Monthly Archives: May 2017

#BOMTC 3 Nephi 20-21: The Book that Gathers the Scattered

During the second day of His ministry among the righteous inhabitants of America, Jesus Christ again administered the sacrament to the people; and this time in a miraculous manner. The Resurrected Lord also testified that in the latter days the Father would fulfill His covenant to gather Israel and bless all the nations of the earth. Israel would be gathered, and all the nations of the earth would be blessed. As Jesus Christ continued to teach the people who had gathered, He also explained that the coming forth of the Book of Mormon in the last days would be a sign that the Father had begun to fulfill this covenant.

#BOMTC Day 71, June 16~3 Nephi 20-21 or Pages 447-452, Book of Mormon in Different Languages (1)

In the short video clip below Elder Russell M. Nelson talks about how the Book of Mormon gathers scattered Israel (see 3 Nephi 21:1–7).

The Book of Mormon Gathers Scattered Israel

“The Book of Mormon is central to this work. It declares the doctrine of the gathering. It causes people to learn about Jesus Christ, to believe His gospel, and to join His Church. In fact, if there were no Book of Mormon, the promised gathering of Israel would not occur” (Elder Russell M. Nelson, “The Gathering of Scattered Israel,” Ensign, Nov. 2006, 80).

#BOMTC Day 71, June 16~3 Nephi 20-21 or Pages 447-452, Book of Mormon in German

Think of someone with whom you can share your testimony of Jesus Christ, the Book of Mormon, the Restoration of the gospel, and the mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith to help this person receive the blessings of the restored gospel.

#BOMTC Day 71, June 16~3 Nephi 20-21 or Pages 447-452, book-of-mormon-share

Ponder how you can encourage others to come to the Lord, including those who were previously faithful in the gospel but no longer are.

#BOMTC Day 71, June 16~3 Nephi 20-21 or Pages 447-452, Another Testament of Jesus Christ

The video below is a powerful illustration of what can happen as people “discover” the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.

A Book of Mormon Story

A young bishop in England describes how the Book of Mormon came to life for him and changed his perspective forever. (5:15)

For many of you who are reading along with the Book of Mormon Translation (‪#‎BOMTC‬) Challenge, I’m sure you’ve had your eyes opened and your hearts touched by certain verses of scripture that you perhaps hadn’t appreciated before. Wouldn’t it be great if we could help gather scattered Israel by simply showing the world what’s in this book?

#BOMTC Day 71, June 16~3 Nephi 20-21 or Pages 447-452, I LOVE the Book of Mormon

The YouTube channel, “I Love the Book of Mormon” (“LIKE” the Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/ilovethebookofmormon. I think you will “LIKE” it!) has the goal of opening up the words of the Book of Mormon to the world – one verse at a time. 

People from around the world record a short video reading their favorite verse and sharing how it’s impacted them. There are over 100 videos up already, and they hope to add thousands more, but could use your help! By doing this, people can hear the words of the Book of Mormon and feel the power it contains.

President Ezra Taft Benson said:

“The time is long overdue for a massive flooding of the earth with the Book of Mormon for the many reasons which the Lord has given. In this age of the electronic media and the mass distribution of the printed word, God will hold us accountable if we do not now move the Book of Mormon in a monumental way.” (“Flooding the Earth with the Book of Mormon“, CR, Oct. 1988)

Will you help gather scattered Israel by flooding the earth with the Book of Mormon, one verse at a time? Please check out the intro video to find out how to get involved. Let’s help gather the scattered!

“I Love The Book of Mormon Challenge”

Please leave your thoughts about a special verse, teaching, etc. that you enjoyed at one of the following:

REPLY at the bottom of each post at: bookofmormontranslationchallenge.wordpress.com
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JOIN our Facebook group and share at: facebook.com/groups/BookOfMormonTranslationChallenge
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#BOMTC 3 Nephi 17-19: One By One

I am always profoundly touched by this part of the Book of Mormon. It is at this point that the Resurrected Lord announces to the people of the land that it is time for Him to leave and show Himself unto the lost tribes of Israel. As He does so, the people “look steadfastly upon Him as if they woud ask Him to tarry a little longer with them.” What happens next would surprise us, except for the fact that it is exactly what we probably would expect the Savior to do. He stays! And He stays a lot longer than one might expect. Granted, in the account of the event it is only two chapters, but because of the sheer number of people (2,500) involved in what happens in those next two chapters, we can suspect that His stay was more lengthy.

What I love most about what is about to happen is not only what will happen, but HOW it will happen. As He heals the people, He heals them “every one“–one at a time. When He commands that the little children be brought to Him, “He took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them.” He institutes the Sacrament and instructs them. And before departing, He takes His disciples and, “touched with His hand the disciples whom He had chosen, one by one, even until He had touched them all, and spake unto them as He touched them.”

As you read these chapters, it is worth the effort to identify the word “one” and “all“. He made time for the individual, not just the multitude. What message do I learn from that?

HE HAS TIME FOR YOU AND ME; ALL THE TIME IN ETERNITY!

We just need to learn to ask Him to “tarry a little longer” with us.

Below are a few of my favorite paintings that depict the Savior as He, “took their little children, one by one”. As you examine them, I hope you will be reminded of how much He wants to have “one by one” experiences with YOU each day.

HAVE WE MADE TIME FOR HIM AS THESE PEOPLE DID?

I know that the Savior loves “ALL” of us, and wants to have experiences with each “ONE” of us on a daily basis.

One by One

Words by David A. Bednar
Music by Paul Cardall
Arranged by Ken Neff and Shauna Swainston

Download the mp3 audio file: Music and lyrics.

1. One by one, one by one.
Jesus, the Fa-ther’s Beloved Son—
One by one, one by one—
From the beginning said, “Thy will be done.”
Jesus Christ came to earth to fulfill God’s plan,
For He alone could atone as Savior of man.
The Lord blessed and beckoned them, “Come unto me,”
And willingly sacrificed to set us free.
One by one, one by one.
He suffered for us and victory won.
One by one, one by one.
We marvel at all His love has done,
One by one.
2. One by one, one by one.
Multitudes gathered and saw Him come.
One by one, one by one.
Each heard a voice declare, “Behold My Son.”
Jesus Christ came and stood in the midst of them.
They fell to the earth in great rev’rence for Him.
The Lord bid, “Arise, and come forth unto me.”
With hands they did feel and with eyes they did see.
One by one, one by one.
Each knew and bore record, He is our Lord.
One by one, one by one.
They cried “Hosanna” with one accord,
One by one.
3. One by one, one by one.
Christ looked around Him and saw their tears.
One by one, one by one.
In His compassion, He calmed their fears.
Jesus Christ healed each one brought forth unto Him.
Then He blessed each precious child and prayed for them.
The angels descended from heaven above,
Encircling those little ones; each felt His love.
One by one, one by one.
He intercedes for each daughter and son.
One by one, one by one.
Strength from His grace gives us pow’r to become,
One by one.

#BOMTC Day 70, June 15~3 Nephi 17-19 or Pages 441-446, Christ with the Children

#BOMTC Day 70, June 15~3 Nephi 17-19 or Pages 441-446, Christ with the Nephite Children

#BOMTC Day 70, June 15~3 Nephi 17-19 or Pages 441-446, Jesus-Christ-America-Nephites-Walter-Rane

#BOMTC Day 70, June 15~3 Nephi 17-19 or Pages 441-446, They Saw, Jesus Christ in America with the Children

#BOMTC Day 70, June 15~3 Nephi 17-19 or Pages 441-446-jesus-blesses-the-nephite-children

The following short video highlights this portrayal of the Savior’s visit to the inhabitants of ancient America, providing a unique view of His caring, compassion, and love for His children.

My Joy is Full

 Those who enjoy sacred music and verse may find the following two songs an uplifting addition to their study of this tender account. Each of them is entitled, “One by One”.

One by One

One by One (PDF)

Seminary Music: Book of Mormon

One. One by one, every one.

One by one we came to look upon the Lord.

And feast upon His word.

One by one.

One. One by one.

One by one we came.

The halt, the blind, the lame.

He healed us in his name.

One by one.

He spoke what no tongue can speak

What ear hath not heard before.

We saw what no eyes hath seen;

The joys of eternity

Ah Then he blessed our little ones.

And we were overcome, everyone.

Alleluia,  Alleluia, Alleluia,

Alleluia, Oh Gloria.

One.  One by one everyone.

One by one we came to look upon our Lord.

Text:  Steven K. Jones

Music:  Sam Cardon

Arranged By:  Brian Jensen

Artist:  Selected members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

One by One

#BOMTC Day 70, June 15~3 Nephi 17-19 or Pages 441-446, One by One Song

The following talk by Elder Ronald A. Rasband illustrates well the Savior’s desire to minister to each of us “one by one”,  and shows us how we can apply the “one by one” principle to our own life and ministry.

“One by One”

– Ronald A. Rasband

Throughout my life, I have come to know through my own experiences that Heavenly Father hears and answers our personal prayers. I know that Jesus is the living Christ and that He knows each of us individually, or as the scriptures express it, “one by one.”

This sacred assurance is taught compassionately by the Savior Himself in His appearance to the people of Nephi. We read of this in 3 Nephi, chapter 11, verse 15:

“And it came to pass that the multitude went forth, and thrust their hands into his side, and did feel the prints of the nails in his hands and in his feet; and this they did do, going forth one by one until they had all gone forth” (3 Ne. 11:15; emphasis added).

