Mosiah 1

Mosiah 1

               The Book of Mosiah is the eighth book in the Book of Mormon…

Mosiah is most likely linked to the Hebrew term; “Moshia”, which represents a Champion of Justice against oppression, appointed by God, whose Mission is to liberate a chosen people from oppression, especially by non-violent means.

“And now there was no more contention in all the land of Zarahemla…” (Mosiah 1:1), King Benjamin was the ruler during this time and he had three sons; “…Mosiah, and Helorum, and Helaman. And he caused that they should be taught in all the language of his fathers, that thereby they might become men of understanding…” (Mosiah 1:2) This would give King Benjamin’s sons the ability to know of the prophecies of the prophets that had come before them.

Because Lehi had preserved the records and the language (Egyptian), they now benefit of these things and understand the mysteries of God. We too in our modern age benefit from the preservation of these records from Lehi, to King Benjamin, to his sons, etc. King Benjamin speaks to his sons, but also to us the reader, when he testifies that the words that have been written as part of the plates he know holds are true. Not only that, but King Benjamin testifies that if we “…search them [the scriptures] diligently… ye may profit…” (Mosiah 1:7) We must not only read, but study the scriptures. If we do this and follow God’s commandments we will prosper!

King Benjamin sees that his days are numbered and that he soon will pass on. He decides to choose one of his sons to become King. He chooses Mosiah and confers the power of the kingdom to him. He commands Mosiah to make a proclamation through the land that he is “…king and a ruler over this people…” (Mosiah 1:10) He also explains to his sons that because the records have been preserved throughout time, God has had mercy on them. The chapter ends with Mosiah commanding the people to come to the temple to hear the words of his father, King Benjamin.

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Summary of The Words of Mormon + The Words of Mormon 1

Summary of The Words of Mormon + The Words of Mormon 1

The Words of Mormon… is the seventh book in the Book of Mormon….

The Words of Mormon opens up by explaining that Mormon will soon deliver the plates into the hands of his son, Moroni. Mormon explains that it “…is many hundred years after the coming of Christ…” (The Words of Mormon 1:2).

Mormon was abridging the plates, in other words he was condensing down the stories to fit a smaller volume of scripture. He explains that he abridged the plates from the time of Nephi down to the reign of King Benjamin, and from Jacob down to King Benjamin. Mormon explains that he is very pleased of what he sees written on the plates; “…because of the prophecies of the coming of Christ; and my fathers knowing that many of them have been fulfilled… Wherefore, I chose these things, to finish my record upon them… [for] I cannot write the hundredth part of the things of my people.” (The Words or Mormon 1:4-5)

Mormon was being instructed and was on a mission from God to maintain the records of the Ancient Inhabitants of America. He explains that he wrote down only the most important parts “…for they are choice unto me [Mormon]; and I know they will be choice unto my brethren. And I do this for a wise purpose; for thus it whispereth me, according to the workings of the Spirt of the Lord which is in me. And now, I do not know all things; but the Lord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore, he worketh in me to do according to his will.” (The Words of Mormon 1:6-7)

Mormon writes and abridges these records with the hope that “…they [the future readers of this Book] may once again come to the knowledge of God…” (The Words of Mormon 1:8) Mormon then informs us that the work he has in his hands originally came from Amaleki, and then to King Benjamin and then combined with other plates [books], the record was passed from one generation to another until it finally came to Him. (The Words of Mormon 1:9-11) Mormon warns that in the Last Days, the words that are preserved in this Book “…shall be judged at the great and last day…” (The Words of Mormon 1:11)

Finally, Mormon ends this book by explaining that there were false Christs among them and that through King Benjamin, righteousness and peace had been restored throughout the land.

Summary of Jacob

Summary of Jacob

                The Book of Jacob is the third book in the Book of Mormon. Jacob, the brother of Nephi, was given the responsibility of writing down the history of his people. The purpose of this book, in the words of Jacob was to; “…persuade them [everyone] to come unto Christ…” (Jacob 1:7). The book is mainly the teachings between Jacob and his people, which include a lengthy Parable of the Olive Tree: which is an allegory of the scattering and gathering of Israel.

