Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Law of Tithing

A devoted man in Hungary lived a life of poverty. The floors in their home were made of dirt. Having no money to replace them, he mended his garmants on a daily basis, so that he could continue to wear them. He had a crippled walk and only one good arm. He didn’t have enough money to by a car or pay for public transportation. Through all this he faithfully attended his church meetings as often as he could. In order to do so, he had to walk an hour to catch one bus that would get him close enough to walk the rest of the way to church. He went alone, being the only member in his family. With all the trials of life that he faced, this valiant man was a faithful full tithe payer. He did not simply go through the motions of paying a full tithe, he truly understood the law of tithing.

We will all come to points in our lives when we may ask what that includes. For example; Does one pay tithing on a scholarship received for college? Does one pay tithing on their tax return? This is where the Spirit will guide the true of heart. Tithing is not just a duty to check off the list, it is much more. Tithing is a test of our faith.

Joseph F. Smith said: “By this principle [tithing] the loyalty of the people of this church shall be put to the test. By this principle it shall be known who is for the kingdom of God and who is against it. By this principle it shall be seen whose hearts are set on doing the will of God and keeping his commandments, thereby sanctifying the land of Zion unto God, and who are opposed to this principle and have cut themselves off from the blessings of Zion. There is a great deal of importance connected with this principle, for by [our payment of tithes] it shall be known whether we are faithful or unfaithful. In this respect it is as essential as faith in God, as repentance of sin, as baptism for the remission of sins, or the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. For if a man keep all the law save one point, and he offend in that, he is a transgressor of the law, and he is not entitled to the fullness of the blessings of Jesus Christ. But when a man keeps all the law that is revealed, according to his strength, and his ability, though what he gives may be little, it is just as acceptable in the sight of God as if he were able to do a thousand times more. The law of tithing is a test by which the people as individuals shall be proved. Any man who fails to observe this principle shall be known as a man who is indifferent to the welfare of Zion, who neglects his duty as a member of the church… He neglects to do that which would entitle him to receive the blessings and ordinances of the gospel.”

This faith, necessary for our development on earth, may start as a simple seed to be nurished. Showing forth a particle of faith, is the very key to achieve the faith of a giant.

Russell M. Nelson said, “To develop enduring faith, an enduring commitment to be a full-tithe payer is essential. Initially it takes faith to tithe. Then the tithe payer develops more faith to the point that tithing becomes a precious priviledge. Tithing is an ancient law from God. He made a promise to His children that He would “open the windows of heaven, and pour… out a blessing, that there may not be room enough to receive it. Not only that, tithing will keep your name enrolled among the people of God, and protect you in the day of vengeance and burning.”

If we all truly understood those promises and blessings, not one soul would deny themselves the right to be so blessed. To be protected “in the day of vengeance and burning”. What a wonderful promise. We have been told to gather food storage, learn self reliance, and prepare temporally for the days that lay ahead. Should we not also prepare spiritually by paying a full tithe?

The prime purpose behind tithing is for the tithe-payer. The Church is grateful for our giving and it is used to further the Kingdom of God, however, we are the greatest beneficiaries.

Blessings may come immediately or in future times when the Lord knows best. We are blessed with the necessities of life. This does not mean wealth, yet we are blessed with what we need. The Lord blesses us with wisdom the manage our material resources, and our remaining 90%.

Spiritually we are blessed with further guidance of the Holy Ghost and a strengthened faith and testimony. We are able to develop a submissive and grateful heart, that confesses his hand in all things.

“Tithing makes its greatest appeal to the sincere mind because of its spiritual significance. It is an unfailing source of spiritual power. True and constant obedience to this law will give as much spiritua ldevelopment as will obedience to any other principle of the gospel.” (President David O. McKay)

It would be impossible to list all the possible ways that the Lord enriches our lives. The bottom line is that we cannot afford not to pay tithing.

Our children need to be taught from a young age the true meaning of tithing. We do not want to rob them of blessings they can receive, by not distilling in them a testimony of this law. Teach them during family home evening, or as they receive their allowance, birthday, or christmas money. Show them through your example the importance of tithing. Take them with you to tithing settlement so that they get the opportunity to report to the Bishop on their own, and above all, to see your faithfullness as you report.

