The Value of Scriptures

1-nephi-fashioning-the-plates-447330-wallpaper

This is a continuation of our Zone Conf discussion last week on the importance of using our scriptures. We talked about all of the prophecies of Jesus Christ in the BoM.
D&C 10: 41-45 reviewed.
D&C 46-52 read and discussed.

41 Therefore, you shall translate the engravings which are on the plates of Nephi, down even till you come to the reign of king Benjamin, or until you come to that which you have translated, which you have retained;

42 And behold, you shall publish it as the record of Nephi; and thus I will confound those who have altered my words.

43 I will not suffer that they shall destroy my work; yea, I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.

44 Behold, they have only got a part, or an abridgment of the account of Nephi.

45 Behold, there are many things engraven upon the plates of Nephi which do throw greater views upon my gospel; therefore, it is wisdom in me that you should translate this first part of the engravings of Nephi, and send forth in this work.

46 And, behold, all the remainder of this work does contain all those parts of my gospel which my holy prophets, yea, and also my disciples, desired in their prayers should come forth unto this people.

47 And I said unto them, that it should be granted unto them according to their faith in their prayers;

48 Yea, and this was their faith—that my gospel, which I gave unto them that they might preach in their days, might come unto their brethren the Lamanites, and also all that had become Lamanites because of their dissensions.

49 Now, this is not all—their faith in their prayers was that this gospel should be made known also, if it were possible that other nations should possess this land;

50 And thus they did leave a blessing upon this land in their prayers, that whosoever should believe in this gospel in this land might have eternal life;

51 Yea, that it might be free unto all of whatsoever nation, kindred, tongue, or people they may be.

52 And now, behold, according to their faith in their prayers will I bring this part of my gospel to the knowledge of my people. Behold, I do not bring it to destroy that which they have received, but to build it up.
There is something very serious going on here. All of the prophets and disciples prayed over these records/scriptures, that they would be preserved and kept for a future day. They Saw Us. They knew what we would need. They spoke/write to Us and for Us. And they Begged God to preserve these records so we could learn from them.

Look at all of these references to that just in the Book of Mormon:

Topical Guide: Scriptures, Preservation of:

that we may preserve unto them the words: 1 Ne. 3:20 .
that we could preserve the commandments: 1 Ne. 5:21 .
a record of the Jews, which contains the covenants of the Lord: 1 Ne. 13:23 .
that the more sacred things may be kept: 1 Ne. 19:5 .
Judah shall write; and … the fruit of thy loins: 2 Ne. 3:12 .
shall be written and sealed up in a book: 2 Ne. 26:17 .
words of the book which were sealed shall be read: 2 Ne. 27:11 .
men … shall write the words which I speak: 2 Ne. 29:11 .
preserve these plates: Jacob 1:3 .
plates, which will give our children … knowledge concerning us: Jacob 4:2 .
God was able to preserve our records: Enos 1:15 .
kept and preserved by the hand of God: Mosiah 1:5 .
took the plates … that he should keep and preserve them: Mosiah 28:20 .
kept and preserved by the hand of the Lord: Alma 37:4 .
which he will keep and preserve for a wise purpose: Alma 37:14 .
take care of these sacred things: Alma 37:47 .
some have wrested the scriptures: Alma 41:1 .
these sayings … shall be kept: 3 Ne. 16:4 .
Ammaron … did hide up the records: 4 Ne. 1:48 .
they are to be hid up unto the Lord: Morm. 5:12 .
I … hid up in the hill Cumorah all the records: Morm. 6:6 .
no one shall have them to get gain: Morm. 8:14 .
write them and shall seal them up: Ether 3:22 .
commanded that I should hide them up again: Ether 4:3 .
I seal up these records: Moro. 10:2 .
for this very purpose are these plates preserved: D&C 3:19 .
neither adding to, nor diminishing from the prophecy: D&C 20:35 .
my scriptures shall be … preserved: D&C 42:56 .
records … God preserved in mine own hands: Abr. 1:31 .
book deposited, written upon gold plates: JS—H 1:34 .
use all my endeavors to preserve them: JS—H 1:59 .

