34: "Remember the Lord" (August 24–30)
How would you react if you came home from a long trip only to find your once-clean home messy? Like everything-is-sticky-and-all-over-the-place messy. That’s kind of what happened to Nephi when he returned from preaching in a different land. But instead of coming back to a dirty home, Nephi came back to find the Nephites had turned to chaos and wickedness. In this week’s study group, we’ll dig into to Helaman 7–12 to find how Nephi reacted to the wickedness of the Nephites and how his actions proved he was a prophet of the Lord.
Books Referenced in this Episode:
President Russell M. Nelson's apostolic blessing:
"I bless you with peace and increasing faith in the Lord.
"I bless you with a desire to repent and become a little more like Him each day.
"I bless you to know that the Prophet Joseph Smith is the prophet of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in its fulness.
"Should there be illness among you or your loved ones, I leave a blessing of healing, consistent with the will of the Lord" (President Russell M. Nelson, "Go Forward in Faith," April 2020 general conference).
Who is the author of all sin?
"21 But behold, Satan did stir up the ahearts of the more part of the Nephites, insomuch that they did unite with those bands of robbers, and did enter into their covenants and their oaths, that they would protect and preserve one another in whatsoever difficult circumstances they should be placed, that they should not suffer for their murders, and their plunderings, and their bstealings" (Helaman 6:21).
"30 And behold, it is he who is the aauthor of all sin. And behold, he doth carry on his works of darkness and secret murder, and doth hand down their plots, and their oaths, and their covenants, and their plans of awful wickedness, from generation to generation according as he can get hold upon the hearts of the children of men" (Helaman 6:30).
Quote: "The Devil is not smart because he is the devil; he is smart because he is old” (LeRoy Hatch, Guatemala City Temple president, as quoted by Elder Faust, “Satan the Great Imitator," October 1987 general conference).
What are the results of Satan's influence?
"31 And now behold, he had got great hold upon the hearts of the Nephites; yea, insomuch that they had become exceedingly wicked; yea, the more part of them had turned out of the away of righteousness, and did btrample under their feet the commandments of God, and did turn unto their own ways, and did build up unto themselves cidols of their gold and their silver" (Helaman 6:31).
According to the verses above, what part of the body does Satan attack first?
"15 And because of my amourning and lamentation ye have gathered yourselves together, and do marvel; yea, and ye have great need to marvel; yea, ye ought to marvel because ye are given away that the devil has got so great hold upon your hearts" (Helaman 7:21).
What did Nephi find when he returned to Zarahelma?
"4 And seeing the people in a state of such awful wickedness, and those Gadianton robbers filling the judgment-seats—having ausurped the power and authority of the land; laying aside the commandments of God, and not in the least aright before him; doing no justice unto the children of men;
"5 Condemning the righteous because of their righteousness; letting the guilty and the wicked go aunpunished because of their bmoney; and moreover to be held in office at the head of government, to rule and do according to their wills, that they might get gain and glory of the cworld, and, moreover, that they might the more easily commit adultery, and steal, and kill, and do according to their own wills—" (Helaman 7:4–5).
What was Nephi's reaction?
"6 Now this great iniquity had come upon the Nephites, in the space of anot many years; and when Nephi saw it, his heart was swollen with sorrow within his breast; and he did exclaim in the agony of his soul:" (Helaman 7:6).
How did Nephi feel about the time he lived in?
"7 Oh, that I could have had my days in the days when my father Nephi first came out of the land of Jerusalem, that I could have ajoyed with him in the promised land; then were his people easy to be entreated, bfirm to keep the commandments of God, and slow to be led to do iniquity; and they were quick to hearken unto the words of the Lord—
"8 Yea, if my days could have been in those days, then would my soul have had joy in the righteousness of my brethren.
What has President Russell M. Nelson said about our days?
Quote: "Just think of the excitement and urgency of it all: every prophet commencing with Adam has seen our day. And every prophet has talked about our day, when Israel would be gathered and the world would be prepared for the Second Coming of the Savior. Think of it! Of all the people who have ever lived on planet earth, we are the ones who get to participate in this final, great gathering event. How exciting is that!
"Our Heavenly Father has reserved many of His most noble spirits—perhaps, I might say, His finest team—for this final phase. Those noble spirits—those finest players, those heroes—are you! (President Russell M. Nelson and Sister Wendy W. Nelson, "Hope of Israel," June 3, 2018 Worldwide Youth Devotional, June 3, 2018, Conference Center, Salt Lake City, Utah)
Sister Wendy W. Nelson's five things we came to earth to do:
1. Receive a mortal body
2. Be tested
3. Choose to follow Jesus Christ and stand up for Him
4. Repent daily and partake of the sacrament weekly
5. Find and fulfill mortal missions
(Sister Wendy W. Nelson, "Hope of Israel," June 3, 2018 Worldwide Youth Devotional, June 3, 2018, Conference Center, Salt Lake City, Utah).
What was the one thing from Sister Nelson's list the Nephites need to do?
"22 And for this cause awo shall come unto you except ye shall repent. For if ye will not repent, behold, this bgreat city, and also all those great cities which are round about, which are in the land of our possession, shall be taken away that ye shall have no place in them; for behold, the Lord will not grant unto you cstrength, as he has hitherto done, to withstand against your enemies" (Helaman 7:22).
What blessings come from daily repentance?
Quote: “Too many people consider repentance as punishment—something to be avoided except in the most serious circumstances. But this feeling of being penalized is engendered by Satan. He tries to block us from looking to Jesus Christ, who stands with open arms, hoping and willing to heal, forgive, cleanse, strengthen, purify, and sanctify us.
"Whether you are diligently moving along the covenant path, have slipped or stepped from the covenant path, or can’t even see the path from where you are now, I plead with you to repent. Experience the strengthening power of daily repentance—of doing and being a little better each day” (President Russell M. Nelson, "We Can Do Better and Be Better," April 2019 general conference).
Challenge: Repent every day for seven days and see what area of your life the Lord has strengthened.
Did any of the Nephites believe Nephi was a prophet?
"7 And it came to pass that thus they did astir up the people to anger against Nephi, and raised contentions among them; for there were some who did cry out: bLet this man alone, for he is a good man, and those things which he saith will surely come to pass except we repent; (Helaman 8:7).
"12 And now behold, if God gave unto this man such power, then why should ye dispute among yourselves, and say that he hath given unto me no power whereby I may aknow concerning the judgments that shall come upon you except ye repent?" (Helaman 8:12).
What are the characteristics of a prophet?
What happened during the two-day investigation of the chief judge's murder?
- Nephi prophecies of the chief judge's murder (Helaman 8:27).
- Five men are sent to investigate (Helaman 9:1-2).
- These five men faint when they see the chief judge is dead (Helaman 9:3-5).
- The five messengers are wrongfully imprisoned (Helaman 9:8).
- The chief judge is buried (Helaman 9:10).
- The five messengers are questioned (Helaman 9:12–15).
- Nephi is accused of killing the chief judge (Helaman 9:16).
- Nephi shares that is was Seantum who killed the chief judge (Helaman 9:26)
- Seantum is interrogated and confesses to the murder just as Nephi prophesied (Helaman 9:26–27).
What happened to the five messengers?
"39 And there were some of the Nephites who believed on the words of Nephi; and there were some also, who believed because of the testimony of the five, for they had been converted while they were in prison" (Helaman 9:39).
How did the Nephites react to Nephi's prophecies?
"40 And now there were some among the people, who said that Nephi was a prophet.
"41 And there were others who said: Behold, he is a god, for except he was a god he could not aknow of all things. For behold, he has told us the thoughts of our hearts, and also has told us things; and even he has brought unto our knowledge the true murderer of our chief judge" (Helaman 9:40–41).
What was Nephi doing after the investigation?
"3 And it came to pass as he was thus pondering—being much cast down because of the wickedness of the people of the Nephites, their secret works of darkness, and their murderings, and their plunderings, and all manner of iniquities—and it came to pass as he was thus pondering in his heart, behold, a avoice came unto him saying:" (Helaman 10:2–3).
Why is it important to ponder?
Quote: “Pondering, for most of us, is not something we do easily. It is much more than drifting or daydreaming, for it focuses and stirs us, not lulls us. We must set aside time, circumstances, and attitude in order to achieve it. In Alma’s words, we must ‘give place’ (Alma 32:27). The length of time involved in pondering is not as important as the intensity given to it. Reflection cannot be achieved in the midst of distraction” (Elder Neal A. Maxwell, That Ye May Believe , 183).
What happened while Nephi was pondering?
"4 aBlessed art thou, Nephi, for those things which thou hast done; for I have beheld how thou hast with bunwearyingness declared the word, which I have given unto thee, unto this people. And thou hast not feared them, and hast not sought thine cown life, but hast sought my dwill, and to keep my commandments.
