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Bruce Satterfield
Tuesday, February 28 2012

Lesson 10 “He Inviteth All to Come unto Him” (2 Nephi 26-30)

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In the spring of 1820, Joseph Smith went to a grove of trees on his family’s farm in western New York to offer his first vocalized prayer expressing the anxiety he felt regarding the “the confusion and strife among the different denominations” of his day (see Joseph Smith–History 1:5-20).  The different Christian religions located in his area were debating many matters of salvation with very opposing views.  The debate began with the Methodists, who believed salvation offered by Christ could be attainable to any who accepted Christ and endured to the end.  Opposed to this view, Presbyterians believed that salvation was limited to only those God had elected to be saved while all else would “suffer everlasting punishment in hell.” [i]  

Joseph Smith admits that he was leaning toward the Methodists view of salvation while many in his family had adopted Presbyterianism.  But he also expressed that “so great were the confusion and strife among the different denominations, that it was impossible for a person young as I was, and so unacquainted with men and things, to come to any certain conclusion who was right and who was wrong.”  It was after two years [ii] of frustrating confusion that Joseph decided to go to the grove of trees to ask God which of all the religious sects were true.  As a result of his prayer, Joseph saw of vision of God the Father, and Jesus Christ, who told him that none of the different religions then upon the earth were authorized by God.  At that time, Joseph was “promise[d] that the fullness of the Gospel should at some future time be made known unto [him].” [iii]

To begin the fulfillment of this promise, Moroni was sent to Joseph Smith who gave him the “keys of the stick of Ephraim” (D&C 27:5) [iv] authorizing him to translate the Book of Mormon which contains “the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ “(D&C 20:8-9). [v]   From the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith learned that salvation is available to all mankind.  The message of the Book of Mormon states: “Wherefore, [God] commandeth none that they shall not partake of his salvation. . . Hath he commanded any that they should not partake of his salvation?  Behold I say unto you, Nay; but he hath given it free for all men; and he hath commanded his people that they should persuade all men to repentance.  Behold, hath the Lord commanded any that they should not partake of his goodness?  Behold I say unto you, Nay; but all men are privileged the one like unto the other, and none are forbidden. . . and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile” (2 Ne. 26:24, 33; emphasis added).

The Book of Mormon Exposes the Enemies of Christ

To bring mankind unto Christ is the purpose of the Book of Mormon.  This has been emphasized by President Ezra Taft Benson who taught: “The Book of Mormon was designed by Deity to bring men to Christ.” [vi]    On one occasion he explained that this is accomplished in two ways.  “First, it tells in a plain manner of Christ and His gospel. It testifies of His divinity and of the necessity for a Redeemer and the need of our putting trust in Him.  It bears witness of the Fall and the Atonement and the first principles of the gospel, including our need of a broken heart and a contrite spirit and a spiritual rebirth.  It proclaims we must endure to the end in righteousness and live the moral life of a Saint.”

He then explained the second way the Book of Mormon brings men to Christ in these words: “Second, the Book of Mormon exposes the enemies of Christ.  It confounds false doctrines and lays down contention. (See 2 Ne. 3:12.)  It fortifies the humble followers of Christ against the evil designs, strategies, and doctrines of the devil in our day.  The type of apostates in the Book of Mormon is similar to the type we have today.  God, with his infinite foreknowledge, so molded the Book of Mormon that we might see the error and know how to combat false educational, political, religious, and philosophical concepts of our time.” [vii]

2 Nephi 26-30

Many enemies of Christ are exposed throughout the Book of Mormon, Indeed, “the evil designs, strategies, and doctrines of the devil” are found in every book of the Book of Mormon.  In line with this important purpose of the Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 26-30 discloses several aspects of Christ’s enemies.

These chapters are filled with prophecies ranging from Christ’s resurrection to His second coming and the great Millennial era.  The chief interest of this section of Nephi’s writings, however, is the time period in which the Book of Mormon was to come forth to the world–the latter days!  It is obvious that a book “designed by Deity to bring men to Christ,” would not go unchallenged by Satan.  Indeed, in the last days, Satan would unleash every enemy possible to thwart the effects of the Book of Mormon.  Among the enemies of Christ and the Book of Mormon exposed in these chapters are pride, false systems of salvation, hedonism, laxity towards sin, false teachers, apathy within the Church, the precepts of men, and Satan, himself. [viii]

The First Enemy–Pride

Though not listed in Alma’s triad of the most serious sins–denial of the Holy Ghost, murder, and adultery(Alma 39:5-6)–pride is perhaps the most serious of all sins.  It seems that pride is the root of every abominable sin.  Therefore, pride is the chief enemy of Christ. 

In his land mark talk on pride, President Benson taught: “The central feature of pride is enmity–enmity toward God and enmity toward our fellowmen.  Enmity means ‘hatred toward, hostility to, or a state of opposition.’ It is the power by which Satan wishes to reign over us.   Pride is essentially competitive in nature. We pit our will against God’s. When we direct our pride toward God, it is in the spirit of ‘my will and not thine be done.’  As Paul said, they ‘seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.’ (Philip. 2:21.)”

Because of pride, many fall prey to serious sin.  “Our will in competition to God’s will,” said President Benson, “allows desires, appetites, and passions to go unbridled.”  He continued, “The proud cannot accept the authority of God giving direction to their lives. (See Hel. 12:6.)  They pit their perceptions of truth against God’s great knowledge, their abilities versus God’s priesthood power, their accomplishments against His mighty works.  Our enmity toward God takes on many labels, such as rebellion, hard‑heartedness, stiff‑neckedness, unrepentant, puffed up, easily offended, and sign seekers.” [ix]

Pride was the cause of the downfall of the Nephites.


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