Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Tight Like Unto a Dish

Hello Everyone, for this week I'd like to take a rather peculiar text for my source.  It's one that I think most English majors, or anyone who cares for clear, concise writing, will cringe a little at.  The verse comes from the Book of Ether, and specifically verse 17 in chapter 2:

"And they were built after a manner that they were exceedingly tight, even that they would hold water like unto a dish; and the bottom thereof was tight like unto a dish; and the sides thereof were tight like unto a dish; and the ends thereof were peaked; and the top thereof was tight like unto a dish; and the length thereof was the length of a tree; and the door thereof, when it was shut, was tight like unto a dish."

Now I wonder how waterproof these barges were.  Something tells me they weren't likely to get any leaks, but I can't quite place my finger on the reason behind that.  

So it's rather obvious that these barges were "tight like unto a dish", it was stated 4 times for some obvious emphasis.  But why would that be such a key description?  And why would their ships need to be so waterproof?  Nephi's boat carried no such description, so it probably wasn't built after the manner of the early Jaredite ships.  

If we look a little later in the chapter we learn the reason for the Lord's command to build these barges after this manner:

"For behold, ye shall be as whale in the midst of the sea; for the mountain waves shall dash upon you. Nevertheless, will bring you up again out of the depths of the sea; for the winds have gone forth out of my mouth, and also the rains and the floods have sent forth.

And behold, prepare you against these things; for ye cannot cross this great deep save prepare you against the waves of the sea, and the winds which have gone forth, and the floods which shall come. Therefore what will ye that should prepare for you that ye may have light when ye are swallowed up in the depths of the sea?"  (Ether 2:24-25)

The reasons the barges were so waterproof was because they had no other option but to be "tight like unto a dish".  Any weaker barge wouldn't have survived under the tremendous waves and storms that awaited the Jaredites.  

Now let's take some advice from Nephi and "liken all scriptures" unto ourselves, even the ones with insane repetition (1 Nephi 19:23).  We are all attempting to make it across this sea of mortality, we travel from a land of genesis to a land of promise.  We have left our Father's presence for a time, and are in the probationary state working towards our eternal 'land of promise'.  But as we all learn, this mortal life has it's waves, winds, and tempests.  They are unavoidable, but necessary for us to achieve our goal of Eternal Life.  

We are much like the Jaredite barges in many ways.  We were carefully created by a master craftsman so that we can endure our brief stint in mortality.  In speaking to Joshua after the death of Moses, Jehovah gave these great lines of comfort:

"Awas with Mosesso I will be with theewill not fail thee, nor forsake thee."  (Joshua 1:5)

The Lord knows that we will be in mortality until our work is completed.  We will not be left in the depths of the sea longer than we can bear.  The Lord will always lift us up from the depths of our sorrow and fear.  The Lord gave comfort to Joshua as he took upon himself the mantle of leading the Children of Israel into the Promised Land, and he will be there to comfort us just the same.  

If there was one thing I could tell you, or one thing to take away from this, it's that the Lord will not let you bear more than you are able.  We are all "tight like unto a dish" and we will not sink in the depths of our trials and afflictions if we rely on the merits and grace of Christ.  I have been physically, emotionally, and spiritually tried in my (almost) 20 years on this Earth.  But not once have I ever been given a task to great or a trial far beyond my strength.  I may have had my strength, endurance, and faith matched by my trials, but they have never been overcome.  

The scriptures are full of insight and wisdom.  These simple verses contain so many promises and implications.  Search the scriptures and find those treasures of knowledge.  Dig deep and question boldly, and you will find that the Lord will reward your honest and faithful inquiries.  

I hope that you all have a great week.  This blog post was one I've been wanting to do for some time because it showcases the fact that every verse and story is placed in the Book of Mormon with careful consideration, and there is knowledge to be gleaned from even the most obscure of verses.  

Take care everyone!

Love, Elder Gailey

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Attitude of Gratitude

Hello Everyone!  Hope you're all having a great week.

This week I want to talk about a subject that has been pounded into my brain by my beloved mother.  This week I want to talk about gratitude and how being grateful to those around us and to the Lord can bring the love of Christ into our lives. 

I'd like to open by turning to the life of Christ for a perfect example of how gratitude is truly a godly virtue.  When Christ arrived in Bethany after hearing of Lazarus' illness, he was greeted with the news that Lazarus had died and had been laid in a tomb.  Christ, knowing of the power of the Father, went forth to raise him from the dead.  Before Christ spoke to Lazarus, he paused for a moment and what followed is recorded in John 11:41-44:

"41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.

