also continued to suffer the gradual and relatively mild changes, due to errors of hand and eye, that the scholars talk about. Thus there have been two processes at work: (1) a major, sudden, and deliberate editorial corruption of the text and (2) a gradual promulgation of variants that has occurred as a natural consequence of copying and translation” (Robert J. Matthews, A Bible! A Bible! [1990], 74–75).

Joseph Smith taught that “many important points touching the salvation of man, had been taken from the Bible, or lost before it was compiled” (History of the Church, 1:245). He also said that the Bible was correct as “it came from the pen of the original writers,” but that “ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors” (History of the Church, 6:57.)

Source.

 

We need the Book of Mormon. We need the scriptures. All of them.

Heavenly Father loves us and wants us to know the truth of all things. If we pray, asking Him if the Book of Mormon is true, being open to the possibility, the Holy Ghost will testify to us that it is true.

I promise.

I know the Book of Mormon is true.

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Portrait of Christ facing away, looking back over His shoulder.

Image property of LDS Media Library.

Temptation

I feel it’s important to make a distinction. 

Between temptation and sin.

Between thinking or feeling and acting on it.

 

I recently had to remind myself that I am not a bad person for feeling a negative emotion or thinking something contentious.

My reasoning was that…

 

3 Nephi 11:29 

For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.

 

I thought that meant that if I had a contentious thought, I was already sinning. And therefore, a bad person.

Which is a bunch of incorrect thinking, but let’s just focus on weakness.

 

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We have weaknesses. That doesn’t make us bad or evil. It makes us human.

Being tempted is not a sin.

Acting on the temptation is a sin.

 

We are not bad people for feeling anger, jealousy, despair, sadness, or fear. Even though we’re commanded to be of good cheer, of no fear, and be believing.

Feeling these things are our temptations.

Acting on them would be sinning. Exploding in anger. Refusing to do healthy things that are right for me because of fear. Focusing on the negatives every day.

These things are sins.

 

We aren’t bad people for feeling angry or jealous. We aren’t sinning. Satan is tempting us, trying to get us to hold onto and build on these feelings. To act on these feelings.

Instead, we can recognize that these feelings literally are from Satan – that he is putting these negative feelings into us and then is trying to get us to believe we’re terrible people for having them.

Satan is tempting us. We can choose to remember that God loves us.  The light of Christ is always within us.

 

Ether 12:27 

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.

 

God gives us weakness. So we can humble ourselves and have faith in God. Then His grace fills our weak spots and makes us strong in Him.

We are not bad, wrong, shameful, a lost cause, or any other sort of ickiness for being tempted.

Heavenly Father loves us and He does not want us to hate ourselves.

As daughters and sons of Heavenly Father, joy is our birthright. 

Be of good cheer. Know we are both of divine worth.

But on our bad days, we need to remember that we are human. Here to be tried and tested. We will have temptations. What we do with them is what matters most.

 

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Don’t Force It

I was just reading in 1 Nephi 6 and came upon a few verses that brought to mind what I’d been thinking about lately.
I feel like we force things, a lot of the time.

Force ourselves to have something to say, some comment to add. We laugh at jokes we don’t find funny, make up sentences that are falling dead from our mouths because they never came from our hearts. Whether we’re talking to people in person or trying to find something to type out on a blog, video, essay, etc., we are constantly trying to squeeze words out of ourselves.
As if we’re not of value unless we have something important, something life-altering, something movie worthy, to say all the time.
That’s not how this works.

If we don’t have something to say, if we don’t have an opinion on something or the other, if we don’t really know what we feel exactly and therefore don’t want to try to force ourselves to come up with something – don’t.
Don’t try to force what isn’t there naturally.
Don’t add a bunch of fluff pieces or a load of pointless small talk if your heart isn’t in it.
There’s a difference between being rude and scrounging up any old smattering of verbs and nouns to vomit at a person.

 

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I Nephi 6:3
And it mattereth not to me that I am particular to give a full account of all the things of my father, for they cannot be written upon these plates, for I desire the room that I may write of the things of God.

Nephi is making the point that only the important things need to be recorded.
We don’t need to force ourselves to have something to say in this life, every day, that will blow others away.
We don’t even have to have something to say in response when others want us to agree with them.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t communicate.
Oh no.
I’m a BIG believer in communication.
Even if its messy and wordy and we’re not entirely sure what we have to say or what we think really, so we’re going on and on as we’re figuring it out.
That’s fine.
Communication is necessary for successful relationships, regardless of the kind.

But forcing ourselves to have something to say when we don’t?
Not a good idea either.

If we’re forcing it, then what we have to say isn’t of worth. Not for us and not for anyone else.

1 Nephi 6:5-6

5 Wherefore, the things which are pleasing unto the world I do not write, but the things which are pleasing unto God and unto those who are not of the world.

6 Wherefore, I shall give commandment unto my seed, that they shall not occupy these plates with things which are not of worth unto the children of men.

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