My fist reaction when I realized it was Lesson 36 was a bit of a nervous shudder. I believe that we should liken the scriptures unto us which I have done, loving this portion of the Book of Mormon because there is so much there I "likened" to lead me to my personal political views and philosophy. But I knew I had to be respectful to keep my personal views in check. On the blog I feel I can express myself more fully because while clearly influenced by gospel teachings, I am not an official spokesman for the church as I am when I am fulfilling an assignment at church. That's just the way I see it.
At Sunday School, I can teach the principles and let people be inspired themselves if the Spirit directs them that way. And I have to be respectful of the way the Spirit is directing me.
What am I talking about? Here are some principles from those chapters.
Does Faith include doubt? When the the non-believers were in an "uproar" to the point of putting the believers to death because the signs of Christ's birth had not appeared as prophesied by the Prophet Samuel on the wall, this is how the righteous responded:
Yes. The point of Faith is not to be without doubt, but to continue "steadfastly" regardless. And that night in response to Nephi's fervent prayers, the Lord announced his own birth and the signs were given.
These chapters also go into an accelerated spinning of the "pride-cycle." Here are some things specifically condemned as leading the blessed to unrighteousness:
No, I didn't draw any conclusions in that part of the lesson nor do I need to here. I think any reader knows how I feel about these things as we "liken them unto us" in our present situation. (I do get uncomfortable when they keep bringing up the lawyers! At least they threw in the merchants with their "free market" and all.). I just tried to get the class members to read it and think about it. And then there was this about the total collapse of their society after they murdered the governor and fell into
And the regulations of the government were destroyed, because of the secret combination of the friends and kindreds of those who murdered the prophets. 3 Nephi 7:6.Destroying the regulations of the government! OK, I confess I did let that line slip in. But is in the scripture there.
And then there was the whole bit about the Gadianton Robbers. We did read and discuss the defensive actions of the good Governor Lachoneus and how he had the people gather in the center of the land for purely defensive war as he also taught them that the Lord would protect them if the prayed and repented. And it worked. I had to get in the bit about the Warrior Prophet Gidgidonni, one of my favorites in the whole Book of Mormon:
I did not mention this "likening" in the class, but going "upon the mountains" sure sounds like Afghanistan, and "into the wilderness" sure sounds like Iraq. I'm pretty sure, though, our discussion got the principle of defensive war across.
And then I got to my personal story:
|"Oh How Lovely Was the Morning" Portuguese LDS Hymnal Version|
I made numerous and frequent trips to Uruguaiana from Alegrete as our missionaries there were doing great work and I had to do a lot of baptism interviews. One elder gave me this page as a souvenir from his service with the Branch cleaning up the destroyed church site to prepare the ground for a new chapel.
This came back to me many years later in December 2003 when I attended a missionary reunion. Our Mission President, a native Brazilian, was in Salt Lake City for the holidays. If you remember what was happening in 2003 (i.e., war in Iraq two years after 9/11) imagine how I felt struggling to translate the President's talk (so I could whisper it to my wife) when he told us that we had no reason to be concerned or fear terrorism. He reminded us of the chapel in Uruguaiana destroyed by terrorists many years ago. What did we do? We kept on "steadfastly" doing the Lord's work and rebuilt it. We need not fear terrorists, just trust in the Lord.
This morning while preparing these thoughts to present to the class, I did a little search to see what chapel they might be using currently in Uruguaiana. It appears there may be more than one. And then I found this:
|Uruguaiana, Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil - Stake Center 2010|
by Ricardo630 from Wikipedia Commons (free use)