“AND THUS WE SEE . . .” BOOK OF MORMON INSIGHTS TO AVOID THE CYCLE OF APOSTASY AND DESTRUCTION and LIVE IN PEACE DURING DIFFICULT TIMES
Never been so convinced that the Book of Mormon is for definitely for OUR TIME-so we learn to avoid the mistakes of saints in those days.
Nephites become very wicked and the Lamanites repent
(can’t all be righteous at the same time—frustrating to prophets/Lord)
Lamanites will repent, remove Gad robbers from among them, Nephites will support robbers until whole Nephite govt is corrupted
You have a choice to cast evil aside or allow and then join in with evil
v. 3 The faithful members of the church can have great joy and live in love during difficult times.
Key: fellowship one another, rejoice with others (happy for them)
Difficult times we face today: terrorism, love of men to wax cold (random shootings/killings every week)
Lamanites preached to the Nephites—role reversal
Review of last week: Hardened people can change—became converted due to missionary efforts of Nephi and Lehi and the miracles taught
last week while imprisoned
Read Helaman 5: 17, 18, 19, 51: Preached with great power—people became converted, repented, turned from their false traditions
v. 4-5: Lamanites taught the Nephites and many repented
Peace in the land again—trade –became exceedingly rich v 9
Read v 14 v 15 chief judge/pres murdered/ his son also murdered
Cycle of apostasy—read commentary (after v 16)
People humble and repent
As they prosper they become rich
With wealth, they get prideful
Pride leads to wickedness
Wickedness leads to destruction
Destruction leads to humility
Humility leads to repenting and keeping God’s commandments
Which leads to prosperity
And around the cycle they go again and again!
Inspired learning: (commentary—Making the Book of Mormon Easier–David Ridges)
One of our major challenges as a people and individuals, is to avoid the cycle of apostasy: it can be done!
Remember the 200 years of peace among the people in 3rd Nephi, after the Savior’s appearance to them, and the 225 years of wealth, prosperity, righteousness and peace in Ether 9:15-25.
People who remain humble and faithful, despite prosperity, are able to avoid going through the cycle repeatedly. They seem to be able to follow the counsel of the Lord found in:
Jacob 2:16-19: READ
Purpose of riches—to do good
Read v 17—set their HEARTS upon their riches-key
Savior said: “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal.
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven . . . For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:19-21
With pride and lust for riches, we will see the rapid growth of the Gadianton robbers and the great damage they do to their society
v. 18 there were many even among the Nephites, but they were more numerous among the more wicked part of the Lamanites—robbers and murderers—they murdered the chief judges
Wealth can become a problem to the spirituality of people. These chapters show that the search for wealth becomes the master rather than the servant.
They and we have a choice in how to handle wickedness/robbers
Read V 20, 21,22 Satan—the great counterfeit
Commentary: Satan is “the great counterfeit,” in other words, he has counterfeit covenants, oaths, signs, words, etc., which make an evil mockery of the covenants, oaths, signs, etc., which rightfully belong to the gospel of Christ and are used by covenant people in the temple—never realized how Satan try to mimic/copy/counterfeit sacred things—makes a mockery of that which is sacred
Gadianton group inspired by Satan, as he also put into the heart of Cain to kill Able
Go through – and dots
Read v 28—
Comm: Tower of Babel—always wondered why this was significant—there is no other way to “get to heaven”other than through the gospel and Atonement of Christ. These people were convinced by Satan that they could get there on their own, and not pay the price of repentance and obedience, but rely on their own wisdom and power.
Counterfeit of Satan: v 28, 30 READ
V 4—voice of warning in the last days
V 15 “For they have strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant;
V 16 They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world
V 17 Wherefore, I the Lord knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun and spake unto him from heaven . . . restoration!
Read v 30, 31, 32, –“thus we see” 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40
Commentary: Personal wicked people cannot stand righteous laws and leaders in government. Therefore, they vote them out of office and replace them with leaders whose lives reflect the same sin and “anything goes” mentality of the majority of voters. Laws are then made which make personal wickedness “legal.” Many citizens no longer ask, “what do the scriptures say?” Rather they say, “is it legal?” So therefore corrupt laws corrupt people further and it is a downward spiral.
Nephi and Lehi have much success on previous mission to Lamanites, went north to preach—but didn’t have same results. Came back to Zarahelma, after being rejected, and discouraged—Gadianton robbers had taken over the govt
Read through Nephi praying and calling people to repentance
Remember that Mormon chose to write about selected issues that we face in our day. In these chapters, Mormon shows us what works to preserve freedom and agency, and what types of things work to destroy them.
