We have a parable and two visions to look at here. The parable of the sower is a familiar New Testament parable related by Jesus Christ to a multitude from a ship on the sea shore about the various types of ground certain seeds were cast on to. The first vision is an account in the Book of Mormon by a prophet named Lehi who sees a vision revolving around a tree of life and a description of the various types of people he observes. The second vision is an account from Joseph Smith in the Doctrine and Covenants concerning the degrees of glory that exist in the hereafter and a description of the characteristics of those inhabitants.
In the parable of the sower, we are taught by the Master about seeds cast into various situations and what the consequences were. The parable is found in Matthew 13 in the New Testament.
- Good ground: (Brought forth fruit; some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.)
Interpretation: To those that hear the word and understand it, they will all bear fruit but at varying degrees.
- The way side: (Fowls came and devoured them up)
Interpretation: When any one hears the word of the kingdom, but doesn’t understand it the adversary can come and steal away whatever was sown in his heart.
- Thorns: (The thorns sprung up, and choked them.)
Interpretation: This is one that hears the word, but the care of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word.
- Stony places: (There was not much earth so when they sprung up they were scorched by the sun because they had no root and they withered away.)
Interpretation: This is one that hears the word and receives it gladly but because ‘he hath not root in himself’, he endures for a while but is immediately offended when tribulation and persecution arise.
Lehi’s Vision of the Tree of Life
In Lehi’s vision there are multitudes of people pressing towardRead Full Post2 Comments
They don’t write definitions the way they used to anymore. This is just one more great reason why I love Webster’s 1828 Dictionary. The standard definition for ‘selfish’ is pretty straightforward, but then you come to ‘selfishly’ and then POW, you’ve got some brilliantly delivered doctrine!
SELF’ISHLY, adv. The exclusive of a person to his own interest or happiness; or that supreme self-love or self-preference, which leads a person in his actions to direct his purposes to the advancement of his own interest, power or happiness, without regarding the interest of others. Selfishness, in its worst or unqualified sense, is the very essence of human depravity, and it stands in direct opposition to benevolence, which is the essence of the divine character. As God is love, so man, in his natural state, is selfishness.
So if we want to dig a little deeper here, we will find a profound truth. We are used to two ends of a spectrum in our faith, we usually speak of pride and humility. But, in my opinion there is something more specifically worse than pride and infinitely greater than humility; it is selfishness on one end and at the other end, charity, which is the benevolence of Christ.
So what isRead Full Post5 Comments
And whoso receiveth this record, and shall not condemn it because of the imperfections which are in it, the same shall know of greater things than these. Behold, I am Moroni; and were it possible, I would make all things known unto you.
Much time is spent by some seeking to find a secular explanation for the existence of the Book of Mormon while others who work to counter the critics and dig deeper for clues that point to a work of divine origin.
Even though this self-proclaimed imperfect record came into existence through the fumbling hands of imperfect but inspired men, Joseph Smith still felt confident enough in the message to label the Book of Mormon as “the most correct of any book on earth”. Joseph also stated that “a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book,” which is certainly a bold claim by anyone’s standards.
Here is a book with a simple message, it acknowledges its faults but includes a promise that God himself will reveal the truth of it to those who read and ponder its words and then ask with faith in Christ (Moroni 10:3-5).
But can we look past the faults? Do we see them as evidence of fraud orRead Full Post0 Comments
I had a kind of epiphany a few years ago as I studied Alma chapter 32 and 33 in the Book of Mormon. This chapter covers Alma’s famous discourse on faith, one of the best, if not THE best that you’ll find anywhere in scripture. The sermon presents an beautiful analogy of how fundamental principles for discovering truth work together using the concept of nourishing a seed into a tree of life that bears fruits of knowledge.
And now as I said concerning faith—faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.
Now there’s nothing wrong with this verse, but sometimes during a Sunday School class I will hear this verse cited as the ‘definition of faith’. However, upon a closer read, we can see that this verse only says what faith is not and what you do if you have it. Now these provide clues to understand faith, but they clearly do not tell us what faith is. Faith is not to hope for unseen but true things, that is but one of the many things that one who has faith does. It is similar to saying that the definition of a sandwich is something like this:
And now as I said concerning sandwiches—A sandwich is not a hot dog; but if you eat a sandwich you will not be hungry any more.
