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Friday, May 31, 2013

01. A Unique Way to Come Unto God

Note: This is one of a series of posts devoted to the study of D&C 93:1, and the first examining the phrase "cometh unto me".

D&C 93:1's first qualification to see the Lord ("forsaketh his sins") leaves us in a humble state.  We understand, in a deeply personal way, what Nephi thought and felt:
"Nevertheless, notwithstanding the great goodness of the Lord, in showing me his great and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities.
I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me.
And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted." (2 Nephi 4:17-19)
It's in this state that it can feel natural, at times, to NOT want to come unto God.

Believe me, I know.  There are times when it's difficult to be around anybody, including God.

A Self-Confession

For several years, I've suffered from a mild to moderate condition of what is known as "Reverse SAD", or Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder.  Unlike regular SAD (which afflicts some during the winter months), Reverse SAD strikes some with depressive symptoms in the springtime.  I've read a ton of articles about Reverse SAD, and there doesn't seem to be any good, coherent, proven treatments for it.  Solid solutions for those with Reverse SAD tend to be elusive...

...except for me.

Just recently, I discovered a treatment which has helped me break through and rise above the dark clouds of depression, into the warmth, energy and light of the Son, and essentially Come Unto God under difficult circumstances.

Even better, it's a key strategy anyone -- young or old, LDS Church member or not, depressed or happy -- can use to fulfill D&C 93:1's requirement to "Cometh Unto Me".

Want a sure-fire method to naturally, almost effortlessly, come unto God?

This strategy was made very clear to me by an angel of mercy.

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

New "Non-Canonized" Study Aids

The "Study Aids" tab of now features a new "Non-Canonized" section with two bullet points under it: The Book of Enoch and Lectures on Faith.

Of the two, I *highly* recommend reading the Lectures on Faith, which (for 86 years) were part of the LDS canon until they were removed in 1921. Joseph approved the lectures' inclusion in the canon, as he considered them doctrine.

A CHALLENGE:  I'd be really interested in hearing your thoughts about the Lectures on Faith.  What portion of it resonated with you the most?  Why?

Monday, May 27, 2013

07. Crying Repentance Without Tears

Note: This is one of a series of posts devoted to the study of D&C 93:1, and the seventh examining the phrase "forsake his sins".

Seizing Opportunities to Cry Repentance

If you're like me, you just don't go out looking for opportunities to preach and cry repentance.  My personality is such that I much rather enjoy talking about family, food, entertainment, books, recreation, religion and more.  Repentance is not in my top ten list of conversation starters.

However, I think there's a way that we can work repentance into our conversations.  Take a look at Alma 29:1-2, 9-10:
"O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people!
Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth.
I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy.
And behold, when I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled with joy; then do I remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer; yea, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me."
After reading this, the thought struck me that we should be praying for opportunities to mention how much the Lord has done for us, and how He's heard our prayers, and how merciful He's been to us.  In so doing, we may be able to be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance.

Imagine that! 
  1. Today, you could pray for the Lord to show His mercies, His forgiveness, His kindnesses, His blessings to you. 
  2. He would bless you with such opportunities, which you would receive.
  3. Then in receiving them, you could thank Him by asking for opportunities to tell others how merciful, how forgiving, how kind, how blessed God has been to you (see D&C 14:8).
  4. Because this is a (very!) righteous desire, He would open up such opportunities.
  5. During such an opportunity, you would challenge others to feel the joy that comes from asking for and receiving these wonderful blessings (see Alma 32:27-34).

I want to make this point crystal clear to you

In preaching repentance, I seriously doubt the Lord expects you to put on a robe or sackcloth and ashes, and like some Old Testament prophet, go out into the streets, screaming at the top of your lungs, "Repent!  For the kingdom of God is nigh!"

Nope.  You're not going there.

What He does expect you to do is to testify -- testify of His goodness and mercy in redeeming a soul so rebellious as you.

Do not complicate this process.  Start simple.  Simply pray and ask for the opportunity to testify.  Then seize the opportunity to testify.  He'll let you know when.

Happy Endings

I began this series on forsaking sins with this statement:
"Now, before you conclude that this post (about repentance) is going to be a downer, or display an online version of hell, fire and brimstone, or will leave you feeling guilty or upset, I'd like to invite you to hear me out. The true message of repentance is a prime component of the Lord's gospel of happiness (not the gospel of pain, suffering or guilt).  In fact, repentance is (or can be) highly motivating, inspiring, uplifting and can (by itself) trigger some touching, sincere, understanding, non-judgmental conversations with God." 
As you implement the five numbered steps mentioned above, you'll realize a fulfillment of my promise.

As you conduct your nightly return and report with Father, I have no doubt you would hear these words: 'Well done, my good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:23)

And truly, you will be blessed:
"Say nothing but repentance unto this generation; keep my commandments, and assist to bring forth my work, according to my commandments, and you shall be blessed." (D&C 6:9)
Which mirrors something the Lord said to another person who begged for forgiveness:
"And there came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.
And I, Enos, knew that God could not lie; wherefore, my guilt was swept away.
And I said: Lord, how is it done?
And he said unto me: Because of thy faith in Christ, whom thou hast never before heard nor seen." (Enos 1:5-8)

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." -- Lao-tzu

And what a terrific first step this is!

Now that we've covered "forsake your sins", we're now ready to take a step forward in our understanding of D&C 93:1 --

"cometh unto me"

Your thoughts?

Friday, May 24, 2013

06. The Oft-Neglected, Final Step in Having Your Sins Forsaken

Note: This is one of a series of posts devoted to the study of D&C 93:1, and the sixth examining the phrase "forsake his sins".

I ended my last post challenging you to you go forth, prove the Lord and see if He will not be more merciful, more charitable, more boundless in His blessings than you are ready to believe. 

I sincerely believe He will not only meet, but also exceed, those expectations.
Having done that, what's next?

Don't worry; that's hot
chocolate they're drinking

The Oft-Neglected, Final Step (#4) in Having Your Sins Forsaken

You're not alone. John and Peter Whitmer Jr. once had the same question, to which the Lord replied:
"For many times you have desired of me to know that which would be of the most worth unto you.
Behold, blessed are you for this thing, and for speaking my words which I have given you according to my commandments.
And now, behold, I say unto you, that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people, that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father. Amen." (D&C 15:4-6; 16:4-6)
Regarding D&C 15 and 16, Elder John A. Widstoe said,
"This simple revelation is directed to the individual and at first sight has no permanent value for the Church. Yet as a revelation from God it was preserved and published. An insincere man could have eliminated this and other similar revelations as of little consequence. Not so with Joseph. The Lord had spoken. The words were part of the building of the kingdom of God, and the same advice would be useful to many men then and now." (Elder John A. Widstoe, Joseph Smith, pp. 251–52; emphasis mine)
Those last words are extremely important: "the same advice would be useful to many men then and now".  With all due respect to Elder Widstoe, I would tweak it like this: the same obligation is made advice would be useful to all men (and women) then and now.

You've Been Called to the Work

It's erroneous to think that the doctrine of forgiveness of sins, of repentance, of seeking forgiveness, is just a personal doctrine.

Far, far from it.  It is a doctrine which must be extended to ever hill and climb, mountain and valley, on both sides of the veil, because
"the world is ripening in iniquity; and it must needs be that the children of men are stirred up unto repentance, both the Gentiles and also the house of Israel" (D&C 18:6)
we -- which includes you -- are to
"lift up your voice as with the sound of a trump, both long and loud" (D&C 34:6)
"cry repentance unto this people" (D&C 18:14)
"Save yourselves from this untoward generation, and come forth out of the fire, hating even the garments spotted with the flesh." (D&C 36:6)
And even if
"it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!" (D&C 18:15)
Sometimes people tend to defer the responsibility of crying repentance to prophets and apostles, or any calling containing the word "President", or maybe auxiliary instructors teaching from a church-approved manual.

