9: “A Marvelous Work and a Wonder” (Feb. 24–March 1)
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Try saying “follow the prophet” without having the Primary song pop into your head. Impossible, right? And now that tune will be stuck with you for the next week, you’re welcome. But seriously, why is it so important to follow the prophet? In this week’s Sunday on Monday study group, we’ll be digging into 2 Nephi 26–30 to learn what following the prophet has to do with the Millennium, overcoming Satan’s tactics, and the “marvelous work and a wonder” in the latter days.
This week we are talking about so many things: prophets, Satan’s tactics, the Millennium, the Book of Mormon, and then we will head back into just a little bit of the Isaiah territory—all in 2 Nephi 26-30. So grab your scriptures, and let’s dig in!
2 Nephi 26: The importance of following the prophet.
In Hebrew, the word for prophet means “prophet AND a spokesman.” This gives so much more meaning to Moses’ and Enoch’s concern when they were called prophets.
“And when Enoch had heard these words, he bowed himself to the earth, before the Lord, and spake before the Lord, saying: Why is it that I have found favor in thy sight, and am but a lad, and all the people hate me; for I am slow of speech; wherefore am I thy servant?” (Moses 6:31)
Exodus 4:10: “Slow of speech and slow of tongue”: Some say Moses stuttered or had a speech impediment. According to Jewish tradition, he was unable to pronounce labials, b,f,m,p,v.
Exodus 4:16 The prophet is a spokesman for God, and sometimes the Lord provides a spokesman for the prophet also. In the dispensation of the fulness of times, the Lord provided Sidney Rigdon as a spokesman for the Prophet Joseph Smith (see D&C 100:9).
2 Nephi 26 is all about the future wickedness of Nephi’s people, specifically that they will not follow the prophet (see 3 Nephi 8-9).
READ 2 Nephi 26:7: How Nephi felt about the loss of his people because they would not follow the prophets.
“O the pain, and the anguish of my soul for the loss of the slain of my people! For I, Nephi, have seen it, and it well nigh consumeth me before the presence of the Lord; but I must cry unto my God: Thy ways are just.”
READ 2 Nephi 26:8: Nephi gives us a promise if we follow the prophet.
“But behold, the righteous that hearken unto the words of the prophets, and destroy them not, but look forward unto Christ with steadfastness for the signs which are given, notwithstanding all persecution—behold, they are they which shall not perish.”
READ Deuteronomy 18:20: A living prophet will not lead us astray.
“But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.”
President Wilford Woodruff said this of a prophet never leading us astray:
“I say unto Israel, the Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as president of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the program of the church. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so he will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty” (Discourses of Wilford Woodruff [Bookcraft, 1946], pp. 212-13).
What do you think causes people to NOT follow the prophet?
How do you reconcile this when you may not agree with what a prophet has said?
“I wonder if the keyword in this quote is Astray. It didn’t say that a prophet will never say things that are hard to understand or hard to accept. But a living prophet will not lead us astray which means off the strait and narrow path back to God. A living prophet will not and cannot teach against the 9 doctrinal beliefs of the church” (President Russell M. Nelson, “The Love and Laws of God,” BYU Devotional Sept. 17, 2019, one of the best talks ever!).
Morgan Jones and her family with President Thomas S. Monson in the lobby of a Marriott hotel.
Here’s a fun story: During the spring and early summer of 1828, Martin Harris once replaced Joseph Smith’s seer stone with another stone to see if Joseph would notice the difference. When Joseph was unable to continue translating, Martin confessed his ruse and returned the seer stone. When Joseph asked him why he had done it, Martin explained that he wanted to “stop the mouths of fools, who had told him that the Prophet had learned those sentences and was merely repeating them” (Matthew McBride,“The Contributions of Martin Harris,” Revelations in Context).
Joseph Smith was a seer and a prophet, and 2 Nephi 26-27 will show us Isaiah’s prophecy about Joseph Smith.
Let’s look at 2 Nephi 26:16-17 and learn what how these verses apply to the prophet Joseph Smith:
- “Out of the ground”: Meaning the voices of the dead as well as where the plates came from.
- “Speech shall be low out of the dust,” “whisper out of the dust”: the Book of Mormon prophets who warned the people.
- “Him”: Joseph Smith
Elder Orson Pratt said this: One of the most marvelous things connected with this prediction is, that after the nation should be brought down, they should ‘speak out of the ground’ . . . Never was a prophecy more truly fulfilled than this, in the coming forth of the Book or Mormon. Joseph Smith took that sacred history ‘out of the ground.’ It is the voice of the ancient prophets of America ‘speaking out of the ground’; their speech is ‘low of the dust’; it speaks in a most familiar manner of the doings of bygone ages; it is the voice of those who slumber in the dust. It is a voice of prophets speaking from the dead, crying repentance in the ears of the living . . . . Their voice, speech or words, can only ‘speak out of the ground,’ or ‘whisper out of the dust’ by their books or writings being discovered” (Orson Pratt, Orson Pratt’s Works, pp.271).
READ 2 Nephi 26:17:
“For thus saith the Lord God: They shall write the things which shall be done among them, and they shall be written and sealed up in a book, and those who have dwindled in unbelief shall not have them, for they seek to destroy the things of God.”
Trivia question here: What portion of the plates was sealed?
I didn’t know this answer until I read a talk by Elder Maxwell.
He said: “. . . and the approximately two-thirds of the Book of Mormon plates that were sealed: ‘And the day cometh that the words of the book which were sealed shall be read upon the house tops; and they shall be read by the power of Christ; and all things shall be revealed unto the children of men which ever have been among the children of men, and which ever will be even unto the end of the earth’ (2 Nephi 27:11)” (Neal A. Maxwell, A Wonderful Flood of Light , 18).
Facts about the sealed portion:
- When Moroni was finishing the Book of Mormon record, he was commanded to seal up some of the plates, and Joseph Smith was later commanded not to translate them. This sealed portion contains the complete record of the vision of the brother of Jared (see Ether 4:4–5). This vision included “all things from the foundation of the world unto the end thereof” (2 Nephi 27:10–11; see also Ether 3:25). So basically the Lord revealed to the brother of Jared the history of mankind, and the sealed portion of the plates was Moroni’s translated copy of it.
- Few people have seen the sealed record—for instance, the Nephites in the land Bountiful at the Savior’s coming (see Ether 4:1–2) and Moroni (see Ether 12:24). The Lord said the sealed portion would be revealed to the world “in mine own due time” (Ether 3:27). He also said it would “not go forth unto the Gentiles until the day that they shall repent of their iniquity, and become clean before the Lord” (Ether 4:6; see also 2 Nephi 27:8).
- According to Joseph Smith’s associates who saw the golden plates, anywhere from half to two-thirds of all the plates were in the sealed portion (see Kirk B. Henrichsen, “What Did the Golden Plates Look Like?” New Era, July 2007, 31).
- You can also read more about the sealed portion of the plates in the article “What is the ‘sealed portion’ of the Book of Mormon, and will we ever know what’s in it?” on the Church’s website at ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
- The coming forth of the Book of Mormon (v.6)
- Specific events related to our keystone scripture (v.1-5)
- Prophet Joseph Smith (v.9,12)
- The three witnesses of the Book of Mormon (v.12)
- Other witnesses (v.13-14)
- Martin Harris's visit to Professor Anthon of New York, an acknowledged expert in ancient languages (v.15-16)
- AND even the exact words Professor Anthon would utter (v. 17-18)
READ 2 Nephi 27:15-18: The story of Professor Anthon:
A short time after the Smiths arrived in Harmony, Martin paid them a visit and expressed his desire to assist Joseph Smith. He proposed to journey east to New York City with a transcription of some of the characters on the plates to show them to scholars. Perhaps he wanted additional reassurance that the plates were authentic, or he may have thought a testimonial would help them borrow money to publish the translation. In any event, he insisted that the Lord had prompted him to make the trip.
At the time, neither Joseph nor Martin knew much about the language on the plates. They knew only as much as the angel Moroni had told Joseph: that it was an ancient American record. Thus, rather than seeking a scholar with a knowledge of Egyptian (Joseph later learned that the language on the plates was called “reformed Egyptian”), Martin visited several scholars with an interest in antiquities, especially American antiquities.
He departed in February 1828, and en route to New York City, he stopped in Albany to visit Luther Bradish—a former Palmyra resident and family friend who had traveled extensively throughout the Near East and Egypt. Martin sought his opinion about whom to visit regarding the translation and then pressed on to New York to visit Samuel L. Mitchill, a linguist and one of the leading scholars on ancient American culture. After examining the characters, Mitchill evidently sent Martin to Charles Anthon, a young professor of grammar and linguistics at Columbia College (he was a professor of classics—Greek and Latin—at Columbia University in New York). Anthon had been collecting American Indian stories and speeches for publication and was eager to inspect the document Martin brought him.