Around 545 BC, Jacob was given the task of continuing the history of the golden plates. At this time Nephi was  soon to pass on, but the people revered him so much that they desired all the kings of the land to be like him and even named after him. The Jacobites, Josephites, and Zoramites all became the people of Nephi or the Nephites, while the Lemuelites and the Ishmaelites became the Lamanites.

The Nephites began to be lifted up in pride because they had been so blessed by God, and this led them to do wicked things. But Jacob and his brother Joseph tried as hard as they could to teach the people not to do wicked things. Jacob went to the temple to teach the Nephites. This temple was a copy of the one Solomon made in Jerusalem. Jacob said the people had begun to search for gold and silver. Some were better at locating the gold and silver and because of this, some would show that they were better or of a different social class, so they enhanced their apparel to show off that they were more ambitious and competent that their brothers.

Jacob then prophesied about events which would be fulfilled at the end of the Book of Mormon, around 385 AD, when the Nephites would be completely fallen away from God and wiped out to the last man by the Lamanites.

After a number of years a man named Sherem went around saying there would be no Christ, and for Jacob to preach the gospel of Christ instead of adherence to the Law of Moses was blasphemy. Jacob asserted that every prophesy ever made was really about Christ, and that it was revealed to him that if Christ does not make atonement, all humanity will be lost. Sherem demanded a sign to prove what Jacob said was true. Jacob explained that he would not tempt God.

God smote Sherem, making him fall unconscious for many days. When he eventually regained consciousness, he asked for the people to be assembled so he could make his last sermon. He confessed Christ, and said he had been deceived by the devil, and retracted everything he said about Jacob. He said he feared that he had committed the unpardonable sin, which is lying to God. Then he died.

When Jacob finished writing on the plates he bequeathed them to his son Enos.

Jacob 5

Jacob 5: Allegory of the Olive Tree

Allegory of the Olive Tree (See also: Romans 11:17-24)

Jacob quotes Zenos about the allegory of the tame and wild Olive Tree. The Olive Tree in the Lord’s Vineyard is like Israel and the Gentiles, the scattering and gathering of Israel… the Gentiles will be grafted into the Olive Tree of Israel.

Symbol What it might represent
The Vineyard The World
Master of the Vineyard God
Servants The Lord’s Prophets
Tame Olive Tree The House of Israel; The Covenant People
Wild Olive Tree Gentiles
Branches Groups of People
Roots of the Tame Olive Tree The Covenants the Lord makes with us
The Fruit The Lives/Works of men
Digging/Pruning/Fertilizing The work of the Lord to help His children obey
Transplanting Branches Scattering groups of people throughout the world
Grafting The joining of one group to another
Decaying Branches People dying spiritually from sin and apostasy
Casting branches into the fire God’s Wrath and Judgment

What is ‘Grafting’?

To graft branches, healthy, living branches are cut from a tree or plant and inserted into another place. The branches in this allegory represent groups of people that the Lord takes from one place and plants them in another. In the scriptural sense, grafting means to “…come to the knowledge of the true Messiah…” (1 Nephi 10:14).

In this chapter (which is super long), we learn about the Lord’s Vineyard. The chapter can be likened to Missionary Work and Rise and Fall of God’s Authority on the Earth.

Missionary Work

                “And the Lord of the Vineyard caused that it should be digged about, and pruned, and nourished, saying unto his servant: It grieveth me that I should lose this tree; wherefore, that perhaps I might preserve the roots thereof that they perish not, that I might preserve them unto myself, I have done this thing. Wherefore, go thy way; watch the tree, and nourish it, according to my words. And these will I place in the nethermost parts of my vineyard, withersoever I will, it mattereth not unto thee; and I do it that I may preserve unto myself the natural branches of the tree; and also that I may lay fruit thereof against the season, unto myself; for it grieveth me that I should lose this tree and the fruit thereof.” (Jacob 5:11-13) God wants his servants to work hard, so that they will not lose one soul or “branch” of the Olive Tree.

