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9.02.2004

1 Nephi 11 

Isn't this fun? I'm in Alma right now and reading them simultaneously is pointing things out to me. Like the dwelling in a tent topic. Awesome.

So we have Nephi's testimony that he that "diligently seeketh shall find." I want to add that when you seek you find in abundance! Thinkof Joseph Smith trying to find out which church was true, or Joseph and Sidney Rigdon pondering over the scriptures. Oh, and Moroni explainingto us how to receive a testimony of the Book of Mormon! And here we have Nephi, getting maybe more than he bargained for. And how did they all do it? Well, Nephi, he desired to know, he believed that the Lord would let him know and he pondered about it. It was a pattern they all followed. I can't think of any specific instances now, but I know that I'll hear something in Relief Society or Sacrament meeting and I'll be thinking about it later and little connections get made in my mind for me. But I can't just say "Okay, tell me." Effort has to be put forth, too.

So as he is pondering his heart is caught away to an exceedingly high mountain. (These links are to the footnoted sections.) When little connections like this come up to others in ancient times and then to John, who wouldn't be around for 600 years, it reiterates that God is truly the same today and yesterday and there is no fan fare about the little things. Maybe because it's so basic. It's like the names in the Book of Mormon. We have all these ancient language names and they are just written off as a fluke, when they are actually more testimony of (the Book of Mormon's) truthfulness.

Okay, before I continue I want to tell you about a friend of mine.When I am being whiney or complaining about something she asks me questions: "Why do you think they are acting like that?" "What do youthink this means?" "What can you change about that situation?" Veryopen ended, make-you-think kind of questions. Now, the reason I sharethat with you is the Spirit here asks Nephi, "What desirest thou?" andNephi gives him fairly easy things, I think: To know what my father
\I separated them into Lehi\'s vision then what it meant; I love how the\Spirit blends the two.\\The Tree that Lehi saw (the love of God)\The virgin, the mother of the Son of God\The Christ child\Christ working among the people\The Iron Rod (the word of God)\Which led to the living waters (also the love of God)\He saw Christ being baptized and the Holy Ghost in the form of a dove\He saw the calling of the 12 apostles\He saw Christ being lifted on the cross and being slain for the sins\of the world\He saw the world gathering together to fight the apostles,\Then he saw that great and spacious building (the wisdom and pride of the world)\Finally, he saw that great and spacious building fall,\Because their pride caused them to fight against the twelve apostles of the Lamb\\Hey that was nifty! Let me visit something really quick in verse 11,\as one man speaketh to another. Where have we heard that before? And\when have we seen it happening? I think that sometimes we get this\vision of glowing entities walking around when they are just more\advanced versions of us. (Holy cow. Did that make any sense?) Let me\try that again for those of you that struggled with it: When we talk\to God, we are talking to our Heavenly Father. We are just like he\was, so when these heavenly beings appear (angels, or in this case,\the Spirit of the Lord) they are just further along than we are.\(Well, I either clarified it or muddied the waters more. I am not\sure!)\\"Knowest thou the condescension of God?"\\This verse used to really frustrate me, because the footnote kicks you\over to 1 Nephi 11:26, which sends you right back.\\Elder McConkie, in Mormon Doctrine, spoke on the two different senses\being spoken of here:\\"The condescension of God (the Father) consists in the fact that\though he is an exalted, perfected, glorified Personage, he became the\",1]
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saw and to know what it means. BUT the Spirit pours out:I separated them into Lehi's vision then what it meant; I love how theSpirit blends the two.The Tree that Lehi saw (the love of God)The virgin, the mother of the Son of GodThe Christ childChrist working among the peopleThe Iron Rod (the word of God)Which led to the living waters (also the love of God)He saw Christ being baptized and the Holy Ghost in the form of a doveHe saw the calling of the 12 apostlesHe saw Christ being lifted on the cross and being slain for the sinsof the worldHe saw the world gathering together to fight the apostles,Then he saw that great and spacious building (the wisdom and pride of the world)Finally, he saw that great and spacious building fall,Because their pride caused them to fight against the twelve apostles of the LambHey that was nifty! Let me visit something really quick in verse 11,as one man speaketh to another. Where have we heard that before? Andwhen have we seen it happening? I think that sometimes we get thisvision of glowing entities walking around when they are just moreadvanced versions of us. (Holy cow. Did that make any sense?) Let metry that again for those of you that struggled with it: When we talkto God, we are talking to our Heavenly Father. We are just like hewas, so when these heavenly beings appear (angels, or in this case,the Spirit of the Lord) they are just further along than we are.(Well, I either clarified it or muddied the waters more. I am notsure!)"Knowest thou the condescension of God?"This verse used to really frustrate me, because the footnote kicks youover to 1 Nephi 11:26, which sends you right back.Elder McConkie, in Mormon Doctrine, spoke on the two different sensesbeing spoken of here:"The condescension of God (the Father) consists in the fact thatthough he is an exalted, perfected, glorified Personage, he became the
woman. And the condescension of God (meaning the Son) consists in the\fact that though he himself is the Lord Omnipotent, the very Being who\created the earth and all things that in it are, yet being born of\mortal woman, he submitted to all the trials or mortality, suffering\\'temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more\than man can suffer, except it be unto death\' <>\finally being put to death in a most ignominious manner."\\Now I have 2 Nephi 2, 2 Nephi 9, Isaiah 53 and Hebrews 2 (most\specifically 9) scribbled in. And every now and then I\'ll find\something that makes me go, "oh." And I\'ll go to this post it note I\have here and write that scripture down, too.\",1] personal and literal Father of a mortal Offspring born of mortalwoman. And the condescension of God (meaning the Son) consists in thefact that though he himself is the Lord Omnipotent, the very Being whocreated the earth and all things that in it are, yet being born ofmortal woman, he submitted to all the trials or mortality, suffering'temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even morethan man can suffer, except it be unto death' <>finally being put to death in a most ignominious manner."Now I have 2 Nephi 2, 2 Nephi 9, Isaiah 53 and Hebrews 2 (mostspecifically 9) scribbled in. And every now and then I'll findsomething that makes me go, "oh." And I'll go to this post it note Ihave here and write that scripture down, too.