"5 And now, because thou hast done this with such unwearyingness, behold, I will bless thee forever; and I will make thee mighty in word and in deed, in faith and in works; yea, even that aall things shall be bdone unto thee according to thy cword, for thou shalt dnot ask that which is contrary to my will.
"6 Behold, thou art Nephi, and I am God. Behold, I declare it unto thee in the presence of mine angels, that ye shall have power over this people, and shall smite the earth with afamine, and with pestilence, and destruction, according to the wickedness of this people.
"7 Behold, I give unto you apower, that whatsoever ye shall bseal on earth shall be sealed in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven; and thus shall ye have power among this people" (Helaman 10:4–7).
What did Joseph Smith say about the sealing key?
“9 It may seem to some to be a very bold doctrine that we talk of—a power which records or binds on earth and binds in heaven. Nevertheless, in all ages of the world, whenever the Lord has given a dispensation of the priesthood to any man by actual revelation, or any set of men, this power has always been given. Hence, whatsoever those men did in authority, in the name of the Lord, and did it truly and faithfully, and kept a proper and faithful record of the same, it became a law on earth and in heaven, and could not be annulled, according to the decrees of the great Jehovah. This is a faithful saying. Who can hear it?" (Doctrine and Covenants 128:9).
More about the sealing key:
- The coming of Elijah was so important that the ancient prophet Malachi had prophesied of it centuries earlier, and the Savior had repeated the prophecy to the Nephites (see Malachi 4:5–6; 3 Nephi 25:5–6; 26:1–2) and to Peter: Matthew 16:18, 19: "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" (Doctrine and Covenants 128:8–11; a letter from Joseph Smith to the Saints, Sept. 6, 1842, Nauvoo, Illinois).
- Elijah came to give the keys of sealing to Joseph and Oliver.
- Why Elijah? “Because he holds the keys of the authority to administer in all the ordinances of the Priesthood; and [unless] the authority is given, the ordinances could not be administered in righteousness.” (History of the Church, 4:211; from a discourse prepared by Joseph Smith and read at a Church conference held on Oct. 5, 1840, in Nauvoo, Illinois.)
- This is the power to bind and validate in the heavens all ordinances performed on the earth.
- The restoration of the sealing power was necessary to prepare the world for the Savior’s Second Coming, because without it, “the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming” (Joseph Smith—History 1:39).
“In the days of Noah, God destroyed the world by a flood, and He has promised to destroy it by fire in the last days: but before it should take place, Elijah should first come and turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, etc.
“Now comes the point. What is this office and work of Elijah? It is one of the greatest and most important subjects that God has revealed. He should send Elijah to seal the children to the fathers, and the fathers to the children” (History of the Church, 6:251–53; spelling modernized; from a discourse given by Joseph Smith on Mar. 10, 1844, in Nauvoo, Illinois; reported by Wilford Woodruff).
What is Mormon trying to teach us in Helaman 12:1–3?
"1 And thus we can behold how false, and also the unsteadiness of the hearts of the children of men; yea, we can see that the Lord in his great infinite goodness doth bless and aprosper those who put their btrust in him.
"2 Yea, and we may see at the very atime when he doth bprosper his people, yea, in the increase of their fields, their flocks and their herds, and in gold, and in silver, and in all manner of cprecious things of every kind and art; sparing their lives, and delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; softening the hearts of their enemies that they should not declare wars against them; yea, and in fine, doing all things for the welfare and happiness of his people; yea, then is the time that they do dharden their hearts, and do eforget the Lord their God, and do ftrample under their feet the Holy One—yea, and this because of their ease, and their exceedingly great prosperity.
"3 And thus we see that except the Lord doth achasten his people with many afflictions, yea, except he doth visit them with bdeath and with terror, and with famine and with all manner of pestilence, they will not cremember him" (Helaman 12:1–3).
Definition of Chasten: Correction or discipline given to individuals or groups in order to help them improve or become stronger (ChurchofJesusChrist.org) .
Quote: “Afflictions can soften us and sweeten us, and can be a chastening influence. (Alma 62:41.) We often think of chastening as something being done to punish us, such as by a mortal tutor who is angry and peevish with us. Divine chastening, however, is a form of learning as it is administered at the hands of a loving Father. (Helaman 12:3.)” (Elder Neal A. Maxwell, All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience , 39).
Why did the Lord chasten the Nephites?
"3 Yea, wo unto this apeople who are called the bpeople of Nephi except they shall repent, when they shall see all these signs and wonders which shall be showed unto them; for behold, they have been a chosen people of the Lord; yea, the people of Nephi hath he loved, and also hath he cchastened them; yea, in the days of their iniquities hath he chastened them because he loveth them" (Helaman 15:3).
Quote: “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,'" April 2011 general conference).
What happens when we repent?
Segment 1 0:00
Alright you guys, now listen. Every week I get to write a cute little hook, something at the beginning that's going to get us engaged so that we want to hear more, right? Well, this week was tough. Like nothing was coming to me and so I was sitting and I was trying to think, "What could I write? What could I write?" And then this thought popped into my head, "Read President Nelson's last talk." And it probably wasn't just a random thought, I'm pretty sure it was the spirit, so I did. I went and found President Nelson's last talk that he gave in our last General Conference and it's called "Go forward with Faith." And can I just say, as I read it, I truly got weepy. I didn't even fully understand the power behind his words when he spoke and gave us that apostolic blessing because everything was so new. Like, "This pandemic's not really going to last, it's going to end next week." Well, it hasn't. And when I read his apostolic blessing, I got weepy because everything he said is what I need right now. Let me read you just this small portion of his blessing.
"I bless you with peace and increasing faith in the Lord. I bless you with a desire to repent and become a little more like Him each day. I bless you to know that the Prophet Joseph Smith is the prophet of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in its fulness. Should there be illness among you or your loved ones, I leave a blessing of healing, consistent with the will of the Lord" (President Russell M. Nelson, "Go Forward in Faith," April 2020 general conference).
After I read that, I immediately knew. I'm like, "He is the Nephi we are going to be talking about today." And so, I just want you to consider that as we study Helaman chapter seven through 12, just how important it is to have a living Prophet and the power that is behind every one of his words.
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 lessons and we really dig into the scriptures together. I'm your host, Tammy Uzelac Hall. Now, if you're new to our study group, I just want to make sure real quick that you know how to use this podcast. So maybe you like to study all at once with your family and listen to the podcast in one hour. You can do that, or maybe you like to listen to the study group in segments. There's one segment per day as you study, and each segment lasts about 10 to 12 minutes, but either way, you'll hear a little bit of music like the one at the end of those storybooks when we were kids, then the segment is finished. So listen to that music and then you'll know that's the end.
Now, I have to tell you though, my absolute favorite thing about this podcast is in this study group each week we're joined by two of my friends. And so I'm so excited to introduce you to these two friends. We have Tyler Collet. He's old, we've had him before, he's an original. But my other favorite thing is we have Stephanie Zundel-Smith. Hi, Steph.
And Stephanie, you are from Florida.
Yes, I live in Orlando.
But the cool thing about our connection is so Tyler's my brother in law married to my sister Cara Lee and Stephanie Zundel-Smith is my youngest sister Christy's very best friend. So we're kind of practically family the three of us.
And a good story Steph.
So when I became friends with Christy, Cara and Tyler we're just beginning to date and then you and Jim are also beginning to date. So I remember she was always like, "All this exciting stuff is happening with my family. It's so awesome." And so anyway, Christy and I have had lots of fun times so it's been fun that you know, I got to see you guys get into your relationships and marriages and see your families grow. So... and now my family's growing as well so...
Yeah, you were very single at the time and then you married a lovely man. You're a stepmom, which I, you know, my heart goes out to you, you and me, we're in the stepmom group kind of.
And Tyler's a stepdad...
Oh hello. Duh.
Yes, Cara's a step mom too.
Step families unite!
Totally true. We're all in the trenches. Okay, that's awesome. All right, well, if you want to know more about my friends, you can read their bios and see pictures of them and their cute families in our show notes at LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday, so I highly recommend you go and check those out because it's fun. Now, I loved studying Helaman chapter seven through 12. Not only are the stories good because they really are good and you know me, I love a good story, but what was so cool about this week is that the doctrinal principles found in these chapters are truly life changing. So friends, grab your scriptures, and let's just dig in. So Tyler and Stephanie, I have a question. Do you guys enjoy reading?
No, I'm not much of a reader. If I'm being honest.
I was gonna say I used to before I had little kids, but yes, in general, yes.
Do you have a favorite author?
