Monday, November 28, 2022

Our Father is Dead

 1 Nephi 16:33 - 39, NC 1 Nephi 5 pars. 9 - 10


And it came to pass that we did again take our journey, traveling nearly the same course as in the beginning; and after we had traveled for the space of many days, we did pitch our tents again, that we might tarry for the space of a time.

And it came to pass that Ishmael died and was buried in the place which was called Nahom. And it came to pass that the daughters of Ishmael did mourn exceedingly because of the loss of their father and because of their afflictions in the wilderness. And they did murmur against my father because he had brought them out of the land of Jerusalem, saying, Our father is dead. Yea, and we have wandered much in the wilderness, and we have suffered much afflictions, hunger, thirst, and fatigue; and after all these sufferings we must perish in the wilderness with hunger. And thus they did murmur against my father and also against me; and they were desirous to return again to Jerusalem. And Laman said unto Lemuel, and also unto the sons of Ishmael, Behold, let us slay our father, and also our brother Nephi who has taken it upon him to be our ruler and our teacher, who are his elder brethren. Now he says that the Lord has talked with him, and also that angels have ministered unto him. But behold, we know that he lies unto us; and he tells us these things, and he worketh many things by his cunning arts, that he may deceive our eyes, thinking perhaps that he may lead us away into some strange wilderness. And after he has led us away, he has thought to make himself a king and a ruler over us, that he may do with us according to his will and pleasure. And after this manner did my brother Laman stir up their hearts to anger. And it came to pass that the Lord was with us, yea, even the voice of the Lord came and did speak many words unto them and did chasten them exceedingly. And after they were chastened by the voice of the Lord, they did turn away their anger and did repent of their sins, insomuch that the Lord did bless us again with food, that we did not perish.


The Stick of Joseph in the Hand of Ephraim,  1 Nefi 5 pars. 9 - 10


And it came to pass that we did again take our journey, traveling nearly the same course as in the beginning; and after we had traveled for the space of many days, we did pitch our tents again, that we 
might remain for the space of a time. 

And it came to pass that Yishma’el died and was buried in the place which was called Nahom. And it came to pass that the daughters of Yishma’el did mourn exceedingly because of the loss of their father and because of their afflictions in the wilderness. And they did murmur against my father because he had brought them out of the land of Yerushalayim, saying, Our father is dead. Yes, and we have wandered much in the wilderness, and we have suffered much afflictions, hunger, thirst, and fatigue; and after all these sufferings we must perish in the wilderness with hunger. And thus they did murmur against my father and also against me; and they were desirous to return again to Yerushalayim. And Laman said unto L’mu’el, and also unto the sons of Yishma’el, Behold, let us slay our father, and also our brother Nefi who has taken it upon him to be our ruler and our teacher, who are his elder brothers. Now he says that yhwh has talked with him, and also that angels have ministered unto him. But behold, we know that he lies unto us; and he tells us these things, and he works many things by his cunning arts, that he may deceive our eyes, thinking perhaps that he may lead us away into some strange wilderness. And after he has led us away, he has thought to make himself a king and a ruler over us, that he may do with us according to his will and pleasure. And after this manner did my brother Laman stir up their hearts to anger. And it came to pass that yhwh was with us, yes, even the voice of yhwh came and did speak many words unto them and did chasten them exceedingly. And after they were chastened by the voice of yhwh, they did turn away their anger and did repent of their sins, insomuch that yhwh 
did bless us again with food, that we did not perish. 


I just learned something concerning the daughters of Ishmael from a footnote in the Stick of Joseph.

It is something that demonstrates to me that my own understanding of scripture is colored by my own cultural biases and life experiences.

This leads me to believe that I would be greatly benefitted in my understanding by learning about different cultural norms as they appear in scripture.

I have always considered that the daughters of Ishmael here were completely in the wrong right from the get-go to murmur after the death of their father Ishmael; they were part of a divine endeavor after all.

This is the footnote in the Stick of Joseph dealing with this event.

121 They were “sitting shiva,” at which time such murmuring would have been excused.

I looked up what sitting shiva means.

In the Jewish culture, for seven days following the death of a family member the family sits in mourning. 

My present understanding is that during this time of mourning for their father the daughters of Ishmael were doing something that was culturally excusable because of the consideration for their grief.

This leads me to ask myself, "How many times have I read the scriptures, imposing my western cultural traditions upon the text, accusing the participants in the recorded events of wrongdoing, and lost opportunities to gain understanding because I pass over something without considering the original cultural context?"

I wouldn't blame anyone for thinking that I am obsessing over something small.

I just wonder about my own arrogance with respect to the scriptures.  How many people in the world from different life experiences than mine or from different cultural and family traditions than mine or from lives filled with heartbreak, sorrow, and difficulties can and do see and share insights and light and understanding from the scriptures that I have never considered because, in my own arrogance, I feel that I have some inside track on things?

Would it be of great benefit to me to look around and take in, for consideration, the insights that others share about scripture?

Would it be a good exercise for me to simply listen to others without trying to interject my own scriptural ideas and interpretations?

The following talks about Enoch.

Zion cannot be brought through a “Strongman.” The talk I gave about the priesthood in Orem was given in part to inform you about what is necessary as a priesthood component for the existence of Zion. But a Strongman will not work. Remember the character of those whom God has called in times past when Zion was offered. In the case of Enoch, who established Zion, he described himself as “but a lad, and all the people hate me; for I am slow of speech; wherefore am I thy servant?” (Moses 6: 31.) I‟ve explained in the talk on Elijah Reconsidered that “slow of speech” does not mean some speaking impediment. It meant he would rather not talk, because he was more reflective and contemplative than vocal. Enoch was not a “Strongman” in the Gentile fashion, but was a man of meekness and mildness, rather more like our Savior than like the rulers of the Synagogue. ("Zion", Denver C. Snuffer, Jr. © 4-12-14 All Rights Reserved. Lecture 6 Grand Junction, Colorado, pg. 2)

Is it possible that Enoch was more interested in listening to and considering what others had to say than in voicing his own understanding of matters?

If such was the case would that be a trait that made him weak or meek?

If I honestly look at myself presently I have to declare that I presently have so much more in common with the rulers of the Synagogue than I have in common with Enoch.

The following is from a paper entitled "Other Sheep Indeed"

Of all faiths, Mormonism has the greatest canonical incentive to search for and embrace truth known to others. The “keystone” of Mormonism is the Book of Mormon. That book alerts its readers that there are many others from vastly different places with vastly different scriptures who are nonetheless Christ’s sheep. Book of Mormon readers are expected to search for, welcome and learn from them. In contrast, institutional Mormonism of all stripes confine trustworthy new religious ideas to their authorized leaders. Early in the text we learn that our faith, like our scriptures, is unfinished, and to anticipate a flood of additional sacred texts to help remove our ignorance. The portion of the Book of Mormon translated by Joseph Smith is carefully censored, with its greater content withheld.  2 Nephi 29:11-12 states: For I command all men, both in the east and in the west, and in the north, and in the south, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall write the words which I speak unto them; … Obviously the Gods of Mormonism view Their role as all-inclusive. The entire world and all mankind belong to Them.  Their global audience has received and recorded sacred words directly from the Gods’ “one” mouth.  We have no way to define the extent to which that has happened. Nor do we have any concept of the number of sacred records that exist somewhere among unknown others, nor any idea what truths they were given that we lack. Mormonism cannot, or at least should not, consider itself the exclusive possessor of THE sacred canon or that there is only one canon containing the Gods’ teachings. There are words from heaven spread throughout our world by the deliberate planting of the Gods.
Continuing, for out of the books which shall be written I will judge the world, every man according to their works, according to that which is written. These “books” hold terrible importance for Mormons because we are going to be judged by the Gods based on a comparison between our “works” and “that which is written.” With such a warning we Mormons ought to be humble about our claims to know more than other faiths. We should be modest in thinking we are especially graced by the Gods’ words and should be anxious to scour the globe to discover the sacred texts of other cultures. In humility, we should invite them to share the truths they value most with us because we have shown that we will respect what they regard as sacred. ("Other Sheep Indeed," Denver Snuffer, © 2017 Presented at the Salt Lake City Sunstone Symposium, pgs. 2 - 3)

If I desire to be brought out of the darkness I am in presently, I would consider that responding to the above invitation would prove to be a great blessing for me.

What Nephi is recording here concerns the rebellions of Laman and Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael; a reoccurring event.

Did Nephi inscribe these reoccurring events in order to demonstrate a principle to us?

I don't believe that Nephi recorded these events to poo-poo his brothers.

I don't believe that I am able to learn what I ought to learn from considering these events if my only reaction is "Boy, look at these lunkheads.  What idiots."