Yes, probably a horrible analogy but is my point clear?
See, what happens is that this verse is only scratching the surface, the next few verses go off on an asideRead Full Post2 Comments
Compiled by Kirk B. Henrichsen
“the appearance of gold”1 —Joseph Smith Jr., Eight Witnesses, Orson Pratt
“golden plates”2 —David Whitmer
“a mixture of gold and copper”3 —William Smith
“weighing altogether from forty to sixty lbs.”4 —Martin Harris
“I was permitted to lift them. . . . They weighed about sixty pounds according to the best of my judgement.”5 —William Smith0 Comments
First and most obvious is the fact that both Jesus and the Book of Mormon initially had a very controversial message. Some recognized truth immediately, while it took some time for others and yet more, even the vast majority, rejected the message altogether.
That said, there are many interesting similarities between the life of Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon itself particularly surrounding the death and resurrection:
Christ: buried and sealed in a stone sepulcher
BofM: buried and sealed in a stone box
Christ: round stone covered tomb
BofM: round stone covered box
Christ: Angels present when stone was rolled back
BofM: Angel present when stone was rolled back
Christ: Taught the word of God
BofM: Teaches the word of God
Christ: Witness saw him, 12 apostles and hundred of others
BofM: Witnesses saw it 12 official witnesses along with several more
Christ: Ascended to heaven with angels present
BofM: Taken back to heaven by an angel
Christ: Must rely on faith to believe
BofM: Must rely on faith to believe
Christ: Only physical evidence remaining are his words
BofM: Only physical evidence remaining are it’s words
Both Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon were buried in the earth and brought forth with angel(s) present, there were witnesses and they were removed from our presence with only their words for us to examine through the Spirit. So here is theRead Full Post1 Comment
I used to think of the pride cycle as this long, ongoing, inevitable course that civilizations and people follow in their lives. We certainly see from the scriptures and history that these things repeat themselves and sometimes we focus so much on the disasters and consequences of sin that we don’t really consider when those moments of disaster were averted altogether. How do we reconcile these truths in our current “Pride Cycle” model?
The Pride Cycle
Above is our good old fiend the ‘pride cycle’. Now this cycle isn’t incorrect, as was said before we have seen this happen over and over again, but righteousness and prosperity do not always necessarily lead to pride and wickedness. I remember in a college course on Human Relations the professor asked the question: “What is the number one cause of divorce?” I knew what he thought the answer was but I decided to give the correct answer. I learned the correct answer from Spencer W. Kimball:
“Every divorce is the result of selfishness…” (“Marriage and Divorce” a devotional address given at Brigham Young University on 7 September 1976)
So I raised my hand and gave the answer, “selfishness”. He looked at me for a moment with a thoughtful expression and then said, “No, it’s money actually.” So according to his thinking, you can cause a divorce by dropping by someone’s home and dumping some money on their front door step ;) No, money is not the cause, it’s something deeper, it’s the corruption within the person that is already there and left unchecked and anything left unchecked is a tickingRead Full Post9 Comments
We learn more about Nephi’s records, or plates, in the front of the Book of Mormon with a section called “A Brief Explanation about the Book of Mormon”:
The Plates of Nephi, which were of two kinds: the Small Plates and the Large Plates. The former were more particularly devoted to the spiritual matters and the ministry and teachings of the prophets, while the latter were occupied mostly by a secular history of the peoples concerned (1 Nephi 9:2–4)
Nephi kept two records, one containing a secular history upon ‘other plates’ which came to be known as the ‘large plates of Nephi’ and another record upon smaller plates that contained primarily prophecies and sacred teachings.
How many of us do a good job with keeping a journal or secular history (large plates) of our lives of any kind at all? It’s no secret that we collectively seem to struggle with this, so how likely is it then that we keep a record of our own personal revelations, answers to prayer, promptings, etc? I would bet that many of us have not even considered doing so in the first place.
First off, let’s see what various church leaders have said on the matter:Read Full Post11 Comments
The purpose of this article is to explore the physical description of the Nephite “interpreters” (or Urim and Thummim as they were called by Joseph Smith) and their purpose. This article will demonstrate that these artifacts have been passed down for thousands of years and their primary use is for revealing the history of secret Satanic conspiracies upon the American continent as a warning to future inhabitants of this land.
