11: Be Reconciled unto God through the Atonement of Christ (March 9–March 15)
Have you ever had to have an uncomfortable conservation with a loved one? That’s exactly what happened to the prophet Jacob when he had a tough conversation with his family and friends about pride, chastity, and “a grosser crime." But his words about these topics weren’t all bleak. In fact, in this week’s Sunday on Monday study group, we’re digging into Jacob 1–4 to learn how Jacob’s words apply to us today and how they can lead to hope and healing for us all.
Facts about Jacob:
1 Nephi 18:7: He was born in the wilderness (599-595 BC).
2 Nephi 2:1: He suffered much afflictions and sorrow in his childhood.
2 Nephi 5:6: He left with Nephi.
2 Nephi 10:3: He was visited by an angel and told Jesus’s name would be Christ.
Jacob 1:18: He was ordained a priest and a teacher by Nephi.
Jacob 1:17: He got an errand from the Lord that he wasn’t really fond of, he had to speak to his people.
Jacob 2:7-8: He was grieved by it: “It grieveth me that I must use so much boldness of speech concerning you. . . . Burdeneth my soul that I should be constrained to admonish you according to your crimes”
Jacob 2:9: He didn't want “to enlarge the wounds of those who are already wounded, instead of consoling and healing their wounds-daggers placed to pierce and wound their delicate minds.” OUCH!
Jacob 1:15–16: These were heavy sins because the next generation had some serious issues—pride, money, chastity.
Question: So why would Jacob and Joseph take on this uncomfortable sermon, a sermon to his family and friends?
Quote: President Thomas S. Monson said this:
“What does it mean to magnify a calling? It means to build it up in dignity and importance, to make it honorable and commendable in the eyes of all men, to enlarge and strengthen it, to let the light of heaven shine through it to the view of other men.
“And how does one magnify a calling? Simply by performing the service that pertains to it” (President Thomas S. Monson, “The Sacred Call of Service,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2005, p. 54).
Question: How can we "build it (our callings) up in dignity and importance? What about the line that says, "To let the light of heaven shine through it to the view of other men?" What does that mean to you?
Jacob says this is because:
- Jacob 1:5: He knew of things that should happen to his people.
- Jacob 1:7-8: He wanted to persuade them to come unto Christ.
- Jacob 2:4-6: His talk is about evil acts being contemplated not committed.
Is Jacob’s anxiety understandable? Can you relate with Jacob in any way?
READ Jacob 1:16:
"Yea, and they also began to search much gold and silver, and began to be lifted up somewhat in pride.”
Other verses on pride:
(Also read President Ezra Taft Benson's talk “Beware of Pride.”)
It is interesting to note that pride is what formed the foundation of Sodom and Gomorrah (see the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Ezekiel 16:48-50).
In Jacob 2:12-21, Jacob points out the first issue his people had with pride: “The hand of providence hath smiled upon you most pleasingly.”
Brigham Young said this about pride: "The worst fear that I have about [members of this Church] is that they will get rich in this country, forget God and his people, wax fat, and kick themselves out of the Church and go to hell. This people will stand mobbing, robbing, poverty, and all manner of persecution, and be true. But my greater fear for them is that they cannot stand wealth; and yet they have to be tried with riches" (quoted in Preston Nibley, Brigham Young: The Man and His Work , 128).
Question: What does RICH mean? Is it a bad thing to be rich?
READ: Jacob 2:16-22 "This crime" is the crime of not taking care of the poor and needy.
Elder Uchtdorf said, “At its core, pride is a sin of comparison, for though it usually begins with ‘Look how wonderful I am and what great things I have done,’ it always seems to end with ‘Therefore, I am better than you.’ …
“. . . This is the sin of ‘Thank God I am more special than you.’ At its core is the desire to be admired or envied. It is the sin of self-glorification” (Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Pride and the Priesthood,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, p. 56).
Ezra Taft Benson said: In the words of C. S. Lewis: “Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. . . . It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone.” [C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, New York: Macmillan, 1952, p. 109–10] (President Ezra Taft Benson, "Beware of Pride," April 1989 general conference).
READ Jacob 2:16: What is the consequence of pride? How does pride do this?
The Church has a built-in program to help us avoid our “souls being destroyed” because of this kind of Pride: fasting and fast offerings
READ Jacob 2:28:
Question: What is the best way to teach kids about chastity? How can we foster a healthy dialogue?
One of the best talks on chastity is given by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland “Of Souls, Symbols, and Sacraments” from his Jan. 12, 1988, BYU devotional, I highly recommend everyone read it.
The specific crime Jacob is referring to is the taking more than one wife or having a concubine (an Old Testament term for a woman who was legally married to a man but had a lower social status than a wife, as well as a term for fornication and lasciviousness).
Proverbs 6:32: “But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.”
Question: When someone decides to walk down this road, What does this road look like at first? Where does it start?
Aliah mentions that it begins when spouses allow windows, or a lack of boundaries, where there should be walls, or boundaries, with others and walls where there should be windows with spouses. This walls and windows terminology was used by Dr. Shirley Glass, see the transcript at 44:47 for more about this discussion.
READ Moses 5:30–31:
"30 And Satan sware unto Cain that he would do according to his commands. And all these things were done in secret.
"31 And Cain said: Truly I am Mahan, the master of this great secret, that I may murder and get gain. Wherefore Cain was called Master Mahan, and he gloried in his wickedness."
Elder Neal A Maxwell said:
"The adversary has also artificially inflated the concept of privacy. . . . After all, a few mouse clicks on a computer can take one, privately and quickly, into enemy territory without having to go through passport control, the only remaining restraint then being the checkpoint of dulled conscience" (Elder Neal A Maxwell, "The Seventh Commandment: A Shield," Ensign, Nov. 2001).
Question: What is a grosser or more serious crime than breaking the law of chastity?
READ Jacob 2:35:
"Behold, ye have done agreater iniquities than the Lamanites, our brethren. Ye have broken the hearts of your tender wives, and lost the confidence of your children, because of your bad examples before them; and the sobbings of their hearts ascend up to God against you. And because of the bstrictness of the word of God, which cometh down against you, many hearts died, pierced with deep wounds."
Question: What hope is there from the situations we have discussed?
In Jacob 3:1–3 and Jacob 3:3–4,8, he's speaking to those who are “pure in heart," or those who are repentant, not perfect.
Jacob chapter 4 gives us ways we can turn to and strengthen our faith in Christ:
1. We can strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ by choosing to believe in Him and by worshipping the Father in His name (See Jacob 4:5).
2. We can strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ by choosing to search the words of the prophets (See Jacob 4:6).
3. We can strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ by choosing to take counsel from His hand (See Jacob 4:10).
4. We can strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ by choosing to be reconciled to God through the Atonement of Christ (See Jacob 4:11).
Question: How have you personally obtained a good hope of glory in Him?
Segment 1 0:00
I feel like I'm going to cry because today's study group is taking on some pretty sensitive subjects found in the Book of Mormon in Jacob chapters one through four. And I kind of feel like Jacob when he began his heartfelt sermon pointing out that he didn't really want to do it, but we're going to do it, and when we're done, we hope and pray.
Oh my gosh, I'm hoping and praying with all of my heart, that the result will echo Jacob's words that we will obtain a good hope of glory in Christ, and that's founded Jacob chapter four, verse 11. So just a heads up for parents listening with their teenagers and littles, we will be discussing some pretty heavy topics like sexual sin and chastity, so you may want to preview the sections before listening to them with your children.