Martin claimed that Anthon declared the characters authentic until he learned how Joseph Smith had acquired them. He suggested Martin bring him the plates. Martin refused, and Anthon replied, paraphrasing a verse in Isaiah, “I cannot read a sealed book.” Though Anthon later denied the details of Martin’s account of their meeting, we do know this: Martin came away from his visits with the eastern scholars more convinced than ever that Joseph Smith was called of God and that the plates and characters were ancient. He and Joseph viewed the visit to Anthon as a fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy (also mentioned in the Book of Mormon itself) of “a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed” (see “Martin Haris’s Consultation with Scholars,” Church History Topics, ChurchofJesusChrist.org).
In verse 19, Isaiah also refers to Joseph Smith as “a man that is not learned,” remember our definition of a prophet? How Moses and Enoch felt when they were called as prophets? (see D&C 1:19-23).
Emma Smith said this of her husband:
“Joseph Smith could neither write nor dictate a coherent and well-worded letter; let alone dictat[e] a book like the Book of Mormon. . . .
“My belief is that the Book of Mormon is of divine authenticity—I have not the slightest doubt of it. I am satisfied that no man could have dictated the writing of the manuscripts unless he was inspired; for, when acting as his scribe, [he] would dictate to me hour after hour; and when returning after meals, or after interruptions, he would at once begin where he had left off, without either seeing the manuscript or having any portion of it read to him. This was a usual thing for him to do. It would have been improbable that a learned man could do this; and, for one so ignorant and unlearned as he was, it was simply impossible” (“Last Testimony of Sister Emma,” The Saints’ Herald, vol. 26, no. 19 [Oct. 1, 1879], 290).
The Book of Mormon will come forth at a time when there is great wickedness. In the next segment, Nephi will warn us about the cause of this wickedness.
What do you think this is a picture of? If you answered “a field of flax,” you are absolutely right.
Let’s turn to 2 Nephi 26:22 and see what this picture has to do with Nephi's description of flaxen cords:
“And there are also secret combinations, even as in times of old, according to the combinations of the devil, for he is the founder of all these things; yea, the founder of murder, and works of darkness; yea, and he leadeth them by the neck with a flaxen cord, until he bindeth them with his strong cords forever.”
Why would this be the metaphor for Satan’s tricks? Flax is a soft strand. We won’t have an awareness that we are captive until it is too late. It won’t chafe at first.
Nephi takes up space on the plates to warn us about Satan and how he works, flaxen cords and all. This is so important for us to know. It's like getting the game film of all game films of our opponent.
Let’s take a look at Satan’s subtlety in 2 Nephi 28.
READ 2 Nephi 28:15–30: Satan’s tactics
Listen to how the First Presidency described Satan in 1975:
“He is working under such perfect disguise that many do not recognize either him or his methods. There is no crime he would not commit, no debauchery he would not set up, no plague he would not send, no heart he would not break, no life he would not take, no soul he would not destroy. He comes as a thief in the night; he is a wolf in sheep’s clothing” (Messages of the First Presidency, comp. James R. Clark, 6 vols., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965–75, 6:179).
Satan isn’t going anywhere, and he certainly doesn’t have any plans to let up. I like this quote: “the Devil is not smart because he is the devil; he is smart because he is old.” (LeRoy Hatch, Guatemala City Temple president, being quoted by Elder Faust in the October 1987 general conference “Satan the Great Imitator”)
Nephi warned that those who gave in to these devilish tactics would experience sorrow and suffering. And so, in God’s goodness he gives us scriptures, his word that will help us combat Satan—like a textbook. But the Bible isn’t the only textbook we need. The next segment introduces men’s resistance to accept that there could be more scripture.
Turn to 2 Nephi 27:26:
“Therefore, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, yea, a marvelous work and a wonder, for the wisdom of their wise and learned shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent shall be hid.”
Highlight “marvelous work and a wonder” and cross reference that with 2 Nephi 29:1. “Marvelous work and wonder” used several times in scripture (1 Nephi 14:7, 22:8, 2 Nephi 27:26, 29:1) and goes back to Isaiah 29:14.
President Russell M. Nelson said this “marvelous work would include the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and the Restoration of the gospel” (President Russell M. Nelson, “Scriptural Witnesses,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2007, 46).
When it comes to the Restoration of the gospel and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, what do you consider to be “marvelous” and “a wonder”?
Let’s cross reference 2 Nephi 29:1 with 3 Nephi 21:9-10 because I think this is really cool–the Savior confirmed the words of Isaiah concerning this marvelous work and wonder when he spoke to the Nephites in 3 Nephi 21:9-10.
In the next segment, we are going to discuss God’s law of witness.
In 2 Nephi 29:2-3, what word tells us how this marvelous work of the Book of Mormon will go forth? HISS. The word “hiss” means to go forth with intensity.
Here is what President Ezra Taft Benson had to say about the word:
"We, the members of the Church, and particularly the missionaries, have to be the 'hissers,' or the tellers and testifiers, of the Book of Mormon unto the ends of the earth.
"The Book of Mormon is the great standard we are to use. It shows that Joseph Smith was a prophet. It contains the words of Christ, and its great mission is to bring men to Christ and all other things are secondary. The golden question of the Book of Mormon is 'Do you want to learn more of Christ?' The Book of Mormon is the great finder of the golden contact. It does not contain things which are 'pleasing unto the world' (1 Ne. 6:5), and so the worldly are not interested in it. It is a great sieve (Ezra Taft Benson, “The Book of Mormon is the Word of God,” April 1975 general conference).
What are some ways you “hiss forth” when it comes to sharing the gospel?
Let's talk about a saying found in 2 Nephi 29:3,6: “A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more a Bible.” I recognize that this is very familiar to some, especially missionaries who heard this from investigators. But why is it important that we have more than one source of scripture?
First, let's look at 2 Nephi 29:4-8:
- Nephi gives credit to the Jews for the Bible (v. 4–5).
- We need the words of other nations, including the Nephites (v. 7).
- Why is it important to have the Book of Mormon and the Bible? Because of the law of witnesses:
READ 2 Nephi 29: Law of Witnesses:
2 Nephi 29:8 declares that the Book of Mormon is a witness that “I am God and that I remember one nation like unto another.”
The law of witnesses has always been a part of the Lord’s work on earth. This law states that “in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established” this is first found in Deut.17:6 and 19:15.
“At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.”
“One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.”
Nephi was keeping in harmony with Biblical law, which stipulated the need for witnesses (both mortal and divine) to properly execute legal decisions and authenticate religious claims.
Another cross reference for the law of witnesses is D&C 6:28, which explains why missionaries go two by two.
Orson Pratt said:
“A person cannot be a witness to that which he merely believes. God requires mankind, or certain individuals among mankind, to be witnesses for him—witnesses of his existence—so that they can bear testimony to others” (Journal of Discourses, 16:209–10).
Elder Neal A Maxwell said this of another witness:
“Lost books are among the treasures yet to come forth. Over twenty of these are mentioned in the existing scriptures. Perhaps most startling and voluminous will be the records of the lost tribes of Israel (see 2 Nephi 29:13). We would not even know of the impending third witness for Christ except through the precious Book of Mormon, the second witness for Christ! This third set of sacred records will thus complete a triad of truth. Then, just as the Perfect Shepherd has said, ‘My word also shall be gathered in one’ (v. 14). There will be ‘one fold and one shepherd’ (1 Nephi 22:25) in a welding together of all the Christian dispensations of human history (see D&C 128:18)” (Neal A. Maxwell, “God Will Yet Reveal,” Ensign, Nov. 1986, 52).
In the next chapter, 2 Nephi 30, Nephi prophesied a lot of things in 18 verses:
- Many Gentiles (in this context, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) will believe the words of the Book of Mormon.
- The Gentiles will bring the words of the Book of Mormon to the descendants of Lehi.
- These descendants will be restored to the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
- The scattered Jews will also begin to believe in the Savior, and they, as well as the believing descendants of Lehi, will become “a delightsome people” (v. 6, 7) and will take the gospel to all nations of the earth.
- Israel will be restored.
- The wicked will be destroyed.
In the next segment, we will discuss what this looks like and define specific words that will help us better understand Christs coming and the Millennium
Think back to 1974, how old were you? Were you even born yet?
In 1974, President Spencer W. Kimball said this as he addressed a group of youth:
“An awareness of the existence, the power, and the plans of Satan—together with a compelling and vibrant testimony of God and the gospel and of the plans of our Father given though Jesus Christ, his Son, and the living prophets—can help them [us] achieve unprecedented accomplishments, which may affect their [our] lives eternally” ( President Spencer W. Kimball, quoted by Elder ElRay L. Christiansen, “Power Over Satan,” Oct. 1974 general conference).
This sums up what we have been talking about today and so does 2 Nephi 30.
2 Nephi 30: The chapter heading reads in part that: Israel will be restored, and the wicked will be destroyed.
2 Nephi 30:9-18 can also be found in Isaiah 11, let's read about that and define some of the words/phrases:
- Rod of his mouth and breath of his lips: The word of truth uttering judgment against evil (v.9).
