This morning I captured from Helaman 11:1-2. It reveals to me, yet again, how important it is to believe in and seek personal, direct counsel from God in dealing with the issues and challenges I face each day.
Gratefully and humbly I post these thoughts here. Please, take what the Spirit confirms to your heart for your edification and forgive the rest.
And now it came to pass in the seventy and second year of the reign of the judges that the contentions did increase, insomuch that there were wars throughout all the land among all the people of Nephi. (Helaman 11:1)
This sounds like where America is right now. Or is on the verge of, at least. There is so much contention—arguing over issues and differences. Even verging on physical violence and war. Physical violence is escalating, not just by organized groups, but by average citizens, for example, at political rallies.
Internal contention manifests as confusion in my own mind—what to think and what to believe about a certain subject or issue. Whether big (who to vote for in the coming elections) or small (when, where, what and how to eat), confusion and contention abounds.
Faith is essential to overcoming this internal contention. Faith includes the belief that God is good enough to give any of us the wisdom we need and ask for just as He promises in James 1:5. Faith is also expressed in the will or desire to act, which action is to repent, to turn to God. When we do this, it naturally follows that we seek His Spirit to enter into our hearts. We allow His thoughts, impressions, words to counsel and comfort us.
It is when we do not exercise faith, do not repent, and turn away from God, that our mind is filled with contention and we are stirred up by all the external opinions and advice that bombard us. I know this is true. I have lived it. My only rescue and relief has been when I turn back to God for His counsel and believe that I can receive it in personal, dialogic revelation.
And it was this secret band of robbers who did carry on this work of destruction and wickedness. And this war did last all that year; and in the seventy and third year it did also last. (Helaman 11:2)
Again, as with verse 1, there is a broad, societal resonance in this verse. At this very moment, on this very day, in this very month and year and history of the United States of America, secret combinations of evil, atheistic, even Satan-worshiping* people are laying waste to our nation. They started in our hearts, where we either enthrone a sense of Divine Presence or we don’t. The very seat of our beliefs is under attack. They moved on to our values, morals and standards, twisting them a little at a time.
They have filled our minds and hearts with the worship of science and scientific research. They encourage the belief in and reliance upon explanations gained exclusively by investigating how things happen, but refuse to consider why they have happened. Thus, they have stripped away all appeal to reason and purpose that hints at the existence of intelligent design.
This verse gives a plain explanation for why there are so many opinions flying at me (at us all). No matter the problem or challenge facing us, we can find a myriad of solutions and advice on what to do and how to resolve it. There are in our day, secret combinations of people who conspire together to make money and more money, to gain riches and the attendant prestige.
D&C 89:4 describes this condition in these words:
In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days…
Money-lust is at the foundation of all evil intent in this world. It is among the most pervasive of all lusts. You can buy anything in this world you want (lust after) with money. Why? Because everyone lusts after the things money can buy. We seek intoxicating, never-ending distraction from false and empty promises of fulfillment that, instead of fulfilling us, leave a us even more disillusioned and without hope.
Even those of us who don’t conspire or lust for money find ourselves lusting for answers to our challenges and problems. We may not care about having more and more money. We just want someone to answer our questions, tell us what to do about one problem or challenge or another. And we, too, are prone to the inclination to look to sources other than God for guidance. Like Moses’ people, we would rather have someone else tell us what to do than go to God for answers. Today’s most prevalent belief is that the place to go to for answers is to someone with scientific or other expert credentials.
Even among those of us who have a basically spiritual orientation to life, many seek experts in every kind of healing tradition in the world. We avoid developing the faith in Christ that is sufficient to look to Him for answers, for personal and direct communion and guidance, for comfort and counsel.
Even in spiritual things, we turn away from belief in a God who can and will counsel with us, come to us, walk with us in Spirit-directed conversation. We rush to learn how to meditate from a myriad of world traditions–either trying to empty our minds or fill them with images of safe places. But we so often ignore the words of prophets pleading with us to ponder upon the scriptures and open our minds and hearts to receive the counsel of the Lord. We seek gurus and healers, who may even give lip-service to Christ. But do they recommend to us to “seek this Jesus” for ourselves as Mormon did?
And now, I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever. Amen. (Ether 12:41)
What more can be said to expand on Mormon’s words? In plainness he testifies to us that we (you and I individually, personally, directly) can seek this same Jesus. As we cleave unto to Him (see Jacob 6:5), we can obtain the grace of all three members of the Godhead to “be and abide in [each of us] forever”!
Grace is defined as assistance and power to do and to maintain a good work. It comes as we are wrapped in the robes of Christ and whispered to continually by the Holy Spirit, who speaks the words of our Father and Savior to us (2 Nephi 32:3). May we begin to seek Christ more earnestly, diligently, and personally.
*One example is Saul Alinsky’s dedication of his book, Rules for Radicals, to Lucifer.