Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Mormon 9

Racked with a consciousness of guilt

Moroni warns us that we'd be better off repenting of our sins and changing our ways in this life rather than facing God and being "racked with a consciousness of guilt." (Mormon 9:3) He teaches us that we'd be more miserable in the presence of God than with the damned souls of hell and that our nakedness (not being clothed in purity … see 2 Nephi 9:14) would be like a flame of unquenchable fire. (Mormon 9:5)

We are not helpless with regard to being racked with a consciousness of guilt. We can do something about this matter in this life. We can repent and turn to God.

Man is the Variable, Not God

Many people say that God has changed. They think that since there are not many miracles occurring today that God has changed. It seems that many preachers in Joseph Smith's era taught that God had revealed all to the biblical prophets and that he no longer dealt in revelations or miracles. This notion is incorrect. God does not change his modus operandi. Rather it is the natural man who varies and changes. We think God has changed when indeed he is "the same yesterday, today, and forever." (Mormon 9:9)

Mormon later explains that "the reason why he [God] ceaseth to do miracles among the children of men is because that they dwindle in unbelief." (Mormon 9:20) Again, the natural man is the one who changes his beliefs. God does not change.

Ask and ye shall receive

One of the most repeated messages in the scriptures is the message of asking God and receiving. Mormon repeats this important message in Mormon 9:21.

"Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ is shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth."

When we do ask of our Father, we must "doubt not, but be believing." (Mormon 9:27)

Work out your own salvation

God will never take away our agency. No man will be forced to Heaven. He had given His son so that we have a chance to repent. Christ has done His part and now all that is left to be done is if we repent and keep the commandments. We are responsible for our salvation. Through the grace of God, the way is made possible. But we must do our part.

As Paul wrote to the Philippians, "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

"For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

"Do all things without murmurings and disputings:

"That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world." (Philippians 2:12-15)

More Counsel from Mormon

"Be wise in the days of your probation." In other words, don't waste time in sin. Repent and keep the commandments.

"Strip yourselves of uncleanness." Is our desire like the Lamanite king who Aaron taught in that we desire to "give away all [our] sins" to know God? (Alma 22:18)

"Ask with a firmness unshaken, that ye will yield to no temptation." How often do we pray that we are not lead into temptation? I think that if we prayed for this more often, we'd see a significant increase in our purity.

"Serve the true and living God." In our prayers, we should also ask for strength in our efforts to serve others.

Reformed Egyptian

There seems to be a lot of academic studies on the Book of Mormon being written in reformed Egyptian. Moroni explains in Mormon 9:32-33 that were they able to write in Hebrew, there would have been no imperfections. Instead, the Book of Mormon writers used reformed Egyptian to perhaps save on space.

The "I Have a Question" section in the October 1986 Ensign does a pretty good job of explaining the writing process of the Book of Mormon historians.

Below are some pictures from the Reformed Egyptian Wikipedia entry.

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