Here is an account that give us a glimpse of these records:2-sword-of-laban 3-cave

Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses Vol. 19, p.38

You hear a great deal said about finding money. There is no difficulty at all in finding money, but there are a great many people who do not know what to do with it when they do find it. This is the great defect with the human family. I could relate many very singular circumstances. I lived right in the country where the plates were found from which the Book of Mormon was translated, and I know a great many things pertaining to that country. I believe I will take the liberty to tell you of another circumstance that will be as marvelous as anything can be. This is an incident in the life of Oliver Cowdery, but he did not take the liberty of telling such things in meeting as I take. I tell these things to you, and I have a motive for doing so. I want to carry them to the ears of my brethren and sisters, and to the children also, that they may grow to an understanding of some things that seem to be entirely hidden from the human family.

Oliver Cowdery went with the Prophet Joseph when he deposited these plates. Joseph did not translate all of the plates; there was a portion of them sealed, which you can learn from the Book of Doctrine and Covenants.

When Joseph got the plates, the angel instructed him to carry them back to the hill Cumorah, which he did. Oliver says that when Joseph and Oliver went there, the hill opened, and they walked into a cave, in which there was a large and spacious room. He says he did not think, at the time, whether they had the light of the sun or artificial light; but that it was just as light as day. They laid the plates on a table; it was a large table that stood in the room. Under this table there was a pile of plates as much as two feet high, and there were altogether in this room more plates than probably many wagon loads; they were piled up in the corners and along the walls.

The first time they went there the sword of La ban hung upon the wall; but when they went again it had been taken down and laid upon the table across the gold plates; it was unsheathed, and on it was written these words: “This sword will never be sheathed again until the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of our God and his Christ.”

I tell you this as coming not only from Oliver Cowdery, but others who were familiar with it, and who understood it just as well as we understand coming to this meeting, enjoying the day, and by and by we separate and go away, forgetting most of what is said, but remembering some things. So is it with other circumstances in life. I relate this to you, and I want you to understand it. I take this liberty of referring to those things so that they will not be forgotten and lost.

Carlos Smith was a young man of as much veracity as any young man we had, and he was a witness to these things. Samuel Smith saw some things, Hyrum saw a good many things, but Joseph was the leader.

Now, you may think I am unwise in publicly telling these things, thinking perhaps I should preserve them in my own breast; but such is not my mind. I would like the people called Latter-day Saints to understand some little things with regard to the workings and dealings of the Lord with his people here upon the earth. I could relate to you a great many more, all of which are familiar to many of our brethren and sisters.

From Nephicode.blogspot.com/2015_12_01_archive.html:

(Heber C. Kimball stated in 1856, “How does it compare with the vision that Joseph and others had, when they went into a cave in the hill Cumorah, and saw more records than ten men could carry? There were books piled up on tables, book upon book. Those records this people will yet have, if they accept of the Book of Mormon and observe its precepts, and keep the commandments” (Journal of Discourses, 28 September 1856). In fact, according to Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball President [Heber C.] Kimball talked familiarly to the brethren about Father Smith, [Oliver] Cowdery, and others walking into the hill Cumorah and seeing records upon records piled upon table[s,] they walked from cell to cell and saw the records that were piled up.” (Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 5 May 1867).

President Young said in relation to Joseph Smith returning the Plates of the Book of Mormon that he did not return them to the box from which he had received them, but he went into a cave in the hill Cumorah with Oliver Cowdery and deposited those plates upon a table or shelf.

In that room were deposited a large amount of gold plates Containing sacred records and when they first visited that Room the sword of Laban was hanging upon the wall and when they last visited it the sword was drawn from the scabbard and laid upon a table and a Messenger who was the keeper of the room informed them that that sword would never be returned to its scabbard until the Kingdom of God was established upon the Earth and until it reigned triumphant over every enemy. Joseph Smith said that Cave contained tons of choice treasures and records (Wilford Woodruff journal, 11 December 1869).
“Brigham Young said that when Oliver Cowdery and Joseph Smith were in the cave this third time, they could see its contents more distinctly than before…It was about fifteen feet high and round its sides were ranged boxes of treasure. In the centre was a large stone table empty before, but now piled with similar gold plates, some of which lay scattered on the floor beneath.