That would be grossly incorrect.  As Elder Orson F. Whitney, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, once stated,
"The obligation of saving souls rests upon every man and woman in this Church … and they cannot get out from under this responsibility on the plea that it belongs only to such and such persons. Did not the Lord say … , ‘Behold, it is a day of warning, and not of many words: Therefore, let every soul that is warned, warn its neighbor?’" (in Conference Report, Oct. 1913, 99; see D&C 63:58; 88:81; emphasis mine).
So, how do you do THAT?  Or, let me be more blunt: How do you do that without looking like some kind of religious fanatic?

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

05. How Do You Know You're Forgiven?

Note: This is one of a series of posts devoted to the study of D&C 93:1, and the fifth examining the phrase "forsake his sins".

While it's clear that "the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance" (D&C 1:31), he also tells us that "he that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven." (D&C 1:32)

So, how can you know if you've truly been forgiven? 

How can you know you're ready to implement D&C 93:1's remaining criteria ("cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments")?

Here are a few ideas:

Recognize when you're unnecessarily burdening yourself.

"Sometimes it is easier for the Lord not to remember our sins than it is for us.  They become a cross because we will not do ourselves the favor of carrying on. Can you carry appropriately the cross of forgiveness? Some of us would rather carry a cross than confess and start anew." (Elder Marvin J. Ashton, "Be of Good Cheer," [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], p. 33)

You confess your sins and forsake them.

D&C 58:43 is a good start:
"By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins—behold, he will confess them and forsake them."

You feel the Spirit and receive personal revelation.

Here's another possibility to ponder.  It was heard by my good friend, John Pontius (he originally quoted it here).  Although it's not canon, and it's never been officially published, to me, it makes sense:
“I heard Bruce R. McConkie ask this question, 'How can you tell if you are living a life that is acceptable to God? How can you tell if you have been forgiven for a past sin you have been working to repent of?'

His answer was simply this: If you feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life – if you are receiving personal revelation, if you receive answers to your prayers, then you are in the straight and narrow way, and your sins are forgiven, because the Holy Spirit does not dwell in unholy people.”

You forgive others.

"...Inasmuch as you have forgiven one another your trespasses, even so I, the Lord, forgive you." (D&C 82:1)
Joseph Smith expanded on this when he said:
"Ever keep in exercise the principle of  mercy, and be ready to forgive our     brother on the first intimations of  repentance, and asking forgiveness; and should we even forgive our brother, or even our enemy, before he repent or ask forgiveness, our heavenly Father would be equally as merciful unto us." (Joseph Smith, History of The Church vol. 3:383)

Just remember these quotes:

"Our Heavenly Father is far more merciful, infinitely more charitable, than even the best of his servants, and the Everlasting Gospel is mightier in power to save than our narrow finite minds can comprehend." (Orson F. Whitney, Conf. Rpt. Apr. 1929, 110)

"Our Heavenly Father is more liberal in His views, and boundless in His mercies and blessings, than we are ready to believe or receive." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 257-258)

"I believe that his [Heavenly Father's] judicial concept of his dealings with his children could be expressed in this way: I believe that in His justice and mercy he will give us the maximum reward for our acts, give us all that he can give, and in the reverse, I believe that he will impose upon us the minimum penalty which it is possible for him to impose." (President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., Conference Report, 3 Oct. 1953, p. 84.)
My challenge to you: go forth, prove the Lord and see if He will not be more merciful, more charitable, more boundless in His blessings than you are ready to believe.  I have done so, and have been left astounded by the goodness and mercy of God.

You know what to do.  Go do it.

And prepare yourself to come unto the Lord.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

04. The Daily Return and Report

Note: This is one of a series of posts devoted to the study of D&C 93:1, and the fourth examining the phrase "forsake his sins".

D&C 93:1 is the Lord's divine formula for us to behold his face while in mortality.  The first criteria -- forsaking your sins -- can be accomplished as we understand the true meaning of repentance and do what's necessary.

The Daily Discipleship Discussion

Joseph Smith declared:
"Repentance is a thing that cannot be trifled with every day. Daily transgression and daily repentance is not … pleasing in the sight of God." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 148)
Also, this:
"Repentance is not an incidental or casual thing: wise King Benjamin spoke to his people of 'retaining a remission of your sins from day to day.' (Mosiah 4:26) I have long been impressed with the “day to day” aspect of being spiritually clean. It seems that, like many commonplace things in life, repentance and forgiveness need to occur in a regular pattern of daily orderliness.

An essential aspect of true repentance is daily prayer. And it must be meaningful as well as regular. No man genuinely repents if he nonchalantly asks his Father to overlook his shortcomings just before he heads out the door to work. The right way to repent of sins is by going before our Maker in secret prayer, identifying the specific transgression, confessing it, forsaking it, and continuing in the Lord’s Spirit. As the Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph: “I will forgive you of your sins with this commandment—that you remain steadfast in your minds in solemnity and the spirit of prayer.”
(D&C 84:61.)" (Franklin S. Gonzalez, "Repentance: A Daily Pattern", Ensign, August, 1980)

Returning and Reporting

When I was on my mission -- and I don't know where I learned it, I just did -- I learned the importance of one particular phrase: "Return and Report".

In my nightly prayers, I went to Father and said, "Here's what I did today. Here's what I was proudest of. Here's where I think I botched things up".

What was interesting was when I'd wait to 'sense' feedback.  It was so beautiful.  I'd sense enthusiastic words and phrases at my accomplishments and gentle and tender understanding at my failures.  Note I did not say condemnation nor judgment.  I sensed the response, "What are some of the things WE can work on to turn this into a success?"

This mirrors a statement Elder Henry B. Eyring once said:
"One of the questions we must ask of our Heavenly Father in private prayer is this: 'What have I done today, or not done, which displeases Thee?  If I can only know, I will repent with all my heart without delay.'  That humble prayer will be answered." (Henry B. Eyring, “Do Not Delay,” Ensign, Nov. 1999)
After discussing options with Heavenly Father, I would notice my heart would change.  I would want to do better.  I would then recommit myself to do better when that situation arises again, and ask Father to bring to my recollection that I am re-encountering a scenario which I had failed earlier, giving me both the insight and strength I needed to emerge the victor over a situation I had previously failed in.

I believe this situation mirrors that of something Elder Bednar spoke of in General Conference.  He said:
"Consider this example: There may be things in our character, in our behavior, or concerning our spiritual growth about which we need to counsel with Heavenly Father in morning prayer. After expressing appropriate thanks for blessings received, we plead for understanding, direction, and help to do the things we cannot do in our own strength alone. For example, as we pray, we might:
  • Reflect on those occasions when we have spoken harshly or inappropriately to those we love the most.
  • Recognize that we know better than this, but we do not always act in accordance with what we know.
  • Express remorse for our weaknesses and for not putting off the natural man more earnestly.
  • Determine to pattern our life after the Savior more completely.
  • Plead for greater strength to do and to become better.
Such a prayer is a key part of the spiritual preparation for our day." (Elder David R. Bednar, "Pray Always," October 2008 General Conference).
In my case, this evening “return and report" concept is nothing new. Pres. N. Eldon Tanner once stated:
"I can never begin to express my gratitude to my parents for teaching me this important principle. My father really knew how to talk to the Lord, and made him seem so real and near to us. He would pray in the morning: "Let thy blessings attend us as we go about our duties, that we may do what is right and return tonight to report to thee." (N. Eldon Tanner, "Importance and Efficacy of Prayer," Ensign, Aug. 1971, 2)