After time and again of hearing young teens say they cannot pay their tithing because they need to save for their missions, Elder Hales encouraged us to teach them young. Teach them now, so that when they do serve their missions they are able to have a testimony of it on their own, to teach others. Teach them to pay with a cheerful and willing heart.

“But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap bountifully.

Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”

2 Corinthians 9:6-7

Laman and Lemuel followed their father and journeyed just as Nephi did, yet they did it grudgingly. In contrast, Nephi followed with a cheerful heart.

The same can be said of tithing. There are those who give out of necessity, all along thinking of all the other purchases they could be making with that money. And there are those who give cheerfully, considering it a priviledge. They pay with a grateful heart, feeling indebted to the Lord for all He has given them.

It is our priviledge to participate in the building of the kingdom of God, both temporally and spiritually. When we grow spiritually we can help others do the same, therefore building God’s spiritual army.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Gratitude for Jesus Christ

Written by: Craig Conover Published on: November 14, 2010

Click here for a printable version

Gratitude for Jesus Christ

I am truly honored to be able to speak to you today and on such a great topic.

First of all, I would like to warn you that I use a lot of scriptures in my talks because of how valuable they are. If you recall that there are several entire chapters in the Book of Mormon that Nephi and others recorded word for word. Every word in the scriptures was selected by the power of God and delivers great power unto all that listen with the Spirit. So if you want to follow along, go ahead and grab your scriptures.

I would like to start by telling you how the spirit was manifest in my life through this talk. A while back I started a new tradition, in my family, an even though I am the only one that participates for the most part, I still call it a tradition. It is called the monthly talk tradition. For years I wanted to compose talks and have them ready whenever I was called on, so about 6 months ago I decided to do it and to share it with my family. So I try to put together a talk a month and send to my family. It has been real fun and I have learned so much. After I sent off the last one, I started to think about what topic I wanted next months talk to be on. This was about a week ago, and the thought came to me that I had not talked about my Savior yet, and that it was time for me to do that. I then began to focus my mind on my Savior, and I will tell you that as I allowed my thoughts to focus only upon him I received great strength and felt so close to him. There is a power that He can bring into our lives. Alma the younger describes in part this power to his son Helaman in Alma 36:17-20: After recalling how an angel appeared to him commanding him to stop destroying the Lords church, and he had a fallen that he could not speak or use his limbs and was taken before his father.

17 And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world.

18 Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death.

19 And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more

20 And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!

I too have felt this power in my life. On Monday the counselor in the Bishopric left a message for me to call him back. I thought that he might ask me to speak, and I thought it being Thanksgiving weekend he would probably give me a topic on Gratitude. All night I started to think about how neat it would be, if that was the topic, because I would show my gratitude for my Savior. The following day he called me and gave me the topic of gratitude for Jesus Christ. The Lord truly works in mysterious ways. So today I will be able to talk to you for a brief minute about my best friend and my God. I thought about how I would structure such a topic because my heart is filled with love and gratitude for him and I was not sure how to have you feel what I felt. So I pray that the spirit will be with me as I attempt to express my gratitude for Him. There are two aspects that I would like to touch on, and that is why we should be thankful for him, and then how we can show our gratitude to him.

Why we should be thankful for him, this does not need to be explained, but I would like the opportunity for you to feel what I feel. To begin is very difficult because he is the corner stone or the central belief in all that we believe in, there is no start or end to his influence.

3 Nephi 9:18

I am the light and the life of the world. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.

D&C 19:1

I AM Alpha and Omega, Christ the Lord; yea, even I am he, the beginning and the end, the Redeemer of the world.

But let me begin by explaining who he was. As a child he started the same as all of us did, and had to become perfect step by step. Elders I apologize you heard this quote last week. James E. Talmage shows us this, in Jesus the Christ.

