GCBC Week 10: “Come unto Me, O Ye House of Israel” By Elder Larry Echo Hawk

Okay, we’re in the holiday season, so admittedly, we’re all dragging a little bit. I mean, I’m in charge of GCBC, and even *I* haven’t made any comments. So just stick with me for the next couple of weeks, and at least read the talks, and then come January 1st, we’ll all make a New Year’s Resolution to do some good studying, pondering, and discussing.  Deal?

This week’s talk by Elder Larry Echo Hawk was one of my favorites. His simple powerful testimony was inspiring to me.

“Come unto Me, O Ye House of Israel”

By Elder Larry Echo Hawk

As a 17-year-old boy reading the Book of Mormon for the first time, I focused on Moroni’s promise: “And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost” (Moroni 10:4).

As I knelt in prayer, I received a powerful spiritual witness that the Book of Mormon is true. That witness has helped me chart my course through life.

I exhort all people to read the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.

What stood out to you from this talk? How about any goals or applications? Please share in the comments below some of your insights.

(A reminder to those of you who are new to General Conference Book Club: You’re welcome to return to this post any time this week and leave your comment and thoughts in the comment section below. You may also want to see what others are saying about the talk and engage in a conversation for mutual understanding and encouragement. A new talk will be posted each Sunday and will be studied and discussed throughout the week.)

The Manner of Happiness: A Lesson from the Book of Mormon

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Yesterday in Sunday School, we were studying 2 Nephi chapter 5, which describes what happened to Nephi, his family, and all those who followed him after they separated themselves from Laman, Lemuel, and their families.  This was a short time after the death of their father, Lehi, right after he had exhorted his children to listen to and follow the counsel of Nephi.  However, a few days after his death, Laman and Lemuel were again complaining against Nephi and threatening his life.  And so their family broke in half, and they started over.  This was probably not an easy time for them.  They had lost Lehi, who had guided them on this amazing journey across the wilderness, across the sea, and into a new land.  Their future probably seemed uncertain, and they must have worried for their lives and safety, especially under the threat of the angry half of the family.  I’m sure there was mourning and anxiety.  But here’s the fascinating part– in verse 27:

And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness.

I attended a CES workshop once where the teacher broke down this chapter into ingredients for that happiness.  Here are some of the notes I have in the margins:

(from 2 Nephi 5)

1 Behold, it came to pass that I, Nephi, did cry much unto the Lord my God, because of the anger of my brethren.

PRAYER +

5 And it came to pass that the Lord did warn me, that I, Nephi, should depart from them and flee into the wilderness, and all those who would go with me.

PERSONAL REVELATION and FLEE FROM EVIL +

6 Wherefore, it came to pass that I, Nephi, did take my family, and also Zoram and his family, and Sam, mine elder brother and his family, and Jacob and Joseph, my younger brethren, and also my sisters, and all those who would go with me. And all those who would go with me were those who believed in the warnings and the revelations of God; wherefore, they did hearken unto my words.

FOLLOW THE PROPHET +

10 And we did observe to keep the judgments, and the statutes, and the commandments of the Lord in all things, according to the law of Moses.

OBEDIENCE +

11 And the Lord was with us; and we did prosper exceedingly; for we did sow seed, and we did reap again in abundance. And we began to raise flocks, and herds, and animals of every kind. (see also verse 17)

WORK +

12 And I, Nephi, had also brought the records which were engraven upon the aplates of brass; and also the bball, or ccompass, which was prepared for my father by the hand of the Lord, according to that which is written.

SCRIPTURES +

13 And it came to pass that we began to prosper exceedingly, and to multiply in the land.

MARRY AND RAISE FAMILIES +

16 And I, Nephi, did build a temple; and I did construct it after the manner of the temple of Solomon save it were not built of so many precious things; for they were not to be found upon the land, wherefore, it could not be built like unto Solomon’s temple. But the manner of the construction was like unto the temple of Solomon; and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine.

TEMPLE =

27 And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness.

THE MANNER OF HAPPINESS.

The world is a complicated place, but I really think the answers are this simple.  I’m not naive enough to think that their lives were free of pain or suffering or difficult times, but these ingredients can bring us peace of mind and a steadiness of character, and the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost.  Just one more reason I love the Book of Mormon and know that it’s true.

GCBC Week 16: “The Book of Mormon—a Book from God” by Elder Tad R. Callister

I love my scriptures like a friend.  If they were ever lost, I would be devastated.  I know that other scriptures without all my notes in the margins would be true too, but still.  I have not committed as much time to that friendship as I’d like, and I’ve been feeling stirrings in my soul to really go back to the Book of Mormon and rekindle that love for the word of God.  Those of us who have The Book of Mormon and love it often take for granted how valuable it is.  So much that we understand about God’s plan for his children and the doctrine of Jesus Christ are formed and founded upon the words of the Book of Mormon.  Together with the Holy Bible, it trumpets out the reality of a living Christ who has provided a way for us to be perfected in Him, and to return to our Father’s presence.  So mostly this talk by Elder Callister helped me to remember something again:  I know the Book of Mormon is true.  I’m so grateful for its teachings and how it is a conduit (for me) to the Holy Ghost and personal inspiration.

