Friday, October 16, 2009

The Witnesses and Summary

I grew up thinking Mormons don't believe in grace.  I still occasionally, find Latter-day Saints who resist the notion.  Here the Three Witnesses declare that it is by the grace of God that they beheld the plates for themselves.  When I was young, we used to watch a church film called The Three Witnesses.  (I wonder if it has ever been published on DVD.)  In it is depicted the deep repentance that was required before the Lord would qualify them as witnesses.  This is also hinted at here, when they say, "...if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgment-seat of Christ..."  I take that to imply that at that moment, or in that slice of time, they, themselves had been forgiven and were, in that moment, spotless.  In other words, they were not worthy of such a blessing, except that through repentance, they had received a remission of their sins and were thus granted worthiness by the grace of God.

I have had similar slices of time in my life in which I was spotless, the key is to remain faithful in Christ.  For me that requires continual repentance.  It also requires diligent scripture study.

A couple of years ago I was privileged to sit alone in the room in which Joseph first encountered the Angel Moroni.  We missed the Hill Cumorah Pageant by a week and Palmyra was, once again a quiet sleepy little town.  We were the only occupants of the hotel and on this day, I was the only visitor at the Joseph Smith home.  I was told that the building had been recreated in the very spot and that this was indeed the very space.  The missionary left me alone in that bedroom so I could contemplate what transpired there.  It was a special, sacred experience and I wondered why I had not been required to show my Temple recommend to have such a sacred privilege.

It interests me that each time Moroni repeated his message, he then added something.  I wonder if the stuff he added was perhaps not strictly required but more like servant to fellow servant advice and commiseration.  For example, on Alma's second visit with "his" angel, the angel pointed out that he was the same angel who had delivered the original message.  Making that observation was probably not vital to the manifestation, but certainly adds a personal, brotherly relationship between two servants of the Lord. 

I heard a talk once (wish I could remember for you, who - might have been John Lund) in which a phrase from Joseph Smith's testimony, though taken out of context, has been precious to me.  It is:  "...when, in the midst of my meditations, I suddenly discovered..."  We all, have those aha moments, when we ponder the scriptures.  They increase exponentially when I ponder and write.

Have a great day!


di said...

I kept being distracted by "the said Smith" and the feelings and respect I have for "the said Smith". What an extraordinary calling, what an extraordinary man.

Candleman said...

It occurred to me over breakfast (still pondering) that God has no desire to withhold blessings from us. He just insists on prioritizing them for us. He first wants to make us clean and to make us His, before moving on to other things. Hence, the first principles must be first.

Love Life and Learning said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Love Life and Learning said...

"My father, who was laboring along with me..."
I appreciate so much the Angel Moroni instructing Joseph with a commandment --- "... go to my father and tell him of the vision and commandments which I had received." I have heard it said that the Lord watched over the generations of the Smith family prior to Joseph's birth. I love this family. As I have learned of these great people, I know the Lord blessed Joseph with parents and siblings who would believe. What a strength and resource they were to Joseph. I love just thinking about Father Joseph(patriarch, like Abraham) Mother Lucy(determined), Alvin(wisdom), Hyrum (faithful), Samuel (dutiful)...

"I Nephi being born of goodly parents...therefore I was taught...parents and family can and should play such an important role in our journeys. Children actually do the same for parents. It puts new meaning to the phrase, "we without them cannot be made perfect; neither can they without us be made perfect." I had a friend once that said, "Heavenly Father isn't raising children, he is raising parents." Think about it!

Candleman said...

I have long held that there is no such thing as a "functional family." Dysfunctional ones, however, come in degrees of course. Parents, clearly have a huge influence on children as is plainly evident at the Detention Center. But, they cannot thwart Heavenly Father's plan. Heavenly Father gives us talents and He also gives us weakness (see Ether 12:27). It becomes apparent that parents are a primary conduit for both types of blessings.

When my first grandson was given a name and blessing his Heavenly Father told him, "...your parents are not perfect, but they are ideal." So it is, I believe, for each of us.

"Goodly" is an interesting adjective as chosen by Nephi to describe his parents. It does not imply that, even they, were perfect. This one word conveys that they were of substantial means, perhaps good looking and clearly quality people. But even they were not without flaw. The result and blessing of which is indicated in the varied ways in which their children "turned out."

One of the best things, I think, we can do for our children is acknowledge our own weakness and show them that humility and faith and diligence can turn that weakness into strength. I think Lehi and Joseph Smith Sr. did that.

Jen C. said...

I found it interesting that Joseph Smith refered to his visits from Moroni as an interview. I have thought that it was more Moroni giving information to Joseph Smith rather than more of an interview situation. But as I think of interviews with bishops and leaders we can learn so much from them without them giving most of the information to us.