                “Wherefore, go to, and call servants, that we may labor diligently with our might in the vineyard, that we may prepare the way, that I may bring forth again the natural fruit, which natural fruit is good and the most precious above all fruits. Wherefore, let us got to and labor with our might this last time, for behold the end draweth nigh, and this is for the last time that I shall prune my vineyard. Graft in the branches; begin at the last that they may be first, and that the first may be last…” (Jacob 5:61-63) This really shows the importance of Missionary work in the last days, God will prune his vineyard one last time before his second coming… and it is the responsibility of the members of the church and the full time missionaries to teach the truths that we know to the world… we must labor diligently and with all our might… this last time

Young and Tender Branches of the House of Israel

(Jacob 5:8, 13–14, 19–25)

The “young and tender branches” seem to be those people who responded to the “pruning and fertilizing” by God and His prophets. They were more teachable than the old established branches, or the groups of Israelites who had to be removed and destroyed.

President Joseph Fielding Smith taught: “In that parable the olive tree is the House of Israel… In its native land it began to die. So the Lord took branches like the Nephites, like the lost tribes, and like others that the Lord led off that we do not know anything about, to other parts of the earth. He planted them all over his vineyard, which is the world” (Answers to Gospel Questions, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., 5 vols. [1957–66], 4:204).

Zenos’s allegory helps us understand that the scattering of branches of Israel all over the world was a blessing both to Israel and to the rest of Heavenly Father’s children, the Gentiles. Elder Bruce R. McConkie, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, explained: “In general, the Lord sends to earth in the lineage of Jacob [Israel] those spirits who in pre-existence developed an especial talent for spirituality and for recognizing truth. Those born in this lineage, having the blood of Israel in their veins and finding it easy to accept the gospel, are said to have believing blood” (Mormon Doctrine, 81).

As scattered Israel mixed with the Gentiles around them, the blood of Israel was spread even further. Elder James E. Faust, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, commented: “The scattering of Israel throughout the world sprinkled the blood that believes, so that many nations may now partake of the gospel plan” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1982, 127; or Ensign,Nov. 1982, 87–88).

When Did All the Trees Become Corrupt?

(Jacob 5:32–46)

The part of the allegory when all the trees bear evil fruit seems to represent the period of the Apostasy, prior to the restoration of the gospel. When the Lord spoke to Joseph Smith in the First Vision, He told Joseph that he should join none of the churches of that day because they were all “wrong” (Joseph Smith—History 1:19).In Jacob 5:48, we read; “…Is it not the loftiness [Pride] of thy vineyard – have not the branches thereof overcome the roots which are good? …behold they grew faster than the strength of the roots, taking strength unto themselves…” Essentially in this one verse we can see how easily churches after Christ was crucified began to pop up without any legitimate authority of power from God. However, they had some of the basic roots… but they began to lose their roots when they took strength upon themselves. The same people who claim that God won’t call another prophet, and that His word is complete the Bible.

Jacob 2

Jacob 2: Un-Chastity is bad, Seek riches to help your fellow men

 

Jacob speaks to his people saying that he wishes to rid the people of their sins, because he is; “…weighed down with much more desire and anxiety for the welfare of [their] souls…” (Jacob 2:3)

Jacob was inspired from God to tell the people that they were sinning, for many of the people were focused on the riches of the world and looked down on those who did not have as much as they did. Jacob explains to them that; “…before ye seek riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God. And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good – to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted.” (Jacob 2:18-19) So, is money bad? No. Money is only bad if you are greedy, if you desire to obtain riches for good then it is ok. It is when money becomes your God that it is bad.

However, Jacob continues to speak to his people about a larger and more serious sin, he explains; “…This people begin to wax in iniquity; they understand not the scriptures, for they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms…” (Jacob 2:23) Jacob explains that in times of old David and Solomon had many wives, which was an abomination to the Lord. God has commanded that men only have one wife, however God can also in some times allow for polygamy to happen; “For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things [having one wife].” (Jacob 2:30) In other words unless God commands otherwise, Polygamy should not happen.

What is Polygamy?

                Polygamy occurs when there are more than two partners in a marriage. In this case, seven women marrying one man (or taking hold of one man) would constitute ‘Polygamy’ and more specifically; ‘Polygyny’; which is when a man has multiple wives.

Polygamy in the LDS Church:

                When someone wants to attack The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Days [LDS]; or more commonly known as “The Mormons”, Polygamy is almost ALWAYS brought up! Why? Because the LDS Church practiced Polygamy. However, are the “Mormons” the only ones who have practiced Polygamy throughout time? No.

