Nephi Prophesies from His Tower – Helaman 7: 1-29

1 Behold, now it came to pass in the sixty and ninth year of the reign of the judges over the people of the Nephites, that Nephi, the son of Helaman, returned to the land of Zarahemla from the land northward. [beyond Bountiful in the north country]

2 For he had been forth among the people who were in the land northward, and did preach the word of God unto them, and did prophesy many things unto them;

3 And they did reject all his words, insomuch that he could not stay among them, but returned again unto the land of his nativity.[birth]

4 And seeing the people in a state of such awful wickedness, and those Gadianton robbers filling the judgment-seats—having usurped the power and authority of the land; laying aside the commandments of God, and not in the least aright before him; doing no justice unto the children of men; [We have the equivalent of Gadianton Robbers filling many the judgement seats in America today.]

5 Condemning the righteous because of their righteousness; letting the guilty and the wicked go unpunished because of their money; and moreover to be held in office at the head of government, to rule and do according to their wills, that they might get gain and glory of the world, and, moreover, that they might the more easily commit adultery, and steal, and kill, and do according to their own wills—

At the time Joseph Smith brought forth the Book of Mormon there was corruption in the government and some of the courts, but today the corruption is as wide spread as it ever was with the Nephites before Christ’s coming. This is a type for us to consider.

6 Now this great iniquity had come upon the Nephites, in the space of not many years; and when Nephi saw it, his heart was swollen with sorrow within his breast; and he did exclaim in the agony of his soul:

7 Oh, that I could have had my days in the days when my father Nephi first came out of the land of Jerusalem, that I could have joyed with him in the promised land; then were his people easy to be entreated, firm to keep the commandments of God, and slow to be led to do iniquity; and they were quick to hearken unto the words of the Lord—

8 Yea, if my days could have been in those days, then would my soul have had joy in the righteousness of my brethren.

9 But behold, I am consigned that these are my days, and that my soul shall be filled with sorrow because of this the wickedness of my brethren.

It is interesting to read Nephi, the son of Helaman, lament regarding his “consignment” to be among such a stiff-necked people. Nephi understood his mission with the Lord. In the days to come it will feel as if the entire world has lost its mind before the redemption of Zion occurs.

10 And behold, now it came to pass that it was upon a tower, which was in the garden of Nephi, which was by the highway which led to the chief market, which was in the city of Zarahemla; therefore, Nephi had bowed himself upon the tower which was in his garden, which tower was also near unto the garden gate by which led the highway.

11 And it came to pass that 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. [Sometimes the Lord inspires us how we should pray, where to go, and whether to raise our voice or to speak only in our mind. Nephi often would go to his private place to communicate with the Lord, but this day he felt inspired to go to the tower overlooking his garden and pray vocally. The Lord is in every detail.]

12 And now, when Nephi arose he beheld the multitudes of people who had gathered together.

13 And it came to pass that he opened his mouth and said unto them: Behold, why have ye gathered yourselves together? That I may tell you of your iniquities?

14 Yea, because I have got upon my tower that I might pour out my soul unto my God, because of the exceeding sorrow of my heart, which is because of your iniquities!

15 And because of my mourning and lamentation ye have gathered yourselves together, and do marvel; yea, and ye have great need to marvel; yea, ye ought to marvel because ye are given away that the devil has got so great hold upon your hearts. [All these people, knowing that the former chief judge and church leader, Nephi, lived at that location, they had never seen him openly pray in that manner.]

16 Yea, how could you have given way to the enticing of him who is seeking to hurl away your souls down to everlasting misery and endless wo?

17 O repent ye, repent ye! Why will ye die? Turn ye, turn ye unto the Lord your God. Why has he forsaken you?

18 It is because you have hardened your hearts; yea, ye will not hearken unto the voice of the good shepherd; yea, ye have provoked him to anger against you. [How would people react to such a spectacle today? How many would keep walking? How many would consider the words spoken to them?]

19 And behold, instead of gathering you, except ye will repent, behold, he shall scatter you forth that ye shall become meat for dogs and wild beasts. [A prophecy concerning their fate.]