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Chapter 10 

Anyway, on to chapter 10? Are we in 10 already? (No, I missed chapter 9. I'll get back to it.)

Whoops. Wow.

Okay, Lehi is making predictions concerning Jews and Jerusalem. Now, remembering that we have lost 116 pages of Lehi's book, this must have been very important. (and, yeah, I am assuming that it's being repeated for our benefit, and if we had those 116 pages we'd be seeing it again.) Especially since some is reiterating Isaiah and Ezekiel.We talked about Jerusalem being sacked by the Romans, okay, but now we have a time reference! (Have we already done this? It feels like we have.) Great, in 600 years Christ will come! How awesome would it be to have been in the Americas and knowing when Christ would come? WOW! (I have that book at home, A Nephite Christmas story, so fabulous!)

Now I like verse 6: "a lost and a fallen state," because we are in alost and fallen state" and I think that people can feel that and that'swhy they look for either spiritual things or things to replace spirituality in their lives. So, look! Good news! A Redeemer! And wewill have a sign! Someone will come before him! (Sorry, excessive useof exclamation points.) And here he quotes, who? Isaiah! Of all the prophecies concerning the Messiah, he turns to Isaiah. Wow.

Now, before I continue on this chapter specifically, I have somethingto say about the area. And I am looking at John 1:28. Bethabara. Now,the example that I have to show my point is this: "Omaha" is made up of a bunch of parts; Bellevue, Millard, Benson, etc. When Robert Ludlum wrote the Paris Operation he had the President land in "Omaha," where Stratcom was located. Well, I hate to tell you but Stratcom is in Bellevue. BUT unless you are familiar with either the area or the Air Force, it doesn't matter. The area is the same. Jerusalem is like that. Jerusalem is very small. BUT the area is large. And it doesn't matter if they say "blah blah blah happened in gibberish" if we can to quote my favorite commercial "it's the same thing!"

