19: We Have Entered into a Covenant with Him (Mosiah 18-20)
Do you ever wonder what grace really looks and feels like in your everyday life? The phrase: “After all we can do” from 2 Nephi might seem like a pretty high bar to reach. This week we turn to Mosiah 18-20 to really dig into what grace means, and to learn just how far His grace extends into our imperfect lives.
"Grace" in Hebrew: “chen,” see biblehub.com
Reference in Luke for "Brood,": Luke 13:34
What are the first covenants we make as Latter-Day Saints?
(Mosiah 18:16) "After this manner he did baptize every one that went forth to the place of Mormon;"
(Mosiah 18:30) The waters of Mormon, the place of Mormon
According to Joseph Smith, “mor” is the English word for more, and “mon” is the Egyptian word for good (Joseph Smith, Times and Seasons vol. IV No. 13, (1843), pg 194).
"Grace" in Chinese: 恩典 “en dian,” see mdbg.net.
"Mercy" in Chinese: 慈悲 "ci bei" see chinese.yabla.net.
"Grace: in Thai: พระคุณ “phra khun,” which also means “royal kindness, offering, or favor.”
Grace in the Bible Dictionary:
“It is through the grace of the Lord Jesus, made possible by His atoning sacrifice, that mankind will be raised in immortality, every person receiving his body from the grave in a condition of everlasting life. It is likewise through the grace of the Lord that individuals, through faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ and repentance of their sins, receive strength and assistance to do good works that they otherwise would not be able to maintain if left to their own means. This grace is an enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation after they have expended their own best efforts” (Definition of “Grace” in the Bible Dictionary).
"For we labor diligently to write, to apersuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by bgrace that we are saved, after all we can cdo" (2 Nephi 25:23).
According to Dr. Carli Anderson, the phrase: "After all we can do" is a grammatically awkward phrase in Hebrew. It is an easier construct to say: "As we do all we can do."
“It therefore belittles God's grace to think of it as only a cherry on top added at the last moment as a mere finishing touch to what we have already accomplished on our own without any help from God.” (Stephen Robinson, Believing Christ, pg 91)
"And it came to pass that Alma and the people of the Lord were aapprised of the coming of the king’s army; therefore they took their tents and their families and bdeparted into the wilderness" (Mosiah 18:34).
Cross reference the word: “Apprised” with Mosiah 23:1.
"8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
"9 And he said unto me, My agrace is sufficient for thee: for my bstrength is made perfect in cweakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may drest upon me.
"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their aweakness. I bgive unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my cgrace is sufficient for all men that dhumble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make eweak things become strong unto them" (Ether 12:27).
"10 Nevertheless, aafter much btribulation, the Lord did hear my cries, and did answer my prayers, and has made me an cinstrument in his hands in bringing dso many of you to a knowledge of his truth" (Mosiah 23:9-10).
How many times did Limhi's people try to escape from bondage to the Lamanites?
(Mosiah 21:7) The first try
(Mosiah 21:9) The morning after the failure of their first try
(Mosiah 21:11) Their second try.
(Mosiah 21:12) The third try.
"13 And they did humble themselves even to the dust, subjecting themselves to the ayoke of bondage, bsubmitting themselves to be smitten, and to be driven to and fro, and burdened, according to the desires of their enemies.
"14 And they did ahumble themselves even in the depths of humility; and they did cry mightily to God; yea, even all the day long did they cry unto their God that he would bdeliver them out of their afflictions.
"15 And now the Lord was aslow to hear their cry because of their iniquities; nevertheless the Lord did hear their bcries, and began to soften the hearts of the Lamanites that they began to ease their burdens; yet the Lord did not see fit to deliver them out of bondage" (Mosiah 21:13-15).
The phrase: "Prospered by degrees" is in Mosiah 21:16.
“Repentance means striving to change. It would mock the Savior’s suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross for us to expect that He should transform us into angelic beings with no real effort on our part. Rather, we seek His grace to complement and reward our most diligent efforts (see 2 Nephi 25:23). …….Real repentance, real change may require repeated attempts, but there is something refining and holy in such striving. Divine forgiveness and healing flow quite naturally to such a soul” (D. Todd Christofferson, "The Divine Gift of Repentance," General Conference, November 2011)
"For behold, are we not all abeggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?" (Mosiah 4:19)
Hollee's favorite talk by Elder Richard G. Scott about trials: "Trust in the Lord," General Conference, October 1995.
“Sadly, much of modern Christianity does not acknowledge that God makes any real demands on those who believe in Him, seeing Him rather as a butler “who meets their needs when summoned” or a therapist whose role is to help people “feel good about themselves.” It is a religious outlook that “makes no pretense at changing lives.” “By contrast,” as one author declares, “the God portrayed in both the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures asks, not just for commitment, but for our very lives. The God of the Bible traffics in life and death, not niceness, and calls for sacrificial love, not benign whatever-ism” (Elder D. Todd Christofferson, “As Many as I Love, I Rebuke and Chasten,” General Conference, April 201).
The word "Helam" is from the word for dream in Hebrew and is interpreted to be: “to be healthy, to recuperate, to restore, to revive a place, to prosper." A better name you couldn't give to a new settlement than prosperity, or restoration, or health, or revival, or suitability, or happy land.( Hugh Nibley, Teachings of the Book of Mormon, Vol.2, 154-155)
- Mosiah 23:21-22
- D&C 105:6 “And my people must needs be chastened until they learn obedience" (see also D&C 1:27)
- Ether 2:14 “For the space of three hours … and chastened him because he remembered not to call upon the name of the Lord”
- D&C 101:5 “For all those who will not endure chastening, but deny me, cannot be sanctified”
- Revelation 3:19 “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent”
“Divine chastening has at least three purposes: (1) to persuade us to repent, (2) to refine and sanctify us, and (3) at times to redirect our course in life to what God knows is a better path” (Elder D. Todd Christofferson, “As Many as I Love, I Rebuke and Chasten,” General Conference, April 2011).
“We must learn to happily submit to the will of the Lord in all things. Sometimes Latter-day Saints think they will escape challenges by being members of the Church. But my experience has been that they have as many, if not more, than most people. Why? Because the Lord loves them” (Elder Gene R. Cook, “The Grace of the Lord,” December Ensign, 1988)
"13 And it acame to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.
"14 And I will also ease the aburdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as bwitnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their cafflictions.
"15 And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did astrengthen them that they could bear up their bburdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with cpatience to all the will of the Lord" (Mosiah 24:13-15)
“No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God … and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven” (Orson F. Whitney, as quoted by Spencer W. Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle, Pg. 98).
I believe that the word "grace" may be one of the most powerful words in our religious vernacular, and yet probably the most misunderstood. I can remember the moment I learned this word in Hebrew, and it struck me with complete awe and imagery because I'm a total visual learner. And the word for "grace" in Hebrew is "Hen," like a hen. And before even looking up other definitions, immediately, in my mind, I imagined this big old red hen with gigantic wings, lots of feathers, sort of like a "I'm the boss" kind of hen, right?
Her wings open up, and then little chicks from everywhere run under her wings for protection. Just like the Scriptures say, that "the Lord has gathered and will gather us as a hen gathereth her chicks under her wings."
Now in Luke, this is kind of cool, we are called a "brood" or an "offspring," something that's being warmed and protected. And that is what grace does for all of us. Today we're going to talk about the word "grace" and how it works in our lives.