To further illustrate the “one by one” nature of our Savior’s ministry, we read in 3 Nephi, chapter 17, verse 9:

“And it came to pass that when he had thus spoken, all the multitude, with one accord, did go forth with their sick and their afflicted, and their lame, and with their blind, and with their dumb, and with all them that were afflicted in any manner; and he did heal them every one as they were brought forth unto him” (3 Ne. 17:9; emphasis added).

We then read of the special blessing given to the precious children in verse 21: “And when he had said these words, he wept, and the multitude bare record of it, and he took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them” (3 Ne. 17:21; emphasis added).

This was not a small gathering. In verse 25 [3 Ne. 17:25] we read: “And they were in number about two thousand and five hundred souls; and they did consist of men, women, and children.”

Certainly, there is a very profound and tender personal message here. Jesus Christ ministers to, and loves us all, one by one.

As we reflect on our Savior’s way of loving, we sustain you dedicated stake and ward leaders, men and women of great faith. We gratefully recognize the many efforts of those of you working with the youth. And we express great appreciation to our caring Primary leaders and teachers for your Christlike service. We consider each of your one-by-one ministries and say thank you and please, please continue. Perhaps never in the history of mankind do we need to be serving on a one-by-one basis more than we do now.

During the final months of our mission last year, we experienced an event that taught once again this profound principle that each of us is known and loved by God.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell was coming to New York City for some Church business, and we were informed that he would also like to have a mission conference. We were so pleased to have this opportunity to hear from one of the Lord’s chosen servants. I was asked to select one of our missionaries to provide the opening prayer for the meeting. I might have randomly picked one of the missionaries to pray, but felt to ponder and prayerfully select one whom the Lord would have me ask. In going through the missionary roster, a name boldly stood out to me: Elder Joseph Appiah of Accra, Ghana. He was the one I felt the Lord wanted to pray at the meeting.

Prior to the mission conference, I was having a regularly scheduled interview with Elder Appiah and told him of the prompting that I had received for him to pray. With amazement and humility in his eyes, he began to weep deeply. Somewhat surprised by his reaction, I started to tell him that it was all right and he wouldn’t have to pray, when he informed me he would love to offer the prayer, that his emotion was caused by the love he has for Elder Maxwell. He told me that this Apostle is very special to the Saints in Ghana and to his own family. Elder Maxwell had called his father to be the district president in Accra and had sealed his mother and father in the Salt Lake Temple.

Now, I didn’t know any of what I just related about this missionary or his family, but the Lord did and inspired a mission president on behalf of onemissionary to provide a lifelong memory and testimony-building experience.

At the meeting, Elder Appiah offered a wonderful prayer and made a humble contribution to a meeting where Elder Maxwell taught the missionaries of the attributes of Jesus Christ. All who were there will never forget the feelings of love they experienced for their Savior.

I have a testimony in my heart, brothers and sisters, that God, our Heavenly Father, and Jesus Christ know and love us individually. I’m not sure I fully understand how, I just know and have experienced that They do. I urge all of us in our own ministries, to our families and to our fellowman, to embrace the Savior’s warm invitation to come unto Him, one by one, and be perfected in Him.

I share this witness and hope, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Please leave your thoughts about a special verse, teaching, etc. that you enjoyed at one of the following:

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#BOMTC 3 Nephi 14-16: To Judge, or Not to Judge

JUDGING: It’s a pretty delicate topic, right?

I don’t want to create any confusion, contention, or conflicted feelings when people are done reading this post; so I will make sure that I don’t share my own opinion, but rather present the message the Lord has already given on this topic through His Authorized Servants and Sacred Sources.

I will share MANY resources today, not just because judging can be a sensitive topic, but mostly because it is such an IMPORTANT topic to understand. It is well worth our time to read/watch/listen to whatever the Lord has taught us about judging.

Through the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord revealed the following admonition to each of us:

“Now these are the words which Jesus taught his disciples that they should say unto the people. Judge not unrighteously, that ye be not judged; but judge righteous judgment.” (Joseph Smith Translation Matt. 7:1–2)

You will probably want to make sure that you have that footnote marked in your scriptures for Matthew 7:1-2, and you may want to include a reference for it at 3 Nephi 14:1-2.

Okay, so now what? Well, it seems to me that Christ illustrates exactly what he is talking about in 3 Nephi 14–ALL 27 verses. Pay attention to some of the words that are used by Jesus in this very chapter that show how He describes different types of people:

  • hypocrite
  • dogs
  • swine
  • false prophets
  • ravening wolves
  • corrupt tree
  • ye that work iniquity
  • foolish man

At first it may seem strange to us that Jesus, the one who is love, would use such words to describe others, but that is exactly what He did. He taught us how to make “righteous judgment” (intermediate judgment), while at the same time withholding “final judgement”.

#BOMTC Day 69, June 14~3 Nephi 14-16 or Pages 435-440, Mote VS Beam (1)

3 Nephi 13:3-5

Learning to make righteous intermediate judgment is so important because if we don’t we will suffer the consequences that the Savior also spoke of in these verses:

“lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you, which leadeth to destruction, cast into the fire, depart from me, and great was the fall of it.”

So out of all the topics in 3 Nephi 14-16, I feel that the most important thing that I can do is share MANY resources with you that will help you to understand and learn to make righteous intermediate judgments.

PLEASE, take your time to try and understand EVERYTHING included in this post before you pass judgment on it and send angry comments my way. My desire is not to cause problems or create controversy. I just want to help all of us understand how to do exactly what Jesus has asked us to do, so that we can be like those in this chapter whom He judged as being a “good tree” and a “wise man“.

So here we go! You may have to bookmark this page and come back to it later if you do not have a good amount of time to put some serious study into this soul-saving topic.

Lets begin with what has been posted on the TOPICS page on LDS.ORG under “Judging Others“:

“Judgment is an important use of our agency and requires great care, especially when we make judgments about other people. All our judgments must be guided by righteous standards. Only God, who knows each individual’s heart, can make final judgments of individuals.

“Sometimes people feel that it is wrong to judge others in any way. While it is true that we should not condemn others or judge them unrighteously, we will need to make judgments of ideas, situations, and people throughout our lives. The Lord has given many commandments that we cannot keep without making judgments. For example, He has said: “Beware of false prophets. . . . Ye shall know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:15-16) and “Go ye out from among the wicked” (D&C 38:42). We need to make judgments of people in many of our important decisions, such as choosing friends, voting for government leaders, and choosing a spouse.

“The Lord gave a warning to guide us in our judgment of others: “With what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother: Let me pull the mote out of thine eye—and behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast the mote out of thy brother’s eye” (3 Nephi 14:2-5).

#BOMTC Day 69, June 14~3 Nephi 14-16 or Pages 435-440, Mote VS Beam

“In this scripture passage the Lord teaches that a fault we see in another is often like a tiny speck in that person’s eye, compared to our own faults, which are like an enormous beam in our eyes. Sometimes we focus on others’ faults when we should instead be working to improve ourselves.

“Our righteous judgments about others can provide needed guidance for them and, in some cases, protection for us and our families. We should approach any such judgment with care and compassion. As much as we can, we should judge people’s situations rather than judging the people themselves. Whenever possible, we should refrain from making judgments until we have an adequate knowledge of the facts. And we should always be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, who can guide our decisions. Alma’s counsel to his son Corianton is a helpful reminder: “See that you are merciful unto your brethren; deal justly, judge righteously, and do good continually” (Alma 41:14).”

I love the simplicity and applicability of that entry!

The Guide to the Scriptures defines Judgement as to following: To evaluate behavior in relation to the principles of the gospel; to decide; to discern good from evil.” It also provides LOTS of scriptures that define, describe, and illustrate righteous intermediate judgment.

My next favorite resource that helps me understand how to make righteous intermediate judgement come from a talk by Elder Dallin H. Oaks, given on 1 March 1998 at Brigham Young University entitled, ““Judge Not” and Judging“. Something to keep in mind is that Elder Oaks served on the Supreme Court for the State of Utah, and that he spent is “professional life” studying, teaching, and practicing the law on which our society judges.

“Judge Not” and Judging

There are two kinds of judging: final judgments, which we are forbidden to make, and intermediate judgments, which we are directed to make, but upon righteous principles.

As a student of the scriptures and as a former judge, I have had a special interest in the many scriptures that refer to judging. The best known of these is “Judge not, that ye be not judged” (3 Ne. 14:1Matt. 7:1).

I have been puzzled that some scriptures command us not to judge and others instruct us that we should judge and even tell us how to do it. But as I have studied these passages I have become convinced that these seemingly contradictory directions are consistent when we view them with the perspective of eternity. The key is to understand that there are two kinds of judging: final judgments, which we are forbidden to make, and intermediate judgments, which we are directed to make, but upon righteous principles. I will speak about gospel judging.

Final Judgments

First, I speak of the final judgment. This is that future occasion in which all of us will stand before the judgment seat of Christ to be judged according to our works (see 1 Ne. 15:333 Ne. 27:15Morm. 3:20D&C 19:3). Some Christians look on this as the time when individuals are assigned to heaven or hell. With the increased understanding we have received from the Restoration, Latter-day Saints understand the final judgment as the time when all mankind will receive their personal dominions in the mansions prepared for them in the various kingdoms of glory (see D&C 76:111John 14:21 Cor. 15:40–44). I believe that the scriptural command to “judge not” refers most clearly to this final judgment, as in the Book of Mormon declaration that “man shall not … judge; for judgment is mine, saith the Lord” (Morm. 8:20).