Welcome to the Sunday on Monday Study Group, a Deseret Bookshelf Plus original brought to you by LDS Living, where we take the Come Follow Me lesson for the week and we really dig into the scriptures together. I'm your host, Tammy Uzelac Hall, and if you're new to our group, we want to make sure that you understand how to use this podcast because this is so unique. What I like about this podcast is that it's broken up into six different segments that are around 8-12 minutes per segment. And this is really cool my sister actually uses it this way. She at dinnertime will sit down with her family and they'll just listen to a 10 minute segment at dinner, and then they'll talk about what was discussed. So I really like that.
You can also listen to this podcast all at once in one hour. So whatever works for you, just listen and do what works best for you and your family. Another awesome thing about our study group is that each week we're joined by two of my friends, and I really like this part of it because we get to have so many great discussions, and we get to talk about these topics. Today I get to have my friends Aliah Hall and KaRyn Lay.
Hi, friends. Now KaRyn, if her name sounds familiar, or her voice. "Hello."
That's not how you say hello, but I do it.
She's the host of the amazing podcast, "This is the Gospel." So if you've heard that and you've enjoyed it, we get to have her here today and I'm so happy. And then Aliah, I'm excited to have a Aliah here today because she is a marriage therapist, licensed clinical social worker. Hello. Shout out to that.
I know, and I couldn't think of a better person to have with us for this specific topic.
Yeah this one's a hard one. It's heavy for everyone.
I also want to say Aliah and KaRyn are best friends.
She's my girl.
And we live down down the street from each other.
I'm going to tell this story so fast, you need to hear this.
Aliah and I knew each other in our singles ward. And then one day I was sitting in church and all of a sudden, Aliah walks through the back doors, and I see her going down the aisle and I turned around and I went, "What?" And she looked at me with the same like "what" and apparently over the Christmas break, she and her husband bought the house across the street from me, I didn't even know because I was in my own world.
What KaRyn is not telling you because she said "what," I like knelt down in that like pose where you're like, "yeah," it's like you won the Heisman or something. She's like, "I don't have to make new friends."
Ah isn't that fun. God knows us. He knows who we need.
Boy, he's in the details.
Honestly, I'm a big believer in that. Well, if you guys want to know more about my guests, you're going to go to LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday, where you can see the bios of my guests, you can also read the show notes, and if you scroll down far enough, you will also see a full transcript of this week's episode.
Okay, I said earlier that we were going to talk about some pretty sensitive subjects, and I had you ladies read the section before you came. So you're very well aware of what we're talking about today in Jacob, one through four. Would you agree?
Yes, and first of all it's very important for everybody to know that I am a crier, so you're gonna have to hear my ugly cry voice. You can't see my ugly cry face, so that's really good, but like these topics, to me are some of the most tender but also, I feel like there's a lot of hope in them, so I'm excited to get to that part as we dig through the hard stuff.
A lot of hope.
These topics are really hard like I don't practice at the LDS Family Services, so I have a wide variety of clients in and out of the church and all sorts of different lifestyles. These topics are hard for everybody.
Yeah. What I will like about today's discussion and what I'm going to appreciate about it is everything that we're going to be talking about will be right in line with the doctrine and the beliefs of the Church. But it's just stuff that sometimes we especially as parents, we don't really want to talk about... Or as humans, maybe not even as parents. I think sometimes as humans, we're like, "Ah," so we're going to hit it. We're just gonna tackle it and it's gonna be beautiful. Right? Okay, here we go.
The first thing we need to do is go into Jacob chapter one. I want you just to think for a second. Do I have any campers in the room? You guys like to camp?
I think I've been camping three times but I enjoyed it all three times.
In your whole life?
In my adult life. I mean, my parents took us camping all the time and I did not enjoy it. I as an adult, I think I've been camping three times.
I love it. I love being outside and sometimes my kids that's the only way we can get them to disconnect is to go into the woods. And so we love it.
I'm a huge fan of camping. I will admit there have been times in my mind where I thought, "I could do this forever. I could probably live here," and my kids, my girls, for sure think that, they don't ever want to come home.
Oh, unless it's raining. When we first started as a family, we were novices and we went into the Uintas, which is a mountain range here in Utah that is notorious for rainstorms, but we didn't know that. So we show up with all our camping stuff, and we're like, "We're just gonna put it all out and sleep." It rained for two days solid, we were freezing cold. We had to have a family rescue us with their dinner because we couldn't build a fire and there was one point where we were in the tent, and we all just looked at each other, got out of the tent, got in the car, and drove to Chinese. And what's next to us Wyoming?
Yeah, Montana is above Wyoming.
We went to Wyoming and we we ate Chinese food and then went back to our campsite when the rain stopped.
That's a great campout.
Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
Yeah, you do. Well, this story with Jacob, it makes me think I wonder if they ever reached a point where they're like, "Yeah, we're good with camping."
"Because we're done here. Let's go get Chinese food."
Yeah, totally. Absolutely. Because they were... This is survivor at it's like peak. It does not get crazier than this. In fact, even Lehi will say, "My son's born in tribulation," referring to Jacob and Joseph like it was tough doing all these campouts. And so when we talk about this, I want us to talk about first of all, "Who is Jacob, who's his dad?"
So Lehi is his dad. Nephi his brother, born in the wilderness.
Mhmm, very good. We're going to put scriptures in our show notes. So you can look up all these references because it talks about he saw Christ and angels, he left with nephi when the brothers split. Not only now are they probably done with camping, now they're going to start up their entire own civilization. And so Jacob's gonna go with him.
Jacob chapter one, verse 18. Let's go there and read that verse. It tells us a little bit about him. And Aliah, will you read verse 18?
"For I, Jacob, and my brother Joseph had been consecrated priests and teachers of this people, by the hand of Nephi."
Okay. So right there mark "their priests," "their teachers," and their duty is to speak to the people. And this is interesting, he gets an errand from the Lord and he doesn't really want to do it. He has obtained this errand in verse 17. And then he says in verse 19, what he's going to do with this errand, and KaRyn...
Yeah, and verse 19, he says, "And we did magnify our office unto the Lord, taking upon us the responsibility, answering the sins of the people upon our own heads if we did not teach them the word of God with all diligence; wherefore, by laboring with our might their blood might not come upon our garments; otherwise their blood would come upon our garments, and we would not be found spotless at the last day."
I love that because just before that in verse 17, you mentioned it briefly, but they taught in the temple, "I taught them in the temple, having first obtained my errand from the Lord." And I think that's so important when we have to do a hard thing. To go to God first and to get that assurance, I always think about that, like, I can't do hard things unless I have the assurance that God has told me to do them. And I love that he put the time in to do that first. He hadn't already received his errand from the Lord. We can do all things that God wants us to do, as long as we kind of know he's on our side.
Well and that's my favorite thing about you, KaRyn, you're to me an absolute witness of doing things that the Lord tells you to do that are hard. And I always am like, "Why would you do that?" And you always follow up with...
"Why would I do that."
No every time because you always followed up with "because God told me, like I prayed about it, I got the assurance and I went forth and did it."
And I think like KaRyn is, like, I love that you kind of referred to 17 because I think that's how you function in the world, but I function in the world like seven. And so I'm gonna read you that.
And it says, "Wherefore we labored diligently among our people, that we might persuade them to come unto Christ, and partake of the goodness of God, that they might enter into his rest, lest by any means he should swear in his wrath they should not enter in, as in the provocation in the days of temptation while the children of Israel were in the wilderness."