"In such simplicity is the normal, natural development of the Boy Jesus made clear. He came among men to experience all the natural conditions of mortality; He was born as truly a dependent, helpless babe as is any other child; His infancy was in all common features as the infancy of others; His boyhood was actual boyhood, His development was as necessary and as real as that of all children. Over His mind had fallen the veil of forgetfulness common to all who are born to earth, by which the remembrance of primeval existence is shut off. The Child grew, and with growth there came to Him expansion of mind, development of faculties, and progression in power and understanding. His advancement was from one grace to another, not from gracelessness to grace; from good to greater good, not from evil to good, from favor with God to greater favor, not from estrangement because of sin to reconciliation through repentance and propitiation.

Our knowledge of Jewish life in that age justifies the inference that the Boy was well taught in the law and the scriptures, for such was the rule. He garnered knowledge by study, and gained wisdom by prayer, thought, and effort. Beyond question He was trained to labor, for idleness was abhorred then as it is now; and every Jewish boy, whether carpenter's son, peasant's child, or rabbi's heir, was required to learn and follow a practical and productive vocation. Jesus was all that a boy should be, for His development was unretarded by the dragging weight of sin; He loved and obeyed the truth and therefore was free."

Also, in D&C 93:12-14

12 And I, John, saw that he received not of the fulness at the first, but received grace for grace;

13 And he received not of the fulness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fulness;

14 And thus he was called the Son of God, because he received not of the fulness at the first.

He was born into a royal blood lineage, and that of King David. In Jesus the Christ there is a quote from Canon Girdlestone, “If the crown of David had been assigned to his successor in the days of Herod it would have been placed on the head of Joseph. And who would have been the legal successor to Joseph? Jesus of Nazareth would have been then the King of the Jews, and the title on the cross spoke the truth. God had raised Him up to the house of David.”

He came, not to rule as a King, but to save the souls of those who believe in his name. Jesus in his own words, Matthew 20:26-28, shows us that, whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;

27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:

28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Why should such a being as Jesus Christ come? King Benjamin show us why.

Mosiah 3:5-13

5 For behold, the time cometh, and is not far distant, that with power, the Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was, and is from all eternity to all eternity, shall come down from heaven among the children of men, and shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay, and shall go forth amongst men, working mighty miracles, such as healing the sick, raising the dead, causing the lame to walk, the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and curing all manner of diseases.

6 And he shall cast out devils, or the evil spirits which dwell in the hearts of the children of men.

7 And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people.

8 And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary.

9 And lo, he cometh unto his own, that salvation might come unto the children of men even through faith on his name; and even after all this they shall consider him a man, and say that he hath a devil, and shall scourge him, and shall crucify him.

10 And he shall rise the third day from the dead; and behold, he standeth to judge the world; and behold, all these things are done that a righteous judgment might come upon the children of men.

11 For behold, and also his blood atoneth for the sins of those who have fallen by the transgression of Adam, who have died not knowing the will of God concerning them, or who have ignorantly sinned.

12 But wo, wo unto him who knoweth that he rebelleth against God! For salvation cometh to none such except it be through repentance and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ.

13 And the Lord God hath sent his holy prophets among all the children of men, to declare these things to every kindred, nation, and tongue, that thereby whosoever should believe that Christ should come, the same might receive remission of their sins, and rejoice with exceedingly great joy, even as though he had already come among them.

I never tire from hearing those words, they awake within me a great abiding love for my Savior. Early I talked about the power that comes in and through Jesus Christ. There is a great quote from Ezra Taft Bensen in a 1986 conference report,

“There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book. You will find greater power to resist temptation. You will find the power to avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path. The scriptures are called "the words of life” and nowhere is that more true than it is of the Book of Mormon. When you begin to hunger and thirst after those words, you will find life in greater and greater abundance (in Conference Report, Oct. 1986, 6; or Ensign, Nov. 1986, 7).”

The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ, showing to the world that the Christ is the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. Therefore the power of the Book of Mormon of which has been spoken, is the very power of God unto the convincing of all that read from its pages of Jesus and of his works, love, and atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world. This power is given unto us through our faith in Him. I am always amazed at the account of the brother of Jared, who because of his faith saw God and much, much more.

