Monday, June 4, 2012

Book of Mormon Sunday II- 3 Nephi 6-10

   The years before the coming of the resurrected Lord to the Americas are very interesting to me. I feel I can learn something about my own time by searching these chapters.
   3 Nephi 6:12 "And the people began to be distinguished by ranks, according to their riches and their chances for learning; yea, some were ignorant because of their poverty, and others did receive great learning because of their riches. Some were lifted up in pride, and others were exceedingly humble; some did return railing for railing, while others would receive railing and persecution and all manner of afflictions, and would not turn and revile again, but were humble and penitent before God. And thus there became a great inequality in all the land, insomuch that the church began to be broken up; yea, insomuch that in the *thirtieth year the church was broken up in all the land save it were among a few of the Lamanites who were converted unto the true faith; and they would not depart from it, for they were firm, and steadfast, and immovable, willing with all diligence to keep the commandments of the Lord."
   What a sad commentary that because of divisions the church splintered.  It is easier to see differences in each other than it is to see how we are the same. Just recently I found myself in a situation where my religion was criticized. I was part of the group until unknowingly one man made a negative comment about Mormons. It was a stereotypical statement, without much common sense, but the mood of our combined efforts was tainted because of a thoughtless comment. I let it go because of the above scripture. Railing for railing does not further the efforts to work together.
     3 Nephi 7: 15 "And it came to pass that Nephi -- having been visited by angels and also the voice of the Lord, therefore having seen angels, and being eye-witness, and having had power given unto him that he might know concerning the ministry of Christ,"
   Into this divisive community comes the prophet. He brings the only message that can heal. He brings with him the power of the Holy Ghost and the language of angels, which is the words of Christ who would have them all as one.
    3 Nephi 7:17 "And he did minister many things unto them; and all of them cannot be written, and a part of them would not suffice, therefore they are not written in this book. And Nephi did minister with power and with great authority. And it came to pass that they were angry with him, even because he had greater power than they, for it were not possible that they could disbelieve his words, for so great was his faith on the Lord Jesus Christ that angels did minister unto him daily."
    I am not sure that I understand this anger. Could it be that the resentment of righteousness is rooted in the fact that it requires self-reflection? 
    3 Nephi 7:20 "And the people saw it, and did witness of it, and were angry with him because of his power; and he did also do many more miracles, in the sight of the people, in the name of Jesus."
   In the opening of Chapter 8, the destruction of major cities brings the people to their knees. 

  3 Nephi 8:12 "And many great destructions have I caused to come upon this land, and upon this people, because of their wickedness and their abominations. O all ye that are spared because ye were more righteous than they, will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you? Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me."
   I can only imagine what these people felt when they heard this voice. An arm of mercy is exactly what they need. Would they now turn to him and give up all their sins? Would they be converted to the fact that "He Lives"?
  3 Nephi 9:14 "And now, whoso readeth, let him understand; he that hath the scriptures, let him search them, and see and behold if all these deaths and destructions by fire, and by smoke, and by tempests, and by whirlwinds, and by the opening of the earth to receive them, and all these things are not unto the fulfilling of the prophecies of many of the holy prophets."
   And do we in this day understand that the prophecies concerning the Second Coming will also come to pass?

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