Saturday, September 4, 2010

2 Nephi 33: 3

"But I, Nephi, have written what I have written, and I esteem it as of great worth, and especially unto my people. For I pray continually for them by day, and mine eyes water my pillow by night, because of them; and I cry unto my God in faith, and I know that he will hear my cry."

Nephi's single-minded focus was life-long. Now, as he writes advanced in age, with a retrospective knowledge, and prophetic foreknowledge of revelation, he confirms what he has written is "of great worth." When a prophet like Nephi appraises the work as "of great worth," it is important to realize that your disagreement with the assessment is a reflection on you, not him. It is a reflection of your own level of understanding rather than on the work itself.

Are Nephi's two books "of great worth" to you? Why? Can you articulate the reasons they have this "great worth" in everything you think and do in your daily life? How have they changed you? If there is nothing you can point to of value, then perhaps you have not yet found the "great worth" Nephi believed his writing to hold.

Why "especially unto [Nephi's] people?" Who are Nephi's "people?" Why would they be more valuable to them? Why would they have a special value to them, above the value to the gentiles?

When Nephi says he "prays continually for them," who is the group he identifies as "them?" Why does he pray for "them?"

Why does Nephi cry into his pillow at night because of "them?" Who are they and what did Nephi know would be the end of "them?" (See 1 Nephi 12: 19; 1 Nephi 15: 5.)

Nephi knew his cries to the Lord would not go unheard. He knew the Lord would keep a covenant made with Nephi concerning "them." (1 Nephi 13: 30.) The remnant of Nephi's seed would not be utterly destroyed. Nevertheless, the future destruction would be near absolute, leaving only a remnant.

Despite this foreknowledge, Nephi nevertheless reports he made it a practice to nightly "cry unto my God in faith, and I know that he will hear my cry."

Nephi kept faith in the face of certain destruction of his descendants.  Hope in the face of looming apostasy by his seed. Charity toward those who would reject the Lord.

He has ceased to be exclusively a prophet, and has risen to the role of intercessor and advocate for the unworthy. He has become covenantal father, and presiding Patriarch over a lineage whose redemption will come through his covenant with the Father. He has joined the ranks of the "fathers" toward whom hearts must turn in order to avoid cursing at the Lord's return. (Malachi 4: 6.)

The circle has closed and the eternal round is completed. Nephi has godly feelings and godly empathy for a doomed posterity. We behold at last the veil removed. We see such nobility of character, and greatness of soul that we are compelled to accept his role as teacher and ruler. He has taught righteousness all his days. Though his older brothers refused to acknowledge or accept him, we should not. His parting message suggests, however, that more of those who will read his record have the same spirit as Laman and Lemuel than will have the necessary spirit to recognize and "esteem of great worth" what he has provided to us.

It is almost too great to take in for the few who are the humble followers of Christ. However, they can avoid being led into error by recognizing in Nephi the teacher and ruler who was sent to deliver a message of salvation to a doomed people. For those who now live under the same prophetic doom, (3 Nephi 16: 15; 3 Nephi 20: 16; 3 Nephi 21: 12) Nephi represents a lifeline offered to those humble enough to accept his message. They will gladly recognize their plight, awake and arise and become people of prayer.


  1. Way too often I feel to say with Laman and Lemuel that the Lord does not answer my prayers. But my heart would be like Nephi in his faith, faithfulness and receptivity.

  2. Since I've found your blog, I've been reading your past posts. Your posts on different topics were very good, but you've seem to hit your stride with commenting on the scriptures.

    I feel like the Ethiopian in Acts 8: 27-31 Understandth thou what thous readest? How can I, except some man should guide me?

    My eyes are beginning to open and I'm understanding more and it's becoming delicious to me. I'm praying more intently now without "fainting" (thanks for that) and looking for the Holy Ghost to enlighten my mind to open the scriptures to me also.

    Thanks "Phillip" for stopping by my chariot.

