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Sunday, February 3, 2013

142: HOW QUICKLY WE CAN FALL

We read in the first part of the book of Alma about his experiences in preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  After baptizing thousands into the church...there was peace and harmony. No contentions, nor wars around the city of Zarahelma. The Church was established more fully, and many joined and were baptized. In fact 3,500 souls united and were baptized over the following year. They all enjoyed continual peace for a season.

However....
ONE YEAR LATER...

The people of the church began to wax proud. But they had every reason to be... they were members of the true church. They had been baptized by the hand of Alma,  the High Priest.   Notwithstanding, The people of the church began to be lifted up in the pride of their eyes, and set their hearts upon the riches and upon the vain things of the world.  They turned their backs upon the needy and the naked and those who were hungry.
Those who could see what was happening, beheld it with great sorrow.

How unfortunate for the people of Alma. They should have known better. Didn't they read their scriptures and remember that this happens over and over again? Couldn't they get it right?... Didn't someone tell them that there are three things we can not avoid in this life.. taxes, death, and avoiding the pride cycle?.
.......


Isn't it great that we have finally gotten it right? We have the restored Church, we have living prophet who can't lead us astray. This could never happen to us in the Latter Day Church. :)


.........

Personal Sidenote:

Both of these photos were taken around 4:00 PM yesterday above the Salt Lake Valley. In a previous post I mentioned the pollutions and hazardous air quality in Salt Lake City. The only escape is to ascend to higher ground. For those living in the city, it is difficult to see the type of air you are breathing until you rise above it. In fact from in the Salt Lake valley, the air is so thick it is almost impossible to see the mountains and the majestic peaks covered with white snow. The sun can barely penetrate through the dark polluted air. The sun can only be seen in higher elevations.



On a quick hike above the city yesterday, the scriptures opened to the 5th chapter of Alma.

 "O ye workers of iniquity;
ye that are puffed up in the vain things of the world,
ye that have professed to have known the ways of righteousness
nevertheless have gone astray,
as sheep having no shepherd notwithstanding a shepherd hath called after you
and is still calling after you,
but ye will not hearken unto his voice!"
Alma 5: 37


But the next verse gives us hope:

"Behold, I say unto you,
that the good shepherd doth call you;
yea, and in his own name he doth call you,
which is the name of Christ;
and if ye will not hearken unto the voice of the good shepherd,
to the name by which ye are called,
behold, ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd.

...................

 Behold, he sendeth an invitation unto all men,
for the arms of mercy are extended towards them,
and he saith: Repent, and I will receive you.

Come unto me and ye shall partake of the fruit of the tree of life;
yea, ye shall eat and drink of the bread and the waters of life freely.
.................

What a blessing and gift the Book of Mormon is to us.

11 comments:

  1. Interesting. I was just reading with my son about the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood. We discussed Oliver, Sydney, Martin, Thomas Marsh and many others who had wonderful experiences. Yet, each fell victim to the pride cycle and walked away from Joseph and the Church for their various reasons. My son asked how it was possible to fall away after seeing an angel (Oliver), it led to a great discussion of this insidious cycle you described.

    Have a great day my friend.

    RS

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  2. Why are you hiking on a bad air day???

    Great post. My opinion is that our pride exceeds any pride described in the BOM. But maybe I'm just in a bad mood after subjecting myself to the SuperBowl commercials and half-time, most of which was pure garbage. Let the world go to hell, seems to be my attitude right now.

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    1. But, he was hiking above the smog, right? In the fresh air.

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  3. Anon,
    While there are manifestations aplenty of pride in the Church, we are not held accountable like those in the Book of Mormon were. They had the Brass Plates to convince them of the incorrect tradition of their fathers, the words of which brought them unto repentance; that is, they brought them to a knowledge of the Lord their God, and to rejoice in Jesus Christ their redeemer.

    Until we get the records and hear the words from them (which will be convincing to us as well), we are not held to the standard that the Nephites were. The Lord is waiting for us to have the faith of the Bro. of Jared, to bring these things to us, and when we do (and after seeing our own folly and abominations), He will show us that faith, hope and charity lead to the fountain of all righteousness.

    This is something to be excited about, because what we are seeing is a chiasm of what took place at the end of the Book of Mormon: They received the Word... God Himself. But after four generations, they fell into darkness. Our church was born in darkness, out of the very creeds which the two Personages declared as "all wrong." We had our opportunities to receive Him in Joseph's day, but we refused, and were cast into the wilderness. Now, here we are, 4 generations later, able to taste the wild fruit, and it is bitter to us. Don't you see that this is an indication that we are on the verge of coming out of the darkness?

