Sunday, September 30, 2012


it's a lot easier once
you take the first step
this week i taught on the first seven chapters of 3 nephi, which, with the appearance of the Savior, is really the center of the whole book of mormon. and the book starts off strong: the people have been waiting for the fulfillment of the prophecy of the signs of the Lord's birth, when the sun will set but it will not get dark; a day, a night, and a day as if there had been no light.

and at one point, it looks as if the sign is not going to come and even though the people look forward in hope, they start to wonder if their faith is in vain. but i noticed that as things looked hopeless, their faith was rewarded just six verses down the page. and i wondered about the things that i wonder about in my life, and that maybe my answers will come after six more verses of my life.

but i noticed something: the nephites had this great experience, seeing the sun set but the light remain, and how it was such a clear and powerful sign that no one could deny it. but after a few years, they started to doubt it, to say that it never happened, and soon were overrun with corruption and wars. then, just a few years after that, Jesus Christ came and visited them and they were blessed with peace and prosperity many years after that.

and i realized that this pattern of "amazing experience, dark times and trials, then greater light and blessings" is a pattern that's appeared at other places in the scriptures:

in moses chapter 1, moses talks with God and sees wonderful things. then he's visited by satan. after he endures that, God comes to him again and gives him great promises.

joseph smith read james 1:5 and said that no scripture had ever entered into the heart of someone like that did for him. he went out to pray and was attacked by a dark force that almost killed him. but right at the moment when he thought he would die, the power left and he saw God the Father and Jesus Christ, one of the greatest moments in the earth's history.

it certainly seems like a pattern there, like a three act story: the first act introduces the characters, the second act puts them in a dire situation with seemingly no means of escape, and in the third act they overcome their challenges and are better than when they started. and it's something to think about in my own life: when there's a great blessing, soak up the sunshine and then know that things will get dark. when things are dark, remember the experiences that i have felt and know that the darkness leave and greater light and understanding will come.

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