Carried About by the Temptations of the Devil

3 Nephi 6

How quickly the people had turned from their righteousness! In the brief span of five years, they go from being freed from robbers and having experienced that miraculous deliverance, to being organized according to class. And these are not the same people who were once robbers. Didn’t those merchants and lawyers experience the same feelings of gratitude and deliverance? But how quickly we are to change from one opinion to another!

(This is not me pointing a finger; rather this is me internalizing my own nature.)

3 Nefi 6 (in Spanish)

Los versículos 15 y 16 enseñan que la perdida de la paz del pueblo vino a causa de Satanás y su poder para tentar al pueblo. Él tentó al pueblo a buscar el poder, la autoridad, las riquezas y las cosas vanas del mundo.

¿Porqué siempre se enfoquen en destruir el gobierno cuando llegan ser mal la gente?

El diablo trabaja por combinaciones secretas. Dios trabaja por convenios sagrados.

Then Shall They Know Their Redeemer… and Then Shall They Be Gathered In

3 Nephi 5

This book was given for the gathering of Israel, or the house of Jacob, and chapter 5 clearly demonstrates that its author, Mormon, was fully aware of the covenant and that purpose for its creation. How important is it to understand that God keeps his promises, and so much of what is happening now correlates with that promise of gathering.

Mormon reveals himself here for the first time as he is explaining the purpose of the book. This is important to me right now, because I’m thinking about the Lord’s admonition to “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) Mormon is not hiding his light.


3 Nefi 5 (in Spanish)

Ayer, me perdí el primer versículo que dice:

no hubo alma viviente, entre todo el pueblo de los nefitas, que dudara en lo más mínimo de las palabras que todos los santos profetas habían hablado;

Versículo 1

Digo, me perdí, pero tal vez la realidad es que encuentro esta frase un poco increíble. Pero ahora al recordar dos cosas, lo hallo verdadera.

  1. Jeremías 31:31-34, — vienen días, dice Jehová, en los cuales haré un nuevo convenio con la casa de Israel… porque todos me conocerán, desde el más pequeño de ellos hasta el más grande, dice Jehová —
  2. Sin dar referencia a esta cita, Mormon aquí también habla de recogimiento de Israel.

What is the great purpose of the gathering of Israel? What great objective does the Lord propose is keeping this covenant? I think the answer is here:

And then shall they know their Redeemer, who is Jesus Christ, the Son of God; and then shall they be gathered in from the four quarters of the earth unto their own lands, from whence they have been dispersed; yea, as the Lord liveth so shall it be. Amen.

Verse 26

Gratitude

Gratitude has as much to do with the future as it does the past. Gratitude defines our actions looking forward as much as it filters and cleanses our attitudes and opinions about experiences already lived. Gratitude is a choice as much as it is a blessing from God. It must be desired, then actively sought and petitioned from heaven.

…How much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

Matthew 7:11

In time, it will be given us, causing us to feel all the more joy and gratefulness for such a blessing.


What are the “good things” that Christ speaks of in these verses?

Delivered from an Everlasting Destruction

3 Nephi 4

Looking for meaning in these verses, it strikes me as profoundly symbolic of the individual, internal struggle that is made against sin. Sometimes, in our lives, especially when we are fighting against internal demons, habits, and vices– sometimes it becomes necessary to sequester ourselves from influences or individuals to literally save our souls from utter destruction.

This can seem like a harsh or extreme action on the outside, but space and time are needed for healing and to rebuild strength when one has been damaged, hurt, or attacked.

I’m re-reading again with this additional perspective now.

3 Nefi 4 (Spanish)

Los que se ponen a hacer lo malo son necesitados. Los ladrones necesitan robar para mantenerse. No es sólo un estilo de vida, sino que el mantenimiento de la vida se base en hacer daño a otras personas. Y si no están haciendo daño a otras personas, no pueden vivir.

Me parece importante este punto, si lo que yo hago hace daño a otros, es malo. Si mi vida hace bien a otras personas, lo que hago es bueno.


