Tag Archives: Ether 12

Lots of insights from MSH! (updated as I have time to add more notes)


There will be a whole ton, and they’ll be somewhat randomly ordered, but they will be tagged so I can find them again!

  • Ether 12: faith doesn’t always need to be quantified, or turned into something economic
  • Goal is to focus on Christ, not focus on faith.
    • Faith will come along the way, as a gift, as you seek for Christ. Seeking = open, ready to receive, looking,
  • “Faith is things” ??
    • Things are things AND more than things
    • Faith changes things?
    • Faith is in those very things around you but you see them differently, or you use them differently, or God uses them to teach you, etc.
    • Things = Christ’s body that he showed the Nephites?
  • “We receive the gift of faith by seeking Christ, not by seeking faith” (quoting Jenny here)
  • Ether 12:41 and Alma 32? similarities and differences…
    • faith is assumed, trust you can do things when faith is exercised. Not seeking faith, using faith.
    • Seek Christ/ plant word(Christ)
    • But Alma does see faith increasing. But then again, it’s a gift, and not what you were seeking after.

 

  • This is my description, after listening to Joe’s paper:
    • Sacred time= cyclical, Messianic time= future changes present (oriented to future, so linear), Secular time= just linear (no orientation)

 

  • word “history” only used 5 times in the Book of Mormon, and all are in small plates.
  • 2 Nephi 5, Nephi is very interested in boundaries of all kinds
  • (boundaries, history, these are secular questions)
  • First Nephi says history, then later more history part, then more particular
  • Maybe he sees that it’s tricky to separate secular and sacred
    • even when he separates them into two separate books it’s still hard to keep them a part!
  • Secular is supposedly neutral, but really, based on our discussions, we could say that secular = history+religion-religion?
  • That version is subtractive, but Nephi is additive (more history)
  • v. 32/33 pleased vs. desiring
    • admits there is a lack (of history) so some might desire history
  • Desire can disrupt sacred?
  • Lamanites have words like “seek” “toward” associated with them
    • v 19 disrupts sacred teaching
    • (note when Nephi desires something in ch 5 it is that he desires NOT to have kings)
  • Laman and Lemuel often a topic on large plates! During times when they are being lectured Nephi will stop and say that the rest of the lecture is on the large plates (Brilliant, brilliant insight by Kim!)
  • Plates sort of parallel the two groups (Lamanties/large plates and Nephitites/small plates)
  • But these divisions are overcome:
    • Book of Mormon is addressed to Lamanites
    • small/large plates are together now
  • Does a division of sacred and secular open up a space for us to do work of covenant, so we can seal it all back together in a better way?

 

  • BYU has a vision that Elder Holland talks about, where our spiritual life should make us better scholars, and our scholarship should make us grow in our spiritual life.
    • But, it’s hard to tell who has the vision and who doesn’t, and who can make that vision emerge¬†in students and who can’t
    • Everyone has their own qualifications or clues
    • But maybe it’s more like Kierkegaard’s “Knight of Faith” – you can’t tell. Eats dinner the same, walks home the same, can’t tell that someone does the same things but in a different way, with a different heart, a different orientation

 

  • Maybe priesthood assignment itself is a circle of power for men? Given a huge task and told to figure it out!
  • Could be true too for all callings of course. Hmm

 

  • King Follett discourse is an example of the appeal to low/common Church mixed with High Church.
  • Introduced as if academic. Here are some thoughts, not here is doctrine or here is how to live your life
  • But rhetoric style is plain
  • but “refutes” ideas, like a paper
  • paragraph 12 has a hugely amazing doctrine, but the sentence structure treats it like it’s equal to the other things in the sentence!
  • Plain container fill it with radical ideas?
    • Family proclamation feels that way to me. Looks plain but full of radical ideas ūüôā

