Mormon 7-9 Mormon 7:8-9if ye believe that No man can say that this book (laying his hand on the Bible) is true, is the word of the Lord, is the way, is the guide-board in the path, and a charter by which we may learn the will of God; and at the same time say, that the Book of Mormon is untrue; if he has had the privilege of reading it, or of hearing it read, and learning its doctrines. There is not that person on the face of the earth who has had the privilege of learning the Gospel of Jesus Christ from these two books, who can say that one is true, and the other is false (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe , 459). Shoulder to Shoulder
President Ezra Taft Benson (18991994) spoke of his love for the Bible and the Book of Mormon and how both testify that Jesus is the Christ: I love the Bible, both the Old and the New Testaments. It is a source of great truth. . . . . . . That sacred and holy book has been of inestimable worth to the children of men. In fact, it was a passage from the Bible that inspired the Prophet Joseph Smith to go to a grove of trees near his home and kneel in prayer. What followed was the glorious vision that commenced the restoration of the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth. That vision also began the process of bringing forth new scripture [the Book of Mormon] to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Bible in bearing witness to a wicked world that Jesus is the Christ and that God lives and loves His children and is still intimately involved in their salvation and exaltation (in Conference Report, Oct. 1986, 100101; or Ensign, Nov. 1986, 78). Mormon 8:1-6Moronis Loneliness Real courage includes standing against the evil one, even when we
stand alone, often feeling the disdain and the ridicule of others. This is courage. This is strength. This is manhood, and it can be tough. I know a young man who was thrilled to be selected for an all-star basketball team to play in a tournament in another state. The first evening at the hotel, the other roommates decided to watch pornographic movies. This boy left the room and walked the city by himself well into the night until the movies were over. I am sure it was embarrassing, lonely, and challenging. But that is courage; that is manhood in its truest sense. And I say, Behold a man!an 18-year-old boy turned man.Yes, a true man is strong enough to withstand the wiles of Satan (Richard C. Edgley, Behold the Man, Ensign, Nov 1999, 42). Manhood Some months ago I was given the assignment to interview a young man, 21 years old, to determine if his repentance was sufficient for him to serve a mission. My heart ached as I read of the serious problems and transgressions in his past. I wondered if it would be possible that one with such a background could ever prepare himself to worthily serve a mission. At the appointed time for my interview I saw a handsome young man approaching me. He was immaculately
groomed and had a wonderful countenance about him. He looked like a returned missionary, and I wondered who he was. As he approached he extended his hand and, to my surprise, introduced himself as the young man I was to interview. During the interview I simply asked, Why am I visiting with you tonight? Then he laid out the sordid details of his past. After reviewing and confessing again his transgression, he began talking to me about the Atonement and the years of painful repentance that brought him to this very interview. He expressed his love for the Savior and then explained that Christs Atonement was sufficient to rescue even a boy like him. At the conclusion of the interview, I placed my hand on his shoulder and said, When I get back to Church headquarters, my recommendation will be that you be permitted to serve a mission. And then I said, I ask only one thing of youjust one. If you are privileged to serve, I want you to be the best missionary in the entire Church. That is all. About four months later I was speaking at a missionary devotional at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. After the devotional I was standing in front of the podium greeting missionaries when I noticed a familiar face approaching me. My first thought was that I was about to be embarrassed because I was supposed to know this young man. I could not remember where I had met him, and I knew the first question that he was going to ask me. Sure enough, he extended his hand and asked, Do you remember me? Apologetically and somewhat embarrassingly, I answered: I am sorry. I know I should know you, but I just do not remember. He then said: Well, let me tell you who I am. I am the best missionary in the MTC. I could not withhold the tear that slowly trickled down my cheek as I thought: Here is a man. He met his Gethsemane. He paid the painful price of repentance. He has humbled himself and submitted himself to the redemptive power of the Savior. He has met the challenges. He has measured up to true manhood. And I say, Behold a man, a man humble enough to submit himself to the redemptive powers of the Savior. Ben, you can describe a man in inches, pounds, complexion, or physique. But you measure a man by character, compassion, integrity, tenderness, and
principle. Simply stated, the measures of a man are embedded in his heart and soul, not in his physical attributes (see 1 Sam. 16:7). But they can be viewed in conduct and demeanor. The qualities of manhood are so often evident in this thing we call countenance. When Alma queried, Have ye received his image [meaning the Saviorthe true man] in your countenances? (Alma 5:14), he, my friend, was talking about the attributes of true manhood. Yes, Ben, Satan has his man and God has His man, and Satan has his characteristics of manhood and God has His. Satan would present his characteristics as the true measurement of manhood and Gods criteria as weak and wimpy. But one must understand that Satans criteria will almost always be the easiest and the wimpiest. Satans way takes no courage, no character, no personal strength, and it proves no manhood at all. A true man does not need Satan to lead him down the easy path with his everlasting chains of destruction. A true man is strong enough to withstand the wiles of Satan and humble enough to submit himself to the redemptive powers of the Savior. Moses, in a moment of both motivation and rebuke, charged the Israelites, Who is on the Lords side? (Ex. 32:26). What he was really asking was, Whose man are you, anyway? Our Father in Heaven is called Man of Holiness (Moses 6:57; Moses 7:35). That is a title we reserve with reverence for the Supreme Being. It is not a title we take upon ourselves, Ben. But every priesthood bearer should seek to be known simply as a man of God. That, my dear friend, is manhood. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen. (Richard C. Edgley, Behold the Man, Ensign, Nov 1999, 42). The Loneliness of Discipleship Now I speak very carefully, even reverently, of what may have been the most difficult moment in all of this solitary journey to Atonement. I speak of those final moments for which Jesus must have been prepared intellectually and physically but which He may not have fully anticipated emotionally and spiritually
