In the Sincerity of Thier Hearts

Helaman 3

In verse 15, amidst accounts of the growth and prosperity of the Nephite nation we get this short little verse that points out that the Nephites were they that kept records of all sorts. This little bit of insight comes to me at a time, when I’ve been contemplating records, and record-keeping.

It is not necessarily an evidence of righteousness, though records are typically kept more regularly amongst the righteous.


I am paused on verse 27, reflecting upon how in these quiet moments of the early morning, this scripture study is primarily for me. Oh, how it is for me, and not another. Oh, how I need to remember to remain sincere, honest, heartfelt and diligent. When a righteous man turns from his righteousness, he is no longer righteous. When a good man turns from the sincerity of his heart, to the rote and vain things of this word, his prayers are empty and without meaning. God hears none such.


Opposition from within the church (because of pride) actually brought the most humble part to a place of purification and sanctification.

…Stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ

vs. 35

On a personal note, in the next verse it talks about how the people grew richer and more prideful. I am reflecting upon how the Lord has through His Spirit taken me in a humble course, almost devoid of the things of this world. This is a personal journey and sanctioned of God, but not one that I should condemn others for not following my path. It is a hard road that I travel at times.


Helaman 3 (en español)

Estoy contemplando estos versículos en un tiempo cuando la importancia del matrimonio y la famila se hacen hincapíe en mi mente. El Espíritu es fuerte en esta cosa mientres leyo estos versículos. Pero no hallo nada de esta lectura que hable expresadamente de la familia o la importancia del matrimonio. Sin embargo, todo esto exisite y sucede entre una orden familiar. Es este orden que es en peligro de destruir en nuestros dias. Esto es muy importante.


Aunque es difícil ver, esto es un capítulo de la familia. Estamos hablando de las doctrinas de la familia, los cuales son también las doctrinas de Cristo. Son iguales. Pero a verlo del perspectivo de familia, me ayuda ver como es que al vivir en una familia, todavía no estamos logrando éxito como familia. Porque no estamos viviendo los principios de la familia, los cuales son los principios del evangelio de Cristo.

La tarea es mío solamente.

La familia ha fracasado porque las familia no han vivido de acuerdo con las enseñanzas que preservaren a la unidad de la familia. Y por esto, las personas supongan que es la organización de la familia que no funcione. En la realidad es porque los individuos no quieren vivir de acuerdo con los principios que permiten que la familia existiere.

This Was Their Secret Plan, and Their Combination

Helaman 2

Combination – an alliance of individuals, corporations, or states united to achieve a social, political, or economic end; two or more persons working as a team

Combination, Merriam-Webster.com

See also Moses 5:18-31


Helamán 2 (in Spanish)

Al contemplar el propósito de convenios y pactos, es para fortalecernos en nuestros debilidades. También nos polariza más al bien o al mal. Los que hace convenios para cumplir con la maldad no son a quien jugar, sino es un asunto de seria gravidad.


The Spirit of the Lord bids me to revisit this chapter before moving on. Here I am reading about Kishkumen’s motives to murder Helaman, the new chief judge. Gadianton had made a promise to Kishkumen and others that if they would place him on the judgment seat, that he would in turn secure their places of power within the government. These high stakes motives were compelling enough for Kishkumen to take action.

Among the Number Who Where Slain

Helaman 1

This morning I’ve read the first 13 verses and am drawn to the fact that wickedness was protected by covenant or oath.

But then I’m also asking the question, why do we see it as such as wrong thing (we = modern culture) to bind ourselves by covenant especially in matters of righteousness. And why do we equate such actions with the devil. These are tools of serious commitment whether in the hands of God or of the adversary. What is noteworthy is the seriousness of the covenants that these wicked people made to protect themselves, but further, to overthrow the freedoms of the people.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be so surprised to consider that the same seriousness of obligation exists today, in who knows what forms of corruption and greed. The opposition in organized.


( I am starting today’s study with a spiritual confirmation that the Lord has prepared a “meal” for me today. It is my challenge to be attentive enough to receive it. )

Vs. 14, by this point in the Lamanite history of opposition, which is actually rebellious Nephite opposition empowered by Lamanites as their pawns, they have learned the importance of physical preparations for war, and their efforts are now exhaustive.

