Wednesday, November 24, 2010

When All the Apartment is Still...

What do you do in the wintertime, when most of your roommates have left to visit family, the other remaining roommate is asleep, and all the apartment is still on a snowy evening?

If you're me, you bring the laptop to the kitchen table and turn on your music on shuffle while you empty and reload the dishwasher, then wash the rest of the pots and pans by hand until the sink is clear and the counter mostly bare. Then you might sit yourself down and flicker between facebook, email, doing research for Black Friday, and making plans for the rest of the week. You end up doing a lot of thinking too - the iTunes shuffle feature stirs up quite a few memories to chew on (you can read my older post about that). If you're me and also have the great roommates I do, you would probably combine some of the leftovers they want you to use and make a vaguely-reminiscent-of-lasagne dinner with chicken tortellini, tomato-based sauce and cottage cheese. (If you try that, it turns out pretty decently for mixing leftovers).

And after all that, you're still left to yourself and your thoughts. So, I'm going to silence Taylor Swift and Boys Like Girls for a while (though I do rather like that song, "Two is Better Than One") and read. Then write about my reading.

(The thought briefly crossed my mind to read the book from G. K. Chesterton I borrowed from the library, but I'll save that one for another time.)

In my Book of Mormon reading, I'm at Jacob chapter 7. It's fascinating how these prophets (Lehi, Nephi and Jacob, at this point) had such a firm belief in Jesus Christ - in His mission, in His love, and in His Atonement - so long before Christ was even born. They understood that He was the long-prophesied Messiah, and that the simple (or complex, perhaps) keeping of the law of Moses alone could not save them. Jacob 4:4 and 5 read,
For, for this intent have we written these things, that they may know that we knew of Christ, and we had a hope of his glory many hundred years before his coming; and not only we ourselves had a hope of his glory, but also all the holy prophets which were before us.  
Behold, they believed in Christ and worshiped the Father in his name, and also we worship the Father in his name. And for this intent we keep the law of Moses, it pointing our souls to him; and for this cause it is sanctified unto us for righteousness, even as it was accounted unto Abraham in the wilderness to be obedient unto the commands of God in offering up his son Isaac, which is a similitude of God and his Only Begotten Son. (emphasis added)
This was written between 544 and 421 BC. After some years passed (fast-forward to chapter 7), there was a man named Sherem who started preaching and "labored diligently that he might lead away the hearts of the people", having a "perfect knowledge of the language of the people; wherefore he could use much flattery" and did this "declaring unto the people that there should be no Christ". Way back then there was already opposition to Jesus Christ! Again, long before He was even born. Well, it's written that this guy wanted to talk to Jacob, since Jacob was a pretty big church leader. Sherem's first charge was that Jacob was the one leading people astray from the law of Moses, and argued that you can't tell of things to come. Jacob responded by asking Sherem if he believed the scriptures, to which he responded yes. Jacob then said, "Then ye do not understand them; for they truly testify of Christ. Behold, I say unto you that none of the prophets have written, nor prophesied, save they have spoken concerning this Christ." He added his own testimony to that of the prophets, saying that "it also has been made manifest unto me by the power of the Holy Ghost." Sherem does something really unintelligent right after that. He demands, "Show me a sign by this power of the Holy Ghost, in the which ye know so much." Bad idea. As soon as he says that, Jacob tells him "What am I that I should tempt God to show unto thee a sign" and "nevertheless, not my will be done; but if God shall smite thee, let that be a sign unto thee that he has power, both in heaven and in earth; and also, that Christ shall come." And, guess what happens? God shows Sherem who's in charge, and Sherem is smitten. Before he dies (smitten doesn't always mean instant death), Sherem gathers all the people he had taught before and confesses to them that he was a liar in denying Christ, and that the scriptures really do testify of him. After that, the people turn again to searching the scriptures for themselves, and they gain stronger testimonies of Jesus Christ, which brings peace and the love of God back to the people. And that basically concludes the book of Jacob.

That also concludes this blog post for tonight. I may continue reading on my own, but my eyes are heavy and it's getting late. Time for bed. We'll see what the morning brings: more solitude, more study time, maybe some motivation to do something else entirely (hopefully something productive). 

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