Wrapping up Jacob 7 with understanding scriptures, the doctrine of Christ, hope, anointing our efforts, and inward transformation.
*Sorry for the background noise, there are new houses being built nearby and there is a lot of heavy equipment around.
I know that some of what I have to say here is controversial. I’m not an authority on anything except my own opinions. This is a massive topic and I do not address all of the views and perspectives. This is simply one person’s train of thought examining one facet. I encourage everyone to do their own prayerful research and consider all viewpoints.
The mind that seeks pornography would know something of the motivation driving the Nephites who were desiring many wives and concubines under Jacob’s ministry.
C.S. Lewis once wrote about the evils of keeping “a harem of imaginary brides” (Letter C. S. Lewis sent in 1956 to Keith Masson) and if that was evil, what about the abomination of an actual harem of brides?
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“…the people of Nephi, … began to grow hard in their hearts, and indulge themselves somewhat in wicked practices, such as like unto David of old desiring many wives and concubines, and also Solomon, his son.Jacob 1:15
I’ve noticed that pop culture has influenced us at church where we feel more inclined to walk on eggshells, afraid to offend others. True, we value kindness, but I think we err in thinking that it means that we must keep everyone happy around us at all times.
You cannot teach the truth without eventually offending others, not even if you are Jesus himself. (John 6:60-66)
And now it came to pass that after I, Nephi, had made an end of speaking to my brethren, behold they said unto me: Thou hast declared unto us hard things, more than we are able to bear.
And it came to pass that I said unto them that I knew that I had spoken hard things against the wicked, according to the truth; and the righteous have I justified, and testified that they should be lifted up at the last day; wherefore, the guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center.
And now my brethren, if ye were righteous and were willing to hearken to the truth, and give heed unto it, that ye might walk uprightly before God, then ye would not murmur because of the truth, and say: Thou speakest hard things against us.1 Nephi 16:1-3
Nephi was not afraid to speak the truth, and he often suffered physical pain because of it. His brothers often hated so much what he had to say they sought to silence him by physical restraint or attempted murder.
Nephi “triggered” Laman and Lemuel, or rather, Laman and Lemuel chose to be “triggered” by what Nephi had to say. Whatever one’s opinion may be, the truth remains, no matter how we feel about it.Read Full Post
In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, we find an account of Jesus being tempted by the devil while fasting in the wilderness. The scene parallels, in at least two significant ways, Nephi’s vision of the tree of life.
Jesus is tempted by the devil, which correlates with the mists of darkness that Nephi saw in his vision. The only way through the mists of darkness, or these temptations, is to continually hold fast to the iron rod, or word of God.Read Full Post
As part of our ongoing experimentation with the Come Follow Me initiative as it pertains to home study as a family, I had a nugget of inspiration that bore some good fruit.
We had been trying to fit in a reading each night where we each read a few verses and then had family prayer.
There wasn’t much depth at all because we were trying to “get through” the scriptures before the little ones lost their patience and began to be disruptive.
The other night, I had an idea. I suggested that we should try studying on our own each day, then in the evening we could each share what we learned from our own studies.
I gave my kids two goals: 1. write down any word they don’t know the meaning of and 2. write down anything they thought was interesting.
The next night, my 12-year-old daughter eagerly revealed an entire sheet of paper filled with words and paragraphs of text. We went through and defined the words she didn’t understand and listened to her insights.
What a difference!
I love these moments that God gives us and am grateful for his hand in the little things in life that mean so much.
There was much grumbling among the crowds concerning [Jesus]; some were saying, “He is a good man”; others were saying, “No, on the contrary, He leads the people astray.”John 7:12 NASB
It is always interesting to see how people reacted to Jesus and what their opinions were. Even with Jesus himself, a crowd of people could look at him, listen to him, and still come to two completely different opinions about him.
“How has this man become learned, having never been educated?”John 7:14 NASB
That which comes by revelation is often valued less by the world than that which comes from the teachings of mortal men and their institutions.
“You have a demon!”John 7:19 NASB
A modern version I hear of this rather pathetic non-argument is “You’re a racist!” or “You’re a Nazi!”
If Jesus was such a controversial figure, then how can anyone else ever not be controversial? Perhaps by simply being quiet, drawing no attention to oneself, and never making a stand for anything at all.
Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.2 Timothy 3:12 NASB
There is quite a bit packed
Among other things, Jesus taught that the kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a man sowed in his field and leaven that a woman hid in some flour.
In both cases, a person performed a simple act, planting a seed and placing leaven in flour. Growth came from the living seed and the living yeast which then did all of the work.
I thought to myself that perhaps we vastly overthink things. These parables are great examples of Alma’s words, “by small and simple things are great things brought to pass;” (Alma 37:6)
I’ve been thinking about never underestimating the power of a simple act and the unseen forces that are ready and prepared to generate incredible things, but are still waiting for me to act.
My feelings about the Church’s new Come Follow Me plan for families has been a little mixed. I’ve gone back and forth about it but have been willing to give it a shot and see what happens.
Initially, I felt like a church-wide focus on all the same scriptures across all programs from Sunday School to family study was a little too correlated for my taste. I prefer to create study methods that are tuned to our needs.
We have ventured forth anyway, and some exciting things have happened. First, it was a little rough; we didn’t know how to organize personal study with family study and the manual. If we studied the same stuff together every night, what did we study personally? With a chapter or two a week, that could be read in minutes, reviewing the same chapter alone and with family for 7 days straight and then again at church, that seems like you’d get a little burnt out! I still don’t totally understand it.Read Full Post