El último versículo de esta capítulo toca de la importancia de la separación de los nefitas y sus empeños contra los ladrones. No sé porque estoy mirando a los ladrones con en grado de compasión, y juzgando a los nefitas por poner su confianza en Dios. La realidad es que los nefitas se separaron porque los ladrones instaban que debían unirse con ellos.

Delivered Out of the Hands of Those… Robbers

3 Nephi 3

Contemplations on the Boldness of a Robber

Giddianhi, the governor of the robbers of Gadianton, makes a very interesting proposition. At one point he sounds as if he is proposing a united order, or a communal society. However this proposal is mixed with demands of compliance and union to their secret society.

Lachoneus… A Just Man

Lachoneus strikes me as a bold leader, not unlike Brigham Young, in that he spoke with the spirit of the Lord:

And so great and marvelous were the words and prophecies of Lachoneus that they did cause fear to come upon all the people; and they did exert themselves in their might to do according to the words of Lachoneus.

Verse 16

These words of Lachoneus caused the people to fear and to turn to the Lord to pray for deliverence. Clearly, Lachoneus understands the true source of strength is in the Lord. (See verse 15)

To Appoint… One Who Had the Spirit of Prophecy and the Spirit of Revelation

Gidgiddoni, a man with the spirit of prophecy, had specific directions given to him of the Lord. Verse 21 illustrates this point.

3 Nefi 3

Versículo 15 tiene sentido profundo en lo presente como lo tenia en el tiempo de Laconeo. Dice que a menos que nos arrepentimos de todos nuestras iniquidades y imploramos al Señor, no seremos librados de los manos de ladrones.

Me parece hoy en día hay ladrones de nuestro tiempo. Hay empresas y organizaciones que ganan cuando damos de nuestro tiempo a ellos. La solución para escapar sus trampas es lo mismo: arrepentirnos de todos nuestros iniquidades y implorar al Señor.

Their Curse Was Taken from Them

3 Nephi 2

Verse 1 states that the people “began to be less and less astonished at a sign or a wonder from heaven,” which makes sense, especially if signs or wonders were increasing or become more common place. Is not the sun and moon and all things that are set at motion in this beautiful world evidence of a divine Creator? These are “wonders” that we just expect to work. Yet, how often does the common man pause to recognize these everyday “signs” or “wonders” or proofs of God in his superior majesty and power? Not hardly.

Verse 2 however suggests that those that were witness to the aforementioned signs had assigned them to the works of man or a devil, Satan himself being the author of such lies, all to the end that he might dissuade the people from believing in the doctrines of Christ, or to discount it as “a vain and foolish thing.”


Their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white

Verse 15 is a bit of a controverial read. There is a huge tendency to take this at face value in our current, modern social context, instead of understanding what this has reference to historically. So there are two things that are dealt with simultenously in this verse: a curse and a changing of skin color. The footnotes are extremely helpful in understanding the separation of these two conditions. It is important to understand that this is not a cause and effect statement, but rather two simultenous blessings that were received.

Furthermore, it also important to understand that skins becoming white, is not to be understood in our modern American paradigm of “white” European Americans verses “black” African Americans. To separate ourselves from the cultural contexts of our American society is extremely important in understanding the meaning of these scritpures.

First, the footnotes on the word “curse” takes us to other parts of the scriptures that also make reference to the curse and its connection to idleness or the lack of industry. This verse in Alma describes very well how their faith in Christ, which lead to industry, took away their curse:

And they began to be a very industrious people; yea, and they were friendly with the Nephites; therefore, they did open a correspondence with them, and the curse of God did no more follow them.

Alma 23:18 (emphasis added)

It’s as if the Lord is stating that the people became clean and pure, even in the appearance to others. The following verse states how “their young men and their daughters became exceedingly fair.” I know what this looks like and it has nothing to do with skin colors. It has to do with cleanliness of heart and purity of mind. It has to do with being holy and living holy.

