Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The church is true, the book is blue

I realized a few days ago that not everyone knows what the Book of Mormon is. This post is a brief explanation of what it is, text taken directly from the introduction and explanation provided in the book itself. This is what I will be teaching from while I am in Puebla, to help in my mission to bring others closer to their Savior, Jesus Christ. 

What is the Book of Mormon? 

The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible. It is a record of God’s dealings with ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains the fulness of the everlasting gospel.
 The book was written by many ancient prophets by the spirit of prophecy and revelation. Their words, written on gold plates, were quoted and abridged by a prophet-historian named Mormon. The record gives an account of two great civilizations. One came from Jerusalem in 600 B.C.and afterward separated into two nations, known as the Nephites and the Lamanites. The other came much earlier when the Lord confounded the tongues at the Tower of Babel. This group is known as the Jaredites. After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are among the ancestors of the American Indians.
 The crowning event recorded in the Book of Mormon is the personal ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ among the Nephites soon after His resurrection. It puts forth the doctrines of the gospel, outlines the plan of salvation, and tells men what they must do to gain peace in this life and eternal salvation in the life to come.
 After Mormon completed his writings, he delivered the account to his son Moroni, who added a few words of his own and hid up the plates in the Hill Cumorah. On September 21, 1823, the same Moroni, then a glorified, resurrected being, appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith and instructed him relative to the ancient record and its destined translation into the English language.
 In due course the plates were delivered to Joseph Smith, who translated them by the gift and power of God. The record is now published in many languages as a new and additional witness that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God and that all who will come unto Him and obey the laws and ordinances of His gospel may be saved.
 Concerning this record the Prophet Joseph Smith said: “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.”
 In addition to Joseph Smith, the Lord provided for eleven others to see the gold plates for themselves and to be special witnesses of the truth and divinity of the Book of Mormon. Their written testimonies are included herewith as “The Testimony of Three Witnesses” and “The Testimony of Eight Witnesses.”
 We invite all men everywhere to read the Book of Mormon, to ponder in their hearts the message it contains, and then to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if the book is true. Those who pursue this course and ask in faith will gain a testimony of its truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghost. (See Moroni 10:3–5.)
 Those who gain this divine witness from the Holy Spirit will also come to know by the same power that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, that Joseph Smith is His revelator and prophet in these last days, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s kingdom once again established on the earth, preparatory to the Second Coming of the Messiah.

How did we get the Book of Mormon?

How is it set up?

The Book of Mormon is a sacred record of peoples in ancient America and was engraved upon metal plates. Sources from which this record was compiled include the following:
  1. The Plates of Nephi, which were of two kinds: the small plates and the large plates. The former were more particularly devoted to 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). From the time of Mosiah, however, the large plates also included items of major spiritual importance.
  2. The Plates of Mormon, which consist of an abridgment by Mormon from the large plates of Nephi, with many commentaries. These plates also contained a continuation of the history by Mormon and additions by his son Moroni.
  3. The Plates of Ether, which present a history of the Jaredites. This record was abridged by Moroni, who inserted comments of his own and incorporated the record with the general history under the title “Book of Ether.”
  4. The Plates of Brass brought by the people of Lehi from Jerusalem in 600 B.C. These contained “the five books of Moses, … and also a record of the Jews from the beginning, … down to the commencement of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah; and also the prophecies of the holy prophets” (1 Nephi 5:11–13). Many quotations from these plates, citing Isaiah and other biblical and nonbiblical prophets, appear in the Book of Mormon.
 The Book of Mormon comprises fifteen main parts or divisions, known, with one exception, as books, usually designated by the name of their principal author. The first portion (the first six books, ending with Omni) is a translation from the small plates of Nephi. Between the books of Omni and Mosiah is an insert called the Words of Mormon. This insert connects the record engraved on the small plates with Mormon’s abridgment of the large plates.
 The longest portion, from Mosiah through Mormon chapter 7, is a translation of Mormon’s abridgment of the large plates of Nephi. The concluding portion, from Mormon chapter 8 to the end of the volume, was engraved by Mormon’s son Moroni, who, after finishing the record of his father’s life, made an abridgment of the Jaredite record (as the book of Ether) and later added the parts known as the book of Moroni.
 In or about the year A.D. 421, Moroni, the last of the Nephite prophet-historians, sealed the sacred record and hid it up unto the Lord, to be brought forth in the latter days, as predicted by the voice of God through His ancient prophets. In A.D. 1823, this same Moroni, then a resurrected personage, visited the Prophet Joseph Smith and subsequently delivered the engraved plates to him.
Want to know more?

