As we read through the Book of Mormon again this year, I am enjoying my visits to Nephi’s chapters on his vision of the future of America. It brings back memories of reading them with my family when I was little, then reading them in Seminary, on my mission, in Institute classes, teaching Seminary and many years of Sunday School. They are all wonderful memories.
There are three verses in chapter fourteen of First Nephi that have always been my favorites. One is where the Angel tells Nephi of the fate that awaits those who dig in that great pit hoping to capture the souls of the good people of the world. Another is the proclamation that there are really only two churches – the church of the Lamb of God and the church of the devil.
The third verse I really love is verse 14 where Nephi describes his vision of the church of the Lamb of God. I am saddened that his main comment is that ‘its numbers were few” and ‘their dominions upon the face of the earth were small.” And why are their numbers few? It is because of the wickedness and abominations of the world that many hearts are hardened.
There are times when I looked out at the congregation and have seen how few have arrived on time or have come to worship that day. The memory of this verse comes to mind and I am reminded that it has been foretold that the numbers would be few. I imagine it would be even more poignant for a priesthood leader in a country where the church is not as well established.
But then I remember verse 15 and my spirit is strengthened because the power of God “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.” What an awesome vision!
Back to verse three – that great pit “shall be filled by those who digged it.” I can just see this in my minds eye. All those who make a man an offender for a word will be caught in their own snares and traps. Some days as I read the news I am reminded of this verse. There are so many who want to entrap and ensnare good people. They are simply adding to the size of their own pit.
Think about it. How can someone be trapped or ensnared by something they have created? It has been my experience that those who accuse others of wrongdoing are usually guilty of the very crimes they are casting in the face of the righteous. So in the end, the righteous have nothing to fear while those who are the accusers are trapped by their own words and deeds.
I conclude with verse ten – now there is a potentially divisive and offensive verse. Just ask Bruce R. McConkie about what happened to him when he interpreted this literally. I know he is living in the spirit would but when I find him there I want to ask him about this verse. You can read about some of his troubles with the Brethren but I doubt the whole story has been told.
There are only two churches and if you are not a part of the church of the Lamb of God then you are a member of the church of the devil. You are either in support of Christ and his church or you are upholding the works of the prince of darkness. Is it really as black and white as that? If it isn’t today it will be by the time the Lord comes again to the earth to rule and reign forever.
What do you think? Are there some verses in the Book of Mormon that are divisive? I hate that word because it is used by some to accuse. But don’t we all have to take sides in the end?