Saturday, April 1, 2017

This week in our Book of Mormon class, we studied the chapter accounting Christ’s visit to the Nephites in the Americas shortly after his crucifixion and resurrection. 3 Ne chapter 11 gives a beautiful account of this crowning event as it depicts the different aspects which played a part in His performance of The Atonement. In vs. 15 it states, “And it came to pass that the multitude went forth, and thrust their hands into his side, and did feel the prints of the nails in his hands and in his feet; and this they did do, going forth one by one until they had all gone forth, and did see with their eyes and did feel with their hands, and did know of a surety and did bear record, that it was he, of whom it was written by the prophets, that should come.” I feel that this verse perfectly portrays both the extraordinary saving aspect of His Atonement, and also the intimate and individual aspect of it as well. As we see the entire multitude of all the Nephites going forth, we remember that Christ’s Atonement was for ALL mankind, whether or not some would choose to accept and apply it or not. His sacrifice is incomprehensibly deep and encompassing as it is still in affect today. The Book of Mormon speaks of it as a sacrifice for every living thing that has ever been brought into existence; not only was it to pay the price for our sins, but also to give us hope and comfort and peace in the midst of our afflictions and weaknesses. At the same time, we read in this verse that as the Nephites went forth, they each took time, one-by-one to look at the Savior, speak to Him, touch his wounds, and have a face-to-face personal experience with him, he being their personal Savior. As He suffered in the Garden of Gethsamane, I believe that Christ took the time to think of and sacrifice for each and every single one of us. So, He truly does know us perfectly, and has empathy to relate to our hard circumstances in this life. The Atonement was not only infinite, it was also intimate and personal.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

In Mosiah chapter 27 we read of Alma’s reaction to hearing that his son has been struck as if dead. His response seems odd to some, but I have gained a better understanding of it while studying Alma’s son’s account of his own experience in my Book of Mormon class this week. In Alma chapter 36 Alma the younger records his own experience of his dramatic conversion unto Christ. He talks about an angel appearing unto him as a result of the prayers by his father and many others concerned for him in Alma’s behalf. After which Alma recounts three days that he spends in darkness being “racked even with the pains of a damned soul…Yea and I had murdered many of his children or rather led them away unto destruction; yeah, and in fine so great had been my iniquities that the very thought of coming into the presence of God did rack my soul with inexpressible horror.” During this time he remembers the teachings of his father about a Jesus Christ who would come to save men from their sins and iniquities. He chooses to accept Christ and feels the pain of guilt no more. After this, Alma arises and his heart is changed.
 I have related a lot to this experience this year thinking of my younger brother who has dealt with hard things recently in his first year of high school. Although I want him to be happy right now, I know that sometimes God asks us to go through lonely or hard times in order to eventually have the opportunity to choose Him and the light he can provide in his life. So at this time, I can learn from Alma’s father’s example and practice persistence in prayers for my brother, faith in The Lord’s timing, and patience.

The story of Abinadi and his missionary service hit close to home because of what happened as a result of his preaching. Although, through Abinadi’s efforts only one of King Noah’s priests, Alma, chose to be converted to Christ and listen to his teachings, he ultimately helps hundreds and thousands come unto Christ through this one convert. After Alma flees from the king and his priests he invites others to come with him and passes along what he had learned from Abinadi’s  counsel. This group, later on, all become baptized and as Alma continues to be faithful throughout his life, his son Alma the younger is also converted and becomes an amazing missionary tool in converted the thousands of lamanite people unto Christ.
As a missionary in Hong Kong, baptisms were not necessarily overflowingly abundant. The people there are predominantly practicing Buddhists. It was difficult to find people to teach and when we did, it was hard for them to find time amongst the hustle and bustle the city had to offer each working person and family. Although the amount of people I taught who had actually received baptism was few in number, I continue each day to see the fruits of those who did decide to follow Christ and join the church. As they continue to influence their families and those around them, our teaching the gospel truly becomes a seed planted.
One of the many people in Hong Kong that I love dearly and was fortunate enough to teach throughout their investigation of the church was a woman named Winnie and her son, Sam. Although it took them a year and a half to finally accept baptism, as I continue to keep in contact with them, I realize how the gospel has influenced the rest of their family and hope to see Sam go on a mission in a few years to share with others how the gospel has blessed him and his family. We never know how much good our service is going to actually end up doing in the world, as the gospel is a stone cut out of the mountain continuing to roll on throughout time.
I’m grateful for Abinadi’s example, for I feel that he truly knew that success is only something given of God and does not measure our diligence, faith, or obedience as a missionary of the Lord.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

One of my biggest heroes and influences in life is King Benjamin in The Book of Mormon. Although I was not there personally at the time of his speech he addressed to the people he served over, each time I read the account of his message he shares, I feel a huge desire to become more like Christ. I love that King Benjamin  focuses on service and equality among all of Heavenly Father’s children. And as he does so, establishes himself as the example. Throughout his address, Benjamin repeats the phrase, “And even I whom ye CALL your king…” The word that sticks out to me in this line is CALL. Through such phrasing, the king himself does not raise himself to a higher state or position than the people. He in turn puts the focus only on how his people address him. I love that he doesn’t say, “And I who AM your king…” I think the words that King Benjamin chooses to use are beautiful because it provides a selfless example to his people, not for his own sake, but for the purpose of having them look toward Christ who is and always will be our perfect example of kindness, equality, and selflessness.
                One of my favorite verses in Mosiah is chapter 4 verse 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?” King Benjamin automatically reduces the distance our society creates between those of different economic and social classes with this portion of his speech. He places each and every one of us onto one equal plane, letting our individual trials and hardships become a connection between each of Heavenly Father’s children.