I have mentioned before that I believe that Laman and Lemuel, initially at Jerusalem, were "rationally" considering their father Lehi's message and actions; which message and actions ran totally counter to their life experience, culture, and traditions.

They were living a life that was well off in Jerusalem, a very religious area of people who were strict to keep the law of Moses.

They lived as part of a family that possessed bank accounts, real estate holdings, a prosperous business, etc.  

Their father, Lehi, went off the deep end.  

First, he began to testify that the very religious people of Jerusalem were wicked.  According to their understanding of things, that was quite laughable.

Then he began to testify of a Messiah who would come.  Such a witness really caused a stir in the community of Jerusalem. Their father's life was threatened because of that testimony.

Then they were informed by their very controversial father that they were leaving everything and departing into the wilderness never to be able to enjoy their wealth and real estate. 

Is it possible to see how in today's society a diagnosis of mental illness would not be difficult to obtain for Lehi in order to commit Lehi to an institution so that Lehi's insane actions would not continue?

Nephi also expressed, in the beginning, at the very least, reservations about what his father, Lehi, had been declaring. That is why Nephi inquired of the Lord to know concerning the words of his father, as I presently understand it.

Is it possible that by recording these reoccurring rebellions, Nephi is trying to get me to take a serious look at whatever I hold as "rational" concerning my traditions, culture, and life experience that would not allow me to move past my reservations and even healthy skepticism to ask of God?

Is it possible that I am capable of following a path that will lead me to murderous rebellions against those who are declaring the words of God?

The devil has no power over us only as we permit him. The moment we revolt at anything which comes from God, the devil takes power. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg. 181)

If I remember correctly, their past rebellion involved them leaving Nephi tied up to die in the wilderness but it did not involve a plan to also murder their father, Lehi.

Now they are actively involved in the consideration of murdering both Nephi and their father Lehi as well.

I have written before in this blog about how it presently appears to me that we must be informed of the negative results of our disobedient actions towards God and not just apprised of potential blessings if we are obedient to God.

I am wondering if that is one reason we benefit from repeatedly reading about Laman and Lemuel and the Sons of Ishmael's rebellions.

If we are exposed to light from heaven does that put us in greater peril?

Alma, or maybe Mormon as he was abridging the record, gave the following observation concerning the events when many of the people of Ammon were killed by their fellow Lamanites.

...Now the greatest number of those of the Lamanites who slew so many of their brethren were Amlicites and Amulonites, the greatest number of whom were after the order of the Nehors. Now among those who joined the people of the Lord, there were none who were Amlicites, or Amulonites, or who were after the order of Nehor, but they were actual descendants of Laman and Lemuel. And thus we can plainly discern that after a people have been once enlightened by the spirit of God, and have had great knowledge of things pertaining to righteousness, and then have fallen away into sin and transgression, they become more hardened; and thus their state becomes worse than if they had never known these things. (Alma 24:26 - 30, NC Alma 14 par. 12)

The Lord also, during His mortal sojourn, taught concerning this same reality.

Then came some of the scribes and said unto him, Master, it is written that every sin shall be forgiven, but you say, Whoever speaks against the holy ghost shall not be forgiven. And they asked him, saying, How can these things be? And he said unto them, When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walks through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. But when a man speaks against the holy ghost, then he says, I will return into my house from which I came out. And when he has come, he finds him empty, swept, and garnished, for the good spirit leaves him unto himself. Then goes the evil spirit and takes with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there. And the last end of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation. (Matthew 12:43 - 45, NC Matthew 6 par 7)

At one point at the beginning of Nephi's ministry to his brothers, Nephi makes the following observation concerning Laman and Lemuel.

...And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did exhort my brethren with all diligence to keep the commandments of the Lord. And it came to pass that they did humble themselves before the Lord, insomuch that I had joy and great hopes of them, that they would walk in the paths of righteousness... (1 Nephi 16:1 - 6, NC 1 Nephi 5 par. 1)

Also, we see a bit further on during the journey the following event happened with them as well.

And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord said unto him, Look upon the ball and behold the things which are written. And it came to pass that when my father beheld the things which were written upon the ball, he did fear and tremble exceedingly, and also my brethren, and the sons of Ishmael, and our wives... (1 Nephi 16:26 - 32, NC 1 Nephi 5 par. 8)

Do these events constitute being enlightened by the spirit of God?

Is it possible that for a time they had a change of heart?

If an individual is sent from God with an authorized message and that message is delivered to the intended hearers with fidelity does that also constitute being enlightened by the spirit of God?

Would it be important for me to consider if these events constitute being enlightened by the spirit of God? 

Should I look inside and ask myself if I have ever been enlightened by the spirit of God?

Is this what Alma was inviting the folks who were part of the church in Zarahemla to consider when he declared the following?

And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now? Have ye walked keeping yourselves blameless before God? Could ye say — if ye were called to die at this time — within yourselves that ye have been sufficiently humble, that your garments have been cleansed and made white through the blood of Christ, who will come to redeem his people from their sins? Behold, are ye stripped of pride? I say unto you, if ye are not, ye are not prepared to meet God. Behold, ye must prepare quickly; for the kingdom of Heaven is soon at hand, and such an one hath not eternal life. Behold, I say, is there one among you who is not stripped of envy? I say unto you that such an one is not prepared. And I would that he should prepare quickly, for the hour is close at hand; and he knoweth not when the time shall come, for such an one is not found guiltless. (Alma 5:26 - 29, NC Alma 3 par. 5)

Should I seriously consider these recurring events among Laman and Lemuel to be a cautionary tale recorded for my benefit to remind me of my personal obligation to live day by day according to the enlightenment I have or will receive by the spirit of God?

Is this recorded in Nephi's record precisely to inform me of the inescapable internal negative results of my personal disobedience to the gift of God's enlightenment to me?

Are there any other examples that testify to this?

What did the Prophet Joseph teach?

The Messiah’s kingdom on earth is of that kind of government, that there has always been
numerous apostates, for the reason that it admits of no sins unrepented of without excluding the individual from its fellowship. Our Lord said, “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for
many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” And again, many are called, but
few are chosen. Paul said to the elders of the Church at Ephesus, after he had labored three years
with them, that he knew that some of their own number would turn away from the faith, and seek
to lead away disciples after them. None, we presume, in this generation will pretend that he has the
experience of Paul in building up the Church of Christ and yet, after his departure from the Church
at Ephesus, many, even of the elders turned away from the truth; and what is almost always the
case, sought to lead away disciples after them. Strange as it may appear at first thought, yet it is no
less strange than true, that notwithstanding all the professed determination to live godly, apostates
after turning from the faith of Christ, unless they have speedily repented, have sooner or later fallen
into the snares of the wicked one, and have been left destitute of the Spirit of God, to manifest
their wickedness in the eyes of multitudes. From apostates the faithful have received the severest
persecutions. Judas was rebuked and immediately betrayed his Lord into the hands of His
enemies, because Satan entered into him. There is a superior intelligence bestowed upon such as
obey the Gospel with full purpose of heart, which, if sinned against, the apostate is left naked and
destitute of the Spirit of God, and he is, in truth, nigh unto cursing, and his end is to be burned.
When once that light which was in them is taken from them, they become as much darkened as
they were previously enlightened, and then, no marvel, if all their power should be enlisted
against the truth, and they, Judas like, seek the destruction of those who were their greatest
benefactors. What nearer friend on earth, or in heaven, had Judas than the Savior? And his first
object was to destroy Him. Who, among all the Saints in these last days can consider himself as good
as our Lord? Who is as perfect? Who is as pure? Who is as holy as He was? Are they to be found?
He never transgressed or broke a commandment or law of heaven—no deceit was in His mouth,
neither was guile found in His heart. And yet one that ate with Him, who had often drunk of the
same cup, was the first to lift up his heel against Him. Where is one like Christ? He cannot be
found on earth. Then why should His followers complain, if from those whom they once called brethren, and considered as standing in the nearest relation in the everlasting covenant they should receive persecution? From what source emanated the principle which has ever been manifest by apostates from the true Church to persecute with double diligence, and seek with double perseverance, to destroy those whom they once professed to love, with whom they once communed, and with whom they once covenanted to strive with every power in righteousness to obtain the rest of God? Perhaps our brethren will say the same that caused Satan to seek to overthrow the kingdom of God, because he himself was evil, and God’s kingdom is holy. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pgs. 66 - 68)


Was the above teaching of the Prophet Joseph what he experienced during his life in his associations with others? 