Since mortals cannot suppose that they will be acting as final judges at that future, sacred time, why did the Savior command that we not judge final judgments? I believe this commandment was given because we presume to make final judgments whenever we proclaim that any particular person is going to hell (or to heaven) for a particular act or as of a particular time. When we do this—and there is great temptation to do so—we hurt ourselves and the person we pretend to judge.

The effect of one mortal’s attempting to pass final judgment on another mortal is analogous to the effect on an athlete and observers if we could proclaim the outcome of an athletic contest with certainty while it was still under way. A similar reason forbids our presuming to make final judgments on the outcome of any person’s lifelong mortal contest.

The Prophet Joseph Smith said: “While one portion of the human race is judging and condemning the other without mercy, the Great Parent of the universe looks upon the whole of the human family with a fatherly care and paternal regard; … He holds the reins of judgment in His hands; He is a wise Lawgiver, and will judge all men, … ‘not according to what they have not, but according to what they have,’ those who have lived without law, will be judged without law, and those who have a law, will be judged by that law” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 218).

Thus, we must refrain from making final judgments on people because we lack the knowledge and the wisdom to do so. We would even apply the wrong standards. The world’s way is to judge competitively between winners and losers. The Lord’s way of final judgment will be to apply His perfect knowledge of the law a person has received and to judge on the basis of that person’s circumstances, motives, and actions throughout his or her entire life (see Luke 12:47–48John 15:222 Ne. 9:25).

Even the Savior, during His mortal ministry, refrained from making final judgments. We see this in the account of the woman taken in adultery. After the crowd who intended to stone her had departed, Jesus asked her about her accusers. “Hath no man condemned thee?” (John 8:10). When she answered no, Jesus declared, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more” (John 8:11). In this context the word condemn apparently refers to the final judgment (see John 3:17).

The Lord obviously did not justify the woman’s sin. He simply told her that He did not condemn her—that is, He would not pass final judgment on her at that time. This interpretation is confirmed by what He then said to the Pharisees: “Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man” (John 8:15). The woman taken in adultery was granted time to repent, time that would have been denied by those who wanted to stone her.

The Savior gave this same teaching on another occasion: “And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world” (John 12:47).

From all of this we see that the final judgment is the Lord’s and that mortals must refrain from judging any human being in the final sense of concluding or proclaiming that he or she is irretrievably bound for hell or has lost all hope of exaltation.

Intermediate Judgments

In contrast to forbidding mortals to make final judgments, the scriptures require mortals to make what I will call “intermediate judgments.” These judgments are essential to the exercise of personal moral agency. Our scriptural accounts of the Savior’s mortal life provide the pattern. He declared, “I have many things to say and to judge of you” (John 8:26) and “For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see” (John 9:39).

During His mortal ministry the Savior made and acted upon many intermediate judgments, such as when He told the Samaritan woman of her sinful life (see John 4:17–19), when He rebuked the scribes and Pharisees for their hypocrisy (see Matt. 15:1–9Matt. 23:1–33), and when He commented on the comparative merit of the offerings of the rich men and of the widow’s mites (see Mark 12:41–44).

Church leaders are specifically commanded to judge. Thus, the Lord said to Alma: “Whosoever transgresseth against me, him shall ye judge according to the sins which he has committed; and if he confess his sins before thee and me, and repenteth in the sincerity of his heart, him shall ye forgive, and I will forgive him also. …

“… And whosoever will not repent of his sins the same shall not be numbered among my people” (Mosiah 26:29, 32).

Similarly, in modern revelation the Lord appointed the bishop to be a “judge in Israel” to judge over property and transgressions (D&C 58:17;D&C 107:72).

The Savior also commanded individuals to be judges, both of circumstances and of other people. Through the prophet Moses, the Lord commanded Israel, “Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour” (Lev. 19:15).

On one occasion the Savior chided the people, “Why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?” (Luke 12:57). On another occasion he said, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24).

We must, of course, make judgments every day in the exercise of our moral agency, but we must be careful that our judgments of people are intermediate and not final. Thus, our Savior’s teachings contain many commandments we cannot keep without making intermediate judgments of people: “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine” (Matt. 7:6); “Beware of false prophets. … Ye shall know them by their fruits” (Matt. 7:15–16); and “Go ye out from among the wicked” (D&C 38:42).

We all make judgments in choosing our friends, in choosing how we will spend our time and our money, and, of course, in choosing an eternal companion. Some of these intermediate judgments are surely among those the Savior referenced when He taught that “the weightier matters of the law” include judgment (Matt. 23:23).

The scriptures not only command or contemplate that we will make intermediate judgments but also give us some guidance—some governing principles—on how to do so.

Righteous Intermediate Judgment

The most fundamental principle is contained in the Savior’s commandment that we “judge not unrighteously, … but judge righteous judgment” (JST, Matt. 7:1–2, footnote a; see also John 7:24Alma 41:14). Let us consider some principles or ingredients that lead to a “righteous judgment.”

First, a righteous judgment must, by definition, be intermediate. It will refrain from declaring that a person has been assured of exaltation or from dismissing a person as being irrevocably bound for hellfire. It will refrain from declaring that a person has forfeited all opportunity for exaltation or even all opportunity for a useful role in the work of the Lord. The gospel is a gospel of hope, and none of us is authorized to deny the power of the Atonement to bring about a cleansing of individual sins,forgiveness, and a reformation of life on appropriate conditions.

Second, a righteous judgment will be guided by the Spirit of the Lord, not by anger, revenge, jealousy, or self-interest. The Book of Mormon teaches: “For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain … as the daylight is from the dark night.

“For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil” (Moro. 7:15–16).

The Savior taught that one of the missions of the Comforter He would send would be to assist in the judgment of the world by guiding the faithful “into all truth” (John 16:13; see also John 16:8, 11).

Third, to be righteous, an intermediate judgment must be within our stewardship. We should not presume to exercise and act upon judgments that are outside our personal responsibilities. Some time ago I attended an adult Sunday School class in a small town in Utah. The subject was thesacrament, and the class was being taught by the bishop. During class discussion a member asked, “What if you see an unworthy person partaking of the sacrament? What do you do?” The bishop answered, “You do nothing. I may need to do something.” That wise answer illustrates my point about stewardship in judging.

Fourth, we should, if possible, refrain from judging until we have adequate knowledge of the facts. In an essay titled “Sitting in the Seat of Judgment,” the great essayist William George Jordan reminded us that character cannot be judged as dress goods—by viewing a sample yard to represent a whole bolt of cloth (see The Crown of Individuality [1909], 101–5).

In another essay he wrote: “There is but one quality necessary for the perfect understanding of character, one quality that, if man have it, he may dare to judge—that is, omniscience. Most people study character as a proofreader pores over a great poem: his ears are dulled to the majesty and music of the lines, his eyes are darkened to the magic imagination of the genius of the author; that proofreader is busy watching for an inverted comma, a misspacing, or a wrong font letter. He has an eye trained for the imperfections, the weaknesses. …

“We do not need to judge nearly so much as we think we do. This is the age of snap judgments. … [We need] the courage to say, ‘I don’t know. I am waiting further evidence. I must hear both sides of the question.’ It is this suspended judgment that is the supreme form of charity” (“The Supreme Charity of the World,” The Kingship of Self-Control [n.d.], 27–30; emphasis in original).

Someone has said that you cannot slice cheese so fine that it doesn’t have two sides.

Two experiences illustrate the importance of caution in judging. A Relief Society worker visiting a sister in her ward asked whether the woman’s married children ever visited her. Because of a short-term memory loss, this elderly sister innocently answered no. So informed, her visitor and others spoke criticisms of her children for neglecting their mother. In fact, one of her children visited her at least daily, and all of them helped her in many ways. They were innocent of neglect and should not have been judged on the basis of an inadequate knowledge of the facts.

Another such circumstance was described in an Ensign article by BYU professor Arthur R. Bassett. He stated that while teaching an institute class, “I was troubled when one person whispered to another all through the opening prayer. The guilty parties were not hard to spot because they continued whispering all through the class. I kept glaring at them, hoping that they would take the hint, but they didn’t seem to notice. Several times during the hour, I was tempted to ask them to take their conversation outside if they felt it was so urgent—but fortunately something kept me from giving vent to my feelings.

“After the class, one of them came to me and apologized that she hadn’t explained to me before class that her friend was deaf. The friend could read lips, but since I was discussing—as I often do—with my back to the class, writing at the chalkboard and talking over my shoulder, my student had been ‘translating’ for her friend, telling her what I was saying. To this day I am thankful that both of us were spared the embarrassment that might have occurred had I given vent to a judgment made without knowing the facts” (“Floods, Winds, and the Gates of Hell,” Ensign, June 1991, 8).

The scriptures give a specific caution against judging where we cannot know all the facts. King Benjamin taught:

“Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—

“But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God. …

“And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance” (Mosiah 4:17–18, 22).

There is one qualification to this principle that we should not judge people without an adequate knowledge of the facts. Sometimes urgent circumstances require us to make preliminary judgments before we can get all of the facts we desire for our decision making.

From time to time some diligent defenders deny this reality, such as the writer of a letter to the editor who insisted that certain publicly reported conduct should be ignored because “in this country you are innocent until you are proven guilty.” The presumption of innocence until proven guilty in a court of law is a vital rule to guide the conduct of a criminal trial, but it is not a valid restraint on personal decisions. There are important restraints upon our intermediate judgments, but the presumption of innocence is not one of them.