Ether 12 notes from Joe’s class: The Book of Mormon is a gift


  • Moroni planned to end the Book of Mormon with Ether 15:29-30
    • Then it would end with the destruction of the Gentiles¬†
    • Gentiles were to be first readers of Book of Mormon! What a clear warning!
  • 12:4 What can’t Ether’s people see?
    • Abrahamic covenant — Abrahamic people are coming
    • Ether’s people, who descend from a pre-Abraham time, could be adopted into the Abrahamic covenant (but instead, they war and destroy themselves)
    • 13:1-14 is where Ether tries to explain this further
  • Ether 12:25 – see weakness
    • Do they worry,¬†then stumble? Or is stumbling with words what reveals their weakness?
  • they = meek? or fools?
  • writing in less-familiar language (prefers Hebrew)
    • What if you had to write something so important, but in a second language?
  • 12:27 – how is grace “sufficient”?
    • grace “added” to Moroni’s words?
    • God translated = grace?
    • we also have a weak translator¬†and¬†a weak writer – when does grace come in?
  • Is weakness taken away?
    • No, it says they will “take no advantage of your weakness.” That means the weakness actually remains.
    • Grace is sufficient¬†such that no one takes advantage
  • What would it mean to “take advantage”?
    • discount the book?
    • use it to teach false, screwy things?
    • attack leaders/person who translated it?
  • So, people¬†do do that, so what does it mean that weakness won’t be taken advantage of?
  • Apparently¬†meek don’t take advantage, but¬†fools will mock
  • Weakness divides readers into 2 groups
    • (kind of like the hearers of the parables)
    • perhaps a mercy that some don’t accept it, b/c they would have greater condemnation?
  • So this book is¬†supposed to be weak.
    • As if God says, “I want fools mocking and I want meek receiving”
    • Often we as Latter-day Saints want to¬†prove¬†that the Book of Mormon is true — STOP! That’s the problem Moroni had
  • v.27 now this idea of weakness is a general principle:
    • Not just Book of Mormon — you too
    • give weakness = humble
    • then gives grace = sufficient
  • Grace is being weak — it’s a gift!
  • Coming to God is not how we fix our weakness, it’s how we see it
  • with gift of grace and weakness, we can bring to pass great things (Benjamin)
  • Moroni says later “Deny not the gifts of God” – does he mean including weakness?
    • (I¬†give unto men weakness)
  • Debt¬†in connection with atonement, is only mentioned in King Benjamin’s speech
    • he says GRACE puts you in debt, not sin
    • are you ever out of debt? No, never
    • try to repay Him, and you are blessed again!
  • Perhaps sin is trying to get out from being God’s servant/slave/in an indebted relationship with Him
    • Either ignore the relationship of servant/slave entirely and go off doing bad stuff
    • Or, we try to be such a perfect servant that we look like we deserve everything we’ve been given
  • “Weak things” become strong
    • But they aren’t lost/changed/replaced
    • sounds like Paul — when I am weak, then I am strong
  • v.28 – Back to Gentiles
    • They will be tempted to mock weakness of Book of Mormon
    • What about your weakness, Gentiles?
    • What about my weakness?
    • Fools can’t see their own weakness (or admit) so they mock others’ weakness
  • Gentiles will see weakness via Faith, Hope, Charity
    • You can see why, when Moroni does add more to the Book of Mormon, he adds his father’s letters on faith, hope, and charity!
    • Moroni tries to find a way to¬†make sure the Gentiles don’t mock by¬†assuring they’ll have charity — But God cuts it short
  • Tells Moroni it doesn’t matter to him
  • Then Moroni bids farewell to Gentiles. “Farewell Gentiles. Good luck!” ūüôā
  • Can the Gentiles see the book for what is is? or will they demand it be perfect? Question for all of us
  • Do we read the Book of Mormon in such a way that¬†we take advantage of its weakness?
    • do we use it as an excuse not to get serious about figuring it out?
    • grammar is weird, sentences don’t flow, not well-written, oh well.
    • words were used differently than today so it sounds foreign, oh well
  • Joseph Smith reads v.37-38 before he dies.
    • Farewell Gentiles. Good luck!
  • Its weakness is a gift.
    • with its millions of “it came to pass”es, it’s a gift
    • words you have to look up, it’s a gift
    • God doesn’t give us a list of doctrines, He gives us this.
    • It’s a gift

“Comfort in Weakness” (from Elder Bednar’s talk “In the Strength of the Lord,” used in the March 2013 New Youth Curriculum)


“This morning I take great comfort in knowing that I am one of the truly weak things of the world.” – Elder Bednar

What an interesting statement. (I love it!) Why “take comfort” in knowing you are weak?

Because there seems to be a marvelous formula in the scriptures: When you are made aware of your weakness,¬†and God’s greatness¬†and¬†God’s love for you, you have a chance to humble yourself (Ether 12:27), yield to the enticings of the Spirit (Mosiah 3:19), and suddenly find yourself being used to “confound the wise” (1 Cor 1:27) – even though you are still weak!