Formerly the sword of Laban hung on the walls sheathed, but it was now unsheathed and lying across the plates on the table; and One that was with them said it was never to be sheathed until the reign of Righteousness was upon the earth” (Elizabeth Kane Journal, 15 January 1873).

Speaking of Brigham Young, Jesse Nathaniel Smith stated in 1874, “I heard him at an evening meeting in Cedar City describe an apartment in the Hill Cumorah that some of the brethren had been permitted to enter. He said there was great wealth in the room in sacred implements, vestments, arms, precious metals and precious stones, more than a six-mule team could draw” (Jesse Nathaniel Smith Journal, February 1874).

Brigham Young also said, “I tell you this as coming not only from Oliver Cowdery, but others who were familiar with it, and who understood it just as well as we understand coming to this meeting…[Don] Carlos Smith was a young man of as much veracity as any young man we had, and he was a witness to these things. Samuel Smith saw some things, Hyrum saw a good many things, but Joseph was the leader” (Journal of Discourses, 17 June 1877). Edward Stevenson, Reminiscences of Joseph the Prophet, 1877, tells a similar story, as does David Whitmer, s mentioned earl, 16 August 1878, in an interview with P. Wilhelm Poulson; as did Orson Pratt, in The Contributor, September 1882.

As mentioned earlier, an interesting interview regarding this cave took place between David Whitmer and P. Wilhelm Poulson, as recorded in the Deseret Evening News, 16 August 1878, wherein Paulson asked where the plates were now and David Whitmer replied, “In a cave, where the angel has hidden them up till the time arrives when the plates, which are sealed, shall be translated. God will yet raise up a mighty one, who shall do his work till it is finished and Jesus comes again.” Poulson then asked “Where is that cave?” to which Whitmer answered, “In the state of New York,” and Poulson asked, “In the Hill Cumorah?” to which Whitmer replied, “No, but not far away from that place.”

4-enos

Here are some examples of how these prophets of old knew our day and prayed with all their faith that these records might be preserved for us:

Enos
What was his #1 desire?
12 And it came to pass that after I had prayed and labored with all diligence, the Lord said unto me: I will grant unto thee according to thy desires, because of thy faith.

13 And now behold, this was the desire which I desired of him—that if it should so be, that my people, the Nephites, should fall into transgression, and by any means be destroyed, and the Lamanites should not be destroyed, that the Lord God would preserve a record of my people, the Nephites; even if it so be by the power of his holy arm, that it might be brought forth at some future day unto the Lamanites, that, perhaps, they might be brought unto salvation—

14 For at the present our strugglings were vain in restoring them to the true faith. And they swore in their wrath that, if it were possible, they would destroy our records and us, and also all the traditions of our fathers.

15 Wherefore, I knowing that the Lord God was able to preserve our records, I cried unto him continually, for he had said unto me: Whatsoever thing ye shall ask in faith, believing that ye shall receive in the name of Christ, ye shall receive it.

16 And I had faith, and I did cry unto God that he would preserve the records; and he covenanted with me that he would bring them forth unto the Lamanites in his own due time.

17 And I, Enos, knew it would be according to the covenant which he had made; wherefore my soul did rest.

18 And the Lord said unto me: Thy fathers have also required of me this thing; and it shall be done unto them according to their faith; for their faith was like unto thine.

Alma 37
I asked them to refer to the Journal handout I gave them in interviews and think of it in this context–of how they kept a record for future generations (us):

Thoughts on Alma 37
1. Is keeping a journal optional?
2. What types of things should be included in our records?
3. What should be done with the records of our fathers/mothers?
4. Consider the importance/value of the recorded testimony of an ancestral family member.
5. In vs. 8 what are 3 reasons we should write and preserve our records?
6. Note the repeating phrase “unto future generations.”
How can we “leave ourselves behind?”
7. How might having an “enlarged memory” bless our lives?
8. How might YOU “be the means” in your family and to your posterity?