"This always gave us greater strength to meet and overcome temptations for we knew that we would be reporting to the Lord at night. I am going to report to the Lord tonight, I used to think. And this thought helped me to live a better life during the day." (N. Eldon Tanner, "Friend to Friend: Reporting to Father," Friend, June 1973, p. 8)
During these Return and Report sessions,
"We can monitor our own progress and discern the gains we make and the patterns in which we are vulnerable to temptation. I am indebted to a wise old friend (both in years and in association) of another faith who taught me to take an active interest in learning about the patterns in my life and how temptations occurred. He struggled a long time with some of his temptations and finally decided to take a proactive interest. He tried to anticipate where in his life he might encounter that "old trickster devil" again. He became a good scout. He watched the terrain of his life and could tell where it looked like his own form of quicksand might be. He rerouted and gave up trying to see how close he could get to that quicksand without getting caught." (Marie Cornwall and Susan Howe, eds., Women of Wisdom and Knowledge: Talks Selected from the BYU Women's Conferences, p.114)
As we do this, we not only draw closer to the Lord, but we also find ourselves becoming more empowered to forsake and overcome sin. As President Ezra Taft Benson stated,
"We find the process of repentance much more subtle, much more imperceptible. Day by day they move closer to the Lord" (President Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, Oct. 1989, p. 5)
-- thus fulfilling the promise made in Ether 12:27:
"… if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness.… my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

"As you kneel in humility before our Father daily, tell him openly of your progress, and also of your fears and doubts. As you draw near to Him, He draws near to us. He gives us peace and encouragement. He heals our souls." (Bruce D. Porter, "Searching Inward," Ensign, Nov. 1971, 65; emphasis mine)
What Alma said in Alma 37:37 is true:
“Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, . . . and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day.”
It is my testimony that we can accomplish this in our daily lives, if we seek it with all our hearts.  As we read in Deuteronomy 4:30-31:
“But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.

“When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice; … He will not forsake thee.” (Deut. 4:30–31.)
All of us -- every one of us -- are prodigal sons and daughters.  As we "shube" and "metaneoeo", we return to our Heavenly Father.  In return, He will draw closer to us -- most likely, with open arms.

I challenge you with all the passion and energy of my soul to put my analysis of repentance to the test. See if Heavenly Father will encourage you and motivate you.  See if He will not tell you that you -- not He -- punishes you for your sins, and that He longs for you to work with Him in ensuring your progress to beholding his face in mortality.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

03. Drop Your Stones

Note: This is one of a series of posts devoted to the study of D&C 93:1, and the third examining the phrase "forsake his sins".
I've gotten a few comments about the picture I posted here and at left regarding the woman at Christ's feet.  It's based on John 8:1-11, and is very meaningful to me.

I've received the tremendous blessing of having been shown the event where the woman taken in adultery faced the Savior.  It is astounding how gentle He was with her.  It seemed as if He understood her whole life, and that what she needed most at that moment was just someone to believe in her, to touch her chin with his finger, lift her head up, smile and make sure she knew she was loved as a daughter of God on a wavelength that emanated to and permeated the souls of herself and all around her.  It was a small moment in time, powerful yet gentle on a godlike level.   Even the most hardened of souls were transformed by the love -- and not a particle of judgment -- He so freely gave.

All too often, I see many people -- particularly members of the church -- who are quick to cast stones at others.  As you'll see in the brief dialogue I had with Gayle in the comments of the afore-mentioned post, it's sad that member judgmentalism has an immediate, adverse effect on new members who are still very tender and have small roots in the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Such unfortunate events aren't limited to new members.  Not by a mile.  In fact, I just read a series of statements elsewhere by members who said they were following church leaders in one sentence, then unilaterally judging and condemning others to hell in the next sentence.  This runs pretty contrary to something I learned quite a few years ago: You cannot teach (or be an example of) celestial principles by using telestial means.

So, I'd like to challenge you to do something:

Take a minute and ponder your life, and all the times you've gone astray from Christ and his gospel.  I mean, REALLY ponder this.  Put yourself in the place of the woman.  In fact, you might even see people all around you holding stones, ready to exact judgment upon you.

Next, watch this video (although it doesn't exactly match what I described above, it does a pretty good job of portraying the emotion of the moment).

My advice:

First, it's been my experience that often, we are the only one who is holding a stone, ready to stone ourselves.  If you have truly repented (see my previous post for the details), then you should have no accusers.  Just drop that stone where you're at before you hurt yourself with it.

Second, if you truly wish to be forgiven of your sins, never, ever even look at a stone to condemn another. In fact, I challenge you to do as the Master would do, and to treat that person or persons (or even yourself) with the upmost respect, understanding, non-judgmentalism, tenderness and love.

For this is the Christ that I know.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

02. The First Three (Out of Four) Steps of Repentance

Note: This is one of a series of posts devoted to the study of D&C 93:1, and the second examining the phrase "forsake his sins".

In our previous post, we learned that repentance, if understood correctly, isn't a downer, a bummer, a negative, humiliating, degrading, demeaning concept.  That's what Satan would have you believe.  So if you equate repentance to any of those negative concepts, stop it, before I take my shoe off (thereby exposing my smelly socks) and pound the pulpit with it.  Oh yeah, and smile.  The Lord has a far nicer, far more merciful definition.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is simply beautiful and beautifully simple.  So is one of its most critically important doctrines: repentance. 

Ezekiel 33:15 outlines three main steps of repentance which include (1) commitment, (2) restitution, and (3) forsaking sin.

"If the wicked (1) restore the pledge, (2) give again that he had robbed, (3) walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity: he shall surely live, he shall not die." (Ezekiel 33:15; numbers mine)

Let's look at this in closer detail.  The quotes below come from on a devotional address given by Elder Theodore M. Burton (of the First Quorum of the Seventy) at Brigham Young University on March 26, 1985 (the talk is here, and any emphasis in these quotes is mine).

“Restore the Pledge”

"Let us analyze these three steps of repentance. The first thing to do is to 'restore the pledge,' and this is the most difficult step in the repentance process. But what does the statement 'restore the pledge' mean?

To restore the pledge means to renew one’s covenant with the Lord. Forget all excuses and finally recognize fully, exactly, what you have done. Don’t say, 'If I hadn’t been so angry,' 'If my parents had only been more strict,' 'If my bishop had only been more understanding,' 'If my teachers had only taught me better,' 'If it hadn’t been so dark,' 'If I hadn’t been so hungry,' 'If the stake president had only helped me to understand,' etc., etc., etc. There are hundreds of such excuses, none of which matter much in the final analysis.

Forget all such self-justification and rationalization. Just kneel down before God and openly and honestly admit that what you did was wrong. Open your heart to your Father and commit yourself completely to him: 'Dear Father, what I did was wrong and I recognize that I have sinned. I make no excuses, but with thy help I promise that I’ll never do that thing again. I will straighten out my life, and, if necessary, go to my bishop and seek his help! From now on I pledge that I will be obedient! Please help me now to earn thy forgiveness!'

To really commit oneself and mean it is the beginning of repentance. Our Savior’s great commitment came in the Garden of Gethsemane as he suffered in agony of spirit and shed great drops of blood in that garden. It was a time of terrible trial for him! You will remember that Jesus asked that the cup might pass from him and that some other way might be found for him. Prior to this experience he had always had ready communication with his Heavenly Father, but now he not only felt, but indeed really was, left all alone. It was as if the heavens over his head were made of brass. He couldn’t get through! So he continued to struggle in prayer and suffered horribly under the strain. It is true that he added these words, 'Nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done' (Luke 22:42). In spite of this pledge to his Heavenly Father, again and yet again he pled with his Father that the cup might pass and that some other path might be found. There was no answer to his request and his soul filled with anguish. But the third time when he said, 'Thy will be done,' it was said in a different tone. This time he really meant it.