Anyway, sorry about the detour and here we go: Okay, and this Messiah is going to be baptized of John in water. Baptism is a greek word, meaning immerse. That's all I have to say about that. Oh, and here, in 11, "after they had slain the Messiah," are there any lawyers out there? If you hire someone to kill someone else, are they not both accountable? So, yeah, they did it.

Let's look at Genesis 49:22 d, and we *boom* we see in this visual that the children of Joseph will be found outside of their homeland area. And not just gently spreaded about, but they have "run over." And we know that lots of people were leaving and being scattered about during 600 b.c., again, I say, cool! I love the grafted idea. This past Wednesday I celebrated by 13th adoption birthday! I was adopted into my father's family. Isn't that like grafting? After the gentiles receive the gospel, the Jews will be grafted back into that group. Aren't you excited for Jacob 5?! And here I made fun of him dwelling in a tent, when actually, lots of prophecy and preparation was happening.

BUT, like us, Nephi was wondering, "Hm. Is this true?" He desired to know. Now, this is fabulous because I just found this quote: "The answers you get depend upon the questions you ask." Hmmmm. Nephi reinforces this with the knowledge we have that God is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever. (Isn't that reassuring?) and those that desire and seek will receive by the power of the Holy Ghost. I think the Holy Ghost comes up later, so I won't go into that now. Except to say that part of it's mission is to testify and here is Nephi, testifying by the authority of the Holy Ghost. Interesting word, authority.


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8.24.2004

1 Nephi 8 

Okay, before I begin a confession: I always skip this chapter. From here to 2 Nephi. No particular reason, oh! and I can not for the life of me find my Book of Mormon class transcripts. So, if from here to 2 Nephi seems sparse, feel free to help me out!

Here we go -

The Vision

Lehi has a vision (on the side, Elder Bucshe's book, Yearning for the Living God, is fabulous! He was having dreams, too.) Now, the neat thing about this vision is, other people have it and record it all the time. Come to Winter Quarters Temple, you can stay out my house and see the stain glass tree of life there! It's awesome!

Anyway, the vision. Biblically the dreams were God's way of communicating with people. This of Joseph and Pharaoh's dreams. Or God to Daniel or Abraham. So we (and Lehi) recognize this pattern. So, let's look at the dream.

A man appears dressed in a white robe. White is all the colors, so it's whole or complete. We wear white when we are baptized and in the Temple. It is pure color. (Not a pure color but pure color. How cool is that?)
The man says, "Come with me." Hmmm, okay.
They go to a dark and dreary waste. NOW, this is cool because Lehi starts to pray. And behold he is in a field with a tree. ** A historical note that Lehi will have known (that I know from the Encylopedia Judaica Jr.) "Just as Adam is placed in the Garden, in the midst of which stands the Tree of Life, so is man placed in the world in order to observe the commandments (of the Torah). ** So, Lehi is familiar with this story/symbolism. Notice, he does not ask what the meaning of this vision is, just that he is troubled for members of his family.

I'm skipping to the rod, I have lots of colored pictures here but few notes. The rod (think Moses) might represent authority. Think of the things we need for eternal life. What are the principles of the gospel? Faith (okay), Repentance (need priesthood sometimes), baptism and laying on of hands (definitely need the priesthood). Temple ordinances, again, the priesthood authority is needed.

Later on we go through all the symbolic stuff, so I'm not going to do it here.

The People (Holding on to the Rod)

So, we have all kinds of people here. Cool.

Some: Pressed forward and got on the path. (great!) then the mists rose up and they wandered off. (not great.) Now, I have "apostasy" written next to this. I'm thinking not just "the great" apostasy, but personal things, too. Tithing. Sickness comes to your family. Lose a little faith here and a little there. You wander about. Scary stuff.