And he refers back to Moses and when they were in the wilderness and how they didn't get to enter the promised land, and that's more how I function. I'm like, even though I bought into the promised land, and like, "I don't know if I'm gonna get to stay here." Unless I do the right thing, you know? And so I'm always like, "Hey, am I doing the right thing? Am I continuing faithfully?" You know, like, I can't, and I think this is true, like, we can't rest on our laurels. They didn't get to the promised, I'm like, "Whoa, we're here," like, you know, do whatever we want. Like, even though they've made it to the promised land, they've received a lot of the blessings that the Lord had promised them, Jacob and his brother Joseph are still like, "Okay, so how do we continue faithfully? How do we continue to do our part? Like even though we've gotten this great blessing, there's still more to do." And that's how my mind is, there's still more to do.
What resonates with me is in Jacob chapter two verse three. This is my verse.
"And ye yourselves know that I have hitherto been diligent in the office of my calling; but I this day am weighed down with much more desire and anxiety for the welfare of your souls than I have hitherto been."
Jacob is my anxiety prophet. He uses the word over and over and over again.
He starts with it, he ends with it.
Yeah. But after we read Jacob one through four, can we see why he uses that word? So much anxiety. Can anxiety be a good thing? I've been wondering that as I've been reading this.
So I actually get a lot of clients that come in with anxiety, and I myself have really struggled with anxiety. And a therapist of mine said, "Do you have anxiety or is that your superpower?" And that changed my whole life. It changed my whole life. And this is not a diagnosis. People have anxiety. There can be chemical reasons for that, or, you know, situational reasons for that. But it really did resonate with me.
I started to look at my anxiety. I'm like, "Oh, you know, when I noticed that like, "Oh Tammy, you blinked three more times this minute than you did last minute." It makes me aware of the people that are around me and what's going on with them and it makes me a great therapist. And I hope it makes me a good friend, and it makes me a good mom because it makes me more aware of like myself and my surroundings, and who's with me and if they're comfortable.
And here we have this anxious prophet and you both shared ways that he manages his anxiety -- temple, laboring diligently. And so in the next segment, we are going to talk about what was giving Jacob so much anxiety and what he is going to talk to the people about and this is heavy.
Segment 2 11:39
We are going to jump right into Jacob chapter two verses five, six, and seven. So Aaliah, will you read verses five, six and seven?
"But behold, hearken ye unto me, and know that by the help of the all-powerful Creator of heaven and earth I can tell you concerning your thoughts, how that ye are beginning to labor in sin, which sin appeareth very abominable unto me, yea, and abominable unto God. Yea, it grieveth my soul and causeth me to shrink with shame before the presence of my Maker, that I must testify unto you concerning the wickedness of your hearts. And also it grieveth me that I must use so much aboldness of speech concerning you..."
We can stop right there. When he tells us that in verse five, he can tell concerning their thoughts how they're beginning to labor in sin. So we're talking about people who are not necessarily have completed the sin, they're just contemplating the sin.
Can we go back, I want to point out a couple of things that I mark.
I would love that.
So if you look at that whole column, so two through seven, he's you know, he talks about that he's talking with soberness, that he's weighed down, that he has anxiety, that it's grieved his soul. He shrinks with shame. This is a man who is like, "Ooo, wiggle to the left, wiggle to the right." Like, how do I not talk about like I see this in therapy all the time when people have to say hard things to me. Like, they have to tell me things that they've never told anybody else. And like they tell this whole long story and then they go back and forth, and then like the last five minutes of therapy, they're like, "Oh, by the way..." They drop this like bomb and you're like, "Well, that would have been nice to know at the beginning."
And he uses the word "constrained," like in verse eight. Like, haven't we all felt this way, where we know we have to have a hard conversation with someone we love, right? We are weighed down by it, and the spirit will not let us rest until we do that thing, right? Because healing can't happen until the hard conversation does.
Yeah because right above "constrainted" is "burdened." And then two verses down he's like the "greatness of this task." And I think that parents feel this way and children feel this way when they have to talk to their parents and couples and people who are talking to their bishops or coming into counseling or whatever they're like, "This is so heavy, whatever I'm feeling, whatever I'm going through. It's so heavy." And I think a lot of that is because we don't talk about these things very often. You know, and because we don't talk about them openly, and honestly, I mean, our families, it makes it so hard.
And I like KaRyn how you said that "until you talk about it, you're not going to be at peace," like the spirit it's constraining you and then you have to let it out. We're going to talk about it and I feel like Jacob is that way. Like he knows he has to do it and so it's not going to get better till he does. So he goes, "Let's talk about this word "pride" first." That's where he starts.
Why do you think he started with pride? Like why what is the kind of therapeutic benefit of having this conversation about, like our pride first before...
Before the bigger things.
So one of my Institute teachers we talked about, one, Ezra Taft Benson's "Beware of Pride" talk.
Yes. Which I asked you guys to read before we came because we are going to talk about that today. And I highly recommend everybody read it. Ezra Taft Benson, "Beware of Pride." Carry on.
One of the things that we talked about is that every sin is pride. And so I think when whatever else Jacob has to talk about which we will get to, that the start is pride, because every sin is a sin of pride.
I also think it's priming, right? Like he's setting the stage for us to take on harder things. And to do that we have to be humble. We have to have our hearts knit to God to hear the hard things. Can I confess something?
I struggle with that sometimes, like I'll be in general conference, or I'll be somewhere where I'm hearing something that's hard to hear, and my initial reaction is always like this rising up of like, "ohh," and I was with my mom at the last General Conference, and she just looked over at me when I was feeling anxious about something and she just said, "Well, take a deep breath, and then go pray about it and let God kind of teach you and tutor you."
I like that how when conference comes, you're worried about what you're going to hear and have to change, because when conference comes and I'm learning talks, I'm truly thinking, "Well, I hope so and so's listening right now. They really need this talk."
"I can't even believe it. He's totally speaking to him or her." I'm the biggest jerk. In fact, I did say to my best friends last year... I said, "This is one of the first conference's where I really felt like they were talking to me."
So I love that you are going in thinking, "Oh, am I ready to hear?" And I'm going in thinking, "I hope everyone's ready to listen." Anyway...
So let's talk about a couple of things in this talk that we need to point out that will help prepare us to study what Jacob has to say. So is there anything that stood out to you in this talk that you want to kind of mention in the "Beware of Pride" talk by Ezra Taft Benson.
I love how he talks about that like pride isn't happy being smart, they want to be smarter. Pride isn't happy with having money, they want to have more. And so it's that comparison. And I think that that is really a crucial differentiation of understanding what pride is. Like it's fine to be proud that you're like, "Oh, you know, I worked really hard," you know, and graduated or "I worked really hard and I'm successful in this way." But it's that comparison that I'm like, "Oh I'm smarter than you. I'm wealthier than you. I'm better than you."
And I like that you brought that up. When you read Jacob chapter two, circle every time you see the word "pride," I mean it is often and in Jacob chapter two, verse 16, he says, "O that he would rid you from this iniquity and abomination. And, O that ye would listen unto the word of his commands, and let not this pride of your hearts destroy your souls!"