- Girdle of his loins: The word “girdle” in Hebrew is “sash.” The sash is wrapped and tied somewhere between the waist and hips. The Lord girds His loins with righteousness as He prepares to do His important work (v.11).
- The loins symbolize the creative powers (Gen. 35:11; 1 Kings 8:19; Acts 2:30). These items of clothing, the girdle of the loins and the sash around the waist, are also suggestive of temple ordinances (v.11).
2 Nephi 30:12-15 describes how amazing that day will be when Christ comes again.
- Peace in the land (v.12)
- The “young ones” or generations—the Millennium will last for generations
- “Asp” and “cockatrice” refer to very venomous/poisonous serpents (v.14)
- “Holy mountain” or the earth in its glorified/temple state (v.15)
- “Knowledge,” Joseph Smith said this is referring to “sacred knowledge” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 93)
- Everything will be revealed (v. 16-17, also see D&C 1:3,101:32-34).
- And the ultimate accomplishment will be that Satan has no more power (v.18)
Why will Satan have no more power? 1 Nephi 22:24-26:
24 And the time cometh speedily that the righteous must be led up as calves of the stall, and the Holy One of Israel must reign in dominion, and might, and power, and great glory.
25 And he gathereth his children from the four quarters of the earth; and he numbereth his sheep, and they know him; and there shall be one fold and one shepherd; and he shall feed his sheep, and in him they shall find pasture.
26 And because of the righteousness of his people, Satan has no power; wherefore, he cannot be loosed for the space of many years; for he hath no power over the hearts of the people, for they dwell in righteousness, and the Holy One of Israel reigneth.
It is your testimony that will destroy Satan (Rev. 12:11).
Elder Richard G Scott said this about a testimony:
“A strong testimony has sustained prophets throughout the ages and fortified them to act with courage and determination in times of difficulty. A powerful testimony can do the same for you. As you fortify your own personal testimony, you will have power to make correct choices so that you can stand unwaveringly against the pressures of an increasingly vicious world. Your personal security and happiness depend upon the strength of your testimony, for it will guide your actions in times of trial or uncertainty.
"Honestly evaluate your personal life. How strong is your own testimony? [as you strengthen your testimony]…Satan will try harder to tempt you. Resist his efforts. You will become stronger and his influence on you weaker. Satan’s increasing influence in the world is allowed to provide an atmosphere in which to prove ourselves. While he causes havoc today, Satan’s final destiny was fixed by Jesus Christ through His Atonement and Resurrection. The devil will not triumph” (Elder Richard G Scott, “The Power of a Strong Testimony,” Oct. 2001 general conference).
I got a story for you. In 1997, President Gordon B. Hinckley walked into a room where I was seated. I just sat there in complete shock. And I had to keep doing double takes because I was like, "Is that really the prophet?" You know, because you kind of like, "Is that really someone famous?" And so I was totally starstruck, I'll admit. I've never met a prophet in my life, so I just stared like a total goon, totally stared the Prophet. And as I was staring at him, I was not prepared for the experience that I had. I mean, I get emotional still about it. I was sitting there, and I just started bawling, and tears filled my eyes, and these words popped into my head that said, "He is my Prophet, that man is the Prophet of God." I think what surprised me is I was so dumbfounded by that experience because up until that moment, I've never really had a personal witness that the Prophet was a Prophet of God.
I knew all the prophets in order but I had a testimony that the Prophet was who he was, but I had never had a personal witness, and that was really important because at the time I didn't know this, but now hindsight, I look back and that experience was preparatory to something I would have happen to me in the year 2000, just three years later. And I'm going to tell you that story later, as we talk today about Second Nephi chapters 26 through 30. We're going to talk about these chapters and the necessity of a living prophet, and how following the prophet will help strengthen our testimony and prepares us for the second coming of Christ.
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, I want to tell you something that is so cool about this study group because the more I think about it, the more I love it. So most podcasts are one hour long, and you just sit and listen from beginning to end. This podcast, however, is broken up into six segments,and each segment is around 10 to 12 minutes long. And so you can just listen to one segment and then go do your daily stuff, so it's kind of like studying your Scriptures for 10 minutes a day. How great is that? You know when you hear some music that the segment's over, and then you can go and I don't know run kids around, clean a toilet, or eat a bon-bon, that's what I would do.
Another awesome thing about our study group is that each week we're joined by two of my friends, and it's a little different each week. So today we have Sharon Staples and Morgan Jones.
Hi, howdy doody, everyone.
Howdy Doody, Sharon.
I don't think I can top that "howdy doody."
I don't think you can either.
I don't think it gets any better than that.
But Morgan, here's something kind of cool if you guys don't know this already, by the name "Morgan Jones." She's the host of the podcast All In. And that is so fun.
I am. It's so fun. I love it.
How did you get started?
Well, when I started at LDS Living, they were kind of trying to develop some podcasts. I had come over from Deseret News, and my experience was all in writing feature stories about people and interviewing ithem. So interviewing people is something that I love and so it's just fun to like get to talk to people. I just love people.
Well, that's evident because you just met Sharon for the first time and I wish we had a video or a picture of this. We should probably take pictures because you started asking Sharon questions like she was on a podcast, and the way you sit is like the thinking man, like, you really and you were into everything Sharon was saying, I saw that and thought "she really knows what she's doing."
Well, Tammy and Sharon said that they learn Hebrew together and I was like, "Okay, well then what inspires somebody to want to learn Hebrew?"
Did you say insanity? Was that your answer?
Well, no. Thought about it, but I didn't.
Well, I'm so happy to have you both here. And for those of you listening, if you want to know more about our guests, you can find the information about our study group participants every week in our show notes, and you'll find those at LDS Living.com/SundayonMonday.
This week, we're talking about so many things you guys. We are studying. Second Nephi chapters 26 through 30. We're going to talk about prophets, Satan's tactics, the millennium, the Book of Mormon, and then we're going to come back into some more of Isaiah, you ready for Isaiah?
Isaiah is clearer for some reason in these chapters than he has been before.
Then let's get to that chapter. I can't wait for your insights. So grab your scriptures and let's dig in. We are going to start with second Nephi chapter 26. All right, I want to know this. Who is your childhood Prophet? My Prophet is Spencer W. Kimball.
So my childhood Prophet would be Gordon B. Hinckley.
I don't have a childhood prophet, you know, convert, so I have to claim them all.
Who is the prophet when you joined the Church?
David O. McKay, sweet man, I love him.
David O McKay was my favorite part of the prophet's song in primary where we named all the prophets in order because you would say, "David, O. McKay." Anyway, what do you remember? What do you like about him?
Just that he was the one when I would join the church. My dilemma with the prophets is, I have to go back to the Prophet Joseph Smith. If he heard what he said he heard, saw what he said he saw, and he was the Prophet for the Restoration of the Gospel in the fullness of times, then everything that follows that every prophet that follows him is a no brainer. If the Prophet Joseph Smith was a prophet, and then President Nelson is a Prophet, by default, A equals B, B equals C, A equals C. It just follows, it's just rational, logical. So not only do I have a testimony spiritually of the prophets, I have one rationally of the prophets it makes sense.
I like that because basically what you're saying is, "You have to have a testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith." That's the foundation.
To me it is.
Well, after reading some of these chapters for me, I was like, "How can he not be a prophet? It's right here."
And Nephi was a Prophet. I mean, it's just sweet.
Morgan, what are your thoughts?
Well, it's interesting when you were talking earlier about having Gordon B. Hinckley walk into the room, so I never met Gordon B. Hinckley, but when I was young, probably like 14 years old, my family was staying in a Marriott Hotel, before regional conference and President Thomas S. Monson, who was a counselor in the First Presidency at the time, was staying in our hotel. Anyway, long story short, we stalked him in the hotel lobby, he came down, he took a picture with all of us, and it was a similar experience for me just to be like, "Oh, wow, this is a prophet, seer, and revelator." At the time, he was not the prophet, but interesting because when President Monson passed away, I found myself thinking about what was the legacy that he would leave behind. And how had having a prophet shaped like my generation. And I ended up writing this piece for Deseret News. And it was "How a Prophet Shaped My Generation," I think was the headline of it, but it was that I had felt that my peers were better at loving people and loving the one because of President Monson because that was what he was all about. And so we may miss a lot of things, like there may be things that my generation is not great at. But if there's one thing that I think we are good at, it's loving people, and I think that's the result of having a prophet.
Amen. Thank you, both of you for sharing that. So what stood out to me in second Nephi chapter 26 was, the problem is that the people weren't following the prophet. So let's just go to second Nephi chapter 26 verse three and five. And here's what I want you to do. Sharon, you look at verse three, and Morgan, look at verse five. And just tell me and you can even shout out the words, of how the people treated the prophet at the time.
Slay them and stone them and they were pretty mean, I mean when they slay them.
Morgan what do they do your verse?
Over here I've got "kill, cover, the mountain shall cover them, whirlwinds carry them away, buildings fall upon them and crush them, and grind them to powder." Pretty graphic.