He realized there was no other way and he fully committed himself to do whatever he had been appointed to do. He was now willing! Though it cost him tremendous suffering, he made up his mind and committed himself to be obedient in every particular, regardless of cost and suffering. It was then that the angels came to minister to him and strengthen him for his coming ordeal. That commitment made his sacrifice on the cross bearable. Such a similar struggle may cost you agony of mind and soul as well, but it will also make the repentance possible and bearable for you.

One thing we should remember is that the Lord does not punish us for our sins. He simply withholds his blessings and we punish ourselves. The scriptures tell us again and again that the wicked are punished by the wicked. A simple illustration can show how easily that is done. If Mother tells me not to touch a hot stove because it will burn and hurt me, she is only stating the law. If I should forget or deliberately touch that hot stove, I would be burned. I could cry and complain of my hurts, but who would be punishing me? Would it be Mother—or the hot stove? I would be punishing myself. Even after my finger healed, I would have to remember the law, for every time I would touch that hot stove I would be burned, again and again, until I could learn to obey the law. It was and is the law, and justice would have to be done. This illustration, however, disregards the important element of mercy."

"Repay Your Debt"

"The second step in the process of repentance is to 'give again that which you have robbed.' In other words, you must restore or pay back that which you have taken. If you have stolen money or goods, it is relatively easy for you to repay—even to repay sizable amounts with time. But what if you have robbed a person of virtue? Is there anything you can do, of yourself, to restore virtue? Even if you gave your very life, could that restore virtue? No, but—perish the thought—does that then mean it is useless to attempt restitution by significant good works or that your sin is unforgivable?

No! Jesus Christ can restore that virtue and he can thus show you mercy. His repayment will satisfy justice and he will make that payment for you if you will only repent. True repentance on your part, including a change in your lifestyle, will enable Jesus, in mercy, to transfer your debt to him. But, as Elder Boyd K. Packer explained in his conference address of 3 April 1977, justice now requires that you repay him. Jesus has power to restore virtue and make your victim absolutely clean and holy. But, as I said, that bargain only transforms the indebtedness you have to your victim into a new indebtedness to Jesus Christ, who paid your ransom. How can you ever repay your Savior such a great price?

This may appear to you to be a new doctrine, but it is reasonable and consistent with the following scripture from Mosiah. I am grateful for the Book of Mormon, which explains how we can repay Jesus Christ for his great mercy to us. His sacrifice atoned even for our personal sins and makes mercy available to you and to me. King Benjamin may have explained how repayment is possible.

And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God. [Mosiah 2: 17]

This service to others can include significant good works that could compensate Jesus for his restitution made for us. God’s work and glory is to redeem his children. If we participate in this redemptive service, he pays us in blessings for which we qualify by that service. What this scripture then means is that you can repay Jesus for his mercy to you by being kind, thoughtful, considerate, and helpful to those around you. By such service to others, you can gradually pay back your indebtedness to your Savior. You can put the evil you have done out of your mind by charitable service to others.

As you begin to repay your debt through service to your family, neighbors, and friends, the painful elements of your sin will gradually fade from your mind. They will no longer fill your soul with anxiety and concern, nor will you be plagued by worries over previous transgressions. Instead of being filled with vain regrets over past deeds which are already done, events you are powerless to change, you will now be so busy doing good deeds for others that you will not have a desire to sin or disobey, nor to recall past sin or disobedience. You will be helpful and considerate of everyone you meet. You will develop a loving personality and be accepted and appreciated by your associates. But as long as you dwell on sin or evil and refuse to forgive yourself, you will be subject to return again to that sin. If you turn from your problems and sins and put them behind you in both thought and action, you can concentrate on good and positive things. You will thus become fully engaged in good causes. Sin will no longer be such a temptation for you.

Jesus himself said of those who attain his presence in the celestial kingdom that he would put his sheep on his right hand, but place the goats to his left.

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

I was a stranger; and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. [Matthew 25:34–46]

In service to others you can repay your Savior for his mercies and blessings unto you and repay him at least in part for his atonement for you. Jesus can and will lift all burdens from your soul if you will only 'shube,' or turn from sin back to God.

It stands to reason that the more serious the sin, the longer it takes to complete the repayment. If you work at repayment daily over the years, even very great sins you may have committed can eventually be repaid and you can then stand blameless before your Savior. Remember that Church leaders can forgive you for your sins against the Church, but final forgiveness for sin has to come from the Great Judge on the day of reckoning when each of us must give an account of our lives.

It takes time for repentance to be final. An injury to the soul is similar to an injury to the body. Just as it takes time for a wound in the body to heal, so it also takes time for a wound of the soul to heal. The deeper the cut in the body, the longer it takes to heal, and if broken bones are involved, that healing process is extended. If I cut myself, for example, the wound will gradually heal and scab over. But as it heals, it begins to itch, and if I scratch at the itching scab it will take longer to heal, for the wound will open up again. But there is a greater danger. Because of the bacteria on my fingers as I scratch the scab, the wound may become infected and I can poison the wound and can lose that part of my body and eventually even my life!

Allow injuries to follow their prescribed healing course or, if serious, see a doctor for skilled help. So it is with injuries to the soul. Allow the injury to follow its prescribed healing course without scratching it through vain regrets. If it is serious, go to your bishop and get skilled help. It may hurt as he disinfects the wound and sews the flesh together, but it will heal properly that way. Don’t hurry or force it, but be patient with yourself and with your thoughts. Be active with positive and righteous thoughts and deeds. Then the wound will heal properly and you will become happy and productive again."

"Forsake Your Sins"

"Now we come to the third step of repentance which is to 'walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity.' In other words, we must forsake our sins, one by one, and never repeat them. When we do this in sincerity and with honesty of heart, the Lord has said through his prophets:

To Ezekiel:

None [not even one] of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live. [Ezekiel 33: 16]

To Isaiah:

I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. [Isaiah 43:25]

To Joseph Smith:

Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more. [D&C 58:42]

But how do we know if a man or a woman has repented of his or sins? The Lord has even answered that question:

By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins—behold, he will confess them and forsake them. [D&C 58:43]

How grateful we should be for a kind, wise, loving Savior who will help us overcome our faults, our mistakes, our sins.  He understands us and is sympathetic to the fact that we must face temptations.  He is also merciful and has provided a way so that we can apply these principles of repentance in our lives and thus escape the bondage of pain, sorrow, suffering, and despair that comes from disobedience, either conscious or unconscious.  After all is said and done, we are his sons and his daughters and he loves each of us dearly.  For those who understand its true meaning, repentance becomes a beautiful word and a marvelous refuge."
In my next post, we'll see how these three steps can be implemented in your daily life in a way that will inspire and motivate you and others, while greatly enhancing your relationship with the Lord and Heavenly Father.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

New "The Perfect Day" Topical Index!

The Perfect Day now has a listing of all its posts!

On The Perfect Day's top menu bar (here), you'll see a link to the new "Topical Index" page.  There, you'll see a bunch of links to my past posts, all organized alphabetically by topic.  You may see some posts listed twice (under different topics) because the particular post is applicable to both topics.  Anything listed as "New !!" means it was posted within the last three months.

Feel free to suggest any comments at the bottom of the page.

Monday, May 6, 2013

01. Re-Learn What Repentance Is (and Is Not)

Note: This is one of a series of posts devoted to the study of D&C 93:1, and the first examining the phrase "forsake his sins".

As was mentioned in a recent post (here), D&C 93:1 contains the Lord's promise that we can see His face -- a promise contingent on five conditions which are also listed in D&C 93:1.

The first of those conditions invites you to forsake your sins.

