Thursday, January 7, 2016

A Marvelous Book of Mormon Gift, and a Wonder

Our youngest, A-6, is currently serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Cleveland, Ohio. His mission covers the area of Kirtland, Ohio, one of the early centers of the Mormon Church (even though it is a separate, visitors center mission, the Cleveland Mission still holds meetings and visits there.)

He sent us a wonderful present for Christmas, a facsimile edition of the original publication of the Book of Mormon.

Published by the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, now The Community of Christ
I've been meaning to buy one for some years now. I'm glad I didn't so that we could get this from our boy that we assume he purchased in Kirtland. We have early members of the Church on both sides of our family that were in the Kirtland area with the growth of the Church there.

There is a wonderful advantage to this book as this edition, or one much like it, was the basis for the 1852 translation of the Book of Mormon in Welsh. With no numbered verses, and different paragraph and chapter divisions, it will now be so much easier to find specific passages in the Welsh!

Welsh edition on the left and original English edition facsimile on the right for 2 Nephi 2:25
"Adam fell, that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy."
My wife gave me the facsimile edition of the Printer's Manuscript of the Book of Mormon from the Joseph Smith Papers Project. This is good too to see that oldest, complete form of the transcript. It has little edits, the best of which are in the Prophet Joseph's own hand which to my pedestrian analysis appear to clarify and simplify the language here and there. Below is the corresponding text for the same verse above. The "Adam fell . . ." portion has not been corrected, but you see one of those just below where "might" becomes "may."

The best part of the gift from our boy is a photocopy of a paper in our missionary's handwriting that seems to be a stream-of-consciousness testimony with scripture quotes, paraphrases, and commentary. I will transcribe it here:
For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Saviour which is Christ the Lord. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not: Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: Yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed. He loves us. The unchangeable one. The eternal I AM. Who knew no sin, who did no sin, who gave himself for our sins. And the world, because of their iniquity, shall judge him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he sufferreth it. Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men. The author and finisher of our faith. The Lamb of God. Jehovah. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be like crimson, they shall be as wool. The Holy one, the light and life of the world. The Messiah. He weeps with us when we suffer. And when we forget him, disappoint or sadden him, his hand is stretched out still. When we anger, hate or covet, his hand is stretched out still. When we fight, tire or ignore, his hand is stretched out still. His hand is stretched out to wipe away tears from off all faces; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain. If we love him and listen to him He pleads our cause he begs that we accept him. Will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you? Whosoever will come, him will I receive. Lord of all, Son of God, Mary's son. The ultimate example of love, service and sacrifice. His heroic words "not my will, but thine, be done." That changed the course of history for me, you and everybody. That allows us to change. Allows us to forget. Allows us to live again. That truly allows us a fullness of joy. Complete happiness. Pure peace. And, perfection. And his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. Jesus Christ. The Savior. The Redeemer. Our kind, wise, Heavenly Friend. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. I know that my Redeemer lives! And he shall go forth, suffering pains and affliction and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled what saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bonds of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to his infirmities. Now the spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance, and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me. How great, how glorious, how complete. Redemption's grand design. Where justice, love and mercy meet in harmony divine for me and unto you and unto all of us: A Savior is born.
When Jesus Christ first came to the earth, he did not come in glory. He was born in a lowly stable and laid in a manger of hay. He did not come with great armies as the Jews had expected of their savior. Instead, he came saying, "Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you and pray for them which despitefully use you." He was rejected and crucified. But he will not be rejected at his second coming, "for every ear shall hear it, and every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ." He will be greeted as "Lord of Lords and King of Kings" He will be called "Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."

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