Others: They cling to the rod. Picture yourself clinging. Okay, so then you finally let go when you get to the fruit. You eat but hear people mocking you. Agh! Your support (the rod) is gone! What do you do? You fell away. (and this is my thought, okay?) You clung so hard, for so long that you didn't have your own testimony.

Other multitudes: (I'm thankful this says "multitudes," many of us will make it home!) They did "press" forward. When I read this I see one hand on the rod and the other pushing aside the fog and darkness, striving forward, helping those around us. This is hard work. And we fall down (and give thanks?) and partake of the fruit.

BUT, great was the multitude that didn't even try. They just went to that building to mock the saints of God. Those that listened fell away. This teaches me that we can not listen, we can not care!

Leave you with this thought on mockery:

"...for without revelation religion is a mockery and a farce." -John Taylor, Gospel Kingdom)

Anyway, as we are traveling towards that tree we must answer these questions for ourselves:
"Why? Why are we going? Why are we doing this?" and then, we need to remember our answers as things get hard.



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8.22.2004

1 Nephi 7 

I'm talking with a friend of mine about families. The purpose of, the importance of, etc. And where do I find myself in the scriptures but heading back to Jerusalem with the sons of Lehi to get some wives?

Picture this:

You have a friend who, along with his family, leaves overnight. Leaves their house, possesions and valuables. A while later, say, two months, his sons show up. "Hey, dad sent us, and the Lord wants you to come with us to the land of promise." What do you do?

Erastus Snow in the Journal of Discourses informs us that in the 116 pages we learned that Ishmael's (love that name) family was of the lineage of Ephraim, so we have "Ephraim and Manasseh (Lehi's family) growing together on the American continent."


We also get a time reference in this chapter, albeit not a very clear one. We know that by this time Jeremiah has been cast into prison, so, he's not dead yet, but the elders in the city are keeping him under wraps, so to speak.


Laman, Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael -
these guys had a really hard time dealing with the Spirit. They bound Nephi, and he prayed for strength and was able to escape. They would have killed Nephi but the women plead for his life. So, they begged for forgiveness and he "frankly" forgave them. Frankly. I looked it up in the thesaurus and this is what I got:
Openly; plainly; unreservedly; sincerely; candidly; freely; readily; unhesitatingly; liberally; willingly.
I don't forgive like this, actually, I don't forgive very well at all. I think this week I will remember Nephi and be willing to liberally forgive. See, here is this one little word (that, admittedly, I do have underlined) that can make for a whole tangent of thought. Fun.

I think I am going to come up with a code for they offered a sacrifice and gave thanks. Whenever you see
" ^ & # " it means prayer (see, it's going up) and sacrifice (like a grill, sort of.) and by the time we get to Moroni it will all be in bizarre little symbols.


Just kidding.

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1 Nephi 6 

Short and sweet, got to love it. Here's Nephi, recognizing that he doesn't have much room on the plates. He writes soley to bring men to God, and will not "occupy these plates with things which are not of worth unto the children of men.

Wow! And this record, the Book of Mormon was only part of what Moroni gave to Joseph Smith and that was only (what?) Mormon and Moroni abridging 1 / 100th of all the records available to him?

As this book was being put together (by Mormon and Moroni) they had such vast amounts of information and here is Nephi letting them know exactly what needed to be included or excluded. They had information from people who were there before Lehi and his family. That got included, too.

All of this information is included in our scriptures today to stand as another witness and I am awed that we can just have it. I just finished reading Elder Busche's autobiography and for all the struggles that people go through to have the gospel, we just get things like our scriptures and meetinghouses and Temples can be built. Yeah, there is flak, but nothing like before. It makes you more aware of how dangerous our times are (for our spirits) that we face very different trials and temptations and we literally need these scriptures.

Comment on the "God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob," (This is long, but really good.)

