Friday, June 19, 2015

Jacob 3:5-7 "how much better are they"

I find it interesting that Jacob calls his audience's attention to the righteousness of the Lamanites. It is very easy when we think we are "the chosen people" to look down on "those people in the great and spacious building" (hashtag).

"I don't drink or smoke like them."
"At the second coming I won't be burned like them because I've paid my fire insurance."
"I defend the family... unlike them [complete with head shaking]."

But Jacob teaches that they only do wrong because that's what their parents have taught them. Jacob makes it clear that family was important to the Lamanites. In fact, we can cross-reference these verses with 1 Nephi 17:20. In this verse Nephi's older brothers say:
"and we have wandered in the wilderness for these many years; and our women have toiled, being big with child; and they have borne children in the wilderness and suffered all things, save it were death; and it would have been better that they had died before they came out of Jerusalem than to have suffered these afflictions."
While his brothers may have been wrong, they were not oblivious to their wives' hardships. Perhaps the loving of spouse and children was taught among Lamanites from their first parents.

Jacob warns the Nephites that at the last day the Lamanites will be better off because the . (Yes I avoided the potentially racist phraseology.)

What am I to learn from this? Do I remember my own filthiness before the Lord or am I too busy condemning Babylon? Do I pay enough attention to my wife's hardships (we do have two almost three teenage boys and a 5-year old drama queen)? How much of what I believe is a product of the traditions of my fathers? (Note the plural... I'm not blaming you dad specifically but more generally the erroneous beliefs that have been passed down from generations.) I suppose if I believe Jacob I shouldn't spend too much time worrying about that last question.
"but ye shall remember your own filthiness, and remember that their filthiness came because of their fathers."
In the end, I need to worry about my own filthiness, not from whence it came, but I should remember the source for the filthiness of others.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Jacob 3:10 "and their sins be heaped upon your heads at the last day"

Cross reference with 2 Nephi 9:3 "lift up your heads forever, because of the blessings which the Lord God shall bestow upon your children." Note that Jacob speaks both verses.

In 2 Nephi 9:3, Jacob, after telling the Nephite nation that the Lord would restore His true church in the latter days, encourages his people to rejoice because of the blessings their posterity would see. There are a few lessons we should take away from this verse.

First, we have been blessed because of the righteousness of our forbearers. Do we give enough credit to our parents and their parents for the sacrifices they endured? I know I don't often reflect on the long hours my dad worked to keep a roof over our head and food on the table or the times my mother stayed up late helping me with an assignment that I had known about for weeks but had waited til the last minute because I was too busy watching reruns of CHiPs.

Second, in the future our posterity will be blessed by our faithfulness today. What lessons are we teaching them? Do we teach them to recognize and respond to the Holy Ghost? Do we teach them to love and serve one another and their fellowman? Do we rejoice because they will be blessed?

Ten to 15 years pass and Jacob's preaching has turned to warning. Such a short time.

In this verse, Jacob tells everyone that unless they repent their children's sins will "be heaped upon [their] heads at the last day"

Am I more deserving of the first sermon or the second?

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Passing the sacrament in a blue shirt

Today before sacrament meeting, my middle son was responsible for recruiting enough priesthood to pass the sacrament. As the bishop stood to start the meeting, they were still one man short. For personal reasons, health not worthiness for those of you who are judging me, I don't usually volunteer to pass the sacrament. But for some reason today I thought to myself that I should help. It wasn't a burning impression, just a simple thought to my mind.

After I had been instructed on my route we began singing the opening hymn. That's when I realized I was wearing my power blue shirt, not the official white shirt uniform of the sacrament. For one, brief instant I actually considered finding someone else to help--I personally don't have an issue with the blue shirt, but know that some might and generally I would rather avoid anything that will distract other members of our congregation during the sacrament--but in the end brushed that thought aside.

In our congregation there is a family with Celiac disease. They bring gluten free crackers which get added to their aisle's tray for blessing with the bread. For some reason today, before the meeting started I noted the interaction as the father handed the crackers to the priests.

When the sacrament began, the hymn was sung, the prayers were said, the trays were handed out.

We began to move to our assigned rows when a thought came to my mind, "That's not right." I realized the priest had given the tray with gluten free crackers to the wrong brother. They were heading out to the foyer not to the appropriate aisle. (I'm sure that I was more tuned into this because my wife and two of my children have a gluten intolerance.) As soon as I realized it I went out to the foyer to get with gluten-free tray. Then I went to the man who was supposed to have the gluten-free tray and swapped with him so that the family with Celiac disease could participate in the sacrament.

As we finished passing the sacrament I was filled with a quiet gratefulness not only for participating in this ordinance, but for having been briefly an instrument in the Lord's hands to help make sure everyone had a chance to take the sacrament... in spite of my blue shirt.