What were they and what did they look like?
Joseph Smith claimed that he translated ancient records with the assistance of a “Urim and Thummim”. The Urim and Thummim were part of the sacred vestments that the high priest wore during the period of Mosaic Law. Here is what the LDS Bible Dictionary says about the Urim and Thummim:
Heb. term that means Lights and Perfections. An instrument prepared of God to assist man in obtaining revelation from the Lord and in translating languages. See Ex. 28: 30; Lev. 8: 8; Num. 27: 21; Deut. 33: 8; 1 Sam. 28: 6; Ezra 2: 63; Neh. 7: 65; JS-H 1: 35.
Using a Urim and Thummim is the special prerogative of a seer, and it would seem reasonable that such instruments were used from the time of Adam. However, the earliest mention is in connection with the brother of Jared (Ether 3: 21-28). Abraham used a Urim and Thummim (Abr. 3: 1-4), as did Aaron and the priests of Israel, and also the prophets among the Nephites (Omni 1: 20-21; Mosiah 8: 13-19; Mosiah 21: 26-28; Mosiah 28: 11-20; Ether 4: 1-7). There is more than one Urim and Thummim, but we are informed that Joseph Smith had the one used by the brother of Jared (Ether 3: 22-28; D&C 10: 1; D&C 17: 1). (See Seer.) A partial description is given in JS-H 1: 35. Joseph Smith used it in translating the Book of Mormon and in obtaining other revelations.
This earth in its celestial condition will be a Urim and Thummim, and many within that kingdom will have an additional Urim and Thummim (D&C 130: 6-11).
It is very difficult to tell what the purpose of these particular implements were used for from the text of the Old Testament. There are a few passages that indicate that they had something to do with revelation; that they were oracles of some kind, but there is nothing indicating that they were used for translating languagesRead Full Post13 Comments
The New and Old Jerusalem and their inhabitants
Ether 13 teaches us that in the future there will be a new heaven and a new earth and that many miraculous things will occur with these events:
9 And there shall be a new heaven and a new earth; and they shall be like unto the old save the old have passed away, and all things have become new.
10 And then cometh the New Jerusalem; and blessed are they who dwell therein, for it is they whose garments are white through the blood of the Lamb; and they are they who are numbered among the remnant of the seed of Joseph, who were of the house of Israel.
11 And then also cometh the Jerusalem of old; and the inhabitants thereof, blessed are they, for they have been washed in the blood of the Lamb; and they are they who were scattered and gathered in from the four quarters of the earth, and from the north countries, and are partakers of the fulfilling of the covenant which God made with their father, Abraham.
There will be a new heaven and a new earth in the millennium, the New Jerusalem will come as well as the old Jerusalem AND the inhabitants, or those who have previously died. They will have been ‘washed in the blood of the Lamb’, the Lamb is Jesus Christ which means they are part of the covenant through baptism in the name of Christ. Now how can people who have passed away before Jesus Christ was on the earth be washed in his blood through baptism?Read Full Post0 Comments
Isaiah’s words are key
In 3 Nephi 16 Jesus Christ teaches about the other sheep and who they are and then begins to teach about the Gentiles and then in verse 17 he says:
17 And then the words of the prophet Isaiah shall be fulfilled, which say:
Christ begins to quote the prophecies of Isaiah, but then, in the next chapter, looks out among the people and says:
2 I perceive that ye are weak, that ye cannot understand all my words which I am commanded of the Father to speak unto you at this time.
3 Therefore, go ye unto your homes, and ponder upon the things which I have said, and ask of the Father, in my name, that ye may understand, and prepare your minds for the morrow, and I come unto you again.
The people cannot understand the words of Isaiah that he is quoting, they have been through a lot of trauma and Jesus perceives that they are not spiritually prepare for what he has to say. So he gives an important clue that revelation is needed to understand the things that is was about to teach them.
