> Who is the one mighty and strong?
D&C 85:7 reads
"And it shall come to pass that I, the Lord God, will send one might and strong, holding the scepter of power in his hand, clothed with light for a covering, whose mouth shall utter words, eternal words; while his bowels shall be a fountain of truth, to set in order the house of God, and to arrange by lot the inheritances of the saints whose names are found, and the names of their fathers, and of their children enrolled in the book of the law of God. "
For decades, apostate groups have pointed at this scripture to justify their reasons for following after some false prophet. The LaBaron group comes to mind.
In an official statement issued in 1905, the First Presidency (Joseph F. Smith, John R. Winder, and Anthon H. Lund) clarified this scripture:
"It is to be observed first of all that the subject of this whole letter...relates to the affairs of the Church is Missouri...and the Prophet deals especially with the matter of what is to become of those who fail to receive their inheritances by order or deed from the bishop...It was while these conditions of rebellion...prevailed among the brethren in Zion...in all of which Bishop Partridge participated, that the words of the revelation...were written. Edward Partridge was at that time out of order, neglecting his own duty...he was warned of the judgement of God impending, and the prediction was made that another, 'one might and strong,' would be sent of God to take his place, to have his bishopric. (Bishop Partridge repented) ...so the occasion for sending another to fill his station, 'one might and strong to set in order the house of God...may also be considered as having passed away and THE WHOLE INCIDENT OF THE PROPHECY IS CLOSED." (my emphasis)
So this scripture does not refer to 'one mighty and strong' to come in our future. Back to Contents
> In what way will Satan be bound during the Millennium?
First a few scriptures:
"And he laid hold on the dragon that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him , that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season." (Rev 20:2-3)
"In the 20th chapter we find a length of time specified, during which Satan is to be confined in his own place, and the Saints reign in peace." (Joseph Smith, Teachings p.65)
"For the great Millennium, of which I have spoken by the mouth of my servants, shall come. For Satan shall be bound, and when he is loosed again he shall only reign for a little season, and then cometh the end of the earth." (D&C 43:39-31)
"And in that day Satan shall not have power to tempt any man." (D&C 101:28)
"And so on, until the seventh angel shall sound his trump;...and Satan shall be bound, that old serpent, who is called the devil, and shall not be loosed for the space of a thousand years." (D&C 101:110)
So it appears that at the start of the Millennium, after the second coming, Satan will be bound, taken away, sealed up, and will not have power to tempt us. Will we still make mistakes?
"It will make a great difference when Satan will have his power taken away during that period, but the inhabitants of the earth will still have their agency." (Joseph Fielding Smith, AGQ 5:143)
What are the nature of the chains that Satan will be bound with? There seems to be two schools of thought regarding this.
"And because of the righteousness of his people, Satan has no power; wherefore, he cannot be loosed for the space of many years; for he hath no power over the hearts of the people, for they dwell in righteousness, and the Holy One of Israel reigneth." (1 Ne 22:26)
So is in the righteousness of the people that shall bind Satan?
"We read that Satan shall be bound a thousand year. How is this to be accomplished? By our becoming so impregnated with the principles of the Gospel--with the Holy Ghost--that the enemy will have no place in us or in our families, and shedding forth that influence in our neighbourhoods. The adversary is first to be driven from ourselves, then from our families, then from our neighbours, next from our Territory, and eventually from the nations, until he shall find no place upon the face of the whole earth: then will he not be bound? Yes, so far as this earth is concerned; and that is the way in which it is to be don, in my humble opinion." (President Daniel H. Wells, JD 5:43) George Q. Cannon expresses a similar opinion in GT 1:86-7)
So if these brethren are correct, this will happen over time and the chains are symbolic. How about an opposite view:
"Many teach Satan will be bound by the refusal to hear...This is not so. He will not have the privilege to tempt any man. (Joseph Fielding Smith, CHMR 1:192)
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> Something I find rather striking about the miracle stories in
> Gospels is that the various healing and casting out of spirits
> miracles tend to produce comment, and there are many statements to
> the effect that these miracles did contribute to Jesus' fame. On
> the other hand, the nature miracles (feeding the multitudes,
> walking on water) meet with no such comment. In the former case,
> there is simly a statement to the effect that all ate and were
> satisfied. The latter is used as an opportunity to comment on the
> disciples' puzzlement and/or lack of faith.
One possible difference is who saw these miracles, believers or non-believers. I think some miracles were voiced around so much because many claimed he was a devil and used these miracles as proof.
Regarding the feeding of the multitudes there was a reaction:
"Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world." (John 6:14)
Regarding the walking on water:
"Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying Of a truth thou art the Son of God." (Matt 14:33) Note that this is the first time in the NT that this term is used. Also note that the multitude did not see this miracle: "when he had sent the multitude away." (Matt 14:23). I think the disciples kept this miracle quiet. Frequently Christ instructed people not to tell the world about a miracle.