At various times, the Lord has commanded His people to practice plural marriage. However, like the scripture above, Polygamy was to be used within the laws of God, in other words it has only been instituted when and IF God commands. God has initiated this practice, when population of his people was at risk for extinction or in cases such as the scripture above, when women married men to take away the ‘reproach’. Early in the History of the LDS Church, so many people persecuted the church and its members that men were actually killed at an alarming rate. This left many women as widows with children. But as anyone knows women in the 1800’s were not given as many rights as men, and especially not as many rights as married women. Because women had basically no rights as single unmarried women (regardless of being widows) the Lord commanded some of the early Saints to practice plural marriage. The Prophet Joseph Smith and those closest to him, including Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball, were challenged by this command, but they obeyed it. Church leaders regulated the practice. Those entering into it had to be authorized to do so, and the marriages had to be performed through the sealing power of the priesthood.

Many of the men who participated in it did so for legal reasons, and many men kept “one wife”, but had many other legal wives that did their own thing. Like the scripture mentioned above; “…We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel; only let us be called by thy name to take away our reproach.” – In other words give us your last name and be legally called your ‘wife’, but I will take care of myself. Some who were chosen to practice polygamy were also commanded to have children with their multiple wives; however this was not the common practice throughout the church. Anyone who disobeyed the commandment of God and used Polygamy to have control over women or simply for sexual lust were disciplined by the church.

Contrary to what many people think, the LDS Church does NOT practice Polygamy today! In 1890, President Wilford Woodruff received a revelation that the leaders of the Church should cease teaching the practice of plural marriage;

To Whom It May Concern:

Press dispatches having been sent for political purposes, from Salt Lake City, which have been widely published, to the effect that the Utah Commission, in their recent report to the Secretary of the Interior, allege that plural marriages are still being solemnized and that forty or more such marriages have been contracted in Utah since last June or during the past year, also that in public discourses the leaders of the Church have taught, encouraged and urged the continuance of the practice of polygamy—

I, therefore, as President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, do hereby, in the most solemn manner, declare that these charges are false. We are not teaching polygamy or plural marriage, nor permitting any person to enter into its practice, and I deny that either forty or any other number of plural marriages have during that period been solemnized in our Temples or in any other place in the Territory.

One case has been reported, in which the parties allege that the marriage was performed in the Endowment House, in Salt Lake City, in the Spring of 1889, but I have not been able to learn who performed the ceremony; whatever was done in this matter was without my knowledge. In consequence of this alleged occurrence the Endowment House was, by my instructions, taken down without delay.

Inasmuch as laws have been enacted by Congress forbidding plural marriages, which laws have been pronounced constitutional by the court of last resort, I hereby declare my intention to submit to those laws, and to use my influence with the members of the Church over which I preside to have them do likewise.

There is nothing in my teachings to the Church or in those of my associates, during the time specified, which can be reasonably construed to inculcate or encourage polygamy; and when any Elder of the Church has used language which appeared to convey any such teaching, he has been promptly reproved. And I now publicly declare that my advice to the Latter-day Saints is to refrain from contracting any marriage forbidden by the law of the land.

Wilford Woodruff

President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

President Lorenzo Snow offered the following:

“I move that, recognizing Wilford Woodruff as the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the only man on the earth at the present time who holds the keys of the sealing ordinances, we consider him fully authorized by virtue of his position to issue the Manifesto which has been read in our hearing, and which is dated September 24th, 1890, and that as a Church in General Conference assembled, we accept his declaration concerning plural marriages as authoritative and binding.”

Salt Lake City, Utah, October 6, 1890

2 Nephi 33

2 Nephi 33: Those who Believe in Christ, will Believe in Nephi

“And now I, Nephi, cannot write all the things which were taught among my people; neither am I mighty in writing, like unto speaking; for when a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men.” (2 Nephi 33:1)

Here Nephi explains that not EVERYTHING God says or commands can be written down. However, the most important and precious things can be recorded. Nephi explains that he is just a man, a man who God called to speak, and while his writing is not the best… his speaking, through the Holy Ghost is perfect, because it is the word of God that can be carried to the hearts of the children of men.