Angry cries of corrupt judges that claim Nephi has violated their laws (they could have changed the law to ensure you can’t express opposition to the govt).
***Today we hear similar cries by people who claim that any mention of God, religion, scripture, prophecy, or the use of the terms “good” and “evil”, “right and wrong,” are offensive to the laws and freedoms of this land, a country that was forged and established by the hand of God.
Q Why do you allow this man to offend us and our laws?
We claims that our great cities can be destroyed—we are too great and powerful (rely on their own strength).
Some believed v 8—we better listen or be destroyed
V 13-18 Reason to study scriptures: remind us of the testimonies/lessons taught by past prophets—so we don’t repeat the same mistakes—Moses
v. 11 –Moses’ words fulfilled—why not listen to me/prophets
Satan deceptions: only believe past prophets but not current/believe those in past
Read v 24: so many evidences
Read Moses 6:63—all things bear witness of me
Read v 25-26 –still invited to repent
Few colorfast dyes—most fabrics would bleed color onto other coloring when wet—scarlet and crimson were colorfast
Read Isaiah 1:18–the Lord’s Atonement will cleanse sins and even make scarlet and crimson sins white again
Prophets know of things to come which others don’t know. The Lord therefore can tell us things for our protection and safety and can warn of dangers and coming destruction: your chief judge is murdered by his brother–Inspired by satan who seeketh to destroy the souls of men
This chapter will show how satan uses speculation, misinformation, jumping to conclusions to cloud truth. Uses same tactics to confuse the simple fact that the gospel is true and that God exists.
V 1 people were disputing if Nephi is a prophet—instead of asking for direction. Leave him completely alone—“prophet not esteemed in his own country.” Should seek his counsel and teachings, but walk away; relying on the wisdom of men to understand things of God.
God tells Nephi 6 things which will lead to exaltation (for us as well).
Read V 4- PEARL –read them—all contained in one verse
Blessed art thou Nephi, for those things which thou hast done
1) Actions must accompany belief
For I have beheld how thou hast with unwearyingness
2) We must be consistently faithful
Thou has not feared them
3) We must be more concerned about what God thinks than what people think
Hast not sought thine own life
4) We must not make our own pleasure and desires top priority
Hast sought my (God’s) will
5) We must subject our will to God’s will
And to keep my commandments
6) We must strive to keep His commandments
READ V 5—PEARL—not to ask that which is contrary to God’s will
GOAL of life—naturally have your will become the same as the Lord’s will –V 5 Nephi obtained that—had his calling and election made sure
Key is: you receive what you ask for if you ask according to the Lord’s will—God knew Nephi wouldn’t ask anything that wasn’t the Lord’s will because he had obtained His mind.
Q. How do you do this? How do you know the Lord’s will?
Joseph Smith taught in Lectures on Faith (School of the Prophets), if you keep the commandments and access the Holy Ghost that you can possess the same mind of the Father which mind is the Holy Ghost.
This is why we desire for the Holy Ghost to always be with us (as it says in the sacrament prayer—“that we may always have His spirit to be with us.”
This is how the Savior and Heavenly Father are one—through the spirit, their will is the same—
The spirit is the intercessor—connects us with God and Jesus—become one with them when our will is the same
Scriptures that teach this—favorite topic—how to make my will the same as the Lord’s—the key is to obtain the mind of Christ:
***One of the purposes of reading the scriptures is to obtain the mind of Christ by learning about Him and His dealings with His children.
2 Nephi 32:3: “ . . . feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.”
Then the Holy Ghost will bring those things (you learned) to your remembrance.
Then you would do the things the Lord would do, and you would ask according to His will.
D & C 46:30: “He that asketh in the Spirit asketh according to the will of God; wherefore it is done even as he asketh.”
D & C 103:31: “Behold this is my will; ask and ye shall receive; but men do not always do my will.”
D&C 88:64: “Whatsoever ye ask the Father in my name it shall be given unto you, that is expedient for you.”
Mosiah 4:21 “God . . . doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith . . . “
Romans 8: 26, 27: “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
And he that searcheth the heart knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
D & C 8:10: “Remember without faith you can do nothing; therefore ask in faith. Trifle not with these things; do not ask for that which you ought not.”
I John 5:14, 15: “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, he heareth us.
And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”
2 Nephi 4:35: “I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if I ask not amiss; therefore I will lift up my voice unto thee . . .”
