This week for class we read from the book of Enos through the 3rd chapter of Mosiah. Included in that reading is the book of Jarom. I really enjoyed this book this week and had several different discussions about it.
My instructor put together an awesome video this week talking about this book and how the Nephites during this time were able to break the pride cycle that we see repeated over and over throughout the Book of Mormon and throughout history.
As we’ve seen people go through this cycle, we see how they can be prosperous, which leads to pride, which then leads to their destruction or fall, which then points them back to humility. As they humble themselves they get back to the point of being prosperous. And the cycle continues.
But, as we see in the book of Jarom, it is possible to break this cycle. We discussed in our gathering on Thursday night how the Nephites viewed the Messiah and what they did to stay faithful. One of my classmates discussed that even though the time that this takes place is several hundred years before the coming of Christ, they acted as though He were there among them already. They were a very humble people and made sure to keep the commandments.
As we read through the book of Jarom, we learn that they listened to the teachings and warnings of the Prophets which kept them from transgression and kept them from becoming prideful. Because of this, they stayed humble and looked forward to the time when the Savior would come. As they looked to Christ and tried to be more like Him, they were able to break the pride cycle, stay humble and continue to prosper.
I know that we live in a great time upon this earth where we have a true Prophet of God to help guide us and direct us. We have all the resources available to us to learn from him, other church leaders and all those that came before them. We need only to listen to their words, keep ourselves humble and look towards Christ with a desire to be more like Him.
This past week in our class we’ve been studying 2 Nephi 28-33. In a couple of these chapters we learn about how Nephi prophecies about these last days and the false doctrines and sinful practices that will be surrounding us during these days.
As we’ve studied these scriptures, we have discussed in our weekly gathering what we can do to not be deceived in these latter days and how we can stand against these false doctrines and sinful practices.
Each week as we study the scriptures, we have a group of videos that we are able to watch to help us learn from leaders in the church. There are a couple of videos that I watched this week that help me to understand what we can do to not be deceived.
The first talk that I watched was by Boyd Baggett and is called “Feast Upon the Words of Christ”. In this talk, he mentions that his favorite scripture is 2 Nephi 32:3 where it says to feast upon the words of Christ. He then references a talk that Pres. Benson gave during General Conference in April of 1975. In his talk, Pres. Benson mentions that the 2nd purpose of the Book of Mormon is that it will expose the enemies of Christ. And that it will confound false doctrines and lay down contention. Pres. Benson goes on to explain that the Book of Mormon will help to fortify the humble followers of Christ against the evil designs, strategies and doctrines of the devil in our day.
In our weekly gathering we discussed what it means to feast upon the words of Christ. We recognized that feasting upon the words of Christ means for us to read the scriptures as often as possible. In a recent meeting taught by our Stake President, he encouraged us to read from the Book of Mormon every day. He testified that as he has committed to reading each day that he has been able to feel the Spirit guide him in his life. I believe that reading the scriptures each day will give us the strength necessary to persevere in these last days and to be able to identify those false doctrines that Nephi prophecies about. This will also help us to know of the sinful practices around us each day so that we might be able to distance ourselves from them. This will allow us to stand as followers of Christ and share our beliefs with all those around us.
The second video I watched that I think will help us in our everyday lives is titled “Enemy Territory”. This is a story told by President Boyd K. Packer where he relates to us how he was protected during World War II by listening to a prompting of the Spirit. He testifies to us that if we will live our lives worthily and if we will heed the promptings from the Holy Ghost that we will be watched over and protected.
This is a great blessing for us to be able to have in our everyday lives as we strive to live our lives in accordance with the Gospel. As we diligently strive to read the scriptures each day and as we strive to live worthily, I know that we will have the power to be able to withstand the many forces against us in these latter days.
This past week our class has been studying 2 Nephi 9-16.
As I’ve studied through these chapters this week, I’ve had many thoughts and many things that have affected me. But there is one thing that has really stuck with me. We discussed it during our weekly gathering this past Thursday. It is from 2 Nephi 15:26. It reads, “And he will lift up an ensign to the nations from far, and will hiss unto them from the end of the earth; and behold, they shall come with speed swiftly; none shall be weary nor stumble among them.”
