Scripture Study

Unintended Consequences (Mosiah 20)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 13 September 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 211

Unintended Consequences (Mosiah 20)

During the Great Plague of London in the 1600s, it was decided that dogs and cats throughout the city should be killed so people wouldn’t catch the deadly disease from their pets. However, eliminating these animals allowed the rat population to thrive, and the city was then overrun with rats. Oh, and by the way, the rats carried fleas, which were able to spread the disease even faster.

As illustrated above, some actions have unintended consequences.

Fighting the Real Enemy (Mosiah 19)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 06 September 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 257

Fighting the Real Enemy (Mosiah 19)

Everything unravels for the evil King Noah in Mosiah 19. After his army is unable to locate Alma’s hidden group of converts, Noah’s people start fighting among themselves. During this contention, a strong man named Gideon, who is an enemy to the king, takes advantage of the situation to engage King Noah in hand-to-hand combat. Gideon overpowers Noah and chases him up a tower and has his sword drawn, ready to kill the king.

From the top of the tower, the king is able to see in the distance that the Lamanite army is approaching, entering into the Nephite land, ready to attack the Nephite people. The cowardly king uses this as a ruse to prevent Gideon from killing him:

So, Now You're an Orphan (Mosiah 18)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 30 August 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 225

So, Now You're an Orphan (Mosiah 18)

In Mosiah 18, Alma, now a former priest of King Noah, begins to meet privately with as many people as possible to preach and teach the words that the prophet Abinadi taught prior to his death. He finds that many are accepting of his teachings and are willing to change their lives to be people of God.

In a famous scene, Alma addresses a congregation gathered at a place called the Waters of Mormon and invites them to begin their new lives by entering the waters of baptism. Here is an excerpt of his address to them:

Denying Your Testimony (Mosiah 17)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 23 August 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 292

Denying Your Testimony (Mosiah 17)

In Mosiah 17, the reaction of King Noah to the words of the prophet Abinadi is to sentence him to death. It’s not too surprising since Abinadi had called out the king and his priests for their sinful lifestyle, telling them that God was not pleased with them and that they needed to repent.

However, perhaps realizing that it wouldn’t look good to execute someone for making basically true statements, the king counsels with his priests for three days and finally decides that Abinadi should be put to death for a different reason — because he said that “God himself [in the form of Christ] should come down among the children of men” (Mosiah 17:8).

The Carnal Mind (Mosiah 16)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 16 August 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 407

The Carnal Mind (Mosiah 16)

What does it mean to be “carnal”? No, it doesn’t refer to someone who eats meat — that would be a carnivore. It does relate to flesh — not the eating of it but rather the pleasing of it.

There are many things we can do that please our human forms. Many of these are not sinful. In general, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying life and doing things that make you happy. However, when the things of the flesh become foremost in our mind, we then have what is referred to as a “carnal mind,” one that seeks out things that please the flesh, whether they are sinful or not, typically overriding the prompting of the Spirit of God.

The First Resurrection (Mosiah 15)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 09 August 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 265

The First Resurrection (Mosiah 15)

As the prophet Abinadi continues his message to King Noah and his priests in Mosiah 15, he describes the concept of a “resurrection,” an event during which people who have died are “raised to dwell with God” (verse 23).

This brief description helps us to understand that a resurrection is not an event when a person is restored to life on earth but is something very different.

Standing Up for Jesus Christ (Mosiah 14)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 02 August 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 268

Standing Up for Jesus Christ (Mosiah 14)

If you are a member of The Church of Jesus Christ, then you have probably been called upon at various times to stand up for the restoration of the gospel, the Book of Mormon, and various other beliefs of our church. Such conversations most likely occurred with people who are associated with other Christian faiths.

Have you ever had a conversation about Jesus Christ with someone who doesn’t already believe in Him? If you wanted to try to convince someone that Jesus is the Savior of the world, what approach would you take?

He Protects You While You Work (Mosiah 13)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 26 July 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 230

He Protects You While You Work (Mosiah 13)

In Mosiah 13, King Noah and his people react to the preaching of Abinadi by attempting to put him to death. However, Abinadi halts their attempt with these words:

“Touch me not, for God shall smite you if ye lay your hands upon me, for I have not delivered the message which the Lord sent me to deliver ... therefore, God will not suffer that I shall be destroyed at this time.” (Mosiah 13:3)

The people of King Noah felt the power of God emanating from Abinadi, so they backed off and let him finish his message.