Ether 3:20

20 Wherefore, having this perfect knowledge of God, he could not be kept from within the veil; therefore he saw Jesus; and he did minister unto him.

Continuing in 25 he showed unto the brother of Jared all the inhabitants of the earth which had been, and also all that would be; and he withheld them not from his sight, even unto the ends of the earth.

Mormon uses the Bother of Jared to explain faith:

Either 12:7, 20-21

7 For it was by faith that Christ showed himself unto our fathers, after he had risen from the dead; and he showed not himself unto them until after they had faith in him; wherefore, it must needs be that some had faith in him, for he showed himself not unto the world.

20 And behold, we have seen in this record that one of these was the brother of Jared; for so great was his faith in God, that when God put forth his finger he could not hide it from the sight of the brother of Jared, because of his word which he had spoken unto him, which word he had obtained by faith.

21 And after the brother of Jared had beheld the finger of the Lord, because of the promise which the brother of Jared had obtained by faith, the Lord could not withhold anything from his sight; wherefore he showed him all things, for he could no longer be kept without the veil.

Either 4:4 Mormon says

4 4 Behold, I have written upon these plates the very things which the brother of Jared saw; and there never were greater things made manifest than those which were made manifest unto the brother of Jared.

So by faith we can come to understand what great things the Savior of the world did for all of us, and it is by faith that your gratitude and joy for Him may consume you even like that of Ammon and the Anti Nephi Lehi's. And they truly were ministered to and it is written in Alma 23:6 And as sure as the Lord liveth, so sure as many as believed, or as many as were brought to the knowledge of the truth, through the preaching of Ammon and his brethren, according to the spirit of revelation and of prophecy, and the power of God working miracles in them-yea, I say unto you, as the Lord liveth, as many of the Lamanites as believed in their preaching, and were converted unto the Lord, never did fall away.

They had the power of Christ in their very lives, and we too must obtain this power and allow our minds to lay hold on our Savior.

I would like now to talk about, how we can show our gratitude to him. I thought about this quite a bit and several things kept coming to my mind.

John 21:14-17

14 This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead.

15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.

16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

It is not enough for us to individually know that Jesus is the Christ, it is evident by the words of Jesus to Peter that we must bring others unto him. I think that it is important to note that this happened after Christ had been raised from the dead, and of all the teachings he could have given, he chose to teach them this great doctrine.

And unto the disciples in the America's he taught them a similar doctrine.
He asked the 12: What is it that ye desire of me, after that I am gone to the Father?

3 Nephi 28:2

2 And they all spake, save it were three, saying: We desire that after we have lived unto the age of man, that our ministry, wherein thou hast called us, may have an end, that we may speedily come unto thee in thy kingdom.

He said, “Blessed are ye because ye desired this thing of me” and explained what would become of them, and then turned to the 3 and asked them: What is it that ye desire of me, after that I am gone to the Father?

3 Nephi 28:5-10

5 And they sorrowed in their hearts, for they durst not speak unto him the thing which they desired.

6 And he said unto them: Behold, I know your thoughts, and ye have desired the thing which John, my beloved, who was with me in my ministry, before that I was lifted up by the Jews, desired of me.

7 Therefore, more blessed are ye, for ye shall never taste of death; but ye shall live to behold all the doings of the Father unto the children of men, even until all things shall be fulfilled according to the will of the Father, when I shall come in my glory with the powers of heaven.

9 … and all this will I do because of the thing which ye have desired of me, for ye have desired that ye might bring the souls of men unto me, while the world shall stand.

10 And for this cause ye shall have fulness of joy; and ye shall sit down in the kingdom of my Father; yea, your joy shall be full, even as the Father hath given me fulness of joy; and ye shall be even as I am, and I am even as the Father; and the Father and I are one;

After this they were caught up in heaven and were minister unto, and when they continued their ministry on the earth they went through all the land and all were converted unto the Lord and united unto the church of Christ.