When a man begins to be an enemy to this work, he hunts me, he seeks to kill me, and never
ceases to thirst for my blood. He gets the spirit of the devil—the same spirit that they had who
crucified the Lord of Life—the same spirit that sins against the Holy Ghost. You cannot save such
persons; you cannot bring them to repentance; they make open war, like the devil, and awful is
the consequence. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg. 358)

Wasn't it by a conspiracy of those who were once close associates with the Prophet Joseph that both he and Hyrum, his brother, were delivered up to be murdered?

Should it be very sobering to me that in all of the above examples it was a spirit of murder that ended up filling those who had once been enlightened by the spirit of God?

How serious a matter is this?

Now, this may sound like a curious matter, where God has access to mankind, and Satan also has access to mankind. And the narrative reads as if Adam and Eve and their descendants stand in the presence of and have access to God and angels openly and Satan openly, and Satan appears and says, “Don’t believe it,” and he preaches (in their disbelief) things that will make them gratified, carnal, sensual, and devilish.
Well, there was a different order of things long ago and far away, in which the veil that exists predominantly now was easily traversed. It is for the protection of mankind that a veil was installed, so that apparently powerful, spiritual, great beings who are malevolent and evil and corrupting and who urge you to carnality and sensuality, and devilishness don’t get access to you—because there has to be an equal opposition in all things. If your mind ascends to the highest heights (as Joseph put it in his letter from Liberty Jail), your mind also must descend into the darkest abyss—because you cannot ascend without exposing yourself to a larger spectrum of opposition, so that you are left in the balance to choose. ("Righteousness" Salem, Utah, November 20, 2022, Denver C. Snuffer, Jr., pgs. 6 - 7)

Is it possible from all the above that this is one reason the Lord declared the following?

And it came to pass, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow you wherever you go. And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head. And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God. And another also said, Lord, I will follow you, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man having put his hand to the plow and looking back is fit for the kingdom of God. (Luke 9:57 - 62, NC Luke 8 par. 2)

If I begin to move forward on the path in search of light is it critical that I do not go back?

Should I be earnest and true in my effort to receive and follow the words of the Lord?

Is Nephi following the pattern of recording, for our view, the negative results of disobedience in order that we may benefit and learn from the experiences of others?

Saturday, September 3, 2022

Could it Be? Is it Possible?

A recent statement comes to mind concerning the present Restoration with respect to the covenant.

Only we can keep the covenant. Only those who keep the covenant together can establish a new civilization with God’s holy House at its center. ("Civilization," General Conference Address Denver C. Snuffer, Jr. Grand Junction, CO 21 April 2019, pg. 32)

As well as this following statement.

We’re not going to arrive where we need to arrive if we perceive ourselves as unequal, if we think of ourselves as greater and lesser, if we don’t think of ourselves as simply common servants, inadequate as we may be, to a Lord who loved and sacrificed Himself for our redemption. He is worthy. We can do our best and we can make a lot of mistakes along the way. Joseph did his best and it just didn’t work out. But what would have happened if the people, in July of 1840 when no commandment had yet been given, rose up and with alacrity decided that they were going to labor for the accomplishment of the task that Joseph was telling them was coming? What would have happened had the money raised and donated for the temple not been diverted by the temple committee to their own purposes? What would have happened if the lumber sent down from the Wisconsin mission been used for the construction of the temple rather than being diverted for the homes of the leading citizens? What would have happened if instead of God requiring yanking on the reins to pull the bit in the mouth of the horse of the restoration, what would have happened if all that was needed was for the reins to be lightly put on the neck of the horse of the restoration, to guide it where it needed to go? Horses are so sensitive that when a fly lands on their skin they can twitch to remove it. The people of the restoration are nowhere near as sensitive to what God would have them do, then or now, as is a horse. (Remembering the Covenants Regional Conference Address, Denver Snuffer Centerville, Utah 4 August 2018, pg. 6)

In my opinion, events in the Restoration are occurring in a remarkable way.

I have expressed in this blog multiple times that I now believe that I understand why the Lord used the description, "strange act" to describe His work underway right now.

Never in a million years would I have imagined that He would perform his miraculous work in the manner in which it is unfolding.

The above statements came to my mind as a result of an announcement concerning the translation of the Book of Mormon into Hebrew.

Below is one of the questions that was and is asked to all who accept a new covenant God has extended.

Second: Do you have faith in these things and receive the scriptures approved by the Lord as a standard to govern you in your daily walk in life, to accept the obligations established by the Book of Mormon as a covenant, and to use the scriptures to correct yourselves and to guide your words, thoughts, and deeds? (T&C 158 par. 3)

Do "we" have an obligation established by the Book of Mormon to take the Book of Mormon to the Jews?

The Book of Mormon was written for three groups. Three targeted audiences are identified right at the outset: the Lamanites, the Jews, and the gentiles. That’s who the Book of Mormon was sent to. In the Teachings and Commandments, section 158, there is a covenant offered to the gentiles, to the remnant of the Lamanites, and to the remnant of the Jews. These are the words of that covenant. 

Do you have faith in these things and receive the scriptures approved by the Lord as a standard to govern in your daily walk in life, to accept the obligations established by the Book of Mormon as a covenant, and to use the scriptures to correct yourselves and to guide your words, thoughts and deeds? (vs 3) 

It also goes on to say: But if you do not honor me, nor seek to recover my people Israel... then you have no promise (vs 19). 

The people that the Book of Mormon established as the target audience are the Lamanites, the Jews, and the gentiles. We have an obligation to try and reach out to the Lamanites, the Jews, and the gentiles. (Book of Mormon as a Covenant Denver C. Snuffer, Jr. Columbia, South Carolina 13 January 2019, pg. 4)

Is it possible that the Lord has recently prepared a way that "we" can work together as inadequate fellow servants to translate the Book of Mormon into Hebrew, therefore fulfilling that obligation the Book of Mormon has imposed upon us?

There is a web page that was announced for the Hebrew translation effort; https://www.hebrewbookofmormon.com/

The following is from that page.


Funding the Work

The only paid participants in the project are the actual scholar-translators. All other participants volunteer their time and efforts. All donated funds go 100% to pay for actual translation work.

When the translation is complete, paid professional typesetting and publishing will be required.

The project has cost over $250,000 so far, and it is anticipated another $150,000 will be required to bring the editing work to completion, plus $50,000 for typesetting and publishing.

The completed books will be distributed in Israel and made available to Jews worldwide at the cost of printing. The text will also be published free of charge online in an interactive Hebrew/English study site, which has already been built by volunteers.

Once the book is published, efforts will be undertaken to publicize and distribute the book in the US, Europe, and Israel.


Could it be that the Lord is lightly putting the reigns on the neck of the horse of the Restoration by bringing this announcement forward in order to provide all covenant holders who feel to do so an opportunity to assist so that this obligation is completed by "we" as equally inadequate fellow servants?

Do we see in the past attempt of restoration in the Prophet Joseph's day any examples of the Lord trying to work in such a way by lightly putting the reigns on the neck of the horse of the Restoration?

In the minutes of an October 1831 conference, Joseph made this statement, “God had often sealed up the Heavens because of covetousness in the church. Said the Lord would cut his work short in righteousness and except the church receive the fullness of the scriptures they would yet fall.”1 After that warning on July 17, 1840, two men were assigned to go on a mission for the purpose of raising money to publish scriptures. This included a new edition of the Book of Mormon and the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible. (It is called a “translation” but is more correctly understood as the prophet’s inspired revision clarifying the text.) In October 1840, a letter to all the saints was published in the Times and Seasons asking for their full support in the effort to publish “the new translation of the Scriptures.” That effort failed to put the Joseph Smith Translation in print, and Joseph died without it ever being published. ( "Fullness of the Scriptures," Glossary of Gospel Terms, Teachings and Commandments) 

Did they "yet fall" because of their failure to respond?

Can we learn from their failure to respond to the Lord's guiding of the reigns?

If someone desires to contribute but wonders if their contribution is too "small" to be considered an equal contribution would it be well to remember what the Savior declared concerning the widow's offering?

And after this, Jesus sat opposite the treasury and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury; and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she cast in two mites, which make a farthing. And Jesus called his disciples and said unto them, Truly I say unto you that this poor widow has cast more in than all they who have cast into the treasury; for all the rich did cast in of their abundance, but she — notwithstanding her lack — did cast in all that she had; yea, even all her possessions. (Mark 12:41 - 44, NC Mark 5 par. 48)

Would it also be good to consider King Benjamin's words as we as equal fellow servants consider contributing?

... And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order, for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize. Therefore, all things must be done in order... (Mosiah 4:26 - 30, NC Mosiah 2 par. 6)

Especially in today's circumstances, is it possible that there are those who, as equal fellow servants, have obligations that do not permit them to donate even though they desire to do so?

Is God able to determine the thoughts and intents of every heart?