  3. Denver said-
    "Are Nephi's two books "of great worth" to you? Why? Can you articulate the reasons they have this "great worth" in everything you think and do in your daily life? How have they changed you? If there is nothing you can point to of value, then perhaps you have not yet found the "great worth" Nephi believed his writing to hold."

    Thanks to your efforts, Denver, in this blog and your books, I can say YES!!! they are of the greatest worth to me. I feel as if the understanding that I have been given from the Lord, these past 4 months or so, is the greatest gift I have ever received.

  4. You are going to weep for the Church when you read this.

    Mormon leaders have launched an expansive ad campaign in some battleground states designed to rebrand the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as "normal," igniting speculation that the church is laying the groundwork for Mitt Romney to re-emerge next year for another presidential bid without an anti-Mormon stigma.

    It is as you've been saying.
    Now I'm bummed, alarmed and sad.

  5. We just have to hope that it's true that those ads had nothing to do with Romney & that the leaders of the Church do not support him in his run for President.

  6. Why does everything have to be laid at the feet of the leaders? There are departments at headquarters that do what they will with sending out advertisements, etc. All bad press is good press, and the General Authorities don't always micromanage. People do what they want and often stamp the First Presidency stamp of approval on their efforts, in my opinion.

    Can this unwieldy beast of a Church be so tightly managed that every mistake can be quashed by the President of the Church?

    Was Joseph able to stop W. W. Phelps' over-the-top publications in Missouri?

    Could Joseph or should he even have stopped Sidney Rigdon's Salt Sermon?

    We are not compelled to say everything sent forth from Salt Lake is good, especially when Christ Himself said He wasn't good before He finished His preparations. Are we better as a Church then the Master Himself?

    When we all come in a unity of the faith, and can be truly called Zion, then we may say all is holiness to the Lord. Before then, we may express our opinions about what is righteous and what is not, what is helpful to the cause of Zion and what does violence to it.

    If Salt Lake is resorting to opinion polls for their programs, what are they supposed to think when for every idea that comes out we say "Yes, sir!" to?

    What if they try two pilot programs in different areas of the Church that are diametrically opposed in doctrine the one to the other. If both congregations fall in line and say "this is the Lord's will!" can the Lord's will be opposed to itself? I think not.

    Don't you think this blind yes-man culture we've adopted frustrates these leaders to no end? How can they lead zombies? We are like lemmings ready to fall off the precipice at the whim of a twenty-time passed over rumor that we think some leader had a hand in implementing.

    O be wise, what can I say more?

  7. The Church (bowels of COB) is planning a reality TV program using a "Mormon" family or group. It's the hot new idea that's supposed to be breaking through to give the Church new recognition and acceptance. It's the top recommendation of the marketing geniuses doing the recommending, and I hear it has been given a green-light to proceed.

    I can't begin to explain all the reasons this idea repulses me. But my opinion doesn't matter one whit.

    I do remember the BYU co-ed who appeared on MTV's Real World a while back. She was expelled from BYU for her conduct during and after the program, wound up making headlines for a while in the embarrassment of expelling her, and her parents had some critical things to add to the whole affair.

    Reality TV has been one way to get the Church noticed already. But it doesn't teach doctrine, doesn't advance the name of Christ, doesn't preach the truth, and backfired once already.

    I'm hoping at some point the Brethren tire of this foolishness, fire the entire infrastructure of social-science based employees, and return to preaching the Gospel.

    But, then again, why would they ever stop listening to the "experts" they have hired. That infrastructure is the very basis for Elder Holland's claim in General Conference that the Brethren are "in touch" better than even the top Fortune 500 companies. Not something they're likely to dismantle. Until their failure has become so undeniable, so complete, so vast in scope that they realize it has always been a blind alley.

  8. Elder Holland gives the impression he (and the other Brethren who repeat such things) are so "in touch" because of their prophetic call and position as an Apostles. Their presentation seems to strongly suggest that. Akin to Nephi who saw our day and it's pitfalls and thus was VERY in touch. I had NO idea their being in touch was padded with the hiring of the best marketing guru's available. I'm disillusioned. Was it blind to assume their "in touchness" was due to being apostles of the Lord? Due to revelation? But it's actually due to hiring social science experts??

