Monday, July 23, 2012

Mountain of the Lord (2 Nephi 12)

My friend Frank Bojdo visiting the Salt Lake LDS Temple from North Carolina last Summer.
Lots of people visit the SLC Temple and Temple Square every year.  I got this following info from  Wikipedia.


Attracting 3 million to 5 million visitors a year, Temple Square is the most popular tourist attraction in Utah, bringing in more visitors than the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone National Park. By comparison, Utah's five National ParksZion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, and Arches— had a combined total of 5.3 million visitors in 2005.[5]

Pop Quiz:  Why do they come?

A.  'Cause they wanna.

B.  'Cause it's pretty.

C.  'Cause they're architecturally interested.

D.  'Cause there's nothing else to do in Utah.

E.  Religious reasons

F.  Led here by the Spirit of The Lord

G.  Other stuff.

Answer?  Yup.

What did Isaiah have to say about it?

2 Nephi 12: 1-3
1.  The word that Isaiah, the son of Amoz, saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:

2.  And it shall come to pass in the last days, when the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it.

3.  And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of The Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of The Lord from Jerusalem.

Screenshot from link below

I learned as a youth, and saw in the video Mountain of The Lord, that the word Utah means "tops of the mountains".  I thought that was pretty cool.  Trouble is, it doesn't...
It isn't really known when this myth started, but I don't believe it was meant to mislead.  Myths are often just taken as truth, and were difficult to check on in the days before the internet.  The word Utah comes from the word Ute, an American Indian tribe located in the Colorado, Utah and Arizona area.  Ute came from the Spanish word Yuta, which I guess means "meat eaters".  The Ute's name for themselves was noochee, which, as is so often the case, means The People.  Are you disappointed?

So, I guess Isaiah didn't know what he was talking about.  

Oh, I wouldn't say that...
2.  And it shall come to pass in the last days, when the mountain of The Lord's house shall be established in the tops of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it.
I'd say that description fits. 


2 Nephi 12: 5-6
5.  O house of Jacob, come ye and let us walk in the light of The Lord; yea, come, for ye have all gone astray, every one to his wicked ways.
The scattering of Israel is always a big topic with Isaiah.
6.  Therefore, O Lord, thou has forsaken thy people, the house of Jacob, because they be replenished from the east, and hearken unto soothsayers like the Philistines, and they please themselves in the children of strangers.
"They be replenished from the east":  Had babies with gentiles.  "Please themselves in the children of strangers":  Had babies with gentiles.

The promise is that the day of The Lord will come to everyone, everywhere, and all of these issues will be righted.

This is a painting of Jonah getting chucked off of the ship that is headed to Tarshish, right before the whale eats him.  Too bad he didn't speak whale.


I'll close this boring post with this Tarshish thing.  Most of the rest of chapter 12 talks about how the day of The Lord will happen everywhere.  I've just always thought this next verse was interesting.

2 Nephi 12: 16
16.  And upon all the ships of the sea, and upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures.
Taken alone, it ain't really that interesting, but if you look at the footnote, it's kinda cool.  Apparently the original Greek has this verse as:
16.  And upon all the ships of the sea, and upon all pleasant pictures.
The original Hebrew has this verse as:
16.  And upon all the ships of tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures.
This verse as quoted in the Book of Mormon, which was taken from the Brass Plates that Nephi took from Laben back in 1 Nephi 4, contained both phrases.  Don't you think that's interesting.  No?  Well, I do.  Either Joseph Smith really did some good research, or he was a true prophet of God.  Joseph Smith had only 3 years of formal education.  I believe he could not have written the BOM on his own, without the gift and power of God, but that is not why I believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet.  I believe Joseph Smith was a prophet because I asked Heavenly Father whether he was or not, and whether the Book of Mormon is true or not, and The Lord told me that he was and it is through the Holy Ghost in answer to that prayer. 

Anyways, see you next time when Isaiah talks about bald and stinky women.

Peace be with you...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I Witness of Christ (2 Nephi 11)

Eye-witness testimonies always weigh heavily in courts of law.  The believability of a witness is key to one side or the other of the debate.  And, the more witnesses one particular side has, the more groovy for them.

