Wednesday, July 16, 2008

From my Journal – Mourning Over Wickedness (8/29/07)

I was reading in the Book of Mormon and I ran across the part in Helaman 7 where the prophet Nephi is lamenting on his garden tower for the sins of the people and how it says, “there were certain men passing by and saw Nephi as he was pouring out his soul unto God upon the tower; and they ran and told the people what they had seen, and the people came together in multitudes that they might know the cause of so great mourning for the wickedness of the people” (Helaman 7:11).

First of all, I have to say that it is obvious in this scripture why Nephi was mourning—for the wickedness of the people. It suddenly hit me, because of a recent experience of crying so hard in Relief Society and how everyone wanted to know what was wrong, that Nephi must have been really crying and wailing and absolutely going to pieces up on his tower, so much so that everyone wanted to know what he was crying about. But unlike me crying for my own sin, Nephi was crying over the sins of his people. And no one asked him why he was crying, they waited for him to explain and he so let them have it. And his words in verses 13 to 29 have all the more feeling and poignancy when you know that he is probably starting to cry again.

This scripture shows me that a righteous person doesn't just feel torn up over their own sins, they are terribly distressed by the sins of their people too. We see it throughout the Book of Mormon with Nephi (1 Nephi 2:17), and Jacob (Jacob 2:6), and the people of Mosiah (Mosiah 25:9,11, 28:17-18), and the four sons of Mosiah (Mosiah 28:3), and Alma (Alma 4:15, 8:14), and another Nephi (3 Nephi 7:16), and Mormon (Moroni 7:15, ), and the prophets in the Book of Ether (Ether 11:13).

So is there any hope of happiness when surrounded by people whose choices make us sad?
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
(Matthew 5:4)
And further, Mormon gave his son Moroni a recipe for happiness in the midst of the terrible things he had to report about what the decadent Nephites were doing:
My son, be faithful in Christ; and may not the things which I have written grieve thee, to weigh thee down unto death; but may Christ lift thee up, and may his sufferings and death, and the showing his body unto our fathers, and his mercy and long-suffering, and the hope of his glory and of eternal life, rest in your mind forever.
And may the grace of God the Father, whose throne is high in the heavens, and our Lord Jesus Christ, who sitteth on the right hand of his power, until all things shall become subject unto him, be, and abide with you forever. Amen.
(Moroni 9:25-26, emphasis added)
There is hope when we fill our minds with Christ and the good news of the gospel.