Some personal decisions must be made before we have access to all of the facts. Two hypotheticals illustrate this principle: (1) If a particular person has been arrested for child sexual abuse and is free on bail awaiting trial on his guilt or innocence, would you trust him to tend your children while you take a weekend trip? (2) If a person you have trusted with your property has been indicted for embezzlement, would you continue to leave him in charge of your life savings? In such circumstances we do the best we can, relying ultimately on the teaching in modern scripture that we should put our “trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good—yea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously” (D&C 11:12).

fifth principle of a righteous intermediate judgment is that whenever possible we will refrain from judging people and only judge situations. This is essential whenever we attempt to act upon different standards than others with whom we must associate—at home, at work, or in the community. We can set and act upon high standards for ourselves or our homes without condemning those who do otherwise.

For example, I know of an LDS family with an older teenage son who has become addicted to smoking. The parents have insisted that he not smoke in their home or in front of his younger siblings. That is a wise judgment of a situation, not a person. Then, even as the parents take protective measures pertaining to a regrettable situation, they need to maintain loving relations and encourage improved conduct by the precious person.

In an Ensign article, an anonymous victim of childhood sexual abuse illustrates the contrast between judging situations and judging persons. The article begins with heart-wrenching words and with true statements of eternal principles:

“I am a survivor of childhood physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. I no longer view myself as a victim. The change has come from inside me—my attitude. I do not need to destroy myself with anger and hate. I don’t need to entertain thoughts of revenge. My Savior knows what happened. He knows the truth. He can make the judgments and the punishments. He will be just. I will leave it in his hands. I will not be judged for what happened to me, but I will be judged by how I let it affect my life. I am responsible for my actions and what I do with my knowledge. I am not to blame for what happened to me as a child. I cannot change the past. But I can change the future. I have chosen to heal myself and pass on to my children what I have learned. The ripples in my pond will spread through future generations” (“The Journey to Healing,” Ensign, Sept. 1997, 19).

Sixth,forgiveness is a companion principle to the commandment that in final judgments we judge not and in intermediate judgments we judge righteously. The Savior taught, “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven” (Luke 6:37). In modern revelation the Lord has declared, “I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men” (D&C 64:10).

Pursuing that principle, the author of the Ensign article writes: “Somewhere along the journey of healing comes the essential task of forgiving. Often the command to forgive (see D&C 64:10) seems almost more than one can bear, but this eternal principle can bring lasting peace.”

The Ensign article quotes another survivor of abuse: “I love that truth that although I need to evaluate situations, … I do not need to condemn or judge my abusers nor be part of the punishment. I leave all that to the Lord. I used the principle of forgiveness to strengthen me” (Ensign, Sept. 1997, 22).

Seventh, a final ingredient or principle of a righteous judgment is that it will apply righteous standards. If we apply unrighteous standards, our judgment will be unrighteous. By falling short of righteous standards, we place ourselves in jeopardy of being judged by incorrect or unrighteous standards ourselves. The fundamental scripture on the whole subject of not judging contains this warning: “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again” (Matt. 7:2; see also 3 Ne. 14:2).

The prophet Mormon taught, “Seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged” (Moro. 7:18).

A standard can be unrighteous because it is too harsh—the consequences are too severe for the gravity of the wrong and the needs of the wrongdoer. I remember a conversation with an LDS newspaperwoman who described what happened when she reported that the Prophet Joseph Smith received the golden plates in 1826, a mistake of one year from the actual date of 1827. She said she received about 10 phone calls from outraged Latter-day Saints who would not accept her admission of error and sincere apology and even berated her with abusive language. I wonder if persons who cannot handle an honest mistake without abusing the individual can stand up to having their own mistakes judged by so severe a standard.

In a BYU devotional address, Professor Catherine Corman Parry gave a memorable scriptural illustration of the consequences of judging by the wrong standards. The scripture is familiar. Martha received Jesus into her house and worked to provide for Him while her sister Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His words.

“But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.

“And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:

“But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:40–42).

Professor Parry said: “The Lord acknowledges Martha’s care: ‘Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things’ (Luke 10:41). Then he delivers the gentle but clear rebuke. But the rebuke would not have come had Martha not prompted it. The Lord did not go into the kitchen and tell Martha to stop cooking and come listen. Apparently he was content to let her serve him however she cared to, until she judged another person’s service: ‘Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me’ (Luke 10:40). Martha’s self-importance, expressed through her judgment of her sister, occasioned the Lord’s rebuke, not her busyness with the meal” (“‘Simon, I Have Somewhat to Say unto Thee’: Judgment and Condemnation in the Parables of Jesus,” in Brigham Young University 1990–91 Devotional and Fireside Speeches [1991], 116).

In subsequent portions of her talk, Professor Parry observed that in this instance—and also in the example of Simon the Pharisee, who criticized the woman who anointed the feet of the Savior (see Luke 7:36–50)—the Savior took one individual’s judgment of another individual as a standard and applied that judgment back upon the individual who was judging. “Quite literally,” she observes, “they were measured by their own standards and found wanting.

“… While there are many things we must make judgments about, the sins of another or the state of our own souls in comparison to others seems not to be among them. … Our own sins, no matter how few or seemingly insignificant, disqualify us as judges of other people’s sins” (“Simon, I Have Somewhat to Say unto Thee,” 116, 118–19).

I love the words in Susan Evans McCloud’s familiar hymn:

Who am I to judge another
When I walk imperfectly?
In the quiet heart is hidden
Sorrow that the eye can’t see.
Who am I to judge another?
Lord, I would follow thee.

(“Lord, I Would Follow Thee,” Hymns, no. 220)

In one of the monthly General Authority fast and testimony meetings, I heard President James E. Faust say, “The older I get, the less judgmental I become.” That wise observation gives us a standard to live by in the matter of judgments. We should refrain from anything that seems to be a final judgment of any person, manifesting our determination to leave final judgments to the Lord, who alone has the capacity to judge.

In the intermediate judgments we must make, we should take care to judge righteously. We should seek the guidance of the Spirit in our decisions. We should limit our judgments to our own stewardships. Whenever possible we should refrain from judging people until we have an adequate knowledge of the facts. So far as possible, we should judge circumstances rather than people. In all our judgments we should apply righteous standards. And, in all of this we must remember the command to forgive.

There is a doctrine underlying the subject of gospel judging. It was taught when a lawyer asked the Savior, “Which is the great commandment in the law?” (Matt. 22:36). Jesus answered:

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

“This is the first and great commandment.

“And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

“On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matt. 22:37–40).

Later, in the sublime teachings the Savior gave His Apostles on the eve of His suffering and Atonement, He said: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:34–35).

May God bless us that we may have that love and that we may show it in refraining from making final judgments of our fellowman. In those intermediate judgments we are responsible to make, may we judge righteously and with love. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of love. Our Master whom we seek to serve is, as the scriptures say, a “God of love” (2 Cor. 13:11). May we be examples of His love and His gospel.

Now, if you have made it to this point, then you are probably pretty serious about understanding this topic and making sure that you apply it appropriately in your life. CONGRATULATIONS!

The next resource that I am going to share seems to negate what Elder Oaks taught, but it doesn’t. It is, however, a great way to evaluate how balanced we are when it comes to making righteous intermediate judgments. The expert is from President Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s talk, “The Merciful Obtain Mercy“. (Click on the link to read, watch, or listen to the entire talk.)

Judging Others? Stop It!

“This topic of judging others could actually be taught in a two-word sermon. When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following:

“Stop it!

“It’s that simple. We simply have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children. God is our Father. We are His children. We are all brothers and sisters. I don’t know exactly how to articulate this point of not judging others with sufficient eloquence, passion, and persuasion to make it stick. I can quote scripture, I can try to expound doctrine, and I will even quote a bumper sticker I recently saw. It was attached to the back of a car whose driver appeared to be a little rough around the edges, but the words on the sticker taught an insightful lesson. It read, “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.”

“We must recognize that we are all imperfect—that we are beggars before God. Haven’t we all, at one time or another, meekly approached the mercy seat and pleaded for grace? Haven’t we wished with all the energy of our souls for mercy—to be forgiven for the mistakes we have made and the sins we have committed?

“Because we all depend on the mercy of God, how can we deny to others any measure of the grace we so desperately desire for ourselves? My beloved brothers and sisters, should we not forgive as we wish to be forgiven? . . .

“The people around us are not perfect (see Romans 3:23). People do things that annoy, disappoint, and anger. In this mortal life it will always be that way.

“Nevertheless, we must let go of our grievances. Part of the purpose of mortality is to learn how to let go of such things. That is the Lord’s way.” (President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “The Merciful Obtain Mercy“)

Are you still with me? AWESOME!

Take a moment to consider what you have learned and felt. Pause to ponder what you need to change in your life right now to begin to implement the Lord’s admonition to make “righteous judgement”. Did you realize that by doing that you are actually making a righteous judgment of yourself?

The following short video is a great illustration of the the principles taught by both Elder Oaks and President Uchtdorf in relation to making “righteous judgment”. It was derived from a talk given by President Thomas S. Monson, entitled,  “Charity Never Faileth” (Ensign, Nov. 2010).

Looking through Windows

We should be careful how we judge others, as we may be looking at them through our own “unclean windows.” Read President Monson’s full address, “Charity Never Faileth”

It is always best to analyze a message in it’s full context, so I am providing President Monson’s talk below with the hope that you will be able to apply his message with greater success.

Charity Never Faileth

Rather than being judgmental and critical of each other, may we have the pure love of Christ for our fellow travelers in this journey through life.Rather than being judgmental and critical of each other, may we have the pure love of Christ for our fellow travelers in this journey through life.

Our souls have rejoiced tonight and reached toward heaven. We have been blessed with beautiful music and inspired messages. The Spirit of the Lord is here. I pray for His inspiration to be with me now as I share with you some of my thoughts and feelings.

