Topical Bibliography: G — K
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Gift of the Holy Ghost
Gifts of the Spirit
God the Father
Key historical events in the scriptures require historicity to give substance to our faith. Since the Enlightenment, however, some scholars have proclaimed that the scriptures lack historicity. In the face of these doubts, some have argued that historicity is not necessary for belief. Latter-day Saints should be wary of the misleading arguments of critics and of simplistic solutions to those arguments.
Gospel of Jesus Christ
I submit that anyone who reads the Book of Mormon and receives a testimony of its truthfulness by the power of the Holy Ghost will be motivated to live a life more consistent with the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. He or she will become a better person. The Book of Mormon is action oriented. It is motivational. As long as the Spirit continues to strive with such individuals, their consciences will not let them be completely at peace until they improve their lives. Abiding by the precepts, teachings, and commandments taught so clearly in its pages will help a person proximately in this life and ultimately in the life to come. As a result, I resonate positively to the theme of this symposium: “Living the Book of Mormon: Abiding by Its Precepts.”
In every dispensation, from Adam to the present day, the Lord’s anointed prophets have been under a divine mandate to “preach nothing save it were repentance and faith on the Lord”. The central message of the gospel of Jesus Christ is and has always been that through the Atonement of the Lamb of God, the scarlet sins of man can become “white as snow”. Without a knowledge and acceptance of what the scriptures generally, and the Book of Mormon specifically, teach about the doctrine of repentance, one may seek through self-justification to make repentance easier than it really is or through doctrinal distortion to make it more difficult than it needs to be.
The greatest concept we can study or teach is the plan of redemption—sometimes called the plan of salvation or the plan of happiness. The doctrines of the plan of redemption have more power to bring men to God than any other truth or concept. Many members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints quickly recognize the following diagram.
Many parents, as they have labored through the process of raising a teenager, may have wondered at times if Satan’s idea of destroying agency was such a bad idea. However, most parents have learned from experience that trying to control a child’s decisions, even in the right direction, can often result in the child’s rebellion. Very few, if any, like to be forced to do something, even if it is good. Having the right to live according to our personal desires and to exercise our agency, even if what we choose is not wise or good for us, is very precious to us. We prize our moral agency so highly that any attempt to undermine, circumvent, manipulate, control, or eliminate it often leads to conflict. These battles have spanned heaven and earth and have included both individuals and great assemblies.
Deeply valuable symbolism is thoroughly embedded in two of Jesus’ parables, both of which begin, “A certain man had two sons.” The more famous of these two is commonly called parable of the prodigal son, found in Luke 15. The less often mentioned can be called the parable of the willing and unwilling two sons, found in Matthew 21. Even people who have written much and taught profoundly about the parables of Jesus have rarely had much to say about this brief text, which is nevertheless freighted with significantly authoritative cargo. In explicating this lesser-known of the two-sons parables, I hope to honor and recognize Robert L. Millet for his consummate willingness to do the will of the Father and to go down this day to work in his vineyard, wherever the needs may be found.
Reprinted as “Christ among the Ruins,” in The Prophetic Book of Mormon, The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley 8. 380–434.
Presents information about the names used and the political and the social conditions of Lehi’s Jerusalem based on contemporaneous messages written on pottery found at Lachish.
Understanding men and women’s inability to merit salvation through their own efforts can lead one to rely “alone upon the merits of Christ”. Nephi put it this way: “O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man”. Nephi had seen his weak and fallen condition and realized that without the strength of the Lord, he would not be able to overcome the world and his own personal struggles. When we see clearly that we are lost and that we need Him, we can be led to rely on His goodness and His grace in our lives. This reliance on the merits of Christ involves more than simply passive belief. It includes recognizing our fallen nature and finding access to grace through making and keeping sacred covenants.
We can easily see Laman and Lemuel as being lost from the start. Almost like stock characters in a novel, they may appear to have little depth or complexity. This simplistic view makes it hard to identify the reasons behind, as well as the consequences of, Laman and Lemuel’s behavior. Consequently, if we do not look for deeper meaning in Laman and Lemuel’s story, we may fail to identify the necessary precepts to avoid the pitfalls they fell into and to which we are vulnerable today. Through a more contextual view of Laman and Lemuel’s lives, we are provided with a set of precepts to help us thrive spiritually in our day. As President Spencer W. Kimball taught, to be “forewarned is [to be] forearmed.” Ultimately, Laman and Lemuel’s lack of faith in and incorrect understanding of God led to their failure to become the righteous sons of God they were intended to be.
One of the key messages of the Book of Mormon is that the human soul must change, must progress, must become. The Book of Mormon is, in effect, a handbook of change, with the Lord seeking to motivate mighty change within us by using the lives and teachings of the Book of Mormon protagonists as the means to teach us how to become. At the heart of the Book of Mormon, in the books of Mosiah and Alma, Alma the Younger makes the subject of change, progression, and becoming the very essence of his life and sermons, and thus Alma the Younger becomes a quintessential standard of how to become like God.
The Prophet Joseph Smith’s statement, “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book,” may be one of his most recognizable quotes. Millions of readers of the Book of Mormon find it in the sixth paragraph of the book’s introduction. Hundreds of thousands of general conference participants hear it cited repeatedly from the pulpit. Books, articles, and even entire symposia use it as a theme. However, how many people familiar with the quote understand its context? For example, why did Joseph say what he did regarding the Book of Mormon? Who were “the brethren” to whom he made the statement? What sparked the declaration? How has it been used over time? Answers to these important historical questions help us better appreciate the power and application of Joseph’s prophetic statement in our modern day.