There is a cryptic passage near the beginning of the book of Genesis. After listing ten generations from Adam to Noah, the author quotes the Lord as saying: My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.Genesis 6:3 What does that mean? It sounds like an... Continue Reading →
On the surface, the word "law" sounds like something that is imposed upon us, something that we are forced to obey, on pain of punishment. Book of Mormon prophets do in fact emphasize that there are consequences for disobeying the law. Lehi describes "the punishment which is affixed," in contrast with "the happiness which is... Continue Reading →
“The Least Degree of Allowance” – Alma 45:16
At the end of Alma's life, he held a final interview with his son Helaman. He asked Helaman to reaffirm his belief in Jesus Christ and the words of the scriptures and to recommit to obey the commandments which Alma had taught. He prophesied of dark times ahead, including the complete destruction of the Nephite... Continue Reading →
Statutes, Judgments, and Commandments
What are the "statutes," the "judgments," and the "commandments" of the Lord? Why are those words so often combined? For example, in Helaman's letter to Captain Moroni, he praises the two thousand stripling soldiers in these words: They have received many wounds; nevertheless they stand fast in that liberty wherewith God has made them free;... Continue Reading →
Laws and Lawyers
When King Mosiah introduced a new form of government, he distinguished between the law and the people who administer it. The problem with monarchy is that it is too easy for the king to change the law (Mosiah 29:22-23). But when leaders are chosen by "the voice of the people," they can be held accountable... Continue Reading →
What Does the Book of Mormon Affirm?
This is the second in a series of posts answering a set of questions recommended by President Russell M. Nelson. In yesterday's post, I discussed what the Book of Mormon is. Today, I will discuss what the Book of Mormon affirms. The Book of Mormon affirms many truths. As I've pondered this question today, I've... Continue Reading →
What Does It Mean to Serve God “with All Diligence of Mind?”
The people of King Limhi had every reason to feel hopeless. Their enemies, the Lamanites, had conquered their city. They were required to pay half of all they possessed as tribute to the Lamanite king (Mosiah 19:26). Three times, they had attacked the Lamanite armies, hoping to regain their freedom. Three times, they had been... Continue Reading →
What Does It Mean to Have the Commandments Written in Our Hearts?
The prophet Abinadi read the Ten Commandments to the priests of King Noah. They were all familiar with these commandments. They had probably all preached sermons about them. But Abinadi thought they needed to hear them again. Why? "I perceive that they are not written in your hearts," he said (Mosiah 13:11). What does it... Continue Reading →
What Does It Mean to “Fulfill” God’s Commandments?
Fulfill (or fulfil) - put into effect, meet the requirements of, measure up to, bring to an end, develop the full potentialities of, convert to reality (Merriam-Webster Dictionary) I wrote last week about the concept of "keeping" God's commandments. A friend of mine pointed out that in Spanish, the word "keep" is sometimes translated "guardar" (to... Continue Reading →
What Is the Relationship Between Obedience and Agency?
Agency - the capacity, condition, or state of acting or of exerting power (Merriam-Webster, 2nd definition). Obedience - Compliance with an order, request, or law or submission to another's authority (Oxford English Dictionary) The terms "agency" and "agent" do not appear in the Book of Mormon, but the principle is pervasive: We are agents. God... Continue Reading →