My favorite book of all time is "East of Eden." So I don't know that I love all of Steinbeck, but "East of Eden" is my jam.
I knew it was Steinbeck too. That's pretty cool because I don't like to read, but I did know, I'm like, "Oh, that's Steinbeck." I should have brought it up first so I could sound smart. Okay, "East of Eden." Tyler, do you have a favorite book or a favorite author if you did read?
You know, actually, my favorite author would be Edgar Allan Poe.
Oh I can see that. You do have a dark side.
It's cryptic. I love it.
Oh, awesome. Okay. So if you guys think about the books you like to read, and the authors of those books, and you know, it's cryptic, that's so cool that you have these answers because the Book of Helaman is going to teach us about another author. Turn to Helaman chapter six, verse 21. Now I know this was from last week, but we have to go over this real quick in order to fully appreciate where we're going today. So turn to Helaman chapter six, verse 21. And in verse 21, it introduces us to Satan, and it says, "Satan did stir up the hearts of the people." And so from verses 21 all the way until you get to verse 31, it's all about Satan, and all of his tactics and all of his tricks. But let's look specifically at verse 30. So Helaman chapter six, verse 30, and Tyler, will you read the very first sentence of that verse.
"And behold, it is he who is the author of all sin."
Yeah, who's the author in that verse?
And he's the author of all sin. Okay, I just have to say this. I'm pretty sure his Dewey Decimal System number is 666. I've been waiting to say that all week, okay, honestly.
It is clever. I did think that I'm like, "I bet his Dewey Decimal number is 666." Okay, anyway, so he is the author of all sin. Now, I want you to mark that in your scriptures. Not some sin, not a little bit, but to be the author of all sin, he really knows what he's doing. I mean, he knows how to write about sin. I really like this quote. It's, "The devil is not smart because he is the devil, he's smart because he is old." That quote is by Leroy Hatch, and he was the temple president of the Guatemala City temple. In 1987, he said that quote, so I thought that was pretty good. So of course, he's the author. He's the authority on all of this sin. Now, I said earlier, that Helaman chapter six, verse 21 through 31, is everything about Satan. And so I would recommend reading that and highlighting it because what it teaches us is that he has all the experience he needs to write a compelling book on badness. Now, go to verses 31 through 35. These verses give us a description of some of his badness, and Steph, will you read verse 31.
"And now behold, he had got great hold upon the hearts of the Nephites; yea, insomuch that they had become exceedingly wicked; yea, the more part of them had turned out of the away of righteousness, and did trample under their feet the commandments of God, and did turn unto their own ways, and did build up unto themselves idols of their gold and their silver."
So Tyler, I thought of you with this verse because you're a cop, and you have been in the police force for a very long time. And so I wondered, is this real? Have you seen this firsthand with your job where Satan attacks the heart? Or what that looks like?
I have, you know, and I've seen it both ways. So I've seen the good kind of steered towards the bad, but I've also seen the bad that have been able to repent, have a change of heart, and they've come back towards doing good, so I've seen both sides of it.
I like how you said both sides, how you can also see the bad turn to good. Especially because a lot of people are cynical and think that that's not a possibility.
We see it a lot, you know, you come across a person that's tweaked out their whole life, and something changes in their life, and they have a job, they have a career, they've just started a family, and you can tell by their countenance that something has changed. So it is definitely possible.
Well and it's interesting because I'm thinking right now of all of the things that happened to us growing up that have effects on our hearts, that then Satan plays into how we were treated and how our parts are broken, and then we turn to things and Satan's like, "Oh, I can get you with this." When Heavenly Father's like, "But I'm over here with this." So...
He's more enticing, always.
Yeah, yeah, for sure. Well when we talked about last week, how Satan he just attacks the heart. It is all about the heart for him. Let's turn to Helaman chapter seven because what I want us to look at is Nephi's heart. It's interesting because Nephi now is returning from his mission. He's returning from that really cool experience that he had in the prison. And as he's coming back, he is seeing that the people have turned to just total wickedness. Gadianton and his robbers have now taken over the judgment seat, they're ruling and reigning, and in Helaman chapter seven verse four and five is where we read about how they have a usurped authority. And they're now governing the land. Verse five is terrifying to me because it kind of made me feel like the world we live in right now. Tyler, read verse five for us.
"Condemning the righteous because of their righteousness; letting the guilty and the wicked go unpunished because of their money; and moreover to be held in office at the head of government, to rule and do according to their wills, that they might get gain and glory of the world, and, moreover, that they might the more easily commit adultery, and steal, and kill, and do according to their own wills—"
Ah, now that makes me feel bleh, but look how it's making Nephi feel. Look at verse six. Tyler, keep reading and read verse six.
"Now this great iniquity had come upon the Nephites, in the space of anot many years; and when Nephi saw it, his heart was swollen with sorrow within his breast; and he did exclaim in the gony of his soul:"
Pause there, we'll go into what he exclaims in a minute, but highlight in verse six, "his heart was swollen with sorrow within his breast." If one of your kids asked you what that means, can you describe that? What does it mean to have your heart swollen with sorrow?
I'd just tell them he had so much hope and anticipation for this, and then this is not happening. So it's just a sincere, broken heart.
Well, I was thinking, you know, he'd been away and I think you know, you always have these like dreams of what home is like, and so then he finally like gets back home and then it's horrible.
Both of those are great definitions. I like the way you described that. So Nephi is so sad that he goes to the Lord. And so in the next segment, we're going to read about his prayer and what he wishes for in light of the wickedness of his people.
Segment 2 11:09
All right, if you guys could live during any other period of time, when would it be? I always wanted to live in the days when they had poodle skirts. Oh, I wanted that so bad as a kid. I'd love to wear a big fluffy skirt with a dog on it.
I mean, I could probably tell you all the times I don't want to live, but I feel like I'm pretty grateful that I live now.
All right, that's good. That's a good answer.
I kind of feel times could be a little simpler if I were born in the cowboy era, because you know me and horse riding.
Sure. Sure you broke your wrist last week... fell off a horse doing that. Sure. You're a regular... what is it – Lone Ranger, Tyler.
So yeah, a simpler time. I think people think that, "Could we go back to when it was a simpler time?"
I mean, sure. I mean, in these verses, I kept laughing when I was reading it. I was actually talking to someone about this today. That he's like, "Oh, I wish I lived in the time of Nephi and Lehi, and oh, he had such an easy time." And I thought, "Did you read the same account that I did?"
Oh, Steph, I love you. Okay, read it right now for us because I thought the same thing. Read those verses. So this is... Nephi's so sad and he comes and he starts to pray. Look at the prayer. So Steph, read verses 7,8,9. Yeah, actually, just verse seven.
I'll be a little bit dramatic.
Be a little bit dramatic. Please do.
"Oh, that I could have had my days in the days when my father Nephi first came out of the land of Jerusalem, that I could have joyed with him in the promised land; then were his people easy to be entreated, firm to keep the commandments of God, and slow to be led to do iniquity; and they were quick to hearken unto the words of the Lord—"
"Yea, if my days could have been in those days, then would my soul have had joy in the righteousness of my brethren."
"But behold, I am consigned that these are my days, and that my soul shall be filled with sorrow because of this the wickedness of my brethren."
And I was like, I think he forgot about Laman and Lemuel, and the Sons of Ishmael, your wife is having a baby in the wilderness like, need I go on? All the things. Horrible...
Those were tough days. Right? Right. This is perfect because when I was teaching seminary, Elder Rasband came and spoke to all of the seminary Institute teachers and he cited this verse. And he says, "How many times do we do this as a people? We're like, 'Oh, if I could have only lived... it was such an easier time then,'" and he says, "It's kind of a revisionist history that Nephi's having here about, you know, his ancestors." And so I love that Elder Rasband then said to us, "Look, here's the deal. These are my days now. Like we have to start saying 'these are my days' and so what are we going to do about it?" There's a really cool quote by President Nelson about these days. So we have to read this quote, and Steph, will you read that for us.
"Just think of the excitement and urgency of it all: every prophet commencing with Adam has seen our day. And every prophet has talked about our day, when Israel would be gathered and the world would be prepared for the Second Coming of the Savior. Think of it! Of all the people who have ever lived on planet earth, we are the ones who get to participate in this final, great gathering event. How exciting is that! "Our Heavenly Father has reserved many of His most noble spirits—perhaps, I might say, His finest team—for this final phase. Those noble spirits—those finest players, those heroes—are you! (President Russell M. Nelson and Sister Wendy W. Nelson, "Hope of Israel," June 3, 2018 Worldwide Youth Devotional, June 3, 2018, Conference Center, Salt Lake City, Utah)
Yeah, I love that quote.