There is a comfort in admitting you are one of the weak things of the world. Well, there¬†can¬† be. Admitting you are weak is only half way there. It comes when you realize that you are weak,¬†and God loves you in that weak state, and what he’s asking for is not perfection, but your will. And your trust in him.¬†The comfort comes when you truly believe that God will take it from there – and guess what? He can still use you¬†in your weak state. ¬†I think that it is a shame how we use Ether 12:27. God doesn’t promise Moroni that he will get better at writing (Moroni’s weakness). He promises that¬†it doesn’t matter –¬†and/or,¬†his weakness is being used for a purpose. See, the weak writing in the Book of Mormon serves as a stumbling block to those without faith. But, to those who humble themselves, the “weak thing” that Mormon and Moroni have produced will become strong (Ether 12,¬†2 Nephi 3:21).¬†Through faith, every “thing” can become strong. Every weak person can be used for a strong purpose. Or every weak lesson can become strong, through the Spirit that works on the students. And so on.¬†What God is asking for is not perfection as we think of it.¬†What he is asking is that we fully commit to doing whatever he asks, and then we let him take the steering wheel and watch miracles happen.

And so, there is comfort in knowing that I’m not in the driver’s seat. That I’m not in charge. That I¬†can’t¬†mess anything up, because he’s the one with the plans and powers, not me. God is stronger than the wicked, than the armies (1 Nephi 4:1), then why isn’t he stronger than me? Any weakness I have he is already able to work around, or through it. But what he really wants is to not just work around me, but through me, with me. When I yield myself to the Spirit, he can use me for so much more. Not because I am suddenly talented or gifted, but simply because I am willing to use my mind, time, and feelings for whatever work God gives me. I am still weak. But because I am weak, I am willing to listen. And because I am willing to listen, God will use me and teach me and bless me to feel the Spirit more and more. I think that is what consecration means – to be willing to listen, to yield, and to work. And it’s exciting to see what God will do with me. It’s the moment where I realize I don’t have to ask God to help me make sure I don’t mess up my work, and can actually ask God to let me help him in his work.

So there is great comfort in knowing that I am the weak one, because I know that God is the strong one.


Grace in the New Curriculum


Looking at this today:  https://www.lds.org/youth/learn/yw/atonement/grace?lang=eng

I like the initial question to the teacher:

What scriptures and other sources have helped you understand grace? What are you impressed to share with the young women so that they can understand grace?

For me it has been King Benjamin’s speech and Ether 12 that have helped me best understand Grace. Once I got a bit of a picture of things, then Paul became a treat to read and really makes it so clear. But I think I had to get an idea of it first to enjoy Paul the way I do now.

So how would I explain Grace? Hmmm.

Well, I’ll do a bit of uncareful explaining first and see where that goes. Grace means that God loves me first, saved me first, did everything necessary for me first, and I am slowly becoming aware of that and learning to trust that. The “work” I suppose you could say, is shedding the “natural man” that does not believe or trust anything outside of myself, and yielding to the Love of God (or, as Benjamin says, “yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit” –¬†though I suppose that Spirit is communicating this love to us).

Once (or whenever) I feel that Love and really feel it, it is a transforming experience. I feel God’s greatness and my own “nothingness” – but, I feel both at the same time, which means I am completely surprised and amazed at how God wants me and loves me, even¬†in my nothingness. My nothingness is, at the same time, recognized completely, and yet completely irrelevant – it does not matter. My weakness is at the same time the most real or obvious to me as it as ever been, and yet, I realize that God does not care that I am weak. He Loves me and wants me to be with Him, and to be¬†one with Him.

And sometimes, I realize that God wants me to be a part of His work with Him – not as a minor figure, not as say, someone who sweeps the floor and stays in the shadows, but as a real, full participant in His work, with Him. We are, almost, equals in the work of saving souls. When I become one with God, which is His desire, we become one in His work. (All of that could be defined as “Consecration.”)

So I should be a bit more careful now and show how I see this in Ether 12 and King Benjamin.

Ether 12:27:

And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me

What I really like about Ether 12 is the idea that God gives us weakness to see what we will do about it.¬†My weakness (or weaknesses, as it is usually read though isn’t the word used in verse 27) is not so much a sign that I have failed, but a sign that I need God. Read that again: ¬†is not so much a sign that I have failed, but a sign that I need God. The trick is that we often feel like needing God¬†is failing somehow. But the real lesson of Grace is that it is okay that we are weak, because God’s grace is sufficient for every person on earth. In fact, God¬†gave to mankind weakness through the Fall so that we would be humble and trust God.