So Coriantumr successfully takes the city of Zarahemla by force. It was the strongest city of the Nephites, but it was poorly defended at the time of the Lamanite invasion, which led to an easy takeover. What was more, there were numerous other internal factors at play that put Zarahemla at a weakened state, making it an easy prey for the Lamanites. Perhaps, most notable is the fact that the Nephite armies were busily engaged elsewhere in the land. This is important to note because it is Coriantumr’s assumption that because he took Zarahelma, he could easily march forward towards the land Bountiful. Attacking the biggest city, in a weakened state of defense, gave Coriantumr a false sense of confidence.

Pride is a powerful motivator. It can enable a man to undertake great and mighty campaigns of wickedness. It can be the source of great false confidence. It can lead a man to his destruction, as was the case of Coriantumr.


Helaman 1:1-13 (in Spanish)

Reflexionando sobre estos versículos me ha causado despartar. Estamos en una temporada de trabajo y peligro, si no actuamos.

Estos son tiempos peligrosos. Esta contención entre el pueblo no vino sin consecuencia. Si debilita la organización por adentro puede atacarlo por afuera también. Me hace considerar la esclavitud que es tan abundante en nuestra tierra hoy día. Me hace considerar como esto se aplica a mi familia. El Espíritu me causa contemplar estos versículos.

Helaman 1:14-34 (in Spanish)

La oposición que se organizó contra los nefitas fue de entre los que antes habían nefitas. Y así es con nosotros, nuestra oposición más organizado es de entre los que una vez pertenecía al pueblo de Dios.

Los atributos que el rey de los lamanitas valuó de Coriántumr fue su fuerza y gran sabiduría– atributos que fueron aparentes por lo superficial. Este punto es de suma importancia. Es la razón por lo cual fracasaron.

Into the Land Northward

Alma 63

This chapter has me puzzling quite a bit, because the spirit of the Lord is strong in these verses, but I am not seeing it. I’m not understanding why it is strong.

This chapter gives several accounts of Nephite migrations into the lands that were beyond a narrow stretch of land north of the land of Bountiful. Shipping is discussed briefly, especially as it relates to the enterprising efforts of one man by the name of Haggoth.

I think to myself that this is the human spirit at work. Man’s natural desire to expand, explore, make something new is illustrated here. I think that this happens immediately following the great war between the forces of Moroni and Amalekiah/Ammoron is also significant. After so many years of oppression, here comes a time a growth.

And yet there are some that are lost. Some boats didn’t return.

These verses also feel like post war, early 1950s. Or quiet suburbia, homes build on the outskirts of civilization, people looking for just a quiet spot of land were in to establish their quiet existence. I’m still not sure what these verses are trying to say about all this, as there is no commentary about whether this is good or bad, only that it happened.


Alma 63 (en español)

Según los deseos de Pahorán

Alma 62

(I didn’t make a post in English on this chapter, so I might mix it up here.)

What does it mean to be a leader? Moroni in the beginning of this chapter it taking lead from the chief judge and acting according to the desires of the chief judge, Pahoran.

So when leadership falls to us, the time for indecision has passed. Leaders make decisions and help others follow those decisions. Motives in this regard are extremely important, because if motives are selfish or self-serving, then to achieve those ends, to secure by in from other parties, one must lie about the true motives, or coerce.

If motives are pure, then one can teach the reality of things as they really are, persuade, invite, and act. Pure motives also do something more, the allow for love, or the power of God to compel our righteous endeavors forward.

I am just impressed by this thought, that a leader has to have a vision of where they want to go, and that vision must be compelled by righteous intentions. Prophets have that vision, and can see much further into the future than most of the rest of us.


Moroni tuvo la ventaja porque pudo juntar un suficiente número de hombres pare ir contra el enemigo. Entendió con claridad el propósito por cual estuvo luchando, y pudo expresarse con palabras simples a los hombres para animarlos a la acción. Fue un juego de números, en un sentido.