I begin with a short anecdote which illustrates a point I should like to make.

A young couple, Lisa and John, moved into a new neighborhood. One morning while they were eating breakfast, Lisa looked out the window and watched her next-door neighbor hanging out her wash.

“That laundry’s not clean!” Lisa exclaimed. “Our neighbor doesn’t know how to get clothes clean!”

John looked on but remained silent.

Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry, Lisa would make the same comments.

A few weeks later Lisa was surprised to glance out her window and see a nice, clean wash hanging in her neighbor’s yard. She said to her husband, “Look, John—she’s finally learned how to wash correctly! I wonder how she did it.”

John replied, “Well, dear, I have the answer for you. You’ll be interested to know that I got up early this morning and washed our windows!”

Tonight I’d like to share with you a few thoughts concerning how we view each other. Are we looking through a window which needs cleaning? Are we making judgments when we don’t have all the facts? What do we see when we look at others? What judgments do we make about them?

Said the Savior, “Judge not.” 1 He continued, “Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” 2 Or, to paraphrase, why beholdest thou what you think is dirty laundry at your neighbor’s house but considerest not the soiled window in your own house?

None of us is perfect. I know of no one who would profess to be so. And yet for some reason, despite our own imperfections, we have a tendency to point out those of others. We make judgments concerning their actions or inactions.

There is really no way we can know the heart, the intentions, or the circumstances of someone who might say or do something we find reason to criticize. Thus the commandment: “Judge not.”

Forty-seven years ago this general conference, I was called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. At the time, I had been serving on one of the general priesthood committees of the Church, and so before my name was presented, I sat with my fellow members of that priesthood committee, as was expected of me. My wife, however, had no idea where to go and no one with whom she could sit and, in fact, was unable to find a seat anywhere in the Tabernacle. A dear friend of ours, who was a member of one of the general auxiliary boards and who was sitting in the area designated for the board members, asked Sister Monson to sit with her. This woman knew nothing of my call—which would be announced shortly—but she spotted Sister Monson, recognized her consternation, and graciously offered her a seat. My dear wife was relieved and grateful for this kind gesture. Sitting down, however, she heard loud whispering behind her as one of the board members expressed her annoyance to those around her that one of her fellow board members would have the audacity to invite an “outsider” to sit in this area reserved only for them. There was no excuse for her unkind behavior, regardless of who might have been invited to sit there. However, I can only imagine how that woman felt when she learned that the “intruder” was the wife of the newest Apostle.

Not only are we inclined to judge the actions and words of others, but many of us judge appearances: clothing, hairstyles, size. The list could go on and on.

A classic account of judging by appearance was printed in a national magazine many years ago. It is a true account—one which you may have heard but which bears repeating.

A woman by the name of Mary Bartels had a home directly across the street from the entrance to a hospital clinic. Her family lived on the main floor and rented the upstairs rooms to outpatients at the clinic.

One evening a truly awful-looking old man came to the door asking if there was room for him to stay the night. He was stooped and shriveled, and his face was lopsided from swelling—red and raw. He said he’d been hunting for a room since noon but with no success. “I guess it’s my face,” he said. “I know it looks terrible, but my doctor says it could possibly improve after more treatments.” He indicated he’d be happy to sleep in the rocking chair on the porch. As she talked with him, Mary realized this little old man had an oversized heart crowded into that tiny body. Although her rooms were filled, she told him to wait in the chair and she’d find him a place to sleep.

At bedtime Mary’s husband set up a camp cot for the man. When she checked in the morning, the bed linens were neatly folded and he was out on the porch. He refused breakfast, but just before he left for his bus, he asked if he could return the next time he had a treatment. “I won’t put you out a bit,” he promised. “I can sleep fine in a chair.” Mary assured him he was welcome to come again.

In the several years he went for treatments and stayed in Mary’s home, the old man, who was a fisherman by trade, always had gifts of seafood or vegetables from his garden. Other times he sent packages in the mail.

When Mary received these thoughtful gifts, she often thought of a comment her next-door neighbor made after the disfigured, stooped old man had left Mary’s home that first morning. “Did you keep that awful-looking man last night? I turned him away. You can lose customers by putting up such people.”

Mary knew that maybe they had lost customers once or twice, but she thought, “Oh, if only they could have known him, perhaps their illnesses would have been easier to bear.”

After the man passed away, Mary was visiting with a friend who had a greenhouse. As she looked at her friend’s flowers, she noticed a beautiful golden chrysanthemum but was puzzled that it was growing in a dented, old, rusty bucket. Her friend explained, “I ran short of pots, and knowing how beautiful this one would be, I thought it wouldn’t mind starting in this old pail. It’s just for a little while, until I can put it out in the garden.”

Mary smiled as she imagined just such a scene in heaven. “Here’s an especially beautiful one,” God might have said when He came to the soul of the little old man. “He won’t mind starting in this small, misshapen body.” But that was long ago, and in God’s garden how tall this lovely soul must stand! 3

Appearances can be so deceiving, such a poor measure of a person. Admonished the Savior, “Judge not according to the appearance.” 4

A member of a women’s organization once complained when a certain woman was selected to represent the organization. She had never met the woman, but she had seen a photograph of her and didn’t like what she saw, considering her to be overweight. She commented, “Of the thousands of women in this organization, surely a better representative could have been chosen.”

True, the woman who was chosen was not “model slim.” But those who knew her and knew her qualities saw in her far more than was reflected in the photograph. The photograph did show that she had a friendly smile and a look of confidence. What the photograph didn’t show was that she was a loyal and compassionate friend, a woman of intelligence who loved the Lord and who loved and served His children. It didn’t show that she volunteered in the community and was a considerate and concerned neighbor. In short, the photograph did not reflect who she really was.

I ask: if attitudes, deeds, and spiritual inclinations were reflected in physical features, would the countenance of the woman who complained be as lovely as that of the woman she criticized?

My dear sisters, each of you is unique. You are different from each other in many ways. There are those of you who are married. Some of you stay at home with your children, while others of you work outside your homes. Some of you are empty nesters. There are those of you who are married but do not have children. There are those who are divorced, those who are widowed. Many of you are single women. Some of you have college degrees; some of you do not. There are those who can afford the latest fashions and those who are lucky to have one appropriate Sunday outfit. Such differences are almost endless. Do these differences tempt us to judge one another?

Mother Teresa, a Catholic nun who worked among the poor in India most of her life, spoke this profound truth: “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” 5 The Savior has admonished, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” 6 I ask: can we love one another, as the Savior has commanded, if we judge each other? And I answer—with Mother Teresa: no, we cannot.

The Apostle James taught, “If any … among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s [or woman’s] religion is vain.” 7

I have always loved your Relief Society motto: “Charity never faileth.” 8 What is charity? The prophet Mormon teaches us that “charity is the pure love of Christ.” 9 In his farewell message to the Lamanites, Moroni declared, “Except ye have charity ye can in nowise be saved in the kingdom of God.” 10

I consider charity—or “the pure love of Christ”—to be the opposite of criticism and judging. In speaking of charity, I do not at this moment have in mind the relief of the suffering through the giving of our substance. That, of course, is necessary and proper. Tonight, however, I have in mind the charity that manifests itself when we are tolerant of others and lenient toward their actions, the kind of charity that forgives, the kind of charity that is patient.

I have in mind the charity that impels us to be sympathetic, compassionate, and merciful, not only in times of sickness and affliction and distress but also in times of weakness or error on the part of others.

There is a serious need for the charity that gives attention to those who are unnoticed, hope to those who are discouraged, aid to those who are afflicted. True charity is love in action. The need for charity is everywhere.

Needed is the charity which refuses to find satisfaction in hearing or in repeating the reports of misfortunes that come to others, unless by so doing, the unfortunate one may be benefited. The American educator and politician Horace Mann once said, “To pity distress is but human; to relieve it is godlike.” 11

Charity is having patience with someone who has let us down. It is resisting the impulse to become offended easily. It is accepting weaknesses and shortcomings. It is accepting people as they truly are. It is looking beyond physical appearances to attributes that will not dim through time. It is resisting the impulse to categorize others.

Charity, that pure love of Christ, is manifest when a group of young women from a singles ward travels hundreds of miles to attend the funeral services for the mother of one of their Relief Society sisters. Charity is shown when devoted visiting teachers return month after month, year after year to the same uninterested, somewhat critical sister. It is evident when an elderly widow is remembered and taken to ward functions and to Relief Society activities. It is felt when the sister sitting alone in Relief Society receives the invitation, “Come—sit by us.”

In a hundred small ways, all of you wear the mantle of charity. Life is perfect for none of us. Rather than being judgmental and critical of each other, may we have the pure love of Christ for our fellow travelers in this journey through life. May we recognize that each one is doing her best to deal with the challenges which come her way, and may we strive to do our best to help out.

Charity has been defined as “the highest, noblest, strongest kind of love,” 12 the “pure love of Christ … ; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with [her].” 13

“Charity never faileth.” May this long-enduring Relief Society motto, this timeless truth, guide you in everything you do. May it permeate your very souls and find expression in all your thoughts and actions.

I express my love to you, my sisters, and pray that heaven’s blessings may ever be yours. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Notes

  1. Matthew 7:1.
  2. Matthew 7:3.
  3. Adapted from Mary Bartels, “The Old Fisherman,” Guideposts, June 1965, 24–25.
  4. John 7:24.
  5. Mother Teresa, in R. M. Lala, A Touch of Greatness: Encounters with the Eminent (2001), x.
  6. John 15:12.
  7. James 1:26.
  8. 1 Corinthians 13:8.
  9. Moroni 7:47.
  10. Moroni 10:21.
  11. Horace Mann, Lectures on Education (1845), 297.
  12. Bible Dictionary, “Charity.”
  13. Moroni 7:47.

