He works in me
Scheduled for study Mar 23-29, 2020. The Lord has given us commandments to learn from the past and to prepare for the future. He doesn’t just achieve His designs through the prophets alone. “He works in me to do His will” as well. Each of us are to contribute to the accomplishment of God’s will for humanity. The salvation of nations is designed to be accomplished by the contributions of all the members of the family of God, not just by a select few.

Day 1

Enos 1:1-3 – A parent’s words can have a lasting influence.

Look for messages that will be valuable to you and your family. Record them.

Let’s look at these three verses and see what they can teach us.

Behold, it came to pass that I, Enos, knowing my father that he was a just man—for he taught me in his language, and also in the nurture and admonition of the Lord—and blessed be the name of my God for it—

I am sure there are many parents who qualify for the praises Enos gives his father, but their children aren’t emotionally in a place where they either recognize or are willing to admit this to be true. Enos recognized that his father tried to teach him the things that were most important to the welfare of his soul. Jacob educated him so he learned to think and reason for himself, for that is what true education does. Jacob also shared with his son his own love for God and how important his relationship with God was to him. Not many of us can say we have seen God (2 Nephi 2:4) and entertained angels, but that in no way lessens the spiritual experiences we have had.

It is a tribute to Enos that he recognized the importance of what his father sought to teach him, and that he chose to soften his heart and let those teachings sink deep into his soul. Many of us are still waiting for one or more of our children to do the same. Just because we may have done all in our abilities to teach our children the truth, they still have to choose to listen and seek that truth for themselves. The Book of Mormon doesn’t tell us how old either Jacob or Enos was when the events of this chapter happened. If Jacob was fortunate, Enos had this experience when a teenager, and not later in life. The Church Book of Mormon video shows him as married when this happened, but that is never directly stated in the scriptures.

And I will tell you of the wrestle which I had before God, before I received a remission of my sins.

How does one wrestle in the Spirit? That is next to impossible to describe or directly teach. If you have ever had any experience with biofeedback, that is the closest experience I can compare it to. In biofeedback you try to learn to control physical responses in your body deliberately. For example, some have learned to slow their own heart rate, lower their blood pressure, or self induce a state of extreme relaxation and calm. This takes a lot of practice as you try to get to know and understand your body and the cues your body is giving you.

When we approach the Lord in prayer, seeking a forgiveness for our sins, it is the Spirit we need to align ourselves with. I’m not sure which is more difficult, figuring out how to become attuned to our own body’s current state or becoming in tune to the workings of the Holy Ghost. Both take great effort and an acute awareness of our own feelings. I think this is why it is referred to as a wrestle, which means to twist. We have to sense something and act on it then try again and again until we feel closer to the Spirit and what He is trying to help us feel and think. He will lead us along one thought at a time, but we must be willing to open ourselves to His influences.

Behold, I went to hunt beasts in the forests; and the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart.

Verse three tells us that Enos had already learned to ponder, to think deeply. This is why he was able to accomplish what he did. He knew that we don’t get anywhere spiritually as long as we can’t learn to think deeply. To think deeply, in my opinion, is to learn to see the connections between events, doctrines, behaviors, and attitudes. Since growth in the gospel requires that we change from what we currently are into someone more spiritually mature and sophisticated, we need to see how the principles of the gospel affect us. When we put a spiritual principle or law into action in our life we change. We need to be aware of those changes so we can appreciate what God has done for us. This helps us to see or be more spiritually aware of how our relationship with God is changing for the better. It also helps us identify where we are still lacking or need improvement.

Enos may just be rehearsing to us the physical events of his spiritual journey that day, but his words reveal much about him, as well as the process by which anyone can learn to attune themselves with the Spirit. It is important that we, as parents, recognize that we need to prepare our children for this process of discovery. We cannot spoon feed testimonies. They must be sought after and acquired through individual effort.

Day 2

Enos 1:4-27 – My heartfelt prayers will be answered.

Look for messages that will be valuable to you and your family. Record them.

It appears to be the nature of our spiritual development that when we begin our spiritual journey our focus is pretty selfish, meaning directed at, and concerned with, our own welfare. Look at the words and expressions Enos uses in verse four.

And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens.

