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    Room For Doubt Respects Agency

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    I recently started the Book of Mormon over again in audio form while I’m at work. Chapter 6 of 1 Nephi caught my attention and led to some signifiant thoughts about agency.

    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.

    For the fulness of mine intent is that I may persuade men to come unto the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and be saved.

    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.

    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. (1 Nephi 6:3-6)

    The limited resources Nephi had forced him to focus on what was most important. He desired to record “the things of God” over things that were pleasing unto the world; think about that. What types of things would Keep Reading

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    “All that he seeth fit that they should have”

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    After crying out “O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!” Alma 29:1

    The well-intentioned Alma the younger wanted a sorrow-free world and thinks Keep Reading

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    “They think they are wise…”

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    “When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves…” 2 Nephi 9:28

    • Does knowledge equal wisdom?
    • When we think we have things figured out on our own, do we pray less or more and for what reasons?
    • What knowledge in this world is worth setting aside a relationship with the one who holds your life in his hands moment to moment?
    • Why would one put more trust in the learning of man versus the wisdom of the revelations of God?

    We live in a world where quick answers and quick results are demanded. If a website on a phone takes more than 5 seconds to load we groan with frustration. If traffic slows a little or one person slides in front of us, we are angry. We stare into microwaves waiting the excruciating 60 seconds for our food to cook. Not only do we want things fast, we want them cheaply, we want to obtain them with as little effort on our part as possible. Perhaps a “good deal” seems more valuable than a quality product.

    Endurance is overshadowed by convenience; it is cheaper to replace things than to fix them. Rather than reconcile, repair and renew, we discard, destroy and dissolve. How deeply have these cultural philosophies that we practice daily bleed into our spiritual life? Is is any wonder that so many people give up trying to communicate with God and make dramatic life decisions based on what they think or suppose they “know of themselves?”

    “Have ye inquired of the Lord?…We have not; for the Lord maketh no such thing known unto us.” 1 Nephi 15:8-9

    • What does it mean to “inquire” of the Lord?
    • What are the requirements for “inquiring of the Lord” and how are they different from how we inquire for information in temporal matters?
    • How well do we really know and understand the scriptural pattern for inquiring, asking, seeking and knocking?
    • Do the things of God come as cheaply as the things of this world?
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    Enlarge your memory

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    We forget, but God does not forget. The scriptures enlarge our memories, as does the Holy Sabbath, journals and our own personal sacred records.

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    Ammon & Aaron: Two Approaches

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    Minerva Teichert’s depiction of an angel appearing to Alma, Ammon, Aaron, Omner and Himni

    In the Book of Mormon, Alma and King Mosiah had rebellious sons who experienced a miraculous conversion. Fueled by a divine manifestation and a spiritual rebirth, they had a burning desire to reach out and share the experience.

    I don’t think we focus enough on what is was that initially brought upon this desire to go out on this mission.

    These men received a manifestation of God to themselves. (Lecture 2, questions 146 & 147) They knew the pure love of God, it changed them, they were born again and that experience will always cause an individual to immediately desire to reach outward in genuine concern for others. Unless you know God, unless you have tasted of his redemption yourself, then much of your efforts will feel like you’re just under the pressure of trying to get people to join a club.

    When you remove God from the equation, when his literal power and influence are Keep Reading

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    The Course Which They Pursue

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    Of the seven Lectures on Faith, Lecture Sixth is perhaps my personal favorite. It is the only lecture that has this footnote:

    This lecture is so plain, and the facts set forth so self-evident, that it is deemed unnecessary to form a catechism upon it: the student is therefore instructed to commit the whole to memory. (Emphasis Added)

    So what are these facts that are so plain and self-evident and why are they important? In verse 7 we find Keep Reading

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    Lectures on Faith.com is now LIVE!

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    Well, today was like Christmas for me when I noticed that a domain that I have been wanting for quite some time had dropped!

    Screenshot 2014-07-08 21.12.46

    I’m now the owner of “LecturesOnFaith.com“! You can find the Lectures online, but the websites are pretty terrible. I was surprised that nobody has taken the time to make a site worthy of the Lectures. Within a few hours, I built a brand new site where anyone can read the Lectures on Faith for free! On the main page, be sure to read everything there to understand the history behind them.

    They originally constituted the “Doctrine” portion of the Doctrine and Covenants and contain some of the most simple and profound teachings concerning faith and how one may exercise it in a manner to bring salvation to one’s soul.

