Thursday, November 19, 2009

39b - While Jesus was Growing up Perfectly, the Nephites of Ancient America were Struggling to be Prepared for the Resurrected Jesus' Visit.

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The Bible and the Book of Mormon Stand Side by Side -by Greg K. Olsen

Later in this post, we will begin examining the preparatory challenges faced by the descendants of Father Lehi. These challenges which, if handled well, would have them fully ready for the visit to be made by Jesus Christ in their promised land (in the Americas) soon after his resurrection .

The believing portion of the Nephite-Lamanite nation had been greatly encouraged by the appearance of the signs at the time of the birth of the Savior of the World which had been foretold by their prophets. They were very grateful to have been saved from being executed by the unbelievers for their having expressed their belief that the signs of His birth would soon be seen.

However, it seems that a larger portion of the believers than we'd like to think was the case, needed to face constant adversity in order to keep progressing actively toward the needed level of preparation to be sufficiently ready for the visit of the resurrected Jesus Christ which also had been foretold by all of their prophets.

In earlier posts when telling of preparations among Lehi's people for the First Christmas, I overlooked telling you of one short verse of scripture which, in my view, is very significant. I'm sure that the sentence I highlighted in red below accurately describes why many descendants of Father Lehi were able to remain faithful over the many centuries.
Jarom, 1: 11, Wherefore, the prophets, and the priests, and the teachers, did labor diligently, exhorting with all long-suffering the people to diligence; teaching the law of Moses, and the intent for which it was given; persuading them to look forward unto the Messiah, and believe in him to come as though he already was. And after this manner did they teach them. (emphasis added)
In my mind that scripture elevates the worth of the law of Moses and all the practices that came with it, many notches. It helps me to see more clearly that those practices played an important, and might we say, effective, role in bringing many who were of the House of Israel to Christ.

I will first use in this post, verses from the New Testament, along with matching paintings, first by a world renown artist, of Jesus Christ, as a twelve year old in the temple in Jerusalem. Then secondly, a painting by a very good LDS painter of Jesus as a teenager, showing Jesus learning the trade taught him by his step-father, Joseph.

To me this demonstrates how the young, Jesus of Nazareth, under the over-all guidance of his actual father, (our Heavenly Father), was being guided and prepared to perfectly and lovingly fulfill his eternal role as the Savior and Redeemer of all mankind (which includes both you and me). He especially was being prepared by his supremely wise actual father to become the perfect sacrifice which would be required of him in Gethsemane and on Calvary Hill.

Jesus in the Temple at Jerusalem -by Heinrich Hofmann
We should also say that after all of that, he would ready to visit, after his resurrection, the Nephite-Lamanites in the Western Hemisphere and the other lost tribes of Israel wherever they may have been scattered throughout the world as was promised in John 10:16.
The scriptures make it clear that Jesus was successful in living without sinning. He was preparing, with our Heavenly Father's (his both heavenly and actual father's) guidance to be fully qualified for His ultimate eternal "job",

I feel that Jesus' eternal "job description" is marvelously described by him in the following scripture: It appears to me that twelve year old Jesus knew very well who his actual father was and and that he had been directed by him when teaching those "doctors" in the temple.

As was done in that land then, Jesus followed in the footsteps of Joseph who was surely considered by all others except for Mary and Jesus himself, and Joseph, as his actual father and had begun learning a trade, in this case, Joseph's carpentry trade. I'm personally sure that if young Jesus had accidentally hurt himself using the tools they used, he would have never used foul language. He was continuing toward his hugely unique destiny perfectly.

Moses 1:39 For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.
Luke 2: 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.
43 And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.
44 But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance.
45 And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.
46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.
47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.
48 And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.
49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?
50 And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.
51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.
52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

Painting: Del Parson
Jesus Working with Joseph in the Carpentry Shop

In a smaller, yet different painting below of Jesus as he sat teaching and learning in the Temple, he was twelve years of age.

In that same year the Nephite-Lamanites were having great difficulties and were not doing well in becoming prepared for Jesus' visit just twenty-two years away.