I guess we all have to start somewhere, and starting at home base seems logical. This process of working outward, away from us as the center of our universe, helps us to better understand how our Savior was able to perform his atoning sacrifice. Enos began by feeling concerned for his own soul. Once he was at peace with the state and acceptance of his own soul before God, his capacity enlarged and he was able to think of those around him whom he loved, his family and his people. It was only after he was given assurances by God that he was settled and secure on the second level of love and concern that he was able to feel that same way about those who were his sworn enemies.

Have you ever wondered how the Savior was able to make it through his trials in Gethsemane and on the cross? I believe it was in large measure because he wasn’t concerned about his own welfare. His whole focus was on the welfare of others. This seems to be the natural way of thinking in celestial people. Their focus is always on the welfare of others, not for themselves.

The verses in today’s lesson demonstrate quite clearly that the Lord is very willing to answer our prayers, but they also show that He requires that we learn the process of aligning ourselves with His Spirit and struggling to learn more of Him in the process before our prayers are answered. These verses also show us that once we have proven our sincerity that we are blessed beyond what we thought possible with a greater ability to care about and care for others. Our world, if you will, opens up when we pray, and we find that we are more concerned about others than we ever thought possible.

Day 3

Jarom-Omni – The Lord will bless me when I keep the commandments.

Look for messages that will be valuable to you and your family. Record them.

The promise from the Lord to protect us if we keep His commandments may, at times, seem like a one-note melody in the Book of Mormon. This promise is made and referred to over and over again throughout its pages. So why is it so important to them, and what does it have to do with us? Is the promise from the Lord to protect His people confined to the Book of Mormon?

Think back on the conversations the prophets had with Israel in the Old Testament. Over and over again the Lord promised to fight Israel’s battles for them if they would but exercise faith in Him. He promised them victory in battle, as in the example of Moses who caused his people to win the war when he held his staff in the air, but they began to lose when he lowered his arm, so his men had to help Moses by holding his arms in the air for him because he was so tired. And what about when Gideon destroys a far superior army with the Lord’s help and only 300 men (Judges 7)?

Almost all the drama in the Old Testament came specifically because the Israelites abandoned their God and served the false gods of their neighbors. This was just one of the many reasons Lehi was lead out of Jerusalem to a Promised Land. The whole point of being in a land of promise was that they were in a special covenant position with God as their protector. They were brought to the Americas to have a safe place for an inheritance so they could prosper and thrive as a people and be blessed through their obedience to the Lord.

This covenant position with God is why the Lord has been so specific and insistent that those who live in this land (the western hemisphere) either serve Him or, when they have become ripe in iniquity He will destroy them and sweep them from the earth. It has been proven with the destruction of the Jaredites, who were the greatest nation on earth (Ether 1:43 where the Lord promises the brother of Jared that the nation that would come from them would be the greatest nation on earth). It was demonstrated again with the destruction of the Nephites, and with the collapse of the remnants of their posterity when the Lord brought the Europeans to this hemisphere.

Those who live in the western hemisphere are under the same covenant relationship with the Lord that they either worship Him or, when they are ripe in their iniquity they will be destroyed. This promise and covenant has not changed in thousands of years. But what does this have to do with all of God’s children? After all, most of God’s children do not live in the western hemisphere. Which of God’s covenants affect ALL of God’s children?

We need to look beyond the specific promise made to those who live in the Promised Land. God’s covenants, those covenants He made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are just as valid in Bagdad, Calcutta, Salt Lake City, and Sao Paulo, as they are in London, Timbuktu, Moscow, and Jakarta. It is how we live our lives that matters most to the Lord, not where we live our lives. Our Lord has always promised to bless and protect His people when they keep His commandments. That promise has been true since the day Adam and Eve first set foot outside Eden and accepted a covenant relationship with God. He has even promised to save His people by fire from heaven if that is what is needed (1 Nephi 22:17).

When the Lord promises to protect His people, they only need to be obedient to His commandments to lay claim to His protection and His blessings. It doesn’t matter where we live or in what time period we live, His promises remain the same. The obedient will always be blessed and preserved. Only the wicked are allowed to be destroyed. If you question that statement, I invite you to search the scriptures for a single example of when the Lord ever allowed his righteous people to be destroyed, or when His righteous people did not prosper in whatever land they lived.

