Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Book of Mormon: What Is It?

A lot of people have questions concerning what people of the LDS faith believe and one thing that I have seen come up more than others is the Book of Mormon. Many wonder questions like; What is the Book of Mormon, Who wrote the Book of Mormon, Why is it necessary or important, Does it replace the Bible, What's it about, How can I know if it's true? And the list goes on and on. Well, my goal in my next few blogs will be to answer these questions through scripture and explanation.The first question I would like to answer is What is the Book of Mormon and all questions that are appendages to it.

Simply put, the Book of Mormon is another testament of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. But, to go a little more in depth the Book of Mormon is scripture, it's the word of God, written by prophets in the America's. It testifies that Jesus is the Christ, the living Son of the living God. The book, is a record of God's dealings and interactions with His children in the America's, just how the Bible is a record of God's dealings with the Jews, and testifies, just like the Bible, that Jesus Christ would come down from Heaven would minister among the children of men would die and live again, for us. The Book of Mormon does not replace the Bible, instead it makes the word of God even sharper in it's effect of penetrating to the soul.
The book's accounts are a record of two epic civilizations, the first group coming over when the Lord confounded the tongues at the tower of Babel, through disobedience and apostasy they eventually were all destroyed through civil and revolutionary wars. They are known as the Jaredites. The latter group came much later at around 600 B.C., it is an account of a family leaving Jerusalem and fleeing to the "promised land". Over time the fell into patterns of wars and peace, but the crowning event in the Book of Mormon is the personal appearance of Jesus Christ to the people in the Americas, but a few centuries after His visit the more righteous group, the Nephites, fell into an apostasy and were eventually destroyed leaving only the Lamanites who are among the ancestors of the American Indians.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Lord Jesus Christ

A recent experience has been causing me to reflect more and more on the Saviors mission and purpose that would cause Him to, as the hymn "I Stand All Amazed" wonderfully states, "descend from His throne divine. To rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine." For those of you who might be unfamiliar with the Book of Mormon, may I submit this as the sole purpose of the Book of Mormon, to testify that Jesus is the Christ. That He through His atoning sacrifice has paid for the sins of all men and that His mission in coming to Earth was to redeem, to save, and to purify us. In fact the Book of Mormon begins with the testimony of three witness'; Nephi, Jacob, and Isaiah, that all bear testimony of our Saviors purpose and His and our Father in Heaven's love for us. Nephi says, speaking of the mission of Christ, " And I, Nephi, saw that he was lifted up upon the cross and slain for this sins of he world." (1 Nephi 11:33), Jacob proclaims shortly after that, ", it must needs be expedient that Christ..., should come among the Jews; and they shall crucify him...", he says later " Wherefore may God raise you from death by the power of the resurrection, and also from everlasting death by the power of the atonement..." (2 Nephi 10: 3, 25) I testify that it is only through the love, mercy, and grace of Jesus Christ that we may be saved and His purpose always was and always will be, "To bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." To even suggest that He ever had any other alternative motives than to bring salvation to the human family and the perfection of man, carries a deep offense. His love is endless, the message of the Book of Mormon is that His love and purpose is unfailing. He didn't just die for the people who accept Him and serve Him nor did He die solely for those who may have taken those unforgiving roads. No, He died, He suffered and He lives for each and every person who has ever lived or ever will live. I know He lives and loves us. I know the Book of Mormon is true and that it was given to bring hope and peace to the heart of every human soul. I love you all and may God bless each of you in your endeavors.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Agency of Man

 "Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given unto them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself." (2 Nephi 2:27) Emphasis added.
What we learn from Lehi in those verses in that chapter of Nephi's second book is this: that we were created to act, move, and choose. To choose what though? To choose Christ, to choose Christ and his ways. His commandments, His atoning sacrifice, His perfect example and walk in the path He did. Or, we are free and are equally enticed to follow Satan. To choose him who was found unworthy before God. To choose him that now corrupts the hearts of men and the same being who is the author of death and sin. To choose to yield to sin, mingle with temptations, to give in,or even worse to give up. These are our choices, this is what Christ was teaching us when He said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." this wasn't a good suggestion or even a possible other way of showing our love for Him who so loved us. This was a commandment. Jesus said , "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment." And if it is the greatest commandment shouldn't we abide by it? And how do we abide by it? By keeping the commandments. People often have the false notation that we believe that it is by our works, our merits, our grace, and our power that we are saved. That is absolutely completely false. Christ is the Author and Finisher of our Salvation, not me. I propose the question how can one be "saved" by God and Jesus Christ if they don't love either of them? They can't, at least not in the fullest measure. Our actions effect not only this life, but the next. Paul understood and taught this doctrine,
"Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." (2 Corinthians 5: 9-10) We "work", to please God. To show Him that we choose Him over Satan. What better or other way can we show our love for God than by keeping His commandments? We can't there is no other way this way was set by the Master Himself and is unfailing. To believe we are not capable of keeping the commandments is a false doctrine. Yes, they are hard and they are challenging and we will fail, but he didn't say, "If you can't be perfect then don't try at all." In fact He said the opposite, "And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved." (Matthew 10:22) Enduring to the end is simply failing, getting up and trying again. We are here on Earth to grow, to become better and to make the right choices that qualify us for eternal life. I love you all and may God bless you in your personal endeavors to come closer unto Him who created you.