Jesus' growth and development was coming along just as it was to be expected from the Son of God. Nonetheless His mother, Mary, was mortal and so then was He. Therefore, like all of us, he had much adversity to go through then and throughout His life, but he surely at some point in time, had made his calling and election sure.
He would visit the Nephites-Lamanites in His resurrected body, and would be fully prepared. By the way, I have a particular fondness for this last painting I used in this post because I believe you can see Mary and Joseph in it. How special they both were and still are to Jesus the Christ.

Jesus Teaching in the Temple -by Grant Romney Clawson
Please click on the link below to read about the Nephite-Lamanite peoples' progress. You'll also become aware of great tribulations and back-sliding among them. Don't give up on them! A good number of them will be there when he, the Savior of Mankind, comes to visit them after his resurrection.


I deeply appreciate your readership and hope you found very beneficial that which was presented to you in this blog post.

If you have any questions about what you have read or viewed in this post or in any previous posts of mine, or if you even have a curiosity about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and or its teachings, please e-mail me. I'm Neil and my e-mail address is: If you contact me I'll get back to you just as soon as possible.

I invite you to let your friends and relatives know about this blog if you think they would be interested. Please be advised that I also have an additional blog. It is in Spanish:  Its content of each is translated from the English in this blog.

Neil Birch
Dear Blog Readers: Please continuing reading. The following is a special comment I have composed that I'd like you to read after having read the Post you have just read.
I attempted to do this using the Google Comment section of this post. However, Google let me know that that which I had written was too long for the space they allow.
The ideas I have used in this Special Comment came to me while still lying in bed awake this Friday morning.

I'm now quoting from an e-mail I wrote Monday to a Deseret News columnist, Erin Stewart: Monday, Nov 16, 2009 at 9:45 AM
Subject: Thank You for Your Column this morning in the Deseret News.
"Forgive me, but I can't remember ever having read your column before. I hope that's not a masculine thing. As I read it I laughed out loud in a very appreciative way of laughing. That got my wife's attention (she then read your column also).

It takes the keen sensitivities of a mother to get the responses you got from your baby daughter. I am as sure as anything, after reading your column today, that babes bring memories with them from the Spirit World. Those memories probably help shape their spiritual attitudes. Of course the things like your daughter told you don't linger long in their minds! however, I'd expect that daughter to be on the more spiritual side of things than many other children!

I have nine children, five daughters and four sons and two step-sons. I retired from LDS Social Services where I did counseling, adoption and birth mother work and Indian Placement work.

On page 24 of the October 2009 Ensign I'm mentioned as one of the bloggers who followed Elder M. Russell Ballard's counsel that Church members blog about the Gospel. I invite you to check in on my blog by clicking on:
Thanks again for your column today. I'll have to check in on it again!
Neil Birch

This is the e-mail Erin Stewart replied with:


Thanks for your note! Children are amazing, aren't they? I'll check out your blog! Thanks for reading, Erin

At this point I want to comment on the subject of Erin's Monday DesNews article. I urge you readers of this Comment to check in on the Deseret News of Monday, Nov. 16 (2009) ( to read what she said.

I believe, like Erin, that we each lived in the Spirit World with our Heavenly parents before coming here into life by being born to our dear mothers and fathers.

As Erin indicates in her column she believes very young children may have some lingering memories of that place from which they come. I'm sure they don't generally last very long.

Now I assert my personal conviction that we each come from a previous loving environment with a Heavenly Father and Mother. I will apply that to what I've been writing in this my most recent post, 39b regarding the truth that Jesus Christ's actual father of his earthly body is our Heavenly Father, the father of our spirit bodies and of Jesus' spirit body also.

As I wrote Post 39b I found myself struggling hard to get everything just right. I asked myself why was I trying so hard. Then, I realized that I know all births are very important, but the birth and life of Jesus Christ is hugely significant for all of us!

Of course, there is much that believers can say about that subject, but I will focus on one part of the history of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ which involves a Book of Mormon prophet, by the name of Nephi. This event occurred in the year A.D. 1, most likely on the night of April 5 of that year (by our calendars).

Those of the Nephites who did not believe in the coming of the Savior Jesus Christ into the world had set a day on which they would kill all of the believers in that event.
I now quote from the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ Now, you may ask, how does this tie into Erin Stewart's Monday Column?