You know, it's an interesting perspective because it is all perspective, right? Because some people may not think that today's times are very exciting. People may think, "There's so much anger, so much hate, so much turmoil, so much contention in the world today." But you know, it's all perspective, really, because this is a great time to be alive, honestly, it really is because so many things are happening for the Second Coming. And if you look at it in that, that light rather than, you know, "Hospital bills are coming in from my sick kid," or, "Ah people, I don't even know want to hurt or kill me just because of what I do for a living." You know, if you think about that, that will get you down, but if you think, "Oh, you know, look at how many temples we have. Look at the temple work that's going on. Look at, you know, we're near the end of the times." I mean, for me, it's perspective. And in that perspective, it is exciting.
Wow. Thank you for sharing that, Tyler. Just in case anyone didn't pick up on that, I'm going to tell you, when he says, "All these hospital bills," he's had four family members visit a hospital in the last three months, including himself, with huge bills. So for you to say "it's perspective," that's powerful. We do live in a good time. Thank you for sharing that. Steph, do you have anything you want to say?
I mean, not necessarily. I mean, I agree that, you know, I think that we are living in an exciting time despite hard things. It is exciting, you know, that we're being challenged with things, all of us are being challenged with things we never thought we'd have to face. Like all of 2020 has kept all of us kind of looking at our own lives and readjusting things in good ways. I mean, there have been bad things, but as we will learn later on, you know, like, we have to remember God and so hard things have to happen. And it's sad when it happens to us, and I feel like collectively it's happened to all of us this year. And so maybe we can be united in that front too, you know.
Yeah. Oh, I like that. Thank you. That united part. Okay, so do this for me. Grab a piece of paper and I want you guys to number one through five. The reason why I'm having you number is because when President Nelson said this about our days, in the same meeting Sister Nelson also spoke to us. Sister Nelson suggested that there are five things in our premortal to do list that we brought with us when we came here at this specific time. And so I want to assess how we're doing. I want you to put a checkmark if you have successfully completed these or if you're in the middle of it, whatever it looks like for you. Alright, here we go. Top five things that Sister Nelson said we probably brought down on our to do list when we came from our premortal life.
Number one: get a body.
How did you do on that one?
Okay, number two, she said, "Be tested."
Ooh, definitely check.
Check, check, check. 15 checks next to number two.
Number three: "Choose to follow Jesus Christ and stand up for him just as you did in the premortal life."
Number four: "Choose to repent daily and partake of the sacrament weekly. As you do, you'll be spiritually healed, strengthened, and magnified, and ultimately sanctified and exalted through the Atonement of Jesus Christ."
And number five: "Find and fulfill your mortal missions."
All right, how'd you guys do?
Well, anyone that knows me, knows that number four — repent daily, is I've got several checkmarks on that one. Number five, I can't say I've got number five checked yet.
Interesting. You're still figuring out your mortal mission?
I think so. Is that bad? That's not bad, is it?
No, I don't think it's bad. I think everyone, I think all of us are still on number five.
Hope so. I hope I'm not the only one.
I don't think you are. You know, it's interesting because in these five things, here's what I liked about it. So Nephi, after he finishes his prayer, he starts to preach to the people and the people are like, "Wow, what..." because they could hear him praying, and they wanted to know what's going on. And he preaches to the people Sister Nelson's "number four." That is the message of Helaman chapter seven is number four. And let's turn there and go to Helaman chapter seven, verse 22 because in this verse, Nephi is saying to the people, "Listen, here's the problem. And you guys know this because we've been talking about it, you've had it taught to you, but you're going to be destroyed. And you're not going to have the strength of the Lord to defeat your enemy unless you do this one thing." So Tyler, will you read verse 22 for us please because this is the one thing they have to do. And I want you to mark it in your scriptures when we read it.
"And for this cause wo shall come unto you except ye shall repent. For if ye will not repent, behold, this great city, and also all those great cities which are round about, which are in the land of our possession, shall be taken away that ye shall have no place in them; for behold, the Lord will not grant unto you strength, as he has hitherto done, to withstand against your enemies."
What's the only thing they have to do to be given strength?
Yeah, repent. Repent, repent, repent. And I like how Sister Nelson said in her number four. She said, "When you repent, you're given strength. You're given the ability to do things," and President Nelson echoed these same words in a 2019 General Conference talk. I want to read this quote. I really liked what he had to say about being strengthened because of repenting. And Tyler, will you read this quote please.
“Too many people consider repentance as punishment—something to be avoided except in the most serious circumstances. But this feeling of being penalized is engendered by Satan. He tries to block us from looking to Jesus Christ, who stands with open arms, hoping and willing to heal, forgive, cleanse, strengthen, purify, and sanctify us. "Whether you are diligently moving along the covenant path, have slipped or stepped from the covenant path, or can’t even see the path from where you are now, I plead with you to repent. Experience the strengthening power of daily repentance—of doing and being a little better each day” (President Russell M. Nelson, "We Can Do Better and Be Better," April 2019 general conference).
Thank you. I want to know, have either of you had that experience? Have you felt strengthened because of repenting?
It's like a huge weight off of your shoulders. It feels like, "Oh man. I don't have to think about this. It's not on my mind consistently, you know, you feel like you can just move forward."
I like that.
I don't really have anything to share.
All right, we know who the bad guy is.
No, I don't mean it like that. What I mean is that I feel like I am bad at reflecting at the end of the day because I'm just so exhausted. I feel like that is a challenge of life is making time to sit and reassess my day, figure out what's going on, what I need to fix because sometimes it's just like, "I've got to get the kids into bed so that I can go to bed and we can do this all again tomorrow." But...
You know Steph, I love that you shared that because this was interesting. As I was preparing this lesson, I wrote, "Let's begin a constant habit of repenting every time you pray." And then I said, "I'm going to give us a seven day challenge to repent." So seven days of consistent repenting in your prayers, that's the first thing you say when you say, "Dear Heavenly Father," then you repent. And when I got done writing it, I'm like, "Oh gall, I probably should try that." Like, I don't do that. That is not me. I think in my mind...
Do as I say, not as I do.
Yeah. I just... "No, you only repent when you do the big things, like that's in my mind when you repent — big sins." So I thought, "All right, I'm gonna try this, like, I'm really gonna try and every night, the first thing I'm going to say is, "Forgive me for blank," whatever it was that day because I'm with you stuff, I don't have time to sit and think about all the bad things I've done. I'm barely getting a meal on the table for my kids.
Let me ask you this with what you just said, Tammy, I didn't mean to interrupt you, but you just said, "Forgive me for blank." So what does that necessarily mean? Like because you don't have time to process everything that you've done today. So you just say, "Forgive me for what I've done wrong?" Do you say, "For this specific thing," what do you do? What would you do?
I'm so glad you said that because my first time doing it, I really was like, "I don't think I did anything bad today." So I was like, "Well, Heavenly Father, forgive me for just being a jerk." I don't know, whatever. Like, I really didn't have a specific. So I did say that. It was just kind of like a blanket statement. "Forgive me for anything I did today that I wasn't aware of." But I'll tell you what, the next night, guess what happened. The minute I said, "Forgive me for..." something popped in my head that I had done that I probably didn't think was a sin before. And it just kind of was like quick and I was like, "Oh, gosh, alright, yeah, forgive me for that." And then I did it for seven days. And I gotta tell you where the strength came in, and it makes me a little emotional because as a step parent, which we talked about at the beginning, and I don't even like that term, but you know what, it is what it is and we're all step parents here today.
I have to tell you that there is a relationship with one of my daughters that is tenuous at best. I just wish I had a better relationship with her. I wish it was stronger. And I found that after repenting every day for six days, there was a moment that I had with her where I had so much love and compassion for this kid. Like I saw her in a different way. And I felt like it strengthened our relationship. I would never have thought in a million years that repenting every day would strengthen a relationship, and I'm not going to stop. I'm not going to stop repenting now because I need help in that area of my life. And so that was kind of the question I was going to say is, now, if you were to take a minute to write in your journal, for those of you that have journals, if you could ask for strength in any part of your life, where would it be? And to think about that and start repenting and see if you don't get it there.
So, going back into the Scripture then, after Nephi pleads with the people to repent, okay, so he does that in Helaman chapter seven. Then we have some wicked judges who are angry with Nephi, and they actually start to mock him and they're trying to convince everyone who listening to Nephi that he's wrong. They're like saying, "Are you going to let him talk to us like that? Like, who does he think he is? And seriously, our cities destroyed. We are way too powerful. Our cities are great and our enemies are too weak." That's what they say in Helaman chapter eight. So then in the next segment, we're going to see how the people responded to the judges and Nephi.
