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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Book of Mormon Class ~ 3 Nephi chapter 5

Taught by Sue Green
(click link's to read scriptures)

In this chapter Mormon first explains why the Nephites were so successful in repenting and how they rid themselves of the secret combinations which had come so close to destroying them completely as a people.

As to why these Nephites were so successful in repenting completely, Mormon explains that it was because they had complete faith.  This is an example of why faith in Christ has to be the first principle of the Gospel.  If we have faith in Christ and His Atonement, we then understand that repenting is worth while.

We are reminded that a change in heart brought about by the gospel of Jesus Christ is a very effective way to cut down on prison populations.  Without a true change of heart, enemies are still a danger to freedom and peace, and wisdom dictates that they be treated as such.

In verses 4-7, it is now 8 years before the destruction of the wicked and the coming of the resurrected Christ.  Mormon takes time to talk to us, in our day, about the records he is in charge of, and to introduce himself a bit more.

He also tells us a great many records were kept by the Nephites over the Centuries.
Just imagine how much work it would take for Mormon to make the delicately thin metal plates upon which he could carefully engrave his abridgement of the Nephite records.

From the accounts given buy Joseph Smiths mother, we understand that Mormons abridgement consisted of a set of gold plates, weighing about 60 lbs. and about 6 inches wide 9 inches in length and 6 inches high including the small plates of Nephi.  Such a set would contain a rather large number of individual thin sheets or plates.  While we don't know exactly how he made them, one possible scenario might be:
1- Find a source of gold and possibly other precious metals which could be alloyed with the gold for the exact qualities needed for the plates.
2- Hunt animals for hides with which to make a bellows in order to blow a fire to heat the ore hot enough to melt the metal out of it.
3- Perhaps find iron ore from which to smelt metal with which to make tools required for pounding the plates to the needed thinness.
4- Obtain the necessary metal with which to make an engraving tool which would hold up under extended use.
Whatever the process, we respect and admire Mormon for the tremendous effort required to make the plates himself, let alone for the great amount of time and effort to engrave them for our benefit.

As a side note: Pres. Joseph Smith quoted that, 
"the word Mormon means literally 
We know from (Mormon 1:15) that he was 15 years old, about AD 326, and that he was about 74 years old at the time of the final battles of his people which took place about 385 AD. (Mormon 6:5)

Mormon describes himself as a disciple of Christ . While in every instance the Nephite twelve are spoken of as disciples, the fact remains that they had been endowed with divine authority to be special witnesses for Christ among their own people. Therefore, they were virtually apostles to the Nephite race, although their jurisdiction was, as revealed to Nephi, eventually to be subject to the authority and jurisdiction of Peter and the twelve chosen in Palestine.
While Mormon's personal call was that of an Apostle, the term disciple can also have a more general definition.  A disciple is also "a follower of Jesus Christ who lives according to Christ's teaching".

The following has been written about discipleship.  The word disciple of Christ is one who is leaning to be like Christ - learning to think, to feel and to act as he does.  To be a true disciple, to fulfill that learning task, is the most demanding regimen known to man.  No other discipline compares.. in either requirement or rewards.  It involves the total transformation of a person from the state of the natural man to that of a Saint, one who loves the Lord and serves with all of this heart, might, mind and strength.  (D&C 41:5)

In addition to speaking about discipleship, Mormon may be making a statement about his authority not just as a disciple, but as an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. In other word, it was necessary for Mormon to make his record for the prayers of past prophets to be answered, who prayed that these records would be preserved and that their descendants would have a chance to hear of them and the gospel. (Enos 1:3)

Mormon bears testimony to us of the truthfulness of his record and expresses his concern about the limitations of his written language

At the end of verse 20, Mormon reminds us that we must know the gospel in order to be saved.  Joseph Smith taught this same vital doctrine when he said, "It is impossible for a man to be save in ignorance". (D&C 131:6)

Lehi's descendants are among the "seed of Joseph" referred to in verse 21.  Joseph, who was sold into Egypt, was told that his posterity would "run over the wall", (Genesis 49:22) in other words, that his descendants would cross the ocean.  In verse 22, Mormon ties the descendants of Lehi into the blessings promised to Joseph's posterity.

Mormon prophesies of a great conversion and gathering of the descendants of Joseph, as well as all of the tribes of Israel, at some time in the future. He explains what will happen when people are converted and gathered in.  The most important cause of this "gathering" is that people will know and understand the Savior and His gospel in their own minds and hearts.

Elder Dalli H Oaks explained the meaning and purpose of the gathering, another sign of the times if the gathering of the faithful (D&C 133:4)  In the early years of this last dispensation, a gathering to Zion involved various locations in the United States: to Kirtland, to Missouri, to Nauvoo and to the tops of the Mountains.  Always these were gatherings to prospective temples with the creation of stakes and the construction of temples in most nations with sizable populations of the faithful. The current commandment is not to gather to one place, but to gather in stakes in our own homelands.  There, the faithful can enjoy the full blessings of eternity in a house of the Lord.  There, is their own homelands, they can obey the Lord's command to enlarge the borders of His people and strengthen her stakes (D&C 101:21)
In this way, the stakes of Zion are for a defense, and for a refuge from the storm and from wrath when it shall be poured out without mixture upon the whole earth (D&C 115:6)

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