Now, while your scriptures are turned to Alma 37, look at ch. 38 and you will see, beginning in vs. 6 how Alma does the very thing he has just taught Helaman in ch. 37. As he now addresses Shiblom, notice in vs. 6-9 his own personal testimony, written and recorded. This is a First Person, Parent to Child, Personal Account, a Story of Something that Happened To Him.
Notice in these 3 verses how often he uses “I”, “me” or “myself” (I see at least 18 times!) – he wants us to know that this experience happened to him and this is the testimony he gained from that experience. This is what journals and personal records are all about. We are really lucky to get to have a peek into his journal, his words to his own son. Not every journal entry will have such remarkable experiences, but there will be occasions in your writing life when the Spirit will prompt you to say and write things that will change the lives of your children or grandchildren or great grandchildren long after you are gone. There will be ideas you will share in just the right way that those descendants will Listen to because they want to hear what you thought about things. They might be a teenager in trouble, or a struggling young father, or a student deciding on what paths in life to take. Your words will reach out to them and those words will be the means that have an influence on the decisions they make.
Please prayerfully read these verses in chapters 37 and 38 this week and think about your role in the records that need to be kept in your family.
Like FH work in general, this is not just a passing hobby or something some people do. This is EPIC. As you ponder and read your scriptures, mark how often the command is given to write or record what is happening. “Keep a Record” is one of those commandments we tend to skim right over, thinking it does not apply to us – we’re not prophets or “leaders” in charge of that sort of thing. But you are the leaders in your families and what you say and write and record will change lives. And the lives they change will be the lives of Your Loved Ones. Don’t fail them.

5-joseph-smith-james-1-5

James 1:5
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God
Posted on November 16, 2015 by annlaemmlenlewis

Yesterday in our Sunday School class we studied the book of James in the New Testament. James is likely the brother of Jesus, and his words resonate deep in my heart. I’m so grateful for scriptures that guide us and move us to act as this verse penned by James did to a young boy named Joseph Smith in the year 1820.

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (James 1:5)

Elder Bruce R. McConkie, an Apostle of Jesus Christ said:

“. . . this single verse of scripture has had a greater impact and a more far reaching effect upon mankind than any other single sentence ever recorded by any prophet in any age. It might well be said that the crowning act of the ministry of James was not his martyrdom for the testimony of Jesus, but his recitation, as guided by the Holy Ghost, of these simple words which led to the opening of the heavens in modern times.

“And it might well be added that every investigator of revealed truth stands, at some time in the course of his search, in the place where Joseph Smith stood. He must turn to the Almighty and gain wisdom from God by revelation if he is to gain a place on that strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life.”
(Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3:246-47)

I am grateful for a Heavenly Father who hears and answers our personal prayers. He has answered mine and He will answer yours.

6-joseph-opens-plates

Mormon 8:35, 9:30-36, 37

8:35 Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing.
9:30 Behold, I speak unto you as though I spake from the dead; for I know that ye shall have my words.

31 Condemn me not because of mine imperfection, neither my father, because of his imperfection, neither them who have written before him; but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been.

32 And now, behold, we have written this record according to our knowledge, in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech.

33 And if our plates had been sufficiently large we should have written in Hebrew; but the Hebrew hath been altered by us also; and if we could have written in Hebrew, behold, ye would have had no imperfection in our record.

34 But the Lord knoweth the things which we have written, and also that none other people knoweth our language; and because that none other people knoweth our language, therefore he hath prepared means for the interpretation thereof.

35 And these things are written that we may rid our garments of the blood of our brethren, who have dwindled in unbelief.

36 And behold, these things which we have desired concerning our brethren, yea, even their restoration to the knowledge of Christ, are according to the prayers of all the saints who have dwelt in the land.

37 And may the Lord Jesus Christ grant that their prayers may be answered according to their faith; and may God the Father remember the covenant which he hath made with the house of Israel; and may he bless them forever, through faith on the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

7-moroni

That covenant is that these records would be preserved for US (refer back to D&C 10, Enos, and the other prophets).
Do we value them?
Do we use them?