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 study group, here's how the podcast works. It's recorded and lasts for an hour, and you can listen to it all at once, or the other cool aspect of this podcast is that you can listen to in segments. There are six segments and they last for about 10 to 12 minutes, so you could do one segment per day, easy peasy.
Now, every week, I get to introduce you to two of my friends. So today, I've got Hollee and Brady McKay, and I could not be more excited, like I'm so excited. I'm kind of a fangirl of these two. And I first heard them speak at like a fireside about a year or two ago, and ever since then, anytime I hear them speaking, I follow everywhere. It's a little embarrassing I know. But I love that you guys are here. Hi, Hollee. Hi, Brady.
Hello, thanks for having us.
Hello there. It's great to be with you.
So Brady, you spent nine years living in Asia. You were in Thailand for six years, three years in China, and you are, if I can get this correctly, you were a former Senior Drug Enforcement agent, is that correct?
Yes, I was a U.S. Special Agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration for just under a quarter century, and had the opportunity to enforce U.S. laws around the world, including all 50 states, and around 40 countries I conducted operations in also.
And you got in some fights too huh?
Yeah. A lot of people don't like to be arrested for some reason. But, yeah, almost everybody we went after was career armed, violent felons. The worst people in the world, heads of criminal organizations, heads of insurgent armies, major drug traffickers, producers, worldwide. So that was my job.
And then he had to come home to me.
Which is even scarier.
I was just gonna say, "And then there's Hollee."
Behind every great man is a...
A lunatic. No, I'm just kidding Hollee. I love Hollee. Oh, I love you.
He's pretty lucky that I'm here because I chased him. He chased drug traffickers around the world, but I chased him. So I went everywhere he went, we were in this thing together from the start.
I love that you said that that's so important to know that you both were in this together from the start because when I was preparing for this lesson, and I knew we wanted to talk about grace, there's no doubt in my mind two people who know grace more than the both of you, and all of your stories, all of your experiences, and so I'm super excited to talk about the role that grace plays in our lives, and here's some of the stories about the role that grace played in yours. So if those of you who...
Tammy that is such... oh sorry, that is so humbling to hear that because we you know, we just go through our lives and you do what you got to do, but to, to stop and think and that's why I really enjoyed preparing for this to really think about, you know, the grace that's been in our lives and we all have daily grace, but wow, that's just humbling to me that you would look at us that way. So thank you.
You're welcome. I really do believe that. Now those of you listening, if you want to know what they look like, and you want to see cute pictures and maybe their family, go to our show notes at LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday, where we'll post their bios and their pictures because I like to see what people look like when I'm hearing their voices.
So today, we're going to be studying Mosiah 18 through 24. And listen, guys, there's a lot of story here. It's super fun to read, so please do not skip these chapters. But we won't have time to go over every single thing because there's a lot. Today's discussion is going to be more principle and topic based. We're going to get started and you will see what I mean in the very first segment. So friends, grab your scriptures and let's dig in.
Hollee and Brady, what connections do you see between keeping covenants and being protected? Like spiritually, physically, anything? Do you see a connection between that?
Well, absolutely. My life has epitomized that not because I'm some great individual, but because when you keep the promises as the Lord says throughout the Book of Mormon, he will bless us. I made covenants with the Lord. At times I've been valiant, sometimes I've been less valiant, but the Lord has always kept his end up. I can testify to the world that I've been protected because of the covenants that I've kept, and I can give numerous examples where the Lord has protected me.
But if I may share one from the beginning I don't know, most human beings fortunately are never shot at. I have many times been shot at and I know what it feels like when somebody's pointing a weapon at you and shooting you and so one night I was in the jungles of Southeast Asia, we're going after a drug caravan and we got engaged with some enemy insurgents that were trafficking drugs, and it was at nighttime and they were shooting directly at me, I was in an uncovered position and I could see that they were shooting directly at me because if you've ever seen a weapon fire at night it makes a muzzle flash, flame actually comes out, and if the rifle is pointed directly at you, it makes a perfect 360 degree fireball. And that's what I was looking at, and they were aiming at me and I don't know why -- I do know why. I was not hit, totally being exposed, that I'd been protected. And I can give a lot of stories, like that was just one example, it may not mean much to some people, but I cannot deny that I was protected at that time, and don't mind sharing that with you.
Yeah. I'm glad that you did. Hollee, what comes to your mind?
Well, to give a little background, we made covenants in the temple, we make covenants our whole lives, but covenants we made in the temple especially to consecrate ourselves to building the kingdom. We did that a long time ago, and then we were, Brady got this job in Thailand, and it just is amazing to me how, because we kept those covenants, God blessed us with his grace over six years’ time. Brady was in situations constantly that his life should have been taken, but as he can attest, we thought we were going there for his work. We were really going there to help build the kingdom in Thailand, to help the gospel because we ended up in northern Thailand, which there were, how many Brady? 12 Melchizedek priesthood holders in the...
Oh yeah, there were 700 members, less than a dozen active Melchizedek priesthood holders and four branches, but our area was the size of Colorado. We thought we were going there to be super agents and save the world, but what we didn't realize is the Lord's plan was that we would arrive and we would help run the Chiangmai district in northern Thailand. I became the District President within two months of my arrival there and was for the next six years. So even though I had a secular pathway laid out, the Lord had a spiritual one that superseded even what I was doing for the government at that time.
Well Brady and Hollee, thank you for sharing that. Let's go right into Mosiah 18 and look at the very first covenants that we make as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I want everyone to mark these in their scriptures. These are our baptismal covenants, and it's so important for us to teach these to children when they get baptized, in fact, on the day of their baptism, and I've said this before, this should be the only thing we teach, is "today you're entering into your first covenant with Christ."
And what I'm going to do is I'm going to read in Mosiah chapter 18, verse eight and nine, this is Alma. So Alma has now left, he has fled Noah, Noah wants to kill him, and Alma's like, "I gotta get out of here." So he leaves, he goes and teaches people, they start to believe him, and then they all leave because now they know that they can't worship the way they want to under the reign of King Noah.
So now Alma is with his people, and he's teaching them, "Listen if you want to join in, if you want to become part of God's people, and become Part of his seed, let me tell you what this is going to require." And what we're going to do is we're going to mark the covenants, and so Hollee and Brady, as I read this, will you please mark the four covenants that stand out to you that we make when we get baptized? Here they are.
Verse eight says, "And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;"
"Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—"
What covenants did you mark?
Well, to be called the "People of God" and take his name upon us.
I'm reminded of that every Sunday. What else Hollee?
Well, I just love, I love all that we mourn with those that mourn, comfort those who stand in need of comfort, and stand as witnesses of God. And I just love that the Lord has blessed us to have each other. We are here for each other. We don't have to go through this life alone.
And that's encompassed in the "bear one another's burdens" part of this scripture also.
Yeah, and I like how you said that Hollee, that we don't have to do this alone, that is grace right there. Now look at verse 10 because I like how he says in here, and we're going to mark this, so highlight this, he says, "Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have..." Now highlight this: "...entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?"
Really underline "pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you" and I want you to cross reference that with verse 16. And let's turn to verse 16 in this chapter, "having him pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you" goes right in line with this verse. So now verse 16, and Hollee, will you read verse 16 for us?
"And after this manner he did baptize every one that went forth to the place of Mormon; and they were in number about two hundred and four souls; yea, and they were baptized in the waters of Mormon, and were filled with the grace of God."
There it is, highlight that, "they were filled with the grace of God." That having his spirit poured out upon them is that. It is being filled with the grace of God, and what I think is so beautiful about this is the place where it all happened. Go over to verse 30 and mark this because it says this word so often. Brady, will you read verse 30?
