During the first three months of 2022, following he Come, Follow Me curriculum, I studied the book of Genesis, together with the books of Moses and Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price. I also incorporated the Book of Mormon into my study. Here are some of the lessons I learned, organized by topic:
1. God is mindful of each one of us.
God is neither bound by time nor by space. All things are present with Him, which means that He can be fully aware of our current circumstances and is willing to engage in the details of our lives. God sends angels to help us, just as He did for Abraham’s servant. Like Hagar, we can think of God as Lahai-Roi, “the One who lives and who sees me.” Like Rachel, God always remembers us, even when we feel forgotten. Sometimes, like Hagar, we have already been blessed but may not be aware of the blessing.
2. The Creation is evidence of God’s love.
We often associate God’s grace with blessings we expect in the future, like the resurrection. But God has already given us grace—unmerited blessings—by creating us and placing us in this beautiful world. It might also help to think of the Creation not as an event, but as a process. In a sense, we are still in the process of being created.
3. We have a divine heritage and destiny.
Birthrights are not exclusive. We have all received birthrights, and it is our opportunity to live up to those privileges. Like the sons of Jacob, each of us has unique gifts and attributes, which we can use for good if we choose.
Additionally, God will lead us to promised lands, where we will have opportunities to grow and to bless others. It’s okay if we feel like sojourners, or temporary residents of those promised lands, because there are greater blessings and opportunities in our future.
4. Faith is focused on the future.
We can trust God’s promises. In fact, those who have “exceedingly great faith” see God’s promises as already fulfilled. Faith inspires us to look toward the future, not cling to the past like Lot’s wife. It takes faith to honor the inspiration received by others and to recognize that adversity may be forging iron into our souls. Above all, we must remember that we cannot lift ourselves to heaven without God’s help.
5. God can help us overcome spiritual death.
The Fall of Adam and Eve removed us from God’s presence, but holy places can narrow that distance. As we wrestle with ourselves before Him, He will help us change. Candidly admitting our mistakes, like Eve and Adam, is a good first step. It’s also important to remember that spiritual rebirth is a process, not an event, so we should be patient with our own gradual growth and not be too hard on ourselves or too impatient with others.
6. Covenants strengthen our relationship with God.
God invites us to enter a special relationship with Him through covenants. In fact, all believers can inherit the promises God made to Abraham. After entering into that relationship, it is important to follow through on the commitments we make—to stay on the covenant path.
7. Perspective helps us make wiser decisions.
We can avoid being paralyzed by fear if we make eternity our covering, as Abraham did. Like Noah, we can seek out good sources of information and honestly assess the limits of our knowledge. Spending time with God’s creations can expand our perspective, as can keeping a book of remembrance. Wholesome laughter and appropriate rest can also be helpful.
8. We should live together in love.
When we are immersed in God’s love, we will want to foster unity with others. We may even see His face in their faces, as Jacob did with his brother Esau. We should strive to lift burdens and to break yokes. We should appreciate the people we love, savor the time we have with them, and openly express our affection for them. Above all, we should remember that we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keeper.
9. Women and men complement each other.
Just as Eve was “meet” for Adam, women and men ought to seek out and value one another’s insights and contributions. It’s okay if spouses don’t always see eye to eye; the process of becoming united takes time. But we can cleave to one another by finding ways to serve each other and by prioritizing our spouse’s happiness above our own.
10. Parents should be mindful of their children.
Like the Patriarchs and the Matriarchs, we need to be present in our children’s lives, and focus on helping them achieve their full potential.