- Doctrine and Covenants 18-19: “The Worth of Souls Is Great” (February 22-28)
People have infinite value. We may take others for granted at times, but God always recognizes their true worth, and He wants us to learn to see it too.
Shortly after learning for themselves of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, the Three Witnesses received specific assignments:
- Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer were instructed to find twelve men to serve as the Savior’s Twelve Apostles (Doctrine and Covenants 18:37-38).
- Martin Harris was instructed to contribute financially to the publication of the Book of Mormon (Doctrine and Covenants 19:26, 34-35).
But in the process of making both of these assignments, the Savior took the opportunity to teach them the importance of every child of God.
- “Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God,” he said to Oliver and David. “Wherefore…how great shall be your joy…if you should bring…souls unto me” (Doctrine and Covenants 18:10-16).
- To Martin, the Lord emphasized the terrible price He was willing to pay on our behalf: “I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;… which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit” (Doctrine and Covenants 19:16-19).
Here are seven principles I have learned from these sections, together with relevant Book of Mormon passages and blog posts:
- Even when the probability of being accepted is low, missionary work is worth the effort because people are so important. As Alma began his mission to the Zoramites, he said, “Behold, O Lord, their souls are precious” (Alma 31:35, see also Doctrine and Covenants 18:10). (That We May Have Success – Alma 31:32-35)
- The ultimate test of how much we value something is the price we are willing to pay for it. Abinadi demonstrated the depth of his commitment to the gospel by giving his life rather than deny his testimony (Mosiah 17:20). Likewise, the Savior demonstrated His commitment to us by suffering all of our pain in order to bring us back to our Father in Heaven (D&C 18:10-11). (Having Sealed the Truth of His Words – Mosiah 17:20)
- When the Savior visited the American continent following His death and resurrection, He ministered to the people, including the children, “one by one” (3 Nephi 11:15, 3 Nephi 17:21). As we serve others, we should remember that each individual is worth our time and our attention. (One by One – 3 Nephi 17:21)
- We can overcome feelings of inadequacy by remembering that God’s grace is sufficient for each of us (Ether 12:27, Doctrine and Covenants 18:31). (“My Grace Is Sufficient” – Ether 12:26-27)
- In the Garden of Gethsemane, the Savior held nothing back. He gave all that He had to give on our behalf. (What Is the Significance of the Savior Bleeding “from Every Pore?”) (See Mosiah 3:7, Doctrine and Covenants 19:18).
- The Savior suffered to help us avoid unnecessary suffering (Doctrine and Covenants 19:16-17), but that doesn’t mean following Him is painless. Repentance is change, and change can be difficult. (Mosiah 28:4 Nevertheless They Suffered Much Anguish of Soul)
- The word “Hosanna” is both a desperate pleading and a heartfelt expression of confidence in God’s ability to save us. (See 1 Nephi 11:6, 3 Nephi 4:32, 3 Nephi 11:27, Doctrine and Covenants 19:37).
Avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. Titus 3:9 The sad reality is that most of the things we argue about aren’t that important. They certainly aren’t as important as the relationships we damage in the process. When we argue, we can easily lose perspective. A minor… Continue Reading →
I wrote a few days ago that temporal things have spiritual impacts. One of those temporal things is our financial well-being. After teaching his people to give generously to those in need, King Benjamin reminded them to do all things “in wisdom and in order.” Then, perhaps as an example of the kind of “order”… Continue Reading →
Our continuing role is to receive continuing revelation. Joy D. Jones, “An Especially Noble Calling,” General Conference, April 2020 Near the end of his writings, Nephi pleads with us, his readers, to learn to receive personal revelation. “I suppose,” he said, “that ye ponder somewhat in your hearts concerning that which ye should do.” Pondering… Continue Reading →
The credibility of a witness depends on their consistency over time. If they testify that something is true one day, you would expect them to stand behind what they said at a later time. When Alma invited a group of people to be baptized in the waters of Mormon, he told them that they were… Continue Reading →
Don’t underestimate the value of temporary things. On at least two occasions, Nephi’s brothers, Laman and Lemuel, asked him whether the principles of the gospel related to temporal things or only to spiritual things. They seem to have wanted to keep different parts of their lives separates, with their daily decisions being disconnected with their… Continue Reading →
When the apostle Paul struggled with feelings of inadequacy, the Lord reassured him with these words: “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). When Moroni expressed similar misgivings, the Lord responded with the same affirmation: “Fools mock, but they shall mourn; and my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they… Continue Reading →
Both John Whitmer and his brother Peter asked God many times what they could do which would be of the greatest worth. His response to both of them was the same: The thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people, that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest with… Continue Reading →
I’ve been thinking this week about a simple statement in an 1829 revelation directed to David Whitmer. After affirming who was speaking (“Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God”), the Lord affirmed whom He was talking to: And behold, thou art David, and thou art called to assist; which thing if… Continue Reading →
The central symbol in Lehi’s dream was “a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy” (1 Nephi 8:10) After eating some of the fruit, his greatest desire after that was to help others experience that same joy, beginning with his own family. When one of Lehi’s sons, Nephi, prayed to understand his father’s dream, he experienced a… Continue Reading →
The word “baptism” comes from the Greek word baptisma (βάπτισμα), which refers to dipping or submerging something. Jesus instructed His disciples on the American continent how to perform baptisms. They should stand in the water with the person being baptized, call the person by name, pronounce some specific words, and then “immerse them in the water,… Continue Reading →
In March, 2019, I studied 20 different names or titles of Jesus Christ which appear in the Book of Mormon. I was particularly interested in the way each name was used, both in the Book of Mormon and in the Bible.
In 2018, I wrote summaries of many of the sermons in the Book of Mormon. Each summary describes the setting, the purpose, an outline of the sermon’s content, and my takeaways from the sermon.
In 2019, I used the Book of Mormon to study 365 questions—one per day. Here is a list of those questions, grouped by category, with a link to the blog post for each question.