"And now it came to pass that all this was done in Mormon, yea, by the waters of Mormon, in the forest that was near the waters of Mormon; yea, the place of Mormon, the waters of Mormon, the forest of Mormon, how beautiful are they to the eyes of them who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer; yea, and how blessed are they, for they shall sing to his praise forever."
Highlight the word "Mormon," it says it quite often in there, doesn't it? I thought this was pretty cool. The word "Mormon" means "more good," and this is where it comes from. "Mor" is from the English word for "more," but "Mon" is an Egyptian word for "good" according to Joseph Smith. So when we read "Mormon," it really means "more good," and how amazing that these followers of Christ, Alma and these people, are entering into a covenant with their father, with the Lord, to be more good, that our covenants make us more good. And everything we do makes us more good. Hollee, you look pretty pensive.
I just love that because I was thinking our son's on a mission in Germany right now, and we told him that we were going to be studying these scriptures and he said, "Oh, Mosiah chapter 18. That is the go-to if we want someone to commit to baptism, we immediately go to that." And you know, he uses those words, "Are you desirous? Do you desire this?" And my son was telling me just this week that they really work on that, "is that the desire of your soul" and you realize that you want that more than anything. And I also have been struck by how grateful I am that we have this knowledge especially right now in this pandemic. I keep thinking we have this extra thing that I wish the world, all the world could have.
Yeah, absolutely. Thank you for sharing that Hollee, especially the experience with your son. So I want you to kind of think about this idea of baptismal covenants, that they make us more good, and they allow us to do things for our father. But by doing that in turn, he will pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon us. When we keep covenants, it fills us with his grace. And this is the grace that enables us to do good things. In the next segment, we're going to talk specifically about the word grace.
Segment 2 13:54
Now Brady, I want to know because you speak Chinese, do you also speak Thai?
Thai? Yes, it's spoken in Thailand, it was the language of my mission, and of course it's what we used while I was there working in northern Thailand, we also learned the northern dialects and Laotian. And a few other dialects while we were there. Plus we used a lot of Chinese up in the triangle because of the Chinese organized crime and a large number of Chinese immigrants that migrated to Southeast Asia. So it was a multilingual requirement to be there.
So here's what I want to know then, with your knowledge of languages, what is the word Grace? Is it different in these languages? Or is there more meaning to it that you could add?
Well, it's interesting that you mentioned the "hen" as the Hebrew word for that. In Chinese, it's "en dian." En dian is grace and mercy is hubai. And all those words, Chinese language is made up of characters and they use the heart character in all those words. It involves the heart, and in Thai, it's "para khan," and it just means the "royal kindness, or offering or favor" to give to somebody in those languages so.
Royal kindness. I love that so much, royal kindness. My way of describing it is "divine assistance," but I think I'm gonna change it to "royal kindness." For those of you listening, go to your Bible Dictionary and I encourage you to look up the word "grace."
I'm glad you mentioned the Bible dictionary definition of "grace," that's the best one I found also. It's the one that I looked at multiple times the past week because it gives the best definition in the first and second paragraphs there in this.
It does, in fact, Brady why don't you read the second paragraph because it's my favorite part of the definition.
Okay. "It is through the grace of the Lord Jesus made possible by his atoning sacrifice, that mankind will be raised in immortality, every person receiving his body from the grave condition of everlasting life. It is likewise through grace of the Lord that individuals through faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ in repentance of their sins, receives strength and assistance to do good works, that they otherwise would not be able to maintain if left to their own means."
Brady, I'm going to stop you for a second there because I noticed when you read it, you put emphasis on the same part that I have underlined.
Yes, and it's just great that "they otherwise would not be able to maintain if left to their own means." That's the part where we do all we can, and the Lord makes up the rest after that point. That's why it's grace. It's not earned, it's a gift he gives us.
Oh, I'm so glad you said that.
Um Tammy, one more. I love the third paragraph in that definition, and it's the sentence that says, "However, Grace cannot suffice without total effort on the part of the recipient." Hence the explanation. It is by grace that we are saved after all we can do. Grace is a gift, but it's after all we can do. The Lord steps in and does the rest, but I always think about that. Am I doing everything that I can do before I ask for that blessing.
Hollee, that is perfect because as you were talking, I'm thinking the most perfect scripture about grace is in second Nephi chapter 25, verse 23, let's go there. You just said it, but we're going to read it, and I want everyone to mark it because we're going to relearn it for just a little bit because you're right, Hollee, we have to do. But I think this is pretty cool when I learned this in Hebrew, so read verse 23 for us.
"For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do."
Highlight "after all we can do" and I have to just tell you, that this phrase right here "after all we can do," what's so interesting to me about it, is that in Hebrew, it's not grammatically correct. You can't really say this in Hebrew, the construct of the word "after all we can do." So in Hebrew, it would actually be, "As we do, all we can do." And I like that because for me, Grace is given in the doing.
And you know, Steven Robinson, a professor down at BYU and an author, I like how he says, “It therefore belittles God's grace to think of it as only a cherry on top added at the last moment as a mere finishing touch to what we have already accomplished on our own without any help from God.” (Stephen Robinson, Believing Christ, Deseret Book, 1992, Pg. 91)
For some of us who have learned this our whole lives, and maybe you're thinking, there can be shame built into this verse, like, "Did I do enough?" Like, "Am I going to qualify for that grace?" And I think the new way we're understanding this is that in the middle of doing you're going to get grace. You've already qualified for it by just doing, and Hollee, you shared with me such a good story about how you received grace while doing and I just I love this. So I actually want you to share this because it's such a good story.
So, when we went to Thailand, we had two small children, I'd never been off the continental United States. Here I am moving to Thailand. It felt like Mars to me. Brady spoke the language, he was excited to be there, and I was miserable. And I was sad and I thought about my brother's wedding that I was missing and I absolutely was so self-absorbed. It was very miserable. One day my mom called me and she was sick and tired of me complaining to her she said, "Hollee, it is time to lose yourself in service." And I thought, "How am I supposed to serve? I don't even speak the language here. I can't, what can I do?"
And finally I decided to submit myself. I actually decided to go and do. Once I opened up myself to service, the Lord let everything come in. I started having things come my way once I started looking. I was looking for how I could do the "do" part and one door after another opened. The sister missionaries, they needed a driver, they didn't have a car, I started driving them everywhere. The mission president asked me to head up a non-denominational Christmas program in our city, which is a whole other story in of itself. But I just was opened up to incredible experiences and I still don't speak the language fluently, but because I made that decision to, to go and do, his grace just flooded in, and for six years, it was the best six years of our lives.
Would you agree Brady, was it the best six years of your lives?
It was up until the end of those six years when things just continue to get better in life because the grace of God. No I mean six years, it was a watershed period in our life, so much changed. When I arrived, you know, I thought I was going to be super-agent, but I was humbled immediately because the Lord had other things in mind. And I cannot deny that we were on a path of the Lord had set for us, that when we submitted ourselves as Hollee said to him, life became better, not necessarily easier, but easier to deal with the difficult times we had.
Because not only did we have a family that we're raising overseas, we were helping to administer and run the Church in northern Thailand, in addition to running counterdrug operations in the Golden Triangle, which at the time was one of the most violent places to do that type of work in the world. And so we had several dichotomies, we were doing drug enforcement work, and yet we were helping the Church move forward in Thailand, we were going out and risking our lives, and yet coming home and having family time. It was an absolute dichotomy to go from one world to the other back and forth, almost on a daily basis, but we also would realize that there was a power at work in our lives. That was much more than just what we had originally thought when we volunteered to go overseas to work.