In this chapter, without any reservation, many dissenters are put to death because of their open rebellion against the government. At the outset this seems like a very harsh response, but I was drawn to the verses that illustrated why this was a justified and even appropriate response. The first point is that these kingman (“realistas” in Spanish) actually first rebelled against the established government, entirely ignoring the bigger picture (the Lamanites attacking the Nephites). This larger picture aptly justifies the micro-scale decisions.


I was about to wrap up for the morning and then I got to verse 40. And the statement about the prayers of the righteous woke me up. This is why we’re still fighting. This is why we will endure to the end. This is why there is hope. Because God lives, the righteous plead to him for deliverance, and we must work to do everything within our power to deliver the righteous from the hands of the wicked, and then stand still and behold the power of God.


Y por último, al fin del capítulo habla de como la oración fue lo que mantuvieron a ellos en su prosperidad. Aunque fueron ricos, el Señor los bendijo de acuerdo con sus palabras, y se hicieron fuertes y prosperos.

Seekers of Truth

Three parts to this activity:

  1. A Question
  2. A Story
  3. A Game

The Question

Do -> Believe (we do what we believe)

Know -> Done (we know what we’ve done.)

So the question is what do we believe?

Do we believe the lie or the truth?

When we do a lie, or when we act on something that is not true, the result will always end in darkness/confusion/loss.

When we do a truth, or when we act on a true principle, the result will always end in light/knowledge/strength. This points us to Christ.

Then the more important question is this: What do you seek? What do you desire? What do you want?

Do you seek for lies or do you seek for truth?

The Story

Before this life we lived with our Heavenly Father (God). This we will call pre-Earth life. Our Heavenly Father was different than us. He possessed a glorified physical body wherein His Spirit dwelt. We were only spirits.
But our Heavenly Father wanted us to become like him.

To do this, he presented a plan to us. We shouted for joy when this plan was presented because it gave us a way to become like Him, and it also placed a guide, Jesus Christ, at the center of that plan to act as our map to successfully complete that transformation process that would bring us back to God the way He is.

That transformation process we know by the name of repentance. And since the beginning, there has been opposition to repentence. As soon as Heavenly Father presented his plan for us to become like him, one of his children opposed the plan with the hopes of side-stepping God and his plan to become a god. That was Satan.

His opposition to the plan was ludicris, rediculous beyond belief, because not only did he propose an alternative way of becoming gods, but he proposed to make himself the savior of man without actually saving us from anything. His proposal was to gut the plan, taking out the most important parts, and basically turn us into zombies, lifeless beings without the capacity to choose anything for selves.

Of course God, our Father, rejected such a prospect, but he didn’t entirely destroy the idea, because we needed the opportunity to choose for ourselves, which direction we wanted to go. So the idea, foolish as it is, still exists on the earth today. And unfortunately, this alternative idea is more popular today than ever before.

What is the lie? It is this: There is an alternative to showing God that you love Him besides keeping the commandments of God.

(Transition?)


Seek = Desire

What seek ye? Whom seek ye?

And the angel spake unto me, saying: Behold the gold, and the silver, and the silks, and the scarlets, and the fine-twined linen, and the precious clothing, and the harlots, are the desires of this great and abominable church.

1 Nephi 13:8

But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

Hebrews 11:16

Seeker of truth, what seek ye?

I seek the truth regarding… [name of standard]

( The team member runs accross the room. It is timed. )

Then the host pulls a question from the file on the topic. There is a contexual introduction, and then a question?

Round one, Round two.

The rules of the game are these:

  • Use the For the Strength of Youth Pamplets to study out topics, At your home base. Every person on your team has to take a turn. When it is their turn they act as voice for the team.
  • They approach the giver of truth as a seeker of truth and pick up a noise-maker to summon the giver. The giver then asks: “Seeker of Truth, What seek ye?”
  • The seeker responds “I seek for truth regarding _________” and picks a topic from the wall. The giver then pulls the topic and reads the question. The seeker then can choose to answer the question or return back to home base to council with the team. The seeker must return to the giver to answer the question.
  • At the end of the round, each team has two opportunities to share examples of a standard that they had received. If successful, they can clear one of their time entries to zero.