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    The Shelf vs. The Garden

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    There is a phrase I hear repeated every now and then among members of the church. Typically when there is a an issue they come across that challenges their faith, they are able to either reconcile that issue one way or another or remain undecided.

    Without the necessary information to arrive at a satisfactory understanding, the person says that, for now, they will put the issue “on the shelf”.

    “The shelf” is the proverbial repository for issues that you no longer want to deal with at the moment for whatever reason. You don’t have the time, resources, information or desire to pursue an answer to the question so you “shelf” it.

    Here’s why I really dislike this metaphor.

    When you put things on shelves all they do is

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    Isaiah: Four Latter-day Keys to an Ancient Book

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    By Avraham Gileadi

    Avraham Gileadi, “Isaiah: Four Latter-day Keys to an Ancient Book,” in Isaiah and the Prophets: Inspired Voices from the Old Testament, ed. Monte S. Nyman and Charles D. Tate Jr. (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1984), 119–38.


    The book of Isaiah has effectively remained a “sealed book’’ until the last days because only in the last days have the means to its interpretation become available. On the one hand, the Book of Mormon alone brings together the keys essential to understanding Isaiah, while on the other, time itself sets the stage for Isaiah’s prophecies to be fulfilled (cf. 2 Nephi 25:8). In the Book of Mormon, two keys for understanding Isaiah are given by Nephi and two by the Savior, though all overlap. The first two keys, which appear in 2 Nephi 25:4 and 5, may be defined respectively as the spirit and the letter of prophecy. The spirit of prophecy is spoken of as making “plain” the words of Isaiah, while the letter of prophecy causes one to “understand” them. The third and fourth keys, which appear in 3 Nephi 23:1 and 3, consist of the requirement to “search” the words of Isaiah in order to make meaningful connections, and the necessity of viewing his prophecies typologically: of seeing the past, things that “have been,” as a type of the future, things that “will be.” Used together, these keys enable us to penetrate the deepest mysteries of the book of Isaiah and in the process recognize the book for what it is, namely, a blueprint for the last days. I will first discuss the spirit and letter of prophecy.

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    Questioning the Comma in Verse 13 of the Word of Wisdom by A. Jane Birch

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    The following article was published at Mormon Interpreter. I’ve been waiting for someone to do the research and put together some good information on this subject and I think Jane did a great job. She’s the author of the book Discovering the Word of Wisdom which she wrote following her own personal journey toward health and wellness by seeking to follow the principles in D&C 89.

    Of all the things going on in the world, the Word of Wisdom might not seem to be very significant, but when the revelation itself states that it is “showing forth the order and will of God in the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days” and that “In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation”, it sounds pretty relevant to us today.

    I don’t personally feel like it is my duty or obligation to tell people how they should live the principles of the gospel, but I do believe that giving people as much information as possible so that they can make their own decisions as guided by the spirit is my duty and obligation.


    Abstract: The 1921 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants included an additional comma, which was inserted after the word “used” in D&C 89:13: “And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.” Later authors have speculated that the addition of the comma was a mistake that fundamentally changed the meaning of the verse. This article examines this “errant comma theory” and demonstrates why this particular interpretation of D&C 89:13 is without merit.

    In 1921, a committee of five apostles who had recently completed a new edition of the Book of Mormon began preparing a new edition of the Doctrine and Covenants (D&C). Elder James E. Talmage, a member of the committee, noted that previous editions of the D&C contained “many errors by way of omission.”1 The most significant change in this new edition was the removal of the “Lectures on Faith,” but the committee also expanded the headnotes, revised the footnotes, and divided the pages into double columns.2 Numerous smaller changes were also made. As one of the many changes published in the revised 1921 edition, a new comma appeared in verse 13 of section 89, [Page 134]also known as the Word of Wisdom. This comma was inserted between the words used and only:

    Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly;

    And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine. (D&C 89:12–13)

    In his detailed analysis of the textual changes throughout the history of the D&C, Robert J. Woodford relates the following interesting story:

    It [the comma] was never found in any text prior to the 1921 edition of the D&C. According to T. Edgar Lyon [prominent LDS historian and educator], [Apostle] Joseph Fielding Smith, when shown this addition to the text, said: “Who put that in there?” This is a significant statement since Elder Smith served on the committee to publish that edition of the D&C. Thus, the comma may have been inserted by the printer and has been retained ever since.3

    This story supports what has become a very popular interpretation of verse 13, namely, that the inserted comma is a mistake that reverses the meaning of the text and that the true meaning is understood only Keep Reading

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