Refer them to Preach My Gospel pp. 180-182:
Use the Scriptures
The standard works of the Church are your basic sources for teaching the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. You may also use the words of living prophets. There are many reasons why it is vital to use the scriptures as the basis for your teaching. For example:

• The Lord and His prophets have instructed us to do so (see D&C 42:12, 56–58; 71:1). A latter-day prophet counseled, “The words and the way they are used in the Book of Mormon by the Lord … should be used by us in teaching gospel principles” (Ezra Taft Benson, “The Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants,” Ensign, May 1987, 84).
• The scriptures invite the Holy Ghost into your teaching. They teach God’s word with power (see Alma 31:5).
• The scriptures answer the great questions of the soul (see 2 Nephi 32:3; Jacob 2:8).
• The scriptures give authority and validity to your teaching, even in areas without a Christian background.

Your ability to teach with power from the scriptures comes in large measure from the time you personally spend studying them. As you daily feast upon the word, your ability to teach from the scriptures will improve. In addition, your invitations to study and ponder the scriptures will be more powerful because you are doing the same thing in your life. Help people gain faith in the scriptures—particularly the Book of Mormon—as sources of revealed truth. When people come to believe the scriptures, you will be better able to help them understand doctrines correctly. The following suggestions may help.

Introduce the scripture. Describe briefly the background and context of the passage you will use. Invite the investigator to look for particular points in the passage. When teaching people with a limited knowledge of the scriptures, you may need to begin by describing the contents of a passage, using language that they will understand. Below are examples of introducing a scripture:

• “Here in Joseph Smith’s history we have Joseph’s own words telling what happened to him as he went into the grove to pray. He said, ‘I saw a pillar of light …’”
• “In this passage the prophet Alma is teaching people who are poor to exercise their faith in the word of God. He compares the word of God to a seed that can be planted in our hearts. Will you begin reading verse …”
Read the passage. Read the verses aloud or ask the investigator to read aloud. Be sensitive to those who struggle to read. If a passage is difficult for them to understand, read with them carefully and help them understand the more difficult points. Or give them a simpler passage to read. You might also define difficult words or phrases:

• “Let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not [’upbraideth not’ means that God won’t find blame or fault] and it shall be given him” (James 1:5).
Some scriptural passages are clear and need no explanation. For others you may take time to explain what has been read.

Apply the scripture. “Liken” the scriptures to yourself and to investigators by showing how the principles are relevant today (see 1 Nephi 19:23). Show investigators how they can apply the principles in their lives. As they do, they will come to know that the doctrine is true. Bear your testimony of the principle, and promise them blessings. For example:

• “The people of Alma, like you, had heavy burdens placed on them, almost more than they could bear. But as they exercised faith and ‘cried mightily to God,’ He strengthened them so they could endure the challenges and then delivered them from their trials. Just as He did with these people, I know God will help you in your trials as you …”
• “Alma’s instruction to the people at the waters of Mormon applies to us today. John, are you willing to …”
The people you teach will differ widely in how they view sacred texts, how familiar they are with the Bible, how well they understand scriptural language, and how deeply they believe that the Bible contains God’s word. Help all investigators gain an appreciation for the scriptures. By effectively using the scriptures in your teaching, you can help investigators begin to study the scriptures on their own. After each visit, suggest specific chapters or verses for them to read. You might give them questions to consider as they read, which you can discuss in your next meeting. This will encourage them to study the scriptures daily in their homes and participate in Church meetings and classes where the scriptures are used.

Conclusion:
We have scriptures because of the faith and prayers and desires of every prophet and disciple of Jesus Christ who has written of him. They wrote them for us today. They gave their lives for this cause, for us. They testify of Christ. As we add our testimonies to theirs, we can have great power and an outpouring of the Spirit when we teach. This is their gift to us, His gift to us. Let us not take this lightly.

About annlaemmlenlewis

I am member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I am currently serving as a Missionary in the Washington Yakima Mission. Welcome to my personal blog, Ann's Words, and my Mission blog, Our Yakima Mission. If you are interested in family history stories and histories, you can find those posted in Ann's Stories. Thanks for looking in!
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