Nephi also knows that not all men will open their hearts to the Holy Ghost, and therefore makes it difficult for some to believe the words of God.           Nephi hopes that “…the words which I have written in weakness will be made strong unto them; for it persuadeth them to do good… And it speaketh harshly against sin, according to the plainnessof the truth; wherefore, no man will be angry at the words which I have written save he shall be of the spirit of the devil.” (2 Nephi 33:4-5)  

Nephi explains that the words he writes comes from God, those who cannot see the plainness of truth, and are angered by its words can only have the spirit of the devil. Nephi urges his own people and those people who will read this book in the future (us) to heed to its words; “…hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good.” (2 Nephi 33:10) Again, Nephi explains that these words are the words of Christ. Those who believe in Jesus Christ will know that these are His words and shall believe in them also.

Nephi calls out the non-believer and explains that these are the words of Christ; “…for Christ will show unto you, with power and great glory, that they are his words, at the last day; and you and I shall stand face to face before his bar; and ye shall know that I have been commanded of him to write these things, notwithstanding my weakness.” (2 Nephi 33:11)

Those who believe in Jesus Christ should recognize His words, and will be shown that they are His words, whether in this life, or in the next life… before the bar of judgment. These are simple truths; the Book of Mormon is Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Nephi testifies of Him, and those who believe in Jesus Christ will believe the words of Nephi, and those who believe the words of Nephi will know that the Book of Mormon is truly Another Testament of Him. Those who believe that the Book of Mormon is true, will know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saint is His Restored Church on the Earth today with Modern Prophets who lead and guide His people.

2 Nephi 32

2 Nephi 32: Men must pray to gain Knowledge

“Do ye not remember that I said unto you that after ye had received the Holy Ghost ye could speak with the tongue of angels? And now, how could ye speak with the tongue of angels save it were by the Holy Ghost?” (2 Nephi 32:2)

Nephi sees that many of his brethren are questioning what they should do after they had obtained a faith in Jesus Christ, repented of their sins, were baptized and received the Holy Ghost. He asks them if they had remembered that after you receive the Holy Ghost, you are able to speak with the tongue of Angels! After we are baptized, we must ENDURE to the end. Part of this enduring is to constantly receive strength in all the daily battles against Satan that we will fight.

Nephi continues…  “…feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do…  if ye cannot understand them it will be because ye ask not, neither do ye knock; wherefore, ye are not brought into the light, but must perish in the dark.” (2 Nephi 32:3-4) Here, Nephi explains that it is not just enough to pray, nor is it enough to just ponder and read the words of Christ. No, they must BOTH be done in order to understand the Words of God. We must diligently study the scriptures and then pray to understand the meaning of them.

After baptism, we receive the Holy Ghost, and with this Gift of the Holy Ghost we will be given guidance, so long as we do not upset the Spirit. We do this by reading and praying daily, avoiding sin and the unclean things of the world. We need to keep our minds as clean as possible. It should be recognized that no one, besides Jesus Christ, is perfect. Therefore, we need to strive to become like Jesus Christ… but when we fall short, we need to repent and move forward in His Gospel.

Nephi, after speaking to his brethren still sees that they do not fully understand, and this grieves him; “…now I, Nephi, cannot say more; the Spirit stoppeth mine utterance, and I am left to mourn because of the unbelief, and the wickedness, and the ignorance, and the stiffneckedness of men; for they will not search knowledge, nor understand great knowledge, when it is given unto them in plainness, even as plain as word can be.” (2 Nephi 32:7) In today’s world, so many are so easily led by the vain things of the world… look around and you can see the influence of a pop star or some celebrity, even politicians! People blindly follow these so called “role-models”, but when asked to sincerely pray and understand if for example the Book of Mormon is the Word of God, they ignore it. In fact many in the world will look at the Book of Mormon and toss it aside, even when it is given to them in ‘plainness’, but these same people ask; “Where is God?”

The Message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that God speaks TODAY! It is so plain, yet so hard for people to see through the stiffneckedness of the carnal man. Nephi explains that we can come to this knowledge if we pray, for the Spirit will teach a man to pray, and the evil spirit teaches a man to not pray; “…if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray, ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray.” (2 Nephi 32:8)

Nephi ends this chapter by telling us that we “…must pray always, and not faint…” (2 Nephi 32:9)