long ago ideas

“When we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago." - Friedrich Nietzsche. Long ago, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery conquered false claims that the Book of Mormon was fiction or that it came through a stone in a hat. But these old claims have resurfaced in recent years. To conquer them again, we have to return to what Joseph and Oliver taught.

Monday, June 27, 2016

How God uses families - Part 3: us

President Russel M. Nelson recently called the Book of Mormon "a global beacon of eternal truth," and this post offers another example of how true that statement is.

In previous posts, I discussed how God works with families in the scriptures and in the case of Joseph Smith. It's axiomatic that family members teach one another all kinds of lessons. Parents teach children ("And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children," Isa. 54:13, 3 Ne. 22:13) and children teach parents ("Now this is not all; little children do have words given unto them many times, which confound the wise and the learned," Alma 32:23).

The Book of Mormon contains several examples of family relationships that led to important teachings. In addition to Lehi's challenges with Laman and Lemuel, there are examples of righteous and obedient children, as well as rebellious and disobedient children. King Benjamin teaches his sons (Mosiah 1), Alma prays for his son Alma the Younger. Later, Alma teaches his sons Helaman, Shiblon and Corianton, each with their unique circumstances. Mormon's father takes him on a field trip from their homeland to Zarahemla.

As I discussed in Part 1, the challenges Laman and Lemuel presented to Lehi prompted Lehi to seek greater knowledge and understanding, which he then shared with everyone who reads the Book of Mormon. Lehi's challenges turned out to be opportunities for him to learn more than he would have otherwise.

Often we see media reports of people who face challenges in their families and use those challenges to overcome problems and then help others who have similar challenges. These can be health problems, substance abuse issues, financial challenges, and much more, When we face challenges in our own families, we might also see them as blessings intended to prompt us to develop empathy for others, learn more, work harder, and pray more earnestly.

Regarding the Book of Mormon, readers and audience members commonly relate experiences with family members, friends, and other loved ones who "have become confused or greatly disturbed in their faith in the Book of Mormon" in the words of Joseph Fielding Smith. President Smith attributed this to the two-Cumorah theory, and I think he was right. It is people who have faced these challenges in their families who seem to be most interested in the Book of Mormon geography/historicity issue--with good reason, IMO.

People who are not personally impacted by these issues typically don't think Book of Mormon geography/historicity is important. That's completely understandable. But if you or your loved ones are impacted, they you probably know why this topic matters.

I encourage you to keep studying the scriptures and learn all you can so you can build your own faith and become better prepared to answer questions. Most of all, it's time to get real and discuss these issues openly.

The Book of Mormon is a beacon of truth that, as President Nelson said, "will be your most effective instrument in bringing souls unto Jesus Christ.”

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