And the part of the talk that stood out to me was how this pride destroys your heart and souls was when Ezra Taft Benson said that "pride is enmity toward God." And that word "emnity" means an "equal hatred." It's interesting that God can't hate you, but you hate God's will and when he says in here, "The idea that we pit our will against God's, when we direct our pride towards God, it is in the spirit of my will and not thine be done." And he goes on to say that pride is "when we think we have it planned better than he does, and we're mad when things don't go our way." And, boy, I'm guilty of that, for sure. I can remember when I didn't get accepted into a masters of social work program, which is why I love that's your job lead because that's what I was supposed to do. And I was like, "Well, I'll show God," and so I just packed up and moved to Arizona to work in a restaurant. No plans of schooling, nothing. But I was like, "I'm gonna do my thing now."
Oh, so you'll find this funny, Tammy. I actually stayed at BYU for an extra year so that I could go through this program.
That's actually pretty awesome. We have each other's dream jobs we do. That's brilliant.
And this might actually segue into the next thing that we're talking about, but my favorite part of that talk was where he gives us what the antidote was. He says the antidote for pride is "humility, meekness, submissiveness. It is the broken heart and contrite spirit." And I'm kind of confused by that. Like, I mean, I get that the antidote to pride is a broken heart. But then later Jacob talks about these husbands breaking their wives hearts. So do they mean different things?
I think it's like whose breaking of the heart. Like, are you breaking your own heart because you're humbling yourself or is somebody else breaking your heart because they're committing sin or transgressions, and harm and hurt.
He's talking about two different kinds of broken hearts, right?
Two different kinds of broken hearts, absolutely. That's interesting you would bring that up, KaRyn, because we just talked about how from our perspective, two different kinds of pride, and then two different kinds of broken hearts, where I think they go together, whereas the pride with humility is the pride of accepting God's will and breaking your heart by accepting God's will. But then the pride that you talked about Aliah, putting yourself above other people is what breaks the hearts of other people by your choices. That's the kind of pride we're going to get into is how our choices break hearts. And so let's get into that in the next segment. We're going to talk about the first thing that Jacob noticed was what the pride was leading these people to do and then into other things.
Segment 3 20:23
I want you to tell me what you think of when you hear the term "Sodom and Gomorrah." I know go for it. And everyone listening knows what they're thinking. When you hear Sodom and Gomorrah, you're like, "ah," and we think that the ultimate thing they were destroyed for was sexual sin. Would we agree? Okay, here's what I want us to point out. It's really important to notice if you go to Ezekiel chapter 16. I want us to look at verses 48, 49, and 50 because Sodom and Gomorrah didn't just start as Sodom and Gomorrah, and it's important for us to understand that what Jacob's talking about is he is going, "Wow, we're going to talk about pride because that was what caused Sodom and Gomorrah. That is how it started."
Listen to these verses in Ezekiel, Chapter 16, 48 and 49 says, "As I live, saith the Lord God, Sodom thy sister hath not done, she nor her daughters, as thou hast done, thou and thy daughters. Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy."
It doesn't say anything about sexual sin. The degeneration of this city began with pride. It began with having an abundance of bread and being full of idleness. And that's what Jacob is talking about in Jacob chapter two.
Can I just say too, I feel like this is so enlightening. Because, literally with both of these stories, both the story of Jacob and the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, we jump right to the thing that's most lascivious, which is the sexual sin. But I think that there's something really powerful in the fact that he's asking us to examine our pride first. Because you can say those chapters don't have anything to do with me because I'm not currently cheating on my spouse. But the truth is, he's speaking to all of us. Every single one of us is grieving his heart. So we don't get to point the finger, because all of us are in this space. And I like being able to kind of call back this old idea that there are some that are worse than others. Because the truth of the matter is, we're all in need of salvation and healing, and I read this article about the downward social comparison. I have a friend's mom who would always say, "Well, at least you have both your legs," you know, like anytime you'd feel sorry about something she would compare it to someone else who had it worse. And I started to look at that and wonder like that doesn't actually make me feel better and what these researchers have found is that when we engage in downward social comparison, which is this idea of saying, "Well, someone else has it worse than I do, or at least I'm not sinning as badly as they are," that it actually decreases our happiness. It might make us feel good in the short term, but over a long term span, when you engage in that kind of conversation with yourself, it actually makes you less happy.
Because it's shaming.
It's shaming, and it isn't right.
Yeah, it's shaming and I think to go back to what you were saying, Tammy, I think it's interesting because one of the things that I have in my scriptures on a post-it because I couldn't write it in the margin, is that quote by Brigham Young to paraphrase it he says like the thing that he is most afraid of for the Church, he says that they will get rich in this country, forget God, and his people wax fat and kick themselves out of the Curch. And he says, "this people will stand mobbing, robbing, poverty, and all manner of persecution and be true. But my greater fear for them is that they cannot stand wealth, and that they have to be tried with riches." And so Jacob is saying the same thing about his people.
Let's take that into Jacob then. Let's go to Jacob chapter two verse 13, and read what he's saying to his people. And then we're going to jump down to verses 17 and 18 and 19.
I'll read it, what is it?
Jacob chapter two, verse 13.
"And the hand of providence hath smiled upon you most pleasingly, that you have obtained many riches; and because some of you have obtained more abundantly than that of your brethren ye are lifted up in the pride of your hearts, and wear stiff necks and high heads because of the costliness of your apparel, and persecute your brethren because ye suppose that ye are better than they."
Now skip down and do 17 through 19.
"Think of your brethren like unto yourselves, and be familiar with all and free with your substance, that they may be rich like unto you. But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God. And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good—to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry..."
Sorry... I told you I'm a crier.
"...and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted."
Why are you crying?
Money. Money is the worst. I don't have enough of it. I have too much of it. And when I read about God's hope for us, that we as a people can take that wealth and use it to bless others lives. I feel the weight of that. I always joke sometimes that I think God keeps me in poverty because he's not sure I'd do the right thing with it if I had it. I mean, I'm definitely like, you know, I think there's some some value in struggling in that way a little bit. But I'm really grateful for this chapter, for that reminder to all of us that that is God's plan for us is to lift each other with it.
Well, I was just gonna say when you said, KaRyn, that is God's plan for us. If you put the footnote Galatians chapter six, verse two. This is called the Law of Christ. The ability for us to think of others like unto ourselves and be free with our substance that they may be rich like unto us. It's called the Law of Christ.
Because what else is more godlike than that. Like God lives in abundance, but he's not just rich, he's not wealthy, he's not filthy rich. He has everything. And we have to figure out how even when we're poor, even when we're in poverty, even when we have a little bit of money, even when we have a lot of money, how to live in abundance, and not let that corrupt us.
Well, I was struck in the talk where you're talking about downward social comparison, I was struck with Ezra Taft Benson's upward social comparison when those of us who live without, look up at those who have and go, "Oh, well, their life is so much better."
Oh, you mean my entire existance? Everything I ever do?
Sure, sure, but who doesn't do that? And that was striking to me to go, "Oh, that's so true, the upward social comparison."
It's a comparison at all, it's like "there it is again," I think whenever we talk about it, we come right back to that same idea of like, "It's the comparison. It's the competition."
Well both things undermine the fact that God is working in the lives of all of us.
What I like about this idea of materialism and pride and how that's involved, he's actually provided a way for us to be able to overcome this. And there's a great reference in Isaiah chapter 58. I would highly recommend you read that, because in Isaiah chapter 58, it's the law of the fast. And it's right here where God says, "Look, I'm going to give you a way to overcome this sort of pride." And so he's provided us with a monthly fast where we go without food and we give the money we would provide, and the blessings for that are found in Isaiah chapter 58, verses three through 12.
