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1 Nephi 8
And it came to pass that as I followed him I beheld myself that I was in a dark and dreary waste.
And after I had traveled for the space of many hours in darkness, I began to pray unto the Lord that he would have mercy on me, according to the multitude of his tender mercies.
1 Nephi 8:7-8 Precept #1
When you pray remember that the Lord is full of tender mercy. Don’t be afraid to ask Him for some if you recognize you are surrounded by darkness – even if it’s self inflicted.
Have you ever asked the Lord to be kind to you in showing you the way to a happier life?
. . . and I also did say unto them with a loud voice that they should come unto me, and partake of the fruit, which was desirable above all other fruit.
1 Nephi 8:15 Precept #2
Desire to partake of the fruit of God’s love more than you desire to have all other fruit.
What was the last thing you sacrificed or gave up so that you could feel God’s love?
And I beheld a rod of iron, and it extended along the bank of the river, and led to the tree by which I stood.
And I also beheld a strait and narrow path, which came along by the rod of iron, even to the tree by which I stood;
1 Nephi 8:19-20 Precept #3
Follow the path to the tree and use the word of God to help you stay on it.
When did you last use the scriptures or words of the living prophets to help you make a decision which kept you on the path or kept you from stepping off the path to the tree?
And it came to pass that I beheld others pressing forward, and they came forth and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press forward through the mist of darkness, clinging to the rod of iron, even until they did come forth and partake of the fruit of the tree.
And after they had partaken of the fruit of the tree they did cast their eyes about as if they were ashamed. . . .
And after they had tasted of the fruit they were ashamed, because of those that were scoffing at them; and they fell away into forbidden paths and were lost.
1 Nephi 8:24-25, 28 Precept #4
Don’t cling so hard to God’s word that the fruit of the tree is a disappointment. Hold fast to His word in a way that let’s your decisions lead you to the tree and allows the fruit to fill you with the joy it is meant to so that you do not want to leave.
Have you ever been disappointed because things didn’t turn out as you expected even though you were living gospel principles? How has this affected your ability to believe in God and trust in His plan?
And he did exhort them then with all the feeling of a tender parent . . .
1 Nephi 8:37 Precept #5
Be tender with your children. Be tender with those you have been given stewardship for.
Can you remember an experience when you chose to respond in kindness even though you may have felt otherwise?
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I remember my first truly sacred experience when I was 12 years old. The next was somewhere around 14. My teenage years after that - after beginning a life-long study of the LDS canon of scripture - was chalked full of sacred experience after sacred experience which have developed in me a love for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and a devotion to His teachings as taught in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Because of those experiences as a young man I can say for sure that Jesus Christ lives today and is the Son of the Living God. He atoned for me and has "redeemed my soul from hell."
It was in those years that I learned for myself that the Book of Mormon is the true word of God. That came to be a huge social battle for one young as I was growing up in the Bible belt. I spent those years trying to live my life in such a way that people would know that I was a follower of Christ only to find out after years of hanging out with my friends that none of them believed I was Christian. This was devestating to me, a young man simply trying to show a good example as a follower of Christ. I felt like I had failed. It was only after serving my two year mission for the LDS Church that I realized the reason for their opinion was simply because our definition of what it meant to be Christian was drastically different. For me it had been about following Christ and living His teachings. For them it was whether or not my beliefs fell within their narrowly defined window of what they believed about God and Jesus Christ. I realize now that I was doomed to fail from the beginning!
It was in those years while I was trying to show people that I was a follower of Christ - facing opposition from friend, minister, and teacher alike - that I began studying the scriptures not just to understand His Gospel, but to come to understand answers to the challenges I was being presented with. In short I became as much of a Mormon apologist as a teenage boy with little education could ever become. But I at least had the scriptures and and the guidance of truly devoted and inspired friends and teachers -
and that was all I needed.
It is this pattern of questioning and searching for answers which has informed all of my scripture study and learning over the years of my life since then. My research and understanding of the Gospel, the Church, The Book of Mormon, and Joseph Smith have all grown and expanded because of that constant and consistent devotion to studying. And they will all continue to do so - for the knowledge of God is infinite and there is no way in the life to learn it all.
This blog is an outlet for all I have learned and considered over the years of my Gospel study. I have found - as many people who have come to know the teachings of Christ the way I have - that when the Word is a part of one's soul he or she cannot escape the desire to share It. So share it I do. There are imperfections and missing pieces in what I write, but all in all I truly feel the Lord has blessed me with the one thing I have desired more than almost anything else: a well rounded understanding of His doctrine and truth as He has given to us at this point. Please forgive my imperfections for this blog is as much about improving myself and my own knowledge and faith in God and Christ as it is for helping anyone else do the same.
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