H. Donl Peterson, professor of ancient scripture, Brigham Young University said, " First of all, we know that God the Father and Jesus Christ are separate individuals, each having a distinct role. God the Father is the Supreme Being—no one in the Godhead is on a peer level with our Father in Heaven. Moses recorded an excellent scriptural statement on this subject: God explained to Moses that “mine Only Begotten is and shall be the Savior, for he is full of grace and truth; but there is no God beside me.” (Moses 1:6; italics added.)

President Joseph F. Smith and his counselors explained that the phrase “there is no God beside me” meant “beside me, above me, or equal to me, or to be an object of worship.” They added that “the sole object of worship, God the Eternal Father, stands supreme and alone, and it is in the name of the Only Begotten that we thus approach him.” (See James R. Clark, Messages of the First Presidency, vol. 4, p. 270-271.)

God the Father is also the literal Father of our spirits. Prior to our earthly existence we were born and begotten of heavenly parents—we are literally the sons and daughters of Deity. (See Eccl. 12:7;Acts 17:28-29; and Heb. 12:9.) Jesus was the first Spirit Child born to God the Father; he is appropriately referred to in the scriptures as the Firstborn. (See Heb. 1:6; Col. 1:15-18; and D&C 93:21.) Jesus is unique, however, in another sense: he was the only son born of God in the flesh. He is therefore referred to in Holy Writ as the Only Begotten. (See John 1:14, 18; John 3:16, 18; 1 Jn. 4:9; and Alma 5:48; Alma 9:26; Alma 13:9.)

God the Father is the author of the Plan of Salvation. The Prophet Joseph Smith explained that “In the beginning, the head of the Gods called a council of the Gods; and they came together and concocted a plan to create the world and people it.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 349; see also John 3:16.) Jesus led the righteous majority in sponsoring and sustaining the great plan in the councils of heaven, but our Father in Heaven authored this plan for the salvation of his children.

God the Father is the Great Creator, creator of innumerable worlds. Even though he has delegated much responsibility to the Son, the Father is the Supreme Being in the creative process. (See Moses 1:33; Moses 2:1; and Heb. 1:1-3.)

The Savior also has distinct roles and responsibilities, delegated to him by our Heavenly Father throughout the ages. Jesus was the Father’s executive in preearth life, in mortality, and since his triumphant victory over death. Our Father in Heaven has allowed Jesus to speak to various prophets as if he were the Father. In the legal profession this is a well-understood practice referred to as the “power of attorney.” Jesus stated that “I am come in my Father’s name.” (John 5:43; see also John 10:25.) The First Presidency, in an excellent explanation of this principle, called this authority of Christ to speak for the Father in the first person “Divine Investiture of Authority.” (See James E. Talmage, Articles of Faith, Appendix 2, p. 470.)

Jesus is also a God. The Father is Supreme, but Jesus is also a member of the Godhead, and is by his calling a God. (See Heb. 1:8-12.) The Prophet Joseph stated: “I have always declared God to be a distinct personage, Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and that the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit: and these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods.” (Teachings, p. 370.)

Our Father in Heaven has bestowed great honors upon his Only Begotten because of his unwavering obedience. The Father has designated that the eternal gospel plan (see D&C 20:9), the holy priesthood (see D&C 107:3), and the Church (see D&C 115:4) all bear the name of Jesus Christ.

This discussion of roles may help us decide which of the two is speaking at a particular time. However, because the Father and the Son are one in unity and purpose, and since Jesus is authorized to speak for the Father in the first person, distinguishing the two can on occasion be more complicated. “Lord God” is used to designate both the Father and the Son in the scriptures. (See Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed., p. 450.)

In fact, very few sacred titles are used exclusively for one or the other. We can ask, for example, “Who is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?” We may think first of Jesus since the Father delegated responsibility for this earth to him. (See 1 Ne. 19:10 and 1 Cor. 10:4.) We must keep in mind, however, that some other prophets have understood this and yet they have designated God the Father as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (See Acts 3:15; Acts 5:30; and Acts 22:14.)


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