STILL HERE??? Wow, great job!

Alright, now lets see what it was like for one woman who had not applied the principles associated with making “righteous judgment”, and see what we can learn from her experience.

The Civility Experiment

Learn how civility and kindness go much deeper than appearances and quick judgments. (3:54)

Well, what did you learn today? I would LOVE to hear from you.

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Judge Not

A excerpt from “Charity Never Faileth,” Ensign, Nov. 2010, 122. (2:42)


#BOMTC 3 Nephi 11-13: The Return of the LIGHT!

How does one create a blog post for a set of chapters like this? There is just no way I can come close to doing justice to these chapters.

Jesus Christ in America Timeline

Jesus Christ in America Timeline: 3 Nephi is sometimes called the “Fifth Gospel” because it records the teachings of the Risen Lord in the Americas. It is the Book of Mormon’s Easter Story. This timeline outlines the key events in 3 Nephi leading up to the Savior’s miraculous appearance to the people at the temple in Bountiful. (Credit: Book of Mormon Central)

With that said, there are several other people who have put significant work into bringing these chapters to life and helping us feel the great blessing that was realized in 3 Nephi 11-13. So for this post I will be sharing a few videos and quotes that have helped me to appreciate this culminating event of the Book of Mormon. I hope you will enjoy them as well. I believe that they are worth every second that you will spend to read the quotes or watch the amazing videos with beautiful accompaniment.

#BOMTC Day 68, June 13~3 Nephi 11-13 or Pages 429-434, Christ in America with Young Child

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, of the Quorum of the Twelve, wrote that:

[the appearance of the resurrected Lord to the Nephites and His declaration of His Messiahship] “constituted the focal point, the supreme moment, in the entire history of the Book of Mormon. It was the manifestation and the decree that had informed and inspired every Nephite prophet for the previous six hundred years, to say nothing of their Israelite and Jaredite forefathers for thousands of years before that.  Everyone had talked of him, sung of him, dreamed of him, and prayed for his appearance—but here he actually was. The day of days! The God who turns every dark night into morning light had arrived” (Christ and the New Covenant: The Messianic Message of the Book of Mormon [1997], 250–51).

Another Testament of Christ

Sometime following the great destruction and three days of darkness, about 2,500 men, women, and children gathered around the temple in the land of Bountiful (see 3 Nephi 17:25). They heard a voice, which they at first did not understand. As they tried to listen, they understood that it was the voice of Heavenly Father introducing His Son, Jesus Christ. The Savior of the world appeared. Jesus Christ invited the people to one by one personally witness that He had been slain for the sins of the world by feeling the wound in his side and the prints of the nails in His hands and feet.

Come See the Light

President Ezra Taft Benson taught:

“What a blessing it would be if every family would read together 3 Nephi, discuss its sacred contents, and then determine how they can liken it unto themselves and apply its teachings in their lives. Third Nephi is a book that should be read and read again. Its testimony of the resurrected Christ in America is given in purity and beauty” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1987, 5–6; or Ensign, May 1987, 6).

Reflections of Christ

President N. Eldon Tanner, who was a member of the First Presidency, said:

“I suppose that nowhere in the scriptures do we have a more beautiful or detailed record of God’s dealings with man than in the account of this visit as recorded in Third Nephi. . . . [The] warnings and beautiful teachings . . . , if accepted and lived, will do more than anything else to bring peace and happiness to the world and to the individual seeking such a way of life. Here we can find explanations for many unanswered questions in the Bible.  Third Nephi gives us additional information in more detail than the four Gospels in the New Testament, and preserves the doctrines, teachings, and compassion of the Lord. For this reason there are many who refer to Third Nephi as the ‘fifth Gospel.’” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1975, 52; or Ensign, May 1975, 34).

Visit http://www.reflectionsofchrist.org/for more images and information on the videos listed on this post.

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#BOMTC 3 Nephi 8-10: The Death of the LIGHT

 Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote:

“No single historical event in the whole Book of Mormon account is recorded in so great detail or at such extended length as the fulfillment of the signs signifying that Jesus had been lifted up upon the cross and had voluntarily laid down his life for the world” (The Promised Messiah, 572)

Pause for a moment to consider that statement. Read it one more time; wonder WHY.

Take your time… look away from the screen. Look over some of the things you marked in 3 Nephi 8-10.

Did you notice any patterns? Were there any key words or phrases that kept coming up? Why would Mormon include such detail concerning the signs that accompanied the death of the Savior?

Could it be that Mormon intends these chapters to serve as a pattern for what is to come before the Second Coming? Is it possible that Mormon is trying to warn the wicked in the latter days?

#BOMTC Day 67, June 12~3 Nephi 8-10 or Pages 423-428, Come Unto Me (1)

Around thirty-three years after seeing the sign of the Savior’s birth, the Nephites began to look for the sign that Samuel the Lamanite had prophesied of the Savior’s death. Although many signs were given, doubts and disputations arose among the people. Within the next year, Samuel’s prophecy was fulfilled. After great storms, earthquakes, and other calamities caused widespread destruction, darkness covered the land for three days. In the darkness, the people who had survived the destruction heard the voice of Jesus Christ. He invited them to repent and return to Him. When the darkness dispersed, the peoples’ mourning turned to joy and praise of Jesus Christ.

I found three particular phrases that stood out to me in these three chapters. Each one helps me to better prepare myself for the Second Coming of the Lord. As you read each of these phrases in their complete verse, you will see how each of them seem to be related to one another. And if these chapters are a pattern and a warning for us as we approach the Second Coming, then I need to make sure that I am not delaying my repentance and that I accept His invitation to come unto Him and be covered by His Atonement.

#BOMTC Day 67, June 12~3 Nephi 8-10 or Pages 423-428, Repent NOW

3 Nephi 8: The lamentation, “O that we had repented before this great and terrible day…” (vv. 25 & 25). I have always loved the following account related by President Spencer W. Kimball of an experience he had with a young man who was not quite sure he was ready to repent:

“In an interview with a young man in Mesa, Arizona, I found him only a little sorry he had committed adultery but not sure that he wanted to cleanse himself. After long deliberations in which I seemed to make little headway against his rebellious spirit, I finally said, ‘Goodbye, Bill, but I warn you, don’t break a speed limit, be careful what you eat, take no chances on your life. Be careful in traffic for you must not die before this matter is cleared up. Don’t you dare to die.’ I quoted this scripture:

“Wherefore, if they should die in their wickedness they must be cast off also, as to the things which are spiritual, which are pertaining to righteousness; wherefore, they must be brought to stand before God, to be judged of their works.

. . . And there cannot any unclean thing enter into the kingdom of God; wherefore there must needs be a place of filthiness prepared for that which is filthy. (1 Ne. 15:33-34.)

“A slow death has its advantages over the sudden demise. The cancer victim who is head of a family, for instance, should use his time to be an advisor to those who will survive him. The period of inactivity after a patient learns there is no hope for his life can be a period of great productivity. How much more true this is of one who has been involved in deliberate sin! He must not die until he has made his peace with God. He must be careful and not have an accident.” (Miracle of Forgiveness, pp.145-6)

#BOMTC Day 67, June 12~3 Nephi 8-10 or Pages 423-428, Come Unto Me

3 Nephi 9: The invitation, “Come unto me…” (vv. 14 & 22). The following quote from President Thomas S. Monson is a faithful echo of the Savior’s continual invitation to come unto Him:

“Our Heavenly Father rejoices for those who keep His commandments. He is concerned also for the lost child, the tardy teenager, the wayward youth, the delinquent parent. Tenderly the Master speaks to these and indeed to all: ‘Come back. Come up. Come in. Come home. Come unto me.'” (President Thomas S. Monson, “The Race of Life”)

#BOMTC Day 67, June 12~3 Nephi 8-10 or Pages 423-428, As a Hen Gathereth Her Chickens

3 Nephi 10: The illustration, “As a hen gathereth her chickens…” (vv. 4, 5, & 6). Christ used the image of a common chicken to communicate his loving care and covenant relationship to his children. The following is taken from the Deseret News, Saturday, Oct. 11 2008.

Jane Allis-Pike, a professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University, calls Christ’s description of himself gathering the Nephites under his wing the “hen metaphor.” Christ chose this metaphor to communicate something to the fearful survivors.

“I suggest that Christ uses the hen metaphor to rekindle the survivors’ faith and trust in him, and to remind and teach them of the true nature and condition of their covenant relationship with him,” Allis-Pike said.

Christ chose the common chicken for his metaphor because of the hen’s selfless devotion to its chicks. Allis-Pike explained that a chicken is almost defenseless, yet it will never abandon its offspring when danger arises. It also is an active mother and will gather its offspring together to protect them. If necessary it will shield its little chicks with its own body — offering itself to preserve their lives.

To the hen, its chicks are valued greatly. It actively will call to them. “Perhaps the most important point about the chicks in this metaphor is what is assumed. These chickens obey instinct. They come to their mother … this means that when the hen calls they come without hesitation, without delay and without question run to the safety that is only found underneath their mother’s wings,” Allis-Pike said.

It may seem paradoxical for Christ to compare himself to a mother, yet, as Allis-Pike explained, he has figuratively given birth to his children. “Christ has specific qualities normally existing only in the purview of women and mothers,” she said.

