Sunday, January 6, 2019


Between the books of Omni and Mosiah in the Book of Mormon, Mormon explains that we what we will be reading in Joseph Smith’s translation will be from the Large Plates of Nephi, which is the more secular of the two sets of plates rather than the Small Plates. We have been made aware previously of the existence of both records, but have been learning from the teachings from the Small Plates which were a record of the more spiritual happenings among Lehi’s descendants.

As I started this new year of Thoughts for a Sabbath Day, I was struck with the realization that a year ago when I started this ‘get it off my bucket list’ project of writing Thoughts for a Sabbath Day based on thoughts stimulated by searching The Book of Mormon Another Testament of Jesus Christ, I anticipated it would be a project which would keep me occupied for the next two years.

Now that a year has passed and I am writing the 53rd Thought based on The Book of Mormon Another Testament of Jesus Christ and have just finished the pages which comprise what Nephi identified as the Small Plates of Mormon or the first 144 pages of the current edition of The Book of Mormon Another Testament of Jesus Christ, it became apparent that an adjustment to the original estimation of this exciting project would need to be made.

In the first year of this project, I have written Thoughts on just 27% of The Book of Mormon Another Testament of Jesus Christ, which seems to indicate that I will be working on this project for four years rather than two and I will end up with both a volume five and a volume six of my Thoughts for 100 Sabbath Days series and I will be enjoying my 85th year of mortality.

Although the translation from the abridgement of the Large Plates is a secular history and we have all heard or taught how they read like a current events column, I will mention this prophetic factor just in passing. For the purpose of finding springboards for my Sabbath Day Thoughts I will be concentrating on the spiritual teachings which are interspersed among the wars, power driven leaders and people who move quickly through the cycle from evil to repentance and back to evil again.

I think the words the prophet/king Mosiah I said to his son Benjamin when he delivered the Large Plates into his hands are a good indication of the principles which will guide me as I use the rest of the Book of Mormon as a springboard for my Thoughts for a Sabbath Day.

O my sons, I would that ye should remember that these sayings are true, and also that these records are true. And behold, also the plates of Nephi, which contain the records and the sayings of our fathers from the time they left Jerusalem until now, and they are true; and we can know of their surety because we have them before our eyes. And now, my sons, I would that ye should remember to search them diligently, that ye may profit thereby; and I would that ye should keep the commandments of God, that ye may prosper in the land according to the promises which the Lord made unto our fathers. (Mosiah 1: 6, 7)

I only had to search until verse nine of Mosiah chapter two before I found a verse which has been of great profit during my life.

And these are the words which he spake and caused to be written, saying: My brethren, all ye that have assembled yourselves together, you that can hear my words which I shall speak unto you this day; for I have not commanded you to come up hither to trifle with the words which I shall speak, but that you should hearken unto me, and open your ears that ye may hear, and your hearts that ye may understand, and your minds that the mysteries of God may be unfolded to your view.

Not commanded you to come up hither to trifle with the words

I learned very early in my life that there was a great bridge between my sister Geraldene, who was born with a ‘believing spirit’ and myself who was born with a ‘prove all things’ spirit. I wasted a lot of time in the proving process, which may be another way of saying, for me doubt always preceded belief and I was more prone to desire discussion rather than to calmly accept another person’s position on a proposition.

Heavenly Father must have known I needed this constant influence of a ‘believing spirit’ in my life because I spent the first quarter with a sister who had such a gift and the last three quarters of my life with Kathleen who likewise possesses this gift.

If I understand Benjamin’s counsel correctly when he admonishes us not to trifle (put our own spin on – doubt – argue) with inspired revelatory words from prophets, but that our assignment once having received the word of God was not to tear it down and discuss it to death, but to find a way to make it part of our own system of beliefs.

Hearken unto me

I am well aware that we have been taught that the meaning of the word hearken is twofold. First, that we should hear and second that we should then go forth to do.

As I read the words spoken by Benjamin I have a feeling that he was at this moment putting an emphasis on the hearing part of the word ‘hearken’.

I fear if you have any of the spirit of ‘proving all things’, many times rather than paying tribute and honor to the speaker your mind is constantly being interrupted with thoughts in the category of ‘yah-but’ or ‘is it possible that it could be’. I believe to truly hear we must allow others sufficient respect so that we can hear their words without the interruptive bias’s which we might have.

It is a very unfair and non-learning position to begin to argue before you really understand what the other person has said. Benjamin says to truly understand what has been said we must open our ears that we may hear, and our hearts that we may understand, and our minds that the mysteries of God may be unfolded to our view.

Open our ears that we may hear

I have been left with little doubt that opening one’s ears involves alertness and concentration. One of the sadness’s with which I have been inflicted during the aging process has been a loss of hearing which makes it very difficult to hear high pitched voices, soft toned voices and people who speed read their talks. Up to this point in my life I have still been able to stay awake.

I am sure there are many excuses why we do not clearly hear the words of others, but if Benjamin is correct, if we have not clearly heard, we should be even more diligent in avoiding trifling.

I am sure of one thing. If for any reason we have not clearly heard, there is no way we will be able to fulfill the rest of the formula. Therefore, it would be best if we didn’t express our arguments until we are sure we have correctly heard what has been spoken.

Open our hearts that we may understand

As long as records have been kept, societies have used the heart to indicate the attributes of love, mercy, affection, devotion and grace along with many other characteristics which are indicators of our best virtues. Even today on social media we click on a heart when we have kind and good feelings about what someone has said or done.

Benjamin obviously knew that if we were going to gain an understanding of his words, we could not be filled with hate, philosophical differences, biased parental tapes or any other force which would harden our hearts and cause a preemptive blockage of understanding.

It is sad that we so often continue on our paths of ignorance because we would not open our hearts and let love, mercy, affection, devotion and grace be the bridge to understanding.

Open our minds that the mysteries of God may be unfolded to our view

There are many truths which I have come to feel very secure about. One I am sure easily makes the top ten, is that what I know of the mysteries of God is a grain of sand in comparison to what I don’t know about the mysteries of God.

I didn’t really understand what she meant when my mother first told me ‘a little learning is a dangerous thing’ or ‘when we are learned we think we are wise’, but the experiences of life have seared into my soul the consciousness of how little I really know. For me, the opening of my mind, has come in direct proportion to my recognizing how limited my understanding has been and is.

If a person believes their glass is filled to the brim, it becomes impossible for any one to add anything. I have mostly been a glass half full person during my life, but if I am going to be added upon by coming to partially know a mystery of God I must view my glass with just a few droplets.

Once I recognize my mind falls short of knowing even elementary eternal truths, it is a beginning to having it open to receive a new fragment of a mystery of God.

I wish I had better understood what Benjamin was saying about coming to know truth when I first read the Book of Mormon in my youth, but I am extremely grateful that I have begun to gain a bit of understanding.



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