We were recipients of grace the entire time we were there because it was hard, but Brady should have been, he was in so many scary experiences, he should have lost his life over and over again, and people asked me all the time, "How did you handle that?"
And I was never one time ever nervous because I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt the Lord was protecting us, the Lord had other things in mind. And, I mean, he had a $2 million bounty on his head a lot of the time. It was a very scary place, and yet it wasn't, it was wonderful because we were on the Lord's mission more than we were on an anti-drug mission.
Wow. Thank you, Hollee and Brady. You know, as you've talked about this, the one thing that I like and I appreciate your honesty is that you both have said "it wasn't easy, though," that it was hard. And Brady, you said that it was the greatest time and it was also difficult and hard, and it makes me think of these scriptures in the Book of Mormon because you know when I started out talking about how the word "grace" in Hebrew is "hen," and the idea of this big fat hen protecting all of its chicks, it's interesting that grace does protect, but when that hand is protecting those chicks, the storm doesn't go away, or the volcano or the typhoon, whatever it is, it's going to come but that hen's going to protect the little chicks. And that's what it is for us, is the Lord doesn't necessarily take away the storm.
In Mosiah chapter 18 through 24, it tells the stories of two groups of people, and what I want us to notice is that God didn't take away the storm from either group, but instead he made their situation survivable, livable, doable, and then conquerable in every situation, and grace was shown differently to each group, but in the end it was shown, and so we're going to talk about that in the next segment and see how it worked for Alma.
Segment 3 23:48
So we're going to jump back into the scriptures, and this is such an interesting part of the story that I just want us to go right there. Turn to Mosiah chapter 18, verse 34. This is after Alma and all of his people have been baptized in the waters of Mormon, and then I really like this verse. So verse 34, we're going to mark and we're going to cross reference it. I'll read the verse.
"And it came to pass that Alma and the people of the Lord were apprised of the coming of the king’s army;"
So mark that word "apprised." And we're going to cross reference, we want to put Mosiah chapter 23, verse one, and down below, the footnote is there, but if you want to write it in the side, Mosiah chapter 23, verse one. So turn there, and let's see exactly how Alma was apprised. We're going to read at the very beginning of the verse, quote, "Now Alma, having been warned of the Lord that the armies of king Noah would come upon them..."
So he just wasn't apprised. He was warned of the Lord. Now this is the power of Christ resting upon Alma, this is grace, and so the ability for them to do more good and the ability for Alma and his people to continue in their covenants, they had to be able to believe and practice out from under the thumb of King Noah who was coming to find them. So I want to pause here for a minute because I'm wondering and Brady and Hollee, is this real in our lives? Like, has there been a time when the Lord has apprised you? Has given you insight or thoughts that you needed? How does this work for grace?
Oh numerous times, and I paid the price for not listening to it before also. One time overseas, I was invited by a police unit at Northwest Thailand to go look for a heroin lab. They had no experience in this and I knew I shouldn't go with them. I should take my teams. But my pride got the better of me and I went, despite me being warned in my mind and in my heart that I shouldn't go. And we went, I went and went up the mountain looking for a heroin lab with 40 inexperienced officers, and three days later, we came down with the two truckloads full of dead and wounded officers after we'd been defeated badly, and it cost us a lot of human suffering and lives.
And I learned that I need to listen to the Lord's spirit more often, and I did a few years later, we were in the jungle again, and we were following some bad guys up a trail, and the officer in charge said that there might be reporters coming in the area, and I couldn't be seen by reporters. So he offered me a chance to leave and I would never do that, I'd never leave my team in the field. And I was prompted to say, "Yes, I need to leave," and I turned around and as I left, I walked about 30 feet, and the four men that took my place in line, all four were shot within a few seconds of me turning and leaving.
So yeah, the Lord does warn us. Sometimes it's as simple as maybe we shouldn't go somewhere, or maybe this person's not being honest with us, or maybe someone's intent is not correct. Or even more importantly, we're prompted to the grace of the Lord to provide as a ministering angel to other people, grace on his behalf and helping them and we need to follow those promptings as well.
Wow, I like how you said that at the end, Brady, that we are people's grace.
I wanted to say, I feel like COVID-19 right now is this big thing in all of our lives, which is true, but I also look at it as almost a gift from the Lord because how many times has he warned us through our whole lives to be prepared and get ready and I mean I just look at this time as "we're all okay, and we're gonna be okay." But it's made us stop and reflect, "Have we been listening to what the Lord's been telling us? And are we really prepared spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally?" This is a time when we can really think about that. To me, this is a time of grace that he's given us because we're going to get through this, but it's preparing us as well.
Oh, I love that, the idea that time would be grace. Yeah. Now there's a great scripture that I'm thinking about right now that I wanted us to read earlier, and we didn't get a chance to do it. Let's go to second Corinthians chapter 12. And we're going to look at verses eight through 10. And this is the Apostle Paul and boy, as we talk about grace, we have to remember and remind ourselves that it's not earned, but grace comes even to the weakest of weak saints, everyone can qualify for grace. And that's what I like about this scripture in Second Corinthians. So Paul understands the whole idea of entering to a covenant with God and receiving grace. And he's talking about his own personal trials, which he calls "the thorn in the flesh," and he asked the Lord three times to remove that thorn, like it's just too much to bear. And then he teaches us these profound verses. And so let's just read verses eight through 10. Brady, will you read those verses to us?
"For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me."
"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
"Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."
And that definitely reminds me of Ether chapter 12, verse 27, where he talks about, he gives the Lord his weaknesses for the purpose of making us strong,
Oh, hey, Brady, you know what, that would be a great spot to even put that scripture reference. And you can go ahead and write that down, Ether chapter 12, verse 27. And what's so cool about that, is that it doesn't say "weaknesses." I think sometimes in seminary, students they would read that, and they would say, "I show unto men their weaknesses," and I'd be like, "Oh I'm gonna stop you right there. It just says weakness." Because who wants to be reminded of all the things they can't do? Like "just one, remind me of my weakness" and let me work it out.
In that verse, verse 27. Not only does he say "weakness" singular, but then if you continue reading, he says, "My grace is sufficient for all men." The idea of him going, "I got enough," like, "I got plenty, I got you covered." There's enough grace for everybody. It's not a pie. There's not just a piece for whoever's best or whoever works hardest, like it's sufficient for every one of us that are weak. I think what's so important for us to notice too, is that Alma was given God's grace, there's enough for Alma, there's enough for everyone and you're like, "Oh, well, Alma was so great."
Let's just read Mosiah chapter 23, verses nine and ten, and read Alma's experience about his weakness. And I'll read that.
"But remember the iniquity of king Noah and his priests; and I myself was caught in a snare, and did many things which were abominable in the sight of the Lord, which caused me sore repentance;"
He's saying, "I did things that were abominable and it caused me sore repentance."
"Nevertheless, after much tribulation, the Lord did hear my cries, and did answer my prayers, and has made me an instrument in his hands in bringing so many of you to a knowledge of his truth."
And just this beautiful story about an imperfect man receiving perfect grace for him and his people. And that applies to all of our lives. And so in this story, we're going to take a pause right here because now we're going to turn to and talk about another group of people and their experience with grace. And we have two vastly different stories, but one main theme or lesson that the scriptures want to teach us about, and we're going to talk about that in the next segment.
