4 Nephi-Ether…By Faith

We are coming to the close of this glorious book. These last few books are some of the saddest in human history, comparable only to the Flood and yet also have some wonderful doctrine and principles. Here we see the end of two separate nations who lived in overlapping times, though shared the same continent and knew nothing of each other. My heart aches for these people. The last few times I have read the Book of Mormon, when I start getting to the end, it always makes me sad. I wonder how they could be so stupid as to kill themselves off like this.

However, I realize that at least half of the latter nation did survive, but without any faith in God or correct knowledge of what really happened over the 600 years when a small family arrived from Jerusalem. This finishes up the record we have of people of Lehi. We also had the Mulekites intermingled with the Nephites, a people who were also brought over from Jerusalem 11 years after Lehi. They brought nor kept any record and were found by the Nephites who were in escape from the Lamanites sometime around 200 bc.

In this second the the last book in the Boo of Mormon, Ether, we learn of another family and friends who are guided over to this promised land and through time also kill themselves off, only this time, one remains. Just one, who then eventually finds the Mulekite people, and then dies 9 months later.

Thus we find in this record the history of 3 different groups of families who were brought over by the hand of the Lord to this chosen and special land. At some points in their history, there were millions. Combined histories, perhaps tens of millions throughout the hundreds of years they were here, and only hundreds of thousands survived, if that. Such a waste! Satan was laughing and loving seeing his handy work. All those souls brought to a point where redemption wasn’t possible anymore because of the hardness of their hearts.

So astonishingly sorrowful.

Ether, was a prophet though. And prophets will teach and prophesy. Moroni was the last of his people, the Nephites. Ether was the last of his people, the Jaredites. Moroni inserts the translated record of Ether into the final plates. I’m sure he found comfort in Ether’s teachings as they both were the same: prophets, last of their kind, unsure when the end of their lives would be as both were hunted by their enemies and the last to witness the end of a nation. They had one more common bond, something that all of us have or could have a bond with as well.

Inspired by Ether’s teachings, Moroni builds on the overall theme of this record, which is Faith and Hope.

“Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith , maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.” (Ether 12:4)  “I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.” (Ether 12:6) 

Moroni had faith. Ether had faith. All of the prophets who every lived has had faith. Everyone who has ever lived and who currently live who believe in Jesus Christ has or had faith. It is faith that makes this world livable and bearable. Faith and hope. That’s how we are able to read and learn about the horrors of this world and not be overcome with sorrow. Faith and hope.

President Henry B Eyring, of the First Presidency has said, “If we have faith in Jesus Christ, the hardest as well as the easiest of times in life can be a blessing. In all conditions, we can choose the right through the guidance of the spirit. We have the gospel of Jesus Christ to shape and guide our lives if we choose it. We never need feel unloved or alone in the Lord’s service, because we never are. We can feel the love of God. The Savior has promised angels on our left and right to bear us up, and He always keeps His word. His love is unfailing.”

I testify to you that I have become a better, more righteous person through reading the Book of Mormon. I know that this book is the true word of God because I have prayed about it and by the feelings I get when I read it. Truly, as our beloved Prophet Joseph Smith has said, ” a man would get nearer to God by abiding its precepts than by any other book.” (Book of Mormon Introduction) I can testify of this. I have gotten nearer to our God from reading this book and abiding its precepts than any other. How and why? Because it is plain and easy to understand. Because I allow the Holy Spirit to work in me and give me the guidance that we all need.

I have faith. Not sufficient to move mountains, but faith enough to know that I owe everything to my Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. I am blessed to have the fullness of the Gospel in my life and to have the opportunity to live with my Father in Heaven and Savior again.

But what about you? And what about the guy we pass in the grocery store? What about everyone else? That’s our job. It is our responsibility to give them the chance to know too so that they can have the choice to accept this redemptive message.

These things I leave, in the name of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Amen.


3 Nephi 18-30…Shall Ye Do

We pick up with Jesus discussing the scriptures. He has just repeated from Isaiah 54 and tells them that they, “…ought to search these things. Yea, a commandment I give unto you that ye search these things diligently; for great are the words of Isaiah.” (3 Nephi 23:1) The language that he uses gives no doubt to what they and we need to do. He first says “Ought” and then to make it perfectly clear with no room for any other interpretation, he commands. And not only are we to read, but to “search diligently”. We will be held accountable for this.