that concluding descent into the paralyzing despair of divine withdrawal when He cries in ultimate loneliness, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?16 The loss of mortal support He had anticipated, but apparently He had not comprehended this. Had He not said to His disciples, Behold, the hour is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me and The Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him?17 With all the conviction of my soul I testify that He did please His Father perfectly and that a perfect Father did not forsake His Son in that hour. Indeed, it is my personal belief that in all of Christs mortal ministry the Father may never have been closer to His Son than in these agonizing final moments of suffering. Nevertheless, that the supreme sacrifice of His Son might be as complete as it was voluntary and solitary, the Father briefly withdrew from Jesus the comfort of His Spirit, the support of His personal presence. It was required, indeed it was central to the significance of the Atonement, that this perfect Son who had never spoken ill nor done wrong nor touched an unclean thing had to know how the rest of humankindus, all of uswould feel when we did commit such sins. For His Atonement to be infinite and eternal, He had to feel what it was like to die not only physically but spiritually, to sense what it was like to have the divine Spirit withdraw, leaving one feeling totally, abjectly, hopelessly alone. But Jesus held on. He pressed on. The goodness in Him allowed faith to triumph even in a state of complete anguish. The trust He lived by told Him in spite of His feelings that divine compassion is never absent, that God is always faithful, that He never flees nor fails us. When the uttermost farthing had then been paid, when Christs determination to be faithful was as obvious as it was utterly invincible, finally and mercifully, it was finished.18 Against all odds and with none to help or uphold Him, Jesus of Nazareth, the living Son of the living God, restored physical life where death had held sway and brought
joyful, spiritual redemption out of sin, hellish darkness, and despair. With faith in the God He knew was there, He could say in triumph, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.19 Brothers and sisters, one of the great consolations of this Easter season is that because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path utterly alone, we do not have to do so. His solitary journey brought great company for our little version of that paththe merciful care of our Father in Heaven, the unfailing companionship of this Beloved Son, the consummate gift of the Holy Ghost, angels in heaven, family members on both sides of the veil, prophets and apostles, teachers, leaders, friends. All of these and more have been given as companions for our mortal journey because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the Restoration of His gospel. Trumpeted from the summit of Calvary is the truth that we will never be left alone nor unaided, even if sometimes we may feel that we are. Truly the Redeemer of us all said: I will not leave you comfortless: [My Father and] I will come to you [and abide with you].20 (Jeffrey R. Holland, None Were with Him, Ensign, May 2009, 8688) Mormon 8:26-41--it shall come in a day This is our day! Work with a buddy and go through these verses discussing evidences in our our world today of what Moroni prophesied.
Pollutions We all hear and read a great deal these days about our polluted physical environmentacid rain, smog, toxic wastes. But these parents recognize that there is another kind of pollution that is much more dangerousthe moral and spiritual. In a recent conference, Elder Boyd K. Packer said, As we test the moral environment, we find the pollution index is spiraling upward (Ensign, May 1992, p. 66). Sadly, the effects of this great pollution are perhaps most evident in the mass media, films, television, and popular music. Of this, Senator Robert D. Byrd said, If we in this nation continue to sow the images of murder, violence, drug abuse, perversion, [and] pornography before the eyes of millions of children, year after year and day after day, we should not be surprised if the foundations of our society rot away as if from leprosy (Michael Medved, Hollywood vs. America, New York: Harper Perennial, 1992, p. 194). Although there are some uplifting exceptions, in most areas of the mass media there seems to be a declaration of war against almost everything the majority treasures most: the family, religion, and patriotism. Marriage is degraded, while premarital and extramarital relations are encouraged and
glamorized. Profanity and the foulest of vulgar gutter language bombard the ears of all who listen. Reportedly, in one R-rated movie, the most common, vulgar four-letter word was spoken 256 times! Human life itself is trivialized by the constant barrage of violence and killings. Remember that anything that is not good for children is rarely good for adults. (Joe J. Christensen, Rearing Children in a Polluted Environment, Ensign, Nov 1993, 11). Mormon 9:1-6 God loves His offspring, the human family.He loves them all and His plans are for the savlation of the whole, and He will bring all up into that position in which they will be as happy and as comfortable as they are willing to be (Lorenzo Snow, The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, 91).
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