Want to know even more?

I know that this Book of Mormon is a testament of Jesus Christ and that it is true. Though I have been a member of the church my whole life I didn't always know that it was true. I only knew for myself when I had enough faith to read it, ponder it, and ask God if it was true. I know lots has been said about this book, I have many friends who have said terrible things about it, but I ask you to not judge it, not speak poorly of it or the church, until you have at least read it or experienced it for yourself. Give it a chance, you won't regret it. :)

Walls and Tweets and MVPs

In Helaman there is this story about this awesome guy named Samuel. He was a Lamanite who went preaching to the Nephites to try to bring them to repentance. If you have been following along the Nephites USED to be the righteous ones and they were preaching to the Lamanites who where bad, but because of the pride cycle (check out that blog post of mine if you haven't already) the Nephites became prideful and the Lamanites are now humble. Anyways, Samuel the Lamanite goes to preach to the Nephites and they didn't want to hear him so they cast him out of the land. The Lord said to Samuel go back, so he does, but of course the people won't let him into the city so what does he do? Nope, he doesn't leave and give up, instead he climbs on the wall surrounding the city and preaches from up there haha.

The Lord had a message he wanted Samuel to share, so Samuel wasn't going to let him down. He preaches of the destruction of the Nephites unless they repent and he prophesies of the coming of Christ and shares the signs of His coming. Some of the Nephites who were listening were humbled and repented and were baptized, but the majority of the people thought this guy on the wall was nuts and didn't believe what he had to say so they began to throw rocks and arrows at him. However, God protects his prophets and Samuel was not injured because of his faith. The Nephites get even angrier and go up the wall to try to capture him but Samuel jumps off the wall and flees back to his own land.
First, this guy has to be pretty brave to have the guts to go back to a people who rejected him once before. Second, he has to be pretty bold to stand on a wall and preach while people yell and scream and throw things at him that could kill him. Third, his faith and belief in Christ must have been great otherwise why would he put his life in danger if it wasn't true?
This got me thinking, am I as courageous and bold as Samuel the Lamanite when it comes to sharing my religion? Am I willing to put my life on the line for what I believe? Sometimes it can be hard to share what you believe in because of the fear of those who will criticize or mock you, but because of the love I have for my Savior, it doesn't matter, just like it didn't matter to Samuel whether or not he lived or died because at least he was doing what the Lord had asked of him and he couldn't deny what he knew to be true.
Now, for you members, just like Samuel had a wall he stood on we also have some walls we can share the gospel from. Try your facebook wall, for example. I challenge you to post something about the church. It is definitely scary at first, but what if that simple post brightens up someone's day or gets them curious? Also, when you share on this wall think about all of the friends who will be seeing it. Super easy way to share what you love. Another wall might be instagram or twitter. I have never been a tweeter, but someone inspired me to start one so I can share with you MVPs! (I'll get to that in a second) Another way is a blog! I love blogging about what I read because it not only helps me understand the scriptures I am reading a little better but it is an easy way for me to get word out about the Book of Mormon. It can be really hard to read the scripture language at times so I am trying to make it a bit easier for those to understand what this book is about by putting it into clearer language. Also, after another 28 days and 17 hours I will be able to share what the life of a missionary is like! I challenge you to find your wall, your way to share the gospel. There are so many more social media apps and such that I didn't even share that you can use, but find something that works for you! Spread the good word!

Now, like I said earlier I have started my own twitter account where I will be sharing MVPs. MVP stands for Most Valuable Principle. When I was in Seminary (church class during high school) every week we had the opportunity to share an MVP with the class. For those of you who were in seminary with me you know that I LOVED MVP day. What an MVP is is a scripture that you can pull a principle or doctrine or promise out of. For example in the bible we can read in Matthew:

Whosoever therefore shall break on of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.  

The MVP I would pull from that is IF we keep the commandments and teach others to the same THEN we will be blessed in heaven for it.

Boom, easy way to better understand a scripture and super easy way to apply it to yourself. I don't have time to share all the MVPs I find in the scriptures on this blog, but when I read something in my studies I can just quickly tweet it.

I promise you that as you have the courage to find your wall to stand on and share what you love the Lord will be right beside you to strengthen and protect you. :)