    I hope and pray their ability to be in touch in reality has more to do with divine revelation than buying into the advertising experts.

  9. Go back and re-read Elder Holland's talk. He makes no apology for it, and is not at all vague or unclear. It is because of the opinion polling and information gathering systems which are better than most large corporations have for their systems. Just allow him the privilege of speaking exactly what he means. Don't read anything into it.

    We have a lot of problems of imposing models of thought upon the truth. Stop doing that with the scriptures. Stop doing that with the Brethren. Allow them the privilege of just being straight forward in their meaning.

  10. When will we start acting based on true principles, instead of acting based on (worldly) results?

    Let "the Lord of the harvest" handle the results.

  11. Well said. And thank you. I will stop that immediately. I can see imposing models of thought onto the truth it is not getting me anywhere. Although I wasn't totally aware how much I was doing it until now. Nevertheless it has gone on long enough.

  12. Holland, in the same paragraph, and as part of the same thought as being "in touch" also boldly declares prophecy, seership and revelation. This strongly suggests that their "being in touch" is connected to what he declares as "no small matter." Why else would he suddenly interject that idea in the same flow of thought if it was unrelated? I am guilty of imposing models of thought onto things but this does not appear to be one of those moments. (if it is, please shed some light)

    If in actuality seership, prophecy and revelation are NOT being used to help them be "in touch" but instead they are relying on an infrastructure of social science guru's than his words and paragraph structure are downright misleading.

    His quote reads:
    "Not often but over the years some sources have suggested that the Brethren are out of touch in their declarations, that they don’t know the issues, that some of their policies and practices are out-of-date, not relevant to our times.

    As the least of those who have been sustained by you to witness the guidance of this Church firsthand, I say with all the fervor of my soul that never in my personal or professional life have I ever associated with any group who are so in touch, who know so profoundly the issues facing us, who look so deeply into the old, stay so open to the new, and weigh so carefully, thoughtfully, and prayerfully everything in between. I testify that the grasp this body of men and women have of moral and societal issues exceeds that of any think tank or brain trust of comparable endeavor of which I know anywhere on the earth. I bear personal witness of how thoroughly good they are, of how hard they work, and how humbly they live. It is no trivial matter for this Church to declare to the world prophecy, seership, and revelation, but we do declare it. It is true light shining in a dark world, and it shines from these proceedings."

  13. Bowels of the COB...Church of the Brethrenites? Love it! So funny! These are the lifted up self appointed inner circle, aren't they!

    I do not wish to trade places with any of the leaders above this mass of COB...with all of the flattering and adulation, I would be more drunk with it than any of them are....I would fall off the deep end as opposed to erring with one notion or two. They are handling it as good as any man could, I suppose.

    What good man would not want to be dealt with more honestly? Don't you think it would be more refreshing (after maybe an initial shock) to hear some sober opinions come up through the opinion polls if you were a leader at the top who only heard and saw praise, flattery and salivation all day long? Wouldn't you rather be told the truth to help you personally check and recheck your own behavior when sitting with such a weighty stewardship on your shoulders? Didn't Moses appreciate the rebuke that came from his father-in-law Jethro?

    Where are our Jethro's? We are wasting away the lives of our leaders!

  14. Please tell me the reality tv show is a joke.

  15. I believe the prophecies of the success of the Church will not pan out like we imagine the scenario will. The Church is not what we see with programs, buildings, and temples. These may be likened to the placenta: The massive, gnarly, beastly mess that nevertheless, counter-intuitively, in some crazy way, nurtured the few humble followers who, one of a family, one of the two working in the field, shall go out from it when the placenta is discarded and wasted of its usefulness, being thus delivered (and not aborted prematurely like apostates do).

    The humble followers are the Church itself, and no unhallowed hand can stop that work from progressing. Persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, until it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, until the purposes of God shall finally be accomplished, and the great Jehovah shall stand with those battered, wandering few, and say the work is done.

