As missionaries in the Texas Houston South Mission, we know our purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ, by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. We do this through our constant efforts to find, teach, invite, retain, and activate God’s children; we love it, we live it, and we do it! “We begin with the End in Mind”, and see God’s children as he does. We are Disciples of Jesus Christ that teach repentance and baptize converts and the best missionaries in the world!
Dear Elders & Sisters,
I love ya! I pray that you are continuing to increase your faith in the Savior, His Atonement, and His work. Elder Neil L. Anderson of the Quorum of the Twelve taught, “Faith is by choice, not by chance.” We choose to show our faith in the Savior each day as we are obedient, plan, study, open our mouth, and declare with boldness repentance and a remission of sins through baptism. Choose faith!
I love the opportunity we have to feast upon the words of Christ in the Book of Mormon each day. I testify with my whole soul that the Book of Mormon is true! I am grateful for the impressions that come and for the aha moments we receive as the Spirit teaches and testifies of truth. Like many of you, I am feasting in 1 Nephi right now for our Book of Mormon challenge. I wanted to share an impression I received this week related to Nephi and members of his family. If I were to sum up the difference between what we see in Nephi vs. Laman and Lemuel it would be three attributes or characteristics; Doers, Delayers, Deniers… I think those are words, let’s just go with them…
James, the half-brother of Jesus, taught, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only…” (James 1:22) He also then went on to teach, “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? (James 2:14) In the verses that follow he very clearly answers his question to us… “faith, if it hath not works, is dead” (James 2:7) Nephi is always a perfect example of one who is a faithful doer, “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded…” (1 Ne. 3:7) Whatever the Lord needed Nephi to do, he was always there, always ready, always going about doing good. I love his wiling heart, optimistic attitude, and unshakable faith. There are doers who murmur (behold thy brothers murmur, saying it is a hard thing which I have required of them 1 Ne. 3:3), and then there are doers who love God and give their best, regardless of the circumstances (let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord. 1 Ne: 4:1). Be like Nephi!
We are often warned in scripture not to delay those things that can be done today. The synonyms we find in scripture for delaying are procrastinating, idleness, and slothfulness. Whether it is our repentance, filling our lamps (as was the case with the five foolish virgins), or even as we travel in the wilderness (life) like Lehi’s family (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 – Alma 37:41) delaying to act on God’s invitations limits our potential and progress. Can you see Laman and Lemuel being the last ones to raise their hand and offer help? They were great at dragging their feet in almost everything they did… returning to Jerusalem (at least the first time ;), building the ship, and even praying to understand Lehi’s vision of the tree of life. The Lord warns us about being delayers in D&C 58:29, “But he that doeth not anything until he is commanded, and receiveth a commandment with doubtful heart, and keepeth it with slothfulness, the same is damned.” In other words, when we have to be told what to do, even when we know we’re supposed to do it, and we move on it very slowly, if at all, our progress is stopped. Nephi when counseling his brothers, “…If God had commanded me to do all things I could do them.” (1 Ne 17:50) Laman and Lemuel when it came time to build the ship, “were desirous that they might not labor…” (1 Ne. 17:18) Be like Nephi!
The Apostle Peter warned that “…in the last days there shall come scoffers, walking after their own lusts. Denying the Lord Jesus Christ, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming?” (2 Pet 3:3-4) The objective of the anti-Christ Korihor was to persuade men and women to deny Christ and to rely upon their own genius and strength. Amazingly, many bought into his message, and many still do today. (Alma 29) Zeezrom, who was wonderfully repentant, tried this approach with Alma and Amulek as he offered them worldly possessions if they would deny the existence of a Supreme Being. (Alma 11:22) Knowing the challenges that would face the saints, the Apostle Paul warned Timothy, “…if we deny him, he also will deny us… (2 Tim 2:12) In other words, the Savior will deny us before the Father in the day of judgement if we deny Him now. To avoid this at the day of judgement, Nephi boldly taught his people, “…for the right way is to believe in Christ and deny him not; for by denying him ye also deny the prophets and the law.” (2 Ne. 25:28) Laman and Lemuel were rebellious and deniers of the faith, “ye are swift to do iniquity and slow to remember the Lord your God.” (1 Ne. 17:45) Be like Nephi!
As I studied the Book of Mormon this week, the Spirit invited me again to secure my faith in the Savior and to always be found as one who is willing to go and do. I love the example of Nephi as well as of the early apostles, Peter, Andrew, James, and John as they were called by the Savior, “And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him… And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.” (Matt 4:19-20, 22) When the Savior called, these men immediately responded (went & did), they did not delay or put off the invitation, and they did not deny the Savior’s voice. I marvel that these men could drop everything, their lives, and their possessions, but they did. We, like the apostles of old, have also been called to do the same. Be Like Nephi!
Elders & Sisters, I invite you today to increase your resolve to be “doers” of the word and not hearers only. Don’t delay the things that will help you become a more effective instrument in the Lord’s hand and don’t wait to be asked to be anxiously engaged. Be willing to gladly receive Nephi’s counsel, “I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out.” I love the Book of Mormon and the promptings I receive to go about doing good, to avoid any reason for delaying, and to never be found as one denying the Lord and His goodness. Be Like Nephi! Love ya!