As Jesus was the one who gave the doctrine to record, he repeats all the scriptures that they should have written down through all the generations. Repeats, not reads. (Musing: I will love to know what it’s like to be able to recall all that I need to when I need to. To have a perfect memory. Or at least all the good things!) He asks Nephi to bring him all the records that they have kept, reads them, and then points out some things that are missing to have them record. Then he explains in detail (aka expounds) everything that had been written in their records and commands them to go and teach all that he had just explained.

Our Savior doesn’t end there with the scriptures. Lehi left 600 years before and so there is quite a bit of more recent revelation that they don’t have. He wants them to have it all, and starts with Malachi. He repeats Malachi 3 and 4 and then explains it. Then goes on and expounds the entire history of the world to the end of the world. “…,even all things which should come upon the face of the earth,...” (3 Nephi 26:3). Every detail was expounded to these 12 extraordinary men.

Yet, we are not to receive these teachings. We have a teeny, tiny portion of what he told them because our faith is to be tried. If we can not abide and believe what’s given to us with these scriptures, why would we believe and abide the greater? Though like most, I would love to know what else was said, but as I am having a hard enough time doing the things that have been said so far, which to the Savior are considered “a lesser part” (3 Nephi 26:8), then how could I possibly be able to do the greater things? I’ll leave it alone.

Christ taught the people for 3 days. He healed and blessed them. He ministers to the children. Then he leaves and the Apostles get to work teaching and baptizing.

Then they it a slight snag. They are fasting and in “mighty prayer” because there’s some disputing going on as to what the Church should be called. While in prayer, Jesus appears and asks them what the problem is. They tell him and then ask, “why is it the people murmur and dispute because of this,… have they not read the scriptures?…therefore ye shall call the church in my name.” (3Nephi 27:4,5,7) He is quite clear. Call the church in his name because if it’s called by any other name then it’s not his church….

….IF it’s also built upon his Gospel, that is.

Not some of it, not most if it, but all of it. His church will also have the fullness of his Gospel, or it will not be his church. He will not know those who profess to be of a church and not do the fullness of it.

DO. His church is a church of doing, not just saying or thinking. We must DO.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel; and ye know the things that ye must DO in my church’ for the works which ye have seen me DO that shall ye also DO’ for that which ye see me DO even that shall ye DO; Therefore, if ye DO these things blessed are ye, for ye shall be lifted up at the last day.” (3 Nephi 21-22, capitals added for emphasis)

6 times the Savior said DO in those 2 verses. I’m thinking it’s absolutely important if he feels the need to repeat one word 6 times.

The point of this life is to return to live with our Father in Heaven. In order to do this, we need to be able to be as clean and righteous as possible. Fortunately, he didn’t leave us to figure this out for ourselves, but sent his Son to guide us, be our example and take up our slack through the Atonement. So, we must become like him as much as we can.

Brother Clark said “Shakespeare said “to be or not to be.” That is actually a good question, but the Savior posed it in a way that is doctrinally much more profound. He says, “therefore what manner of men ought your to be? Verily I say unto, even as I am.” He invites us to take upon us his name and his nature.

To become as he is, we must do the things that he did, but the “be” and “do” to really be functional are inseparable. They’re independent doctrines that reinforce promote each other. The Savior often denounced those who did without being, calling them hypocrites. Conversely, to be without to do is void. Entering the waters of baptism is something that we do. The be that must proceed it is faith in Jesus Christ and a mighty change of heart.

Partaking of the sacrament is something we do, being worthy of partaking the sacrament is a weightier and much more important matter. I believe that one thing that every one of us needs to do is always have the idea that I “do to become.” If in all things we’re always thinking “do to become” then we’re including some of the Savior’s most important teachings from 3 Nephi here near the end of his ministry among the Nephites.”

He couldn’t have said it any better. We must do to become.

What do we or you need to work on to do so that we can become?