Devotional: The Angel Moroni by Elder Rudd

Brigham Young University-Idaho Devotional, March 11, 2003

by Elder Glen L. Rudd

(Scroll to the horizontal bar to start reading where Moroni is discussed.)

The Book of Mormon is a book that you should all be acquainted with. It was published in 1830. Eleven days after the book was printed, the Church was organized. It’s been in the world now for over 170 years. And just two years ago, on the last day of February in the year 2000, the 100 millionth Book of Mormon was printed. 100 million! When you stop and think about Church history, read about the problems that the Prophet Joseph and the others had in getting that book printed, I’m sure that one of the greatest miracles in the whole history of the world is the Book of Mormon itself. 100 million copies! That book has converted and brought millions of people into the Church, but there are millions of others who have rejected it and have gone their own way without using it. If you young people haven’t already learned to love the Book of Mormon and to appreciate it, now is the time to start.

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Not Commanded in All Things

by Ezra Taft Benson. General Conference Talk – April 1965. Not Commanded in All Things.

In 1831 the Lord said this to his Church:

For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.

Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;

For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.

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. (D&C 58:26-29.)

The purposes of the Lord—the great objectives—continue the same: the salvation and exaltation of his children.

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A Witness and a Warning

President Ezra Taft Benson, Of the Council of the Twelve. A Witness and a Warning. Ensign, Nov. 1979, 31

The Lord has declared this “a day of warning, and not a day of many words” (D&C 63:58). My message is a witness and warning about some of the evils which threaten America—a land I love with all my heart. There are other countries with this same problem. You who have seen these dangers in the land you love will have a deep feeling for what I will say.

America is a place of many great events. Here is where Adam dwelt, where the Garden of Eden was located. America was the place of former civilizations, including Adam’s, the Jaredites’, and Nephites’. America is also the place where God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, appeared to Joseph Smith, inaugurating the last gospel dispensation on earth before the Savior’s second coming.

This consecrated land has been placed under the everlasting decree of God. That decree is recorded in the sacred Book of Mormon, a new witness for Christ, in these words:

For behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God. …

Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ (Ether 2:10, 12).

The eventful destiny of America has also been revealed to God’s prophets. To Joseph Smith the Lord revealed that “the whole of America is Zion itself from north to south (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1938, p. 362). Further, the Lord decreed this land to be “the place of the New Jerusalem, which should come down out of heaven, … the holy sanctuary of the Lord” (Ether 13:3). To serve God’s eternal purposes and to prepare this land for Zion, God “established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom [He] raised up … and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood” (D&C 101:80).

The Constitution of the United States was ratified in 1789. The priesthood of God was restored in 1829. Between those two dates is an interval of forty years. It is my conviction that God, who knows the end from the beginning, provided that period of time so the new nation could grow in strength to protect the land of Zion.

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Contention and Civility

Modern politics is war. The goal is to completely overwhelm, dominate, and overpower. The problem is that when one side “wins,” they have to continue fighting to maintain the high ground. The other side is perpetually working to overthrow and take their turn behind the wheel.

Today, political dialogue is almost always public and arguments are crafted to embarrass, demonize, and score political points. Both sides have given up on the other. Liberals and conservatives have largely determined that those one “the other side” are ignorant and irrational, even evil.

Are we too quick to condemn? Are we guilty of assuming we fully comprehend the hearts and intentions of those who disagree with us?

If we really believe we are right, shouldn’t we be a little more tactful in how we discuss the political principles that matter most to us?

Imagine what could happen if we weren’t so quick to give up on others. Imagine what we could accomplish politically if we learned how to actually have engaging conversations with others.

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