There is nothing greater than to bring souls unto salvation. Spencer W Kimball has one the greatest view points on missionary work, he said,

“If only you could see the vision as I have, I wish I had your bodies to do the mission work, I would run to every house to teach the gospel and when I could no longer run then I would walk, and when I could no longer walk, I would crawl on my knees, and after my knees were so bloody that I could not use them, I would use my arms to drag myself, and once every muscle in my body was gone I would begin to yell! Oh that you could see the vision that I have."

How powerful is that. And for what purpose? To bring the knowledge of the Savior, into as many lives as would believe.

I would like to express to you my gratitude for him at this time. I can look at my life and see that my testimony is founded on Jesus Christ though the Book of Mormon. I have loved the Book of Mormon as long as I can remember. My first Book of Mormon I had through High School and I think that I marked every line red. I lost it and then a year or two later, my brother told me that it was at the seminary building and that his friends would comment, how they couldn't read it because it was all marked up. I didn't stop there though, my wife had a nice quad and since I didn't have mine she said I could use hers. I asked her if I could mark them and she said I could, she thought she knew what that meant. A year or so later she picked up “my” scriptures and to her surprise, her pages were red, green, and purple, she wasn’t very happy I might add. I can truly say that it is because of the Book of Mormon and the testimony and words of those great men that I have a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In those sacred pages are teachings and stories that are chosen by the Savior himself through the Holy Spirit for us to have. It is written several times, that it is impossible to write an hundredth part of the proceedings of this people or hundredth part of the things which Jesus did truly teach unto the people. Of all the proceedings, revelations and manifestations of the Spirit to the nephites, Lamenites, and Jaredites, Mormon was inspired to abridge only that which would be plain and precious to convincing of the all men that Jesus is the very Christ and the only name whereby salvation can come unto the children of men. I have prayed many times that I could feel what the prophets were trying to convey, to feel of their spirit, because of the awkwardness of writing. Mormon explains this to some degree for us in Ether 12:23-27

23 And I said unto him: Lord, the Gentiles will mock at these things, because of our weakness in writing; for Lord thou hast made us mighty in word by faith, but thou hast not made us mighty in writing; for thou hast made all this people that they could speak much, because of the Holy Ghost which thou hast given them;

24 And thou hast made us that we could write but little, because of the awkwardness of our hands. Behold, thou hast not made us mighty in writing like unto the brother of Jared, for thou madest him that the things which he wrote were mighty even as thou art, unto the overpowering of man to read them.

25 Thou hast also made our words powerful and great, even that we cannot write them; wherefore, when we write we behold our weakness, and stumble because of the placing of our words; and I fear lest the Gentiles shall mock at our words.

26 And when I had said this, the Lord spake unto me, saying: Fools mock, but they shall mourn; and my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of your weakness;

27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

I have noticed that as I would pray for greater understanding, He truly has made weak things become strong unto me and that I could comprehend at a greater level what they were saying; they are becoming more alive to me than ever before. I am also starting to understand more than ever what Alma teaches us in ch 30:

40 And now what evidence have ye that there is no God, or that Christ cometh not? I say unto you that ye have none, save it be your word only.

41 But, behold, I have all things as a testimony that these things are true; and ye also have all things as a testimony unto you that they are true.

44 …The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.

All knowledge and wisdom is light and He is the light of the world. As the Lord teaches Mormon in

Ether 4:12

12 And whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do good is of me; for good cometh of none save it be of me. I am the same that leadeth men to all good; he that will not believe my words will not believe me-that I am; and he that will not believe me will not believe the Father who sent me. For behold, I am the Father, I am the light, and the life, and the truth of the world.

To me the testimony of Joseph Smith in D&C 76:22-24 sums what I feel.