And in Isaiah 58, verses 11 through 12, it says, "And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in."
The idea of us building this foundation for our posterity by fasting, by giving to other people, is the built in assurance that this type of pride will not affect us. And the built in assurance of what you read Aliah when Brigham Young said, "The greatest fear is that we'll live in abundance of wealth." And so God's like, "Here's how we're gonna fix that. We're gonna have a monthly fast," and so in this Jacob chapter two, where he's talking about this pride, he's talking about how he wants us to keep the commandments and glorify Him forever.
Look at chapter two verse 21. "Do ye not suppose that such things are abominable unto him who created all flesh? And the one being is as precious in his sight as the other. And all flesh is of the dust; and for the selfsame end hath he created them, that they should keep his commandments and glorify him forever."
The whole point is he created all of us and we're all precious in his sight. And so I like how he sets this up by saying "we're all precious in his sight," and he just wants us to keep his commandments and glorify Him forever. And then it's almost like he takes a breath. And then he says, and now we're going to talk about a grocer crime. And in the next segment, we're going to talk about what that grocer crime is.
Segment 4 29:27
When you hear the word "grocer crime," what are your thoughts?
Totally valley girl, "that's so gross." Right. I think that's what our reaction is and when I was teaching seminary, that was the reaction like, "Oo what is it, like it's grocer." So KaRyn, will you please read Jacob chapter two verse 22.
"And now I make an end of speaking unto you concerning this pride. And were it not that I must speak unto you concerning a grosser crime, my heart would rejoice exceedingly because of you."
Highlight "grosser crime" in your scriptures and then I want you to put this next to it because the word "grocer" in this, it just means more serious. That's it. We're going to talk about a more serious sin that they're about to commit and remember we talked earlier, "contemplated not completed." So this is a some more serious sin that Jacob knows they're thinking about doing and he's going to try and stop it.
And I wrote in my scriptures previous to you saying that, "though grosser, heavier, not different." And so that I'm going to talk to you about a heavier sin, not a different sin because this sin that we're about to talk about, is also pride.
Oh, it is and it's heavy.
It is heavy.
So Aaliah, why don't we go there read verse 28.
"For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts."
There it is, chastity. Let's talk about the law of chastity because I think that this is a really important subject for us to talk about in a healthy way.
Well, can I ask a quick question before we do that? Why just the "chastity of women?"
I think he talks about the chastity of women I think because women didn't have a lot of choices. These were choices that men were making that affected the women in their lives.
Yep. Historical context. Always important.
So how was the law of chastity, how were you exposed to that as a kid?
Oh, I have a story.
The one I remember you know, we all have the stories of the horrible like church lesson. But mine was at a at a stake activity and they had cream puffs. And I was the volunteer because I always raised my hand because I like to be the best and also cream puffs. So I raised my hand and I stood up with joy and I walked to the front and they were like "eat this cream puff" and I took a bite of the cream puff and inside the cream puff was dirt.
Yes. And the explanation.
Isn't that horrible? It's slightly horrible. Bless the souls of the people...
I hear these stories and I get so cringy.I
I know. The good news is, is that I am a developed human being who looked at that and can now say, "Oh, yeah, nice try," right? Like I can understand the intent of the people who were trying. They were trying to make something very difficult fun, right? They were trying to take something that's hard to talk about, and talk about it in a way that would make us all feel like we weren't having a chastity conversation, which we now know is slightly misguided, but at the time, you know, again, historical context, when we know better, we do better.
I will take your cream puff and I will raise it to a whole new level because my father was a sex educator.
And he taught at the local high school. So all the kids in our Ward that said... I can't even say it.
Sex education from my father.
Wow, you win that round. That was good. Ding-ding-ding. I will tell you it is my favorite thing to talk about. Because I feel like it's so important for us to talk about. Here's how I got taught the law of chastity. I was in seminary, it was horrible. And as I'm putting my scriptures and stuff away, the teacher yells from the back way before you guys go, before you go, I want to ask you a quick question. You know those feelings you have are you want to kiss and make out and be with the opposite sex and maybe have sex? Where do you think those feelings come from? And we all kind of rolled our eyes because I was thinking "this guy doesn't know, seriously? Duh." And we all answer at the same time where we're like "Satan." And he said, "No, those feelings come from our Heavenly Father. We'll talk about that tomorrow."
I was like, "Whattt?"
Oh he framed storied you.
All day long, I was like, "Those feelings come from our Heavenly Father. Those feelings come from our Heavenly Father," and I was like, "There's no way cause I've had those feelings. There's no way God gave those to me." So of course, I went to seminary the next day, I was front row joe. Front and center, scriptures, journal, pen. Let's figure this out. I can remember looking at the table that looked like a sacrament table. And I was like, "That's weird, because we're not. I thought we're talking about sex today."
And so he starts the lesson and he says, "Okay, today we're going to do pretend baptisms." And he pulled out a jumpsuit. And he said, "Who is willing to go out? I have a pool in the back." And I was like, "This is weird. This is so weird. I don't think this is right." And he could tell we were uncomfortable. And he's like, "Why are you uncomfortable?" And so we gave our answers. "It's weird. It's wrong. You can't do that." And he wrote on the board, he goes, "Okay, we're not really going to do it." And then he pulled the sheet off what was to me looked like sacrament. And it was, and there were water trays, bread trays. And he said, "We're going to do pretend sacrament, because it'll be fun. It's not a big deal. It's totally fine. If we do it. I already asked for permission. You don't freak out about it." And what do you think we were doing? You think we're freaking out?
Right. I mean, as you're hearing this, what are some of the thoughts going through your head?
Well, seminary is not the place to pass the sacrament and the seminary teacher doesn't have the authority to do that.
Yeah, absolutely. We all have the same looks you guys do. I wish we had a camera because your brow's are furrow and you're like, "What is going on?" And so he said, "Okay, we're not really going to do that." But then he pulled this suitcase up from behind his desk. And I knew this suitcase because it had bright fluorescent flowers all over from the 1970s. And it was the same temple bag my mom has. And he said, "We're going to talk about the temple ceremony," and he starts to unzip this suitcase. And he says, "I'm going to show you everything we wear in the temple," and my heart is racing, like I'm starting to freak out. And he says, "I'm going to tell you everything we do, I'm going to show you everything we do. And I'm going to show you the clothes that we wear in the temple."
I bet some of those kids were like "all right, let's do this."
Game on. By nature, I'm a Snoop. And my mom, but I know when my mom said, "This is my temple bag. You're not supposed to look into it." I really never did. I always unziped the front pocket because that's what she had her secret stash of gum, but I never ever opened that bag. So my heart's racing and I can remember a kid from the back yelled, "Stop. Just stop." And he's like, "Why, what's the big deal?" And one girl yelled, "You're mocking God, like you can't do sacred things in this place. This is silly. Like, you can't do this. It's not right." And he's writing all these answers on the board that everybody gave. And then this is the moment of my life I'll never forget. He turned around. And he looked at us and he said, "You're right. We can't do these things for all the reasons we just put on the board." And then he said, "When you have sex outside of marriage, it is the same as pretend baptism, pretend sacrament, pretend temple ceremony. Because all of these things are good. And all of these things God wants us to participate in, including sexual intimacy. But you just can't do it yet. You can't do it till you're married. It is a good thing."