Now, before you conclude that this post (about repentance) is going to be a downer, or display an online version of hell, fire and brimstone, or will leave you feeling guilty or upset, I'd like to invite you to hear me out. The true message of repentance is a prime component of the Lord's gospel of happiness (not the gospel of pain, suffering or guilt).  In fact, repentance is (or can be) highly motivating, inspiring, uplifting and can (by itself) trigger some touching, sincere, understanding, non-judgmental conversations with God. 

The bottom line: celestial concepts, if understood correctly, should never, ever generate telestial emotions.

So please, keep reading.  I promise you that this may end up being the blog post on repentance you've never read, that will leave you encouraged, motivated and spiritually energized.

The Significance of Repentance

So fundamental is the principle of repentance that the Lord stressed its importance 71 times in the Doctrine and Covenants.  Two of those revelations, one following the other in the Doctrine and Covenants, are identical and conclude with these words:

“And now, behold, I say unto you, that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people, that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father.” (D&C 15:6; D&C 16:6; italics added.)

Why would the Lord give two identical revelations and have them published in the Doctrine and Covenants, one following the other?  The Lord is a Master Teacher; he knows the value of repetition in learning.  It may be that these revelations were intended not only for those to whom they were given, but also for all of us.  If these revelations indeed apply to you and to me, they would help us understand that what is of greatest worth to each of us is to declare repentance to others and to practice it ourselves.

So, just what is repentance?

Actually, in some ways it is easier to understand what repentance is not than to understand what it is.

It is not "Poenitere"

Elder Theodore M. Burton was a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy when he gave a devotional address at Brigham Young University on March 26, 1985 (the talk is here).  In it, he said,

"When the New Testament was translated into Latin for the use of the common people who spoke that language, an unfortunate choice was made in translation. “Metaneoeo” was translated into the word “poenitere.” The root “poen” in that word is the same root found in our English words punish, penance, penitent, and repentance. So the beautiful meaning of Hebrew and Greek was changed in Latin to an ugly meaning involving hurting, punishing, whipping, cutting, mutilating, disfiguring, starving, or even torturing. Small wonder then that most people have come to fear and dread the word repentance which they were taught and now understand to mean repeated or neverending punishment. People must somehow be made to realize that the true meaning of repentance is that we do not require people to be punished or to punish themselves, but to change their lives so they can escape eternal punishment. If they have this understanding, it will relieve their anxiety and fears and become a welcome and treasured word in our religious vocabulary."

What it is not -- Latter-day Validation

Elder Burton continues...

"My present assignment as a General Authority is to assist the First Presidency. I prepare information for them to use in considering applications to readmit transgressors into the Church and to restore priesthood and/or temple blessings.
Many times a bishop will write: 'I feel he has suffered enough!' But suffering is not repentance. Suffering comes from lack of complete repentance. 
A stake president will write: 'I feel he has been punished enough!' But punishment is not repentance. Punishment follows disobedience and precedes repentance. 
A husband will write: 'My wife has confessed everything!' But confession is not repentance. Confession is an admission of guilt that occurs as repentance begins. 
A wife will write: 'My husband is filled with remorse!' But remorse is not repentance. Remorse and sorrow continue because a person has not yet fully repented. 
But if suffering, punishment, confession, remorse, and sorrow are not repentance, what is repentance?"

It is "Shube"

"To answer this question, let us go back to the Old Testament. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew and the word used for this concept of repentance is 'shube:' Let me read a passage from Ezekiel 33:8–11 and insert the word 'shube' along with its English translation to help us understand what repentance is:

When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.

Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to [shube, or] turn from it; if he do not [shube, or] turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.

When a person despairs and says: 'There is nothing left for me!' 'All hope is gone!' 'I can’t be forgiven!' 'What purpose is left in life?' 'I might as well be dead!' God instructs the 'watchman on the tower' to

'Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked [shube, or] turn from his way and live: [shube, shube!] turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?' (Ezekiel 33:8–11)

Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near;

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him [shube, or] return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon [if he will only shube]. [Isaiah 55:6–7]

Throughout the Old Testament, a fundamental theme is forsaking or turning from evil and doing instead that which is noble and good. Not only must we change our ways; we must as well change our very thoughts which control our actions. Repentance is a turning back to God!"

It is "Metaneoeo"

"Let us now turn to the New Testament which was written in Greek. How did those Greek writers translate the word 'shube' into Greek and still retain its concept of repentance? They used the word 'metaneoeo,' which is a compound word of two parts. The first part, 'meta,' we use as a prefix in our English vocabulary. When we eat we convert food by a process of metabolism into fat, muscle, and connective tissue. When we see a crawling caterpillar stop, attach itself to a limb and spin a cocoon, the insect inside its silken case undergoes metamorphosis. It changes its form into a moth or a beautiful butterfly. The prefix 'meta,' then, refers to change.

The second part of the word 'metaneoeo' is subject to various spellings. The letter 'n,' for instance, is sometimes transliterated as 'pn,' as in the French word 'pneu,' meaning an airfilled tire. We also find 'pneu' in our word pneumatic, as, for instance, a pneumatic hammer or a pneumatic drill, which are air-driven tools. It is also found in our word pneumonia, which is an air sickness of the lungs. There are several spellings of this root and many meanings attached to this word which can mean air, mind, thought, thinking, or spirit, depending on how it is used.

In the context where 'meta' and 'neoeo' are used in the New Testament, the word 'metaneoeo' means a change of mind or thought or thinking so powerful and so strong that it changes our very way of life. I think 'metaneoeo' is an excellent translation of 'shube.' The meaning of both these words is to turn or change from evil to righteousness and God."

The Three Steps of Repentance

Let's read again from Ezekiel 33, which outlines three main steps of repentance which include (1) commitment, (2) restitution, and (3) forsaking sin.

"If the wicked (1) restore the pledge, (2) give again that he had robbed, (3) walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity: he shall surely live, he shall not die." (Ezekiel 33:15; numbers mine)

In my next post, we'll examine these three steps in light of the true definitions of repentance (shube and metaneoeo)...

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

FREE Hugh Nibley Resources

(By the way, I'm working on my blog posts re: D&C 93:1 -- thanks for your patience!)

I found a terrific website (thanks, Deila Taylor!) which features a ton of FREE Hugh Nibley resources -- enough to fill your next 100 years of studying.  In fact, I dare say the Millennium will already be well underway and you'd still be only a fraction of the way through these resources.

Please click here to access the free MP3s, here for the free videos and here for the free e-books.

Here's what's included (I'll post this information in my "Study Aids" menu section):