Is God able to answer earnest prayers of faith?

Are earnest prayers of faith required as well as donations for this project to succeed?

Could it be that the Lord has prepared this opportunity for us to be able to respond as equal fellow servants with alacrity as "we" a body of people, by supporting this effort to fulfill the obligation imposed upon us to take the Book of Mormon to the Jews, with our prayers and, for those who are able, our added donations?


Sunday, July 31, 2022

By Small Means the Lord can Bring About Great Things

1 Nephi 16:26 - 32, NC 1 Nephi 5 par. 8


 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord said unto him, Look upon the ball and behold the things which are written. And it came to pass that when my father beheld the things which were written upon the ball, he did fear and tremble exceedingly, and also my brethren, and the sons of Ishmael, and our wives. And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the pointers which were in the ball, that they did work according to the faith, and diligence, and heed, which we did give unto them. And there was also written upon them a new writing which was plain to be read, which did give us understanding concerning the ways of the Lord; and it was written and changed from time to time according to the faith and diligence which we gave unto it. And thus we see that by small means the Lord can bring about great things. And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did go forth up into the top of the mountain, according to the directions which were given upon the ball. And it came to pass that I did slay wild beasts, insomuch that I did obtain food for our families. And it came to pass that I did return to our tents bearing the beasts which I had slain; and now when they beheld that I had obtained food, how great was their joy! And it came to pass that they did humble themselves before the Lord and did give thanks unto him.


The Stick of Judah in the Hand of Ephraim 1 Nefi 5 par. 8


And it came to pass that the voice of yhwh said unto him, Look upon the ball and behold the things which are written. And it came to pass that when my father beheld the things which were written upon the ball, he did fear and tremble exceedingly, and also my brothers, and the sons of Yishma’el, and our wives. And it came to pass that I, Nefi, beheld the pointers which were in the ball, that they did work according to the faith, and diligence, and heed, which we did give unto them. And there was also written upon them a new writing which was plain to be read, which did give us understanding concerning the ways of yhwh; and it was written and changed from time to time according to the faith and diligence which we gave unto it. And thus we see that by small means yhwh can bring about great 
things. And it came to pass that I, Nefi, did go forth up into the top of the mountain, according to the directions which were given upon the ball. And it came to pass that I did slay wild beasts, insomuch 
that I did obtain food for our families. And it came to pass that I did return to our tents bearing the beasts which I had slain; and now when they beheld that I had obtained food, how great was their joy! 
And it came to pass that they did humble themselves before yhwh and did give thanks unto him.



Nephi comments as follows on his coming to an understanding of how the Lord caused the Liahona to work.

 And thus we see that by small means the Lord can bring about great things.

Was it a small thing to change the writing on the Liahona?

Why would such an action be considered by Nephi to be a small thing?

I would recommend an article written by Hugh Nibley in 1961 setting forth the workings of the Liahona for Lehi's group in relation to the common custom of divination of the times.

 The Liahona's Cousins Author(s): Hugh Nibley Source: Improvement Era, Vol. 64, No. 2 (February 1961), pp. 87–89, 104–111

It's too long an essay to include here in this post but upon reading Nibley's research it is possible to see how such an item as the Liahona and its manner of operation was considered a "small thing."

The following is an excerpt from the essay. 

Both Nephi and Alma go out of their way to insist that the Liahona did not work itself, i.e., was not a magic thing, but worked only by the power of God and only for appointed persons who had faith in that power.  Moreover, while both men marvel at the wonderful workmanship of the brass ball in which the pointers were mounted, they refer to the operation of those pointers as “a very small thing,” so familiar to Lehi’s people that they hardly give it a second glance. So contemptuous were they of the “small means” by which “those miracles were worked” for their guidance and preservation that they constantly “forgot to exercise their faith” so that the compass would work. This suggests that aside from the workmanship of the mounting, there was nothing particularly strange or mystifying about the apparatus which Alma specifies as a “temporal” thing.
Here we have an instructive parallel in the ship and the bow that Nephi made. Without divine intervention those indispensable aids to survival would never have come to the rescue of Lehi’s company—their possession was a miracle. Yet what were they after all? An ordinary ship and an ordinary bow. Just so, the Liahona was “a very small thing” for all its marvelous provenience, having much the same relationship to other directing arrows that the ship and the bow did to other ships and bows. We must not forget that the ancients looked upon even ordinary azlam as a means of communication with the divine: “In view of the importance of religious sentiment in every aspect of the
activity of the Arab and of the Semite in general,” writes Fahd, “I do not believe that one can separate these practices (i.e., of arrow-divination ) from their character as a consultation of divinity . . . they always believed, however vaguely, in a direct and constant intervention in human affairs. (pg. 108)

Is it possible that this "small means" not only guided Lehi's company but also proved them and taught them as well?

Did this small means in any way violate the agency of Lehi's company during their migration?

What would have happened to Lehi's company if they had further rebelled at Shazer instead of humbling themselves?

Would they have been left to their own devices and perished in spite of their possession of the Liahona?

Is there a pattern here that I can use, along with the other patterns picked up along the way, to detect when and if the Lord is performing a work?

The great work of the migration of Lehi's company was completed using this ordinary and small means.

What other great works has the Lord accomplished by using the smallest of means?

What about Enoch?

We have discussed Enoch before and his reticence at being made a servant of the Lord because he felt that he was inadequate for such a work.

What work was accomplished through the preaching of this small individual?

Is it a great thing for a people to repent and be gathered together into a community of righteousness that has to be taken into heaven, so as not to be destroyed by the impending global flood, because the entire community has become the dwelling place of the Lord?

Were the people who eventually were gathered to the community of Zion proven by their response to the words Enoch was given to speak?

Were the people who were eventually gathered to the community of Zion taught by the words given to Enoch to speak?

Were the people who were eventually gathered to the community of Zion guided by the words given to Enoch to speak?

Was their agency preserved?

If they did not respond to the words of Enoch were they simply left to their own devices to live without divine direction in spite of having possession of Enoch's words?

How common and ordinary and small a matter is it to have someone mortal declare a message?

What about the deliverance of Israel at the time of Gideon from the Midianites?

How small and common and ordinary a thing is it for three hundred men to break their pitchers to expose lighted lamps, blow on their trumpets, and call out "The sword of the Lord and of Gideon" in the dark around a camp of innumerable enemies?

Was the great thing of delivering Israel out of the hand of the Midianites accomplished but just such small means?

Were the children of Israel proven by this "small means" of deliverance?

Were they guided and taught by this "small means" of deliverance?

Was agency preserved for all?

Could they have disregarded the Lord's direction thereby ignoring His "small means" of deliverance?

If they had chosen to ignore it would they simply have been left to their own devices to fight the Midianites in spite of possessing the divine guidance of the Lord?

What about the mission of the Lord when He came and dwelt here in mortality with us?

How small a thing in the world's eyes is an itinerate preacher, who's occupation is that of a carpenter, from Galilee?

Is His smallness in the eyes of the world reflected in the question of one of His faithful disciples, "Can there any good thing come out from Nazareth?"

Did Isaiah also recognize His smallness in the eyes of the world when he declared,

Who has believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground. He has no form nor comeliness, and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 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 has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted... (Isaiah 53:1 - 10, OC Isaiah 19 par. 2)

Was the Savior so small and ordinary as far as those in His mortal sphere of influence were concerned, except for a very small company of individuals?

Did the world at large even take notice of Him while He was in mortality?

Was an infinitely "great thing" accomplished through this small and ordinary (according to the world) means; the person of Jesus Christ?

Were all who were around Him and even us now proven and being proven by His "small" ministry and atonement?

Could we ask the very same thing about being taught and guided by His "small means" in His mortal ministry?

Is everyone's agency preserved with this "small means"?

If we are not interested in this "small means" are we simply left to our own devices to continue on without divine guidance in spite of possessing the witnesses of His mission?

Is it possible or probable that we will perish if we choose to disregard this "small means"?

How small a means is it for the Lord to begin a work to fulfill His covenants with the early Fathers on earth through a 14 year old farm boy in upstate New York?

Do all of the same elements of the "small means" pattern exist with the Prophet Joseph?

If the Lord is consistent, and I believe He is, then would I be benefitted by looking to see where this pattern exists today?

Does this pattern exist in any of the powerful, popular, and wealthy institutions and churches today?

Is that one reason Nephi was able to authoritatively declare the following concerning our day?