The Standards

Agency and Accountability

  • Next to life itself, what is one of the greatest gifts that God has given you? (the ability to choose right from wrong and to act for yourself)
  • Have the moral courage to stand firm in obeying God’s will, even if you have to do what? (even if you have to stand alone)
  • While you are free to choose your course of action, you are not free to choose what? (you are not free to choose the consequences)

Dating (use)

  • Marrying in the temple and creating an eternal family are what? (essential in God’s plan of happiness)
  • Developing serious relationships too early in life can do what? (limit the number of other people you meet and can perhaps lead to immorality)
  • Remember that a young man and a young woman on a date are responsible for what? ( responsible to protect each other’s honor and virtue )

Dress and Appearance

  • When you are well groomed and modestly dressed, you invite what? (the companionship of the Spirit and you can be a good influence on others)
  • Through your dress and appearance, you can show what? Name one of what two things. (1: that you know how precious your body is, 2: that you are a disciple of Jesus Christ and that you love Him.)
  • When you dress immodestly, you send a message do what? Name one of two things. (You send a message that is contrary to your identity as a son or daughter of God. You also send the message that you are using your body to get attention and approval.)

Education (use)

  • The education you gain will be valuable to you when? (during mortality and in the life to come)
  • Education is an important part of Heavenly Father’s plan to help you do what? ( become more like Him)
  • Education is an investment that brings great rewards and will open what? (the doors of opportunity that may otherwise be closed to you )
  • This spiritual learning will help you find answers to the challenges of life and will invite who? (the companionship of the Holy Ghost )

Entertainment and Media (use)

  • Choose wisely when using media because whatever you read, listen to, or look at has an effect on you. Select only media that does what? ( uplifts you )
  • Satan tries to use media to mislead you into thinking that breaking God’s commandments is acceptable and what else? ( has no negative consequences for you or others )
  • Take care that your use of media does not dull your sensitivity to the Spirit or interfere with what? ( your personal relationships with others )

Family (use)

  • Your family will be blessed as you do what? ( do your part to strengthen it )
  • Many problems in the home come from family members doing what? ( speaking and acting selfishly or unkindly )
  • God desires that all of His children come into the world as part of an eternal family with a mother and father who love and care for each other and for their children. If this is not your experience, what should you do? ( be patient and continue to live righteously )

Friends (use)

  • To have good friends, what should you be? ( be a good friend )
  • Your friends will influence how you think and act, and even do what? ( help determine the person you will become )
  • If your friends urge you to do things that are wrong, be the one to stand for the right, even what? ( even if you stand alone )

Gratitude (use)

  • Live with a spirit of thanksgiving and you will have what? ( greater happiness and satisfaction in life )
  • Gratitude will turn your heart to the Lord and help you recognize what? ( His [the Lord’s] influence and blessings in your life )
  • When you keep His commandments and serve others, you show what? ( that you love Him and are grateful to Him )

Honesty and Integrity (use)

  • Being honest means choosing not to do what? ( choosing not to lie, steal, cheat, or deceive in any way )
  • Being honest will enhance your future opportunities and your ability to do what? ( your ability to be guided by the Holy Ghost )
  • When you have integrity, you are willing to live by your standards and beliefs even when what happens? ( when no one is watching )

Language (use)

  • Clean and intelligent language is evidence of what? ( a bright and wholesome mind )
  • Do not use profane, vulgar, or crude language or gestures, and do not tell jokes or stories about immoral actions. Why? ( These are offensive to God and to others. )
  • If we have developed the habit of using poor language —such as swearing, mocking, gossiping, or speaking in anger to others, what can we do to change? ( Pray for help. Ask your family and friends to support you in your desire to use good language. )

Music and Dance

  • Music can edify and inspire you and help you do what? (help you draw closer to Heavenly Father)
  • If you listen to music constantly, you may not have the quiet time you need to do what? ( for thinking, feeling, and receiving spiritual guidance )
  • Attend only those dances where dress, grooming, lighting, lyrics, music, and entertainment contribute to what? ( a wholesome atmosphere where the Spirit may be present )

Physical and Emotional Health (use)