I really like this scripture as I believe it is speaking about us in this day and how we should act as Latter-day Saints. I believe that it is our responsibility as members of this church to act each day in accordance with our beliefs. That we should act in such a way as to help bring people to the Gospel.
In the past I have always felt that missionary work is done by those young men and young women serving full time missions. That it is something that is not necessarily needing to be done by the rest of us. I have always felt that we should support our missionaries of course, but I’ve felt that this support should be done primarily by encouraging them and having them over for dinner.
There have been many instances, talks and lessons in church over the past year that have really helped to change my way of thinking in regards to missionary work. This past weeks studying has helped to change it also. Having my son out in the mission field has also helped to change my way of thinking as I interact with him in our weekly emails.
I have come to realize that the scripture in 2nd Nephi relates to each of us in these last days. And that we should make every effort to help build His church every day of our lives. It is our responsibility as members to be the ones doing the missionary work by reaching out to those around us. We need to be the ones bringing the full time missionaries opportunities for them to teach. We should be the ones creating the opportunities and utilizing the help of full time missionaries to help us.
Each week as we study the scriptures, I am finding ways that I need to strive to be better. This past week has helped me to realize that I need to try and reach out to those around me and to make sure that everyone can see the type of person I am by the life that I am living.
This past week in our class we’ve been studying 1 Nephi Chapters 15-22.
One of the key things that has stayed with me this week is the importance of gratitude. As we study the scriptures, we see stories from different points of views and the attitudes from the various people. In a talk by Kirk Astel titled “Attitudes in Affliction”, he speaks of the contrasting attitudes of Nephi and his brothers, Laman and Lemuel.
Nephi always keeps a positive outlook on things, trusting in the Lord that things happen as they should and that he will be better for it. Laman and Lemuel however, constantly murmur regarding their circumstances and what they have to endure as they wander through the wilderness.
I watched one other video this week that talks about this same topic. The talk is titled “Grateful in any Circumstances” by President Uchtdorf. In his talk, President Uchtdorf speaks of a waiter in a restaurant that tries to make a particular customer happy but is unable to do so despite repeated attempts. The customer always finds something to complain about even though the waiter continues to go above and beyond with trying to provide service.
These stories really make me stop to look at myself and where I am in my life. Am I happy? Am I grateful for the things that I have? Am I doing the things that the Lord would have me do with the many blessings He has bestowed upon me?
I think it is easy to go through life always working towards the next goal or the next milestone and not stop to be truly grateful for what we have right now. I know that I am guilty of this.
I look forward to the weeks ahead as I try and put the lessons I’ve learned this week into practice in my everyday life. I know that I can be more grateful for all the things in my life for the Lord has truly blessed me in many aspects of my life.
This week in class we have been reading 1 Nephi 1-5. One of the main things I learned while studying through these scriptures is the importance of faith.
The 4th Article of Faith reads, “We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.” This shows the importance of faith since it is listed as the first principle of the Gospel.
As we read through the first chapters in the Book of Mormon, we come to realize the great amount of faith that both Lehi and Nephi have. Lehi shows great faith that everything is going to be ok as he takes his family and leaves Jerusalem after seeing in a vision that the city would be destroyed. In doing this, he leaves behind everything that he and his family own. After leaving, he sends his sons back to obtain the plates of brass from Laban.
Nephi also shows great faith at this point as he decides to ask for himself from the Lord if the things that his father has been saying are true or not. He shows great faith in deciding to go back to get the brass plates even though he has no idea how that will be accomplished.
Nephi’s expresses his faith in 1 Nephi 3:7 – “And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.”
This verse is one of my favorite scriptures as it gives me strength to know the truthfulness of this statement. Our Father in Heaven will truly not give us more than we can handle. And though we may question and think that what is being asked is too much or too unbearable, with the proper attitude and complete faith in our Father, we can truly accomplish anything that He asks of us.