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1 Nephi 11
. . . after I had desired to know the things that my father had seen, and believing that the Lord was able to make them known unto me, as I sat pondering in mine heart I was caught away in the Spirit of the Lord . . .
1 Nephi 11:1 Precept #1
Ponder the things of the Lord, whether read in the scriptures, heard from the pulpit, or whispered by the Spirit of the Lord.
How often do you ponder the things of the gospel? How deep do you go?
And blessed art thou, Nephi, because thou believest in the Son of the most high God; wherefore, thou shalt behold the things which thou hast desired.
1 Nephi 11:6 Precept #2
Believe in the Son of the Most High God.
Do you believe in God? Do you believe in His Son? Why? And How?
And I said unto him: To know the interpretation thereof—for I spake unto him as a man speaketh; for I beheld that he was in the form of a man; yet nevertheless, I knew that it was the Spirit of the Lord; and he spake unto me as a man speaketh with another.
1 Nephi 11:11 Precept #3
Speak with the Lord as you would with another person.
When you think of your prayers do you feel you’re connecting with God? How do your speech patterns (i.e. word choice, grammar, etc.) contribute to that connection/feeling?
And he said unto me: Knowest thou the condescension of God?
And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.
1 Nephi 11:16-17 Precept #4
Admit what you do know. Also admit that you don’t know everything and be specific about what it is you don’t know. Admit this to God – but also admit it especially to yourself.
How does reminding yourself that you don’t understand everything – or even something specifically – keep you grounded and help you treat people right?
And after he was slain I saw the multitudes of the earth, that they were gathered together to fight against the apostles of the Lamb . . .
And it came to pass that I saw and bear record, that the great and spacious building was the pride of the world; and it fell, and the fall thereof was exceedingly great. And the angel of the Lord spake unto me again, saying: Thus shall be the destruction of all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, that shall fight against the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
1 Nephi 11:34, 36 Precept #5
Get out of the great and spacious building – and get out fast! Stop fighting against the Apostles and their prophetic messages to the world.
Was there ever a time when you didn’t want to accept the counsel of the church leaders? What did you do? Did you set aside your own pride and vain ambitions? Or did you carry on without a change?
. . . and the multitudes were gathered together to hear him; and I beheld that they cast him out from among them.
1 Nephi 11:28 Bonus Precept
When you are feeling rejected by the world remember that the world also rejected Jesus.
Has it ever brought you strength, hope, or comfort to remember that Jesus was rejected and criticized? How does it help you grow closer to God to remember these things?
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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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Precept #4 really hit me! That is powerful.
Yeah! I think there is a general misunderstanding regarding what humility is. That’s all this precept is about – recognizing and accepting things as they really are, especially about yourself and your place in this grand universe.
But knowing it doesn’t necessarily make it any easier to live it. At least being aware you can pay closer attention to yourself and notice the moments when you typically need to recalibrate how you are thinking about yourself.
I’ve found that this perspective change lessens the stress of most of our difficult situations in life – and sometimes makes them disappear altogether. In other words, they never even start!