Now, let us compare the reaction of the disciples to both of these miracles:
"And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered. For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened." (Mark 6:51-52)
"Why were the hearts of the apostles hardened with unbelief, wonder, and amazement to see Jesus walk on the sea and again calm a raging storm? Had they not just seen five loaves and two fishes feed five thousand men besides women and children? The answer is found in the fact that the chosen disciples had not yet received the gift of the Holy Ghost. Though they were all pillars of spiritual strength and righteousness...yet "the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God." (1 Cor 2:11) (Bruce R. McConkie, DNTC 1:348-9)
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During my last reading of the Book of Mormon, I found some very interesting historical things that I never saw before. We all know the account of the sons of Mosiah's 14 year mission amount the Lamanites. This account is recorded in Alma 17-27. While they are away, during this same time period, Alma's events are recorded in Mosiah 28-Alma 16. Has anyone ever tried to map the two accounts on top of each other?
Are there historical events talked about in both accounts? Does it help us understand more about the timing of the events? At what point in the sons of Mosiah's mission did the massive number ("thousands") of conversions take place? How accurate and consistent are the dates that you find a the bottom of the pages of you Book of Mormon? Are there some inconsistencies? I will try to address some of these things in my findings below. Grab your scriptures, you will need them!
Wasn't it James E. Talmage who put the dates at the bottom of the pages in our Book of Mormon, or was it George Reynolds? Anyway, this little writeup below also throws into question the accuracy of some of these estimated dates. I will refer to these dates to help tie some events together.
Was the mission really fourteen year long? Yes, see Alma 17:4. The estimated period is 91 B.C - 77 B.C.
There were wars between the Lamanites and the Nephites during this fourteen year period. What do the two accounts talk about these wars? The Ammon account seems silent about these wars until the destruction of Ammonihah in 81 B.C which I will talk about later. But the Alma account talks a great war in the fifth year of the judges (87 B.C.) (See Alma 2-3).
"In one year thousands and tens of thousands of souls sent to the eternal world." (Alma 3:3)
Was Lamoni's father King over ALL the land of the Lamanites?
"...they met the father of Lamoni, who was king over all the land." (Alma 20:8)Alma 2:32 tells of Alma's hand-to-hand combat with the "king of the Lamanites." Could this be Lamoni's father? The estimated date for this battle is 87 B.C., but Lamoni's father's conversion is estimated to have taken place three years earlier, about 90 B.C (See Alma 20, but then turn the page and see that the dates are now estimated between 90-77 B.C. why?) It seems very unlikely that all the events of Alma 17-20 took place in one year. I estimate that it took place during at least a six year period. This also means that Aaron and his brethren could have been in prison for several years. If massive conversions took place early in their mission (see all the cities listed in Alma 23:8-12) it seems unlikely Lamoni's father, the king over all the land would have the battle against the Nephites that is mentioned in Alma's account.
Why don't we know Lamoni's father's name? Didn't the Lamanites name all their kings Laman? King Laman (Lamoni's grandfather?) "king of the Lamanites...over a numerous people." (Mosiah 24:3) Interesting to see that this is the last King Laman mentioned. Maybe Lamoni's father was the last of the line of Laman kings.
The account of Alma now is silent about any wars between 86 B.C. and 81 B.C, a likely period of time when massive missionary work is taking place among the Lamanites.
When Alma met the sons of Mosiah for the first time in 14 years, was this the first time that he heard about their great success? This seems unlikely. In Alma 23:18 we find
"and they (the Anit-Nephi-Lehies) werefriendly with the Nephites; therefore they DID OPEN A CORRESPONDENCE WITH THEM..." Maybe this correspondences was with only a small part of the Nephites? (see also Alma 24:8-9) Did this correspondence open up before or after the great war of 87 B.C.? I believe after.
One event that is mentioned in both accounts is the destruction of the city of Ammonihah in the 11th year of the judges (81 B.C.) (Alma 16:1-4) We find this also is referred to in the account of Ammon in Alma 25:2, so we know that the the Anti-Nephi-Lehies were converted at least by 81 B.C. and were probably in open correspondence with them prior to this date.
After this event, there was a three year span of peace (Alma 16:12), (81 B.C - 78 B.C.). This was due to the fact that many of the Lamanites came back from the war and joined the people of Anit-Nephi-Lehi (Alma 25:13), and the Amalekites were busy stirring up the people against these people. But the events at the beginning of Alma 27 apparently took place over this three year period, because the sons of Mosiah didn't return from their mission until 77 B.C.