    Daniel foresaw the day when the kingdom of God would no longer be left to the "other people", which by interpretation means Gentiles. Joseph sealed up much of what he learned and left the kingdom to the Gentiles, as he was commanded, knowing full well the day would come for that concession to end, or the "key" to be turned back, if you will (sound like Council at Adam-ondi-Ahman to anyone else? Why would turning a key to the women make any big difference? Would Isaiah's description of the daughters of Zion and their eventual awful plight be any reason for this key to be turned back to the women of Israel instead?)

    It will be given back to the House of Israel--Daniel's own people no less--including all those who, of the Gentiles, are no longer Gentiles, but truly have become of the House of Israel, who leave the place of their birth and join with the people of God of all generations past (leaving father and mother and joining with the Bridegroom, but still honoring father and mother with gratitude).

    Let those that have ears to hear, hear what the Spirit says about not leaving prematurely. Remember it is the wheat that is taken away and gathered somewhere else, while the tares remain bound in bundles so strong, their end is to be burned. Weren't the Christians in the past given sure signs as to when to avoid the abomination that maketh desolate? Therefore there is no need to fear or panic.

    If such a condition does arise or ever could arise, there will be a peace about it. I'm not saying we're there yet or that it will necessarily come to that, but it is something to ponder over.

  16. Maybe Elder Holland sincerely believes the social sciences inform their deliberations as a quorum in a positive way. The cost to the normal lay person seems to be so astronomical, though. It couldn't be worth anything more than what can be gained by the Spirit and interaction with the Saints themselves.

    Not all interaction needs to be tabulated and understood for the Spirit to whisper direction. It is still simply not worth whatever small benefit it may produce, in my opinion.

    This uncalled middle management stifles the spirit of prophesy among the lay membership because none of us can hope to have the same credentials as this priesthood-less mass of professionals and we hence stop approaching the gate of heaven as a result of our comparative despondency.

  17. The thought that comes to mind is this: I was raised within the Episcopalian Church. (You know the one that Robin Williams calls, "Catholic Lite: All the ritual with only half the guilt!"

    I am quite familiar with what a watered down gospel looks like, and feels like. If that was what I wanted I would have stayed there, and so would the other youth in that church that completely scattered to the wind because their was nothing there for them. That church and other mainline denominations had a huge exodus during the 70's and 80's as they attempted to become "The Church of the What's Happenin' Now." I doubt that has reversed.

  18. Concerning Elder Holland's talk "Prophets in the Land" in April 2006, he made a very compassionate appeal..see below:

    "This conference and every other conference like it is a declaration that He condescended to come to earth in poverty and humility, to face sorrow and rejection, disappointment and death in order that we might be saved from those very fates as our eternity unfolds, that “with his stripes we are healed.” 10 [ Isaiah 53:5] This conference proclaims to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people the loving Messianic promise that “his mercy endureth for ever.” [See Psalm 136:1]

    To all of you who think you are lost or without hope, or who think you have done too much that was too wrong for too long, to every one of you who worry that you are stranded somewhere on the wintry plains of life and have wrecked your handcart in the process, this conference calls out Jehovah’s unrelenting refrain, “[My] hand is stretched out still.” [See Isaiah 5:25; 9:17, 21] “I shall lengthen out mine arm unto them,” He said, “[and even if they] deny me; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto them, … if they will repent and come unto me; for mine arm is lengthened out all the day long, saith the Lord God of Hosts.” [ 2 Nephi 28:32] His mercy endureth forever, and His hand is stretched out still. His is the pure love of Christ, the charity that never faileth, that compassion which endures even when all other strength disappears. [See Moroni 7:46–47]"

    Seems like he is doing his job...I felt the impact of this heartfelt appeal..I believe his words certainly encompassed the "doctrine of Christ", (see 2 Ne 31:2,21; 32:6; Jacob 7:2,6; 3 Ne 2:2)

  19. Concerning the focus groups,the pollsters and marketing gurus...maybe...just maybe, our leaders, who we sustain and uphold with our prayers and faith, are using all available tools necessary to create awareness and a more focused presence within the American population centers, which in turn, supports the missionary effort. Our own individual efforts here in the USA have been sub-par at best. Why else is the growth of Church outside our own borders so much higher?