20 O, how could you have forgotten your God in the very day that he has delivered you?

21 But behold, it is to get gain, to be praised of men, yea, and that ye might get gold and silver. And ye have set your hearts upon the riches and the vain things of this world, for the which ye do murder, and plunder, and steal, and bear false witness.against your neighbor, and do all manner of iniquity.

22 And for this cause wo shall come unto you except ye shall repent. For if ye will not repent, behold, this great city, and also all those great cities which are round about, which are in the land of our possession, shall be taken away that ye shall have no place in them; for behold, the Lord will not grant unto you strength, as he has hitherto done, to withstand against your enemies. [A prophecy of the destruction of their cities to their enemies.]

23 For behold, thus saith the Lord: I will not show unto the wicked of my strength, to one more than the other, save it be unto those who repent of their sins, and hearken unto my words. Now therefore, I would that ye should behold, my brethren, that it shall be better for the Lamanites than for you except ye shall repent.

24 For behold, they are more righteous than you, for they have not sinned against that great knowledge which ye have received; therefore the Lord will be merciful unto them; yea, he will lengthen out their days and increase their seed, even when thou shalt be utterly destroyed except thou shalt repent. [A prophecy to a future time when the Nephites will be utterly destroyed.]

25 Yea, wo be unto you because of that great abomination which has come among you; and ye have united yourselves unto it, yea, to that secret band which was established by Gadianton! [All the people knew of Gadianton by this time. It was no longer a secret that they existed, to be denied as a “conspiracy theory.”]

26 Yea, wo [a cursing] shall come unto you because of that pride which ye have suffered to enter your hearts, which has lifted you up beyond that which is good because of your exceedingly great riches!

Pride is the downfall of most righteous generations. To lean upon one’s own understanding and not to seek the Lord in all things is the seeds of pride. The fruit of pride is the breaking of the commandments of God.

27 Yea, wo be unto you because of your wickedness and abominations!

28 And except ye repent ye shall perish; yea, even your lands shall be taken from you, and ye shall be destroyed from off the face of the earth.

29 Behold now, I do not say that these things shall be, of myself, because it is not of myself that I know these things; but behold, I know that these things are true because the Lord God has made them known unto me, therefore I testify that they shall be.

Nephi was overcome with the gift of Prophecy. The Lord had made these things known to him and he was required to tell the people. Everything that has been prophecies in this chapter will come to pass upon the American people if they do not repent. 

 

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Infiltrated by the Gadianton – Helaman 6:1-41

1 And it came to pass that when the sixty and second year of the reign of the judges had ended, all these things had happened and the Lamanites had become, the more part of them, a righteous people, insomuch that their righteousness did exceed that of the Nephites, because of their firmness and their steadiness in the faith. [The first time this had occurred since the division of the people at the time of Nephi.]

2 For behold, there were many of the Nephites who had become hardened and impenitent and grossly wicked, insomuch that they did reject the word of God and all the preaching and prophesying which did come among them. [The people had become secular, and sought the pleasures of the flesh.]

3 Nevertheless, the people of the church did have great joy because of the conversion of the Lamanites, yea, because of the church of God, which had been established among them. And they did fellowship one with another, and did rejoice one with another, and did have great joy.

4 And it came to pass that many of the Lamanites did come down into the land of Zarahemla, and did declare unto the people of the Nephites the manner of their conversion, and did exhort them to faith and repentance. [The many that had been converted by Nephi and Lehi.]

5 Yea, and many did preach with exceedingly great power and authority, unto the bringing down many of them into the depths of humility, to be the humble followers of God and the Lamb. [When you speak by the power of the Holy Ghost it has a powerful affect upon others. Without God’s approval (authority) it will not prosper.]

6 And it came to pass that many of the Lamanites did go into the land northward; and also Nephi and Lehi went into the land northward, to preach unto the people. And thus ended the sixty and third year.

7 And behold, there was peace in all the land, insomuch that the Nephites did go into whatsoever part of the land they would, whether among the Nephites or the Lamanites.

8 And it came to pass that the Lamanites did also go whithersoever they would, whether it were among the Lamanites or among the Nephites; and thus they did have free intercourse one with another, to buy and to sell, and to get gain, according to their desire.

9 And it came to pass that they became exceedingly rich, both the Lamanites and the Nephites; and they did have an exceeding plenty of gold, and of silver, and of all manner of precious metals, both in the land south and in the land north.

10 Now the land south was called Lehi, and the land north was called Mulek, which was after the son of Zedekiah; for the Lord did bring Mulek into the land north, and Lehi into the land south.

This is an interesting way that the Nephites chose to name the lands. Lehi’s vessel came into the Gulf of Mexico and landed somewhere just west of Florida. Mulek’s vessel went farther up the eastern coast of America and landed in the Northern part. They went inland eventually built the city of Zarahemla in the upper Missouri area. Thus the land was considered Mulek in the northern regions and Lehi in the southern. The designation of Nephite and Lamanite had become more clouded as they mingled freely with each other.

11 And behold, there was all manner of gold in both these lands, and of silver, and of precious ore of every kind; and there were also curious workmen, who did work all kinds of ore and did refine it; and thus they did become rich.

12 They did raise grain in abundance, both in the north and in the south; and they did flourish exceedingly, both in the north and in the south. And they did multiply and wax exceedingly strong in the land. And they did raise many flocks and herds, yea, many fatlings.

13 Behold their women did toil and spin, and did make all manner of cloth, of fine-twined linen and cloth of every kind, to clothe their nakedness. And thus the sixty and fourth year did pass away in peace.

14 And in the sixty and fifth year they did also have great joy and peace, yea, much preaching and many prophecies concerning that which was to come. [Many of the people, both men and women without church position, began to exercise the gift of prophecy as they approached the coming birth of the Messiah.] And thus passed away the sixty and fifth year.

15 And it came to pass that in the sixty and sixth year of the reign of the judges, behold, Cezoram was murdered by an unknown hand as he sat upon the judgment-seat. And it came to pass that in the same year, that his son, who had been appointed by the people in his stead, was also murdered. And thus ended the sixty and sixth year.

16 And in the commencement of the sixty and seventh year the people began to grow exceedingly wicked again.

17 For behold, the Lord had blessed them so long with the riches of the world that they had not been stirred up to anger, to wars, nor to bloodshed; therefore they began to set their hearts upon their riches; yea, they began to seek to get gain that they might be lifted up one above another; therefore they began to commit secret murders, and to rob and to plunder, that they might get gain.

18 And now behold, those murderers and plunderers were a band who had been formed by Kishkumen and Gadianton. And now it had come to pass that there were many, even among the Nephites, of Gadianton’s band. But behold, they were more numerous among the more wicked part of the Lamanites. And they were called Gadianton’s robbers and murderers. [The ease at which those who joined this secret organization were able to acquire wealth and power caused that it grew quickly in influence. The same thing occurs today amongst the powerful elite in government and other institutions including corporations, churches, schools, and the media.]

19 And it was they who did murder the chief judge Cezoram, and his son, while in the judgment-seat; and behold, they were not found. [Do you not see the same thing today?]

20 And now it came to pass that when the Lamanites found that there were robbers among them they were exceedingly sorrowful; and they did use every means in their power to destroy them off the face of the earth.

21 But behold, Satan did stir up the hearts of the more part of the Nephites, insomuch that they did unite with those bands of robbers, and did enter into their covenants and their oaths, that they would protect and preserve one another in whatsoever difficult circumstances they should be placed, that they should not suffer for their murders, and their plunderings, and their stealings. [They would cover for each other.]

22 And it came to pass that they did have their signs, yea, their secret signs, and their secret words; and this that they might distinguish a brother who had entered into the covenant, that whatsoever wickedness his brother should do he should not be injured by his brother, nor by those who did belong to his band, who had taken this covenant.

23 And thus they might murder, and plunder, and steal, and commit whoredoms and all manner of wickedness, contrary to the laws of their country and also the laws of their God. [There is an undercurrent of sex trafficking that occurs within this secret organization. It is far worse than you can imagine.] 

24 And whosoever of those who belonged to their band should reveal unto the world of their wickedness and their abominations, should be tried, not according to the laws of their country, but according to the laws of their wickedness, which had been given by Gadianton and Kishkumen. [The meetings where death sentences are ordered and executed.]

25 Now behold, it is these secret oaths and covenants which Alma commanded his son should not go forth unto the world, lest they should be a means of bringing down the people unto destruction. [The record was sealed.]

26 Now behold, those secret oaths and covenants did not come forth unto Gadianton from the records which were delivered unto Helaman; but behold, they were put into the heart of Gadianton by that same being who did entice our first parents to partake of the forbidden fruit— [The desire to learn of these things did not come from the record itself, but was put into Gadianton’s heart by the Adversary.]

27 Yea, that same being who did plot with Cain, that if he would murder his brother Abel it should not be known unto the world. And he did plot with Cain and his followers from that time forth.

28 And also it is that same being who put it into the hearts [the desire] of the people to build a tower sufficiently high that they might get to heaven. And it was that same being who led on the people who came from that tower into this land; who spread the works of darkness and abominations over all the face of the land, until he dragged the people down to an entire destruction, and to an everlasting hell. [Mormon prefaces much of what will be studied in the Book of Ether regarding the history of the Jaredites.]

29 Yea, it is that same being who put it into the heart of Gadianton to still carry on the work of darkness, and of secret murder; and he has brought it forth from the beginning of man even down to this time. [It is a fundamental tenet of the Adversary’s oaths and covenants, to promise self-gratification and dominion in exchange for loyalty and death.]

30 And behold, it is he who is the author of all sin. And behold, he doth carry on his works of darkness and secret murder, and doth hand down their plots, and their oaths, and their covenants, and their plans of awful wickedness, from generation to generation according as he can get hold upon the hearts of the children of men. [The death cult of secret combinations has existed on the earth since Cain and has never once left. See the history as recorded in “A Witness of the Temporal Dispensations” to learn more.]

31 And now behold, he had got great hold upon the hearts of the Nephites; yea, insomuch that they had become exceedingly wicked; yea, the more part of them had turned out of the way of righteousness, and did trample under their feet the commandments of God, and did turn unto their own ways, and did build up unto themselves idols of their gold and their silver. [The search for wealth and the possession of things became their idol. Much like we see in our culture today.]

32 And it came to pass that all these iniquities did come unto them in the space of not many years, insomuch that a more part of it had come unto them in the sixty and seventh year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi.

33 And they did grow in their iniquities in the sixty and eighth year also, to the great sorrow and lamentation of the righteous.

34 And thus we see that the Nephites did begin to dwindle in unbelief [false traditions], and grow in wickedness and abominations, while the Lamanites began to grow exceedingly in the knowledge of their God; yea, they did begin to keep his statutes and commandments, and to walk in truth and uprightness before him.

35 And thus we see that the Spirit of the Lord began to withdraw from the Nephites, because of the wickedness and the hardness of their hearts.

36 And thus we see that the Lord began to pour out his Spirit upon the Lamanites, because of their easiness and willingness to believe in his words. [An attribute of those who receive a larger portion of the Lord’s Spirit is their “easiness and and willingness” to accept the gifts of the Spirit, to hear the words of prophets.]

37 And it came to pass that the Lamanites did hunt the band of robbers of Gadianton; and they did preach the word of God among the more wicked part of them, insomuch that this band of robbers was utterly destroyed from among the Lamanites. [The Land of Lehi in the southern regions was cleansed.]

38 And it came to pass on the other hand, that the Nephites did build them up and support them, beginning at the more wicked part of them, until they had overspread all the land of the Nephites, and had seduced the more part of the righteous until they had come down to believe in their works and partake of their spoils, and to join with them in their secret murders and combinations. [Even the leaders of the church amongst the Nephites had become infiltrated with the Gadianton. The mark of the beast had made its claim upon them.]

39 And thus they did obtain the sole management of the government, insomuch that they did trample under their feet and smite and rend and turn their backs upon the poor and the meek, and the humble followers of God. [As is much the case in America today.]

40 And thus we see that they were in an awful state, and ripening for an everlasting destruction.

41 And it came to pass that thus ended the sixty and eighth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi.

 

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Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost – Helaman 5:1-52

1 And it came to pass that in this same year, behold, Nephi delivered up the judgment-seat to a man whose name was Cezoram.

2 For as their laws and their governments were established by the voice of the people, and they who chose evil were more numerous than they who chose good, therefore they were ripening for destruction, for the laws had become corrupted. [The voice of the people had chosen corrupt laws that Nephi could not in his own conscience enforce.]

3 Yea, and this was not all; they were a stiffnecked people, insomuch that they could not be governed by the law nor justice, save it were to their destruction. [Even the just laws they refused to enforce or obey.]

In our society today such things exist where the laws are not enforced and wickedness is spread through the government and society.

4 And it came to pass that Nephi had become weary because of their iniquity; and he yielded up the judgment-seat, and took it upon him to preach the word of God all the remainder of his days, and his brother Lehi also, all the remainder of his days; [The tradition of their fathers since their great-great-grandfather Alma.]

5 For they remembered the words which their father Helaman spake unto them. And these are the words which he spake:

6 Behold, my sons, I desire that ye should remember to keep the commandments of God; and I would that ye should declare unto the people these words. Behold, I have given unto you the names [Lehi and Nephi’s names] of our first parents who came out of the land of Jerusalem; and this I have done that when you remember your names ye may remember them; and when ye remember them ye may remember their works; and when ye remember their works ye may know how that it is said, and also written, that they were good.

7 Therefore, my sons, I would that ye should do that which is good, that it may be said of you, and also written, even as it has been said and written of them. [What is good? To be the means to save many souls in the Father’s Kingdom.]

8 And now my sons, behold I have somewhat more to desire of you, which desire is, that ye may not do these things that ye may boast, but that ye may do these things to lay up for yourselves a treasure in heaven, yea, which is eternal, and which fadeth not away; yea, that ye may have that precious gift of eternal life, which we have reason to suppose hath been given to our fathers.

People do not realize the memorialization of the good deeds we perform on earth and how they are monumental in eternity, never forgotten and always witnessed by innumerable souls forever. How is this done? During the course of a life we experience many things. The accomplishments, accolades, wealth, fame, and positions of authority among men have no remembrance in the eternal views of Heaven. However, when we make epic sacrifices for others and to bring souls to Christ, these stand as a memorial which the angels look upon regularly and it never ends. When you help the beggar in need, suffer hardship from your enemies in the name of Christ, or do any kind of selfless act – it is eternal its it scope. I myself have witnessed the same great deeds, as I have been taught from witnessing some of the actual acts of these great men and women.

The Lord Himself has beautiful statues near His Throne which memorialize these great acts. I have seen them! People whose lives are forgotten to time are never forgotten, ever!

9 O remember, remember, my sons, the words which king Benjamin spake unto his people; yea, remember that there is no other way nor means whereby man can be saved, only through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, who shall come; yea, remember that he cometh to redeem the world.

10 And remember also the words which Amulek spake unto Zeezrom, in the city of Ammonihah; for he said unto him that the Lord surely should come to redeem his people, but that he should not come to redeem them in their sins, but to redeem them from their sins. [This means that they do not remain as they were, but are changed. The soul must ascend from the 2nd to the 3rd estate by the gift of the Holy Ghost, which is to be born again. You cannot be saved in your sins or unholy state.]

11 And he hath power given unto him from the Father to redeem them from their sins because of repentance [to fully choose Christ without reservation] ; therefore he hath sent his angels to declare the tidings of the conditions of repentance, which bringeth unto the power of the Redeemer, unto the salvation of their souls. [These “angels” are messengers from both the Heavenly Realm of the spirit, and those sent to teach His Gospel in the flesh. