Friday, July 2, 2010

1 Nephi 13: 38

1 Nephi 13: 38:

"And it came to pass that I beheld the remnant of the seed of my brethren, and also the book of the Lamb of God, which had proceeded forth from the mouth of the Jew, that it came forth from the Gentiles unto the remnant of the seed of my brethren."
Roles and definitions continue to be established here.  Nephi's seed has been "destroyed" and only a "mixture" of his blood remains at the time of these events. Nephi has taken to calling them "the seed of my brethren" rather than a "mixture" of his (Nephi's) seed.
The "book of the Lamb of God" is later identified as the record we know as the New Testament. Altered, limited, with plain and precious materials removed, nevertheless called the "book of the Lamb of God." Acceptance of this New Testament book, notwithstanding its limitations and omissions, is akin to Christ referring to the Temple of Herod as His "Father's house" despite the fact that it had been profaned.
Although Christ called Herod's Temple His Father's house, He did not commune with His Father there. Christ visited with angelic ministers on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt. 17: 1-3), in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22: 43), in the wilderness (Matt. 4: 11), and alone while apart from others.  But there is no record of Him entertaining angels while in Herod's Temple. Though the Temple had been profaned and was unworthy to receive such visitors, Christ still honored the site and referred to it in sacred terms. This is a great key to understanding Christ's language here.
The "book of the Lamb of God" is revered and held in extraordinary esteem, as is evidenced by the terminology used in this revelation to Nephi. Nevertheless the book is corrupted, changed, with many plain and precious things removed.
Can the book that has come to the "seed of Nephi's brethren" be said to be less than a fullness? Can the book be called "the book of the Lamb of God?" If it can be called "the book of the Lamb of God" can it also be said to contain a fullness?

[Here's a modern detour in question-asking: Do you focus on the book's value and worth by calling it the "book of the Lamb of God" or do you focus on the book's failings by saying many plain and precious things have been removed?  If you do the one are you "positive" and "hopeful" and "Christ-like?" And if you focus on the other are you "negative" and "judgmental" and "un-Christ-like?" Is Nephi being fair and accurate by including the book's limitations? Or is he just another crank, tearing down the good works and valuable intent of others?  Should he repent of his negativity? Ought we be offended?
These kinds of questions are more a reflection of our own insecurities and foolishness than they are helpful to understanding Christ's "strange act" unfolding before our disbelieving eyes.  (D&C 101: 93-95.)]
This "book of the Lamb of God" will originate from the Jews, be brought by gentiles, and provided to the "remnant" who are identified with the "seed of Nephi's brethren." Since we can recall the history of these events, and know it is talking of the New Testament, we can see the various identities. New Testament converts from Judaism to Christianity, including the Apostles, Seventy, and Paul, are called "Jews." The descendants of the Puritans, English Colonies, American States and United States who dispossessed the native peoples are all referred to as "gentiles" in the prophecy. (I'm ignoring Central and South American for the moment.) The natives will include among them some faction which is the "seed of my brethren" that is the "remnant" about whom these promises are being made.
The question remains as to the identity of the "remnant" about whom these prophecies are speaking.
I know side-issues are arising throughout this discussion.  But I've been focusing only on the "remnant" for weeks now.  I won't depart from that single subject, despite the temptations that arise from questions flooding in on tangents. Bear with me. We'll eventually get to other issues.
I've debated whether it is even possible to cover this subject on a blog. This is an experiment. I'm trying to cover a topic that should rightly be put into a book. Whether it will work or not is still an open question. I think it is helpful even if the ultimate objective can't be met. We'll press forward and see how it turns out.


  1. I stand corrected; for personal reasons I dislike wishing the same end Sherem received upon the correlation department of the church or a negative focus upon a leadership that has their hands full. I worked for two years at church headquarters as a contractor that served nearly every department. I saw the weaknesses and the good. I suppose I prefer the one-minute manager approach to weakness. Define the problem in as few words as possible and provide a solution.