When the debate is over which religion is true, or whether there is even a God or not, opinions and beliefs can really heat up, even become violent (a weird paradox to me).

Jesus Christ carries our burdens to Golgotha, -by Angela Johnson

My personal belief is centered in Christianity as a member of and a believer in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormon.  Now, when I say I respect others, their religion or lack thereof (as long as it is based in good principles), I am telling the truth, but my belief in my own beliefs precludes any belief in other beliefs which are contrary to mine.  But, why are my beliefs my beliefs, and how did I arrive at them?

I wanted to talk about witnesses of truth in the Book of Mormon, specifically, witnesses of Jesus Christ.

Christ in Gethsemane, -by Angela Johnson

I'm in 2 Nephi chapter 11.  It's a short chapter (yippee!!!), just 8 verses.  We have several witnesses of Christ in this little chapter.

Verse 2, Isaiah and Nephi:
2.  And now I, Nephi, write more of the words of Isaiah, for my soul delighteth in His words.  For I will liken His words unto my people, and I will send them forth unto all my children, for he verily saw my Redeemer, even as I have seen Him.
Verse 3, Jacob:
3.  And my brother, Jacob, also has seen Him as I have seen him; wherefore, I will send their words forth unto my children to prove unto them that my words are true.  Wherefore, by the words of three, God hath said, I will establish my word.  Nevertheless, God sendeth more witnesses, and He proveth all His words.

Verse 4, Moses:
4.  Behold, my soul delighteth in proving unto my people the truth of the coming of Christ; for, for this end hath the law of Moses been given; and all things which have been given of God from the beginning of the world, unto man, are the typifying of Him.

These men of long ago gave accounts of seeing and hearing The Savior, and bore their sacred witnesses that they were speaking the truth.  I never met Nephi, Jacob, Isaiah or Moses, so why should I believe them? Why do I believe the Book of Mormon and The Bible to be the word of God?

In an earthly court of law where one witness says so and so did it, and another says he didn't do it, we may not know who to believe.  In the debate about whether God is real and Jesus is The Christ, there is a way to know the truth.

It's the Holy Ghost, or Holy Spirit.  A dove is a symbol of peace, and is often used to represent the Holy Ghost, because of the New Testament accounts of Jesus' baptism....

Matthew 3: 16-17
16.  And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw The Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:

17.  And lo a voice from heaven saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Anudder from The Bible:

John 14:26
26.  But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

John 15:26
26.  But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
Christ walks on water, by Angela Johnson

So, when Nephi says this...

2 Nephi 11: 6
6.  And my soul delighteth in proving unto my people that save Christ should come all men must perish.

7.  For if there be no Christ there be no God; and if there be no God we are not, for there could have been no creation.  But there is a God, and He is Christ, and He cometh in the fulness of His own time.
... I don't believe Nephi thinks the argument he presented in verse 7 is so strong that the debate is over and done with, I think he is bearing his strong testimony about The Savior, and expects the Holy Ghost to teach us what The Lord would have us know.

A sculpture of the visitation of The Father and The Son to Joseph Smith in 1820, -by Angela Johnson
It is how I feel, in my chest, in my lungs, in my toes, in my mind, when I read the Book of Mormon and The Bible, when I hear the speakers at The Church's semi-annual General Conference, and they testify that God lives, Jesus is His Christ, and that They together visited a young Joseph Smith and restored the Gospel of Jesus Christ again to the earth, that gives me my belief.  When I looked at these sculptures yesterday at a Thanksgiving Point garden exhibit, I felt peace, love, joy, purpose, meaning, sense, strength, burning in my chest.  Angela Johnson's sensitive artistry really touched me.  That and many other experiences are why I believe in the existence of God the Father, in His Son, Jesus Christ, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true. The Holy Ghost has told me that it is true, and I believe deeply.

Someone Hath Touched Me, -by Angela Johnson

Stay tuned for Isaiah.  And remember Nephi's purpose in putting Isaiah in the BOM:  to prove to us that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the World.

Peace be with you...