    A question to the general reader-ship of these posts: when was the last time you exercised your own faith and opened your own mouth concerning this restored Gospel and invited someone to read the Book of Mormon, or even share Joseph Smith's story? I sense a great deal of disturbing finger-pointing in this thread... The power and understanding and faith we all want will come when we DO IT...not by TALKING about it.

    Br. about dissecting Ammon's experience in Alma 26...especially v. 22?

    "Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing -- unto such it is given to know the mysteries of God; yea, unto such it shall be given to reveal things which never have been revealed; yea, and it shall be given unto such to bring thousands of souls to repentance, even as it has been given unto us to bring these our brethren to repentance."

    This attitude or mindset described in this one verse seems to be the essence of this support the faithful, active members to gain further light and truth by sharing this restored Gospel, particularly the words of these prophets, whose voices speak to us from the dust. (see 2 Ne 33:13)

  20. To DJones September 6, 2010 1:57 PM:

    When you said: "Seems like he is doing his job...I felt the impact of this heartfelt appeal..I believe his words certainly encompassed the 'doctrine of Christ'" I thought that was a brilliant example.

    It just goes to show how the words of Christ are with these men on many different occasions.

    I hope my points above are not taken out of that context. It is useful to know we don't have to assume they are always right, but useful to know these good men are trying and often do get it right.

    When they are behaving stupidly, we can point out stupid behavior, like Jethro did to Moses. They will likely appreciate it in time, if they ever hear wind of it. We can do it in a loving way. When they say something challenging that needs confirmation by the Spirit, we are obligated to listen and conform after fasting and prayer.

    If we hold them up continuously as Messiahs, we may be the means of their destruction in some degree or another. Would you want to face the Savior with that on your head? That you contributed to the downfall of one of his chosen leaders on any point of doctrine because you incorrectly "sustained" them into self-worship? That you echoed the voice of the mob calling for conformity to Babylon and persuaded them, like the mob did to Aaron, to make a golden calf? Aaron was a great man, greater than most of us today...are we any better, leaders included, than him? Can we say we are not subject to like passions and immune from giving in to the crowd in such abominations?

    Think about it. I have always lovingly sustained the Brethren and always will, by God's good grace. Think about it and don't let any prejudices against me and my loud mouth dissuade you from the truth. Can any of you do it? I'm extending an olive leaf of peace as I always try to do.

    Let me take another point real quick: "Concerning the focus groups,the pollsters and marketing gurus...maybe...just maybe, our leaders, who we sustain and uphold with our prayers and faith, are using all available tools necessary to create awareness and a more focused presence within the American population centers, which in turn, supports the missionary effort."

    I hope it can be seen in my above comments and on the next post that that is exactly why I said no one can argue their right to hire these spin-masters. It has its usefulness, but at what cost? I was trying to elaborate what that cost to the current membership might be. I am not the one who makes those decisions and I don't want to be. I am merely suggesting Solomon's lesson is an apt warning for the dangers inherent in such an approach. It should be plain enough to see that is a valid possible danger.

    We can't assume they are completely aware of this danger, and it is in our rights to warn, expound, exhort, and testify just in case they aren't apprised of it yet, because we love them, too. We do not command those that are at our head, but we do admonish them, and I believe it is in our duties and general priesthood calling and stewardship to do so. I'm not willing to debate that, though. I will find the scriptures that support that later for my own satisfaction, and I'm confident anyone else can who sincerely looks for it.

    We usually do not wake up to this duty because we assume they were called because they are better than us and more in tune with the Spirit than us because we can't fathom normal people being put in these spots because of the insecurities we have if that is the case, yet President Monson's most recent Ensign message told us it is the case. We simply don't believe him and we don't follow the prophet like we sing we should with filthy lips.


What Say You?