    There is also the issue of personality. Just as you might not choose to be Nephi's best friend for his lack of humor and his intensity, I tend to keep my distance from individuals who are critical rather than helpful. I grew up in the bread-basket of criticism and don't like it when I hear it directed towards anyone. My problem, not yours...

    An angel I spent some three hours with recently encouraged me to understand nonjudgmental reasoning from Gnostic Christianity and to not work so hard (I'm intense like Nephi). In a way he told me to let my hair out and take a ride to Sturgis now and then.

  2. Thanks for the great post, Denver, and wonderful comment, JDS.

    We continue on.

    If you want a real revelation about all of this, read D&C 10: 47-70. You have to read it really carefully and pray to be able to follow who's who in this. There are lots of "they"'s and "them"'s, and it's hard to keep track of who is who. But it is amazing. Notice verse 67 especially.

  3. JDS, thanks for your perspective. I know where you're coming from.

    Kisi, I appreciate the scripture. It seems that I can't look anywhere now without seeing how it all ties together with the "message" of the Book of Mormon. It's almost as if the D&C was meant to be a study or reference guide for the B of M to help qualify and define certain elements of doctrine. But the meat lies in the Book of Mormon itself, or as the Lord calls it in D&C 84:57, "the new covenant."


  4. Hi JDS,

    Which definition of critical did you mean?

    a : inclined to criticize severely and unfavorably


    c : exercising or involving careful judgment or judicious evaluation

    Definition "a" would never be helpful by definition (because unfavorable assumes being unhelpful)

    Definition "c" could be very helpful in given circumstances, but you said it wasn't our problem, so sorry for seeking you to clarify if you didn't want to.

    I like the way you described a concept I think I've been trying to establish in a few other comments when you said "understand nonjudgmental reasoning". Gnostic Christianity is an unlikely place for an interesting principle for LDS. I assume they connected nonjudgmental reasoning with a predetermined agenda to seek for some tendency of the natural man (weren't willing to give up certain desires) and hence arrived at the wrong judgments. That would've been a tool unwisely used for their group as a whole. With the Holy Ghost as the guide, though, there is no danger. Did you think along similar lines in being introduced to the concept?

    I presume nonjudgmental reasoning is a necessary component of the scriptural mandate to "study it out in our minds", although it doesn't state that explicitly in that scripture. What do you think?

    As far as friends go, when I commented along those lines myself, I think I can tone down what I said to at least desire peace between all parties, even if best friends aren't achievable (because I agree with what you said about personalities). I call that friendly, and in my terms would call that a friend. Maybe it should be termed a cordial acquaintance. At any rate, I'm hoping there's at least peace between us all here.

    I indulged in a lot of light-mindedness in some of my comments. I don't excuse any of that as OK. It's a faulty coping mechanism I used during the strain of all the stretching these posts have put me through. It's not my normal walk. It was a cranky spell.

    Through all of that, I did let my mind allow in thoughts through nonjudgmental reasoning with positive effects. In my final analysis - the ideas that settle like dew upon my soul after that process - have always been with the balance used in Denver's post above. That's just a little bit about the way my mind works at present. I admit that the struggle I go through to open up new avenues for my mind and heart to be receptive may get ugly at times. Perhaps I shouldn't have imposed that on so many here on the blog. As you may've seen, my last few comments have been to tie up my loose ends so I can take that sideline I talked about.

    I've engaged you in some conversations so I want to make sure you and I are at peace before I spend more time reading and learning than commenting. Are we good?

    And last, although this is unsolicited, and I hope you'll forgive that, if you find it hard to minister to those who seem critical and prefer to keep your distance: while you're at a distance, try to allow the Savior to describe to you how you might've been critical in a similar way in the past. You'll have a good conversation with Him, and it just might help, but I'm probably preaching to the choir.

  5. Brother Snuffer,
    Although I have engaged in side conversations here, please understand that I am following intently with your line of reasoning and teaching pattern as you help us discover who the remnant actually is. I hope this feedback is helpful in letting you know that the Blog can be used to teach a concept that requires a lot of ground work. Again, thank you for keeping us on task, and pressing foreward.