And I thought of my daughter who wanted to get baptized before she was eight. Every time we'd go to a baptism. She was like, "Mom, please can I get baptized now? Please, please, please." And I would say, "No, you just can't till you're eight." And can you imagine what kind of mom I would be if I was like, "What's your problem? Like? Why would you want to get back you're eight?" Well, of course she does. It's a great thing. It's wonderful. And then teenagers who want to experiment with intimacy before, we can't react that way, we have to say, "Well, of course you do. It's normal. Those feelings come from our Heavenly Father," and Jeffrey R. Holland teaches that in his talk of "Souls, Symbols, and Sacraments," he compares sexual intimacy to a sacrament, to something holy and wonderful and good.
You know, I like in the For Strength of Youth, it's pretty clear, it talks about how you, you know, don't lie on top of another person when making out, don't engage in touching the private sacred body body parts.
I mean, they used to call that necking and petting, and because my father was a sex educator, I knew all of the real words, and none of the fake words and so until until I got in college. No joke. I thought necking was rubbing your neck against somebody else.
I think some people think that.
It was my college roommate that was like, "Uh no, that's not what that means Aliah," and I was like, "Ohh, what does it mean?" And she told me and I was like, "Well, why don't you just call it what it's called?"
Yes, thank you for pointing that out because I think a lot of teenagers don't know what that means "necking" and "petting."
Well, and it makes a good case for not using those kind of words to describe things that that we need to talk about openly.
I could have been doing a lot of bad stuff and not knowing it because I was like, "Well, I'm not rubbing my neck with anybody."
Exactly, that's why we gotta talk about it.
Things are left a little too up to interpretation.
They are like, "Are you keeping the Law of Chastity?" And I'm like, "I keep my neck far away from everyone else. Yes."
Well and I think it's important too because in there it talks about to not arouse those feelings in your own body. And the word that we use for that is masturbation, which Dr. Chelom Leavitt at BYU teaches about this, and I love her perspective on it because she says that the reason why we discourage people from doing that is that if you are participating in that type of behavior, then you get to the point where you believe you're the only person that can cause you to feel that way, so that when you enter into a marital relationship, you're just used to arousing those feelings in yourself when it was meant to arouse between a husband and wife.
And Dr. Leavitt is part of a team that wrote an amazing book, that's called, "A Better Way to Teach Your Kids About Sex."
And she also wrote a marriage therapy book. It sells at Deseret Book also...
Which I think are really really useful and helpful resources for anyone who might be interested.
I am going to second all those motions.
What else Aliah?
Well I think in our in our culture that we often pair masturbation with pornography, and that's not appropriate because these are two very different things and they are problematic for different reasons. And when they are paired, they're extra problematic, but a lot of it's not only that you're arousing it in yourself and then that becomes how you kind of connect with those feelings inside of you. But this situation and what you're doing because there's so much shame around it. It's usually by yourself, in the dark, in secrecy, and covered with shame.
And so now you get married, and that those feelings that you arouse, those sexual feelings are now paired in your brain with shame. And so now you're a married woman or you're a married man, and you're having physical intimacy with your partner. And it is triggering shame, shame, shame, shame, shame, shame, shame.
So what is the antidote to that, it's just making sure that we talk about these things in a way that doesn't involve shame or like what?
Absolutely, like if we are having these conversations with our children, then when they do need to have conversations, or when they are married or whatever, when it becomes appropriate and it's under the right conditions, it's not paired with shame, because our brains are a really sensitive tool. They are a very sensitive muscle and so if I say "red truck, red truck, red truck," you know, the part of my brain that registers "red" and the part of my brain that registers "truck" are now bound together. And so if I am always thinking, "sex, shame, sex, shame, sex, shame," those things are going to get bound together in my mind. You know, my brain. And this is this is Biology. And so every time I think of sex and every time I engage in that, I am also going to trigger "shame, shame, shame, shame."
You know, it's interesting because Elder Holland says, "Every covenant we make with our Heavenly Father has a physical act attached to it." And so you know, eight years old, you make that covenant and you're physically baptized. Every Sunday, we renew our covenants by partaking of the bread and the water. And then he said, "When you're married, then the physical act associated with that is sexual intimacy," and it's a good thing and to be able to take that shame out of the equation. I mean, you're a marriage therapist, it seems like that would make for such more healthy marriages.
Oh, for sure. I spend so much time especially with my couples that are of our faith, unraveling that shame. Even for people who have been married for longer than I've been alive.
So my question... this conversation is so good and I love talking about this. How does this apply to what Jacob is saying?
That is a great question, KaRyn. And so the whole point of talking about this Law of Chastity is to give us a foundation for now why Jacob is having such a hard time speaking to the men of his people. And it's interesting because I'm sure he loved these people because they were his family. Many of them will be his nephews and his cousins.
Oh yeah, I never thought of that before.
Yeah, like they're all his family.
He's not just up there like talking to a faceless crowd, he's talking to his sons and his nephews, and everybody that he knows and Zoram's family and everyone that he's loved.
So in the next segment, we are going to talk about what Jacob refers to as the grocer crime, but we know it as "serious" or "heavier."
Segment 5 43:00
So we just talked about how Jacob had to speak to his family and friends who are contemplating breaking the Law of Chastity. Now tell me, what could be a grocer crime than that?
So I love this part because Jacob says that the more serious crime than breaking the Law of Chastity is breaking your wife's heart.
Oh, yes. Let's go there. We're in Jacob and it's in chapter two, verse 35. Could you read that Aliah?
"Behold, ye have done greater iniquities than the Lamanites, our brethren. Ye have broken the hearts of your tender wives, and lost the confidence of your children, because of your bad examples before them; and the sobbings of their hearts ascend up to God against you. And because of the strictness of the word of God, which cometh down against you, many hearts died, pierced with deep wounds."
That verse breaks my heart. I mean, how does this happen?
Well it's that pride again that thinking that you know better than God, or that you're above other people, that your feeling or wants or desires are more important than the covenants that you've made, the people who are in your lives, the person, you know, your wife, your children, it's pride.
And I also think it's the frog in the pot. It's definitely a thing that builds upon itself, right? It's a slow, a slow thing. And then one day you're like, "Oh."
So before we ever planned to meet together to talk about this, I did call Aliah because I thought I knew where I wanted the direction to go, and I was leaning towards saying, "Well, it starts with pornography." And Aliah, you enlightened me because it's the only thing we talked about, and I want you to share it. This is how you as a marriage therapist, how you see it starts.
It doesn't start with pornography. All of the literature about adultery and cheating, starts with secrecy. And so how the vocabulary in therapy is there's walls and there's windows, and so there's windows between ourselves and our spouse so that we can see them and they can see us, and we're sharing information openly with our spouse. And there's walls between us and other people -- privacy and, you know, appropriate boundaries. And what happens with affairs is we start putting windows where there should be walls, and walls where there should be windows. And so we start keeping secrets and it could be small secrets from our partner, and I'm not saying that we should tell our partner everything, sometimes I go to the movies and I don't tell my husband that I've gone to the movies because I know he's gonna want to see that movie, and if I've already seen it, he won't want to see it again.
Sometimes I eat an entire bag of Doritos and I don't want him to know.
But it's building a wall between our partner about personal things, you know, and building a window with somebody else about personal things. So talking to other people about our marriage, you know, of the opposite sex or that we are interested in and telling them about our partners, flaws and how we think and what we feel. And so we're building a window where there should be some boundaries. And we're putting boundaries between our partner and us where there should be a window open so that shift and that secrecy is actually what leads us away from our partner. It is that frog in the pot.