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I am amazed to hear that many feel that serving a mission is not very important, not a mandate from the Lord and not a duty for young men. Please help me with some quotes that show us that the Lord and our Prophets have told us that missions are no big deal, and that we should only serve missions at our convenience. Every young man is asked by the Lord to 1-Stay or become worthy and 2-then go on a mission. Obviously, those who don't do #1 are in condemnation. Are those who are worthy and don't serve missions under condemnation? Of course. Are those who go on missions, who serve poorly under condemnation? Of course. Can both be repented of? Of course.
Here's some quotes to ponder: Notice the words used: responsibility, expect, obligation.
Concerning serving a mission, President Kimball has said,
"How selfish and thoughtless would it be for a young man to grow to maturity, spend his time preparing for his life's work and his occupation and be unwilling to serve his Creator in this, the most important service in the world" (Regional Representatives' seminar, 30 Sept. 1977).
"Young men, this statement by President Kimball should be your personal motto: "Every LDS male who is worthy and able should fill a mission" (ENSIGN, May 1974, p. 87). We ask you to make the sacrifice. We call it that because of want for a better name for it. It's an investment. Enlist "in this, the greatest I service in the world. Do not evade the responsibility. Do not conscientiously object. We invite you to join the army of 28,000 that is swelling in numbers each day." (Ezra Taft Benson, CR 1979)
"Missionary service is expected from all young men and many married couples." (Ezra Taft Benson, CR 1981)
"We must come to think of our obligation to share the message rather than of our own convenience. Calls from the Lord are seldom convenient. The time is here when sacrifice must become an even more important element in the Church." (Spencer W. Kimball, 1982)
"The question is frequently asked, Should every young man fill a mission? The answer to this inquiry has been given by the Lord. It is yes. Every young man should fill a mission. While every young man should serve a mission, we realize that every young man is not physically, emotionally, or morally prepared. As a consequence, some may be deprived of missionary opportunities. But all should prepare to go--to be worthy to serve the Lord. The Lord has said: "And...every man notice the words every man should take righteousness in his hands and faithfulness upon his loins, and lift a warning voice unto the inhabitants of the earth; and declare both by word and by flight that desolation shall come upon the wicked." (D&C 63:37.) (Ezra Taft Benson, CR 1984)
"The question is frequently asked: Should every young man fill a mission? And the answer has been given by the Lord. It is "Yes." Every young man should fill a mission. He said: (quotes D&C 133:8)
"The answer is "yes." Every man should also pay his tithing. Every man should observe the Sabbath. Every man should attend his meetings. Every man should marry in the temple and properly train his children, and do many other might works. Of course he should. He does not always do it."
"We realize that while all men definitely should, all men are not prepared to teach the gospel abroad. Far too many young men arrive at the missionary age quite unprepared to go on a mission, and of course they should not be sent. But they should all be prepared. There are a few physically unfit to do missionary service, but Paul also had a thorn in his side. There are far too many unfit emotionally and mentally and morally, because they have not kept their lives clean and in harmony with the spirit of missionary work. They should have been prepared. Should! But since they have broken the laws, they may have to be deprived, and thereon hangs one of our greatest challenges: to keep these young boys worthy. Yes, we would say, every able worthy man should shoulder the cross. What an army we should have teaching Christ and him crucified! Yes, they should be prepared, usually with saved funds for their missions, and always with a happy heart to serve."
"The Lord says: "And that every man" (Did you catch the words, 'every man?') 'should take righteousness in his hands and faithfulness upon his loins, and lift a warning voice unto the inhabitants of the earth: and declare both by word and by flight that desolation shall come upon the wicked.' (D&C 63:37)"
"Note that he said every man; but we must find a way to have every man prepared." (Spencer W. Kimball, "When the World Will be Converted", address to Regional Representatives Seminar, April 4, 1974)
The call to serve a mission is more than just an encouragement, it is an obligation and a command from the Lord for those who are worthy and able. Just as clear are the words that say those who are not prepared, should not go. What should they do? Prepare.
What are the reasons for not being able? From what I've read from their words, medical, emotional, mental, etc. Should brand new converts serve missions? Here's my opinion: It depends on their circumstances, but the obligation is not as great for them. This past year we baptized a fine young man in our ward. He had already made military commitments, yet he understood the importance of a mission. His choice? Same as Shane's. He chose to honor his commitment and and the same time do everything in his power to be a great missionary in the military. I posted a letter from him in boot camp a few weeks ago and he spoke of his thrill to ordain a new convert. Will the Lord bless him greatly for his efforts? No doubt in my mind. Do other new converts go? Yes, and I think they also are greatly blessed, I think more than those of us who grew up in the church who had time to prepare. Where much is given, much is expected.
Should we condemn those who didn't serve missions? Of course not! Should we judge those who aren't married yet? Of course not! Should we judge those who don't have children yet? Of course not! Should we judge those who we saw stop in the store on Sunday? Again, no. I hate it when people in church ask how many have served full-time missions because this causes people to wrongfully judge others. Many weren't able to, even though they wish they could of. Others could have, weren't ready, didn't go, and for all we know have made it up in the Lord's eyes. We should never judge someone solely on whether or not they went on a full-time mission!