A mother hen calls her chicks to protect them from predators. Satan is the predator, according to Allis-Pike. “Just as the mother hen literally uses her body to protect her chick’s life, Christ literally uses his body to protect his children from spiritual destruction,” she said.

Christ also used his body to bring the resurrection of all people to pass.

“The beauty of the hen metaphor is that it goes beyond language, allowing the readers to simply feel Christ’s love for us,” Allis-Pike said.

When Christ spoke to the Nephites, he expanded the metaphor to include the past, present and future.

“How oft have I gathered you,” refers to the past.

“How oft would I have gathered you,” is a conditional reference to the past.

“How oft will I gather you,” refers to the future.

“And then in the very act of speaking to these people he is talking in the present and caring for them. Like a hen who watches gently over her chicks, Christ is always available,” Allis-Pike said.

In the four verses of the metaphor Christ uses the verb “gather” eight times. This is an active process, according to Allis-Pike. Those who were killed in the destruction were those who refused to be gathered.

“But if the chicks, or the people of the House of Israel, run away … Christ can not save them from the devouring predator, Satan,” Allis-Pike said.

According to Allis-Pike, the hen metaphor sequence in Third Nephi can also be read as a “covenant lawsuit” where Christ takes the position of a prosecutor over those who have died and where the survivors act as witnesses.

Each reciting of the hen metaphor is posed as a question and builds a case against those who rejected the merciful invitation to be gathered. It also applies the covenant question to the Nephite survivors … and to the readers of Third Nephi as well.

Christ finished his invitation. Allis-Pike points out that the survivors’ response to this second announcement from Christ was not silence. The people begin to weep. They weep for the lost. They weep for their sins. But Christ’s love turns their weeping to joy as the darkness lifts.

“Christ’s use of the hen metaphor has played a major role in this transition (from weeping to joy). Christ in his infinite wisdom has created a visual, powerful healing metaphor that allows people to come to terms with the destruction and the loss of life they have witnessed … and teaches of their covenant relationship with Christ,” Allis-Pike said.

Don’t WAIT, “later” may be too LATE!

#BOMTC Day 67, June 12~3 Nephi 8-10 or Pages 423-428, NOW or LATER

Below is a video that I created from the Bible Videos produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is an attempt to visualize the final hours of the Savior’s life. These are the events that occurred in the vicinity of Jerusalem which led to the destruction that we studied in 3 Nephi 8-10.

“The Hour Is Come”

The Final Hours of the Savior’s Life

#BOMTC Day 67, June 12~3 Nephi 8-10 or Pages 423-428, Come Unto Me TSM

“Our Heavenly Father rejoices for those who keep His commandments. He is concerned also for the lost child, the tardy teenager, the wayward youth, the delinquent parent. Tenderly the Master speaks to these and indeed to all: ‘Come back. Come up. Come in. Come home. Come unto me.'” (President Thomas S. Monson, “The Race of Life”)

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#BOMTC 3 Nephi 6-7: Satan’s Strategy

Is it possible for someone to be …

  • Rich and humble?
  • Poor and prideful?
  • Educated and humble?
  • Uneducated and prideful?

As we read in these chapters, we learn that it takes a conscious effort to prevent pride and to seek to be humble no matter what our circumstances may be.

Something else that we can learn from these chapters is that IF we do not ENDURE TO THE END blessings can be LOST in the LAST hour.

Following their miraculous deliverance from the Gadianton robbers, the Nephites enjoyed peace for about three years. But pride, class distinctions, and persecutions arose among the people. While some remained faithful to the Lord, many entered into secret combinations. Because of the secret combinations, the chief judge was murdered and the Nephite government was overthrown. The people divided into tribes and appointed their own leaders. Nephi continued to minister unto the people with power and great authority. As recorded in 3 Nephi 6–7, some of the Nephites experienced the tragic results of rejecting the prophets, while others experienced the blessings that come from repenting and hearkening to the Lord’s chosen servants.

strategy

It seems that there are two great strategies at play in our lives: UNITY & DIVISION

You may see it differently, but to me, God’s strategy is to strengthen His children through UNITY. Unity in covenants, unity within family, unity with the priesthood, unity in our communities, etc. There is great STRENGTH in UNITY!

#BOMTC Day 66, June 11~3 Nephi 6-7 or Pages 417-422, Unity

Satan’s strategy is to DIVIDE. Division WEAKENS, hence the saying, “Divide and conquer!”

#BOMTC Day 66, June 11~3 Nephi 6-7 or Pages 417-422, Divide and Conquer (2)

To understand this next part, we need to define the difference between a strategy and tactics. A strategy is the large, overall plan that can comprise several tactics, which are smaller, focused, procedures that are part of the overall plan/strategy.  God uses several tactics (procedures) to unify: sealed in families, gathered as Saints, worship meetings, temple ordinances, missionary work, caring for the poor and the needy, priesthood quorums, Relief Society, visiting teaching, home teaching, service, etc. All of these tactic help to STRENGTHEN us, in part, because of the UNITY that they create among ourselves and with our God. God is our greatest strength, so if we are unified with Him then His grace (strength) is sufficient.

#BOMTC Day 66, June 11~3 Nephi 6-7 or Pages 417-422, Don't Panic, Organize

However, Satan has many tactics that he employs to “divide and conquer” and destroy the “strength in unity” that we seek to create with God and His children. Several such tactic are found in these chapters as Satan makes his final attempt to divide as many people as he can from the blessing of receiving the Savior’s impending visit after His resurrection (see 3 Nephi 11). His tactics in these chapters are not much different from the tactics that he is implementing today: pride, love of riches, class distinction, contention, dissension, rebellion, violence, and secret combinations.

#BOMTC Day 66, June 11~3 Nephi 6-7 or Pages 417-422, Calvin and Hobbs Divide and Conquer

Take a moment to consider how many things God asks you to do every day and each week to STRENGTHEN you, as you UNIFY with Him and His children. Consider the STRENGTH that you feel in your life when you faithfully fulfill those daily and weekly duties. Then contrast that with the WEAKNESS that you feel as you neglect to unify with God and His children and instead allow Satan to DIVIDE you from God’s unity and strength with his tenacious tactics.

Don’t LOSE your blessings in the LAST hour by falling prey to Satan’s WEAKENING tactics, like many of the people did in these chapters. Rather, ENDURE to the END and use your agency to comply with God’s tactics of STRENGTH that will bring UNITY with God and His children (3 Nephi 7:21-22). You have the ability to choose which strategy will have power in your life–“Divide and Conquer” or “Strength in Unity”. Choose wisely!

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#BOMTC 3 Nephi 3-5: PREPARED

Soon after the people saw the signs of Jesus Christ’s birth, they began to forget the witnesses they had received, and they hardened their hearts. Many of the Nephites and Lamanites rejected further signs and wonders and increased in wickedness. As a result, the Gadianton robbers grew so strong that Nephites and Lamanites were compelled to take up arms against them. The converted Lamanites joined with the Nephites and became known as Nephites.

Lachoneus, the chief judge of the Nephites, called on the people to repent and prepared them for battle. Because of their repentance, unity, faith in the Lord, and diligent preparations, the Nephites triumphed over the Gadianton robbers. Following their deliverance, the righteous Nephites and Lamanites acknowledged the power of God in their preservation.

 Joplin Saints Talk About Preparation

Members of the Joplin Stake share how being prepared blessed their lives and the lives of others in the wake of a devastating tornado. (3:40)

By this point in our study of the Book of Mormon you are probably seeing many similarities between our day and what was happening back then. We can definitely “LIKEN” these accounts to our life as we prepare for the Second Coming of the Lord. As the righteous Nephites and Lamanites prepared themselves physically and spiritually they received the “strength of the Lord” (3 Nephi 3:21; 4:10) to help them overcome their enemies and the wickedness that surrounded them. The video above demonstrates the importance of our physical preparation in the latter days preceding the Second Coming. The video below helps us to understand the importance of our spiritual preparation–which is even more important. It is one of my favorite talks about preparing for the Second Coming, and if you like to listen to Elder Dallin H. Oaks, then you will definitely want to review his message that was giving in 2004. Elder Oaks is indeed a Latter-day Lachoneus that is trying to help us be prepared for that which is to come.

Preparation for the Second Coming

Dallin H. Oaks

In modern revelation we have the promise that if we are prepared we need not fear (see D&C 38:30). I was introduced to that principle 60 years ago this summer when I became a Boy Scout and learned the Scout motto: “Be prepared.” Today I have felt prompted to speak of the importance of preparation for a future event of supreme importance to each of us—the Second Coming of the Lord.

The scriptures are rich in references to the Second Coming, an event eagerly awaited by the righteous and dreaded or denied by the wicked. The faithful of all ages have pondered the sequence and meaning of the many events prophesied to precede and follow this hinge point of history.

Four matters are indisputable to Latter-day Saints: (1) The Savior will return to the earth in power and great glory to reign personally during a millennium of righteousness and peace. (2) At the time of His coming there will be a destruction of the wicked and a resurrection of the righteous. (3) No one knows the time of His coming, but (4) the faithful are taught to study the signs of it and to be prepared for it. I wish to speak about the fourth of these great realities: the signs of the Second Coming and what we should do to prepare for it.

I.
The Lord has declared, “He that feareth me shall be looking forth for the great day of the Lord to come, even for the signs of the coming of the Son of Man,” signs that will be shown “in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath” (D&C 45:39–40).

The Savior taught this in the parable of the fig tree whose tender new branches give a sign of the coming of summer. “So likewise,” when the elect shall see the signs of His coming “they shall know that he is near, even at the doors” (JS—M 1:38–39; see also Matt. 24:32–33; D&C 45:37–38).