  • Being under the influence of alcohol weakens your judgment and self-control. Drinking can also lead to what? ( to alcoholism, which destroys individuals and families )
  • Addictions harm your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. They also damage what? ( relationships with family and friends and diminish your feelings of self-worth )
  • Your emotional health is important. If you have prolonged feelings of sadness, hopelessness, anxiety, or depression, what should you do? ( talk with your parents and your bishop and seek help )

Repentance

  • Through the Savior’s great sacrifice for us, which is called the Atonement, you can receive what? ( forgiveness and be cleansed from your sins when you repent )
  • When you do what is necessary to repent and receive forgiveness, you will know what for yourself? ( the power of the Atonement and the love God has for you )
  • Some people knowingly break God’s commandments, planning to repent later, such as before they go to the temple or serve a mission. Why is that wrong? ( Such deliberate sin mocks the Savior’s Atonement. )

Sabbath Day Observance

Service (use)

  • Service to others is an important characteristic of who? ( a disciple of Jesus Christ. )
  • Some of the most important service you can give will be where? ( within your own home )
  • As you devote yourself to serving others, what will happen? ( you will draw closer to Heavenly Father. )

Sexual Purity (use)

  • Remaining sexually pure helps you to do what? ( be confident and truly happy and improves your ability to make good decisions now and in the future )
  • Do not allow the media, your peers, or others to persuade you about what?
    ( that sexual intimacy before marriage is acceptable )
  • Never do anything that could lead to what? ( sexual transgression )

Tithes and Offerings

Work and Self Reliance (use)

  • Developing the capacity to work will help you to do what? ( contribute to the world in which you live )
  • Set high goals for yourself, and be willing to do what? ( work hard to achieve them )
  • One form of idleness is spending excessive amounts of time in activities that keep you from productive work, such as what? Name one thing listed. ( using the Internet, playing video games, and watching television )

El Espíritu de Dios… es el espíritu de la libertad

Alma 61

Se entiende las cosas diferentes y se justifica las acciones mucho más cuando entendemos la relación entre la libertad y el Espíritu de Dios. La libertad es un derecho que viene de Dios.

Hallo este punto interesante porque no se puede justificar el pecado por medio de la libertad. Dios nos da la libertad. Nos da la oportunidad de escoger. Pero escogemos la libertad cuando pecamos contra los mandamientos de Dios.

La libertad solo se mantiene cuando escogemos a hacer lo bueno con esta libertad. Cuando rechazamos los mandamientos de Dios, el Espíritu de Dios, perdimos el espíritu de la libertad. Perdimos la capacidad de escoger.

My Soul Standeth Fast in That Liberty in the Which God Hath Made Us Free

Alma 61 (The end of verse 9 is quoted in the title)

Pahoran understands the source, the terms and conditions of the freedom that he had been called upon to protect.

(BT – There is more to be internalized from these verses, but the day requires my attentions elsewhere. I feel that I am understanding now the actions that I have already taken, and why they were significant. This is about freedom and fighting for freedom.)

Flattering Words

The origin of the word “flatter” is Germanic and is related to the stroke, or the idea of making smooth, or smoothing out something. The word by very definition means to give insincere praise with the purpose of advancing one’s own objectives or purposes.

Doctrine and Covenants 10 (particularly verses 10 -41) give a detailed account of Satan’s efforts to destroy the work of God through flattery. He persuades people to lie because they think that they are being lied to.

It is also interesting to note that those dissenters from among the Nephites, who established a king over the land of Zarahemla thought in their hearts that they could safely enter into an alliance with the Lamanites for protection with the hope of becoming king over all the land of the Nephites. (See verse 8)

These motives of those who have risen in rebellion are no different than any other rebellion against the righteous.

The Will of God

In later verses, Pahoran talks of being subjected to the yoke of bondage if it were required of the justice of God (see vs. 12). But then he goes on to say that this is not the desires of God that the land in which they had been established be taken away from them.

I find myself asking these same questions right now. In our current circumstances, what is the will of God here, now?

Exaltation and the Family

We do because of what we believe. But we know because of what we have done.