And that's what will happen to those who don't follow the prophet. Yeah, because they killed the prophets, they cast away the prophets. So these verses of scripture is saying, look, if you're not going to follow the prophet and believe in a prophet, but not even follow, you're going to cast them out, you're going to slay them, you're going to be all sorts of awful. Nephi is going to give us a little bit of like a warning with some hope. Go to second Nephi 26 verse eight, and Morgan read verse eight out loud, and highlight this in your scriptures and teach this to your kids. This is why it's so important to follow a prophet.
"But behold, the righteous that hearken unto the words of the prophets, and destroy them not, but look forward unto Christ with steadfastness for the signs which are given, notwithstanding all persecution—behold, they are they which shall not perish."
What I love about this verse is the ending, "you will not perish." And so you can say, "then you will be saved," like how powerful to follow a prophet. Let's go to Deuteronomy chapter 18, verse 20. It's important for us to note what is said in here about prophets. Morgan, will you read Deuteronomy chapter 18, and read verse 20.
"But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die."
Morgan, sum that up for us.
I guess it's saying that the prophet will not speak things that he's not been commanded to speak, and if he does, then he'll die. Is that right?
Yeah. Can a living prophet lead us astray?
And this is what President Wilford Woodruff said...
Okay, what did he say about this?
"I say unto Israel, the Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the program of the Church. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so he will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray, from the oracles of God and from their duty."
Pretty plain, indeed.
Well what happens when a prophet says something you don't agree with, though, and then some people interpret that as being led astray?
I've never disagreed with what a prophet has said.
I think that whereas there are many things that are just easy to accept. I know that there are some things I've had friends who there have been things that are kind of hard for them to understand and sometimes the prophet asks us to do things that may seem little and simple. I know I had a mission companion, who her mom had two sets of earrings when President Hinckley, you know said the thing about only having one set, and she said that she thought to herself, like, "Oh, my mom has two sets of earrings," and she said that her mom just came home and chucked the second set of earrings and to my friend, she was like, "You know, it was such a little thing, but witnessing my mom's faith in that council was so impressive." I think that sometimes though, that requires, especially when it's something bigger than a second set of earrings, it requires internal searching and taking the time to be like, "Okay, this is something Heavenly Father that's hard for me." And I just read a quote the other day about how Heavenly Father can handle us being mad and not understanding things, and I think sometimes we feel guilt over our inability to understand and we shouldn't, we should just come to God and understand that he understands why we're mad, and why we may struggle to understand what's being asked of us.
So, Morgan, it's fascinating that you would share a story about a woman who just came home and took out her earrings. I did not have the same experience. I had completely the opposite. It was three years after I got a testimony that Gordon B. Hinckley was a prophet, like that I shared at the beginning, now it's the year 2000, I'm in the tabernacle, I got a ticket to go and I was sitting there by myself and I heard the Prophet say, "One modest pair of earrings and no tattoos." And immediately in my mind, I said, "Well from now on," because I have three earrings in my left ear and two in my right, because it was a rite of passage in my family. When a girl would go on a mission or at one of my sisters, we'd go get our ear pierced again. So I had three sisters that served missions. So three holes, and I know that sounds silly to you people. It was cool in the 90s. All right, and it was not a big deal.
Very, I was the hippest person ever. I had three and two. And so when he said that I really thought like, "Well, from here on out," like people who have the piercings, you can keep them in. And so I was a seminary teacher. I went to school the next day to teach seminary. And all my students walked in and they said, "Can you believe what the prophet said? Can you believe it?" And I said, "Yeah, you guys, he means from here on out." And I had girls come to me and say, "You didn't take out your earrings?" And I was like, "You guys, you can still feel the spirit if you have more than one piercings. So ridiculous." And they're like, "But we did." I mean, I had students that took your earrings out. I'm like, "Oh, bless your heart." I didn't take those earrings out.
A whole week went by, two weeks went by then the Prophet says it in General Conference, because he first announced it in the women's session. And I was like, "From here on out," he's not talking about me. And students kept asking me why I'm not following the Prophet. And I just didn't really think that was part of the problem. And by the end of the week, I was determined to get an answer. And I said, "You know what, I'm going to go find out if I really have to take these out." So I went up into the mountains, I took my scriptures, I got out, parked in the camping spot. I read my scriptures then I prayed, "Heavenly Father, am I supposed to take my earrings out?" And I will do it if you tell me to do it. I just waited. And then this thought came in that said, "Take them out."
And my response was, "But why? It's so silly. I don't even get it. Like it's cool to wear these earrings. I just think it's the weirdest thing ever Heavenly Father, why, why?" And then I waited, and got the most perfect answer for me. And I knew right then and I felt the Spirit. And I took my earrings out, and I haven't put them back in since. For me now it's clear because there have been times when the prophets have said things since that I'm like, "Really, I don't know, what." And then I get on my knees. And I say, "Give me a witness." And then truth flows through my brain and helps me understand why they're doing what they're doing and it makes sense.
And bless those people who just obey. Obedience is better than sacrifice. And so you do it, and you find out why afterwards.
I like the "find out why afterwards."
All of this talk about a prophet is the perfect setup for what we're going to talk about next because the next two and three chapters are about Joseph Smith. So in our next segment, we are going to go over some of these verses that describe some experiences with Joseph Smith.
Segment 2 14:05
Here's a fun story. In the spring and early summer of 1828, when Martin Harris and Joseph Smith were working on some of the translations, they would often take breaks and they would go down to where the river was. And one time they were walking, and Martin Harris was looking down at some rocks, and he had this idea. "I'm going to take this stone because it looks like the seer stone, and I'm going to replace it with the actual seer stone and see if Joseph notices." So they got back to the beginning to start to translate again, and sure enough, Martin switch the stones when Joseph wasn't looking. When Joseph was unable to continue translating Martin confessed his ruse, and returned the seer stone. When Joseph asked him why he had done it, Martin explained, quote, "To stop the mouths of fools who had told him that the Prophet had learned those sentences and was merely repeating them." Morgan you seem like you knew that story because you grinned.
I've always thought that is so interesting. Like, you think, "Oh I'm gonna pull one over on him."
"On the Prophet."
Yeah. And he's like, "no."
"Not gonna happen."
What what do you think Martin was thinking?
Whatever it was, it was stupid. I mean, why would you? Why would you test the Prophet? Only Heavenly Father can do that.
And when he passed the test, then what do you think Martin was thinking?
Well, I hope he was humbled, my gosh.
Martin had his humbled moments, am I right?
Yeah, he did.
Yes, I like that. All right, let's go into second Nephi chapter 26 because Joseph Smith now is translating. But before he got the plates, there were prophecies about the plates coming forth. And I think two verses that are pretty important are found in second Nephi chapter 26, verse 16, and 17. And Sharon, will you read both of those verses please.
"For those who shall be destroyed shall aspeak unto them out of the ground, and their speech shall be low out of the dust, and their voice shall be as one that hath a familiar spirit; for the Lord God will give unto him power, that he may whisper concerning them, even as it were out of the ground; and their speech shall whisper out of the dust."
Pause for a second there. Let's go through and highlight or mark some of these words so we know what this is talking about. So the beginning starts, "For those who shall be destroyed," that's talking about Nephi's people, and then it says, "Shall speak to them out of the ground." Now that's an important phrase, mark that in your scriptures. We're going to come back to it in just a minute. "...and their speech shall be low out of the dust, and their voice shall be as one that hath a familiar spirit; for the Lord God will give unto him..." circle the word "him" and put "Joseph Smith." Joseph Smith will be given power that he may whisper concerning them. But even as it were, "out of the ground," where did Joseph Smith obtain the plates?
Yeah, out of the ground.
Out of the ground. That verse is a direct prophecy of Joseph Smith. There's some really great quotes about this. In fact, Morgan, will you read this quote to us? This is what Orson Pratt has to say about that specific verse.
Elder Orson Pratt said, "One of the most marvelous things connected with this prediction is that after the nation should be brought down, they should speak out of the ground. Never was a prophecy more truly fulfilled than this. In the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith took that sacred history out of the ground. It is the voice of the ancient prophets of America speaking out of the ground, their speech is low of the dust, it speaks in a most familiar manner of the doings of bygone ages. It is the voice of those who slumber in the dust. It is a voice of prophet's speaking from the dead, crying repentance in the ears of the living. Their voice, speech, or words can only speak out of the ground or whisper out of the dust by their books or writings being discovered."
It's a really cool quote.
That's a great one. Thank you for doing that. Now, Sharon read verse 17.
"For thus saith the Lord God: They shall write the things which shall be done among them, and they shall be written and sealed up in a book, and those who have dwindled in unbelief shall not have them, for they seek to destroy the things of God."
Highlight the "sealed up" part, and I'm going to give you a cross reference. Put second Nephi chapter 27 verses six and seven, and 12, because they talk about this "sealed portion" and we've heard this before that there is a sealed portion the plates. So here's a trivia question for you guys. Can you tell me what percentage of the plates were actually sealed? What percentage could not be translated by Joseph Smith?