Then for the next four chapters he performs a series of acts to lift the people to a level to where they CAN understand his words, he heals them, introduces the sacrament, gives his disciples the power to confer the Gift of the Holy Ghost, the twelve disciples are chosen by Christ, and then administers the sacrament a second time.0 Comments
The Title Page
Title page of the Book of Mormon was said by Joseph Smith to be taken from the last leaf of the plates of Mormon, and was written by Moroni himself. A portion of this section states that the Book of Mormon is:
…to show unto the remnant of the House of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever…
The first purpose of the Book of Mormon that is mentioned is to show the remnant of Israel great things God did for their fathers so they may KNOW the covenants of the Lord and that they are still in effect. In other words, here is a message from God saying that he is still there for us and that his covenants are still extended toward us.
In 1 Nephi 13 we learn about the significance of the Bible and that it contains the covenants of the Lord.Read Full Post0 Comments
I owe a great deal to my good friend, Bro. King, for the initial core pieces of the puzzle that got my mind going on the ideas presented.
The Abrahamic Covenant
First we need to identify just what this covenant is and why it is so important. The Abrahamic covenant is outlined in Genesis 12:1-3:
1 Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
Throughout the Bible this covenant is maintained and reaffirmed and looked to as a beacon of hope to the Israelites. The different promises associated with this covenant are outlined as followed:
- His posterity would be numerous (see Genesis 17:5–6; Abraham 2:9; 3:14).
- His seed, or descendants, would receive the gospel and bear the priesthood (see Abraham 2:9).
- Through the ministry of his seed, “all the families of the earth [would] be blessed, even with the blessings of the Gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal” (Abraham 2:11).
LDS.org notes that, “A person can receive all the blessings of the Abrahamic covenant—even if he or she is not a literal descendant of Abraham—by obeying the laws and ordinances of the gospel (see Galatians 3:26–29; 4:1–7; D&C 84:33–40).”
These great blessings to Abraham are unconditional, they were promises made byRead Full Post0 Comments
- 1 Nephi 13:23
And he said: Behold it proceedeth out of the mouth of a Jew. And I, Nephi, beheld it; and he said unto me: The book that thou beholdest is a record of the Jews, which contains the covenants of the Lord, which he hath made unto the house of Israel; and it also containeth many of the prophecies of the holy prophets; and it [The Bible] is a record like unto the engravings which are upon the plates of brass, save there are not so many; nevertheless, they contain the covenants of the Lord, which he hath made unto the house of Israel; wherefore, they are of great worth unto the Gentiles.
I heard a recent story about two Latter-day Saints arguing about whether the records of the Old Testament we have today were more numerous than the Brass Plates that the Nephites had. Now, the brass plates did only go up to Jeremiah, but Genesis to Jeremiah is 1020 pages (in the LDS edition of the Old Testament), and from Lamentations to Malachi is 164 pages. Let’s say, just for fun, that the Old Testament we currently have is 100% complete, well then the Nephites were only missing about 7% of the Old Testament.
Consider the other prophets quoted from the Brass Plates mentioned in the Book of Mormon that we do not have record of in the Old Testament: Zenos, Zenock, Neum, and Ezias (1 Nephi 19:10; Helaman 8:20) as well asRead Full Post1 Comment
For the most part, mainstream Christianity views the Godhead from the perspective of the Nicene Creed (323 A.D.) which only looked at the ‘oneness’ of the Father and the Son, and the Athanasian Creed (which originated around 500 A.D.) which was the first creed to vocalize equality of the persons of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost into a ‘Trinity”. It is still a hotly contested issue to this day. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claims it’s view of the Godhead from the eyewitness accounts of modern apostles and prophets.
Both views of God were brought to us by men. The Trinitarian view has evolved through time out of councils, debates and defined in creeds, the LDS view is claimed to have come from revelation. That said, let’s take a look and see what the scriptures have to say on the matter.
“The Book of Mormon teaches the doctrine of the Trinity better than the Bible.”
Believe it or not, while serving as a full-time missionary, this was a statement made by a woman that we were having a discussion with. She shared a few scriptures from the Book of Mormon that she though were some of the most beautiful Trinitarian scriptures. She asked us why we didn’t believe the doctrine of the Trinity if that is what our own book taught. Good question.
I took a minute to think about that since I had never been asked or even thought of that question before. After a moment, I mentioned how before the Book of Mormon was written, Joseph Smith had already claimed to see the Father AND the Son and that they were two separate beings. I suggested that it was possible that those whoRead Full Post0 Comments