Come Follow Me: Ether 12-15

My blog post on Come Follow Me: Ether 12-15.


Excerpt:

Moroni begins his discourse on faith by telling us about Ether. Here, we see some important points regarding faith in Christ.  In reviewing them, we find:

First, he “could not be restrained because of the Spirit.” Other prophets have experienced such a power, such as Nephi and Abinadi. However, what seemed to be an occasional power for others seems to have been a continual and daily event for Ether. It may be due to the greater danger Ether found himself in, still it shows that God’s power can give great and constant power when the need arises.

Second, Ether “did cry from the morning, even until the going down of the sun,” showing his diligence in doing the Lord’s command. God could give Ether great power, because Ether didn’t waiver in his faith nor in his efforts. Ether knew that great destruction would come upon the people, and there was only one thing that could save them temporally and spiritually.  Declaring repentance and faith in Christ was the only solution to the pandemic of sin.

What does it mean that by “faith all things are fulfilled?” God has a plan….


https://joelsmonastery.blogspot.com/2020/11/come-follow-me-ether-12-15.html

Our dystopian present

One of the great things about the charter school that my kids go to is that they are reading the true classics of literature, and as they read these classics I get a chance to re-read them along with my kids.

My eighth grader is reading “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury. If you haven’t read that in a while, a quick reminder of the plot: it takes place in a dystopian future where people have stopped reading books and indeed hate books so much that they encourage firemen to burn all the books.

Bradbury wrote “Fahrenheit 451” in 1951, and he was alarmed by the new technology of the time, television. He describes a dystopian future where people watch videos on wall-sized screens (!), drive fast cars for thrills and therefore don’t have the attention span to sit and read a book. People are also offended at the things in books, which inevitably insult one group or another with their provocative plots. Later in life, Bradbury, a traditional conservative, lamented the spread of political correctness and cancel culture, which he said were signs that his book was coming true before his eyes.

Bradbury correctly perceived that this kind of society would create a vast void in peoples’ lives, and that suicide would increase as people saw their lives had no meaning. People would be so concerned about their own lives and buying the latest gadgets that they would stop having children and would mostly ignore the children they had. He predicted that young people would become more violent and strike out against society with nihilistic rage. But Bradbury pointed out that this would take place while society kept up appearances. For most people, life would apparently go on as normal. There would be elections, and people would go to work and perform their jobs and of course spend their time being entertained by the wall-sized video screens. And, eerily, Bradbury’s world takes place while there is a massive war being fought, a war that does not affect most of the populace’s everyday lives. Meanwhile, the news would never report the truth about the world around them, constantly inventing pleasant story lines to keep the populace happy.

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Come Follow Me: Ether 6-11

My blog post on Come Follow Me: Ether 6-11.


Excerpt:The Creation Anew

“And thus the Lord caused stones to shine in darkness, to give light unto men, women, and children, that they might not cross the great waters in darkness” (Ether 6:2)

With the beginning of this chapter, we see a new creation occurring. It is reminiscent of the Creation in Genesis chapter one. Everything that occurred in the Book of Ether thus far is similar to the preparations of God to create the world and the skies above. Now we have a repeat. Similarly, we find the same event occur with Noah and the ark, where ancient traditions suggest he may have had shining stone in the ark to give light.In the barges, we find all things necessary for a new Creation: light, food (plants), animals, and everything needful for the journey. As the darkness and waters in the original Creation and in Noah’s flood were chaotic, the shining stones brought order out of dark chaos, and the barges represented safety on dry ground from the chaos of the great waters.

Exactly four centuries ago this month (November 11, 1620), 102 Pilgrims and others landed on Plymouth Rock. For them, the crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in a tiny and cramped ship, was akin to a new Creation.

https://joelsmonastery.blogspot.com/2020/11/come-follow-me-ether-6-11.html

Giving Thanks

Gratitude is universally endorsed as a desirable activity.

The Old Testament verses on gratitude focus on giving thanks to God. So that is likely implicit in Paul’s advice to the Thessalonians to:

Rejoice evermore…. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1

Elder Uchtdorf highlighted gratitude in his recent Quick Start Guide to Life. The Yale University course on Wellness emphasizes gratitude as a key activity to support wellness. Every professional seeking to help individuals achieve greater happiness or fulfillment includes gratitude as a part of their prescription.

One suggestion that I have recently adopted is to write five things you are grateful for in your journal at the end of the day. It’s a particularly pleasant way to capture the events of the day.

Armistice Day

Whether called by its original name or by something else (Remembrance Day in Britain, Veterans Day in America), today is a day to be thankful for the peace that ended World War I. Having had the privilege of being in London during Remembrance Day in the past, it was striking to see the profusion of stylized poppies everywhere.

John McCrae had been a professor at McGill University in Montreal before the war. He wrote his famous poem, In Flanders Fields, after learning of the death of a former student who had become a soldier. McCrae, a military medic himself, would also die before the war ended. But his poem lived on, testament to the love and life of those whose graves were now marked by crosses in fields full of poppies.

Thanksgiving

For those of us living in the United States, we are also coming up on the annual celebration of thanks, held on the fourth Thursday of November. Thanksgiving, here in America, is redolent with tradition, food, and family.

Alas, this year it is not wise to gather with those outside your immediate household. Independent of whether people feel like social distancing and masks are their favorite things, the fact is that many locations (notably Utah) are at or fast approaching full capacity in their hospitals.

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Notes:

  1. KJV, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. The NIV renders this advice as “give thanks in all circumstances.”