22 And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives

23 For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father-

24 That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.

He has been my light through out my life. I had an experience a few years back that has given my testimony great strength. I was sitting in sacrament meeting, and had began something new, I would take an instance in the life of the Savior and would envision myself there and try to take myself there, and try to walk along side the apostles and be close to the Savior. At this time my mind was taken to the time when Jesus administered the sacrament to his apostles, before he was to be betrayed and crucified. All of the apostles were there and they were busy making ready the Passover for Jesus. I was among them, but the Savior was not there yet, I found myself looking all over the room for him. The door was hidden and a small maybe 5 foot long hall way led to the room. I remember looking down the hallway when suddenly I saw him enter the room down the hallway, my heart soared and what joy filled my heart I was taken back by what power radiated from his being as he approached us.

I am forever grateful for the Book of Mormon and those prophets that spent their time under candle light or whatever means of light they had to record those things that teach us of one Jesus Christ who should come and did come and will come again. That I may know of him and through faith he can become my best and truest friend, my master, and my Savior. Of Him and this great work I leave my testimony that it is all true, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

O Ye My Fair Ones

Written and Published by: Craig Conover on April 7, 2009
Click here for a printable version

O Ye My Fair Ones

How is it that ye could have fallen!

The scriptures are full of analogies which at times can be hard to understand. The irony is that although they may be difficult to discern, their meanings are understood only as they are searched and pondered. For this purpose the Savior said, “I perceive that ye are weak, that ye cannot understand all my words which I am commanded of the Father to speak unto you at this time. Therefore, go ye unto your homes, and ponder upon the things which I have said, and ask of the Father, in my name, that ye may understand” (3 Nephi 17:2-3). I have been vividly taught by my seven year old daughter that something more is needed and that is a personal desire to do the thing. Often it is like pulling teeth to get her to do things, she is so determined to only do those things that are fun and that she wants to do. This is the very topic that I would like to discuss in my paper. I will use The Book of Mormon to uncover a set of keys that can be used to unlock our ability to identify, control and align our desires to those of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To accomplish this we must learn some of the ways and symbols that the scriptures use to teach the children of Christ how to develop a pure desire for righteousness. It is my humble prayer that the conclusion of this paper; will only be the beginning to the divine learning that every one of us will embark, with the Holy Ghost as our guide and exaltation our destiny.

Near the end of The Book of Mormon is found the account of the great Prophet-historian, Mormon, of who’s name this book bears as a memorial to this remarkable man. The days of Mormon and his son Moroni, who became the last Nephite Prophet, were filled with “an awful scene of blood and carnage” (Mormon 5:8). For approximately a thousand years the Nephites lived here on this land of North and South America, and during this period of time they experienced an ever rotating cycle of great prosperity by their yielding their hearts unto God and then destruction because of their swift return to their wicked ways. Satan finally gained absolute control over the hearts and the desires of the Nephites and he caused hatred and revenge to blacken every heart until the Nephites were all slaughtered by the Lamanites. As Mormon looked out at the slaughter of his people and their love of all that is evil he cried:

17 O ye fair ones, how could ye have departed from the ways of the Lord! O ye fair ones, how could ye have rejected that Jesus, who stood with open arms to receive you!

18 Behold, if ye had not done this, ye would not have fallen. But behold, ye are fallen, and I mourn your loss.

19 O ye fair sons and daughters, ye fathers and mothers, ye husbands and wives, ye fair ones, how is it that ye could have fallen!

20 But behold, ye are gone, and my sorrows cannot bring your return.

22 O that ye had repented before this great destruction had come upon you. (Mormon 6:17-20, 22 emphasis added)

Mormons great anguish is so exquisite and his words wrench my heart every time I read them. His pain can only be more fully understood as our perfection in God approaches the level he had achieved. He knew the state of the wicked and because of that his words still piece my very heart. Mormons ability to rise above the desires of the flesh came from the love he had for the Lord. “I, being fifteen years of age and being somewhat of a sober mind, therefore I was visited of the Lord, and tasted and knew of the goodness of Jesus.” (Mormon 1:15 emphasis added). God was Mormon’s strength and the source of his desires, thoughts, and actions. Now, this does not mean that every thought that Mormon had, came from the Lord but rather he had by his righteousness brought the spring of living water unto himself. He was constantly being nurtured by the fountain because he had qualified himself and the fountain had been brought unto him. Here in lies the key or principle and that is that this spring or fountain of righteousness can be either found (temporary) or be brought unto the righteous (permanent).