Yea, they have all gone out of the way, they have become corrupted; because of pride, and because of false teachers, and false doctrine, their churches have become corrupted, and their churches are lifted up; because of pride, they are puffed up. They rob the poor because of their fine sanctuaries; they rob the poor because of their fine clothing, and they persecute the meek and the poor in heart because in their pride they are puffed up. They wear stiff necks and high heads, yea, and because of pride, and wickedness, and abominations, and whoredoms, they have all gone astray, save it be a few who are the humble followers of Christ. Nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men. (2 Nephi 28:11 - 14, NC 2 Nephi 12 par. 2)

Does Nephi's phrase, "save it be a few who are the humble followers of Christ " fit the pattern of something being a "small means" that the Lord can work with to bring about "great things"?

As for every church, Nephi declares that they have ALL gone astray and they are ALL corrupt.

Nephi does not name any exceptions to this.

How ordinary and small was John the Baptist in the eyes of the Jewish leaders?

What did the reveal to the Prophet Joseph concerning the mission or "great thing" John was sent to accomplish?

Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood also. And the lesser priesthood continued, which priesthood holds the key of the ministering of angels, and the preparatory gospel, which gospel is the gospel of repentance, and of baptism, and the remission of sins, and the law of carnal commandments, which the Lord in his wrath caused to continue with the house of Aaron, among the children of Israel, until John, whom God raised up, being filled with the holy ghost from his mother’s womb. For he was baptized while he was yet in his childhood, and was ordained by the angel of God at the time he was eight days old unto this power: to overthrow the kingdom of the Jews, and to make straight the way of the Lord before the face of his people, to prepare them for the coming of the Lord, in whose hand is given all power. (D&C 84:25 - 28, T&C 82 par. 14)

And the Prophet further expounded concerning John as follows.

John, at that time, was the only legal administrator in the affairs of the kingdom there was then on the earth, and holding the keys of power. The Jews had to obey his instructions or be damned, by their own law; and Christ Himself fulfilled all righteousness in becoming obedient to the law which he had given to Moses on the mount, and thereby magnified it and made it honorable, instead of destroying it. The son of Zacharias wrested the keys, the kingdom, the power, the glory from the Jews, by the holy anointing and decree of heaven, and these three reasons constitute him the greatest prophet born of a woman. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg. 276)

If I understand correctly what the Prophet Joseph taught, the great thing John was sent to accomplish was to free up the Lord's hands to begin something new.

By rejecting John's message, the Jewish leaders (the heads of the Jewish kingdom) cut themselves off, allowing the Lord to change directions from what had been established with Moses and fulfilling what had been set forth in the law of Moses.

How ordinary and small a means was it for the Lord to send a mortal with an authorized message to the Jews?

Were the Jews proven by the words given to John to speak?

Were the Jews given the opportunity to be taught and guided by the words given to John to speak?

Was the agency of everyone involved kept in tact?

By there rejection were the Jewish leaders left to there own devices to wander about and perish in spite of possessing the law of Moses which pointed to Christ?

Did the Jewish leaders know that a "great thing" had come to pass?

Could this same pattern happen again?

Is it possible that it has?

God's house is a house of order, but that does not mean what you think it means. God follows patterns. He establishes and ordains things according to one pattern, and then He takes them down again according to another pattern, and He does not vary. There is no guarantee, when He establishes a house in one instance, that that house cannot rebel, reject Him, and be rejected by Him at another. Just because God undertakes one work does not mean that He cannot undertake yet another. Just because He ordains one system at one time it does not mean that, when that system becomes abusive, He will not deal with the system He ordained according to its own standards in order to bring about the result He warned about. He follows a pattern and therein is the house of order.

When Christ came the first time, God took down a previously established hierarchy using an orderly
process, informing us about His house of order. He ordained John to bring it to an end, which put him on a collision course with the hierarchy. John the Baptist was “ordained by the angel of God at the time he was eight days old unto this power, to overthrow the kingdom of the Jews, and to make straight the way of the Lord before the face of his people, to prepare them for the coming of the Lord…” Joseph Smith elaborated, “The son of Zacharias wrested the keys, the kingdom, the power, the glory from the Jews, by the holy anointing and decree of heaven.”

For His return, we should expect something similar to His first coming. That is, an orderly take down of a competing hierarchy using someone ordained to accomplish that end that is put by God on a collision
course with the targeted power structure. John’s mission required them to reject the truth and testimony
he offered. It was orderly, public and required a conflict followed by rejection. In any modern take
down of the LDS hierarchy the Lord will allow those involved to act freely. The hierarchy must
voluntarily and clearly violate God’s standard. It must be orderly, public and the result of a conflict
ordained by God’s will. This is how a house of order operates anciently and again today. (Forty Years In Mormonism, "#10 - Preserving the Restoration," Denver Snuffer, 9/Sept/2014, pgs. 313 - 314)


Continuing...

Joseph Smith cautioned the saints about violating God’s trust. As Joseph put it: “His word will go forth,
in these last days, in purity; for if Zion will not purify herself, so as to be approved in all things, in His
sight, He will seek another people; for His work will go on until Israel is gathered, and they who will not hear His voice, must expect to feel His wrath.” We should expect God’s house to be ordered around
only one principle: repentance. When the pride of a great organization replaces repentance, the heavens
withdraw, and when they do, “Amen” to that portion of God’s house. But the restoration through Joseph
will always remain, even if God chooses to order it differently before His return. It is His to do with as He determines best.

At the time I was excommunicated, I was in good standing with the Lord. I had nothing amiss in my personal life. There was no sin warranting church discipline. As a former member of the High Council for years, every church disciplinary proceeding I attended that resulted in excommunication, always involved serious moral transgression, betrayal of marriage covenants, and in some cases criminal wrongdoing. In contrast, the reason for my discipline was a book I had written about church history, in which I attempted to align the events of the Restoration to the prophecies of the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants. The stake president admitted to me and my wife before the Council began, that I was then worthy of a temple recommend. By any standard of moral conduct, I was an innocent man, whose only offense was believing the scriptures revealed our condition before God. On the evening of May 1, 2014, the Lord gave me further light and knowledge about His work in His vineyard. The Lord is in control over the church, men, and all things. When He undertakes to accomplish something, “there is nothing that the Lord God shall take in His heart to do, but what He will do it.” (Abr. 3:17.) Often the means used by the Lord to accomplish His “strange act,” and to perform His “strange work”(D&C 101: 95), are very small indeed. "Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise. And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls." (Alma 37: 6-7.)

It is almost always the case that the Lord uses simple things to confound the mighty. I can think of nothing smaller or simpler or less important than myself. Inside the great church to which I once belonged, I was obscure. However, I lived my religion, attended faithfully, served to the best of my ability, upheld church leaders with my prayers, paid tithes, fasted, observed the Word of Wisdom, and helped answer questions for those needing assistance with troubling issues. There was no reason to regard me as a rebel who should be singled out for discipline. Nevertheless, the Lord chose to use a faithful and believing member to accomplish His design. Only someone who is devoted to His will could accomplish what the Lord had in His heart. Now He has accomplished it.

The Church has Doctrine and Covenants 121, verses 36 to 40, to warn it about abusing His authority. There is an "amen" or end to authority when control, compulsion, and dominion are exercised in any degree of unrighteousness. Therefore, when using authority, great care must be taken. In any case, the church was careless. Therefore, those involved, are now left to kick against the pricks, to persecute the Saints and to fight against God.

Section 121 is a warning to church leaders. It is addressing the powerful, not the powerless. It is addressing those who occupy the seats of authority over others. Only those who claim the right to control, compel, and exercise dominion, are warned against persecuting the saints, who believe the religion and practice it as I did from the time of my conversion. My excommunication was an abuse of authority. Therefore, as soon as the decision was made, the Lord terminated the priesthood authority of the stake presidency and every member of the High Council who sustained this decision, which was unanimous. Thereafter, I appealed to the First Presidency, outlining the involvement of the 12 and the 70. The appeal gave notice to them all.20 The appeal was summarily denied.

Last general conference, the entire First Presidency, the 12, the 70, and all other general authorities and auxiliaries, voted to sustain those who abused their authority in casting me out of the church. At that moment, the Lord ended all claims of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to claim it is led by the priesthood. They have not practiced what He requires. The Lord has brought about His purposes. This has been in His heart all along. He has chosen to use small means to accomplish it, but He always
uses the smallest of means to fulfill His purposes. 

None of this was my doing. The Lord's strange act, was not, could not, be planned by me. Was not, could not, have been controlled by me. It was not anticipated by me, or even understood by me, until after the Lord had accomplished His will, and made it apparent to me on the evening of May 1, 2014. He alone has done this. He is the author of all of this.(Forty Years In Mormonism, "#10 - Preserving the Restoration," Denver Snuffer, 9/Sept/2014, pgs. 314 - 316) 

Is it possible to see the pattern revealed here in this event?