The Desensitizing of God’s People (Mosiah 12)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 19 July 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 313

The Desensitizing of God’s People (Mosiah 12)

The difference between then and now:

  • In 1939, some moviegoers reportedly ran out of theaters with their hands over their ears after viewing the movie “Gone With the Wind” and hearing the leading man say, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a d***." Today, it would seem laughable to have such a reaction to hearing that word, and we have in fact “advanced” to the point where there are no words that are off limits when it comes to entertainment, regardless of the venue.
  • In 1960, people were afraid to take a shower after witnessing the brutal murder of the female star in the movie “Psycho.” Today, that scene is considered extremely tame; on-screen murders are now commonplace and are depicted in increasingly graphic ways.
  • In 1997, the TV show “Ellen” ended its fourth season with the lead character coming out as a lesbian. The fifth season’s ratings were so poor that the show was cancelled. Today, it seems that virtually every TV series has a gay character and story line as well as some poor misguided oaf (or religious person) who needs to be straightened out.

Each of the above illustrates how people become desensitized over time. Something that is shocking or draws a strong emotional reaction today becomes less shocking and even commonplace as time passes and as we are exposed to it over and over again.

Parents, Don’t Blame Yourself (Mosiah 11)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 12 July 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 249

Parents, Don’t Blame Yourself (Mosiah 11)

In Mosiah 11, Zeniff retires as king and names his son, Noah, as the new king. Unfortunately, Noah was nothing like his father:

  • He did not keep the commandments of God.
  • He had many wives and concubines.
  • He was lazy and levied a 20 percent tax on the people to support his lavish lifestyle.
  • He fired all the priests of his father and replaced them with men who were like him.

Under the leadership of King Noah, the people also became sinful. It got so bad that God sent a prophet to preach repentance to the king and his people, but the words fell on deaf ears, and they threatened to kill the prophet.

Wroth I Are, Eh? (Mosiah 10)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 28 June 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 332

Wroth I Are, Eh? (Mosiah 10)

In Mosiah 10, Zeniff provides some explanation of why the Lamanites despise the Nephites. He explains that it goes back to the original Laman and Lemuel who always felt that they were wronged by their brother Nephi. As a result, it seemed like everything that Nephi did made his brothers “wroth” (or angry) with him. Verses 14 to 16 make the following statements regarding Laman and Lemuel:

  • They were wroth with Nephi because they didn’t understand how God was working (and Nephi did).
  • They were wroth with Nephi when he instructed them how to behave during the voyage to America.
  • They were wroth with Nephi when he was recognized as the leader of the people.
  • They were wroth with Nephi when he took his followers and departed.

Called to Save, Not to Condemn (Mosiah 9)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 21 June 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 338

Called to Save, Not to Condemn (Mosiah 9)

In the last couple of chapters, we read about Ammon discovering the people of Limhi, who'd inhabited a separate city since the time that they were separated from the Nephites some years earlier. We discover in Mosiah 9 that these people were actually separated for quite a few years — it was Limhi’s grandfather, Zeniff, who led the original expedition to the Lamanites that resulted in his people not being able to return to Zarahemla.

Chapters 9 to 22 of Mosiah bring us up to date on the story of Zeniff, his son, Noah, and eventually his grandson, Limhi. This is why the date indicator at the top of the pages of our Book of Mormon appears to go backward from 121 B.C. for Chapter 8 to between 200 B.C. and 124 B.C. for Chapter 9.

Give Me Understanding, Lord! (Mosiah 8)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 14 June 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 348

Give Me Understanding, Lord! (Mosiah 8)

Mosiah 8 introduces a couple of new pieces of information that are key to the story:

The 24 Gold Plates

Limhi tells Ammon that his people discovered an ancient, extinct civilization, including 24 gold plates with engravings that appear to tell the story of the people who had inhabited the ancient city. The engravings are in a different language, so nobody can read the story at this time. We later discover that this civilization was the Jaredite nation, and some of the information contained on the 24 gold plates is included in the Book of Ether.

When You Assume (Mosiah 7)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 07 June 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 383

When You Assume (Mosiah 7)

Assume: To accept as true without proof

We all do it. We hear someone say something, and we fill in the blanks as to what the statement means, even though the additional words were not spoken. Or we observe someone do something, and we immediately think we know the reason why, perhaps based on our knowledge of the person or perhaps based on reasons why other people have done the same thing.

Sometimes our assumptions are correct. The better we know a person, the higher our success percentage will be for accurately determining the person’s meaning or motivation for certain words or actions. (My wife is right about me so often that she says, “I know you better than you know yourself.”)

Kingdom Accounting (Mosiah 6)

Written by Brother Jerry Valenti on Wednesday, 31 May 2017. Posted in Scripture Study Hits 382

In Mosiah 6, King Benjamin makes a request to all the people who agreed to enter into a covenant to serve God — to put their names on a list of believers. It is happily mentioned that the resulting list of servants of God (a precursor to the church's RIP System) contained the name of every adult who had listened to King Benjamin’s address — a 100 percent conversion rate!

Why did King Benjamin have the people provide their names for this list? Wasn’t it enough that they accepted Christ? Does God need a written list to keep track of His followers? No, of course God doesn’t need a written list kept on earth. God maintains His own list which is referred to as the Lamb’s Book of Life — this “book” contains the names of all people who will inherit eternal life.

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