Book of Mormon Lesson #34: “How Could You Have Forgotten Your God”
1. B.H. Roberts: In March of the following year , Elder Taylor visited Kirtland, and there met the Prophet Joseph Smith, who entertained him at his house and gave him many items of information pertaining to the work of the Lord in this dispensation. At that time there was a bitter spirit of apostasy rife in Kirtland. A number of the quorum of the Twelve were disaffected towards the Prophet, and the Church seemed on the point of disintegration. Among others, Parley P. Pratt was floundering in darkness, and coming to Elder Taylor told him of some things wherein he considered the Prophet Joseph in error. To his remarks Elder Taylor replied: “I am surprised to hear you speak so, Brother Parley. Before you left Canada you bore a strong testimony to Joseph Smith being a prophet of God, and to the truth of the work he has inaugurated; and you said you knew these things by revelation, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. You gave to me a strict charge to the effect that though you or an angel from heaven was to declare anything else I was not to believe it. Now Brother Parley, it is not man that I am following, but the Lord. The principles you taught me led me to Him, and I now have the same testimony that you then rejoiced in. If the work was true six months ago, it is true today; if Joseph Smith was then a prophet, he is now a prophet.” To the honor of Parley, be it said, he sought no further to lead Elder Taylor astray; nor did he use much argument in the first place. “He with many others,” says Elder Taylor, “were passing under a dark cloud; he soon made all right with the Prophet Joseph, and was restored to full fellowship.” The Life of John Taylor, pp. 39-40.
2. David J. Ridges: [Helaman 6:10] Mulek was one of the sons of wicked King Zedekiah, who was the king of Judah at the time Lehi and his family left Jerusalem in 600 B.C. Zedekiah refused to listen to the prophets, especially Jeremiah. We know from Jeremiah chapter 39 that Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, attacked Jerusalem and captured Zedekiah as he was trying to escape. Zedekiah was forced to watch as his sons were killed but they obviously missed Mulek. Mulek and others were brought by the Lord to the Americas, where they settled north of where Lehi and his people settled. The Book of Mormon Made Easier, part 3, p. 31.
3. Joseph Fielding McConkie & Robert Millet: [Helaman 6:27 – that same being who did plot with Cain] The story of the origin and rise of secret combinations on earth was once contained in the record of Old Testament times. Such plain and precious truths concerning the nature of the gospel anciently; the particulars of the plan of salvation and the then future ministry of Jesus Christ as prophesied among the ancients; and the manner in which Cain plotted with Satan to become Master Mahan, master of the great secret, that he could murder and get gain – these matters were deleted from the Bible records before that work was compiled. They were known among the Nephites through that scriptural record we know as the brass plates. Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 3, p. 366.
4. Joseph Fielding McConkie & Robert Millet: [Helaman 8:5-6 – reviling against Nephi] Validity draws the fire. Jacob’s older sons mocked the dreams of their younger brother Joseph, saying they were foolishness; yet they could not rest until they had sold him into bondage. Joseph Smith was a youth of no social standing and no hint of eminence; yet men of high standing excited the public mind against him. Why the opposition against that which has been declared foolish? Again, validity draws the fire. Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 3, p. 373.
5. Bruce R. McConkie: [Helaman 8:23 – He is God] Christ-Messiah is God! Such is the plain and pure pronouncement of all the prophets of all the ages. In our desire to avoid the false and absurd conclusions contained in the creeds of Christendom, we are wont to shy away from this pure and unadorned verity; we go to great lengths to use language that shows there is both a father and a son, that they are separate Persons and are not somehow mystically intertwined as an essence or spirit that is everywhere present. Such an approach is perhaps essential in reasoning with the Gentiles of sectarianism; it helps to overthrow the fallacies formulated in their creeds. But having so done, if we are to envision our Lord’s true status and glory, we must come back to the pronouncement of pronouncements, the doctrine of doctrines, the message of messages, which is that Christ is God. And if it were not so, he could not save us. Promised Messiah, p. 98.