The journey to come unto the fountain of righteousness has two important aspects. First, that it is not the fountain that moves away from us but it is us that move away from the fountain. Secondly, if the journey is not embarked and strictly pursued then the light they once had will be taken away and Satan’s power over us will increase until all is dark. I look at this as an exchange of gifts. As long as we are willing to exchange our spirituality for something of a lesser kingdom or value then we are blind and know not that what we feel in our hand is the rod of iron or the hand rail leading up the stairs to the large and spacious building. Nephi wrote “And it came to pass that I beheld that the rod of iron, which my father had seen, was the word of God, which led to the fountain of living waters” (1 Nephi 11:25). There is a reason, in my opinion why the Lord used a rod of iron instead of a compass to find the tree of life, and that is because a compass changes based on your location whereas a rod of iron never changes and is straight and immovable. Alma talking about the Liahona or compass prepared by god to help Lehi cross the wilderness, taught:

40 And it did work for them according to their faith in God; therefore, if they had faith to believe that God could cause that those spindles should point the way they should go, behold, it was done; therefore they had this miracle, and also many other miracles wrought by the power of God, day by day.

41 Nevertheless, because those miracles were worked by small means it did show unto them marvelous works. They were slothful, and forgot to exercise their faith and diligence and then those marvelous works ceased, and they did not progress in their journey; (Alma 37:40-41 emphasis added)

No, a compass is only sufficient for the Nephi’s but the rest of us are too wishy-washy, always on the lookout for something worth trading for one of our coins of spirituality; after all we have a few left. Enos explains this unsteady roller coaster many seem to be on:

23 And there was nothing save it was exceeding harshness, preaching and prophesying of wars, and contentions, and destructions, and continually reminding them of death, and the duration of eternity, and the judgments and the power of God, and all these things—stirring them up continually to keep them in the fear of the Lord. I say there was nothing short of these things, and exceedingly great plainness of speech, would keep them from going down speedily to destruction. (Enos 1:23 emphasis added)

Moroni was commanded to teach us the way to come unto the fountain,, “I, Moroni, am commanded to write these things, that evil may be done away, and that the time may come that Satan may have no power upon the hearts of the children of men, but that they may be persuaded to do good continually, that they may come unto the fountain of all righteousness and be saved” Either 8:26 emphasis added). Persuasion to do good continually is the key to coming unto the fountain. We have to persuade ourselves not to trade any of our coins of spiritually for anything that “moth and rust doth corrupt, and thieves break through and steal” (3 Nephi 13:19). This persuasion comes by our thoughts and the source that our thoughts are coming form. If they come from the Savior we must heed them and if they come from below we must shun them and replace the thoughts with thoughts that will edify and bring us closer to the fountain and not farther away. If we fail to persuade ourselves than we will trade the light that we once had, which means the Spirit is withdrawn and Satan has full power. This is what happened in the time of Christ, the time of Mormon and is now happening in our time. Jesus taught the Nephites when he visited them instructing them of dangers of failing to persuade themselves to love righteousness:

32 But behold, it sorroweth me because of the fourth generation from this generation, for they are led away captive by him even as was the son of perdition; for they will sell me for silver and for gold, and for that which moth doth corrupt and which thieves can break through and steal. And in that day will I visit them, even in turning their works upon their own heads. (3 Nephi 27:32 emphasis added)

The fourth generation of which the Savior prophesied of is those of Mormon’s day. Alma the Younger also prophesied of Mormon’s day:

10 And these are the words: Behold, I perceive that this very people, the Nephites, according to the spirit of revelation which is in me, in four hundred years from the time that Jesus Christ shall manifest himself unto them, shall dwindle in unbelief.