What is, I have no idea.
And I haven't a clue.
What is, I didn't either till I look this up. This is pretty fascinating. And there's a talk by Elder Maxwell. And in the show notes, we'll put the reference for that as well as the Church website, the ChurchofJesusChrist.org. The amount of plates that were sealed up is two thirds to one half of all the plates you got. Isn't that amazing? Two thirds -- we still don't have access to.
I was going to say "two thirds" and you were gonna say "one half" right?
I love that. Morgan. Will you read second Nephi 27 verses six and seven. That's what we cross referenced with.
"And it shall come to pass that the Lord God shall bring forth unto you the words of a book, and they shall be the words of them which have slumbered. And behold the book shall be sealed; and in the book shall be a revelation from God, from the beginning of the world to the ending thereof."
So, Tammy, I have a quick question. When you say "sealed," what exactly does that mean?
That's a very good question. Sharon?
I happened to have looked that up.
Sharon, you got me.
In Brother Viata's book, "A Study Guide for the Book of Mormon," he says, "The legal practice in Israel around 600 BC, was to double and to seal and to witness documents." And so what you do is you fold them over, you seal them, and they come forth when there's a witness to those documents.
And Nephi thought, the final Nephite record as having two parts, one sealed, and the other not sealed, which is what it says in the scriptures.
So the significance of that, Sharon, would be, if we take that in context that they have been folded over and they're waiting for a witness, which is exactly what second Nephi 27 says. Look at verses 10 through 12. Sharon, will you read those? And as a side note, this is in Isaiah 29. This is where we get into Isaiah. So Nephi is just writing the words of Isaiah. So he's gonna see this and predict all of this about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. Go ahead.
"But the words which are sealed he shall not deliver, neither shall he deliver the book. For the book shall be sealed by the power of God, and the revelation which was sealed shall be kept in the book until the own due time of the Lord, that they may come forth; for behold, they reveal all things from the foundation of the world unto the end thereof."
So that's really helpful, Sharon. Let's read the next verse and see what this says about it.
"And the day cometh that the words of the book which were sealed shall be read upon the house tops; and they shall be read by the power of Christ; and all things shall be revealed unto the children of men which ever have been among the children of men, and which ever will be even unto the end of the earth."
From that verse Sharon, who do you think the witness will be that will open or unseal those plates?
I don't know. But what I got from that was, "shall be read upon the housetops," antennas, satellites, TV, all the technology that we have today. This book will be read worldwide through technology.
Well and I like that it's done through the power of Christ.
So Morgan, does that help a little bit with the idea of being sealed?
Yeah, it is helpful.
I like how this quote on the church website says, "Few people have seen the sealed record—for instance, the Nephites in the land Bountiful at the Savior’s coming (see Ether 4:1–2) and Moroni (see Ether 12:24). The Lord said the sealed portion would be revealed to the world “in mine own due time” (Ether 3:27)." and the cross reference for that is Ether, chapter three, verse 27, "when he sees fit," so we have these sealed records, now why do we need to know about this? This is what's so cool in the history of our church.
So Martin Harris has now come to Joseph Smith and he has said, "Listen, I got to take some of these writings. And I think we could take it to someone who can tell us if these really are legit." And so that story is in second Nephi, Chapter 27, verses 15 through 18. And what's so wonderful about this is that Isaiah, he's going to see the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, he's going to see the Prophet Joseph Smith, then he's going to see the witnesses, the witnesses take place in verses 12 through 14. Then he's going to talk about Martin Harris's visit to Professor Anthon, who's going to be an acknowledged expert in ancient languages. So he takes the paperwork to Professor Anthon. And as he looks at them, he agrees, he said, "Yes, these are ancient writings." And then he says, "Let me look at these I want to see where the plates where this came from." And Martin Harris said, "You can't because it's in a sealed portion. We can't let you see it." Professor Anthon said, "I cannot read a Sealed Book," and look at verses 17 and 18.
"And the man shall say: I cannot bring the book, for it is sealed."
That's Martin Harris.
"Then shall the learned say: I cannot read it."
I think this is so neat when we talk about the role that a prophet would play and that Isaiah would see the future of this prophet. I think it's interesting in the next verse...
That's the verse I like, so read verse 19.
"Wherefore it shall come to pass, that the Lord God will deliver again the book and the words thereof to him that is not learned; and the man that is not learned shall say: I am not learned."
Yes. I always wonder if it made him feel bad when he wrote though. I am not, I'm not that smart. I don't know. There's such a fun quote where Emma says "he couldn't even write a letter." We'll put these in our show notes, but she said, "He couldn't write or dictate a coherent or well worded letter, let alone dictate a book like the Book of Mormon." He just wasn't learned. And now it makes me think of the word for prophet in Hebrew. The word for prophet in Hebrew is "Navi" and it means "prophet" or "spokesman." And when you think about the first thing Moses said, when the Lord said, "You're going to be the Prophet," Moses is like, "But I can't speak. I'm not very good at speaking." He didn't think like, "I'm not worthy." He's just like...
"I'm not eloquent."
"I'm not eloquent." Exactly. And Joseph is not learned. And then we know that wonderful scripture where he takes the weak things of the world, and makes them powerful.
Makes them strong.
Makes them strong. Absolutely. These verses, how have they had an effect right now on the way you think about Joseph Smith?
I think it's interesting. I've heard that story many times, I've never looked at the verses and exactly thought, "Wow, that's exactly what happened." I also don't think I ever connected that it was Isaiah. So it's not only that it's in the Book of Mormon, like if somebody was saying Joseph Smith wrote it, it's one thing to say that, but it's another thing to say, "Oh, wait, this is Isaiah chapter 29."
And it really is. And if you go to the Bible, you can compare and that's written in like 700 BC, Isaiah is writing. Morgan, great insight. Second Nephi chapter 26 and 27, when you read it in its entirety, it actually sets up all of these verses we read by saying that when the Book of Mormon comes forth, it's going to be a really wicked time. And people are going to be contesting in religions and in life and Satan is going to unleash all of his tactics. So in the next segment, we are going to talk about what those tactics are.
Segment 3 25:18
Alright, second Nephi chapter 28, it might be one of my favorite chapters, and whenever I teach seminary, or any group of youth, I always try to work this into the lesson. It's kind of like having the perfect game tape, and no other game tape beats this one, then second Nephi 28. I'm going to show you guys a picture. And I want you to tell me what you see. So for those of you listening, you can see this picture in our show notes, but Morgan and Sharon, describe what you're looking at in this picture. Okay, here you go.
It looks like a field of wild flowers. They're lavender colored.
Delicate and fragile and grouped together. There's a whole bunch of them; they're growing together.
Aren't they so pretty?
Uh huh. They're gorgeous.
Are they lilacs?
No, but they are like a little tiny blue color.
So this is a field of flax and flax is what we use to get the material for linen. Now why is flax important? Go to second Nephi chapter 26 verse 22. Verse 22 is going to tell us about the day we live in and how Satan's gonna grasp us. And Morgan hit it.
I got it.
"And there are also secret combinations, even as in times of old, according to the combinations of the devil, for he is the founder of all these things; yea, the founder of murder, and works of darkness; yea, and he leadeth them by the neck with a flaxen cord, until he bindeth them with his strong cords forever."
So he is going to use a flax and cord, now why do you think they use that word to describe the way that Satan's going to bind us?
A flax and cord is smooth and thin and can be very weak, but if you weave them together, one little sin at a time, one little flax and cord at a time, that's when he leads you carefully down to hell because he has you trapped with that heavy cord, but it's all flaxen, it's one little strip at a time, but you weave them together, and you have the strength of power.
Sharon and I we have a mutual friend, her name is Gina, and I asked our friend this question because Gina has a degree in residential landscape and design and she has a bevy of information about plants. So I just said to her when preparing for this, I said, "Tell me what you know about flax." And so she explained it to me and I said, "Why do you think the scriptures are describing that?" And I like how she said this, she said, "I think it's because it's a softer cord rather than a rougher one. We won't have awareness and we are captive until it's too late. It won't chafe at first. Like it won't irritate your skin. It'll be soft and lovely."
Until eventually you're like, "Oh, I'm stuck."
No, you're totally right, Morgan. So a cross reference for that verse that we read then is second Nephi 28. Here are the things that Satan will use against us in this day and they're just a couple verses not very long. It's verses 20 through 23. And it says, "For behold, at that day..." highlight at that day when you hear that in scripture, it means "now." It means "today," "the last days."
"...at that day shall he rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good."
True or false.
How do you see it?
Well, look at the wars and rumors of wars. Look at what's going on, neighbor against neighbor, look what's going on in our political arena today, even this very day. They're stirred up.
Definitely, look at the next verse.
"And others will he apacify, and lull them away into carnal bsecurity, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the cdevil dcheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell."
What stood out to you in those verses?