Segment 3 25:17
So Nephi predicted what would happen to the people if they did not repent. That's what we just studied. But there were some who did not take this "hate bait" as I like to call it from the Judges. So I want to look at their responses. And my question is, have either of you ever had to defend the prophet or the words of a prophet? Have you ever had that experience?
Probably in high school.
That's what I was just thinking.
Oh, wow, really? Where'd you guys both grow up for high school?
I grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, and so I had a lot of people that were extremely religious that not would be combative, but people knew a lot. And they also went to church and so it was definitely a topic of discussion.
Very similar experience... I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. I think there were 10 or 12 of us, LDS kids at any given time at the school. And so we were scattered out and we would talk amongst ourselves a lot of the times and say, "Hey, you going to mutual tonight?" "Oh, yeah." And our buddies would overhear us, "So what's mutual?" You know? And we kind of get in the topic of that, but then other kids that were just plain bullies would just start, you know, bad mouthing, and it's just ignorance, they don't know. So we'd have to kind of at times, pick and choose our battles of when we're going to defend the prophet, and I hate to say "pick and choose our battles" because it kind of makes me look like a coward for not doing it all the time. But I thought, "Okay, do I want to get beat up or do I want to stick up for the prophet at this point?" You know, but yeah, it happens. I think it still happens today even, even with our kids.
I think you're absolutely right. Well Steph, will you read in Helaman chapter eight verse seven.
"And it came to pass that thus they did stir up the people to anger against Nephi, and raised contentions among them; for there were some who did cry out: Let this man alone, for he is a good man, and those things which he saith will surely come to pass except we repent;"
They just say, "He's a good man, can't prove that he's done anything evil or bad to us. He's just telling us to repent, right?"
Go to verse 12, I like what they say about him here in verse 12. And will you read that for us too, Steph?
"And now behold, if God gave unto this man such power, then why should ye dispute among yourselves, and say that he hath given unto me no power whereby I may know concerning the judgments that shall come upon you except ye repent?"
And they're confessing of the power that he has. And what I like about these chapters in Helaman chapter seven and eight is that they teach us some really important truths about a prophet.
Okay, so number on your journal, we're going to do another numbering exercise, I want you to number in your journals one through six. We're going to learn what the top six truths are about a prophet as we find them in Helaman chapter seven through eight. So this is kind of fun to study the six things about a prophet.
So number one is Helaman chapter seven, verses 17 through 19. And if you can't write these down fast enough, don't worry. I'm going to have this in our show notes so you can look up and find the scriptures and then the answers. But we're going to do them together here with Stephanie and Tyler.
So number one is Helaman chapter seven and we're going to look at verses 17 through 19. What did the prophet continually tell the people to do? If they wanted power, what did they have to do? repent, repent. So prophet will always tell his people to repent. That's the number one thing about a prophet. And so you can put reprint repent next to those three verses. Okay, the next one, let's go to 11 chapter seven. And we're going to look at verse 29. And find a truth about the prophet in this verse and Tyler where you read it. 29
"Behold now, I do not say that these things shall be, of myself, because it is not of myself that I know these things; but behold, I know that these things are true because the Lord God has made them known unto me, therefore I testify that they shall be."
So the truth in verse 29 is who speaks to the prophet, who lets him know things?
The Lord, God.
The Lord. Let's find out the third thing about a prophet. Turn to Helaman chapter eight. And let's look at verse one and then verse four, and, Stephanie, will you read those?
"And now it came to pass that when Nephi had said these words, behold, there were men who were judges, who also belonged to the secret band of Gadianton, and they were angry, and they cried out against him, saying unto the people: Why do ye not seize upon this man and bring him forth, that he may be condemned according to the crime which he has done?"
"And those judges were angry with him because he spake plainly unto them concerning their secret works of darkness; nevertheless, they durst not lay their own hands upon him, for they feared the people lest they should cry out against them."
In those two verses, what was the common reaction the people had when they heard Nephi's words? How do they respond?
They were angry.
Yep, that's the third one. Their message often angers the wicked. Okay, the next thing number four. Let's go to Helaman chapter eight. And we're going to look at verse 13. And Tyler will you read verse 13?
"But, behold, ye not only deny my words, but ye also deny all the words which have been spoken by our fathers, and also the words which were spoken by this man, Moses, who had such great power given unto him, yea, the words which he hath spoken concerning the coming of the Messiah."
Yep. A prophet will always testify of Jesus Christ. If you continue to read verses 14, 15, and 16, it will continue to talk about him prophesying of Jesus Christ. So that's what a prophet will always do.
Number five, the fifth thing a prophet will do. Go to Helaman chapter eight, verse 24.
"And now, seeing ye know these things and cannot deny them except ye shall lie, therefore in this ye have sinned, for ye have rejected all these things, notwithstanding so many evidences which ye have received; yea, even ye have received all things, both things in heaven, and all things which are in the earth, as a witness that they are true."
And so the fifth thing that comes out of verse 24 is other evidences exists that support their message. So that's a powerful teaching from that verse.
And then the last thing we have is in Helaman chapter eight, verse 27, and, Steph, will you read verses, actually, verse 27, and 28?
"Yea, behold it is now even at your doors; yea, go ye in unto the judgment-seat, and search; and behold, your judge is murdered, and he alieth in his blood; and he hath been murdered bby his brother, who seeketh to sit in the judgment-seat."
"And behold, they both belong to your secret band, whose author is Gadianton and the evil one who seeketh to destroy the souls of men."
Now this is a good one because in these two verses Nephi is foretelling. He's promising things that nobody knows about. And no one's believing and when he says this, which we'll talk about in the next segment, but that's an important truth. A prophet will tell us things that others do not know.
So when we think about the six things about a prophet that we've just studied, is there one that stands out to you, or one that you appreciate the most?
Hmm. I can't say that one stands out above the other because we read it through the Book of Mormon. It's time and time again, it's the same thing. It's repent. It's the testifying of Jesus Christ. It's the miracles performed, the signs that are provided. So you see it all over through the scriptures. So I can't pick out one above the other.
I think it's interesting that one of those key principles is that the wicked will not like what the prophet has to say. Sometimes we want the prophet to say certain things so that life is easier for us or for our family or whatever it is, but it's not ever going to be that way.
Yeah, you're totally right. Well, and then I go back to this whole idea of these are our days, these days. And I thought, "I'm so thankful we have a living prophet in these days, right now, to leave us with the Apostolic blessings that we need to guide us." I mean, never has there been a more important time to listen to a prophet's, what, voice, then now. Hear what he has to say, what direction is he giving us? I've just loved everything that the prophet has said to us in the last six months of this coronavirus. How grateful I am for his guidance and his counsel.
Now, as a prophet and seer, going back into our story in Helaman, by inspiration Nephi, he prophesies is something that others don't know anything about. And he announces the homicide of the chief judge.
So in the next segment, we're going to see if his inspiration was right, and how the people responded to this prophecy that he gave.
Segment 4 33:52
We just finished off with Nephi telling everyone that their chief judge is dead. He has been murdered in the judgment seat and he's lying in his blood. And I asked Tyler and Stephanie to come prepared to retell this story, because it's such a good story. And I want you guys to tell it to us because it's a two-day investigation. So tell me what happened on the first day of the investigation.
When he tells them that the chief judge has been murdered, five men run to go and see.
So they send these messengers and then they get there and they see that he is lying in cold blood and then they faint. And I don't know why that happens so much in the Book of Mormon because I don't know people who just like faint because of righteousness at all but I nicknamed them the "five fainter" in my study.
I love it.
So then the servants of the chief judge came in and saw the, you know, the chief judge had been murdered. And so of course, you would think like, "Oh, these five people," which, I mean, logically, Tyler, if you came upon a scene like this, would you think, "Those five people who were passed out on the floor obviously killed this man?"
Yeah. Tyler, what do you thinking through all this?
We would want to question them.
Because, I mean, was there a sign of an attack? I don't–I don't know. All the questions.
I don't know, did they go and examine the body? Did they get the chief judge's blood on them?
You know, I mean, there's got to be some clues that would lead them to believe that they were involved somehow some way, right?
And now, Tyler, tell me what happened on day two of the investigation.
Well, so they get scooped up more or less and tossed into prison.
You know, and then they were basically charged with killing the chief judge. Day two, they're having the burial of the chief judge, which, you know, that surprises me because there's no autopsy being done. There's no trial for anybody. There's no, you know, preserving the body for any type of evidence or anything like that, something is fishy—
with that. Something is fishy. And it kind of makes me wonder, you know, being Gadiantons, there's no honor-among-thieves type of mentality. And so they're just letting these five that were sent basically take the fall.
Well, it's so crazy to me because then they arrest Nephi in verse 19. And they're trying to bribe him.
I think this is so interesting, like, now we've got some bribery involved. But then I love this next part. So Tyler read these verses (Helaman 9:21) I want to hear in your voice.
