- Mormon 1-6: “I Would That I Could Persuade All…to Repent” (October 26-November 1)
Jesus stands with open arms to receive us. The tragedy is that we fail to receive so many of the blessings He offers us. One reason we fail to receive them is because we take too much credit for our own accomplishments. Another is because we are unwilling to change. A third is because we feel enmity toward other people, which drives away the Spirit of the Lord.
Mormon 1-6 tells the story of a nation that was destroyed because they refused to repent. The tragedy is that their Savior, whom they rejected, “stood with open arms to receive [them]” (Mormon 6:17). If they had only been willing to follow him, they would have been “clasped in the arms of Jesus” (Mormon 5:11).
Still, through all their stubbornness, boasting, and ugly vengefulness, a clear-eyed and spiritually grounded prophet continued to work with them, to warn them, and even to lead their armies. Even as he compiled a history of his people for the benefit of future generations, Mormon participated meaningfully in the final chapter of that history. And even though he perceived that “the day of grace was passed with them” (Mormon 2:15), he continued to serve them, to fight with them, and to pray for them. Why? Because he “loved them…with all [his] heart” Mormon 3:12.)
And he knew that God loved them too. After chronicling the death of 23,000 people in a single battle and acknowledging that his civilization was gone, Mormon ends chapter 6 by looking ahead to the final judgment which each one of us will one day experience. But he doesn’t characterize it as a harsh judgment. He characterizes it as an accurate and a benevolent judgment. The final word in chapter 6 is “mercy.”
Here are some of the principles I’ve learned from Mormon 1-6:
God’s enduring love
- God is willing to help us overcome every challenge we face: With Open Arms – Mormon 6:17-20.
- The Atonement of Jesus Christ can be visualized as the embrace of a loving God: That They Might Have Been Clasped in the Arms of Jesus – Mormon 5:10-11.
- God will do almost anything to persuade us to repent, but He will not override our agency: What Are the Roles of Persuasion and Punishment in Motivating Good Behavior?
Three impediments to receiving God’s blessings
- When we speak of our accomplishments, we should not overstate our own contribution to our success. We should give appropriate credit to other people and to God: Is It Wrong to Boast?
- Repentance = change. Damnation = halted progress. Therefore, it is a simple statement of fact that those who refuse to repent will be damned: The Sorrowing of the Damned / They Began to Boast in Their Own Strength – Mormon 2:12-13, 3:9-11.
- We must overcome our instinctive desire to make other people pay for the harm they cause: What Is the Meaning of the Phrase “Vengeance Is Mine?”
- We should strive to be aware and responsive: I Perceive That Thou Art…Quick to Observe – Mormon 1:2-5.
- We will make wiser decisions if we choose to be governed by reason, not by emotion: What Does It Mean to Be Sober?
- When we are discouraged, we can reset our expectations and act upon what we can control: How Can I Teach My Children to Be Resilient?
- In a time of instability and insecurity, we must be spiritually anchored in order to survive: It Was One Complete Revolution – Mormon 2:8
For ten years, from AD 350 to AD 360, the Nephites fought no battles. Their leader, Mormon, spent that decade preparing for the conflicts to come. Like Captain Moroni, he led his people “in preparing their lands and their arms against the time of battle” (Mormon 3:1). (See Alma 50:1-6.) But unlike Captain Moroni, Mormon… Continue Reading →
Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. Jeremiah 17:5 I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his… Continue Reading →
The Savior made an incredible set of promises to the three disciples who wanted to remain on earth until His Second Coming. He told them that they would never taste of death. He promised that they would not feel pain. He even told them that they would not feel sorrow “save it be for the… Continue Reading →
The people who interacted with the resurrected Savior on the American continent lived together in unity for the rest of their lives. Their children and grandchildren followed their examples and enjoyed the blessings of a harmonious society. “There were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another.” This… Continue Reading →
Near the beginning of the Book of Revelation, the apostle John quotes the Savior making the following promise: Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out. Revelation 3:12 There’s a sense of durability and reliability in this description. This person has “endured… Continue Reading →
After the Savior ministered to a group of people on the American continent for three days, Mormon tell us that He continued to visit them. “He did show himself unto them oft, and did break bread oft, and bless it, and give it unto them” (3 Nephi 26:13). One of those visits occurred as His… Continue Reading →
Four times in the book of 4 Nephi, we read that there was no contention among the people the Savior had visited on the American continent following His death and resurrection. In AD 35 (2 years following His visit): “There were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with… Continue Reading →
After specifying the name of the church and summarizing the core principles of the gospel for His twelve disciples, the Savior explained what He expected from them as leaders. “Ye know the things that ye must do in my church,” He said; “for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also… Continue Reading →
To expound something is to explain it in detail (Oxford English Dictionary). During His ministry on the American continent, the Savior expounded the scriptures to the people. He expounded the words of Isaiah and Micah (3 Nephi 20-22; see 3 Nephi 23:6). He expounded the words of Malachi (3 Nephi 24:1). He identified connections and… Continue Reading →
On the first day of the Savior’s ministry on the American continent, He invited all of the children to come forward. After offering a sublime prayer which filled His listeners with joy, “he took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them” (3 Nephi 17:21). The next… Continue Reading →
When we become “the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters” (Mosiah 5:7), we also become “heirs of God” (Romans 8:17). An heir is a person who inherits something. The inheritance may consist of property or other advantages. Another word for inheritance is “heritage,” but that word has additional connotations. Your heritage includes not… Continue Reading →
The Savior quoted several passages from Isaiah during His ministry on the American continent. In one of those passages, God speaks to Israel, promising that, even if they feel abandoned now, it won’t last long: For a small moment have I forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid… 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.