“And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory.”1 Nephi 14:14
As Cree began his study, the verse in 1 Nephi 14 stood out to him. This April marked precisely 200 years since the vision that began the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ. There had only been six members in the first meeting. In contrast, Latter Day Saints now covered the the entire world.
Love of God
Last week, in Lehi’s vision, it touched on the fruit of a tree. In this week’s study it discusses a lot more of the meaning. Specifically, how the word of God, the gospel, is sweet and desirable. But there’s more to it than that.
God sent his only begotten son, Jesus Christ to live and die for all mankind. As Cree reread that, he remembered a Christmas story he’d once read.
Why Did God Send His Son?
There was once a father who didn’t attend church. He believed that the entire concept of the son of God was ridiculous. Why would someone so powerful come to Earth only to die by the hands of those he was trying to save?
One night, in December, he was on his way out the door to go to his daughter’s Christmas concert. But on his way out, he heard some frantic chirping. He looked under the porch to find a handful of chicks that looked like they’d recently hatched. The weather had turned cold only suddenly, and they hadn’t escaped South.
The compassionate father tried to usher the chicks into the much warmer enclosed porch to save them from the cold. However, the more he tried to herd them in, the more they scattered and resisted. After several failed attempts the thought occurred to him, “why can’t you just see that I want to protect you?”
“If only I could turn into one of you, and show you the way.”
Great and Abominable Church
“And it came to pass that I beheld this great and abominable church; and I saw the devil that he was the founder of it.”1 Nephi 13:6
Cree reread the verse, musing on how many different people had told him so many different interpretations of it. Some people pointed to another church or religion. Additionally, there were individuals who pointed to literally anything they didn’t like. As a rule, Cree tended to disbelieve claims that children’s literature was the abominable church.
It had taken him years to stumble across the answer. In 2015, Elder Dallin H Oaks, pointed out that it included “any philosophy or organization that opposes belief in God.” That wasn’t a religion in the sense that most people assume, but in matched up with the teachings of the Old Testament (Exodus 20).
Plain and Precious Things
In the course of study, the verses mostly pointed out things like the mistranslations that happen over time. However the study guide asked a couple of questions a different way.
- What are some of the precious truths that the Book of Mormon helps us better understand?
- Cree contemplated the question. This might be something to add to his weekly study, because as he thought about it, the answer felt a little overwhelming.
- How is your life different because these plain and precious things have been restored?
- This was the second time in a matter of a few days Cree had been asked this question. The answer was that his entire life happened because of it. Everything from being adopted, to the way he was raised was because of the Book of Mormon.
“If ye will not harden your hearts, and ask me in faith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping my commandments , surely these things shall be made known unto you.”1 Nephi 15:11
The words from 1 Nephi 15 echoed the same idea from James 1:5-6 in the New Testament. Cree smiled as he thought on how much the gospel repeated itself. Truth was the same from every angle. At least that remained consistent.
Things Done Well
- Studying the Gospel with hope
- Praying to be able to continue studying when it gets hard
Things To Fix
- Study and ponder more on the truth in the Book of Mormon
Count Your Blessings
- An education that allows me to understand concepts that aren’t explicitly in the scriptures
- Prophets who share their impressions and learning to move the understanding of the gospel forward
- The universal truth that all truth will remain true regardless of the time and place