There is more to this discussion that I am not going to explore at this moment. Alma 3 discusses peoples putting a mark upon their bodies. I’m not going there for the moment.


I am stopping here, though there is more to discuss. In praying about this however, whether or not, a changing of skin tone literally or figuratively happened, it accomplished the same outcome, a separation between two groups of people.

Here we are now at the end of times, where all things are being brought together into one in Christ. Skin tones are increasingly less relevant, in some spaces. A literal changing of skin tones would have little effect in and of itself in our day and time. But what is still real is the light that shines in the eyes of a disciple of Christ. It can be seen and discerned. The lack there off, or those scales of darkness that form over the eyes of one who does not beleive, can also be seen. Therein lies the separation that will always exist between the world and the the true believers in the Christ.


3 Nefi 2 (in Spanish)

According to the Words of the Prophets

3 Nephi 1

An important theme of Christ’s personal misistry is taught here in these verses:

I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets.

Verse 13

This brings to memory Doctrine and Covenants 1:38 (what I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken… whether by my own voice, or the voice of my servants…) and the numerous references to the prophets from Christ’s mortal ministry:

Prophets are important, extremely important. They see things that the rest of us do not. This sounds like such a simple statement, but the reality of it is true.


Despite the irrefutable proof of the sign of Christ’s birth and the complete fulfillment of the words of the prophets in “every whit,” almost immediately Satan began to circulate lies among the people “to harden their hearts… that they might not believe in those signs and wonders.” (vs. 22)


3 Nefi 1

Nefi, cuando vio la destrucción que estaba por venir entre su pueblo, clamo a Dios todo el día. Es una situación curioso. Nefi es el profeta, y le viene esta situación en que, a meños que Dios los entrega, él no puede hacer nada por sí mismo.

Me pregunto, ¿Qué habrá pasado si Nefi no orara todo el día? ¿Habría entregado Dios los que creían en los señales?

Sí, lo habría, sin embargo, Nefi no habría tenido confianza en sí mismo sin oración.


No hubo obscuridad

No dice que –hubo luz–, sino que –no hubo obscuridad.–

Finalmente, parte de la tristeza de los que se apartaron de la fe en el fin del capítulo fue que por la juventud que no creyeron.

Notwithstanding the Signs and the Wonders

Helaman 16

The first thing that stands out to me in this chapter is that the same preaching caused some people to repent and others to become angry.

Helaman 16 (in Spanish)

¿Cuales son los propósitos de los señales? No pueden violar el albedrío del hombre.

En este capítulo también tenemos otra racionalidad de los incrédulos. El Libro de Mormón es bueno para articular las racionalidades de los no crean y los formas en que Satanás engaña a las personas.


En el año noventa, cuando empezaron manifestar los señales de la venida de Cristo, fue en le mismo año que mucho empezaron a confiar en su propio fuerzas y sabiduría. ¡Qué Error! En lugar de mantener su fe, se olvidaron de su Dios.


In conclusion, Satan is so expert at manipulating reality that when left to our own devices, it is impossible to sort truth from error.

There are those men and women of great faith that are able to see things that the rest of humanity cannot perceive, because of their disbelief. And even though most of humanity cannot see these things, it doesn’t make them not real or untrue.

Except ye repent

Helaman 15

I would not have understood this chapter had I not experienced a day like yesterday. So my context today is different. At the beginning of chapter 15, Samuel warns the Nephites of desolate houses unless they repent. And then as a follow up to that he warns of their women being left behind and perishing, being pregnant. (It’s a very sad thought indeed.)

What is the connection between repentance and stable home life? It is everything!

In verse 2 where it talks of pregnant women being left behind, I asked myself: where are their men? Why are the women being left to fend for themselves and to perish?

There is a lot of healing in this chapter for me. Later on, it talks about the conversion of the Lamanites and how in their strict observance of the law of Moses and the commandments of God; they were also a missionary-minded people.

Helaman 15 (in Spanish)