The Book of Mormon—a Book from God by Elder Tad R. Callister

“[The Book of Mormon] is either the word of God as professed, or it is a total fraud. This book does not merely claim to be a moral treatise or theological commentary or collection of insightful writings. It claims to be the word of God—every sentence, every verse, every page. . . .

Together with the Bible, the Book of Mormon is an indispensable witness of the doctrines of Christ and His divinity. Together with the Bible, it “teach[es] all men that they should do good” (2 Nephi 33:10). And together with the Bible, it brings us to “one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” That is why the Book of Mormon is so crucial in our lives.”

What stood out to you as you studied this talk? What did the message make you want to do or change?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

To anyone who is checking out GCBC for the first time, the goal is to read one General Conference talk a week and discuss it together as an on-line “book club.” If you want to learn more, go here, and join the discussion here each week.

GCBC Week 14: “A Witness” by President Henry B. Eyring

Happy New Year!  I know your resolutions are really none of my business, but I have two suggestions:  1)  GCBC.  Do it.  2) The Book of Mormon.  Study it.

Having said that, this week we will be studying President Eyring’s talk about the using the Book of Mormon to facilitate personal conversion.

A Witness  by President Henry B. Eyring

“The Book of Mormon is the best guide to learn how well we are doing and how to do better. . . . The doctrine and the valiant examples in that book will lift, guide, and embolden you.  . . . Parents who struggle to get a witness of the Savior into the heart of a child will be helped as they seek for a way to bring the words and the spirit of the Book of Mormon into the home and all the lives in their family. “

What about this talk stood out to you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

To anyone who is checking out GCBC for the first time, the goal is to read one General Conference talk a week and discuss it together as an on-line “book club.” If you want to learn more, go here, and join the discussion.

GCBC Week 2: “The Power of Scripture” by Elder Richard G. Scott

First, a small item of business:  The General Conference photo contest actually ended in a tie.  Diane and Amanda both got exactly 35% of the vote.  I hadn’t anticipated a tie, so I had to resort to a highly-scientific method to determine the winner:  a coin toss.  So, congratulations to both of you, but the coin determined that Amanda was the winner.  Please send me an email with your mailing address and I’ll drop your prize in the mail.

“My daughter spent an entire session making this.”

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The general conference talks are all posted online now, so let the studying begin.  I decided that we’ll just go through them one-by-one in the same order they were given.  That means this week, we’ll tackle Elder Scott’s excellent talk about scripture study:

The Power of Scripture by Richard G. Scott

What stood out to you as you studied this talk?  His counsel seemed heavy with action items; what kind of goals did you walk away with?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

And are you up to a little GCBC challenge this week?  Pick a scripture to memorize and come back here to report when you’ve done it.  Then we’ll have a “new friend” that will act like a “packet of light” in our lives.

To anyone who is checking out GCBC for the first time, the goal is to read one General Conference talk a week and discuss it together as an on-line “book club.”  If you want more information about how it works, go here.  And then join us.

General Conference Book Club Week 14: Elder Holland

I figure we should start off the new year with this rock-star talk from General Conference.  Do you remember back in the 80s when Elder Bruce R. McConkie gave that famous testimony of the living Savior just days before he died?  Well, this talk by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles ranks right up there as an incredibly powerful testimony; you can’t watch it and not be moved.  The talk is called “Safety for the Soul,” wherein he boldly declares the truth of the Book of Mormon as the word of God.  The talk was given during the Sunday morning session of the October 2009 General Conference.

Just read it.  Or even better, watch it or listen to it.  I’ll let the conviction speak for itself.

(And just in case you randomly landed here by Googling something like “Is the Book of Mormon really true?,” the links in this post take you to a testimony by a living apostle answering the claims by some that the book is a fraud.  I add my own witness to his that yes, the Book of Mormon really is true.  I encourage you to listen to Elder Holland’s talk, and read the Book of Mormon for yourself.  I’m confident that God himself will reveal its truth to you.)

“I want it absolutely clear when I stand before the judgment bar of God that I declared to the world . . . that the Book of Mormon is true.”

“I testify that one cannot come to full faith in this latter-day work—and thereby find the fullest measure of peace and comfort in these, our times—until he or she embraces the divinity of the Book of Mormon and the Lord Jesus Christ, of whom it testifies.”

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Thanks to those of you that have faithfully read and even commented as part of our Book Club.  If some of you are just joining us as part of a New Year’s Resolution, welcome!  (You’ll find details about GCBC here.)  And a warm welcome back to other friends who are rejoining us.