If we say that we believe, but we do not act, then we do not really believe the thing of which we claim to believe. If we do not act based on belief, then we either do not act or we act based solely on fear.

The doctrine of exaltation.

I want to discuss with you a hard doctrine, especially for those of us who love deeply.

How does Pres. Nelson explain it:

Jesus Christ teaches the way back to our eternal home. He understands our Heavenly Father’s plan of eternal progression better than any of us… Repeatedly, scriptures record that despite all kinds of sins from all kinds of people, His arms are outstretched still.2

The spirit in each of us naturally yearns for family love to last forever. Love songs perpetuate a false hope that love is all you need if you want to be together forever. And some erroneously believe that the Resurrection of Jesus Christ provides a promise that all people will be with their loved ones after death.

In truth, the Savior Himself has made it abundantly clear that while His Resurrection assures that every person who ever lived will indeed be resurrected and live forever,3 much more is required if we want to have the high privilege of exaltation. Salvation is an individual matter, but exaltation is a family matter.

Families can be together forever through Heavenly Father’s plan, but families are not automatically granted forever status.

So, what is required for a family to be exalted forever? We qualify for that privilege by making covenants with God, keeping those covenants, and receiving essential ordinances.

This has been true since the beginning of time. Adam and Eve, Noah and his wife, Abraham and Sarah, Lehi and Sariah, and all other devoted disciples of Jesus Christ—since the world was created—have made the same covenants with God. They have received the same ordinances that we as members of the Lord’s restored Church today have made: those covenants that we receive at baptism and in the temple.

The Savior invites all to follow Him into the waters of baptism and, in time, to make additional covenants with God in the temple and receive and be faithful to those further essential ordinances. All these are required if we want to be exalted with our families and with God forever.

We Cannot Compel Anyone to Accept the Christ’s Invitation: Come, Follow Me.

What makes this hard? It is that we have family outside of the covenant path.

In our anxious longings to secure the blessings of exaltation for all of our family members, we cannot set aside our own righteousness with the vain hope of securing another’s righteousness. We must not, and we cannot safely step off the covenant path and hope to have the strength to pull another to where we want them to be.

Listen to the words of persuasion used by Pres. Nelson:

How I wish I could visit with them and invite them to consider seriously the enabling laws of the Lord. I’ve wondered what I could possibly say so they would feel how much the Savior loves them and know how much I love them and come to recognize how covenant-keeping women and men can receive a “fulness of joy.”8

They need to understand that while there is a place for them hereafter—with wonderful men and women who also chose not to make covenants with God—that is not the place where families will be reunited and be given the privilege to live and progress forever. That is not the kingdom where they will experience the fulness of joy—of never-ending progression and happiness.9 Those consummate blessings can come only by living in an exalted celestial realm with God, our Eternal Father; His Son, Jesus Christ; and our wonderful, worthy, and qualified family members.

Having Experiences with God.

Doing the spiritual work to come to know God.

Your physical body, your mind and heart have never been in the presence of God, but your spirit which gives your body life, came from the presence of God. It received lessons and instruction before you came in possession of a physical body. As you study the word of God and as you pray, you may begin to have experiences that are un-explainable to you, not because they are strange, but because they are familiar to you. You will recognize those feelings of familiarity and struggle to reason within yourself how these things can be, because they will seem new to you.

The reality is that God is our loving Father, and he painstakingly prepared each one of us for the experience of mortality. He could not give our minds or our hearts any pre-recorded messages, because that would void the very purpose of mortality: to see if we could recognize truth, to see if our spirits could recognize truth when housed inside a mortal body.

Conclusion

Brothers and Sisters, let us remember that what we do, is a direct reflection of what we believe. And that a testimony of the truth can only be gained by doing the truth.

Yet let no man deceive you into believe that the day of faith has passed, for exaltation is the work of lifetime and beyond. It will require faith all our days, action because of what we believe, to receive the knowledge or that final and crowning gift of life eternal.

…I plead with you who have distanced yourselves from the Church and with you who have not yet really sought to know that the Savior’s Church has been restored. Do the spiritual work to find out for yourselves, and please do it now. Time is running out.