Segment 4 31:30
So here's what we're going to do you guys, we're going to fast track these verses of scripture because we are covering Mosiah 19 through 21, and we do not have time to read it all, but I highly recommend you do. Such a good story. But here's what you need to know, I'm going to give you a Reader's Digest version for those of you who remember what that is. Long story short, King Noah's killed, the Lamanites defeat Limhi and his people, they're living in bondage to the Lamanites, and they're paying half a tribute to the king.
Limhi and his people, they want their freedom, and they decide they're going to take on the Lamanites. And the people of Limhi, now remember, they weren't good people. We talked about them back in Mosiah chapter seven. Limhi is the son of the wicked King Noah. And these people played a role in Abinadi's death. And so these people have King Noah, they didn't like Abinadi, and the problem is, is they just couldn't seem to defeat the Lamanites. They struggled and struggled. So they're going to fight Limhi and his people, they want to fight the Lamanites. So here's where we're going to start and pick up. Go to Mosiah chapter 21, and let's look at verse eight and nine, we're going to mark something to the side of eight and nine, but it starts in verse seven. And Hollee, will you read verse seven for us?
"And they gathered themselves together again, and put on their armor, and went forth against the Lamanites to drive them out of their land."
And go to verse eight.
"And it came to pass that the Lamanites did beat them, and drove them back, and slew many of them."
Okay in your scriptures, put a number one next to that verse right there, just a number one, they were destroyed. And in verse nine, it talks about just how sad it was, how the widows were mourning their husbands, and how the daughters were mourning their fathers. This is so sad. You know what, they're going to try again. Go down to verse 11, and Brady, will you read verse 11 please.
"And it came to pass that their continual cries did stir up the remainder of the people of Limhi to anger against the Lamanites; and they went again to battle, but they were driven back again, suffering much loss."
Put a number two next to that verse. This is the second try. Okay Hollee, read verse 12 for us.
"Yea, they went again even the third time, and suffered in the like manner; and those that were not slain returned again to the city of Nephi."
Put a number three next to that verse. Three times they go to fight the Lamanites and they are being defeated all three times. Now these people are not righteous. They have not entered into covenants. In fact, we talked earlier about how they thought they were learning the law of Moses, they thought they learned about Jesus Christ, they didn't want anything to do with any of that. And then we have a change, something that happens. I'm going to read verses 13 through 15. And here's what I want you to do, Hollee and Brady, as we read this, I want you to tell me what did they do differently? And how, how did it work, either positive or negative? Okay, so I'm going to read 13 through 15.
"And they did humble themselves even to the dust, subjecting themselves to the yoke of bondage, submitting themselves to be smitten, and to be driven to and fro, and burdened, according to the desires of their enemies."
"And they did humble themselves even in the depths of humility; and they did cry mightily to God; yea, even all the day long did they cry unto their God that he would deliver them out of their afflictions."
"And now the Lord was slow to hear their cry because of their iniquities; nevertheless the Lord did hear their cries, and began to soften the hearts of the Lamanites that they began to ease their burdens; yet the Lord did not see fit to deliver them out of bondage."
What did they do differently in those verses. What tactic did they take?
Well, it's interesting, the Book of Mormon is all about the pride cycle, right? We learn about pride how dangerous it is, I mentioned a little while ago how pride was a very costly mistake of mine on an operation. We all have pride issues, but in this case here, what they did differently, was they did the opposite. They humbled themselves before the war, and that's the key that we humble ourselves, we offer our will upon the altar to the Father, instead of us trying to tell the Father how we're going to do things. We humble ourselves, listen to his will, follow his will, and then he will help us, he'll provide that grace we're talking about.
I also loved the words, "They subjected themselves, they submitted themselves," they just were willing to take on whatever the Lord needed them to be subjected to. That's a hard thing to do when you really truly submit your will to the Lord's. That's true humility to me.
So Hollee, why is it so hard for us to do that?
Well, I think it reminds me of Brady's brother passed away 18 years ago of cancer, and it was really devastating to our family, we were very close to him. And I remember the first time I learned about really subjecting myself to the Lord's will. I would pray and pray and pray that he could live, but "let thy will be done." I would always try to include that, but then I realized, I would say it but my heart didn't mean it. And I think that's why it's so hard. Our minds, we want it, but do our hearts, are our hearts really willing to just give it to the Lord?
Yeah. And I wonder if it was that way for Limhi and his people? I wonder if for some of them it was hard. And what's so interesting about these verses of scripture is verse 16. I want us to go into that verse because in verse 15, it did say that the Lord did hear their cries, and he did ease their burdens. But in verse 16, I love this where he says, "And it came to pass that they began to prosper by degrees in the land..."
Highlight that "prospered by degrees." This phrase is really interesting to me because it seems like when we humble ourselves and call upon God and we repent of our sins, he will hear our prayers and he'll even ease the burden of our sins, but it's in his own time. It's he moves with us in the process, and that is grace. Like he doesn't expect absolute perfection the minute you say, "I'm sorry." He's willing to work with us as we prosper by degrees. There's a quote by D. Todd Christofferson that I want us to read. Hollee, will you read this quote about this prospering by degrees?
“Repentance means striving to change. It would mock the Savior’s suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross for us to expect that He should transform us into angelic beings with no real effort on our part. Rather, we seek His grace to complement and reward our most diligent efforts (see 2 Nephi 25:23). Real repentance, real change may require repeated attempts, but there is something refining and holy in such striving. Divine forgiveness and healing flow quite naturally to such a soul” (D. Todd Christofferson, "The Divine Gift of Repentance," General Conference, November 2011)
Thank you. Have either of you had experience with this prospered by degrees, either in your own life or maybe as you've served with people?
Oh, for sure, but I think we all do. I think on our individual pathways to perfection, we're all in the process of prospering by degrees. In my case, I was raised by goodly parents, I went to seminary and I graduated from it. I went on a mission but throughout my life I see looking back particularly how the Lord helped me prosper by degrees. Near the end of my mission, I thought I was a hot shot missionary, I was going home in a few weeks, I was training a greenie, and I remember the number of beggars that always followed us around throughout my two years service. We carry change and give it to them, and I remember one day as I was walking with this new greenie telling him how tired I am of people begging and asking me for money. And we walked into our door for our lunch and then we had our scripture study that day and I opened up the scriptures and I'll never forget this, it hit me and it's affected me the rest of my life. It was a chance for me to prosper by degree.
And I open up the scriptures to Mosiah chapter four verse 19, and it says, "For behold, are we not all beggars?" It was like the Lord had hit me with a sledgehammer in the head, "Mr. Cool missionary, it's time to humble yourself and learn that we are all beggars in the Lord's eyes." And that's happened to me many times in my life, where I've had to deal with, with things, but one of the more humbling moments maybe been four years ago, three and a half years ago, I had a heart attack. I'd been in so many fights, I've fought and I've been a tough guy and I've never lost, and all of a sudden I'm up in the mountains in the Uinta's hiking and have a heart attack with my sons backpacking. And I was too dumb to realize that I should have died up there above 9600 feet, you just don't survive heart attacks, well I walked out three and a half miles carrying my backpack, it was a nice backpack, I didn't want to leave it, and survived.
But I asked for the Lord's help in getting out of there, and that whole experience of being humbled by that helped me grow more than anything in my life. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life. My brother, who Hollee mentioned before he died told me the last year of his life that he was dying from cancer, was the greatest year of his life, the happiest he'd been. And I can tell you that having a heart attack, open heart surgery, surviving, nearly dying, was the greatest experience of my life. I don't recommend it, but I recommend that the benefits of it. I prospered by degrees because of that.