I want to show that the Savior of the World went, #1, through the same birth process each of us did and #2 His life mission was so crucial to each of us and our eternal destinies.

3Nephi 1:12 And it came to pass that he cried mightily unto the Lord all that day; and behold, the voice of the Lord came unto him, saying:
13 Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets.
14 Behold, I come unto my own, to fulfil all things which I have made known unto the children of men from the foundation of the world, and to do the will, both of the Father and of the Son—of the Father because of me, and of the Son because of my flesh. And behold, the time is at hand, and this night shall the sign be given.
15 And it came to pass that the words which came unto Nephi were fulfilled, according as they had been spoken; for behold, at the going down of the sun there was no darkness; and the people began to be astonished because there was no darkness when the night came.
16 And there were many, who had not believed the words of the prophets, who fell to the earth and became as if they were dead, for they knew that the great plan of destruction which they had laid for those who believed in the words of the prophets had been frustrated; for the sign which had been given was already at hand.

Simeon Reverencing The Christ Child -by Greg K. Olsen

As I wrote this most recent post of mine, 39b I thought to myself, what would it have been like to be one of Mary and Joseph's children who grew up with Jesus. I wonder if any of them noticed his special spirit and had any idea of what he would eventually do for each of them and for us by bringing about the atonement and sacrifice that is so essential to our true success in life and in eternity.

In Favor With God -by Simon Dewey
I suspect that Jesus' mother, Mary saw his uniqueness often. Perhaps, at times she might have overlooked it, but as we are told in Luke 2:51 after Joseph and Mary who had inadvertently overlooked that Jesus was not with them, they had traveled for one day toward their home in Nazareth, they retrieved 12 year old Jesus from the temple in Jerusalem where they, after three days searching, found him teaching and being taught by wise men there,
..."but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart."
Most of us know babies are precious, especially mothers like Erin Stewart know that, but Mary, Mother of Jesus for sure knew that he was extra special, but then again, I'm sure she loved all of her children equally!

Brother Joseph (Smith) -by David Lindsley

This is longer than I intended it to be, but there is just one more thing I want to add. If Joseph Smith, or someone else he knew, actually "made up" the Book of Mormon how could he, or they, have possibly made up such an experience that was had by Nephi, as quoted above, in being told by the Lord's Spirit, just before he was to be born:
3Nephi 1:13 Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets.
I certify that is true scripture. It was not made up by any man!

One more thing. As Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were in the Carthage jail in June of 1844, both of them knowing that the end of their lives was near, why did they bear such strong testimonies of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon to the jailers there.

They knew they would be killed. The mob had been gathering outside the jail where they were being held (allegedly for their protection by the directions of the Governor of Illinois, Thomas Ford.)
How could Joseph and Hyrum Smith blaspheme before God just before dying, testifying of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon if it had just been "made up" by them or someone else they knew?

Just like Nephi's experience with hearing the Lord tell him that ..."on the morrow I come into the world." things like that just couldn't be made up!

Each of our babies are little miracles too. I'm so grateful that I am the parent of nine dear children and step-parent of two. I'm also glad that many of you readers are parents too!

I hope each of you will continue to read my blog posts in this present series as I continue tell how Jesus prepared to fulfill his earthly mission and how the Nephites in Ancient America were preparing for his visits with them after his resurrection.
Erin Stewart, I hope you were able to read this comment. Thanks again for being the kind of mother you are and also the kind of columnist and Latter-Day Saint you are!

This website is not owned by or affiliated with the Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes called the Mormon or LDS Church). The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the position of the Church.


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I deeply appreciate your readership and hope you found very beneficial, that which was presented to you in this blog post.

If you have any questions about what you have read or viewed in this post or in any previous posts of mine, or if you even have a curiosity about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and or its teachings, please e-mail me. I'm Neil and my e-mail address is: If you contact me I'll get back to you just as soon as possible.

I invite you to let your friends and relatives know about this blog if you think they would be interested in it. Please be advised that I also have an additional blog. It is in Spanish:  Its content is translated from the English in this blog.

Neil Birch

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