(* = Read by Lloyd Newell)
A Stage Without a Play (part 1)
A Stage Without a Play (part 2)
Abraham’s Creation Drama
Adam and Eve (part 1)
Adam and Eve (part 2)
Before Adam (part 1) *
Before Adam (part 2) *
Breakthroughs I would Like to See (part 1) *
Breakthroughs I would Like to See (part 2) *
Brigham Young, the Educator
But What Kind of Work? (part 1) *
But What Kind of Work? (part 2) *
Change Out of Control (part 1) *
Change Out of Control (part 2) *
Critical Opinion of the Pearl of Great Price
Earliest Christians According to Newly Discovered Papyri
Earliest Christians According to Newly Discovered Papyri
Enoch (part 1)
Enoch (part 2)
Exaltation and Eternal Life (Words of Brigham Young)
Faith of an Observer
Forty Day Ministry (part 1)
Forty Day Ministry (part 2)
Four Lessons on Rank and Priesthood in The Church (part 1)
Four Lessons On Rank and Priesthood in The Church (part 2)
Four Lessons On Rank and Priesthood in The Church (part 3)
Four Lessons On Rank and Priesthood in The Church (part 4)
Gifts (part 1) *
Gifts (part 2) *
House of Glory (part 1)
House of Glory (part 2)
How Firm A Foundation (part 1) *
How Firm A Foundation (part 2) *
How to Write an Anti-Mormon Book
Jerusalem’s Formula for Peace
King Benjamin’s Speech Atonement and Assembly (part 1)
King Benjamin’s Speech: Atonement and Assembly (part 2)
Leaders and Managers
Lessons of the Sixth Century
Man’s Dominion, or Subduing the Earth (part 1) *
Man’s Dominion, or Subduing the Earth (part 2) *
Message of the Book of Mormon
More Brigham Young on Education
New Light on Israel and Her Neighbors (part 1
New Light on Israel and Her Neighbors (part 2) 
On Criticizing the Brethren
On the Sacred and the Symbolic (part 1) *
On the Sacred and the Symbolic (part 2) *
On the Sacred and the Symbolic (part 3) *
On the Sacred and Symbolic (part 4) *
Our Glory or Our Condemnation (part 1) *
Our Glory or Our Condemnation (side 2) *
Patriarchy and Matriarchy (side 1) *
Patriarchy and Matriarchy (side 2) *
Rediscovery of the Apocrypha (part 1)
Rediscovery of the Apocrypha (part 2)
Return To The Temple (side 1) *
Return To The Temple (side 2) *
Science Fiction and the Gospel
Setting the Stage (part 1)
Setting the Stage (part 2)
Temples Everywhere (part 1)
Temples Everywhere (part 2)
The Book of Mormon As a Record of Military Strategy
The Combat (part 1)
The Combat (part 2)
The Heritage of Cain (part 1)
The Heritage of Cain (part 2)
The Last Call (part 1) *
The Last Call (part 2) *
The Last Days (part 1) *
The Last Days (part2) *
The Law of Consecration (part 1) *
The Law of Consecration (part 2) *
The Law of Consecration (part 3) *
The Meaning of The Temple (side 1) *
The Meaning of The Temple (side 2) *
The Meaning of The Atonement (part 1) *
The Meaning of The Atonement (part 2) *
The Meaning of The Atonement (part 3) *
The Prophetic Book of Mormon (part 1) *
The Prophetic Book of Mormon (part 2) *
Treasures in Heaven (part 1) *
Treasures in Heaven (part 2) *
Two Lessons on The Atonement (part 1)
Two Lessons on The Atonement (part 2)
What is a Temple?
What is Zion? (part 1) *
What is Zion? (part 2) *
Work We Must but the Lunch is Free (part 1) *
Work We Must but the Lunch is Free (part 2) *
Zeal Without Knowledge (part 1) *
Zeal Without Knowledge (part 2) *

Abraham’s Creation Drama
Faith of an Observer
Pearl of Great Price Honors Class
Pearl of Great Price Lecture Series – 1. Restoring What Was Lost
Pearl of Great Price Lecture Series – 2. Allegory and Rhetoric
Pearl of Great Price Lecture Series – 3. Literalism
Pearl of Great Price Lecture Series – 4. Preexistence
Pearl of Great Price Lecture Series – 5. Cosmology
Pearl of Great Price Lecture Series – 6. The Creation
Pearl of Great Price Lecture Series – 7. The Council
Pearl of Great Price Lecture Series – 8. The Council According to the Shabako Stone
 Pearl of Great Price Lecture Series – 9. The Shabako Stone Continued
Pearl of Great Price Lecture Series – 10. The Babylon Creation Myth
Pearl of Great Price Lecture Series – 11. The Human Condition
Pearl of Great Price Lecture Series – 12. The Plurality of Worlds
Pearl of Great Price Lecture Series – 13. The Pearl of Great Price on the Plurality of Worlds
Pearl of Great Price Lecture Series – 14. Treasures in Heaven
Pearl of Great Price Lecture Series – 15. The Geological Problem