11 Yea, and then shall they see wars and pestilences, yea, famines and bloodshed, even until the people of Nephi shall become extinct—

12 Yea, and this because they shall dwindle in unbelief and fall into the works of darkness, and lasciviousness, and all manner of iniquities; yea, I say unto you, that because they shall sin against so great light and knowledge, yea, I say unto you, that from that day, even the fourth generation shall not all pass away before this great iniquity shall come. (Alma 45:10-12, emphasis added)

Take note of the last verse here and compare it with what the Savior said, and you will see that they are the same. Notice the words of the Savior, “for they will sell me for silver and for gold, and for that which moth doth corrupt.” This is interesting because the Savior will not visit them in their wickedness so they could sell him, but they will sell him in their hearts which is the same as if he were there. They crucify him anew in their hearts and their state is dreadful. Now we will see the fulfillment of the Saviors word in the words of Mormon:

14 And they did not come unto Jesus with broken hearts and contrite spirits, but they did curse God, and wish to die. Nevertheless they would struggle with the sword for their lives.

15 And it came to pass that my sorrow did return unto me again, and I saw that the day of grace was passed with them, both temporally and spiritually; for I saw thousands of them hewn down in open rebellion against their God, and heaped up as dung upon the face of the land. And thus *three hundred and forty and four years had passed away. (Mormon 2:14-15 emphasis added)

The depravity continues:

8 And the husbands and fathers of those women and children they have slain; and they feed the women upon the flesh of their husbands, and the children upon the flesh of their fathers; and no water, save a little, do they give unto them.

9 And notwithstanding this great abomination of the Lamanites, it doth not exceed that of our people in Moriantum. For behold, many of the daughters of the Lamanites have they taken prisoners; and after depriving them of that which was most dear and precious above all things, which is chastity and virtue—

10 And after they had done this thing, they did murder them in a most cruel manner, torturing their bodies even unto death; and after they have done this, they devour their flesh like unto wild beasts, because of the hardness of their hearts; and they do it for a token of bravery.

18 O the depravity of my people! They are without order and without mercy. Behold, I am but a man, and I have but the strength of a man, and I cannot any longer enforce my commands.

19 And they have become strong in their perversion; and they are alike brutal, sparing none, neither old nor young; and they delight in everything save that which is good; and the suffering of our women and our children upon all the face of this land doth exceed everything; yea, tongue cannot tell, neither can it be written. (Moroni 9:8-10, 18-19 emphasis added)

Even putting these verses in my paper pains my heart but it shows the fulfillment of prophecy, the slippery slope in not persuading ourselves to love righteousness, and lastly the opposition in all things that is needed to comprehend the glorious state of those who willingly choose to dedicate their whole souls unto Christ. Now to investigate the key that will help us in bringing the fountain of righteousness unto ourselves. The Savior taught “the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14). The Savior taught Mononi, “Behold, I will show unto the Gentiles their weakness, and I will show unto them that faith, hope and charity bringeth unto me—the fountain of all righteousness.” The fountain brought unto us is that it becomes a part of us. Requoting Nephi, “And it came to pass that I beheld that the rod of iron, which my father had seen, was the word of God, which led to the fountain of living waters, or to the tree of life; which waters are a representation of the love of God; and I also beheld that the tree of life was a representation of the love of God” (1 Nephi 11:25 emphasis added).I added three spate marks blocking together the symbol with its interpretation. The rod of iron is the word of God. Nephi was given the sealing power and the Lord said, “yea, even that all things shall be done unto thee according to thy word, for thou shalt not ask that which is contrary to my will” (Helaman 10:5 emphasis added). Next the fountain of living waters which is represented as the tree of life also, is a representation of the love of God. We learn from Mormon:

47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.

48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure” (Mormon 7:47-48).

If we truly have charity then shall the fountain of righteousness brought unto us. Moroni said, “if a man be meek and lowly in heart, and confesses by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ, he must needs have charity; for if he have not charity he is nothing; wherefore he must needs have charity. . . .Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—” (Moroni 7:44,47). If we have charity then we will have perfect faith, and our hope will be perfect and if we are possessed with those three then we will be one in purpose as our Father and His Christ are one. Then we “may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure.” I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Works Cited

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Book of Mormon. Intellectual Reserve, Inc., 2006.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The New Testament. Intellectual Reserve, Inc., 2006.