And, finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same (Abraham, vs 2)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Names, Names, Names: Equality among ALL men

I was reading the Book of Mormon and was shown something I have not seen before. I am amazed how closely the Book of Mormon identifies our awful situation and state of wickedness today. How far we are from God and how much we need repentance. It was truly written for us to identify if we will use it as our own Urim and Thmmin our wickedness and abominations before our Maker. Certainly if we want to repent we must first learn the things we must repent of.

A few days ago I read 4th Nephi on a Zion society.
17 There were no robbers, nor murderers, neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of -ites; but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God. (4 Nephi 1: 17)
Well, ok it makes sense, but it didn't hit me until this morning (April 14th). As I read Alma 4 about the inequality among the people, about the pride of the church became greater than outside the church, how they became scornful to those who did not believe as they did, etc... It flashed before my eyes the scripture in 4th Nephi verse 17 with how we do it today. It was a personal revelation to me that I have felt to share.

Today we have separated each other by the following.

Less Active
Non Member
Non Mormon
Not religious

"neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of -ites; but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God."

We love separating ourselves. We just love it. But God sees us all as Children of God. Thats it. Nothing else. We are all in a fallen state, we are all in need of Him. As we look at the examples of the Book of Mormon and taking the names of the people "lamanites", "nephites", "Josephites", etc.. it was during a time of much "inequality" or iniquity, destruction, contention, wickedness, etc.

We ALL are so far from our God in our faith, in our beliefs and being able to see ALL as God sees us, as children of Christ. We are really all equal in His eyes. Lets not segregate each other for whatever differences we have, even if they are differences we don't agree with.
12 Yea, he saw great inequality among the people, some lifting themselves up with their pride, despising others, turning their backs upon the needy and the naked and those who were hungry, and those who were athirst, and those who were sick and afflicted.
13 Now this was a great cause for lamentations among the people, while others were abasing themselves, succoring those who stood in need of their succor, such as imparting their substance to the poor and the needy, feeding the hungry, and suffering all manner of afflictions, for Christ’s sake, who should come according to the spirit of prophecy;
14 Looking forward to that day, thus retaining a remission of their sins; being filled with great joy because of the resurrection of the dead, according to the will and power and deliverance of Jesus Christ from the bands of death. (Alma 4)
Not meet one should posses one above another

The revelations state, "It is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin?”. But look at America, look how even the poorest of us have these government programs to take care of them, they have shelter, food, water, etc... This is not the case for all, but even in America we have so much than another in other countries. 

Billions are starving in other countries. We are suffering them to go unnoticed. And than the lord will pass by us unnoticed. Look at what Orson Pratt said.
What kind of a revolution would it work among the Latter day Saints if the revelation given in March, 1831, were carried out by them, “It is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin?” How much of a revolution would it accomplish in Salt Lake City if this order of things should be brought about? I think it would work a greater revolution among this people than has ever been witnessed amongst them since they had an existence as a Church.
There must be a reformation. There will be a reformation among this people, but He will plead with the stronger ones of Zion, He will plead with this people, He will plead with those in high places, He will plead with the priesthood of this church, until Zion shall become clean before him. I do not know but what it would be an utter impossibility to commence and carry out some principles pertaining to Zion right in the midst of this people. They have strayed so far that to get a people who would conform to heavenly laws it may be needful to lead some from the midst of this people and commence anew in the regions round about in these mountains.
(JD 15:355-360,, Orson Pratt)
Purging our self image as good guys: The Message of the Book of Mormon
Only those who are aware of their lost and fallen state can take the mission of the Savior seriously, and before one can embrace it in terms of the eternities it must be grasped on the level of common, everyday reality … For behold, are we not all beggars? … The essence of [King] Benjamin’s preaching is to purge the people, if possible, of their flattering self-image as good guys.
His address is expressly to the inhabitants of "this land" into whose hands "this book" shall come--specifically, it is meant for us. (Scriptural Perspectives on How to Survive the Calamities of the Last Days, Hugh Nibley, read here)
King Benjamin
King Benamin is a great example of how a society that wishes to be like Zion needs to act. I am going to try to go through a few chapters starting in Mosiah 2 and highlight the traits of King Benjamin and the Society.

"I am like as yourselves" (vs 11)
"serve(d) you with all the might, mind and strength" (vs 11)
"spend my days in your service" (vs 12)
Did not receive any gold, silver or riches from the people  (vs 12)
Suffered to be No Dungeons (jails) (vs 13)
No Slaves, murder, plunder, steal, commit adultery... (vs 13)
"taught you [to], keep the commandments" (vs 13)
"labored with mine own hands" (vs 14)
No Taxes (vs 14)
Tells us these things not to boast, or accuse. (vs 15-16)
Refuses to accept thanks (praise), gives it to God (vs 19)
"render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you" (vs 20) [Notice no praise to the man, we should be wise in this regard to not give praise or glory to any man]
Beware of contention, else you will be led by an evil spirit (vs 32)
"I pray that ye should awake to a remembrance of the awful situation of those that have fallen into transgression" (vs 40)