Biblical and modern prophecies give many signs of the Second Coming. These include:

1. The fulness of the gospel restored and preached in all the world for a witness to all nations.
2. False Christs and false prophets, deceiving many.
3. Wars and rumors of wars, with nation rising against nation.
4. Earthquakes in divers places.
5. Famine and pestilence.
6. An overflowing scourge, a desolating sickness covering the land.
7. Iniquity abounding.
8. The whole earth in commotion.
9. Men’s hearts failing them.
(See Matt. 24:5–15; JS—M 1:22, 28–32; D&C 45:26–33.)

In another revelation the Lord declares that some of these signs are His voice calling His people to repentance:

“Hearken, O ye nations of the earth, and hear the words of that God who made you. …

“How oft have I called upon you by the mouth of my servants, and by the ministering of angels, and by mine own voice, and by the voice of thunderings, and by the voice of lightnings, and by the voice of tempests, and by the voice of earthquakes, and great hailstorms, and by the voice of famines and pestilences of every kind, … and would have saved you with an everlasting salvation, but ye would not!” (D&C 43:23, 25).

These signs of the Second Coming are all around us and seem to be increasing in frequency and intensity. For example, the list of major earthquakes in The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2004 shows twice as many earthquakes in the decades of the 1980s and 1990s as in the two preceding decades (pp. 189–90). It also shows further sharp increases in the first several years of this century. The list of notable floods and tidal waves and the list of hurricanes, typhoons, and blizzards worldwide show similar increases in recent years (pp. 188–89). Increases by comparison with 50 years ago can be dismissed as changes in reporting criteria, but the accelerating pattern of natural disasters in the last few decades is ominous.

II.
Another sign of the times is the gathering of the faithful (see D&C 133:4). In the early years of this last dispensation, a gathering to Zion involved various locations in the United States: to Kirtland, to Missouri, to Nauvoo, and to the tops of the mountains. Always these were gatherings to prospective temples. With the creation of stakes and the construction of temples in most nations with sizeable populations of the faithful, the current commandment is not to gather to one place but to gather in stakes in our own homelands. There the faithful can enjoy the full blessings of eternity in a house of the Lord. There, in their own homelands, they can obey the Lord’s command to enlarge the borders of His people and strengthen her stakes (see D&C 101:21; D&C 133:9, 14). In this way, the stakes of Zion are “for a defense, and for a refuge from the storm, and from wrath when it shall be poured out without mixture upon the whole earth” (D&C 115:6).

III.
While we are powerless to alter the fact of the Second Coming and unable to know its exact time, we can accelerate our own preparation and try to influence the preparation of those around us.

A parable that contains an important and challenging teaching on this subject is the parable of the ten virgins. Of this parable, the Lord said, “And at that day, when I shall come in my glory, shall the parable be fulfilled which I spake concerning the ten virgins” (D&C 45:56).

Given in the 25th chapter of Matthew, this parable contrasts the circumstances of the five foolish and the five wise virgins. All ten were invited to the wedding feast, but only half of them were prepared with oil in their lamps when the bridegroom came. The five who were prepared went into the marriage feast, and the door was shut. The five who had delayed their preparations came late. The door had been closed, and the Lord denied them entrance, saying, “I know you not” (Matt. 25:12). “Watch therefore,” the Savior concluded, “for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh” (Matt. 25:13).

The arithmetic of this parable is chilling. The ten virgins obviously represent members of Christ’s Church, for all were invited to the wedding feast and all knew what was required to be admitted when the bridegroom came. But only half were ready when he came.

Modern revelation contains this teaching, spoken by the Lord to the early leaders of the Church:

“And after your testimony cometh wrath and indignation upon the people.

“For after your testimony cometh the testimony of earthquakes. …

“And … the testimony of the voice of thunderings, and the voice of lightnings, and the voice of tempests, and the voice of the waves of the sea heaving themselves beyond their bounds.

“And all things shall be in commotion; and surely, men’s hearts shall fail them; for fear shall come upon all people.

“And angels shall fly through the midst of heaven, crying with a loud voice, sounding the trump of God, saying: Prepare ye, prepare ye, O inhabitants of the earth; for the judgment of our God is come. Behold, and lo, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him” (D&C 88:88–92).

IV.
Brothers and sisters, as the Book of Mormon teaches, “this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; … the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors” (Alma 34:32). Are we preparing?

In His preface to our compilation of modern revelation the Lord declares, “Prepare ye, prepare ye for that which is to come, for the Lord is nigh” (D&C 1:12).

The Lord also warned: “Yea, let the cry go forth among all people: Awake and arise and go forth to meet the Bridegroom; behold and lo, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Prepare yourselves for the great day of the Lord” (D&C 133:10; see also D&C 34:6).

Always we are cautioned that we cannot know the day or the hour of His coming. In the 24th chapter of Matthew Jesus taught:

“Watch therefore; for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

“But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up” (Matt. 24:42–43). “But would have been ready” (JS—M 1:47).

“Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matt. 24:44; see also D&C 51:20).

What if the day of His coming were tomorrow? If we knew that we would meet the Lord tomorrow—through our premature death or through His unexpected coming—what would we do today? What confessions would we make? What practices would we discontinue? What accounts would we settle? What forgivenesses would we extend? What testimonies would we bear?

If we would do those things then, why not now? Why not seek peace while peace can be obtained? If our lamps of preparation are drawn down, let us start immediately to replenish them.

We need to make both temporal and spiritual preparation for the events prophesied at the time of the Second Coming. And the preparation most likely to be neglected is the one less visible and more difficult—the spiritual. A 72-hour kit of temporal supplies may prove valuable for earthly challenges, but, as the foolish virgins learned to their sorrow, a 24-hour kit of spiritual preparation is of greater and more enduring value.

V.
We are living in the prophesied time “when peace shall be taken from the earth” (D&C 1:35), when “all things shall be in commotion” and “men’s hearts shall fail them” (D&C 88:91). There are many temporal causes of commotion, including wars and natural disasters, but an even greater cause of current “commotion” is spiritual.

Viewing our surroundings through the lens of faith and with an eternal perspective, we see all around us a fulfillment of the prophecy that “the devil shall have power over his own dominion” (D&C 1:35). Our hymn describes “the foe in countless numbers, / Marshaled in the ranks of sin” (“Hope of Israel,” Hymns, no. 259), and so it is.

Evil that used to be localized and covered like a boil is now legalized and paraded like a banner. The most fundamental roots and bulwarks of civilization are questioned or attacked. Nations disavow their religious heritage. Marriage and family responsibilities are discarded as impediments to personal indulgence. The movies and magazines and television that shape our attitudes are filled with stories or images that portray the children of God as predatory beasts or, at best, as trivial creations pursuing little more than personal pleasure. And too many of us accept this as entertainment.

The men and women who made epic sacrifices to combat evil regimes in the past were shaped by values that are disappearing from our public teaching. The good, the true, and the beautiful are being replaced by the no-good, the “whatever,” and the valueless fodder of personal whim. Not surprisingly, many of our youth and adults are caught up in pornography, pagan piercing of body parts, self-serving pleasure pursuits, dishonest behavior, revealing attire, foul language, and degrading sexual indulgence.

An increasing number of opinion leaders and followers deny the existence of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and revere only the gods of secularism. Many in positions of power and influence deny the right and wrong defined by divine decree. Even among those who profess to believe in right and wrong, there are “them that call evil good, and good evil” (Isa. 5:20; 2 Ne. 15:20). Many also deny individual responsibility and practice dependence on others, seeking, like the foolish virgins, to live on borrowed substance and borrowed light.

All of this is grievous in the sight of our Heavenly Father, who loves all of His children and forbids every practice that keeps any from returning to His presence.

What is the state of our personal preparation for eternal life? The people of God have always been people of covenant. What is the measure of our compliance with covenants, including the sacred promises we made in the waters of baptism, in receiving the holy priesthood, and in the temples of God? Are we promisers who do not fulfill and believers who do not perform?

Are we following the Lord’s command, “Stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it cometh quickly”? (D&C 87:8). What are those “holy places”? Surely they include the temple and its covenants faithfully kept. Surely they include a home where children are treasured and parents are respected. Surely the holy places include our posts of duty assigned by priesthood authority, including missions and callings faithfully fulfilled in branches, wards, and stakes.

As the Savior taught in His prophecy of the Second Coming, blessed is the “faithful and wise servant” who is attending to his duty when the Lord comes (see Matt. 24:45–46). As the prophet Nephi taught of that day, “The righteous need not fear” (1 Ne. 22:17; see also 1 Ne. 14:14; D&C 133:44). And modern revelation promises that “the Lord shall have power over his saints” (D&C 1:36).

We are surrounded by challenges on all sides (see 2 Cor. 4:8–9). But with faith in God, we trust the blessings He has promised those who keep His commandments. We have faith in the future, and we are preparing for that future. To borrow a metaphor from the familiar world of athletic competitions, we do not know when this game will end, and we do not know the final score, but we do know that when the game finally ends, our team wins. We will continue to go forward “till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done” (History of the Church, 4:540).

“Wherefore,” the Savior tells us, “be faithful, praying always, having your lamps trimmed and burning, and oil with you, that you may be ready at the coming of the Bridegroom—For behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, that I come quickly” (D&C 33:17–18).

I testify of Jesus Christ. I testify that He shall come, as He has promised. And I pray that we will be prepared to meet Him, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

#BOMTC Day 65, June 10~3 Nephi 3-5 or Pages 411-416 3 Nephi 5~13

3 Nephi 5:13

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