So last night, I was reading over these chapters because I knew that we'd be discussing them and I thought it was interesting, I think sometimes, especially here in Utah, I think that we sometimes think, "Well, we're fine, like everyone else is the problem." And I've been thinking a lot about Joseph Smith lately, per President Nelson's invitation to study Joseph Smith history and thinking about what led him to pray. And the thing that led him to pray was not like some big thing. It was that people were joining churches and the people were like welcoming them in. But then the second that they went to another church, they were being, like, cast out and not treated well. I feel like we do the same thing sometimes. And so I think sometimes we view other people as the problem like, "Oh, other people, other churches may have this issue, but we're all good. All as well in Zion." And I think we may be totally missing the mark. Like if that was what Joseph Smith was concerned about, if that's what led him to pray, are we not becoming the very thing that he was trying to find? Does that make sense?
Yeah. Well, let me ask you this Morgan, what do you think of when you read the word "pacify?" Is there anything that comes to mind when you hear that word?
Right? What do we use pacifiers for?
To stop the baby from crying, to stop the baby from fussing, to stop the baby from being a baby.
I have this vision in my mind of Satan holding me and like when you go out into the foyer at church, and see these moms pacify their babies and I think of Satan doing that with us like, "Shh everything's going to be fine. You don't have to worry about any of this." In fact, the very last word that describes how he leads us, what is that word?
"Leadeth away carefully down to Hell."
How does he do it?
By pacifying, cheating, and by flattering, and carefully.
Like the word "carefully" kills me because in my mind, I don't think Satan's careful about anything. Like I think he's a lunatic. And I think he's like all over the place. And he's mad man, you know, and the idea that he's careful about anything is scary to me. Look at the next verse.
"And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance."
Okay, wat's he trying to convince us, there's no what?
There's no Hell...
...and no devil? And if he can convince us there's no hell or devil, then what's the opposing of that then there must not be a...?
A God. Absolutely. And I just think it's interesting too, because he whispers in our ears.
It's a quiet voice. It's hard because the still small voice is a quiet voice as well. And we have to have the power of discernment through the Holy Ghost and that these chapters talk about the Holy Ghost and the significance of the Holy Ghost and allowing us that discernment.
And to know the difference. I like that a lot. Thank you, Sharon. This is an interesting quote. This is the First Presidency in 1965. And here's what they wrote about Satan. Sharon, will you read that for us.
“He is working under such perfect disguise that many do not recognize either him or his methods. There is no crime he would not commit, no debauchery he would not set up, no plague he would not send, no heart he would not break, no life he would not take, no soul he would not destroy. He comes as a thief in the night; he is a wolf in sheep’s clothing” (Messages of the First Presidency, comp. James R. Clark, 6 vols., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965–75, 6:179).
I mean, the idea is Satan isn't going anywhere. And he is not about to let up. I like this quote -- The devil is not smart because he's the devil. He's smart because he's old.
Well, that doesn't make me feel good at all.
But he's been doing this forever.
He's a lot older than you, Sharon.
Thank you. Thank you very much.
Let's think about this for a minute because he is everywhere. And when you read that part, "there's no crime he would not commit, no debauchery he would not set up, and no plague he would not send, no heart he would not break."
And what happens when I turn on the television at night to watch the news. I see that in almost every story.
So Sharon, how do you maintain hope when you see all Darkness.
I turn off the television and read the Book of Mormon. I mean, where do you turn when there's evil, you turn to good?
Morgan? How do you combat evil?
It's funny that you asked this question because we were just having an editorial team meeting for LDS Living. And we were talking about how we have to address in our content, tough things that people go through, and that the answer to all those tough things is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. That's what takes any hard thing, any heartbreaking thing, those hearts that Satan breaks, that's what takes it and makes it okay, and gives us hope and allows us to have joy even within the hardest moment. So I think that sometimes we can't just turn it off. Sometimes it's right in front of our face and we have to live in this world. And the key is approaching everything through the lens of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
Here's what I love about both of your answers. And what's so perfect about them is that, you know, God knew this was going to look like this in this day, and the very next chapter is the answer. And it's what you just said it scriptures, and through scriptures comes the Atonement of Jesus Christ. And so second Nephi chapter 29 is going to then introduce us to the Book of Mormon and the Bible, both books that we need to combat evil. We're going to talk about that in the next segment.
Segment 4 34:26
I want you guys to finish this sentence for me. You ready for this? I'm going to give you one word.
Born ready, Tammy.
I'm gonna give you one word. I'm gonna see if you can finish it. Marvelous...
...work and wonder.
Work and wonder.
What? I'm wicked impressed.
Sharon, we nailed that.
We did, yeah.
Yeah, we've got it.
Because I thought food. I mean, you know, ecalir. Marvelous work and a wonder, what do we know about that? And why did you know that that was the answer?
I'll let you take this one.
Gee, thanks Morgan. Because I've heard it from the pulpit so many times. And from the scriptures and knowing that the Book of Mormon is the beginning of a marvelous work and a wonder. It is not the total package. We are still experiencing a marvelous work and a wonder, through our current prophet President Nelson, a marvelous work and a wonder is the gospel.
I only knew it was a book that I got when I went on my mission. They gave you that trilogy -- Jesus the Christ, Marvelous Work and a Wonder, and the Articles of Faith where they stayed beautifully wrapped until I got home from my mission. So I don't think I read that book, but it is a catchphrase. It's something we hear a lot. But we didn't make this up. This is in Isaiah, and it's in the Book of Mormon. Let's go to second Nephi chapter 29 verse one, and here's where we're going to read it. And we read it before in other chapters, but it's worth noting and marking and talking about.
Sharon, will you read verse one for us?
"But behold, there shall be many—at that day when I shall proceed to do a marvelous work among them, that I may remember my covenants which I have made unto the children of men, that I may set my hand again the second time to recover my people, which are of the house of Israel;"
Now, Sharon, I really, really appreciate that you said the Book of Mormon is the beginning of this marvelous work and wonder, and that we're living in it. Tell me a little bit more about that when you said it.
Well, the gathering we're doing now, that's part of a marvelous work and a wonder, not only the gathering of the saints to various places, but the gathering through family history, that's a marvelous work and a wonder and current revelation, and the continuing of the restoration of the Gospel. The Gospel has not been completely restored.
That's important for us to point out. Joseph Smith began the restoration, but It didn't end with him. And things are constantly being restored, right?
I feel like that's a catchphrase right now. Ongoing restoration. I know President Nelson has used those words and other church leaders and I think it's just so key for us to remember the restoration was not a moment in time, we are a part of it.
I would put this cross reference next to verse one in second Nephi chapter 29. Put third Nephi chapter 21 verses nine through 10. That's third Nephi chapter 21, verses nine through 10. And let's go there because this is such an important phrase for us to understand, so important that when the Savior came to visit the Nephites, he actually will use this phrase. Morgan hit it.
"For in that day..."
Oh, what is that "in that day" mean?
Yes, very good, there's that phrase. Go ahead.
9 "For in that day, for my sake shall the Father work a work, which shall be a great and a marvelous work among them; and there shall be among them those who will not believe it, although a man shall declare it unto them."
10 "But behold, the life of my servant shall be in my hand; therefore they shall not hurt him, although he shall be marred because of them. Yet I will heal him, for I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil."
Can I ask a question?
So if we're talking about Joseph Smith there, and it says "they shall not hurt him" but they killed him.
That's a great question. I think Morgan one of the best things we can do is look at this from God's perspective and not man's perspective. And when we take God's perspective versus ours, boy, Joseph, I mean, he was hurt on many levels. Ultimately, he died, right? But what was hurt, anything?
Yeah, they didn't stop him from doing what he came here to do.
And maybe that word "hurt," we see it with a physical eye. Like, "Ouch, that hurt," and yet with a...
...spiritual eye, the work is going forward because of him no matter what.
Yeah, nothing hurt the work.
It's interesting because the footnote for "marred" in verse 10 actually takes you to Doctrine and Covenants 135 verse one where Joseph is shot in Carthage.
Oh, that's awesome.
So it's not like we're trying to say it's stating clearly that's what we're talking about here, and it didn't hurt him.
Well, I'm glad you noticed that cross reference, because yeah, he died, and the work continued. Wow, that's great. I love when people ask questions because then it just gets you thinking and takes us into a whole other place. So thank you, Morgan for asking that. Okay, when we talk about this, and we talk about the Lord's Church, when we talk about it being a marvelous work in a wonder, of course, I had to look it up in Hebrew and the word "marvelous," is something that is "surpassing" or "extraordinary." And so here's my question, how has this been surpassing or extraordinary for you, Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon? Is there anything that comes to mind?
I would say the Book of Mormon, I have found myself recently just thinking about how fortunate we are to have the Book of Mormon. I study the Bible frequently with friends who are not members of our faith, and they do so much with what they have that it leaves me in awe, but I also find myself so many times wanting to be like, well in the scripture in the Book of Mormon says this to add to the conversation and then I realized like, that's not going to add to this conversation for them. So I just stay silent. But I think that there are so many things that we don't even realize that we know those things because of the Book of Mormon. And that's pretty marvelous.