And pride is at the heart of that.
And pride is at the heart of that.
And I would suggest that the "piercing of the heart" isn't the actual act of the sin.
Oh it never is. People come in and it's never the sex.
The thing that breaks our hearts is the lying, the secrecy, the lack of intimacy, emotional intimacy, right, that that is part of that process. And that can take a lot of different forms. But I don't think, I think a lot of times people are like, "Oh, you must be heartbroken because he did this thing." It's not about that.
And Satan loves secrets.
I experienced that in my own life because I had kept so many secrets I didn't dare divulge of things I did in the past, sins, looking at pornography, that it actually destroyed me to the point where I thought I was an awful, horrible person. And it wasn't until I vocalized that I had been, you know that I had seen pornography as a kid. As soon as I vocalized that, it wasn't a secret anymore. And I felt free.
In Moses, chapter five, verses 30 and 31. We read where Satan loves secrets. In fact, everything he will do with Cain from here on out is going to be secrets. And if you look at verse 30 and 31, it says, "And Satan sware unto Cain that he would do according to his commands. And all these things were done in secret. And Cain said: Truly I am Mahan, the master of this great secret..."
It's just interesting that all that relationship Satan will then have with Cain and his posterity will be done in secret. And then you talk about secret combinations and the role that secrets play.
Yeah, and I'm just thinking too Tammy like it's really easy for us to as women sit here and say, "Oh, those guys got to get it together," which is what we were talking about earlier, but the truth is that Jacob is asking each of us to root out the secrets in our own lives. To look at it, to seek vulnerability, and to dispel shame in our own lives so that we can be what he's going to talk about next, like pure of heart.
Well and I always ask my couples, it's not, "What is this secret that you're keeping this? It's, "Why are you keeping secrets?" That's the question. "Why" not "what," but, "Why are you keeping secrets?"
You know, Aliah, I really like that and this discussion and conversation we've had. Neal A. Maxwell said a really great quote about this very thing. KaRyn, can you please read this quote?
"The adversary has also artificially inflated the concept of privacy, further lubricating the slide away from individual accountability! After all, a few mouse clicks on a computer can take one, privately and quickly, into enemy territory without having to go through passport control, the only remaining restraint then being the checkpoint of dulled conscience. (Neal A Maxwell, The Seventh Commandment: A Shield, Ensign, Nov. 2001.)"
Thank you. Isn't that so true? Satan loves privacy and he loves secrets. And Jacob knows that and he sees that. And I love, KaRyn, what you said that it was the heartbreak, it wasn't the act, it was what would happen as a result, like the leading up to the action of that. But what we love about the Book of Mormon is that it is a book of hope. And that is what Jacob wants the people to know is because he's not done talking to them. So he brings this up, and now he's going to just take us home with this beautiful message of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. So in the next segment, we are going to talk about how we can overcome these crimes that we've just talked about.
Segment 6 49:35
Let me ask you this. From what we've talked about, and the situations that we've discussed from both of your perspectives, is there hope in these situations?
Well, there's always hope, you know, as long as we have breath, there's hope. And because we have repentance, because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and I think when what leads to a lot of anxiety and depression is the loss of hope. But the first thing that we try to instill in therapy is hope.
How do you do that?
Mostly by letting people know that they're not alone, that you're not the first, the last, or the only person who is going through this.
I think that it's easy to think that there's hope for the people whose hearts have been broken to heal. That's the easier character in this play to like get behind, right? Like there's hope for the brokenhearted but you have to think that the sinner is also the brokenhearted and Christ cares about them and their healing and their possibility as much as he cares about the people whose hearts have been broken by them. That can feel like a really hard place to live when someone has been victimized by that, but I I just believe that he cares just as deeply that healing happens on all levels and that on all sides.
One of the things that I try to move my couples away from when there's infidelity is blame, because blame, like taking responsibility is helpful, blaming is not. If your partner cheated, or they were physically abusive or whatever, that's not your responsibility. You know, keeping yourself safe and having appropriate boundaries and leaving when you know you should, or taking your kids out of that situation, that's your responsibility. It's not helpful to blame and say, "Oh, well he did this or he did that or she did this and she did that." What's helpful is letting other people take responsibility for what's their stuff, and you taking responsibility for what's your stuff, and doing the best you can with the spirit and with you know, knowledge, and with support of your family and friends to do what you can that's within your, you know, sphere and taking responsibility like, "This is my life. Heavenly Father gave it to me. He gave me these children, he gave me this life, he does not want me to be miserable or hurt or harmed in any way. And it's my responsibility to leave this situation if I need to." That's not blaming, that's taking responsibility.
I like that. Let's go into Jacob chapter three, verse one, because there's something unique about this phrase, he starts out by saying, "But behold, I, Jacob, would speak unto you that are pure in heart..." And this phrase to me, when you read it, the first thing you think is, "Oh, the people who weren't sinning, he's talking to all of these sweet people who didn't make any poor choices." But there's something so beautiful about the idea of the pure in heart being all of us. And it starts with just being a repentant soul. Even if you just have a small desire to want to do what's right. You become pure in heart.
I love that he addresses the pure in heart and that you just said that it's anyone who has a desire to repent because he's just spoken hard things to all of the people who have sin in their life, and the whole goal of that hard speaking was to create a shift in them. It wasn't to make them feel shame, or, you know, it was to help them to see the error of their thinking and the error of their ways. And so then after he says the hard things, he's like, "Okay, now you're ready. Now you are humble, and you have a place in your heart." And it might take them a couple days to get, you know, maybe they have to read the conference edition of the Ensign a couple of times before they get to the place where they're ready to plant the seeds of hope and repentance. But he's kind of primed them for that, if that makes any sense.
It does. KaRyn, I love that you said that because that is exactly the point of this chapter in Jacob. And when we look at the beatitudes, in Matthew chapter five, these verses, these are not specific people who have these qualities. I can remember forever reading these thinking that "well, I'm not that, I'm not that." But then I was taught this by a very wise theologian and scriptorium. He said, "These are the steps of the repentance process and that it's what you become in each step."
When you are poor in spirit, you're teachable, and then you mourn for the things that you did. And then you become meek, which in Greek is so cool. It means "exercising God's strength under his control, having gentleness and strength towards yourself and others."
Then, "...blessed are those who will hunger and thirst after righteousness." Of course you will.
And that's in verse six.
In verse six, yeah, to "blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness." I can remember feeling that way walking out of a bishops office thinking I will never sin again. I even drove the speed limit home. Because I was so determined to seek after and thirst after hunger and righteousness. And then look at seven, you're merciful. Of course you are, you have mercy towards those struggling maybe in the same situation. And then in verse eight, you become pure in heart, and then you're a peacemaker, and then you're going to be persecuted for righteousness sake, maybe by friends who you did things with that you're not doing that with anymore. Whatever it looks like. I love the idea of this because it is the repentance process and it is a process. Am I right?
So let us go to Jacob chapter four. And I want us to read verses 10 and 11. And as we read these verses, I want you to think about how the repentance process has played in your life and what hope it's given you.
Can I read it?
Yes, KaRyn, please read Jacob chapter four, verse 10 and 11.