But Nephi said unto them: O ye fools, ye uncircumcised of heart, ye blind, and ye stiffnecked people, do ye know how long the Lord your God will suffer you that ye shall go on in this your way of sin?
And then go to verse 23 when he calls him out.
"Behold ye say that I have agreed with a man that he should murder Seezoram, our chief judge. But behold, I say unto you, that this is because I have testified unto you that ye might know concerning this thing; yea, even for a witness unto you, that I did know of the wickedness and abominations which are among you."
Keep reading and read verse 26.
"Behold I say unto you: Go to the house of Seantum, who is the brother of Seezoram, and say unto him—"
"Has Nephi, the pretended prophet, who doth prophesy so much evil concerning this people," I'm sorry. That sounds kind of sarcastic.
It's a leading question.
"So much evil concerning this people, agreed with thee, in the which ye have murdered Seezoram, who is your brother?"
"And behold, he shall say unto you, Nay."
"And ye shall say unto him: Have ye murdered your brother?" I like that. That's a flat out, great investigative question: Did you do this? And it's plain yes or no. Did you do this? That's a good investigative question.
"And he shall stand with fear, and wist not what to say. And behold, he shall deny unto you; and he shall make as if he were astonished; nevertheless, he shall declare unto you that he is innocent."
"But behold, ye shall examine him, and ye shall find blood upon the skirts of his cloak."
And then do verse 32.
"And when ye have seen this, ye shall say: From whence cometh this blood? Do we not know that it is the blood of your brother?"
"And then shall he tremble, and shall look pale, even as if death had come upon him." And he admits to doing it.
So what happens? Does that exactly play out the way he said it would?
100 percent. Any other thoughts that you guys have about the investigation or anything? Or any other verses that you want us to read?
Tammy, I'm wondering actually in Helaman in eight—
When Nephi is telling people to go and look at the judgment seat, do you feel like that was Nephi prophesying or do you feel like that was Nephi showing them a sign?
Ohhh, now that's a good question. I like that. Tyler, what do you think?
You know, I'm not sure because I'm trying to put myself in their shoes, hearing this. And back then I would automatically assume there's a conspiracy.
Again, that would probably, I would fall in the line of Gadianton people then both if I'm saying this. But, to me, that'd be like, no way. You know, no, there's no way that you would know this unless you were involved.
Yeah, you're totally right. And what's so interesting about these two verses, Stephanie, is my answer to you would be, "Yes, and yes." I think "yes" to both because the result of what he prophesied is people were converted.
Right? And maybe for the righteous, it was a prophecy. Right? And so the wicked it was a sign because you can speak to both I guess at the same time.
Yeah because when those people who were accused of killing him, they didn't end up being converted.
Do you think that those, that the five were some of the people that were like, "Hey, he's a good man."
Let's go back and read the verse about them when the five of them were walking to go see if the chief judge is really dead, about the conversation that they had. Go back to Helaman chapter nine, and look at verse two, Steph, read that for us.
"Behold, now we will know of a surety whether this man be a prophet and God hath commanded him to prophesy such marvelous things unto us. Behold, we do not believe that he hath; yea, we do not believe that he is a prophet; nevertheless, if this thing which he has said concerning the chief judge be true, that he be dead, then will we believe that the other words which he has spoken are true."
I like that. And then cross reference that with them in prison in Helaman chapter 9, 39 to 41. I like what these words say about what happened with these men. So can you read that for us.
"And there were some of the Nephites who believed on the words of Nephi; and there were some also, who believed because of the testimony of the five, for they had been converted while they were in prison."
I'm just imagining like those five men in prison saying, "Oh, listen, you guys, you're gonna want to believe in this man because what he said was true." Like, how that conversion process went when they were teaching people about this prophet.
Yeah, that they were like, "This thing was so crazy. He told us the chief judge had been murdered, and then we went, and we passed out because he was murdered."
Yeah. "Then we came too and then we're in jail."
Exactly. Can you imagine like you pass out because you have all this belief, and then you wake up and you're like, "Wait, no, no, no."
Yeah. "I shouldn't be in jail. I should be..." Yeah, exactly. I love how Helaman chapter nine ends. look at verses 40 and 41, and Steph, keep reading for us.
"And now there were some among the people, who said that Nephi was a prophet."
"And there were others who said: Behold, he is a god, for except he was a god he could not know of all things. For behold, he has told us the thoughts of our hearts, and also has told us things; and even he has brought unto our knowledge the true murderer of our chief judge."
Thank you. I mean, it's interesting because they think, "Maybe he's a prophet, but what if he's a god?" Like they're giving him all this power, and I can't even imagine what they're gonna think when we study the next segment the power that he's given, so I'm super excited to talk about that next.
Segment 5 42:39
So I want to know if either of you thought about this, but what is the difference between daydreaming and pondering?
I would say the pondering's more focused. Daydreaming might just be like letting your mind wander wherever.
Yeah, I feel the same way as Steph. Pondering to me is a deeper focus, and daydreaming is just like, "Hm, I wonder what it would be like if I could do this or if this were to happen," you know, kind of like a space cadet.
Yeah, less silly if you're pondering, it's less silly. Do you guys take time to meditate or ponder? I'm just curious. There's a lot of talk about meditating and mindfulness right now.
You know, for me, the only time that I'm actually really aware that I'm doing it is when we're in route to conduct a SWAT hit.
Oh, why? Tell me about that?
Well because anything can happen. You're going into an unknown and the only time that we're called out is when we know that there's weapons either involved or there are weapons that are accessible in the home. And everybody has a specific job to do and you're playing your job over and over and over in your head, just to make sure you don't get it wrong and there's a lot of pondering for me on that just to make sure that I stay focused. That if anything happens to one of my teammates, I know what I'm doing. If anything happens to anybody in the home, I know what I'm doing. If anything happens to me, I know what I'm doing. And it's definitely a ponder more than a daydream.
Okay, Tyler, I love so much what you just said because that, wow, that was so good. I wonder if Nephi was the exact same way because look at Helaman chapter 10. You know, I wonder if he's pondering about what you just said about the job he has to do. He knows he's been called as a prophet to tell the people to repent. Tyler, will you please read Helaman chapter 10, verse two.
"And it came to pass that Nephi went his way towards his own house, pondering upon the things which the Lord had shown unto him."
So he's going home, he's walking back to his house. Now apply this pondering to what you just about your job. What is Nephi pondering about?
He's probably pondering, "Wow, what just happened? What is the reaction going to be? Where do we go from here? You know, what does this mean for me? What does this mean for those that have been converted? What does this mean for the people? Do they find this as a sign to repent? You know, does this meet your expectations, Lord?" I don't know.
Yeah, well, and thinking about what you said, "Did I do the job I was sent to do? Is there something more I'm supposed to do?" Because he's going home. Like he's done. He's done all he can do and is he gonna wipe his feet clean of this? So keep reading for us and read verse three.
"And it came to pass as he was thus pondering—being much cast down because of the wickedness of the people of the Nephites, their secret works of darkness, and their murderings, and their plunderings, and all manner of iniquities—and it came to pass as he was thus pondering in his heart, behold, a voice came unto him saying:"
Thank you. Just the power and pondering, and it makes me think, how often do I take the time to ponder? And what does that look like? I mean Steph, come on, I'm looking at you and you're like, I'm reading your mind right now. "Well, I'm a mom of little kids. So pondering? Right, right."
I know, I was just thinking that, you know, when I try and do my Come, Follow Me study, I usually have to start on like Monday, and even if I try and like do it during the day, and the kids are playing quietly doing whatever it is, it genuinely takes me five or six hours to do the Come, Follow Me study for the week, but I feel like I have to start it on Monday, or else I'm just like, frantically reading it before the weekend, you know because I wish that I had the time. I mean, I also have a baby who's almost a year old this week. He's a year and so I mean, he's into everything, and anyway, so it is nonstop. So yeah, I mean, I so wish that I could just sit and ponder. I feel like I have to pay to ponder right now.
There is a price for pondering. All these alliterations and everything "P, P, P." There's a price for pondering, for sure. You know, Neal A. Maxwell said this really cool quote about pondering and the power that comes from it. Let's look at this quote because I want us to think about all of the incredible moments in Scripture that have come as a result of pondering as we read this verse. And Stephanie, why don't you read this. Now this is totally for you and me.
“Pondering, for most of us, is not something we do easily. It is much more than drifting or daydreaming, for it focuses and stirs us, not lulls us. We must set aside time, circumstances, and attitude in order to achieve it. In Alma’s words, we must ‘give place’ (Alma 32:27). The length of time involved in pondering is not as important as the intensity given to it. Reflection cannot be achieved in the midst of distraction” (Elder Neal A. Maxwell, That Ye May Believe , 183).