Key to having prayers answers—ask according to the Lord’s will, obtain the mind of Christ through the spirit (same as when blessings are given/discern Lord’s will)
Read v 6: Lord tells Nephi that the famine, pestilence, and destruction are equal to the degree of wickedness of those people
The Lord is trying to humble His children in order to save them
Read v 7, -power to seal anything on earth-sealed in heaven
Read v 11—call to repent, zealous missionary to declare repentance to ALL—didn’t rest until all had been warned
“Behold I sent you out to testify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor.
Therefore they are left without excuse, and their sins are upon their own heads.” D&C 88:80, 81
6 years before the birth of the Savior. Nephi has been given the power of God to use it as he sees fit, to try to save souls.
Nephi will use the power of famine to stop war and bloodshed—people will humble themselves and repent.
V. 1: always begins with contentions—Satan is the father of contention—it’s the way Satan gains power over them, to contend
“For . . . he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to content with anger, one with another.
Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.” 3 Nephi 11:29-30
Read/summarize 1-7: about to perish by the famine
Famine actually a way that God can stop war and bloodshed and humble His people—sometime it is an act of mercy to reclaim his disobedient and rebellious children and give them another chance to repent
Inspired Learning: Better to be humble without being compelled to be humble.
D&C 101:7,8: “They were slow to hearken unto the voice of the Lord their God; therefore, the Lord their God is slow to hearken unto their prayers, to answer them in the day of their trouble.
In the day of their peace they esteemed lightly my counsel; but in the day of their trouble, of necessity they feel after me.”
Q. Is this you and I? How hard do we pray, do we acknowledge the Lord’s hand as much in the good, peaceful times as in the hard trials?
V 20—they begin to prosper again—fearful when hear that—cycle of apostasy again
INSPIRED LEARNING AND CHALLENGE: When you prosper and are being blessed, as individuals and as a people (Latter-day Saints), be aware of the cycle of apostasy. People who remain humble and faithful, despite prosperity, are able to avoid going through the cycle repeatedly. It’s a CHOICE—our FREE AGENCY how we react. Converted saints know the purpose of riches—used to bless others and do good with them. In the temple we consecrate all that we have, so our wealth and riches are a sacred stewardship and the Lord could ask for us to bless others with it.
Jacob 2:16-19 . . . “ do not let pride destroy your souls. But before ye seek for riches seek ye for the kingdom of God. . . ”
Brigham Young warned that the saints would be tried more by their riches than by their poverty.
The cycle begins with pride (in their riches):
President Ezra Taft Benson warned:
“Pride is essentially competitive in nature. We pit our will against God’s. When we direct our pride toward God it is in the spirit of ‘my will and not thine be done.’
Pride is a sin that can be rarely be seen in others but is rarely admitted in ourselves. Most of us consider pride to be a sin of those on the top, such as the rich and the learned, looking down at the rest of us. There is however, a far more common ailment among us—and
that is pride from the bottom looking up. It is manifest in so many ways, such as fault-finding, gossiping, backbiting, murmuring, living beyond our means, envying, coveting, withholding gratitude and praise that might lift another, and being unforgiving and jealous.
PRIDE IS THE GREAT STUMBLING BLOCK TO ZION. I REPEAT: PRIDE IS THE GREAT STUMBLING BLOCK TO ZION!!”
CS Lewis put it this way: (its all about comparions)
*** “Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not, they are proud of being richer, cleverer, or better-looking than others. If every one else became equally rich, or clever, or good-looking there would be nothing to be proud about. It is the comparison that makes you proud: The pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone.” C.S. Lewis,Mere Christianity, pg. 95
V 22- a few contentions on points of doctrine
D & C 10:63: “. . . Satan doth stir up the hearts of the people to contention concerning the points of my doctrine; and in these things they do err, for they do wrest the scriptures and do not understand them.”
Gadianton robbers again—Satan –worked before, try it again!
10 years since peace and now cycle begins again—didn’t they learn from mistakes—thousands died before—return to former sins
Helaman 12: THUS WE SEE chapter
***(write your own learnings—what you see and can apply)
Q. Wonder why the Lord who knows our weaknesses and tendencies to become prideful and disobedient, blesses us and prospers us when we keep His commandments? Is it a test? Do we have a choice to avoid the cycle of apostasy? Has He warned us and forewarned us and showed us the pitfalls of riches and pride?
Read verses 1-8
Section ends with strong warnings: “thus we see”—what the Lord wants to warn us about and to avoid
Looking for an inspiring scripture to end on, but end with warnings instead
“Blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble; . . . blessed is he that believeth in the word of God . . .”