If the Lord is going about doing a work to vindicate His promises to the early Fathers (a "great thing"), which I believe He is doing right now, then wouldn't we expect that whatever is being accomplished follows this exact pattern of being "small" in the eyes of the world?

What did Nephi see in his vision?

And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the whore of all the earth, and she sat upon many waters, and she had dominion over all the earth, among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people. And it came to pass that I beheld the church of the Lamb of God, and its numbers were few because of the wickedness and abominations of the whore who sat upon many waters. Nevertheless, I beheld that the church of the Lamb, who were the saints of God, were also upon all the face of the earth; and their dominions upon the face of the earth were small because of the wickedness of the great whore whom I saw. And it came to pass that I beheld that the great mother of abominations did gather together in multitudes upon the face of all the earth, among all the nations of the gentiles, to fight against the Lamb of God. And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth. And they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory. (1 Nephi 14:11 - 14, NC 1 Nephi 3 par. 28)

Nephi even declares that the dominions of the church of the Lamb are "small" upon the entire earth in the last days.

According to Nephi, does the Lord perform a "great thing" using His church that possesses only "small" dominions upon the earth?

A new Restoration is begun preliminary to winding up God’s great work. God is very active at present. Being chosen to do God’s work does not make us godly, virtuous or better than others. Every individual must be godly and practice virtue, and even then we are no better than any other people. The difference consists in God’s willingness to direct us forward as He completes the promises and covenants He made to the fathers. It is God’s presence, not our worthiness, which distinguishes us.
 
In the last few weeks a great alarm has been raised about a viral pandemic. It illustrates something about all nations and institutions: Although they may seem durable, they are all vulnerable and easily destroyed by very simple means. Like locusts destroying crops of Egypt in the story of Exodus, great societies are shaken through the smallest of means. We know there will come “an overflowing scourge, for a desolating sickness shall cover the land” for the Lord has told us beforehand, so that when it comes we will not be overtaken. This current unrest illustrates what will happen one day soon. Being forewarned gives us the opportunity to prepare. ("The Heavens Are Open (And Therefore We Have Work To Do)," Denver Snuffer, 22/March/2020, pg. 1)

As before, I testify, because of my living experience, that the Lord is going about at present using the smallest of means to complete His restoration in order to vindicate His promises to the early Fathers.

If those who constitute this group, which is the smallest of means, use their agency to prove themselves faithful and are taught and guided by the words that the Lord is sending, they will be the means the Lord uses to complete His work now underway.

This group (I am one of this group), just like Lehi's company, at any time can choose to rebel against the small means (words) the Lord is sending and they will find themselves left to their own devices to wander about and to perish in spite of being in possession of the Lord's words.

I believe what Nephi is presenting here to be a true pattern.  I give thanks that it is recorded for me to learn wisdom.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Chastened Because of His Murmurings Against the Lord

 1 Nephi 16:18 - 25, NC 1 Nephi 5 par. 7


And it came to pass that as I, Nephi, went forth to slay food, behold, I did break my bow which was made of fine steel; and after I did break my bow, behold, my brethren were angry with me because of the loss of my bow, for we did obtain no food. And it came to pass that we did return without food to our families. And being much fatigued because of their journeying, they did suffer much for the want of food. And it came to pass that Laman, and Lemuel, and the sons of Ishmael did begin to murmur exceedingly because of their sufferings and afflictions in the wilderness; and also my father began to murmur against the Lord his God; yea, and they were all exceeding sorrowful, even that they did murmur against the Lord. Now it came to pass that I, Nephi, having been afflicted with my brethren because of the loss of my bow, and their bows having lost their springs, it began to be exceeding difficult, yea, insomuch that we could obtain no food. And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did speak much unto my brethren because they had hardened their hearts again, even unto complaining against the Lord their God. And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did make out of wood a bow, and out of a straight stick an arrow; wherefore, I did arm myself with a bow and an arrow, with a sling and with stones. And I said unto my father, Whither shall I go to obtain food? And it came to pass that he did inquire of the Lord, for they had humbled themselves because of my words; for I did say many things unto them in the energy of my soul. And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came unto my father, and he was truly chastened because of his murmurings against the Lord, insomuch that he was brought down into the depths of sorrow.


The Stick of Joseph in the Hand of Ephraim 1 Nefi 5 par. 7


And it came to pass that as I, Nefi, went forth to slay food, behold, I did break my bow which was made of fine steel; and after I did break my bow, behold, my brothers were angry with me because of 
the loss of my bow, for we did obtain no food. And it came to pass that we did return without food to our families. And being much fatigued because of their journeying, they did suffer much for the 
want of food. And it came to pass that Laman, and L’mu’el, and the sons of Yishma’el did begin to murmur exceedingly because of their sufferings and afflictions in the wilderness; and also my 
father began to murmur against yhwh his Elohim; yes, and they were all exceedingly sorrowful, even that they did murmur against yhwh. Now it came to pass that I, Nefi, having been afflicted with my 
brothers because of the loss of my bow, and their bows having lost their springs, it began to be exceedingly difficult, yes, insomuch that we could obtain no food. And it came to pass that I, Nefi, did speak much unto my brothers because they had hardened their hearts again, even unto complaining against yhwh their Elohim. And it came to pass that I, Nefi, did make out of wood a bow, and out of a straight stick an arrow; wherefore, I did arm myself with a bow and an arrow, with a sling and with stones. And I said unto my father, Where shall I go to obtain food? And it came to pass that he did inquire of yhwh, for they had humbled themselves because of my words; for I did say many things unto them in the energy of my soul. And it came to pass that the voice of yhwh came unto my father, and he was truly chastened because of his murmurings against yhwh, insomuch that he was brought down into the depths of sorrow.
 


The Prophet Joseph declared the following.

Why will not man learn wisdom by precept at this late age of the world, when we have such a cloud
of witnesses and examples before us, and not be obliged to learn by sad experience everything
we know. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg. 155)

Can I expect that I will be faced with a "Shazer" event at least once in my life, even if I happen to be involved in a divine work?

Would it be wise for me to consider very carefully what is happening in the record of the Book of Mormon here in order to learn what I might do to pass through my "Shazer" event(s)?

Does the above recorded event fall in the category that the Prophet Joseph described as being a witness and an example that has the potential of imparting wisdom to us?

My present understanding of the above situation is that this is one of the events that occurred to Lehi and his company due to ignoring the Liahona.

And now, my son, I have somewhat to say concerning the thing which our fathers call a ball or director, or our fathers called it Liahona, which is (being interpreted) a compass; and the Lord prepared it. And behold, there cannot any man work after the manner of so curious a workmanship. And behold, it was prepared to shew unto our fathers the course which they should travel in the wilderness; and it did work for them according to their faith in God. Therefore, if they had faith to believe that God could cause that those spindles should point the way they should go, behold, it was done. Therefore, they had this miracle, and also many other miracles, wrought by the power of God, day by day. Nevertheless, because those miracles were worked by small means, it did shew unto them marvelous works. They were slothful and forgot to exercise their faith and diligence, and then those marvelous works ceased and they did not progress in their journey. Therefore, they tarried in the wilderness, or did not travel a direct course, and were afflicted with hunger and thirst because of their transgression. (Alma 37:38 - 432, NC Alma 17 par. 15)

I don't point this out to belittle or condemn Lehi and his company.

I must ask myself several questions as I consider the words of Alma applied to this "Shazer" event among Lehi's company here.

Have I so lived and been sufficiently diligent and meek in following the words of the Lord that He has found me fit to enter back into His presence?

Lehi had received such things.

Have I been invited to be a part of an "exodus" so to speak that has been divinely commissioned by the Lord?

In this Lehi and I might have something in common. (more on this later in the post)

Alma spoke immediately following his statement concerning Lehi's company and the Liahona that it was a type for the rest of us and that for us the Liahona represented the words of Christ.  

Have I been diligent to give heed to the words of Christ?

Do I live in a mortal world where I am left to experience all of the weakness of the flesh; hunger, thirst, and fatigue?

How would I react when presented with a "Shazer" event?

What is it about "murmuring" that is so wrong?

Is it possible for me to look at scriptural examples of "murmuring" to be able to get a better idea of what "murmuring" is and why I ought to avoid it?

The following is the account of the response of the camp of Israel following the Lord destroying Korash and his family and all who were not authorized to offer incense before the Lord but did so anyway in defiance of the Lord's command.