"Wherefore, brethren, seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand. For behold, ye yourselves know that he counseleth in wisdom, and in justice, and in great mercy, over all his works. Wherefore, beloved brethren, be reconciled unto him through the atonement of Christ, his Only Begotten Son, and ye may obtain a resurrection, according to the power of the resurrection which is in Christ, and be presented as the first-fruits of Christ unto God, having faith, and obtained a good hope of glory in him before he manifesteth himself in the flesh."
Why do you like this so much?
Well, I struggle to be counseled by the Lord. I think I'm pretty wise sometimes and so I'm like, "I know, I know what to do here." But in that repentance process, like, "seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand." I think about that and I'm like, "Oh, so before I can even do that, I need to know that he counseleth in wisdom and injustice and in great mercy." And so that means that if I want to trust his counsel, and I want to know those things, then I have to have experiences with him, where he's taught me that. And as somebody who collects stories, I think it's really powerful to go back in your life during that repentance process and to think about all the times that you've seen his hand, that you've seen him counsel you in wisdom and to pull that out so that you can trust that right now when he's asking you to do better and to be better, that he loves you. And that brings me great hope to go back and review all of the places and the times when I have seen him counsel me in wisdom, as I'm facing a new repentance process. I'm crying so much that everyone probably thinks I'm like in the depths of sin. I'm really not, but we all are, but I'm not, but we all are.
You're testifying of truth, of course. The spirit is so strong as you say those words, I believe you. That's what I love about your emotion is that it's testifying of truth. That's amazing, KaRyn.
I really like what he's talking about in verse 14. And he's talking about the plainness of the word and he's talking about the blindness that we have because I'm pretty hard on myself. Whatever chastisement the Lord is giving me, I double down. If he's like, "You kind of messed up there." I'm like, "You're a horrible human being," like, that's where I go.
I'm imagining people driving or listening going, "Mhmm, me too."
And he's talking about then "the blindness came by looking beyond the mark." I underlined that and underlined that and highlighted it, and then like circled it and then pointed a theme and then made a star. Because oftentimes the hope comes to me because it pulls me back from looking beyond the market. Because I go like, "You're terrible. You're never going to be good enough. You're never going to be able to repent from this. The Lord is going to punish you forever."
"It's over for you."
Yeah, bought tacos on a Sunday or something. Like I am the worst because I've looked beyond the mark and the Lord's like, "Hey, honey, sweet pea. Come back. Like it's not that bad." That's where the hope comes from me. He's like, "You know, here's the way to repent, It's not that bad. It's actually kind of awesome. Like and I love you and I still love you and I will always love you, like, don't look beyond the mark. You're fine. Just get back on the road."
And this is neat that you said "look beyond the mark" because I want everyone to mark that verse of scripture. Circle the word "mark" because the mark is Christ. And when we look beyond the Savior, who is the source of our redemption, the source of our hope, oh we're going to go down that rabbit hole fast.
I want us to mark these verses because here are the four ways that we can turn and strengthen our faith in Christ, and Jacob teaches this. So the first place is in Jacob chapter four, verse five, he teaches that we can strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ by choosing to believe in him and worshipping the father in his name. That's the first step.
In Jacob chapter four, verse six, go to that one. And he teaches that we can strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ by choosing to search the words of the prophets. In Jacob chapter four, verse 10, go there. When we did read this and it's exactly what we said, and what KaRyn said, we can strengthen our faith in Christ by choosing to take counsel from his hand. And the last one is in verse 11. We can strengthen our faith in Christ by choosing to be reconciled to God through the Atonement of Christ.
In verse 11, circle the word "reconciled" because I do love the meaning of this word. It is to resolve, to settle, and to come back into friendship with. And that's a big deal because we do that with Christ. We come back into his friendship through his Atonement. Isn't it amazing how he teaches these hard things, but then he ends it with this beauty. The Book of Mormon is a message of hope, and that's what I love about it.
And then of course, he's going to end, look at Jacob chapter four verse 18. There's that word again "anxiety." Like you said Aliah, he'll start it with anxiety you know, and end it with anxiety. Yeah, he's still like, "Wow, I got a lot of anxiety for you, but I believe you can do this."
Well, he also acknowledged that it was over anxiety. He's self aware. He's like, "Hey guys, I know I'm a little bit out of control on this anxiety business," but...
I love that you pointed that out. My over anxiety for you.
Well if I think about it because like Jacob's like the younger brother, he's like, "I have like five older brothers. How did I end up here?"
Right? "Why am I this this guy?"
"Why am I having to do this?"
"Why can't Joseph speak?"
"Joe?" Totally agree.
And he's like, "Nope, I'm the baby."
He's the youngest sibling probably having out fun with his friends. Oh, that's awesome.
Well, thank you ladies. Wow, this has been such a good discussion and I feel like it went better than I even had hoped and prayed and fasted that it would.
You prayed and fasted?
You're so good.
I was so nervous.
You love us so much.
Oh, I do. I love you guys. I love the scriptures. I love Jesus Christ. Like I just I love him. I oh my gosh, I do. I love him. And I just think that the Book of Mormon teaches over and over again, there is no end to how many times we can come back. There's not a little amount like, "Oh, you only get five chances." That's what's amazing to me because we live in a world of chances, and we live in a world that teaches one strike you're out, or three strikes you're out. But God's like, "You get as many as you want, just come back."
Look beyond the mark.
And in addition to that, though, he's not going to hold back when something needs to shift or change. Right?
In kindness. He'll do it in kindness. But that's my big takeaway for this week. Is just that reminder that he's going to speak what needs to be spoken, and as parents, and as as members of this church, and as women, and I guess there's some guys that listen, that we should follow that example. That when moved upon by the Spirit, we should say what needs to be said and make sure that our conversations are the kinds of conversations that ultimately uplift and help one another to move into a space of accepting the redemption that Jesus Christ offers us.
It's a great takeaway. Aliah, what's your takeaway?
As I think about all that we've talked about today about pride and about chastity and about family. I think what hit home is like how precious all of us are to our Heavenly Father. Like how absolutely precious each and every one of us are, that he has sent prophets, he has provided scriptures, he, you know, gave his son for each and every one of us, and that he just loves us so very much that he wants us home.
My takeaway was the secrets, and not necessarily today, but when we talked about it, but I've just been reeling from that for days, and I've been looking at quotes and everything I can, and Satan loves secrets, and he will do everything he can to destroy us, our families, our marriages, our children through secrets.
Thank you both for your comments. This was a great discussion. For those of you listening, I really want to know what your takeaway was this week as you studied Jacob chapters one through four. This was such a good discussion and I want you to do this. If you haven't already joined our discussion group on Facebook, or if you're not following us on Instagram, you totally need to because that's where you can Share what your takeaways are or thoughts that you had about your reading for the day.
So at the end of every week, it's usually on Sundays, we're going to post a call for your big takeaways. And I read every single one of them, and I like it and I comment and it's just so fun to read. You can get to both of our Facebook and Instagram by going to the show notes for this episode on LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday. And it's not a bad idea to go there anyway, because that's where we have all the links to the references as well as a full transcript of this discussion, so I would recommend checking it out.
The Sunday on Monday study group is a Deseret Bookshelf Plus original and it's brought to you by LDS Living. It's written and hosted by me, Tammy Uzelac Hall, and today our awesome incredible study group participants were Aliah Hall, and KaRyn Lay, and you can find more information about these ladies at LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday.
Our episode today was produced and edited by Katie Lambert. It is recorded and mixed by Mix at Six Studios and our executive producer is Erin Hallstrom. Thanks for being here. We'll see you next week. You're God's favorite.