Monday, August 27, 2007

3 Nephi 6

3 Nephi 6 begins in the year 26. During years 22, 23, 24 and 25, the people were returning to their lands and getting their lives back in order after destroying the GR. Year 26 is when they pick up where they left off before the great battle with the GR. In year 27, the people established "great order in the land" (v. 4).

Classes and Ranks

As the people prosper, they develop class systems. There are many merchants (businessmen?), lawyers and officers (government officials?). In 3 Nephi 6:12, the people begin to distinguish themselves by "ranks." This clearly points to pride. Without pride, the people would see each other as neighbors and not as poor and rich, intelligent and uneducated, black and white. Our society today distinguishes between different colors or classes. It is true that not everyone is equal in chances for learning or in wealth. But these things do not matter when it comes to judgment day. What will matter then is if we served our fellowmen and if we kept the commandments. If we find ourselves in a position where we are better educated than others or if we have more means that others, then we need to recognized that we have been blessed of God and that God in turn expects us to serve those who are less fortunate. Where much is given, much is required. (D&C 82:3)

The Church Broken Up

3 Nephi 6:14 talks about how this inequality broke the church. It says, "there became a great inequality in all the land, insomuch that the church began to be broken up … the church was broken up in all the land." My guess is that just as there were different "ranks" among all the people, there were also different "ranks" among the members of the church. This pride caused a rift in the membership which eventually caused the church to be broken up. I can't imagine exactly how the church was broken up during those times, but I can imagine how "ranks" could cause a major rift in a ward.

To illustrate how ranks could break a church, we could say that there is an uprising in part of the church membership concerning tithing. Some members say that they will not pay tithing unless their children are accepted into BYU. Their assumption being that a lot of the tithing funds go towards the funding of operations at BYU. The leaders of the church would probably take a stand and continue to fund BYU while various members of the church refuse to pay their tithing. These members in turn lose their temple recommends and thus an entire anti-Mormon movement begins. Now this is an absurd example, but the point is that any issue can help cause people to be prideful. And when pride enters, the fall is soon to come. What can we learn from this? We can take this lesson from the Nephites and strive to not be prideful. The opposite of pride is charity. If we seek this gift from God, then pride will not have sway over us.

The Humble Lamanites

Contrast the Nephites' pride to the few Lamanites who were genuinely humble. In 3 Nephi 6:13 it says they were "exceedingly humble." They "would not turn and revile again, but were humble and penitent before God." In 3 Nephi 6:14 it says they were "converted unto the true faith; and they would not depart from it." They were "firm, and steadfast, and immovable, willing with all diligence to keep the commandments of the Lord."

Inspired Men

In 3 Nephi 6:20 men, who were inspired from heaven, started to preach to the people. The prideful people did not like these men and they were angry with them. They were so angry with these men sent from heaven that they secretly put them to death without the consent of the governor of the land. Someone issued a complaint against these people who secretly murdered. These lawyers and chief priests who killed the prophets were taken before the judge. Because of their many family members in high places, the guilty were let free. And not only were they let free, but they also sought to assassinate the governor and establish a king. This would prove to be the entire disintegration of the Nephite government which had lasted over 100 years.

Pride is not

Pride is not patient. Pride is not kind. Pride envies. Pride is puffed up. Pride seeks his own interests. Pride is easily provoked. Pride thinks evil. Pride takes joy in iniquity, lying and deception. Pride does not bear nor endure all things. Pride does not believe and has no hope.

There is not optimism in pride. All pride accomplishes is the tearing down of things. Pride does not build up. People with a doomsday outlook on life will be prone to the self-fulfilling prophecy.

Life is too short to live grumpily and prideful. We need to have a positive outlook on life and look for the good in others. We need to life and not tear down. We need to encourage and support and strive to accomplish good things in life.

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