But on the next day, all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, You have killed the people of the Lord. And it came to pass, when the congregation was gathered against Moses and against Aaron, that they looked toward the tabernacle of the congregation, and behold, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord appeared. And Moses and Aaron came before the tabernacle of the congregation. And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying, Get yourself up from among this congregation, that I may consume them as in a moment. And they fell upon their faces. And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the congregation and make an atonement for them; for there is wrath gone out from the Lord. The plague is begun. And Aaron took as Moses commanded and ran into the midst of the congregation, and behold, the plague was begun among the people. And he put on incense and made an atonement for the people. And he stood between the dead and the living, and the plague was stopped. Now they that died in the plague were fourteen thousand seven hundred, besides them that died about the matter of Korah. And Aaron returned unto Moses, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and the plague was stopped. (Numbers 16:41 - 50, OC Numbers 9 par. 10)

Is there an element of accusation exposed in this event of "murmuring"?

What about this event?

And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeys according to the commandment of the Lord, and pitched in Rephidim; and there was no water for the people to drink. Wherefore, the people did chide with Moses and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why do you chide with me? Why do you test the Lord? And the people thirsted there for water, and the people murmured against Moses and said, Why is this that you have brought us up out of Egypt to kill us, and our children, and our cattle with thirst? And Moses cried unto the Lord, saying, What shall I do unto this people? They are almost ready to stone me. And the Lord said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with you of the elders of Israel; and your rod with which you smote the river, take in your hand and go. Behold, I will stand before you there upon the rock in Horeb, and you shall smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. And he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel and because they tested the Lord, saying, Is the Lord among us or not? (Exodus 17:1 - 7, OC Exodus 10 par. 9)

Is there also an element of accusation in this murmuring event as well?

This is an event in the mortal life of the Lord.

Then drew near unto him many of the publicans and sinners in order to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receives sinners and eats with them. And he spoke this parable unto them, saying, What man of you having a hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine and go into the wilderness after that which is lost until he find it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says unto them, Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you that likewise, joy shall be in Heaven over one sinner that repents, more than over ninety-nine just people who need no repentance. (Luke 15:1 - 7, NC Luke 9 par. 11)

Is there an element of judgement in the scribes and Pharisees actions of "murmuring"

The following event occurred just after the Lord declared to His disciples that He was the bread of life and that they must eat of His flesh in order to be saved. 

Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is a hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Does this offend you? What, and if you shall see the Son of Man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickens, the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life. But there are some of you that believe not. (For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not and who should betray him.) And he said, Therefore said I unto you that no man can come unto me except he does the will of my Father who has sent me. (John 6:60 - 65, NC John 5 par. 18)

Is there also an element of judgement in the murmuring that took place at this time?

Is it possible that their murmuring included a judgment such as "this man is crazy insane"?

Following Lehi's death this is what Laman and Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael did.

Behold, it came to pass that I, Nephi, did cry much unto the Lord my God because of the anger of my brethren. But behold, their anger did increase against me, insomuch that they did seek to take away my life. Yea, they did murmur against me, saying, Our younger brother thinks to rule over us, and we have had much trial because of him; wherefore, now let us slay him, that we may not be afflicted more because of his words. For behold, we will not have him to be our ruler, for it belongs unto us, who are the elder brethren, to rule over this people. Now I do not write upon these plates all the words which they murmured against me, but it sufficeth me to say that they did seek to take away my life. (2 Nephi 5:1 - 4, NC 2 Nephi 4 par. 1)

Is it possible to detect an accusation in this murmuring?

What about the following?

And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did make bellows, wherewith to blow the fire, of the skins of beasts. And after I had made bellows, that I might have wherewith to blow the fire, I did smite two stones together that I might make fire. For the Lord had not hitherto suffered that we should make much fire as we journeyed in the wilderness, for he said, I will make thy food become sweet, that ye cook it not. And I will also be your light in the wilderness; and I will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments. Wherefore, inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall be led towards the promised land; and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led. Yea, and the Lord said also that after ye have arrived to the promised land, ye shall know that I, the Lord, am God, and that I, the Lord, did deliver you from destruction, yea, that I did bring you out of the land of Jerusalem. Wherefore, I, Nephi, did strive to keep the commandments of the Lord, and I did exhort my brethren to faithfulness and diligence. And it came to pass that I did make tools of the ore which I did molten out of the rock. And when my brethren saw that I was about to build a ship, they began to murmur against me, saying, Our brother is a fool, for he thinketh that he can build a ship; yea, and he also thinketh that he can cross these great waters. And thus my brethren did complain against me and were desirous that they might not labor, for they did not believe that I could build a ship, neither would they believe that I were instructed of the Lord. (1 Nephi 17:11 - 18, NC 1 Nephi 5 par. 16)

Again, is it possible to detect an element of judgement in the murmuring that Laman and Lemuel did against Nephi here; judging him to be crazy insane?

What about more modern events?

The following is the Lord's admonition to Oliver Cowdery following the time Oliver tried to translate but could not do so.

Be patient my son, for it is wisdom in me, and it is not expedient that you should translate at this present time. Behold, the work which you are called to do is to write for my servant Joseph, and behold, it is because that you did not continue as you commenced, when you began to translate, that I have taken away this privilege from you. Do not murmur my son, for it is wisdom in me that I have dealt with you after this manner. (D&C 9:3 - 6, T&C 1, Joseph Smith History Part 13 par. 25)

Is the Lord admonishing Oliver not to accuse Him, the Lord, of dealing falsely; the key action being not to accuse the Lord?

What about the following that is very very recent and really applies to me?

Do not murmur, saying, Too much has been required at our hands in too short a time. If your hearts were right, it was a light thing I have asked. You hinder and delay and then you say I require too much of you and do not allow you time, when, if your hearts were right and you prepared yourselves, you could have finished this work long ago. Do you indeed desire to be my people? Then accept and do as I have required. (T&C 157 par. 56)

The above are the words of the Lord concerning a labor He required of us now to create and adopt a guide and standard.

If I am to seriously consider these words of the Lord don't I have to conclude that for me to say that the Lord has required too much in too short of a time I am actually accusing the Lord of acting falsely with me?

These words from the Lord are also very recent.

I ordained this work and labored beside you. No man should condemn these words, or see the weakness of my laborers when I judge their hearts. All their weakness, foolishness and vanity are before me, and none of it is hidden to me. To vindicate the promises I made to the fathers, I will bear patiently with all of you for my name’s sake. If I accept their work despite their weaknesses, that I may fulfill my promises to gather my people under my wings, then stop murmuring and complaining against those who labor. If you expect mercy, then show mercy to others. I, your Lord, am pleased with all those who are grateful and merciful and who will have me be their God. I am meek and lowly of heart. (T&C 177 par. 5)

The above words from the Lord are concerning the scriptures project that was undertaken and completed to the Lord's present satisfaction.

Is it possible to detect that if I judge those who worked on the project as weak and accuse them for their weakness that those elements are part of my murmuring?

There are many many more scriptural examples of "murmuring" but I believe that the above examples are more than sufficient to demonstrate that murmuring includes judging and accusing.

What has the Lord declared about both judging and accusing others?

And now it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words, he turned again to the multitude and did open his mouth unto them again, saying, Verily, verily I say unto you, judge not, that ye be not judged; for with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged, and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull the mote out of thine eye, and behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again, and rend you. (3 Nephi 14:1 - 6, NC 3 Nephi 6 pars. 5 - 6)

Should I consider how seriously wrong a matter it is in the eyes of God for me, a person with a beam in my own eye, to judge the motes in my brothers' eyes?

Am I capable of knowing the heartache, life experiences, trials, challenges, point of view, or intentions of anyone else?

I am persuaded by hard painful life experience that requires my sincere repentance that the phrase in the hymn "Lord I Would Follow Thee" is absolutely correct "In the quiet heart is hidden sorrow that the eye can't see".

I agree with the following counsel concerning judgement.

Here's what the Lord says about judgment, flaws, criticism, ascribing motive, offense, and intent—and it's time we start taking Him seriously. So, He moves on from the Ten Commandments to the Sermon on the Mount.
In Matthew 3:40, He says:
Now these are the words which Jesus taught his disciples that they should say unto the people: Judge not unrighteously, that you be not judged, but judge righteous judgment; for with what judgment you [shall] judge, you shall be judged, and with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again. (Matthew 3:40 RE)
The difference it here that I see between the no judging and the righteous judgment is likely related to Final Judgment, as opposed to all those in-between judgments that we can do if we think we have the Lord on our side, in terms of righteous judgment.
And then moving from Matthew into Third Nephi—Third Nephi chapter six, verse six:
And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull that [the] mote out of thine eye, and behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam [out] of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again, and rend you. (3 Nephi 6:6 RE)
And so I say to that: What the heck does that have to do with anything? So, on the assumption that it is actually related to what came before that, I spent a reasonable amount of time contemplating it, and this is my version of pearls and swine and dogs and whatever. It's a strange ending to this particular thought; so, what if it means that we are the dogs and swine, and judging is a holy and precious act—one that we don't have anywhere near the godliness to engage in, at least without seriously pursuing God's help—and we will get out of the attempt (and all we will get out of the attempt) at that kind of judging is trampling and rending. So, that's my take; and so, let's not do it. Okay?
Let’s just not do it.
In the foregoing scriptures, we are being told to worry about ourselves first (and that should take a long, long, long time). And then, if we need to, we can worry about other people after that. So, in theory, if we're as critical towards ourselves as we are others, we should be doing a lot of repenting, improving, growing in love and charity and empathy—as we make ourselves better; because it's just about beams and motes, people. That's it—just don't do it. ("Love Others as Yourself", Stephanie Snuffer, 14/July/2019, pgs. 8 - 9)

What about accusing or being an accuser?