42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.

43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.

44 And he that was dead came forth"
Christ, he who had so much power given to him that he created the heavens and the earth, humbles himself before his Father to give thanks for his answered prayers.  Christ knows where his strength comes from, and knows how lost he would be without it.  In that similar manner, each of us should strive to be more aware of the strength that we receive from our loving Heavenly Father.  We may not raise the dead or part the Red Sea, but we will be given the strength and power to perform our own miracles in our times of need.  When we are given that strength, we should not hesitate to fall to our knees and thank our Heavenly Father for all of the tender mercies he has bestowed upon us. 
Now we'll turn to a bad example, because there are plenty of warnings we can find in the scriptures about having a lack of gratitude.  A prime example of a people that lacked gratitude, or love, for their God are the Nephites in the book of Helaman.  In verse 13 of chapter 4 we learn why the Spirit of the Lord stopped accompanying the Nephites in their hardships:
"And because of this their great wickedness, and their boastings in their own strength, they were left in their own strength"
These Nephites trusted in the flesh of their arms, rather than that God who had created them.  And so they were left with only the flesh.  The same thing is capable of happening to us if we lose our gratitude for the Lord's assistance in our lives.  

Having an attitude of gratitude is one of the most godlike attributes we can have.  Because if we have sincere gratitude for our God and our fellow-man, then our gratitude will be shown not just in word, but in deed.  I hope that each of you in the next coming days take notice of the tender mercies of the Lord, and of the kindness of others, and then act upon those blessings by praying in gratitude or giving thanks to people for their kindness.  I'm very grateful for the opportunity that I have each week to write to you and to share my feelings and testimony on a particular topic, it is truly one of the highlights of my week. 

I hope you all are safe and well, and that you enjoy the upcoming summer months!
Love, Elder Gailey  

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Importance of Modern Revelation

Hey Everyone, hope you're all enjoying this fine weather!

Well I guess I'm not sure if you have good weather.  Here in New York it's 83 degrees outside and we have clear blue skies, but I doubt it'll last long.  So we're enjoying it while we can!

Today I want to talk for a little bit about the importance of the 3rd member of the Godhead.  He is the one that we have the most common relationship with throughout our lives.  The Holy Ghost, who is a personage of spirit without a body of flesh and bone (See D&C 130:22-23), is essential to our Heavenly Father's plan for his children.  He is the one who carries the message of Christ's gospel to the hearts of the children of men so that they may know for themselves the truthfulness of it.  I know that I've spoken about the Holy Ghost before, and in this week's post I wish to look at it in a different light.  Before I've spoken about the Holy Ghost on a personal level, how we as God's children can access greater knowledge and truth through his power.  And this week I wish to tackle a concern that I've encountered a number of times.  It's not a difficult question, but it's one that could arise in anyone's life.  The question is as follows:

How do I know if the promptings I receive are from the Holy Ghost?

Now since I have limited time to write, and I don't exactly feel like doing another series on this sort of a question, I wish to give you two possible ways to search for the answer to your problem.  The first is to look inward and ask yourself if the choice you are mulling over will bring you closer to your Savior in word and deed.  If you can honestly say that the choice you are considering will bring you closer to Christ and your Heavenly Father, then you're a step closer to identifying the best choice.  The Holy Ghost will never prompt you to do anything that the Savior himself would not encourage you to do. 

He is one with the Father and the Son in purpose and in message.  And because he is one with them you can be sure that he would convey the same message and council through his chosen apostles and prophets in these times.  In a recent Ensign article, an excerpt from a talk by Orson F. Whitney was included on the last page.  Some wise council from him still rings true today:

"What the Lord said to the Jews and Nephites 2,000 years ago or what He said to the Latter-day Saints 50 or 60 years ago has no force whatever at this time unless it agrees with present-day revelation, with the Lord’s most recent instructions to His people through His chosen or appointed servants or servant"

My advice to all who receive revelation from the Holy Ghost, which includes all of us, is to make sure that we check those promptings with modern revelation and with the example of the Savior.  Understand that we as a church are not one in opinion, attitude, or demeanor, but we are one in current doctrine.  I would recommend reading the excerpt from Orson F. Whitney's talk, because he goes more in depth on why we do things as a church, and why the church continues to grow and shape itself. 

I hope you all have a great week, and I'll write to you all soon!

Love, Elder Gailey