The trick is for us is to realize at the same moment that we are really weak, but that God is good (translated: God has already Loved us, in that state, and it has become irrelevant).

I really like that word for this: our weakness is irrelevant.

Not our sins, mind you. Our mortality, the fact that we are tempted, the fact that we make mistakes. That weak-state, that “natural man,” is what was¬†given to us.¬†It is our¬†nature. That means that we are not guilty for¬†that. Original guilt has been overcome! Christ atoned for Adam’s fall! As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive! That is true both for physical and spiritual. God has¬†already overcome the world.

But, so often, sin is an attempt to cover-up for our weakness. Why would we ever lie? Steal? etc? Why be cruel to someone else, take advantage, etc.? I’m not going to do a descent job of psychology here, but there’s something to the idea that when we feel unconditionally loved, we let go of being so petty and selfish. When we think we’re on our own, that there’s no safety net, that if I fail here or there then my life slowly crumbles into something¬†I don’t want it to be, then we’re a lot more likely to sin, whether in big or small ways. Sin is a way of not giving-in to God’s Grace.

This is my interpretation of the finale of the Les Miserables film. What’s the comparison of the¬†barricades¬†to heaven supposed to mean at the end? I think it’s saying that Love – Grace – is the only real Revolutionary force. What actually changes people, countries, etc.? When someone¬†actually realizes they are loved and can love. “To love another person is to see the face of God” are the last words we hear before Jean Valjean walks into “heaven” and the re-written march of the last scene starts playing. There’s something to that I think. When do the people in that film sin? When they feel like God has abandoned them and they are on their own. (Or, when they think they are so good that they don’t need God. To them there is no Grace for the sinner – which also means, when they make a mistake, there is no Grace for them and it is better to simply die than live with sin.) What changes them? Experiences of real, trusting love.)

I’m having a hard time staying focused on interpreting scripture word-by-word here, but the point is that we are all “miserable” or “weak” because we are human. What makes the difference is first whether or not a person recognizes that fact, and second whether or not that person trusts God’s Grace. Because, see,¬†God loved us first, and how we respond to that Love is what makes us sinners or saints. Being weak is not sin. Sinning is resisting His love (and remember, His love implies He wants us to be¬†one with Him – both to receive all that He has and to be a full worker in His Kingdom) and consecrating is embracing that.

So now to King Benjamin to try to explain Grace there. I’m looking at a few verses from¬†chapter 4¬†specifically, though all of his speech¬†¬†is on this topic too. Here are a few verses:

5 For behold, if the knowledge of the goodness of God at this time has awakened you to a sense of your nothingness, and your worthless and fallen state‚ÄĒ

6 I say unto you, if ye have come to a knowledge of the goodness of God, and his matchless power, and his wisdom, and his patience, and his long-suffering towards the children of men; and also, the atonement which has been prepared from the foundation of the world, that thereby salvation might come to him that should put his trust in the Lord, and should be diligent in keeping his commandments, and continue in the faith even unto the end of his life, I mean the life of the mortal body‚ÄĒ

7 I say, that this is the man who receiveth salvation, through the atonement which was prepared from the foundation of the world for all mankind, which ever were since the fall of Adam, or who are, or who ever shall be, even unto the end of the world.

Brief commentary. This part of verse 6 really stuck out to me just now: ”¬†the atonement which has been prepared from the foundation of the world, that thereby salvation might come to him that should put his trust in the Lord.” Sometimes we think of the atonement as a “fix” to something Adam and Eve messed up. That might not be what we actually believe but sometimes we talk that way. (Or perhaps the opposite is true sometimes too: we don’t talk that way, but we feel that way inside.) Grace – Love – the Atonement was prepared from the foundation of the world – from before Adam and Eve’s fall and before you or I ever made one mistake. And notice, what God wants is that we simply “put [our] trust in the Lord.” Learn of Grace, and trust it. That’s the simple version of the Plan of Salvation. ūüôā What about the rest of the verse – keep the commandments, continue in faith, etc? I think that is a¬†natural outflow of really feeling both God’s greatness and your own nothingness, and giving yourself to it. See these next verses of Benjamin:

11 And again I say unto you as I have said before, that as ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness and have tasted of his love, and have received a remission of your sins, which causeth such exceedingly great joy in your souls, even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come, which was spoken by the mouth of the angel.