Thank you for sharing that. Hollee, do you have any follow up, anything you're thinking?
Well, I just find it interesting that the membership, the converts to the Church definitely prospered by degrees and we saw this all the time in Thailand. I'm reminded of Brother Somchai. He had six children, he was an extremely poor man, he repaired watches in the back of his car, and his children run around Church the whole time. But they were there every Sunday devoted and they were poor as could be. And this is a temporal prospering by degrees, but it's very real. We would see it with the members all the time. And they were faithful as can be and they had the most simple faith, and they were there every day. Well, 20 years later, all six of those children have served missions, and all of them are being educated in America, and they're, they're just hugely successful, and it is because their parents stuck with it. They prospered by degree. It's really exciting to see that happen.
And I love that you shared that because I'm sitting here thinking, and for those of us who are wondering when that's going to come, maybe you're just in the middle of a degree, you know, like just keep doing, keep doing so that God can give you his grace and bless you with whatever it is that you need. Because here's the reality, and I'm thinking right now, we're all sinners, right? And we all need the Lord's help. Brady, I appreciated that you said, "We're all prospering by degrees," and Hollee, you're right. When we turn our will over to him, he will help us prosper, and he's going to help us do whatever it takes until it takes and that's what I love about our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
So now this is the part of story when Ammon comes into the land of Nephi and King Limhi, it says in the Scriptures, he was exceedingly glad because he was so happy to learn that Ammon was from Zarahemla. And we remember that back in Mosiah chapter seven, so to the side of your scriptures next to those verses in Mosiah 21, verse 16, put "Ammon" there. So you can remember that's that part of the story.
Now eventually the people of Limhi and Ammon, they are going to be freed from bondage. I don't want to give a spoiler alert, but it's such a good story, I won't tell you the story because it's a really great thing that the Lord does for them to help them. And then they're going to move to Zarahemla and they're going to live and be happy. But now what happened to Alma and his followers, what's their stories? So we're going to go back to their story and we're going to talk about that in the next segment.
Segment 5 43:32
So guys, in your experience, does keeping covenants keep us immune from trials or customized challenges?
Why not? Because if I'm honest, it seems a little ungraceful.
There isn't a single person listening to this program that's ever dwelt on the face of the earth that has not experienced trials in their life, and it's a given that we will the rest of our lives, that's part of mortality. The question isn't whether we're going to be faced with trials, the question is how we're going to endure them or deal with them. And so no, we're just like everybody else. We've had trials and even if we do everything the best we can, we're still going to have trials so.
I always have to remind myself that I agreed to this, I wanted to come down here and be subjected to whatever I could so that I could get back to Heavenly Father. And one of my favorite talks is by Elder Scott, and he talks about how the Lord has to give us trials, but he will not give us a trial until he knows we're ready for the next one, and it's a way of pulling us closer back to Heavenly Father. So I always think about that that when, "Okay, I have this trial. The Lord must believe that I'm ready for it, that I can do it." And that is so strengthening.
Also in Corinthians, I think it's chapter 13, verse 10, first or second Corinthians, that the Lord will not give us a trial until he knows that we're capable of enduring it. And we're promised that so, as difficult as trials may look to us right now, I think we can take solace and comfort in knowing that the Lord has confidence in us. He's given us these trials so that we become stronger.
Thank you, Brady and Hollee, for sharing that. I'd like for us to read a quote by Elder Christofferson and about how the Lord chastens us and the why. So let's see, who wants to read that? Brady? Hollee?
I can. Seems like I'm doing everything on this podcast but go ahead. Alright.
“Sadly, much of modern Christianity does not acknowledge that God makes any real demands on those who believe in Him, seeing Him rather as a butler “who meets their needs when summoned” or a therapist whose role is to help people “feel good about themselves.” It is a religious outlook that “makes no pretense at changing lives.” “By contrast,” as one author declares, “the God portrayed in both the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures asks, not just for commitment, but for our very lives. The God of the Bible traffics in life and death, not niceness, and calls for sacrificial love, not benign whatever-ism” (Elder D. Todd Christofferson, “As Many as I Love, I Rebuke and Chasten,” General Conference, April 201).
Isn't that a great one? The "benign whatever-ism" because I think I'm guilty of this, sometimes I think, "But I'm doing everything right. Why is it so hard? Why is God, can't I just catch a break?" Right? Does that sound familiar that thought process?
Yeah, it does. You know, the Lord does chasten us at times but it turns out to be a great blessing. I mentioned to you my little heart attack that I had.
It wasn't little.
Well, I was very fortunate. I was near death when they were wheeling me into the room to open up my chest, and you know, there was times when I wanted to have what Elder Christofferson is talking about a little pity party. I wanted to have a pity party for Brady that here I was nearly dead going into a open heart surgery and it really rocked my world. If you can understand where I came from and how I lived my life, to all of a sudden, being 56 years old on a gurney, naked, nearly dead, and I realized as they were wheeling me down the hall, I could feel myself my life leaving me and it was the lowest psychological moment of my life.
And I had to struggle with that psychologically and emotionally going into surgery, and the irony is and the point of what I wanted to tell you was, a few months later after I'd recovered and things were going well, I went in and saw my cardiologist and he showed me pictures of my open heart surgery which is something that is fascinating to see. And he said, "Take a look at that major coronary artery going over your heart. It was completely blocked," and he says, "that kills most people. But look right below it." And I looked at it and he says, "You see that big dark lump?" I said, "Yeah, it looks like an aneurysm." He says, "Yes, that is a coronary aneurysm and if you wouldn't have had open heart surgery that would have killed you probably within a few days anyway." He says, "Your heart attack saved your life." So you know, sometimes the Lord does chasten us, but sometimes it's a great blessing. And I sat there for the next hour, staring out the window realizing how much the Lord had blessed me.
And Hollee, I wonder what it was like for you on the other side of this though. Do you feel like this was a difficult time that you were being tried and it was hard for your family? What was that like?
Oh, absolutely. We had two missionaries at the time, and you know, we've had a pretty adventurous life and Brady is kind of a bigger than life character in lots of ways and...
Getting bigger in my waistline, anyway keep going hun.
But you know, you just, he had dodged death and dodged bullets literally so many times and I remember looking at him laying there thinking, "You should have died 1000 times and now this?" And I remember feeling that, I mean that alone and helpless, it was one of the most impactful things that we've ever gone through and yet, just an incredible blessing. We had these two missionaries and within minutes, my daughter in Korea had missionaries all over the world praying for her dad and it just was a remarkable time, but really humbling too because you kind of think you're invincible and to realize you're not, and yet the spiritual experiences that we had from beginning to end, neither of us would trade them.
Irreplaceable, invaluable experiences. There was a price paid for them, but they were worth it.
Oh I like that, "The price paid for them."
And we learned so many lessons, and you know, and I could think of other experiences in life where when Brady's brother was dying, we were with him for a whole month, every single day while he was preparing to meet his maker, and as hard and awful as that was, that was a watershed moment of our life as well. So we go through these hard things that form us to who we are today, and looking back, we wouldn't trade them, doesn't mean they were easy, but you just have to go and find the gift in all of it and it's the only way to get through.
Thank you both of you for sharing that because it's perfectly set up for what's going on with Alma and his people. You know, in Mosiah chapter 23, life is good for Alma and his people. In fact, they're prospering so much. I like this verse in Mosiah chapter 23, verse 19, let's mark this. They're doing so well that they actually end up calling the land they're living in a name. They have now gone there and they're able to live and believe and worship as they want.
