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Monday, October 3, 2011

Book of Mormon Month - Day 3: What the Book of Mormon Teaches about the Love of God #bookofmormon

Day 3 is upon us! Time to get reading. If you're behind because you got sorta lazy, make sure to catch up. If you're behind because you mean to feast upon the words of Christ, then carry on at your own pace.

What the Book of Mormon Teaches about the Love of God

Most Christians are familiar with the attributes of Jesus Christ as reported in the Bible. They marvel at the love He demonstrated for the poor, the sick, and the downtrodden. Those who consider themselves His disciples also strive to emulate His example and follow His beloved Apostle’s exhortation: “Let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. … For God is love” (1 John 4:7–8). Read More or Listen

Saw the musical? Heard the soundtrack? Read the book?

Reprint of the 1830 edition of The Book of Mor...
There is much talk of the recently launched Broadway production called "The Book of Mormon". As we followed the October LDS General Conference sessions on Twitter, it was hard not to notice references to the "Book of Mormon soundtrack", the musical written over a period of 7 years by Trey Parker and Matt Stone (co-creators of "South Park"). Whether they tweeted while waiting in line at the Eugene O'Neill Theater in NYC at that moment, or tweeted about plans to attend the musical in the future, there was very little curiosity as to what the Book of Mormon actually is.

For many, the parody musical will be the only exposure they have to the story of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At press time, we have not seen the musical, but from the reviews we've read, it appears that there is very little mentioned at all about the Book of Mormon, and that what is mentioned is, parody aside, rather inaccurate.

The story line of the musical never does its namesake any justice at all.

For example, did you know the following about the various books contained in the Book of Mormon?

First and Second Nephi are ALL about family ties and the behaviors and consequences of family living, especially within the context of God's will for families.

The Book of Jacob helps us know how to shield ourselves from the soul-cankering influences of pornography and immorality that surround us. Jacob 5 teaches us the causes behind the wars and conflicts in the middle east and the interfaith bickering that happens in our world...and what the Lord intends to do about it.

The Book of Enos teaches us how to pray.

The Book of Mosiah helps us understand how a country should be governed, how to treat our fellow men, why the Savior had to suffer and die to be able to forgive our sins, and the fact that no matter how small a concern even a portion of a nation is in the context of the world's way of seeing things, God will still send a prophet to warn it of danger and to organize His Church there.

The Book of Alma is rich in just about everything there is to experience in life:
  • distinguishing between truth and error
  • avoiding bringing negative consequences upon oneself through rebellion against God
  • how to share the Gospel with others in a way in which they will most likely respond positively
  • on which criteria mankind will be judged
  • why bad things happen to good people
  • why good things happen to good people
  • why good things happen to bad people
  • the beauty of suddenly having religious freedom when none existed prior
  • the horror of losing religious freedom when once enjoyed
  • why repentance is necessary, and how to do it
  • why the philosophies of the world are bankrupt and without foundation
  • what the purpose of the Law of Moses was (to point to Christ)
  • why bridling your passions is a Godly thing to do
  • who are we
  • why are we here
  • what happens after we die
  • how it's possible to fight a defensive war in a way that God finds acceptable (not appealing, just acceptable) in the event that no other option is available
  • why kings are always problematic in the governance of a nation
  • why division and contention is always problematic in the preservation of freedom
The Book of Helaman teaches us why we must always be careful never to let "secret combinations" or conspiracies, mafias, gangs, government cabals, terrorist groups, etc. become the order of society.

Third Nephi teaches us that Jesus had love for other children not of Jerusalem's fold and that His Gospel doesn't change whether taught in Jerusalem, in Zarahemla of the Americas, or in any other nation. Most importantly, it provides the key second witness that Jesus is the Christ, the resurrected Savior of the world, in every literal sense and reality.

Fourth Nephi, even though only one chapter in length and spanning a period of over 200 years, is most instructive in its preservation of a record of what causes years of peace...and what ends that peace.

The Book of Mormon (meaning, the subsection of the whole book by that name) gives us a thorough rundown of everything we are about to experience as our own world crumbles and decays in a "horrible scene of the blood and carnage" like the prophet Mormon experienced. This is a book to pay attention to if you want to know what we're in for.

The Book of Ether is a microhistory that parallels the history of the Nephites and, again, emphasizes the irreversible nature of mutual genocide and fratricide that emerges from secret conspiracies to "get gain" and obtain the temporary kingdoms of the world.

Finally, the Book of Moroni, in all its brevity, gives us pearls of great price such as the proper manner of baptism, of the sacrament supper of the Lord, of the order and organization of the Lord's Church, and of the necessity of faith in a world of unbelief. Moroni teaches us that if we fail to see miracles in our day, it is through our own lack of faith and not because there are no such things as miracles. If we have gotten to that point, then we are ripe for destruction, just as his own people had become. Faith precedes the miracle.

So, to everyone who has watched or will watch the musical, we encourage you to obtain a more balanced view of the musical's ridiculed namesake by taking the time to actually read the book. You won't regret it if you approach your reading with an open mind and a sincere desire to know if it contains truth.