The peoples reactions
After this message of repentance here is what happened. Mosiah 4:
And now, it came to pass that when king Benjamin had made an end of speaking the words which had been delivered unto him by the angel of the Lord, that he cast his eyes round about on the multitude, and behold they had fallen to the earth, for the fear of the Lord had come upon them. And they had viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth.11...always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness
This is a very real process when on awakens to their awful situation. They realize how little they are in this world, fear comes upon them for their own salvation, they begin to realize their nothingness before God. It is this humility that God requires of us. This fear of our failure and inabililty to do what is required that allows us to stay humble and put our trust in God. No wonder why people never like to "hear" repentance. Because as soon as something is revealed that they are doing wrong they cry "treason". All people want to think they are doing exactly what they need to do to be saved. "Carnal security".
Discourse on the Poor
 16 And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish. 17 Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just 18 But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God. 19 For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?
God gives both to the Just and the Unjust, art thou greater than He? I have seen this excuse, that they will just use it for drugs or alcohol, over and over for not giving to those who put up their petition for food, money, etc... We have great cause to repent if we think their punishments are just. We shall not suffer their petitions to be put up in vain.
22 And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life belongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing which thou hast done.
We are not to withhold but to give freely. No wonder why so few people have ever been able to build Zion. Their hearts are far from Him. They prefer to keep that which is not theirs to begin with. They wish to save all the money they can while those around them suffer with nothing.

Hugh Nibley
He spoke beautifully our dilemma. I will pull excerpts out from his paper, Scriptural Perspectives on How to Survive the Calamities of the Last Days, you can read it here.
there is no point in devising ingenious schemes for survival.There is but one real course of escape. What you should do is to watch yourself at all times (see JS-M 1:46); to be found doing good all the time (see JS-M 1:49); to not act as if it were going to be business as usual indefinitely, as if the great event belonged to a vague and indefinite future (see JS-M 1:51). The one thing you can be sure of is that it will be "in such an hour as ye think not" (JS-M 1:48). So the only preparation is to do what? To abstain from taking advantage of others, oppressing the poor, and living in luxury (see JS-M 1:52).
What do you repent of and how do you repent? It is all a matter of seeking: when you repent you turn from seeking some things to seeking others 
...get rid of our own definition of who are "the good guys" and who are "the bad guys."

The dangerous illusion that the populace may be classified simply as the good guys (our side) and the bad guys (their side) becomes the main theme of the book of Jacob, as of the Book of Mormon itself. While Jacob spares no words in describing the wickedness and depravity of the Lamanites, he can declare of his own people at that early date: "Behold, ye have done greater iniquities than the Lamanites" (Jacob 2:35). Where does that leave us? With a polarized world that emerges in Jacob 3:

It is as pointless, then, to ask who are the good guys and who are the bad guys as it is to ask who should repent. The answer is always the same: I am the sinner, and I must repent.
The essence of Benjamin's preaching is to purge the people, if possible, of their flattering self-image as good guys. 
We must not forget those Book of Mormon super-good guys, the Zoramites--hard working, independent, fiercely patriotic, brave, smart, prosperous Zoramites--strictly attending their meetings and observing proper dress standards. What a perfectly wonderful self-image!

The battle is not between Good and Bad--the wicked shall destroy the wicked.
The book of Mormon is For US
Mormon's message to us is not without a word of hope and advice: "Behold, I speak unto you as though I spake from the dead; for I know that ye shall have my words. . . . 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" (Mormon 9:30-31). His address is expressly to the inhabitants of "this land" into whose hands "this book" shall come--specifically, it is meant for us.
No More Revelation
How is it possible to be so selective in times of war and confusion? It is done by the process of leading the righteous away. When the lights go out and the grandson of Amaron reports that there is "no revelation save that which has been written, neither prophecy" in his day (Omni 1:11), then the righteous man Mosiah is "warned of the Lord that he should flee out of the land of Nephi" (Omni 1:12), taking any who will go with him--it is Lehi all over again, another society of saints in the wilderness. (ibid)
No More revelation 
King Benamin is an interesting example of a society that is required to build Zion. We should study it. Its also an interesting story of what leads up to the establishment of this Zion like society. If Hugh Nibley is right that the book of Mormon is about US, is this a type of us? For 3-4? generations there was "no revelation save that which has been written, neither prophecy" (Omni 1:11). Until finally a small group was able to awaken through the words of this King Benjamin and remove that self flatery image they had and do what was required to build Zion?

When Destruction Comes
When everything you have is taken away, when your life is lost, or whatever else comes your way, it won't be asked of you whether you had enough to survive during those times but rather it will be asked, how did you succor those that stood in need while you were able? Did you help that man on the corner or did you pass by? After all we could even be entertaining angels unaware (true messengers) sent to prove us in all things. "Done it unto the least of these you have done it unto me".

Don't forget all those who have less. Remove that "covetous".
26 And now, for the sake of these things which I have spoken unto you—that is, for the sake of retaining a remission of your sins from day to day, that ye may walk guiltless before God—I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants. (Mosiah 4:26)

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