Things are good in verse 19, it says, "And it came to pass that they began to prosper exceedingly in the land; and they called the land Helam." Mark that word "Helam." What's so cool about this word is that it's derived from a Hebrew word, that means dream. But that word "dream" is so much bigger. It means "to be healthy, to recuperate, to restore, to revive a place and to prosper." And that's exactly what those people are doing, and Hugh Nibley says that in the teachings of the Book of Mormon, we'll have that in our show notes. This idea that they are living "La Vida Loca," right? Life is so great for these people. Now, turn the page, in Mosiah chapter 23, verse 21 and 22, we're going to read those two verses, and Hollee, will you read 21 and 22?
"Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith."
"Nevertheless—whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the last day. Yea, and thus it was with this people."
Thank you. I want to do a quick scripture chain right here because there are scriptures that we need to read when it comes to the Lord chastening us that I think are so beautifully written. So next to verse 22, and for those of you who are listening who don't know what this is, a scripture change is where we start with a verse of scripture, and then I give you another one and we go there, and then we write one in the side, and we connect them all until we get back to this one in Mosiah and I have four scriptures that I want us to put in here.
So the first one, next to verse 22, let's put Doctrine and Covenants, section 105 verse six, and turn there. Go to Doctrine and Covenants 105 verse six. And I will read that. That took me forever to get to. Okay, here we go, verse six.
"And my people must needs be chastened until they learn obedience, if it must needs be, by the things which they suffer."
Next to verse six, put Ether chapter two, verse 14. And Brady, will you read that for us.
"And it came to pass at the end of four years that the Lord came again unto the brother of Jared, and stood in a cloud and talked with him. And for the space of three hours did the Lord talk with the brother of Jared, and chastened him because he remembered not to call upon the name of the Lord."
I read that and I'm like, "No thanks."
To the side of that verse, put Doctrine and Covenants section 101 verse five, we're going to go back to Section 101. We're gonna read verse five. Hollee, will you read verse five, please?
"For all those who will not endure chastening, but deny me, cannot be sanctified."
Thank you and let's put next to that verse, Revelation chapter three, verse 19. It's the last one and then we'll connect it back to Mosiah. So turn to Revelation, chapter three, verse 19. And I will read that. Verse 19 says, "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent." And to the side of that verse put Mosiah chapter 23 verses 21 through 22. The reason why I wanted us to do this scripture chain is because there's a great quote by Elder Christofferson in the talk, “As Many as I Love, I Rebuke and Chasten,” and he says that divine chastening has three purposes -- "to persuade us to repent, to refine and sanctify us, and at times to redirect our course in life to know that God has a better path for us."
And when we talk about the people of Alma right here, I like the scripture in Revelation that says, "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten." And it seems like the Lord really loves Alma and his people, and I think the reason for him chastening him maybe is to help refine and sanctify them. Remember, they're covenant keepers, they entered into a covenant of baptism, and now they're hoping that the Lord is going to help them. And so one of the things that I like about this story is that they did also get help like the people of Limhi, but it didn't go away immediately, they didn't have the obstacle removed, the storm didn't leave, but the Lord allowed them to get through this trial. I want us to read this quote by Elder Gene R. Cook because I think it perfectly sums up Alma and his people. I think that they were being chastened so that the Lord could prepare them. And Hollee and Brady, you both shared that experience that it prepared you and you wouldn't share any of those trials. Hollee, will you read this quote by Elder Gene R. Cook, please.
Elder Gene R. Cook said, “We must learn to happily submit to the will of the Lord in all things. Sometimes Latter-day Saints think they will escape challenges by being members of the Church. But my experience has been that they have as many, if not more, than most people. Why? Because the Lord loves them.” (Elder Gene R. Cook, “The Grace of the Lord,” December Ensign, 1988)
The Lord loves us. He definitely does, and he loves us as a hen gathereth her chickens. But the key to this quote is the way that Alma and his people responded to their trial and what they went through, and we'll talk about that in the next segment.
Segment 6 56:06
Now, in my experience with the two of you, I would definitely describe you guys as cheerful, funny and real. Those are probably the three words I would use to describe both of you because that's what I love about you.
It's brain damage, Tammy.
It's brain damage on both accounts. No, whatever. Here's what I want to know, how has this helped you deal with all that you've been through? That quality that you have, how has it helped?
Holl, go ahead.
Being real to me, means that I get to open myself up to a village who wants to support and love me. I think that's meant everything to me. I think when we share, mourn with those that mourn, comfort with those that comfort that means that we need to just be who we are. What it does, it blesses our lives and allows people to pray for us and identify with us and it means everything.
How else? I mean, life is hard, and I just it's funny because when I met, you know, I had my list of who the kind of man was that I wanted to marry, and besides all the important things...
It was a shortlist wasn't it?
Besides all the important things of who I wanted to marry, marrying someone to make me laugh was huge. That was like the top of my list, and boy did I get it. Life has not been dull, but I admire Brady because that's the way... he's handled some pretty stressful, tough situations, and in his career, the life expectancy rate of retired drug enforcement agents is very young and they'll die, I think the average is like within five years after retiring, but I think we've been very blessed.
Well, I don't know, I was raised by parents who love to laugh. They were real people, righteous people, but they also love to laugh or joke and my 91 year old mother still does to this day love to poke fun at her kids. I believe that you can be happy at all times. And I've learned that even in some of the most sad and traumatic experiences, you can still have a positive attitude and you can laugh and joke. When I was going into surgeries, I mentioned a few moments ago, my Bishop and the counselor in the Bishopric with me gave me a priesthood blessing. And then I was being wheeled off into a very uncertain future in the next few minutes, within two minutes, they're gonna cut me open. It was a traumatic time, I knew exactly what was ahead of me, and my chances of survival or you know, I knew things were tough. And I still thought it was a good time though to turn to my wife and my Bishop and tell him that all I wanted to do today was get out of counting tithing and as they wheeled me off that was the last stupid joke that I could make with them, but...
His parting words to his wife, we don't know what's coming out on the other side, and that's the last thing he had to say.
You didn't get that beautiful movie moment where he's like, "Thank you for the best..."
No, no. But I believe though that we can be happy at all times. I believe we're capable of doing that. The one thing we have 100% control of is our own attitude, and I believe that if we have joy in our hearts, gratitude for all the Lord has given us, that after we've done all we can, he will, in fact, bestow grace to make up for the rest of it.
You know, Brady, I absolutely agree, and I love what you said right there because it takes me back to the story about Alma. Where here are these people, things were good and the Lord is going to chasten them and sure enough in Mosiah chapter 24, he does. You know, the Lamanites come in, and they take these people of Alma and they take them into bondage, and they make their life so miserable. The words that you use to describe is that they "persecute them," and then they're "wroth with them," they "exercise authority over them." It says, "they put taskmasters over them." And it gets so bad, it even gets to the point where in verse 10 and 11 and 12, they're not even allowed to pray out loud. They're not allowed to pray vocally, and so everything they do has to be in their hearts and life is really hard for Alma and the people.
But the difference here is that these are people who are covenant makers and covenant keepers. And the result of making those covenants, and this is another place where grace comes in. Grace comes in and allows them to not only deal with the burdens that are being placed upon them, but it's how they react to these burdens. And so let's read in Mosiah chapter 24, verse 13 through 15. I think these are great verses. And let's see Hollee we're with you. Will you read those for us?