  6. Zang, all is well! Thanks for your thoughts. I don't know much about Gnostic Christianity, except that Christ used parables when teaching the general public, but to his disciples he taught more plainly. These plain teachings were called his Gnostic teachings and were supposedly done away with or outlawed at the time of Constantine.

    As I took a day and a half to try and understand why I should learn more of these teachings, I was drawn to the concept of non-judgmental reasoning, which simply means that it does little good to point out the failings and faults of others. It nearly always leads to polarization.

    Why? We all possess only as much light as we have. It is our viewpoint and our "present reality or truth." Regardless of how effectively someone of greater light chastises us, we still see according to our light, and while we have aught with them, we cannot see what they are talking about anyway.

    How do we then see beyond our limited light? What can those with greater light do to help us see better? Their light must become attractive to us. This rarely happens when they are chastising us. But as they mingle with us and love us, as Christ did with the sinners of His day, a desire can be infused in a sinner to seek greater light than he/she currently possesses.

    I saw this happen in the workplace. A woman who was lesbian was so impressed with two men and how they treated others, that these men restored her faith in good men. A great story unfolded. No one had to declare repentance unto her. Greater light simply won her heart and convinced her of the necessity and desirability to move into God's light (repentance). It is an amazing and unlikely story, and I saw it all unfold firsthand.

    One of the false traditions under which we labor is how we view the word "repentance" and what it means to "declare repentance". What if we all believed declaring repentance simply means that we let our light so shine that others are attracted to it and to their Father in Heaven. Of course sometimes only sharpness and being reminded of the duration of eternity does any good, but still, I like the concept of attraction rather than force.

    As for Denver, I've found in most of his writings greater clarity, light, and truth about things of eternal importance, and I am sufficiently attracted to it that I've been able to resolve minor personality differences that caused me to judge him wrongfully and to forfeit a great opportunity to learn.

    I love my independence, and I am not at all sorry to be true to what I believe in until I received greater light on the subject.

  7. Thanks for that JDS. Good post. There is a fine line between pointing out faults in others and declaring one's own innocence when accused by gently suggesting the accuser may be a hypocrite. Or doing that to defend innocent recipients of accusations. I haven't accused, merely suggested in almost all instances. The accuser has to take the suggestion from there and make the judgment for themselves to curtail their behavior and look inward.

    I agree with the example scenario, which unfortunately doesn't work well in a blog. Years and years of never preaching, but only showing a good life is comfortable with me in helping most.

    The hypocrite doctrine, done with love, may only best be used during confrontations or defending the innocent, and it is quite merciful to the accusers. Accusers sometimes wish they didn't feel the need to accuse, so their accusations and attacks could be seen as a request for help. Suggesting that the behavior they think is faulty may be the root of their own problem just may mercifully reveal to them the answer to their prayers if contemplated on.

    I had hoped in comments to raise suggestions in case someone was accusing wrongfully, in an effort to help where example couldn't be shown. I've decided that it is hard to judge if people are accusing by merely reading their words, so I figure it's a practice better left to face-to-face confrontations. I don't seek confrontations, but they arise sometimes if you are joyfully sharing something that others are jealous of, which just means they don't have hope of attaining the same light. Aiding them to figure out their hypocrisies on their own with the Savior's help is charitable, because they can remove their stumbling blocks and receive the light that was preached.

    Think of the story of Spencer W. Kimball sewing up the wound of a horse who kicked him for doing it because it hurt.

    There's so much more, but it's hard to put in a blog. I'm glad we're not at odds.

  8. Kisi and DC 10:
    Thanks for bringing DC 10 to our attention. It does confirm and even expound upon what Snuffer has been trying to tell us.

    So much to learn! The journey stretches out for such a long way but the Lord our God - He is the "Way" and knows the Path for each to follow if we continue to ASK. Thanks to Snuffer for helping sort out some of the questions to ASK.

  9. JDS,
    I'm touched by your light. I love the concept of declaring repentance by letting your light so shine. Also the one minute manager philosophy.

    I was also moved by the story about your Indian brother. Is he Joseph Firecrow? You made me want to listen to his music.

    I'd love to talk with you further about what you're learning. My email is cbkimball



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