Something that I was actually just thinking about too with that is that you know, we've been on this like epic road trip the last couple of weeks and have been driving across the country and staying away from as many people as possible, and I think that it is given my husband and I a lot of time just to talk about the future about, you know, goals, scriptures, you know, whatever it is, and just time that we don't have. So...
What has that been like for you two?
It's been good. Yeah. I don't know why I'm getting emotional.
Yeah, tell me why.
It's just nice to have time.
And that time with your husband, I think qualifies as pondering. You're talking about your relationship, you're talking about your children. That is intense and I think we think pondering requires us to shut the door, be by ourselves for an hour and sit in silence, but I think some of my best pondering moments have come when I've studied one word for an entire week. And I'll be thinking about that word as I drive. That's pondering. I think about that word as I'm chopping something up to cook dinner. That's pondering. There's so many different ways to do it. And the cool thing about this pondering is what came of it. So let's go into Helaman chapter 10, and we're gonna read verses four through seven. All right, and Tyler, as you read these verses of scripture, I want everyone to mark what specific gift came to Nephi as a result of pondering because this is really cool. So go ahead Tyler.
"Blessed art thou, Nephi, for those things which thou hast done; for I have beheld how thou hast with unwearyingness declared the word, which I have given unto thee, unto this people. And thou hast not feared them, and hast not sought thine own life, but hast sought my will, and to keep my commandments."
"And now, because thou hast done this with such unwearyingness, behold, I will bless thee forever; and I will make thee mighty in word and in deed, in faith and in works; yea, even that all things shall be done unto thee according to thy word, for thou shalt not ask that which is contrary to my will."
"Behold, thou art Nephi, and I am God. Behold, I declare it unto thee in the presence of mine angels, that ye shall have power over this people, and shall smite the earth with famine, and with pestilence, and destruction, according to the wickedness of this people."
"Behold, I give unto you power, that whatsoever ye shall seal on earth shall be sealed in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven; and thus shall ye have power among this people."
Wow, thank you. The cool thing about these verses, next to verse six and seven, I want you to write "sealing keys." So this key was given back to Joseph Smith in Doctrine and Covenants section 110, and you can read about it, but I'm gonna give you a little history. On April 3rd 1836, one week after the Kirtland temple dedication, Joseph and Oliver saw an incredible vision. In fact, they saw several. The Savior appears to them, then they have three separate visions where ancient prophets appear unto them and restore priesthood keys. But the important one in this is in Section 110 in another glorious division, Joseph and Oliver see the prophet Elijah, and Elijah brings back the sealing key. Now this is so cool because this is the power to bind and validate in heaven all ordinances performed on the earth. And we have to have this key on this earth before Jesus Christ comes. This is what Joseph Smith said about it.
He said, “In the days of Noah, God destroyed the world by a flood, and He has promised to destroy it by fire in the last days: but before it should take place, Elijah should first come and turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, etc. “Now comes the point. What is this office and work of Elijah? It is one of the greatest and most important subjects that God has revealed. He should send Elijah to seal the children to the fathers, and the fathers to the children” (History of the Church, 6:251–53; spelling modernized; from a discourse given by Joseph Smith on Mar. 10, 1844, in Nauvoo, Illinois; reported by Wilford Woodruff).
We have to have that key on this earth before Jesus Christ comes again. And there's some really cool notes I'll leave in show notes with Scripture references that you can study if you want to study more about the sealing key, but the whole point of this is that now Nephi has this key, and I love it. And he is given power to seal and bind or unseal, unbind. That's how much power... I just can't even imagine that kind of power. And then how cool to think that our Prophet, President Nelson, has that same key, he holds all the keys also to do this work. Now, I want us to read this quote because Joseph Smith said this about the sealing key and this is cool. Steph, will you read this for us.
"It may seem to some to be a very bold doctrine that we talk of—a power which records or binds on earth and binds in heaven. Nevertheless, in all ages of the world, whenever the Lord has given a dispensation of the priesthood to any man by actual revelation, or any set of men, this power has always been given. Hence, whatsoever those men did in authority, in the name of the Lord, and did it truly and faithfully, and kept a proper and faithful record of the same, it became a law on earth and in heaven, and could not be annulled, according to the decrees of the great Jehovah. This is a faithful saying. Who can hear it?" (Doctrine and Covenants 128:9).
Thank you. Isn't that interesting that we declare this key and it's for all the work for the dead and the living. And then the idea that we're going to be sealed back to the family of Christ. That's the whole point and purpose, so that we can return to live with God again. Any thoughts? Anything you guys want to add to?
I think in this story too, it's pretty awesome that, you know, the Lord gives this power to Nephi. And then, you know, it talks about in verse 12, that he didn't even go home. That he was just on his way home when the Lord gave him this power. That seems nuts, you know, that he's just like, "Well, I can't go home. Gotta go to work."
Yeah, he turned right back around and went right back to the multitude. And I love how in verse 16, it starts out, "Behold, the power of God was with him..." And it absolutely was. And so this is great because in the next segment, we're going to see what happened, and how Nephi used this sealing power, which is a great story.
Segment 6 54:04
We're going to play a little game of "Would you rather?" You guys ready? Would you rather be chastened or be given correction to help improve yourself to become stronger?
The rather of the two.
You'd rather be corrected so it can help you improve and become stronger?
Okay, let's go into Helaman chapter 11 and see what my "Would you rather?" has to do with this chapter. I love this.
So I asked you guys earlier to read through chapter 11 and finish the statement, "And thus we behold..." because Moroni uses a lot of "And thus we see's" and "And thus we behold's," a lot of teaching moments come out of Helaman 11. So how would you finish this, "And thus we can behold..." What could we "behold" from Helaman 11?
To repent. To humble yourself.
I thought about it a lot, actually, and I thought, "Oh man, I hope that I don't have to go through all that stuff to remember God." You know, because it's like, man, that is a harsh list. Like famines, pestilences, death. I mean, do we really have to go through all of that stuff to remember God? Like I sure hope not. I hope that we can individually be more righteous than that.
For me, it reminds me of the pride cycle. In that where you're humble, you're remembering God because you're like, "Woe is me. Why is this happening to me? I'm going to turn to the Lord. I'm going to make my life right. Please forgive me. I'm not going to do X, Y, or Z again." And you know what the Lord says, "Okay, we're going to take care of you," blesses you, "Ah man, I'm blessed. I have a great life. Things are going great." And before you know it, you're back into the material side of things, the worldly things, and you're kind of putting God back onto the back burner. And then it's time to, "Oh, you know what? You forgot about me. Let's humble you."
Because what did Nephi do? What did he do to the people, or the Lord do to the people?
So the Lord was really mad and he caused wars, right? And Nephi was praying, "Please, please, please, please, please, give me a pestilence. Give me a famine." So the Lord said, "Okay, done. Because I've given you all these powers Nephi, and you won't go against my will." So what happens? A famine hits the land for years. And so of course, the people are going to be like, "This famine is really destroying our livelihood, our way of lives, everything about it." And Nephi this whole time, "Repent, if you repent, you start remembering God, this famine will end," and you know, it's the pride cycle thing again, it's the you know, later on the Gadiantons come back into power. So it's a big vicious cycle.
I was just thinking too that, you know, the people just don't, they haven't repented. They've like, said they were sorry enough. You know, they do these small things to like get by, to maybe make the famine end, and you know all of these things, but they haven't had a change of heart because I feel like, gosh, it is so hard to watch. And I feel like... I don't know if it was in chapter 11 or chapter 12, but I think that it's Mormon, right? That's writing all of this in these chapters, and you can kind of, I felt like from him, it was kind of like, "And here we go again," like he's getting tired of it. That he's like, "Well, thus we see. Here we go again."
Steph, read that for us in Helaman chapter 12 verse one.
"And thus we can behold how false, and also the unsteadiness of the hearts of the children of men; yea, we can see that the Lord in his great infinite goodness doth bless and prosper those who put their trust in him."
And something that I have been wondering with this study is that individually, I feel like we all wax and wane, you know, as time goes on, but you know, as a Church, I don't feel like the Church as a whole dwindles every five years, and then we all have to be reconverted. And so I wonder, what's the difference is between the Nephites collectively and us and why it's so different?
I don't know either. I'd love to know what other people think about that though because that is powerful to think about. I'm going to ask on social media this week what people's thoughts are on that because the Church never left the earth... throughout the Book of Mormon, it was always there, but people came and went, and we see that all the time. That's some great stuff to think about Steph, I like that.
