Another Testament of Jesus Christ
On our Thanksgiving card this year, I included a verse from Mosiah 24. Here's the back story: a group of believers were living in enemy territory. They were in bondage and prayed for deliverance. God heard their prayers and told them to wait: don't just wait and be grumpy, but wait with faith and hope. Then a miraculous thing happened. Their burdens were not taken away, but their shoulders got stronger. This is the promise from heaven:
And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions." (Mosiah 24:14)
Their slavery wasn't over yet, but "they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord." (v. 15)
Later Alma prayed and received good news from the Lord: prepare all night and get ready to go. And so they did. The next morning, their taskmasters slept in. It's not quite the same as when Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt. But there are some similarities. God led another people out of slavery, into the wilderness, and towards freedom and safety.
I love this theme of thanksgiving. They poured out their gratitude for deliverance. The message of deliverance is still relevant today. Slavery still exists in many forms, even now in 2019. I may not be living in physical slavery, but I can relate to their gratitude. I still need deliverance from my own sins and sorrows. I still need God's mercy in my life today. If you want to read the rest of the story from Mosiah, you can go here.
Many of my new friends are from different faith traditions. Here's a handful of details about The Book of Mormon that you might be curious to learn:
- It was written by ancient prophet/historians living in North and South America. I used to live in a city called Lehi, Utah. Lehi is named after the first Book of Mormon prophet. He actually lived in Jerusalem, contemporary to Isaiah and Jeremiah. God told him to leave, they eventually built a boat and sailed across a great body of water.
- The records were not written in English. Lehi's son is named Nephi, and he explains about their writing in the opening chapter of the book. Yea, I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians." (Nephi 1:2)
- The original record was heavy, written on metal plates. Think back a long time ago: no computers, no typewriters, no paper. If you wanted something to last, you carved the details into gold. Why gold? It's softer than other metals. It also means that the precious records were valuable for their content and for the incredible trust passed down to each new prophet.
- The writings were edited and abridged by a Native American prophet named Mormon. (Hence the name.) He took hundreds of years of history, starting from 600 BC and ending around 400 AD. He chose the most relevant stories and details, and wrote them in a way that he hoped would benefit a future generation.
- Mormon was also a warrior. He lived in a time when his people were warring constantly with another nation or tribe. He was a war general and philosopher. Any time you see the words, "and thus we see..." we get a take-away message from a man who saw the destruction of his people. His son Moroni finished the record and buried it in the earth. The very final chapter of this record includes a promise:
- Joseph Smith translated this record into English, and the first edition was published in 1830.
With the Holy Bible, this great book stands as a witness of Jesus Christ. The Bible is a witness of God's dealings with his children in the Old World. The Book of Mormon is a witness of God's dealings with his children in the New. I've read it dozens of times, and it makes me a better person for following the example of Jesus Christ. I can't say that it's changed my life, because I've always had it. I started reading it when I was 7. It has shaped my life, because I've made it a priority to study it for many years now. I'm grateful for the words of the prophets. And I'm glad that the Holy Spirit can speak to each and every person, no matter what land or what era they live.