Sunday, November 2, 2008

Post 29 - The Book of Mormon, Studied Regularly, While Allowing its Teachings to Guide Our Lives, Will Lead Us To a Fullness of Joy!

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Elder Neal A. Maxwell
Photo from the Ensign Magazine

Elder Neal Maxwell was a very much loved and respected Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ in our day and served for many years as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

After a valiant struggle with a very serious physical affliction for a number of years, he left this life a few years ago. Besides all of his many regular responsibilities he continued to carry during his relatively long illness, he reached out especially to others who had similar afflictions. He was an inspiration to them and to all church members who learned much from him regarding the Gospel of Jesus Christ during his long service as an apostle.

His physical condition which eventually claimed his life was not the first time in his life that he had faced great physical challenges. As a young man he served in the South Pacific as a soldier in the battlefield. His life was miraculously saved on a number of occasions. As a young soldier under much pressure of every kind he continued to live the teachings of his Savior and His Church very faithfully.

He didn't have any social or financial advantages to help him in his progress in his education and in his vocational efforts. He was nonetheless very successful in these aspects of his life. He then gave up all these opportunities to devote himself full-time to the service of his Lord and Savior as one of his apostles, a special witness of Jesus Christ in our day.

As an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ he was remarkable in his success in teaching members of the LDS Church about the Gospel of his and our Lord, Jesus Christ, in his profound way of speaking. His General Conference speeches were always among the favorite talks of those who viewed our general conferences.

In the October 1997 General Conference of the Church, Elder Maxwell had the following to say. Notice his humble subimission to the Lord Jesus Christ regarding his very serious physical condition

Brothers and sisters, I renew but also widen and deepen my specific expressions of everlasting gratitude given in April conference. I have been mercifully granted what might be called a "delay en route." Whether short or long, it is a wonderful blessing from the Lord! I have thereby learned, however, that there is another side to the "Why me?" question, since some are not granted any "delay en route" at all. Whichever side of that question, what is needed is mortal submission, even when there is no immediate divine explanation. Thus we are to press forward, whatever the length of the near horizon, while rejoicing in what awaits us on the far horizon.
Elder Maxwell often spoke about and taught from the Book of Mormon in his teaching members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The following is a particularly insightful and inspired comment of his, in this respect.

"The Book of Mormon will be with us 'as long as the earth shall stand.' We need all that time to explore it, for the book is like a vast mansion with gardens, towers courtyards, and wings. There are rooms yet to be entered, with flaming fireplaces waiting to warm us. the rooms glimpsed so far contain further furnishings and rich detail yet to be savored, but decor dating from Eden is evident. There are panels inlaid with incredible insights, particularly insights about the great question. Yet we as Church members sometimes behave like hurried tourists, scarcely venturing beyond the entry hall."
[Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], 33, as quoted in The Neal A. Maxwell Quote Book, ed. Cory H. Maxwell [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997], 33.)

Unfortunately, many who are not members of the LDS Church often have been told by others that the Book of Mormon is nonsense and is not worthy of the title, "Holy Scripture." Those who so criticize the Book of Mormon have not really read it.

Throughout the course of my twenty eight blog posts, entitled, "Have You Really Read the Book of Mormon" I have given some insights into what Elder Maxwell told us above. However, in this particular blog post I want to show you one significant and very unique, insightful chapter of this treasure house of a book.

As before, I encourage each of you to obtain your own personal copy of the Book of Mormon and study it prayerfully and intensely, like you should do with the Holy Bible. After all, they are both testaments of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The following verse is one I quoted several times before in my blog posts.

II Nephi 2:25 Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.
As I mentioned in one of my first two blog posts, a very educated Jewish man while visiting at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, heard that scripture read in a class he was visiting. He was deeply touched by it. Of course he was touched by those words, they provided an answer to the great question, "Why is there life?" or what is the purpose of life?"

On several occasions in these blog posts I have also written that after our Savior's death and resurrection, he came to Father Lehi's descendants in Central America as he alluded to when he told his disciples in Jerusalem after his resurrection: John 10:16
And other sheep I have which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd."
I will deal with our Savior's visit to Father Lehi's descendants more fully in the future, but for now will ask you to read just one chapter in which our resurrected Savior teaches by His example why Lehi could teach, "Men are that they might have joy."

Angels Descend from Heaven to be with the Resurrected Jesus Christ and Nephite Children in Ancient Central America in A.D. 34 -by Robert T. Barrett
 As you read this full chapter from the Book of Mormon you may want to use the Listen feature that is available:  III Nephi 17:1-25

What more could I add after your having read about that great experience in ancient America. After reading that chapter you know much more now about what brings about true ultimate joy than ever before.


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TO ACCESS NEIL BIRCH'S BLOG INDEX: To Either Read the Full Index Item Which Refers To This Blog Post, (Or To Search The Index For Any Other Blog Post You Decide To Open), After You Have Read All of This Paragraph, Please Click on the Following: (Elder Neal A. Maxwell: "The Book of Mormon Will Be With Us As Long As The Earth Shall Stand. . . -Post 29. When The Picture of Our Savior, Jesus Christ Sitting Next to a Little Boy Comes Onto Your Screen, Please Scroll Down To Your Target Item Or Use the Alphabetical Scrolling Device (When It Has Been Installed).


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Neil Birch

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