Monday, August 10, 2015

Simple Truths from King Benjamin

Hello Everyone!  This week I want to talk about one of my favorite passages in the Book of Mormon, and one for me that has great power.  

In an address to his subjects, King Benjamin gives many great insights to his people concerning a wide array of topics.  From the purpose of life, the importance of the Savior, service, and what I find to be most important, is an exhortation on what to believe to gain the most out of this mortal life.  This powerful exhortation comes in Mosiah Chapter 4 verses 9 and 10.

King Benjamin begins by telling his people to simply "believe in God" and to "believe that he is".  This simple pronouncement of belief tells us of an important gospel truth.  This truth is that God is, not was.  God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and believing this will lead to greater understanding of the doctrines and principles of the gospel, as well as a greater understanding of the purpose behind that knowledge.  A belief in God is fundamental to this life.  Knowing that we have a loving Heavenly Father can bring much comfort to this chaotic life.  Sometimes it is the most simple truths and beliefs that can have the most profound impact on a persons life, for it is those key doctrines that are the basis for all others.  

Continuing in his address he bears witness that God "created all things, both in heaven and in earth".  Once we understand that there is a God, and we know that we are his children.  It is important to know that everything that we see around us was created for us.  God did not take a stroll through the universe, find the earth, and say "What a coincidence, I was looking for a place just like this!"  This earth and all we see around us was carefully created, and often we don't admire or pay full gratitude for the things that we see is intrinsic to this mortal life.  We don't question how the laws of physics came into play, we just know that they work.  We often don't notice the great planning and care that went into the most fundamental parts of this universe.  

King Benjamin goes on to give comfort.  I'm not sure about you, but creating a universe is a little out of my range of skills at the current moment.  But knowing the span between the knowledge of man and God, King Benjamin tells his people "that man doth not comprehend all things which the Lord can comprehend".  But nowhere does he say that we can't comprehend, he simply says that we currently don't.  This life is a time for us to learn and to grow in comprehension that we might one day be like our Father in Heaven and live a life like his.  

Knowing of this span between God and man, and knowing that we are upon this earth for the purpose of gaining knowledge, we must come to understand that there is a way prepared for us to bridge the chasm between heaven and earth.  And this is through "repent[ing] of your sins and forsak[ing] them".  It is through repentance and using the Atonement of our Savior that we are able to become like our Father in Heaven.  But this requires us to "humble [ourselves] before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you".  As Jeffrey R. Holland stated: "It takes exactly as long to repent as it takes you to say, 'I’ll change'—and mean it".  We have been promised that as often as we repent, we will be forgiven.  

Perhaps the most important part of these two verses is the very last statement made by King Benjamin.  He states boldly that "if you believe all these things see that ye do them".  Knowing that repentance works isn't enough, just as knowing that studying can help you pass a course won't guarantee a good grade.  It takes work to bridge the gap between God and man, but fortunately that's why God has given us an infinite atonement.  God knows that we are fallible, and has laid from the foundation of the world, a plan that will allow every one of his children to return to him, if they exercise their agency and repent.  

I hope that all of you will pay heed to King Benjamin's exhortation.  His words are great and are still applicable to us in these days.  These words and key beliefs have the ability to change every human life.  I know these things to be true.  I love you all, and hope you have a great week!

Elder Gailey

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