So when we go back to what you were just saying Steph, though, about how Mormon's like, "Here we go again, we have another 'And thus we see...' And we have another, 'And thus we can behold...'" Let's keep reading then Steph because you said that he's going to keep going on. Will you read verses two and three for us. And as we read these verses, I want you guys to mark your scriptures about what it is that Mormon's trying to teach us in these two verses.
"Yea, and we may see at the very time when he doth prosper his people, yea, in the increase of their fields, their flocks and their herds, and in gold, and in silver, and in all manner of precious things of every kind and art; sparing their lives, and delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; softening the hearts of their enemies that they should not declare wars against them; yea, and in fine, doing all things for the welfare and happiness of his people; yea, then is the time that they do harden their hearts, and do forget the Lord their God, and do trample under their feet the Holy One—yea, and this because of their ease, and their exceedingly great prosperity."
"And thus we see that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions, yea, except he doth visit them with death and with terror, and with famine and with all manner of pestilence, they will not remember him."
Woof. That's horrible.
What's he trying to teach us in these two verses?
Things will not go well if you don't remember God.
You know, here's an interesting perspective from Neal A. Maxwell in regards to chasten. He says, "Afflictions can soften us and sweetness and can be a chastening influence. We often think of chastening as something being done to punish us, such as by a mortal tutor who is angry and peevish with us. Divine chastening, however, is a form of learning as it is administered at the hands of a loving father." That's kind of an interesting perspective.
Well, I really like that, that you read that to us, Tyler, because when I asked you at the beginning, would you rather be chastened or would you rather be given correction to help you improve or become stronger? Being given correction to help you improve or become stronger is the Webster's definition of the word chastening?
Oh no kidding.
It's the same thing. Isn't that interesting? But when I hear "chasten," I'm like, "Ah, that sounds terrible. I don't want to be chastened. I'd much rather just be given some instruction. Just a loving correction." Yeah. And I think that that's what's so cool about this word chasten. In fact, let's cross reference Helaman chapter 12 verse three, with Helaman chapter 15, verse three. This is good. And Tyler, will you read 15 verse three for us.
"Yea, wo unto this people who are called the people of Nephi except they shall repent, when they shall see all these signs and wonders which shall be showed unto them; for behold, they have been a chosen people of the Lord; yea, the people of Nephi hath he loved, and also hath he chastened them; yea, in the days of their iniquities hath he chastened them because he loveth them."
He chastens us because he loves us. He's trying to help course correct us and helps us to improve and become better because of chastening. Right? There's a fun quote by Elder D. Todd Christofferson about this. And I call it the "Three R's of Chastening." And it's just real quick. He just says this about being chastened.
“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,'" April 2011 general conference).
And I put at the top of my page, "The three R's of chastening, then our repent, refine and redirect." And that's all that he wants us to do. So let's go back to how we started then, we talked about how these are our days, and I would probably add a number six to sister Nelson's list when I had you guys number one through five and put a check on how you're doing. I want to put a number six, and have "be chastened" put right there. And then how many checkmarks are you gonna put next to that one? Where are we on, have you been chastened? What has that experience been like for you? Has there been a time where you've been chastened and you were knowing the new definition, did it correct you? Did it put you on a better path?
You know, I've got a question to ask Tam.
Why do you think it's easier for people to remember the Lord when they suffer rather than when life is going good?
Oh, that's a great question. I mean, I think about, especially when people are saying that it's... a lot of people have recently said to me, "Oh, I think Jesus is coming soon. Like, he's got to be coming really fast." And in my mind, I've always thought, it seems like he would come when we don't remember him. And everyone's remembering him right now because he's the only one that can make it better. He's the one that we need to have use the power to give us something to heal us from this virus and make the world a better place and then we'll go back to not remembering him and I feel like that's when he's gonna come. I would love it if he came when everyone was thinking about him. But I think it's just so easy to turn to him when in our trials. At least in my experience because he's the only one that can make it better. I don't know, what are you thinking about it?
Kind of the same thing. I appreciate your thoughts on that, you know. When life is going good, you're thinking about the next thing that you know is going to go your way, but when you're down in the dumps, it's easy to get caught up into trying to pull yourself out. And a lot of people I think are aware that they can't do that on their own. Maybe that's why they are quicker to remember God in those times. I don't know.
Yeah, I think you're right. Well, it makes me go back to the very beginning when I think about the book of life that will be written about me, who will be the author of my chapters on being chastened? Will it be Satan or God? Who's going to be the author of my book, or certain chapters in my book? How did I react to this certain chastening? How did I respond to that difficult time in my life? Did I turn to God or did I turn to Satan? I don't know. I kind of thought about that throughout this week, that was my pondering is who's going to be the author of that chapter? My 20s... Who's gonna be the author of that chapter?
You know, when you think about it, when you're going through a hard time, who do you want to have write this for you, God or Satan? Any other thoughts? Anything you're thinking? Okay, so let me ask you this question then. What if you were to give someone who's being chastened who you know is going through a really rough time, and you know it's going to turn out for their good, but that's probably not going to help them at the moment. What's one piece of advice you would give them, one thing they could do to get through that chastening?
That's what I was just thinking, like having hope that God loves you still. This isn't God abandoning you. This is God loving you.
Let's finish with Helaman chapter 12 verse 24. And Steph, will you read that for us.
"And may God grant, in his great fulness, that men might be brought unto repentance and good works, that they might be restored unto grace for grace, according to their works."
I just love this idea of grace for grace. It's so beautifully spoken of in Doctrine and Covenants section 93, verse 12. It tells us how the Savior was able to give us the fullness of His grace, because it said he received grace for grace. And this idea of us giving grace and then receiving grace, and what that looks like on a daily basis. And when we can then direct our grace to people who are struggling because we've been there, we've experienced that, and we can tell them like you said, to be patient, that it's not forever, to hang on, and that we will then be given grace in our moments of being chastened through the Father. And that's why we turn to him because we seek His grace in our deepest chastening moments where he's just trying to course correct us, help us to get back on the path. And that's kind of how I like this whole story about Nephi when he teaches us that profound truth in verse 24. Any thoughts, anything else you're thinking?
I was just going to say that I think it's important when people are going through trials, to turn them to God. Instead of give them you know, whatever specific advice you think is helpful for them because you might have good advice, but the only person that can help them is God.
That's the advice. I love that Steph. That's the key advice. Tyler?
I can't top that. That sums it up.
It totally does. That's the advice: turn to God. I love that. Well, thank you. That's the end of our episode. That is the end of Helaman chapter seven through 12. Now, I'm going to ask you, what is your takeaway? What's something that stands out to you from our discussion today?
My takeaway from this week was that I need to be better at repenting every day.
Every day. Take the seven-day challenge.
You got it.
I'm gonna echo that. Just be better at remembering God in all that I do.
That was my takeaway, that it really did work. When I repented every day, I really was strengthened. So I'm going to resolve to keep doing it. To try and keep remembering to repent every single night, and hopefully my seven-day challenge will turn into 14 days, will turn into... I don't do public math, what comes after? 21 days, whatever, but if it can become a lifestyle, a part of my prayers, I can't even imagine to think of the strength that I'm going to receive from it. So that was my takeaway too. Thank you. I love you guys. This is so fun. We are practically family. It felt like it the whole time.
For those of you who are listening, we'd love to hear what your big takeaway was from this episode. And if you haven't already joined our discussion group on Facebook, and if you're not following us on Instagram, you guys totally should because it's a great place to ask questions or share things that you're learning. I would love that because I love reading what everyone has to say. And I try to answer anything I can during the week. Then at the end of every week, we ask for your big takeaways, it's usually on a Sunday. And so comment in the post that relates to this lesson and let us know what you learned. And I read every single post. You guys, it's my favorite part of Sunday. I cannot believe how cool your takeaways are that you're sharing.
You can get both to our Facebook and Instagram by going on the show notes for this episode at LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday. And it's not a bad idea to go there anyway because that's where we have the links to all of the references, and you guys, we have an entire transcript of this whole discussion so you should go check 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 study group participants were Stephanie Zundel-Smith and Tyler Collet. You can find more information about these friends at LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday. Our podcast is produced by Katie Lambert and Erika Free. It is recorded and mixed by Mix at Six Studios and our Executive Producer is Erin Hallstrom Thanks for being here. We will see you guys next week. And for those of you that need to be repenting or in the midst of repenting, remember this, you are God's favorite.
I have a permanent thumbs up, Tammy.
You broke the wrist. That's so funny. You could just do that to your kids all the time.
You know what, that would be a funny episode of 911.
Like, no matter how mad you are, and you're yelling at someone, they're like, "Oh I'm good, I'm good."
"No you're not good! You're not!"
"You need to get your life together!"
It's like your winking at them, wink, wink.
That could totally be an episode of a TV show. I love it.