Friday, November 20, 2009

2 Nephi - Chapter 13

This chapter must have affirmed to the children of Lehi that they had been correct in choosing to follow him into the wilderness.  How comforting it is to have a second witness.  Everyone knew Isaiah was another voice presaging the same things Lehi taught.

An Institute teacher once taught me that much of Isaiah's prophecy referred to more than one period of time.  This seems to be an example.  He was probably speaking of the decline of Jerusalem and Israel at the time of Lehi and also at the time of Alma, and also, Christ and clearly he is speaking of us.  His observations of today's vain and immodest clothing practices make our day appear to be the focal point of his views.

It is easy to speak of immodesty as it applies to the world.  Sometimes, though we need to look a little closer to home.  When I was Deacon's Quorum Adviser a few years ago, the boys approached me with a concern.  They complained that when they were standing, passing the Sacrament, many of the seated sisters had embarrassing necklines which were made even more revealing because of the difference in altitude.  The boys found it very difficult to keep their minds focused on appropriate things during this very sacred ordinance.  When a shy Relief Society President refused to broach the subject with the Sisters, I told her that would.  She capitulated and the problem markedly improved.  I for one am grateful for the modesty of women.

At the Detention Center boys and girls are dressed in modest jump suits and sweat shirts.  The girls are not allowed make-up.  They are all beautiful, clean and groomed.  Occasionally, I encounter a youth who has been released and often I don't recognize them, especially the girls.  Gobs of make-up, immodest clothes or pants sliding way down, paint an entirely different image.  Children who used to appear so sweet and innocent in prison, look a lot more like criminals on the street.  I still love them and I try to look past the costumes they've chosen, but I can see why Isaiah was so dismayed at what Israel would become.

There is a great principle in the central words of this chapter:

9 The show of their countenance doth witness against them, and doth declare their sin to be even as Sodom, and they cannot hide it. Wo unto their souls, for they have rewarded evil unto themselves!
10 Say unto the righteous that it is well with them; for they shall eat the fruit of their doings.
 I need to spend some time this week considering my doings and what their fruit will inevitably be.  I don't think it is really all that difficult to predict the fruit of this behavior, or that.  Considering beforehand, I think I'd better be making a few changes, quick!


Love Life and Learning said...

Verse nine is highlighted in my scriptures with an extra hard red pencil line under the word countenance. This verse shows one side of countenance, but the blessing is we can seek and obtain its opposite.

James E. Faust October 2005
"I recently recalled a historic meeting in Jerusalem about 17 years ago. It was regarding the lease for the land on which the Brigham Young University's Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies was later built. Before this lease could be signed, President Ezra Taft Benson and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, then president of Brigham Young University, agreed with the Israeli government on behalf of the Church and the university not to proselyte in Israel. You might wonder why we agreed not to proselyte. We were required to do so in order to get the building permit to build that magnificent building which stands in the historic city of Jerusalem. To our knowledge the Church and BYU have scrupulously and honorably kept that nonproselyting commitment. After the lease had been signed, one of our friends insightfully remarked, "Oh, we know that you are not going to proselyte, but what are you going to do about the light that is in their eyes?" He was referring to our students who were studying in Israel.

What was that light in their eyes which was so obvious to our friend? The Lord Himself gives the answer: "And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings."1 Where did that light come from? Again the Lord gives the answer: "I am the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world."2 The Lord is the true light, "and the Spirit enlighteneth every man through the world, that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit."3 This light shows in our countenances as well as in our eyes."

To be continued: sorry that I have so much on my mind today

Love Life and Learning said...

Three years ago when I was teaching the 12 year old class in Sunday School. There was a lesson that spoke to my heart. (The lesson manual is based on the lives of modern day prophets.) From that lesson I posted the following on my mirror.

President George Albert Smith's Goals

-I would be a friend to the friendless and find joy in minstering to the needs of the poor.

-I would visit the sick and afflicted and inspire in them a desire for faith to be healed.

-I would teach the truth to the understanding and blessing of all mankind

-I would seek out the erring one and try to win him back to a righteous and happy life.

-I would not seek to force people to live up to my ideals but rather love them into doing the thing that is right.

-I would live with the masses and help to solve their problems that their eart life may be happy.

-I would avoid the publicity of high positions and discourage the flattery of thoughtless friends.

-I would not knowingly wound the feelings of any, not even one who may have wronged me, but would seek to him good and make him my friend.

-I would overcome the tendency to selfishness and jealously and rejoice in the successes of all the children of my Heavenly Father.

-I would not be an enemy to any living soul.

-Knowing that the Redeemer of mankind has offered to the world the only plan that will fully develop us and make us really happy here and hereafter I feel it not only a duty but a blessed privilege to disseminate this truth.

To me I recognize a disciple of Christ in his goals as each goal is centered around others and seems to align with the purposes of God.

President George Albert Smith had crossed over what I call "the line"...he knew who he was and that freed him to do the work the Lord sent us to be our brother's keeper.

Upon reflection of Candleman's comments; I recall a conversation between a young women and her mother. The young 13 year old was wearing tons of eye make-up and her mother didn't approve. When I asked her why she chose to wear the dark eyeliner, bright eye shadow and black thick mascara...her answer tore at my heart and brought me an understanding I had not thought of before. She replied, "So people will look at my eyes and not notice my hairlip." She wanted to fit in and looks mattered. I saw a young teenager in tune with her physical self more than her real divinity. Belonging is an eternal principle, but in this world we get a bit mixed up on what our Spirits already belong too, a loving Heavenly Father and his eternal family.

President Smith's focus is a goal but also a fruit of the mighty change of heart that Alma asks us: Have ye recived his image in your counteneances?

D1Warbler said...

"Have ye received his image in your countenance?" The corollary to that (as verse 9 in this chapter so clearly says) is "Have you lost his image from your countenance!" I want to share two examples about that corollary today.

The first occurred long ago when I was in college. I lived in an LDS dorm as a freshman and was well acquainted with a young woman who started to date a young man with questionable moral standards. Up to that point, this young woman had been a lovely young woman who dressed modestly, spoke modestly, and had a glow about her countenance, and a light in her eyes. As her relationship with this young man progressed, I began to notice a change in her clothing, her speech, and her countenance. Her face actually darkened (no more translucent glow), and the light in her eyes disappeared, as her clothing and her language became more and more immodest. She eventually became totally involved in a lifestyle completely divergent from the one she had formerly led. We (her friends and roommates) could see the change IN her countenance and in her eyes, as well as in her language and in her general appearance.

The second example comes from much closer to home. Our oldest daughter at the age of 16 was allowed to go with a friend (whom we had had no previous reason to distrust) and her mother, to another state for a vacation of a few weeks. We trusted our daughter, her friend, and, especially, this mother.

This vacation occurred at the time when you could meet persons arriving from a plane at their gate and also before the age of jet ways. As this daughter alighted from the plane at the end of this vacation and began to move toward us, we both turned to each other and exclaimed, "What has happened!" Even from quite a distance, we could see that the light had gone from her countenance.

We eventually learned much of what had occurred during that short vacation. This child still walks in difficult paths and her countenance reflects those paths.

Candleman said...

I just popped in from work and it was like going to a fine uplifting Fireside. Thanks so much for lifting my weary heart!