Sunday, November 15, 2009

I Don’t Remember Reading That Before…

I recently began a new study of the Book of Mormon. It always amazes how many new and interesting things jump out at me each time I read that book. I guess it all ties into one’s personal spiritual progress; and if that’s the case, let’s hope we find new and interesting things each time we read the Book of Mormon.

The following two scriptures jumped out at me so far this time into my study, and I thought I would share:

1st Scripture

Prepare your souls for that glorious day when justice shall be administered unto the righteous, even the day of judgment, that ye may not shrink with awful fear” (2 Ne. 9:46) (emphasis added).

When we think of God’s justice being meted out, we typically stress the negative, in that God will eventually punish the wicked and ungodly. Of this there can be no doubt. But I don’t ever remember reading that God’s justice would be also administered to the righteous. We normally think of God’s mercy being extended to the righteous, but not his justice. How will this justice be extended to the righteous? Will the wrongs committed against the righteous be made right at this time? How will this occur?

As a side note, notice how Alma personifies “justice” and “mercy” in the following verse:

For behold, justice exerciseth all his demands, and also mercy claimeth all which is her own; and thus, none but the truly penitent are saved” (Alma 42:24).

Isn’t it interesting that the personal pronoun for justice is masculine, and the personal pronoun for mercy is feminine? Children typically think of the father as meting out punishment, whereas the mother generally provided the loving comfort of mercy. On occasion, I recall my mother warning me with, “you just wait until your father gets home.” This personification is also consistent with Paul’s characterization of charity as a feminine trait in 1 Corinthians 13:5.

2nd Scripture

Behold, if ye were holy I would speak unto you of holiness; but as ye are not holy, and ye look upon me as a teacher, it must needs be expedient that I teach you the consequences of sin” (2 Ne. 9:48) (emphasis added).

When God’s people are holy, the Lord is willing and pleased to speak of holy and sacred matters. When they are sinful, however, he speaks of the awfulness of sin and the necessity of repentance.

This makes me wonder where the Church stands as a people today. If there were a spiritual barometer measuring from 1-10, where 1 is unholy and 10 is holy, where does the Church stand today? Are we hearing the same things over and over again because we are sinful and aren’t getting it, or is it because we are a global Church now, and the more sacred things should not be revealed over the pulpit but instead through personal study?

When I read some of the General Conference addresses from the 1800’s, and even some in the early 1900’s, I am impressed at how much our leaders felt at liberty to divulge to the Saints. There is obviously the argument that our current leaders do teach sacred doctrines, but only “those with ears may hear” and understand. But honestly, there is a stark contrast between the tone and content of the talks from a century ago (and even a few decades ago with the McConkie era) and what we hear every six months today.

We can only imagine what profound topics would be discussed if we were only more prepared.


Nate said...

Great post Jer. It is strange how you can read things differently. I just passed that 2NE verse and didn't see it that way.

I think your instinct is right, the church seems more concerned now with removing its people from sin and the many dangers that we get into than it is with say, unlocking the sealed portion of the BoM.

Of course we would all like to know the deeper mysteries. I wonder though, whether those things could actually do harm when the person being taught is not in the right mindset.

Russ said...

Imagine the glory of knowledge that God is waiting to give to us if we would just be holy. I struggle every day to be holy, but it is so easy to get distracted by the world. I hope we can double our efforts in this regard.

jason35 said...

I think that things are revealed in greater detail on a personal level. Like you experience with the BoM. When Pres. Hinkley said he learns something new each time he goes to the temple, it sets the bar higher for the rest of us. A few years ago, i heard a speaker talking about reading the BoM in 30 days. It only takes 17 pgs a day to complete. I have done this 8 times in the past few years and admit it is a completely different way to read it. Getting though it quickly seems to help me keep all the families strait and I can now concentrate on the deeper messages. Like attending the temple frequently allows you to be comfortable enough to listen to the Spirit in a new way.

Great post. It made me remember how in 2nd Nephi after Lehi dies, Nephi prays to the Lord with such fervency after the heavy mantle is passed to him. After my dad died, those vs held a new meaning for me.

I love the Gospel because no matter where you are at in life, you can learn something new.

Your blog always makes me ponder...thanks.

Russ said...

I know that a strong emphasis is placed on reading the Book of Mormon, but I find the same for the Bible as well. I am reading the story of Saul and David in the Old Testament and I am seeing things I have never seen before. Reading the other scriptures on a quick step only deepens my understanding of the Book of Mormon even more. I am so grateful for the inspiration that all of the scriptures contain.

twitterpated said...

Justice cuts both ways. Like the voice of the Lord, it's a two-edged sword. Everyone's always so caught up in giving the wicked mercy, but that can lead us to forget that the Lord's justice only rewards the faithful. Remember the prodigal son? He came back and was given mercy, but it was the faithful son, not he, who was told, "All that I have is thine."

Michaela Stephens said...

The justice that will be administered to the righteous is that all the good works that were done in life that seemed to pass silently and seemed to bring no reward will finally be completely rewarded. NO GOOD DEED, no matter how small, will be overlooked. Every good deed will be noticed and, I believe, everyone will hear all about it.

How's that for treasure in heaven?