I’m not a people person by nature. I can enjoy company, but I don’t often seek it out. Usually, I try to avoid it, though I’ve been working on this.
Yesterday I re-read something that had jumped out at me when I read it earlier this year. Actually, I’d read this many times before, but it was upon this reading that something new struck me. Such is the experience of those who study the Book of Mormon.
I’d often wondered how to increase my capacity for charity–the inherent desire to know people, to love them, to want to help them. I’ve prayed for growth in this capacity, but I still have a long way to go.
But then I read these verses:
On Thursday of this week, people in my stake read the Book of Mormon’s little Book of Enos. At the end of that short work, Enos says that as he approached the end of his life, “an hundred and seventy and nine years had passed away from the time that our father Lehi left Jerusalem.” (Enos 1:25)
That actually used to bug me–it seemed implausible that nearly 200 years could pass in the space of only three generations. Any time I tried to make the math work, it just didn’t seem realistic.
But upon reading it again this week, I remembered this story from a couple of years ago: John Tyler, 10th president of the United States, who was born in 1790, has grandsons who are still alive.
Not great-great-great-grandsons, mind you. Grandsons.
That’s well over 220 years covered by only three generations, more than 40 years longer than the time mentioned in the Book of Mormon. If you figure that Lehi might have been about 40 when he “left Jerusalem,” the chronologies aren’t far off at all. Indeed, the Book of Mormon says that Enos’s father Jacob was the next-to-youngest son of a large family (1 Nephi 18:7), and that his parents were quite old at the time (1 Nephi 18:17-18). Enos may well have also been a youngest son of old age.
179 years from 1 Nephi 2 until the end of Enos is perfectly plausible.
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Here’s the text:
Create an annual Book of Mormon Day | We the People: Your Voice in Our Government
Since being published in 1830, the Book of Mormon has had an enormous impact on American history and culture.
More than 150 million copies have been printed. It has appeared on multiple polls of the most influential books in people’s lives. It has appeared in both scholarly editions and a Penguin Classics version.
The Book of Mormon played a pivotal role in the settlement of the American West. More recently, it has even inspired an award-winning Broadway play of the same name.
It’s time to formally recognize the large contributions made to the United States, its history, and its people, by the Book of Mormon.
March 26–the day it was first published, in New York–should be declared a national Book of Mormon Day.
The prophet Jacob gives a great definition of what exactly Jesus Christ did for us and, therefore, why we celebrate Easter. The diagram below outlines the two-fold victory on our behalf:
I recently listened to a talk by David A. Bednar where he said this: “I believe we can learn much about this vital aspect of the Atonement if we will insert “enabling and strengthening power” each time we find the word grace in the scriptures.”
Accordingly, here is every Topical Guide entry for “grace,” with that key word replaced by “enabling and strengthening power.” Many of these verses truly do open up this way!
- Noah found enabling and strengthening power in the eyes of the Lord: Gen. 6:8 . ( Moses 8:27 . )
- thy servant hath found enabling and strengthening power in thy sight: Gen. 19:19 .
- if I have found enabling and strengthening power in thy sight: Ex. 33:13 . ( Ex. 34:9 ; Judg. 6:17 . )
- for a little space enabling and strengthening power hath been shewed: Ezra 9:8 .
- Lord will give enabling and strengthening power and glory: Ps. 84:11 .
- he giveth enabling and strengthening power unto the lowly: Prov. 3:34 . ( James 4:6 ; 1 Pet. 5:5 . )
- pour upon the house of David … spirit of enabling and strengthening power : Zech. 12:10 .
- enabling and strengthening power of God was upon him: Luke 2:40 .
- enabling and strengthening power and truth came by Jesus Christ: John 1:17 .
- great enabling and strengthening power was upon them all: Acts 4:33 .
- gave testimony unto the word of his enabling and strengthening power : Acts 14:3 .
- through the enabling and strengthening power of … Christ we shall be saved: Acts 15:11 .
- the ministry … to testify the gospel of the enabling and strengthening power of God: Acts 20:24 .
- By whom we have received enabling and strengthening power and apostleship: Rom. 1:5 .
- Being justified freely by his enabling and strengthening power : Rom. 3:24 .
- it is of faith, that it might be by enabling and strengthening power : Rom. 4:16 .
- Continue reading
My new video, analyzing the combination of “dark skin” and “curse” in the Book of Mormon:
I think this is one of the best Book of Mormon videos on YouTube–certainly, it gives the most information in the shortest time, and with great visual aids. Yes, this is a greatly improved version of a video I did in June. Please enjoy and share!
Here’s some Sunday fun for you: open a Book of Mormon and try putting the chapters of the Book of Mosiah in chronological order. If nothing else, this frustrating little exercise will help you appreciate the narrative complexity of the work.
My new video: an introduction to and performance of one of my favorite poems.
I put this video on YouTube this morning. I don’t think there were already any there that summarized a lot of Book of Mormon evidence quickly and with visual aids. I hope this gets circulated widely, because I think it will help a lot of people understand the Book of Mormon better. Enjoy!
Does the Book of Mormon make sense as a hoax? Compare it to the 1969 moon landing.
I just saw about the billionth joke on TV about the moon landing being a hoax. This old conspiracy theory is usually referenced as a crackpot belief these days, and rightfully so.
Consider all the logical problems with the moon landing being a hoax:
- Motive. Beating the Soviets in the space race? Couldn’t it have been achieved with far less effort and risk in many other ways?
- Benefits. What did we really get out of this? A brief bump in pride and some cool photos? Again, these could have been achieved in far easier ways.
- Costs. Absolutely staggering amounts of money were sunk into building and executing this project over many years. Not sensible if it was fake.
- Means. Did we really have the ability to pull off this scam? It would have required tons of complicit agents, sets and props, bribes, image effects, and a host of lying witnesses, to say the least. The whole scheme seems very implausible.
- Secrecy. With all that would have been involved, nobody blew the lid on this hoax, ever? Even when there would have been huge financial rewards for doing so?
- Odds. What are the chances that all this worked out, if wasn’t real? History shows that such attempts fall apart. The singular legacy of this project attests to its reality.
- Repetition. Where else has our government pulled off a hoax on this scale? If they were able to do it once, they would have done so again.
Of course, each of these seven things also testifies of the reality of the Book of Mormon as an ancient document, divinely delivered to and translated for the modern world, and not as a 19th century hoax by Joseph Smith: Continue reading
The book of Mosiah starts with a testimony of three important things, and a wonderful observation about the nature of faith.
In Mosiah 1:3-5, King Benjamin refers to his family’s copy of the Hebrew scriptures, and he teaches his children about how crucial the scriptures are in preserving spiritual culture. In the next verse, he says:
O my sons, I would that ye should remember that these sayings are true,
and also that these records are true.
And behold, also the plates of Nephi, which contain the records and the sayings of our fathers from the time they left Jerusalem until now, and they are true;
and we can know of their surety because we have them before our eyes. (Mosiah 1:6)
Here, Benjamin testifies of the truth of three things: his own teachings to his children, the ancient scriptures, and the collected teachings of recent prophets.