Morgan, that is a perfect way to do that. It is marvelous.
Well, the Book of Mormon teaches of the atonement. And like you said earlier, Morgan, it's all about the atonement. And so what studying the scriptures and studying the Book of Mormon is all about, is bringing me closer to my Savior, which is the sweetest thing that can ever happen to anyone.
Thank you for sharing that. Especially when you share it and you can feel it.
I can feel it.
And the spirit witnesses to us that it is marvelous. It is extraordinary.
In the next segment we're going to talk about then what we do with what we just shared. Those of you who are listening, as you thought about how the Book of Mormon, and the restoration is extraordinary to you. The Scriptures are pretty specific about what we do with that knowledge. And we'll talk about that in the next segment.
Segment 5 40:55
In Second Nephi chapter 29, I want you both, Morgan and Sharon. I want you to look at verse two, and tell me how does Nephi tell us that we're supposed to share our message or share what we believe, there's one specific word and when I read this, it kind of seems a little like, "ah."
Yes, that is the word.
"...hiss forth unto the cends of the earth, for a dstandard unto my people..."
What do you think of when you hear the word "hiss?"
Absolutely. I thought the same thing like this can't be good. And then I read and did some research and the word "hiss" means, and you can even put this in your scriptures next to that, "to go forth with intensity." Now when you read this, and because my word shall go forth with intensity and to the ends of the Earth, that changed it for me. To go forth with intensity. Here's what Ezra Taft Benson said about this specific word and a challenge to every one of us, he gave this, well actually, he gave it in 1975. So I was a little kid, Morgan, you weren't even born yet. Were you?
No, that was before my time. But I'm happy to read it.
"We, the members of the Church, and particularly the missionaries, have to be the “hissers,” or the tellers and testifiers, of the Book of Mormon unto the ends of the earth. The Book of Mormon is the great standard we are to use. It shows that Joseph Smith was a prophet. It contains the words of Christ, and its great mission is to bring men to Christ and all other things are secondary. The golden question of the Book of Mormon is “Do you want to learn more of Christ?” The Book of Mormon is the great finder of the golden contact. It does not contain things which are “pleasing unto the world” (1 Ne. 6:5), and so the worldly are not interested in it. It is a great sieve (Ezra Taft Benson, “The Book of Mormon is the Word of God,” April 1975 general conference).
Let me ask you this. How have you his "hissed forth?" Do you have an experience?
Well, yes, I served a mission, several missions, and testified to all those people.
Several missions, where did you serve?
Well I served in Peru.
I served the prison. They let me out. And then I served as a docent and I served in the family History library. And that was really exciting because you bring forth those on the other side. And you tell them in your heart and in your soul, I'm having the work done for you, I'm hissing to you, pay attention.
Honestly, the thing that comes to my mind is working on "All In" just because I feel like I've felt Satan working on me and my family more than he ever has before. And I think it's because it's an important thing, talking to people about why they believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and it requires going forth with intensity, because otherwise I think sometimes I would feel a little bit beaten down.
I like that you both described different experiences of going forth with intensity. Because when I read that, for me, I was like, "I'm a terrible hisser." Like the worst. I don't like to talk to people about the church. When I'm on an airplane. I purposely sit by myself in my book, like, "I don't want to talk, don't ask me what my religion is, I just want to get from point A to point B."
Just because you don't talk about the Gospel on airplanes doesn't make you a bad person, Tammy, let's be clear.
I know, I always felt like it did though, because I have a friend, she's an excellent hisser. Oh my gosh, she's inviting people left and right to come to church. I'm not like that. I think we all hiss in our own way, which you guys are perfect examples, your stories are how you hiss. As you said that I realized, "Oh, maybe the way I hiss is just by being friends." A man in our Ward one time said in a bishopric meeting, "Oh, the Halls, they're really good missionaries, you should ask them about all the nonmembers in the neighborhood, like they're really good missionaries." So of course, the missionaries came to our house and said that they said that in ward counsel, and I said, "Oh, we're not really good missionaries, we're just super friendly." And every nonmember in the neighborhood knows where my bathroom is. Like they've all been in my home, they've all eaten at my table, and maybe that's how I hiss, like, I can make a good meal. So everyone hisses is in their own way.
I would say that's maybe the best kind of hissing.
I can hiss that way. Well as you think about how you hiss and why it's important. Here's why we need hissers. This is gonna be my new favorite word now. I'm a "hisser." In second Nephi chapter 29. Go to second Nephi chapter 29. Because in this chapter, here's Nephi saying, "We've got a Bible and we have a Book of Mormon." You guys have heard this before. In Isaiah chapter 29, verse three, is where it says, "A Bible, a Bible, we have got a Bible, and there cannot be anymore Bible." Does that sound like your mission?
Absolutely. I like how in verse four, we're giving credit to the Jews, though. And Nephi's like, "they went through a lot. We have a Bible, we need the Bible, we like the Bible." And then Nephi goes on to say, "But there's another book." Go to second Nephi Chapter 29, verse eight, and here's the importance for having a Bible and a Book of Mormon. And this dates back to Old Testament times. So second Nephi chapter 29, verse eight, Sharon, will you read that verse?
"Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God..."
Pause right there. Highlight, "Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you..." And above that verse write "law of witnesses." Sharon, go ahead.
"...that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also."
Next to the law of witnesses, I'm going to give you the reference. Deuteronomy, chapter 17, verse six. This is a biblical law, the law of Moses. Nephi knew this and he's saying, "We have to have two witnesses. We can't just have one Bible." It's the law of witnesses. Let's turn to Deuteronomy chapter 17, verse six, it says, "At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death. The hands of the witnesses shall be first upon him..." So this is the law set forth right here. You have to have at least two witnesses, which seems obvious, right? But I like how in here he says, "In the mouth of two or three because in second Nephi chapter 29, Nephi is going to go on and say, "Oh, but Book of Mormon's not all." In fact, he's telling us there's going to be even more scripture. Sharon read the next verse in verse nine.
"And I do this that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that I speak forth my words according to mine own pleasure. And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever."
When everything comes to light, when you think about all of the tribes that have received revelations and visions in scripture, we're gonna have a lot of scriptures. One time a guy in my singles ward was teaching this and he said, "We're gonna have to carry our scriptures to church in a wheelbarrow." Just heeving them up, trying to get them there. There are so many things about missing scripture. Neal A. Maxwell did a great quote about this. And he just says that there will be so many more books, there will be a third set of sacred records. And I just think it's important for recognize there's more out there. And then I think, but what am I doing with what I have? Morgan, you're in a Bible study group. Why do you study the Bible outside of the Book of Mormon?
I think my main motivation is to be able to connect with other Christians. I think that we absolutely should be able to see how the Bible and the Book of Mormon go hand in hand. And then that allows us to then say, "Oh, hey, my neighbor across the street, we believe in the same God, we both believe in Jesus Christ, and we have more common ground and things that make us different." So for me, that's been my main motivation, aside from just wanting to know the stories and being familiar with what was taught in the Bible. That's what's kind of renewed that desire for me.
I like that you're doing this study group, because it does, it changes the way you read the Book of Mormon. For me, it does, it changes the way I believe in my religion by studying the Bible. The Old Testament is my favorite book of all time, it's the best but it does...
There's so many things to learn, and there's so many stories that I think as Latter Day Saints, we know the Book of Mormon really, really well. But sometimes we miss really, really good Bible stories in the process of focusing on that.
Especially the Old Testament and in the New Testament about the Savior. I think we miss a lot in those two. You're absolutely right.
So when we take all of these things that we know and we have this Bible, we have the Book of Mormon, we have other witnesses that will still need to come forth. We're fulfilling the law of witnesses. And we talked about how we are witnesses, and how we are hissing, and the question is, how do you hiss? How are you being hissers in this day and age? And then Nephi is going to give us second Nephi chapter 30. It's really interesting to me, because it's just 18 verses, but the stuff we're going to cover is amazing. There are so many different topics. So now we've just talked about how we have the Bible, we have a Book of Mormon, and yet we're still going to get more words, and what we're doing with our knowledge now how are we hissing and what does that look like? And all of this hissing is all preparatory to the second coming of Jesus Christ and The Millennium and we're going to talk about that in second Nephi chapter 30.
Segment 6 50:03
So Morgan, we already know you weren't born in 1974.
No, I was born in the year of Taylor Swift -- 1989.
So you probably won't even have heard of this apostle, we're about to quote, and this is by Spencer W. Kimball and he is addressing a group of youth. So I think that's important to note, so Sharon will you read that right there.
"An awareness of the existence, the power, and the plans of Satan—together with a compelling and vibrant testimony of God and the gospel and of the plans of our Father given though Jesus Christ, his Son, and the living prophets—can help them [us] achieve unprecedented accomplishments, which may affect their [our] lives eternally” ( President Spencer W. Kimball, quoted by Elder ElRay L. Christiansen, “Power Over Satan,” Oct. 1974 general conference)."