    The world is going to do what it is going to do. There are signs all about us which show forth the desolations upon Babylon. But there are also signs that the Lord is at last extending His holy arm to us, and we are about to break forth into joy and sing together. I think speedily comes the time when great things are to be shown forth unto the children of men, if we can only have the quality of faith to believe the Good News, and if we are ready to receive the fullness of His gospel.

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    1. With all due respect, we have far more access to the Word of God than anyone in the BOM did. What was in the brass plates? Pretty much the Old Testament, up to Jeremiah. Zenos, Zenock and a few others were included, but for the most part, it's what we already have. And we also have not only the D&C but also 7 volumes of writings intended for public consumption from Joseph Smith, the second most intelligent spirit to ever walk the planet. So yes, we are held to a higher standard, in my opinion. Maybe our first step in overcoming Babylon is stop looking for excuses for ourselves?

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    2. What we have is corrupted (meaning the Old and New Testament). The Book of Mormon clearly states that the Book of the Lamb when it came in its pure form contained the plain and precious truths and covenants, but it was defiled by the Great and Abominable Church for the purpose of bringing men under the bondage of Satan.

      If you look at the history of the Bible, you will find that it was originally an oral tradition, passed down over hundreds of years. Finally, a group of men who had their own agendas wrote it all down, put it in an archaic language (even for its time) and called it the Bible. We use the same text today, so we do not now have the Book of the Lamb "in its purity."

      Even the Book of Mormon as it is, has become corrupted by the G & A Church. The text largely remains the same, but we have sliced it into little pieces and turned it into devotional text... something it was not meant to be. We've added headers and footers and dictionaries of man, which impose meanings and definitions not intended by the writers of the book.

      There was no other way to bring these words to us than through the idols which were already in place (see Ezekiel 14:1-11, which happens to be a verse that Joseph read when they organized the Church). The problem is that we look at the Brass Plates as another version of the Old Testament, with a few nice stories thrown in. I would have a lackluster opinion of the Brass Plates too if I thought they were one in the same with the OT.

      The B of M writers knew the importance of the Brass Plates. Lehi prophesied "That these plates of brass should go forth unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people who were of his seed." He also said about the Book of the Lamb, in its purity, that "it also containeth many of the prophecies of the holy prophets; and it is a record like unto the engravings which are upon the plates of brass, save there are not so many; nevertheless, they contain the covenants of the Lord, which he hath made unto the house of Israel; wherefore, they are of great worth unto the Gentiles."

      If they are of great worth to us, why do we not seek them? It's because we suppose that we already have them, but we don't. They will be "convincing," just like they were for the Lamanites when Ammon brought them. It was what convinced Zeezrom of his wicked ways. Abinadi convinced Alma with them. They will be the means of convincing all nations, tongues and kindreds that Jesus is the Christ, because they contain the mysteries of God.

      I think where you say we should "stop looking for excuses for ourselves," I would add, "and start looking for opportunities to break forth into joy and sing together. For the Lord has comforted His people. The Lord has made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God."

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    3. Anonymous, remember where the Book of Mormon points out that the Bible which Nephi saw was similar to the brass plates "save there were not so many"? If the brass plates, that contain only Old Testament writings, are larger than our whole Bible put together, I would say that they had more knowledge than we have, by far.

      Also, they did not have the rewriting of the Old Testament that we have. They did not have the influence of Babylon and the rest of the statue that was in the dream that Daniel interpreted. If you look at the BofM, you see that they retained the idea that God was a forgiving and loving God. They also retained the knowledge of Jesus that was taken out of the Old Testament. What other knowledge they had that we do not have, I do not know. But we know some has been kept back from us. It is plainly said by Nephi and Moroni that they wanted to tell us more but the Spirit stopped them.

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    4. Just as a side note...
      While I think we are very responsible for rejecting the fullness since the times of Joseph, I gotta say that the Old Testament has very little to do with the Brass Plates. We know now that the "Deutoronomists" took 96 books from the Egyptian writings they had (most of them were prophets from the tribe of Joseph), and added Deuteronomy, hence the nick name. These Deutoronomists were a group of scholars that completely changed the Hebrew religion, taking away all these writings, changing the ordinances of the temple to a very simplistic form of rituals, and by translating the writing from Egyptian to Aramaic and then the new version of the Hebrew writing (they didn't have an alphabet until about that time, so it was just an oral language), and missing and changing a lot of the meaning of those writings.

      For more info refer to Margaret Barker and all her books...

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  4. Amen to everything you stated above, Inspire. I for one am awaiting that wonderful day of gladness.

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  5. good blog entry--

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  6. Zenos & Zenock = Enos & Enoch?

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