Day 4

Omni 1:14-21 – Who were the people of Zarahemla?

Look for messages that will be valuable to you and your family. Record them.

As mentioned in the manual, the people who settled in the land and named their city after its founder, named Zarahemla, also came from Jerusalem. Sometimes they are referred to as the Mulekites, because they were lead from Jerusalem by Mulek, the son of king Zedekiah. But Mulek wasn’t a prophet, and we don’t really know who received the revelations that brought them to the Americas. And the Book of Mormon never actually calls the people of Mulek by the name of Mulekites. Calling them by that name only comes from following the naming convention of the people to name the people after their leader.

When the Nephites discovered these people they had all been in the Promised Land more than 300 years, and in Mosiah 25:2 it says that there were more of the people of Zarahemla than there were of the people of Nephi. The advantage of the Nephites was their possession of the brass plates, which contained their original language and history. We have no indication from our record that says the people of Zarahemla had either the priesthood or the gospel, but since we don’t have their records they may have at least started with both when they left Jerusalem. We just don’t know.

Day 5

Words of Mormon – What is Words of Mormon?

Look for messages that will be valuable to you and your family. Record them.

The manual discusses this topic very nicely and completely. I wish only to make an observation that falls under the category of ‘likening the scriptures unto ourselves.’

We have been told time and time again to record our personal dealings with the Lord for posterity. An example of how such things are used can be seen in how Church history has been put together. Most of what makes studying our church’s history meaningful are the accounts of what happened to individuals and groups of people as they lived their lives in obedience to God’s commandments. It is only because someone wrote down all those stories, including their observations and feelings about the events that we have the rich and detailed church history we all enjoy now. Especially valuable are their hindsights that tell us what they learned and their testimonies demonstrating that the Lord fulfilled His promises to them as they obeyed.

As you read any of the volumes of Saints the Church has published, note how much of what you read comes from diaries and journals. It would be pretty dry if all we had was the historical record of who moved where, and how many were in each party, and how many died on this night or that night. Boring! All the life of the history of the Church comes from the testimonies and chronicles of those who lived their lives and recorded them.

The prophet has told us time and time again to get into the habit of writing our experiences with the Spirit, and to keep a record of our lives. This is what is going to be used in the future when the history of the end times is written and passed on to the future members of God’s kingdom. And those stories of your family will be highly prized as treasures by the members of your family who are obedient to the Lord in those future generations.

Look at your current Come, Follow Me manual. Each week’s lessons begins with colored text right under the title, and almost every week it tells us to record our impressions or experiences from and with the Spirit. How many times must we be told before the Lord will hold us accountable and exact judgment for lack of obedience? Honestly? This is why I write. I want my posterity to know what my understanding of the gospel was in my day. I want them to know that I had experiences that affected my life and taught me to appreciate the covenants we have been given by the Lord. My own children don’t appreciate it, but I believe that someday their children or their children’s children will see the value in knowing what their forefathers knew and understood in this part of the latter days.

Nephi and Moroni both wrote things that made no sense to them in their day. Why? Because the Lord told them to make a record, again, of something they had already recorded. They didn’t understand why, but they trusted that the Lord had a good reason for it, so they were obedient. Can’t His injunction for each of us to write about our lives and our experiences with the Holy Ghost be enough for us to be obedient as well?

Scripture Study and Family Home Evening

Omni 1:12-22 – The importance of records

Every time we study the Book of Mormon people have issues with why Nephi killed Laban for the brass plates. It is these verses in Omni that demonstrates why it was wise for Nephi to do whatever was needed to get those plates. The Lord even told Nephi at the time that it was better that one man should perish (and he was a wicked man at that) than that an entire nation dwindle and perish in unbelief. What unbelief? – it was the lack of scriptures.

We sometimes neglect our scripture study. And sometimes we even feel that studying them is not all that crucial, since we have them laying around all over the house. But the loss of perspective, spiritual knowledge, and the lack of foresight in the people of Zarahemla is a demonstration of why the Lord puts such value on having scriptures readily available for His people to study every day.

Here is a PDF of this week’s study material.
Print it out for greater convenience in your studies.

BoM Week 13

(Enos-Words of Mormon)