Well, that just summed up this whole episode, don't you think? Testimony, following the prophets, all of that will help us prepare for when Christ comes again. Let's go to second Nephi chapter 30 and we're going to talk about some of these verses and I'm going to go sort of Institute on you again, we're going to read some verses, and I'm going to tell you what these words mean, because they're kind of crazy words sometimes when you read it. Morgan, you're shaking your head. You agree when you were reading this?
I just would love for you to define all words for me.
Yes, it's kind of fun. We're going to go into second Nephi chapter 30. We're going to start in verse nine.
"And with righteousness shall the Lord God judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth..."
Highlight just those words right there. I have it boxed in my scriptures, because he will repair all injustices. That's what those verses mean. He will make all the wrongs right for everybody. That sounds delightful. Then it goes on and says, "And he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth;" That rod is the word of truth. It's judgment. It's the word of God, "...and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked." Isn't that interesting? Why would it say the breath of his lips?
He's in command of everything.
Yeah. All powerful.
Verse 10: "For the time speedily cometh that the Lord God shall cause a great division among the people, and the wicked will he destroy; and he will spare his people, yea, even if it so be that he must destroy the wicked by fire."
A great cross reference next to that verse would be Doctrine and Covenants section 64, verse 23. That's a fun one. It just basically says, "If you pay your tithing, you won't be burned at the Lord's coming." So, I always joked with my students, there's your fire insurance.
Verse 11: "And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins."
Now for any women listening who have ever worn a girdle, let's first of all define what that word means. It does not mean a girdle like you know, you need a shoehorn to put it on. A girdle is a sash. And so it says "righteousness shall be the sash of his loins, and faithfulness the sash of his rains," and the rains is your waist. And so he's going to tie this sash around his waist, and around his loins. But the idea of this verse is that that's how we should be. And it's encouraging all of us in here to be prepared for Christ when He comes again.
Does that meaning mean being clothed in righteousness?
Yes, that's exactly what it means.
That I can understand. Clothed in righteousness.
And it's giving an allusion to temple clothing and standing in holy places. All right, then we have in verse 12. This describes what it will be like in the millennium.
"And then shall the wolf dwell with the lamb; and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf, and the young lion, and the fatling, together; and a little child shall lead them."
That seems pretty easy, right? In fact, this is kind of funny. I don't know where my daughter came up with this. She's 10. And this really did happen three days ago. We weren't even studying this. Out of the blue. You're talking about the Second Coming. And Sophia, my 10 year old goes, "Yeah, Mom, I already learned that when Christ comes again, that blinds are not gonna eat lambs and everyone's gonna be able to play with really scary animals."
"Who taught you that?" I don't know mom, I just knew it. But like it's so simple in her mind. That's how it's going to be when Christ comes that you know we'll have lions on a leash and we'll frolic with them in the fields. Go to verse 13.
"And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together;"
Highlight "young ones," there is symbolism in that word, those two words right there. It says, "...their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox." "Young Ones" meaning "generations." So generations, this millennium, if it lasts for 1000 years, that's a lot of generations. That's a lot of time for this wonderful piece.
Look at verse 14. "And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp..."
Highlight "asp." That is a deadly snake in the Holy Land, very deadly. "...and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’s den." And a "cockatrice" is a very venomous serpent.
And then in verse 15: "They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea."
And that is basically telling us that all enmity will be removed, all equal hatred, there won't be any more on the earth. So just in those little verses we covered, how would you describe the Millennium to someone who asked?
It's unexplainable to me. I can't fathom the sweetness, the joy, the peace, the camaraderie of animals and humans of humans and humans. My finite mind cannot grasp that kind of a living condition.
Well and it seems so opposite of what we're living in right now. I think it feels like such a stark contrast.
It does. For me when I learned that in verse nine that he will repair all injustices. I can't imagine that. When you think about how many people have been done wrong in this life, and when he says vengeance is mine, and really he's going to repair all injustices, he's gonna make everything right for everybody.
And I can't fathom that because there are those for whom I would like to hit him on the head.
Sharon, I had no idea you were violent.
There are times when Sharon will say something that I'm like, "Really? Cause she's like everybody," she's like my Mary Poppins.
Well, to do that for everyone, and there are a lot of evil people in the world who don't mean to be evil, that don't know that they're being evil. And he's still going to bless them and, you know, and equalize everything. And I think I want to be there to see that. I want to experience what that feeling is for him to do that for those people because I don't have that feeling for those people now.
Well, and this is the one that gets me. Go to verse 18 in second Nephi chapter 30, verse 18. Ultimately, and this is the one that I look forward to the most, and we should after today's discussion, verse 18.
"Wherefore, all things which have been revealed unto the children of men shall at that day be revealed; and Satan shall have power over the hearts of the children of men no more, for a long time. And now, my beloved brethren, I make an end of my sayings."
Cross reference that verse, put this scripture next to it -- first Nephi chapter 22, verse 26, and it's worth going to and reading. First Nephi chapter 22, verse 26, because this tells us why Satan will not have any power over us anymore. Morgan, we read that verse for us.
"And because of the righteousness of his people, Satan has no power; wherefore, he cannot be loosed for the space of many years; for he hath no power over the hearts of the people, for they dwell in righteousness, and the Holy One of Israel reigneth.
The righteousness of his people. That's what it will be. If you cross reference that to the Book of Revelation, it's really incredible, Revelation chapter 12, verse 11:
"And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death."
Like their testimony is what will overcome Satan. I think it's worth ending this whole segment by reading this quote by Richard G. Scott. And here's what he had to say about the power of a testimony.
"A strong testimony has sustained prophets throughout the ages and fortified them to act with courage and determination in times of difficulty. A powerful testimony can do the same for you. As you fortify your own personal testimony, you will have power to make correct choices so that you can stand unwaveringly against the pressures of an increasingly vicious world. Your personal security and happiness depend upon the strength of your testimon. For it will guide your actions in times of trial or uncertainty. Honestly evaluate your personal life. How strong is your own testimony? As you strengthen your testimony, Satan will try harder to tempt you. Resist his efforts, you will become stronger and his influence on you weaker. Satan's increasing influence in the world is allowed to provide an atmosphere in which to prove ourselves. While he causes havoc today, Satan's final destiny was fixed by Jesus Christ through His Atonement and resurrection. The devil will not triumph."
And he said that in 2001. Morgan, you shared earlier a little bit about how since you started the podcast, things have been really hard for your family. What role has your testimony played in beating that?
I think the biggest thing that I've seen is there have been so many moments where I have had to, like stop and either pray or read my scriptures in an effort to know what to do next. It's kind of like in "Lead, Kindly Light," like one step enough for me. And I think that I've seen that. It is my testimony of the gospel that has helped me in every like weak moment. And so I'm like, "Why would I let go of that?" And I think for me, it's been faith affirming, rather than faith destroying because I have felt closer to Heavenly Father, despite feeling Satan more. And I think that's something that's important for us to realize is that just because we feel the attacks of Satan more, and I think all of us feel that in the world right now, doesn't mean that God isn't there too. So I think that's been important for me to realize.
I love this kind of stuff. I love the scripture so much. I want you to think about everything we talked about today, which is so much stuff, and give me your takeaway. What did you learn that you didn't know before, or what are you gonna take with you?
For me, sharing the truths on which I have based my life with other people who have done the same thing is very confirming to my testimony.
I think just that the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. And it's a testament of God's consistency. I think throughout our discussion, I just kept thinking, "Man, God is so consistent." He really is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and that gives me comfort.
Great answers. Mine was, I'm just going to keep hissing the way I've been hissing. And it's good enough for me.
I'm gonna keep doing that. Thank you. I love you both so much.
Thank you, I love you.
So for those of you listening, who are joining us today, I want to hear what your takeaway was from the episode. If you haven't already joined our discussion group, I want you to go to Facebook and follow us on Facebook and then go on Instagram, because at the end of every week, we're going to post a question, "What was your takeaway?" And I want you to just tell me everything you learned. I'm going to read them and I'm going to answer them. I just love reading everything that everyone's written so far. And if you're wondering how to get to Facebook or Instagram, you can go to our Show Notes for this episode, and you'll find our show notes at LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday. And it's not a bad idea to go there anyway because that's where we have all the links for the references and the transcript of this entire discussion, so you can check it out and find all the information that we shared today. The Sunday on Monday study group is Deseret Bookshelf Plus original brought to you by LDS Living. It's written and hosted by me, Tammy Uzelac Hall. And today our awesome study group participants were Sharon Staples and Morgan Jones of the "All In" podcast, which you can find on iTunes and on the Bookshelf app. You can also find more information about these ladies at LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday. Our podcast today was produced by KaRyn Lay with post production and editing by Katie Lambert. It is recorded and mixed by Mix at Six Studios and our executive producer is Erin Hallstrom. Thanks for being here. We'll see you next week. You're God's favorite.