12 And behold, I say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true.

13 And ye will not have a mind to injure one another, but to live peaceably, and to render to every man according to that which is his due.

14 And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry…

If you remember these things and therefore are humble (the right kind of humility – a trusting child-like humility – and not the self-hating kind) then you will “always rejoice” – how wonderous! But more than that. You will “grow in the knowledge of the glory” of God, of that which is just and true. Your mind will “stretch as wide as eternity,” as Joseph Smith put it. And therefore, you will not have a mind to injure each other, you will have a peaceable mind and one that teaches your children naturally. Keeping the commandments is not how we¬†get to¬†God’s Grace, it is a¬†natural outflow of trusting God’s Grace completely. In fact, Benjamin says that it is¬†after we feel the remission of our sins that we live this way. It is NOT, as we sometimes think, a way to live in order to someday feel God’s Grace and the remission of our sins.

If sin can be thought of as resisting Grace and Consecration, then what we usually call “sins” are simply signs or symptoms of not giving in completely to God’s work. I really think those two things have to go together – we feel God’s Love and His desire for us to be “one” with Him, and we respond to that invitation to be “one” by giving up our sins and Consecrating our very hearts to His work. It’s sort of a call-and-response structure.

The lesson also included this suggested analogy:

Draw on the board a simple diagram of a person at the bottom of a pit, with another person standing at the top of the pit, lowering a ladder. Ask the young women what is required in order for the person in the pit to be saved. What is the role of the person at the top of the pit? What is the role of the person in the pit? What does this diagram teach the young women about how the Savior’s grace saves us?

I think this analogy will often be used to say that even though the person at top has lowered the ladder, it simply waits there until we climb on it and work our way up to the top. And there is something about that interpretation that feels right, but there is something that feels so wrong! But what, exactly.

I think if King Benjamin were telling this same story, he would emphasize the powerlessness of the person in the pit and the great mercy of the person at the top. Same story, you see, but a different emphasis. The interpretation would be that the person in the pit needs to recognize that they can’t get out any other way and that God has already put a ladder there from before they were even in the pit. What then is the role of the person at the top? To communicate love to the person in the pit after the ladder has been lowered. What is the role of the person in the pit? To recognize there is no other way to be saved from the pit and humbly and joyfully climb up that ladder to be back with the person at the top.

I think I’d add to the story that we’ve collected up all these cool things we’ve found down there in the pit. Maybe some cool rocks or a nicely shaped root. ūüôā Or specks of gold dust or whatever would be of actual monetary value. We have to use both of our hands to climb the ladder, but we don’t want to lose our collection. That is the¬†dilemma: do we leave behind the comforts of the pit for the demands of the world above? Do we empty our hands of our collection and grab hold of the ladder? Or perhaps our dilemma is different: Do we leave our solitude for the demands of unity and companionship?¬†Thus God communicates two things to us: that we are weak and in danger in that pit, and that He loves us and wants us to be with Him.

I think my typing time is coming to an end, so I’ll end with leaving some space for more verses (or talks) as I think of them that have “helped me understand grace,” as the question in the new curriculum put it (and add your own in the comments):

  • Alma 36:11-20. Alma the Younger has an experience where he recognizes, at the same time, God’s greatness (by the shaking of the earth at the voice of the angel!) and his own nothingness. He obsesses about his weakness for days until he finally remembers and trusts what his father had taught him about a Redeemer. He cries out to God, and¬†immediately he feels his guilt and stress leave. Faith leads to remission of sins, right then and there. We might not have an experience with an angel, but¬†all of us can have that experience: when we finally give up obsessing about our sins and trusting God’s Grace.
  • 2 Corinthians 12:9-10. These sound a lot like Ether 12:27, now that I read them so closely together. Paul feels like more that his infirmities are shown, the more the Grace and strength of God can be seen. The more we admit that we are weak the more strongly God’s Grace shines right through us to bless others’ lives. Something like that.
  • 2 Nephi 4
  • Alma 26:12
  • Jacob 4:6-7

“Being right” doesn’t matter?


[I mean to work on this lots more, but in case I don’t (I’m known to forget about those saved drafts of mine), here it is, as a work in progress]

….

We also try to come up with explanations of why things are as they are. We speculate, we think, we reason, to try to understand¬†why doctrines¬†or principles are what they are. And doing so doesn’t make us unfaithful; often, this is an act of worship, to use our minds as well as our hearts. It is also possible to lose sight of that act as worship. It is possible to flip the order around, so that our minds’ reasons become¬†frighteningly serious to us. Anxiety pushes us on to figure out what is real or reasonable, in order that we might act correctly and worship correctly. Fear of being wrong restrains our heart. Worship is put on hold or at least at distance. Rejoicing is paralyzed.