But...does this mean that we should try to de-emphasize the prophet's words? Does this mean that we should tell our youth that a mission is only an option if convenient? No, we must not because they are not the Lord's words. If we do, we are in danger of confusing someone who is trying to make this important decision. Let's let the prophet's words speak for themselves, but let's also read them carefully and turn to the Lord for understanding. The Lord has already told them that they should go, the decision that is left is if they are able and ready to go.
I believe that the mistakes that we make as a youth can be overcome. I've had great stake missionaries serve with me who didn't serve full-time missions for one reason or another. For some of them, yes, this stake mission is a chance to try to make it up to the Lord for a choice that they now recognize was wrong. Others were not able to and this is their chance to taste the great joy of missionary work that they wish they could have had.
We live in the last dispensation and in D&C Section 1 it is very clear to us that the command to preach the gospel is a important commandment for us in this age of the earth. We all have future missions to serve. Isn't it exciting?
> I went on a mission two years after joining the Church. I grew
I've been privileged with the opportunity of working with hundreds of missionaries over the past ten years or so. Among those missionaries have been several who were new converts to the church (less than two years.) Forgive me for this generalization, but these new-convert missionaries have been among those who I viewed to be the most effective missionaries. Why? Because there were the among the "best prepared" missionaries. What? But they have only been members for less than two years! Yes, maybe they didn't have a deep understanding of the gospel doctrines and church practices and policies, but they knew the basics and had something more: They had personally gone through the conversion process recently and had a deep, strong, testimony of the gospel. Additionally, they could relate to people outside the church who were searching for the truth. Usually they were out serving a mission at great sacrifice and without family support. They were truly on a mission for the right reasons and the Lord blessed them with power.
I feel that the Lord blesses these new-convert missionaries greatly and that they become powerful missionaries. I also encourage new converts to strongly consider a mission.
Does anyone seriously think when our prophets have talked about those who are worthy and "able", that by "not able" they mean "not able because it isn't convenient, not able because they aren't very interested", and therefore they are exempt from the Lord's call for every young men to serve. I would love to here some quotes from the prophets along this lines. Can you help? Don't you think these young men should remove these barriers, strengthen his testimony and seek after the desire to serve?
"That usually involves sacrifice. Ofttimes it means you give up something good for something better. It may mean postponing schooling or an athletic scholarship. It means saving money for a mission instead of a car." (Russell C. Taylor, CR 1989)
"please realize that there are some handicaps and limitations that make other types of local service more practical than serving a full-time mission." (Elder John B. Dickson, CR 1992)
"It does not matter if it interrupts your schooling or delays your career or your marriage--or basketball. Unless you have a serious health problem, every Latter-day Saint young man should answer the call to serve a mission." (Boyd K. Packer, 1984)
"Some young men, because of transgression, say they are not interested in serving a mission. The real reason, of course, is feelings of unworthiness. If such young men would go to their bishop, confide to him their problem, and sincerely repent, they may yet fill honorable missions." (Ezra Taft Benson, CR 1984)
"While every young man should serve a mission, we realize that every young man is not physically, emotionally, or morally prepared. As a consequence, some may be deprived of missionary opportunities. But all should prepare to go--to be worthy to "vocational opportunities, a car, a girl friend, an assorted variety of sins, or myriad of other reasons." (Elder John B. Dickson, CR 1992)
"Our prophets have continually reminded us that every able, worthy young man is EXPECTED to serve a full-time mission." (L. Tom Perry, CR 1991)
"And again we issue the call for every worthy young man to heed the voice of the prophet to serve as a full-time missionary." ( L. Tom Perry, CR 1992)
"Many young women have a desire to serve a full-time mission, and they are also welcome in the Lord's service. This RESPONSIBILITY is not on them as it is on the elders, but they will receive rich blessings for their unselfish sacrifice." (Spencer W. Kimball, "President Kimball speaks out", p. 1981)
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I recalled tonight something small and simple that I did in my college and mission years. On all my letters to my family and friends, I would put a little note on the envelope, something like:
POSTMAN! Read the Book of Mormon, it will change your life!
POSTMAN! Ask a Mormon how families can be together forever.
POSTMAN! Ask (so-and-so) about Family Home Evening
Such a simple little thing. Do postal workers read this stuff? You better believe it! Here's some of the results:
1. A mail sorter at Pacific Lutheran University asked my friend Ken
questions and met with the missionaries.
2. A mailman in California started to take the discussions from my missionary buddy serving a mission there.
3. I taught our mailman in NY, while serving my mission there.
I don't know if any of these people ever joined the church. But I did learn that postal workers read notes on mail, and that small and simple things can bring great results!