Faith of an Observer film transcript (pdf)
Bird Island (essay, pdf) Dialogue, A Journal of Mormon Thought, vol. 10, pg. 122, Autumn 1977
Teaching Legacy — Hugh Nibley (article by Petersen)
Sunstone Tribute to Hugh Nibley
Journal of the Book of Mormon
    Classics from the Past: Literary Style Used in Book of Mormon Insured Accurate Translation
    The Early Christian Prayer Circle: Sidebar, Coptic Liturgical Text
    The Early Christian Prayer Circle: Sidebar, Minutes of the Second Council of Nicaea in AD 787
    Worthy of Another Look: Classics from the Past: The Book of Mormon: A Minimal Statement
    Worthy of Another Look: Classics from the Past: The Early Christian Prayer Circle
Studies in the Bible and Antiquity
    From the Dead Sea Scrolls (1QS) (Volume 2)
    A House of Glory
    Abraham’s Temple Drama
    Apocryphal Writings and Teachings of the Dead Sea Scrolls
    Archaeology and Our Religion
    Baptism for the Dead in Ancient Times
    Before Adam
    Beyond Politics
    Bibliography of Hugh Winder Nibley’s Work, Secondary Material about Him, and Reviews of His Work
    Censoring the Joseph Smith Story
    Christian Envy of the Temple
    Church History
    Conflict in the Churches Between the God of the Bible and the God of the Philosophers
    Dark Days in Jerusalem The Lachish Letters and the Book of Mormon
    Early Accounts of Jesus’ Childhood
    Enoch the Prophet
    Evangelium Quadraginta Dierum: The Forty-day Mission of Christ-The Forgotten Heritage
    Figure 6 of Facsimile 2
    How to Get Rich
    Jerusalem: In Early Christianity
    Judging and Prejudging the Book of Abraham
    Leaders to Managers: The Fatal Shift
    New Approaches to Book of Mormon Study
    No, Ma’am, That’s Not History
    On the Pearl of Great Price
    Patriarchy and Matriarchy
    The Book of Mormon: Forty Years After
    The Dead Sea Scrolls: Some Questions and Answers
    The Early Christian Church in the Light of Some Newly Discovered Papyri from Egypt
    The Early Christian Prayer Circle
    The Facsimiles of the Book of Abraham
    The Meaning of The Kirtland Egyptian Papers
    The Meaning of the Temple
    The Passing of the Primitive Church: Forty Variations on an Unpopular Theme
    The Prophetic Book of Mormon
    To Open the Last Dispensation: Moses Chapter 1
    Warfare and the Book of Mormon
    Word of Wisdom: Commentary on D&C 89
    Work We Must, But the Lunch is Free
Book Chapters
    Abraham in Egypt:
        Key to Abbreviations
        Editor’s Preface
        Author’s Preface to the First Edition
        The Book of Abraham and the Book of the Dead
        Joseph Smith and the Sources
        Joseph Smith and the Critics
        Setting the Stage—The World of Abraham
        The Rivals
        Pharaoh and Abraham: Where Is Thy Glory?
        The Sacrifice of Isaac
        The Sacrifice of Sarah
        All the Court’s a Stage: Facsimile 3, a Royal Mumming
        A Pioneer Mother
        The Trouble with Ham
        The Deseret Connection
        Conclusion: A Rough Recapitulation
    An Approach to the Book of Mormon:
        Foreword to the First Edition
        Preface to the First Edition
        Preface to the 1964 Edition
        Part 1: The Changing Scene
        Introduction to an Unknown Book
        A Time for Reexamination
        Part 2: Lehi’s World
        An Auspicious Beginning
        Lehi as a Representative Man
        Part 3: Lehi’s Affairs
        The Jews and the Caravan Trade
        Lehi and the Arabs
        Dealings with Egypt
        Part 4: The Doomed City
        Politics in Jerusalem
        Escapade in Jerusalem
        Portrait of Laban
        Part 5: The Meaning of the Wilderness
        The Flight into the Wilderness
        The Pioneer Tradition and the True Church
        Churches in the Wilderness
        Part 6: The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Book of Mormon
        Unwelcome Voices from the Dust
        Qumran and the Waters of Mormon
        The Apocrypha and the Book of Mormon
        A Strange Order of Battle
        Part 7: Life in the Desert
        Man Versus Nature
        Man Versus Man
        Lehi’s Dream
        Lehi the Poet—A Desert Idyll
        Part 8: Ties Between the Old World and the New
        Proper Names in the Book of Mormon
        Old World Ritual in the New World
        Ezekiel 37:15—23 As Evidence for the Book of Mormon
        Some Test Cases from the Book of Ether
        Strange Ships and Shining Stones (A Not So Fantastic Story)
        Part 9: A Lost and a Fallen People
        The Way of the “Intellectuals”
        The Way of the Wicked
        The Nature of Book of Mormon Society
        Strategy for Survival
        Appendix: The Archaeological Problem
        Key to Abbreviations
    Approaching Zion:
        Key to Abbreviations
        Our Glory or Our Condemnation
        What is Zion? A Distant View
        Zeal Without Knowledge
        Deny Not the Gifts of God
        How Firm a Foundation! What Makes It So
        How to Get Rich
        Work We Must, but the Lunch Is Free
        But What Kind of Work?
        Funeral Address
        Three Degrees of Righteousness from the Old Testament
        We Will Still Weep for Zion
        Breakthroughs I Would Like to See
        Change out of Control
        Law of Consecration
        The Utopians
        Goods of First and Second Intent
        The Meaning of the Atonement
    Book of Mormon Authorship: New Light on Ancient Origins:
        Two Shots in the Dark
    Brother Brigham Challenges the Saints:
        Key to Abbreviations
        Man’s Dominion, or Subduing the Earth
        Brigham Young on the Environment
        Stewardship of the Air
        Promised Lands
        In the Party, but Not of the Party
        Brigham Young as a Statesman
        Brigham Young and the Enemy
        The Uses and Abuses of Patriotism
        Renounce War, or a Substitute for Victory
        If There Must Needs Be Offense
        Warfare and the Book of Mormon
        The Day of the Amateur
        Educating the Saints
        More Brigham Young on Education
        Mediocre Meditations on the Media
        Criticizing the Brethren
        Brigham Young as a Leader
        Leaders to Managers: The Fatal Shift
        Exemplary Manhood
    Echoes and Evidences of the Book of Mormon:
        Appendix: Echoes and Evidences from the Writings of Hugh Nibley
    Enoch the Prophet:
        Enoch the Prophet
        The Enoch Figure
        The Book of Enoch as a Theodicy
        A Strange Thing in the Land: The Return of the Book of Enoch—Part 1
        A Strange Thing in the Land: The Return of the Book of Enoch—Part 2
    Expressions of Faith: Testimonies of Latter-day Saint Scholars:
        Not to Worry
    King Benjamin’s Speech Made Simple:
        Assembly and Atonement
    King Benjamin’s Speech: “That Ye May Learn Wisdom”:
        Assembly and Atonement
    Lehi in the Desert; The World of the Jaredites; There Were Jaredites:
        Key to Abbreviations
        Foreword to the 1952 Edition
        Introduction to the 1988 Edition
        The Troubled Orient
        Men of the East
        Into the Desert
        Desert Ways and Places
        The City and the Sand
        Lehi the Winner
        A Twilight World
        Jared on the Steppes
        Jaredite Culture: Splendor and Shame
        They Take Up the Sword
        A Permanent Heritage
        The Heroic Age
        Egypt Revisited
        The Babylonian Background
        Epic Milieu in the Old Testament
        Our Own People
        Appendix 1: East Coast or West Coast?
        Appendix 2: How Far to Cumorah?
    Mormonism and Early Christianity:
        Early Accounts of Jesus’ Childhood
        Evangelium Quadraginta Dierum: The Forty-day Mission of Christ
        The Early Christian Prayer Circle
        Baptism for the Dead in Ancient Times
        The Passing of the Primitive Church: Forty Variations on an Unpopular Theme
        The Way of the Church
        Jerusalem: In Early Christianty
        What Is a Temple?
        Christian Envy of the Temple
        Key to Abbreviations
    Old Testament and Related Studies:
        Sources and Acknowledgments
        Historicity of the Bible
        Archaeology and Our Religion
        Myths and the Scriptures
        Before Adam
        Patriarchy and Matriarchy
        Unrolling the Scrolls—Some Forgotten Witnesses
        Treasures in the Heavens
        Great Are the Words of Isaiah
        More Voices from the Dust
        The Dead Sea Scrolls: Some Questions and Answers
        Qumran and the Companions of the Cave: The Haunted Wilderness
    Since Cumorah:
        Foreword to the 1967 Edition
        “. . . There Can Be No More Bible.”
        A New Age of Discovery
        The Illusive Primitive Church
        “. . . But Unto Them It Is Not Given”
        The Bible in the Book of Mormon
        Strange Things Strangely Told
        Checking on Long-Forgotten Lore
        “Forever Tentative . . .”
        Some Fairly Foolproof Tests