6. David O. McKay: [Helaman 10:1-4 – you are not alone] Many years ago Joseph Smith, a mere boy between fourteen and fifteen years of age, declared that, in answer to prayer, he received a revelation from God. … The result of this declaration was his immediate ostracism from the religious world. In a very short time he found himself standing alone. Alone – and unacquainted with the learning and philosophy of his day! Alone – and unschooled in the arts and sciences! Alone – with no philosopher to instruct him, no minister to guide him! … Thus he was left alone to embark upon the ocean of religious thought. … It would appear, then, that though he seemed alone, he was alone only as was Moses on Sinai; as Jesus on the Mount of Olives. As with the Master, so with the prophet, his instructions came not through man-made channels but direct from God, the source of all intelligence. He says: “I am a rough stone. The sound of the hammer and chisel were never heard on me until the Lord took me in hand. I desire the learning and wisdom of heaven alone”. Teachings of the Presidents of the Church, pp. 96-97.
7. Harold B. Lee: If it were not for the assurance that I have that the Lord is near to us, guiding, directing, the burden would be almost beyond my strength, but because I know that he is there, and that he can be appealed to, and if we have ears to hear attuned to him, we will never be left alone. Ensign, January 1974.
8. Wilford Woodruff: The Lord has been watching over us from the hour of our birth. Journal of Discourses, vol. 2, p. 233.
9. Bruce R. McConkie: [Helaman 11:23 – daily revelation] Those who preach by the power of the Holy Ghost, use the scriptures as their basic source of knowledge and doctrine. They begin with what the Lord has before revealed to other inspired men. But it is the practice of the Lord to give added knowledge to those upon whose hearts the true meaning and intents of the scriptures have been impressed. Many great doctrinal revelations come to those who preach from the scriptures. When they are in tune with the Infinite, the Lord lets them know, first, the full and complete meaning of the scriptures they are expounding, and then he ofttimes expands their view so that new truths flood in upon them, and they learn added things that those who do not follow such a course can never know. Promised Messiah, pp. 515-16.
10. Lorenzo Snow: It is the grand privilege of every Latter-day Saint … to have the manifestations of the spirit every day of our lives. Conference Report, April 1899.
11. Ezra Taft Benson: [Helaman 12 – the unsteadiness of men] In 1787 Edward Gibbon completed his noble work, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Here is the way he accounted for the fall. 1. The undermining of the dignity and sanctity of the home, which is the basis of human society. 2. Higher and higher taxes and the spending of public monies for free bread and circuses for the populace. 3. The mad craze for pleasure, sports becoming every year more and more exciting and brutal. 4. The building of gigantic armaments when the real enemy was within the decadence of the people. 5. The decay of religion – faith fading into mere form, losing touch with life, and becoming impotent to warn and guide the people. Is there a parallel for us in America today? Could the same reasons that destroyed Rome destroy America? ... The lessons of history, many of them very sobering, ought to be turned to during this hour of our great achievements, because during the hour of our success is our greatest danger. Even during the hour of our great prosperity, a nation may sow the seeds of its own destruction. History reveals that rarely is a great civilization conquered from without unless it has weakened or destroyed itself within. God, Family, Country, pp. 363-64.
12. Joseph Fielding Smith: [Helaman 12 – less than the dust of the earth] The point [Mormon] is making is that the dust of the earth is obedient. … Everything in the universe obeys the law given unto it, so far as I know, except man. Everywhere you look you find law and order, the elements obeying the law given to them, true to their calling. But man rebels, and in this thing man is less than the dust of the earth because he rejects the counsels of the Lord. Gen. Conference, April 1929.
13. Gordon B. Hinckley: [Book of Mormon] No other written testament so clearly illustrates the fact that when men and nations walk in the fear of God and in obedience to his commandments, they prosper and grow, but when they disregard him and his word, there comes a decay that, unless arrested by righteousness, leads to impotence and death. Gen Conference, Oct. 1979.
Next week: Helaman 13-16 “Repent and return unto the Lord”