During August, I studied sermons in the Book of Mormon that were given to family members: siblings or sons. Some of these sermons had an audience of one. Yet they stand today in the Book of Mormon alongside sermons delivered to large gatherings. There’s a message in this. Heavenly Father loves all of His children and wants us all to have the opportunity to receive the blessings of the gospel. Teaching in the home can be more important and more impactful than teaching in more public settings.
Here is a list of the sermons I studied:
- Lehi’s sermon to his sons after sharing his dream (1 Nephi 10)
- Nephi’s sermons to his brothers (1 Nephi 7, 15, 17, 20-22)
- Lehi’s sermon to Laman and Lemuel (2 Nephi 1)
- Lehi’s sermon to Jacob (2 Nephi 2)
- Lehi’s sermon to Joseph (2 Nephi 3)
- Lehi’s sermon to the children of Laman and Lemuel (2 Nephi 4)
- King Benjamin’s sermon to his sons (Mosiah 1)
- Ammon’s sermon to his brothers near the end of their mission (Alma 26)
- Alma’s sermon to Helaman (Alma 36-37)
- Alma’s sermon to Shiblon (Alma 38)
- Alma’s sermon to Corianton (Alma 39-42)
- Helaman’s sermon to his sons (Helaman 5)
- Mormon’s first epistle to Moroni (Moroni 8)
- Mormon’s second epistle to Moroni (Moroni 9)
Here are some of the lessons I learned from these fourteen sermons:
1. Agency is more than a principle. It’s a lifestyle.
When Lehi taught Jacob about opposition and agency, he wasn’t just explaining a true principle. He was encouraging Jacob to be an agent, to speak up, to be active, to make things happen. Likewise, when he taught Laman and Lemuel, his message was to wake up, arise from the dust, and remove the chains that were holding them back. As Alma explained to Helaman, small actions can have enormous consequences, so we shouldn’t think that we have to do big and dramatic things to be impactful.
Also, if we really believe that God can perform miracles in our lives, we ought to act like it. Don’t give up when things get difficult. God can work miracles through us if we keep going, and if we patiently defer to His timing.
Knowledge is a prerequisite to making good decisions, so we should put effort into acquiring knowledge. We can receive answers to our questions by not hardening our hearts and asking in faith, while obeying God’s commandments.
2. God will prosper us in many ways if we are obedient to Him.
To prosper means more than simply to succeed financially. It includes physical health, good relationships, and the companionship of the Spirit of the Lord. If we obey God, He will give us both peace and power. He will bring us “out of darkness unto light.”
We need to remember that, when we are passing through a wilderness, God has not forgotten us. He will lead us safely to our promised land. Therefore, we must not allow negative news, either global or in our immediate surroundings, to weaken our resolve or to distract us from our goals.
3. Our Mediator is not impartial. He has our best interests at heart.
Unlike a human mediator, the Savior is not impartial. He is on our side, and He has made great sacrifices on our behalf. He will lift us up when we fall. His redeeming power is always available to us.
In order to access that power, we need to open our hearts to Him. We need to become like little children. When we really understand His Atonement, we will be motivated to repent, in order to receive His saving power.
4. Remembering how God has blessed us and others in the past helps us to have faith in Him today.
Both Nephi and Alma emphasized the importance of remembering past spiritual experiences. Helaman and Mormon both taught their sons that they can avoid discouragement by continuing to focus on the Savior.
The scriptures can enlarge our memory and strengthen our faith, particularly if we act as though we believe that they are really relevant to us. The scriptures also help us learn to recognize the voice of the Lord.
If we pay attention, we will recognize God’s miracles in our lives.