"And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions."
"And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage."
And now read verse 15, and I want you to highlight the two words that describe how they handled their afflictions.
"And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord."
What words did you mark Hollee?
"Submit cheerfully." And they "exercise patience with the Lord."
You know what's interesting about that word "patience" because it doesn't even say how long they had to wait, but at least long enough to have to put the word "patience" in there. And I mean, you know, for my 11 year old, that's 30 seconds, but it's different for everybody what that looks like. Hollee you were gonna say something.
I was just gonna say that you were asking about, I mean, our whole life is a choice, and I, I think we can either choose to handle things cheerfully or we can complain.
Well, let me ask you this question both of you. How do you think that your covenants have helped you be cheerful and patient? Or have your covenants played a role in that?
Oh, absolutely, and I can illustrate it. I grew up in a mortuary family. And the saddest thing I've ever seen is people who were saying goodbye to their loved ones with the belief that they are never going to see them again. I am so grateful for the covenants, particularly the temple covenants, the sealing power, I am so grateful that we are sealed together for all eternity in the patriarchal order as a family.
I've never been more grateful for my covenants and for the knowledge and testimony that we have until we've been going through this pandemic, it's such a huge blessing. We don't need to be afraid, and I just keep thinking, "I cannot imagine not having the knowledge that we have, not having made the covenants that we've made." It is sustaining us through this. We have technology, we have food, we have our homes, we have... I mean things could be so much worse, and I just find myself always being trying to be cheerful because I feel so grateful. Gratitude makes me cheerful.
Yeah. Well, and what would you say to people who don't have those luxuries and are covenant keepers?
You said that "don't have that luxury?" Oh.
Yeah. Like some people don't have jobs right now during this time and they're covenant keepers and they're struggling, like how do we reconcile that then, with this idea of covenant keeping, chastening, and cheerfulness. The three C's, there you go.
Well, I believe most assuredly the Lord loves all of his children. The whole discussion we've had today about grace, the Lord wants us to succeed. He's laid out this plan so that we can succeed. He's also laid out a plan that's going to try us, chasten us, and give us difficulties in our lives. We know that. We've learned in our lesson today about the importance of being patient and submitting willingly to the will of the Father. And so all of us in our life and in the future will have difficulties and those that are going through them now, the best thing that I can assure them of with a positive knowledge that the Lord is mindful of all of his children and that he loves us, is that he will be with us, he will comfort us, and he will get us through the difficult times, and that's a firm belief of mine.
Thank you for sharing that. And you know, Brady, I love that you said all of that, it's beautiful. And it goes back to this story of Alma where the Lord allowed them to bear their burdens with ease. He didn't take the burden away, but he helped them to bear it. And so this idea that grace comes in that form too, this emotional support, the ability to help us get through whatever trial we're going through. He might not make it perfect, but as we're prospering by degrees as we're going through this, the Lord is going to make it right. That's what grace does. He makes everything right. And he makes it while we're doing. Not as the end all, be all, you know, it's like right in the middle of it.
I love this quote by Elder Orson F. Whitney, and I just think this is the perfect place and the perfect lesson to read this. So I want to share this with you, and then get your thoughts. He says, “No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God … and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven” (Orson F. Whitney (1855-1931) as quoted in Spencer W. Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle , 98).
Oh it gives me chills. I love that quote.
I love that quote too. And it's made me think about grace as far as my covenants, whenever I feel anxious, I remember when they were closing the temple because of COVID I was so upset because the temple is where we go for comfort and guidance and service and I remember thinking, "Okay, I can't go to the temple. I can't be in the temple, but the temple can be in me," and so many times when I have had anxiety or anxious about something, I've learned to go through the things that I say in the temple in my head. And of course, I can't repeat them out loud, but I cannot believe the grace that the Lord gives when we return to those covenants, and I go through those things in my mind, and it brings such peace and comfort, and it's just been a way that I've been able to deal with some of the stresses in my life.
Right at the time, right around the time Brady was having his heart attack, we had a lot of other stressful things going on in our lives, and I remember being in the temple and I just wanted to have a moment, I just needed to know the Lord loved me in one moment, and I wasn't even sure what that meant, but I just found myself praying that I could feel him some way. And I went through the entire session and at the end, I was sitting there, and I was just watching people and I was thinking, "I haven't had my moment, I haven't felt what I needed to come here and feel." And all of a sudden, two little words came into my mind in my heart, and it said, they said, "Trust me."
And I was wanting some big revelation and "trust me," and that sustained me through all these hard things, and so I think as far as, you know, being able to handle things mentally and emotionally, it's just once again turning to the Lord, and that those two words have been a mantra of mine ever since. "Trust me," I always say that, and I know that the Lord means that. It's just been a huge comfort in my life.
That is powerful, Hollee. Thank you for sharing that. That "trust me." Perfect. Wow. I mean, today's discussion has been so great. I am so thankful that both of you joined me as we talked about grace. See what I'm saying? Your lives are perfect examples of grace on so many levels. So one of the things that I do at the end of every episode is I just ask my guests to tell me what was your takeaway from today? What's something that stood out to you that you didn't know before or something that you re-realized or anything like that. So I want you to give us what your takeaway was.
My greatest takeaway from our discussion today is the incomprehensible amount of love that our Father in Heaven has for his children, and how he will manifest that through mercy and grace in our lives, and eventually in our eternal lives, and I'm so greatly indebted to him for that.
My greatest takeaway is to truly realize that grace comes in every way, every form, every day, and to reflect on my life, thank you for that opportunity to really truly realize how much grace the Lord has bestowed upon me and my family. It's very humbling.
Thank you. My takeaway was the learning that "it's not after all we can do, it's as we do all we can do," and how, just in the middle of doing that the Lord gives us that grace, and it looks different for everybody, but it's always there and that it's sufficient. There's enough for everyone and I was thankful to be reminded of that word, the word "sufficient." His grace is sufficient for everyone. So that's my takeaway.
Also, I just had a thought. If you want to learn more about grace, I totally recommend the book, "Grace Where You Are." It's by my good friend, Emily Belle Freeman, and it's written really well. My favorite thing about her book is she tells incredible stories about people receiving grace. It's a great book. I would recommend you go and read that if you want to study more on the topic of grace. Well, thank you. Brady, Hollee, I love you guys.
We love you Tammy.
It's our pleasure.
Oh, this is so great.
For those of you listening, I would love to hear what your big takeaway was from this episode. If you have haven't already joined our discussion group on Facebook, and if you're not following us on Instagram, you should because it's a great place to ask questions as you study throughout the week, and I try to answer anything that I can during the week. And every week at the end, usually on Sundays, we post a call for your big takeaways. And the question will say, "What was your takeaway this week?" Comment on the posts that relates to this lesson. I want to know what you've learned. I read every single one of your comments and I love responding to them. I just think it's important for us to share what we are learning from the scriptures.
You can get to both 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 all the references and the transcript of this entire discussion, so you should check it out. The Sunday on Monday study group is a Deseret Bookshelf PLUS+ original brought to you by LDSLiving. It's written and hosted by me, Tammy Uzelac Hall, and today our awesome study group participants were Hollee and Brady McKay, and you can find out more information about these two at LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday. Our podcast is produced by KaRyn Lay with postproduction and editing by Erika Free. It is recorded and mixed by Mix at Six Studios and our Executive Producer is Erin Hallstrom. Thanks so much for being here this week and we will see you next week, and please remember that you are God's favorite.