        Prophets in the Wilderness
        A Rigorous Test: Military History
        Good People and Bad People
        Prophecy in the Book of Mormon: The Three Periods
        Momentary Conclusion
        Key to Abbreviations
    Teachings of the Book of Mormon: Semester 1:
        Lecture 1: Introduction
        Lecture 2: Introduction
        Lecture 3: Introduction
        Lecture 4: Introduction
        Lecture 5: (Jeremiah)
        Lecture 6: 1 Nephi 1; Jeremiah 29
        Lecture 7: 1 Nephi 1; Jeremiah
        Lecture 8: 1 Nephi
        Lecture 9: 1 Nephi 1-3, 15
        Lecture 10: (Dead Sea Scrolls)
        Lecture 11: 1 Nephi 4-7
        Lecture 12: 1 Nephi 8-11
        Lecture 13: 1 Nephi 12-14
        Lecture 14: 1 Nephi 15-16
        Lecture 15: 1 Nephi 17-19, 22
        Lecture 16: 2 Nephi 1-4
        Lecture 17: 2 Nephi 2
        Lecture 18: 2 Nephi 3-8
        Lecture 19: 2 Nephi 9
        Lecture 20: 2 Nephi 25
        Lecture 21: 2 Nephi 25-28
        Lecture 22: 2 Nephi 29-31
        Lecture 23: 2 Nephi 32-33; Jacob 1-2
        Lecture 24: Jacob 3-4
        Lecture 25: Jacob 5-7; Enos
        Lecture 26: Enos; Jarom; Omni
        Lecture 27: Omni; Words of Mormon; Mosiah 1
        Lecture 28: Mosiah 1-2
        Lecture 29: Mosiah 3-5
    Teachings of the Book of Mormon: Semester 2:
        Lecture 30: Mosiah 6
        Lecture 31: Mosiah 7
        Lecture 32: Mosiah 8-10
        Lecture 33: Mosiah 10-11
        Lecture 34: Mosiah 12-14
        Lecture 35: Mosiah 15-16
        Lecture 36: Mosiah 16-18
        Lecture 37: Mosiah 19-20
        Lecture 38: Mosiah 20-23
        Lecture 39: Mosiah 23-26
        Lecture 40: Mosiah 26-27
        Lecture 41: Mosiah 27-29
        Lecture 42: Mosiah 29-Alma 1
        Lecture 43: Alma 1-2
        Lecture 44: Alma 2-3
        Lecture 45: Alma 4-5
        Lecture 46: Alma 5
        Lecture 47: Alma 5-10
        Lecture 48: Alma 10-12
        Lecture 49: Alma 12-14
        Lecture 50: Alma 14-17
        Lecture 51: Alma 17-19
        Lecture 52: Alma 19-22
        Lecture 53: Alma 23-27
        Lecture 54: Alma 30-31
        Lecture 55: Alma 32-35
        Lecture 56: Alma 36-41
    Teachings of the Book of Mormon: Semester 3:
        Lecture 57: Alma 45
        Lecture 58: A Review
        Lecture 59: Alma 46
        Lecture 60: Alma 46
        Lecture 61: Alma 46
        Lecture 62: Alma 46
        Lecture 63: Alma 47
        Lecture 64: Alma 47
        Lecture 65: Alma 48
        Lecture 66: Alma 48
        Lecture 67: Alma 48-49
        Lecture 68: Alma 49-50
        Lecture 69: Alma 49-52
        Lecture 70: Alma 52-54
        Lecture 71: Alma 54-57
        Lecture 72: Alma 57-61
        Lecture 73: Alma 62-Helaman 1
        Lecture 74: Helaman 1-3
        Lecture 75: Helaman 3-6
        Lecture 76: Helaman 6
        Lecture 77: Helaman 6
        Lecture 78: Helaman 6-10
        Lecture 79: Helaman 11-13
        Lecture 80: Helaman 13-3 Nephi 2
        Lecture 81: 3 Nephi 3-5
        Lecture 82: 3 Nephi 6-7
        Lecture 83: 3 Nephi 8-11
        Lecture 84: 3 Nephi 11-15
        Lecture 85: 3 Nephi 16-20
    Teachings of the Book of Mormon: Semester 4:
        Lecture 86: 3 Nephi 6
        Lecture 87: 3 Nephi 6
        Lecture 88: 3 Nephi 6-7
        Lecture 89: 3 Nephi 7-8
        Lecture 90: 3 Nephi 9
        Lecture 91: 3 Nephi 9-10
        Lecture 92: 3 Nephi
        Lecture 93: 3 Nephi; Psalm 19
        Lecture 94: 3 Nephi 9-13
        Lecture 95: 3 Nephi 11-17
        Lecture 96: 3 Nephi 11-19
        Lecture 97: 3 Nephi 11
        Lecture 98: 3 Nephi 11
        Lecture 99: 3 Nephi 12-14
        Lecture 100: 3 Nephi 15-18
        Lecture 101: 3 Nephi 19–4 Nephi 1
        Lecture 102: 4 Nephi 1
        Lecture 103: 4 Nephi 1
        Lecture 104: 4 Nephi 1:27–Mormon 2
        Lecture 105: Mormon 2-5
        Lecture 106: Mormon 1-5
        Lecture 107: Mormon 8-9
        Lecture 108: Mormon 9
        Lecture 109: Ether 1-2
        Lecture 110: Ether 7-14
        Lecture 111: Ether 2-8
        Lecture 112: Moroni 1-10
    Temple and Cosmos:
        Temple Articles in Other Volumes of the Collected Works of Hugh Nibley
        Key to Abbreviations
        The Meaning of the Temple
        Return to the Temple
        Sacred Vestments
        The Circle and the Square
        The Expanding Gospel
        Rediscovery of the Apocrypha and the Book of Mormon
        Apocryphal Writings and Teachings of the Dead Sea Scrolls
        The Terrible Questions
        One Eternal Round: The Hermetic Vision
        Do Religion and History Conflict?
        Genesis of the Written Word
        Science Fiction and the Gospel
        The Best Possible Test
        Some Notes on Cultural Diversity in the Universal Church
        From the Earth upon Which Thou Standest
        Foreword to Eugene England’s Book
    The Ancient State:
        Key to Abbreviations
        The Arrow, the Hunter, and the State
        Tenting, Toll, and Taxing
        The Hierocentric State
        The Unsolved Loyalty Problem: Our Western Heritage
        Victoriosa Loquacitas: The Rise of Rhetoric and the Decline of Everything Else
        How to Have a Quiet Campus, Antique Style
        New Light on Scaliger
        Three Shrines: Mantic, Sophic, and Sophistic
        Paths That Stray: Some Notes on Sophic and Mantic – Part 1
        Paths That Stray: Some Notes on Sophic and Mantic – Part 2
        Paths That Stray: Some Notes on Sophic and Mantic – Part 3
        Paths That Stray: Some Notes on Sophic and Mantic – Part 4
    The Disciple as Scholar: Essays on Scripture and the Ancient World in Honor of Richard Lloyd Anderson:
        The Last Days, Then and Now
    The Prophetic Book of Mormon:
        Key to Abbreviations
        The Stick of Judah
        Columbus and Revelation
        New Approaches to Book of Mormon Study
        Kangaroo Court
        Just Another Book?
        The Grab Bag
        What Frontier, What Camp Meeting?
        The Comparative Method
        The Boy Nephi in Jerusalem
        Literary Style Used in Book of Mormon Insured Accurate Translation
        The Book of Mormon: True or False?
        Howlers in the Book of Mormon
        The Mormon View of the Book of Mormon
        Ancient Temples: What Do They Signify?
        Bar-Kochba and Book of Mormon Backgrounds
        Churches in the Wilderness
        Freemen and King-men in the Book of Mormon
        The Lachish Letters
        Christ Among the Ruins
        The Prophetic Book of Mormon
        Scriptural Perspectives on How to Survive the Calamities of the Last Days
        Last Call: An Apocalyptic Warning from the Book of Mormon
        The Book of Mormon: Forty Years After
    The Temple in Time and Eternity:
        Abraham’s Temple Drama
    The World and the Prophets:
        How Will It Be When None More Saith ‘I Saw’?
        A Prophet’s Reward
        Prophets and Preachers
        Prophets and Scholars
        Prophets and Philosophers
        Prophets and Creeds
        The Prophets and the Search for God
        Prophets and Gnostics
        The Schools and the Prophets
        St. Augustine and the Great Transition
        A Substitute for Revelation
        Prophets and Mystics
        Rhetoric and Revelation
        Prophets and Reformers
        The Prophets and the Open Mind
        Prophets and Miracles
        Prophets and Ritual
        Easter and the Prophets
        Two Ways to Remember the Dead
        Prophets and Martyrs
        The Ancient Law of Liberty
        Prophets and Crisis
        The Prophets and Scripture
        The Book of Mormon as a Witness
        Prophecy and Tradition
        The Prophets and the Plan of Life
        A Prophetic Event
        Prophecy and Office
        What Makes a True Church?
        Prophets and Glad Tidings
        The Doctors’ Dilemma
        The Return of the Prophets?
    Tinkling Cymbals and Sounding Brass:
        No, Ma’am, That’s Not History: A Brief Review of Mrs. Brodie’s Reluctant Vindication of a Prophet She Seeks to Expose
        A Note on F. M. Brodie
        Censoring the Joseph Smith Story
        The Myth Makers Part 1, Scene i
        The Myth Makers Part 1, Scene ii
        The Myth Makers Part 1, Scene iii
        The Myth Makers Part 2, Scene i
        The Myth Makers Part 2, Scene ii
        The Myth Makers Part 3
        Sounding Brass Introduction
        Sounding Brass Part 1
        Sounding Brass Part 2
        Sounding Brass Part 3
        Sounding Brass Part 4
        Sounding Brass Part 5
    To All the World: The Book of Mormon Articles from the Encyclopedia of Mormonism:
        Near Eastern Background of the Book of Mormon
    Warfare in the Book of Mormon:
        Warfare and the Book of Mormon
    When the Lights Went Out: Three Studies on the Ancient Apostasy:
        The Passing of the Primitive Church: Forty Variations on an Unpopular Theme
        Evangelium quadraginta dierum: The Forty-Day Mission of Christ—The Forgotten Heritage
        Christian Envy of the Temple