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2 Nephi Chapter 25 - Understanding Isaiah

Recently I had a nephew ask me a question about the Isaiah chapters in the Book of Mormon. He was concerned that he wasn’t getting much out of the Isaiah chapters and wanted to know if I had any advice. I gave him some of the standard answers like getting a commentary to help and looking for the symbolism, but he didn't seem to be satisfied by my answer.  The next day during my morning scripture study I re-read 2 Nephi Chapter 25 and had a bit of an epiphany. I came to the conclusion that the key to understanding the "Isaiah chapters" is contained in Chapter 25. Nephi explained why he included these chapters in the Book of Mormon. Carefully reading chapter 25 and outlining why Nephi said he included these chapters provides a study template  as you re-read the previous chapters. Looking at these chapters through the Nephi's eyes will open our own eyes to what is contained in the books of Isaiah.
In order to fully understand what Nephi was trying to say, a person need…
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Ministering - Matthew 20:26-28

We are beginning a new era of ministering and many of us are asking questions like, "What does that mean to me?" or "What am I supposed to do?"  As we re-evaluate our individual ministering efforts we learn that more appropriate questions might be, "What challenges do my neighbors have? How are they feeling? What are they struggling with? Is it possible for us to shift our focus from what should "I" be doing, to a what "they" need? 
In the April General Conference, President Nelson said: "A hallmark of the Lord’s true and living Church will always be an organized, directed effort to minister to individual children of God and their families. Because it is His Church, we as His servants will minister to the one, just as He did. We will minister in His name, with His power and authority, and with His loving-kindness." (Russell M Nelson, "Ministering with the Power and Authority of God", April 2018 LDS General Conference)
W…

D&C 20:73 - Having Been Commissioned

As I listened to the baptismal prayer recently, a thought came to me.  What does it mean to be commissioned of Jesus Christ?  

"Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen." (D&C 20:73).  

Many years ago I received my commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Air force. I knew that my commission appointed me to my rank, gave me authority to perform certain duties, and officially charged me to function in that rank.  The Oath of Office is recited upon commissioning and is administered by a higher-ranking officer who will raise his or her right hand and recites the Oath of office aloud while the officer taking the oath repeats the words.  That oath states:  

“I [state your full name], having been appointed a (rank) in the United States Air Force, do solemnly swear  that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear tru…

Alma 7:24 - Charity

At the end of Chapter 6 in Preach My Gospel, there is a self assessment to help you understand how you are developing Christ-like attributes.  During a recent priesthood leadership meeting our stake president asked us to each take the self assessment and identify an attribute we could work on.  The statements in the self assessment in Preach My gospel say this: I feel a sincere desire for the eternal welfare and happiness of other people. (Mosiah 28:3)When I pray, I ask for charity—the pure love of Christ. (Moroni 7:47–48)I try to understand others’ feelings and see their point of view. (Jude 1:22)I forgive others who have offended or wronged me. (Ephesians 4:32)I try to help others when they are struggling or discouraged. (Mosiah 18:9)When appropriate, I tell others that I love them and care about them. (Luke 7:12–15)I look for opportunities to serve other people. (Mosiah 2:17)I say positive things about others. (D&C 42:27)I am kind and patient with others, even when they are har…

Ether 8:7 - What do you want?

The other day I had the opportunity to sit and ponder on a profound question.  I asked myself, "What do you want?”.  It caused me to think about what I am praying for.  We often pray to have some trial or stress removed from our life.  We pray for peace and protection so we can avoid the challenges that might come to us.  These are worthy things to pray for.  (see Alma 34:218-27).  But do our prayers really match the desires of our hearts.  What is the greatest desire of your heart? What do you really want?  
There is a great story in the 8th chapter of the Book of Ether about Jared.  Now this isn’t the Jared that has a brother and was at the tower of Babel when the languages were confounded.  This is another Jared.  This is the Jared with the dancing daughter.  As you recall, Jared was forced to give up his kingdom in order to save his own life. Then you find this profound statement:   
'And now Jared became exceedingly sorrowful because of the loss of the kingdom, for he h…

Efficiency: "The thing that thou doest is not good." (Exodus 18:17)

As I re-read Elder Eyring's April 2017 general conference talk I came across this little gem.  
". . . the Lord’s work is not just to solve problems; it is to build people. So as you walk with Him in priesthood service, you may find that sometimes what seems like the most efficient solution is not the Lord’s preferred solution because it does not allow people to grow." (Henry B. Eyring, "Walk with Me", April 2017 LDS General Conference) 
This statement reminded me of a quote by Stephen R. Covey that I heard a long time ago.  He said.  
“You think effectiveness with people and efficiency with things.” — Stephen R. Covey
Remember the story in Exodus 18:12-26.  Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, gives Moses some wise council on effective leadership.  The problem was that Moses was spending his entire day sitting as the judge of the people.  Jethro pointed out to him that "The thing that thou doest is not good." (Exodus 18:17).  Jethro then reminded Mos…

I Was Called, But I Would Not Hear (Alma 10:6)

Many people can relate to Amulek, one of the lesser known people in the Book of Mormon.  After Amulek joined Alma in preaching the gospel to the people of Ammonihah he shared his conversion story with the people and made this profound statement. 
"...for I was called many times and I would not hear; therefore I knew concerning these things, yet I would not know; therefore I went on rebelling against God, in the wickedness of my heart," (Alma 10:6)
When I read the portion of this verse that stated "I would not hear", I immediately thought of a similar scripture in Matthew 11:15
15 He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Matthew 11:15)
This commandment to "Let him hear" is interesting in light of the discussion in the 121st section of the Doctrine and Covenants starting in verse 34.  
Many are called but few are chosen.   Why?  Because of their hearts.   What's wrong with their hearts? They are set on the things of this world and they aspire to the h…