What has the Lord revealed on this matter?

In your language you use the name Lucifer for an angel who was in authority before God, who rebelled, fought against the work of the Father and was cast down to the earth. His name means holder of light, or light bearer, for he had gathered light by his heed and diligence before he rebelled. He has become a vessel containing only wrath and seeks to destroy all who will hearken to him. He is now enslaved to his own hatred.
Satan is a title and means accuser, opponent, and adversary; hence, once he fell, Lucifer became, or in other words was called, Satan, because he accuses others and opposes the Father. I rebuked Peter and called him Satan because he was wrong in opposing the Father’s will for me, and Peter understood and repented.
In the work you have performed there are those who have been Satan, accusing one another, wounding hearts, and causing jarring, contention, and strife by their accusations. Rather than loving one another, even among you who desire a good thing, some have dealt unkindly as if they were the opponents, accusers, and adversaries. In this they were wrong. (T&C 157 pars. 7 - 9)

The Prophet Joseph declared something critical concerning not accusing one another.

I charged the Saints not to follow the example of the adversary in accusing the brethren,9 and
said, “If you do not accuse each other, God will not accuse you. If you have no accuser you will
enter heaven, and if you will follow the revelations and instructions which God gives you through
me, I will take you into heaven as my back load. If you will not accuse me, I will not accuse you.
If you will throw a cloak of charity over my sins, I will over yours—for charity covereth a multitude
of sins. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg. 193)

As I presently understand both what the Lord has revealed and the words of the Prophet Joseph, if I accuse anyone I am being a Satan.

The scriptures declare that Satan is the accuser of the brethren.

And I heard a loud voice saying in Heaven, Now has come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ; for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, who accused them before our God day and night; for they have overcome him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; for they loved not their own lives, but kept the testimony even unto death. Therefore, rejoice, O Heavens, and you that dwell in them. (Revelation 12:10 - 12, NC Revelation 4 par. 4)

The scriptures do not declare that Satan's accusations were wrong or in other words that his accusations were not warranted.

Am I ever free from sin?

Who must cover me with His sacrifice in order to make me clean?

Could it be said that the Lord's role to intercede for repentant sinners is the polar opposite of the role of Satan to accuse the sinner?

Would Satan be correct if he accused me of sin?

If I would be the opposite of Satan then shouldn't I seek to intercede for others?

How serious a matter in the eyes of God is it for me to act in a role that is contrary to the Lord's role even if my accusation is correct?

As serious as these two elements of murmuring are in the eyes of God, is it not apparent why God would chasten anyone who is guilty of such an act?

Is it possible that the statements and thoughts of Lehi's camp were accusatory and judgmental of what the Lord had commanded them to do?

How serious a matter is it for someone who is involved in a divine event, such as fleeing a corrupt and soon to be destroyed civilization through divine invitation and intervention, to accuse and judge the Lord for what is transpiring during the event?

I posed the question above in a way to reflect not just Lehi's journey but the fact that I have given witness that the Lord has invited all who will, with a divine invitation and through divine intervention, to flee now from a corrupt and soon to be destroyed civilization.

Should I not expect that if I do not give heed and diligence to the words of Christ, as Alma declared, that I will find myself suffering in a "Shazer" event?

How will I respond?

How have I responded to this point?

Do I seriously consider that I would be immune to the tendency of accusing and judging God's actions and intents for His work that He has invited me to be a part of?

How was Lehi chastened in this event?

Is it possible that his chastening was similar to this?

Now, I want you to think about (because this is a topic that’s going to recur throughout today) what the words mean: ...his anger was kindled against them, swore that they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness. And He did this in His wrath. We tend to think of God as very loving and benign after the sacrifice of Christ. And these words seem to be “Old Testament-like” and not “New Testament-like.” But understanding, hopefully (when we get through today), more about the nature of God's ire and God's approval… Disapproval from God feels terrible.
When we were looking at the reaction that people have (in the last day of judgment) to standing in the presence of a just and holy being and feeling awful, I pointed out to you that in that passage, God was doing nothing other than existing. But the disappointment in the mind of man is so exquisite that it is likened by Joseph Smith to a lake of fire and brimstone.
Therefore, God in His wrath has simply withdrawn. He’s taken a step back because we’re not suited to be in His presence. Therefore, having God withdraw is a matter of feeling keenly that absence, that rejection. ("Talk 8: A Broken Heart and Contrite Spirit," Denver Snuffer, 25/July/2014, pgs. 1 - 2)

This is what Mother Smith recorded of the time following the loss of the original translated manuscript until the Lord decided to accept a repentant Joseph and resume the work.

When Joseph had taken a little nourishment, according to the directions of the stranger, he requested us to send immediately for Mr. Harris.  This we did without delay.  And when we had given the stranger his breakfast, we commenced preparing breakfast for the family; and we supposed that Mr. Harris would be there, as soon as it was ready, to eat with us, for he generally came in such haste when he was sent for.  At eight o'clock we set the victuals on the table, as we were expecting him every moment.  We waited till nine, and he came not - till ten, and he was not there, - till eleven, still he did not make his appearance.  But at half-past twelve we saw him walking with a slow and measured tread towards the house, his eyes fixed thoughtfully upon the ground.  On coming to the gate, he stopped, instead of passing through, and got upon the fence, and sat there some time with his hat drawn over his eyes.  At length he entered the house.  Soon after which we sat down to the table, Mr. Harris with the rest.  He took up his knife and fork as if he were going to use them, but immediately dropped them.  Hyrum, observing this said, "Martin, why do you not eat; are you sick?"  Upon which, Mr. Harris pressed his hands upon his temples, and cried out, in a tone of deep anguish, "Oh, I have lost my soul!  I have lost my soul!"
Joseph, who had not expressed his fears till now, sprang from the table exclaiming, "Martin, have you lost that manuscript?  Have you broken your oath, and brought condemnation upon my head, as well as your own?"
"Yes, it is gone," replied Martin, "and I know not where."
"Oh, my God!" said Joseph, clinching his hands.  "All is lost!  all is lost!  What shall I do?  I have sinned - it is I who tempted the wrath of God.  I should have been satisfied with the first answer which I received from the Lord; for he told me that it was not safe to let the writing go out of my possession."  He wept and groaned, and walked the floor continually...
I well remember that day of darkness, both within and without.  To us, at least, the heavens seemed clothed with blackness, and the earth shrouded with gloom.
I have often said within myself, that if a continual punishment, as severe as that which we experienced on that occasion, were to be inflicted upon the most wicked characters who ever stood upon the footstool of the Almighty - if even their punishment were no greater than that, I should feel to pity their condition. (History of Joseph Smith by His Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, pgs. 127 - 132)

Of the above event the Lord declared to the Prophet Joseph as follows.

Wherefore, I command you to repent and keep the commandments which you have received by the hand of my servant Joseph Smith Jr. in my name; and it is by my almighty power that you have received them. Therefore, I command you to repent, repent lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore — how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not. For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent. But if they would not repent, they must suffer even as I, which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit, and would that I might not drink the bitter cup and shrink. Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men. Wherefore, I command you again to repent lest I humble you by my almighty power, and that you confess your sins, lest you suffer these punishments of which I have spoken, of which in the smallest, yea, even in the least degree you have tasted at the time I withdrew my spirit. (D&C 19:13 - 20, T&C 1, Joseph Smith History, part 17, par. 5)

If I understand correctly, what Mother Smith described was the withdrawal of the Lord that occurred which the Lord declared was the least degree of the punishment they experienced.

That does seem quite terrible.

If this is what occurred here to Lehi, is it any wonder that Lehi, who had been in the presence of the Lord and also of the Father and who had seen and heard unspeakable things would be truly chastened because of his murmurings against the Lord, insomuch that he was brought down into the depths of sorrow?

How seriously should I consider this event?

How seriously should I use this event as a witness to me so that maybe in this late age of the world I can learn by wisdom instead of by sad experience?