How do we reverse this order, or return to our sincere following out of doctrine and scripture, even though we have realized our potential to mess things up entirely? When is it safe to act?

How do we, in some sense, return to being like a child, after having our eyes opened?

The answer, I believe, comes in the form of grace. Certainly that is no shocking answer, but I hope to share another way of thinking about that path – from child, to adult, and somehow going on¬†to a “child” again, in a forward direction, not backward.

Here grace might be coming in a surprising manner. Here’s the shocker: it doesn’t actually hold up God’s work when we get things wrong. When we misinterpret. Or when others oppress. Or even have ill intentions. Even though they aren’t good, they don’t actually matter.

Now, why would I say such a thing? Here’s why. God is very good at working within whatever situation we humans come up with or find ourselves in. Very good. Amazing, in fact. Actually, it might just be what makes God so real to me – He is so powerful, He can use any thing for good.

Or, we might say:

“[God’s] grace is sufficient for the meek … and [His] grace¬†is sufficient for all men that¬†humble¬†themselves before [Him]; for if they humble themselves before [Him], and have faith in [Him], then will [He] make¬†weak¬†things become strong unto them.”

We typically interpret to this verse to mean we can work at things we aren’t good at and become good at them. And, to stay true to the point of my post, I think that is still productive and I can certainly see how God works within that interpretation to bless lives. However, I don’t think that is what Moroni and God were talking about together that day. Moroni is worried that his weakness¬†in writing,¬†his inability to write clearly or powerfully (or whatever exactly he wished he could do) was going to make the Gentiles mock – and hence – the work of the latter-days would be frustrated. That’s a lot of guilt he felt! His lack was going to hold back the work of God!

Like we often do to, and has been done over and over again throughout our history, he was taking what he knew of God’s word and thinking from there. From the small plates, he would have known that his people were going to be destroyed but redeemed someday. And that this record was very important. And, that the Gentiles were going to take this record to his people. Therefore, this record better attract their attention and convert them, otherwise his people were toast! (And he had just abridged a record of a Gentile group – the Jaredites – who didn’t take the words of prophets all too seriously!)

So you can see his concern. But what was God’s response? God says I know you can’t write well. I gave you weakness. And I give everyone weakness.¬†That doesn’t matter.¬†In fact, it’s what opens up the relationship between man and God. And as far as the Book of Mormon goes, I’ll use that weakness to my aims: as Gentiles have faith and come to me, I’ll make your weak book strong to them.

Or, we can also see it this way (from 2 Nephi 3:21): “the weakness of their words will I make strong in their faith, unto the remembering of my covenant which I made unto thy fathers.” The weak words (God confirms here Moroni’s concern!)¬†will still be just as weak as ever, but because they teach the people of the covenant they are a life-source that strengthens them. The weak umilical cord that is the Book of Mormon will still be brings the strength from the fathers to the later Nephites and Lamanites. God worked with it anyway! (And personally I love the Book of Mormon as it is… I’m not saying it’s a pathetic book or anything. But even though it is weak in Moroni’s eyes or perhaps just the fact that it is a¬†book, ¬†¬†which is much easier to ignore than an angel etc., God is still doing His great work through it! Weakness doesn’t actually matter, as long as there is faith.

or, we might say,

“And behold, in thy childhood thou hast suffered afflictions and much sorrow, because of the rudeness of thy brethren. Nevertheless, … thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain.

Even though Jacob had suffered much, even though Laman and Lemuel had been unfair and caused a very hard life for Jacob, did that stop God’s work? Nope. Even when our weakness is something given to us by another person, even when we are the ones suffering for false ideas or ways of living, it’s okay. Why? Because God consecrates those very sufferings… for our gain!

It doesn’t matter what the source – our personal weakness, or others’ mistakes or even intentional hurt, God can turn it for good. Or, as Joseph says it, nothing can stand in the way of God’s work – nothing! His power is real, and His grace is real –

“How long can rolling waters remain impure? What power shall stay the heavens? As well might man stretch forth his puny arm to stop the Missouri river in its decreed course, or to turn it up stream, as to hinder the Almighty from pouring down knowledge from heaven upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints.”

Just a few things I’ve been thinking about lately…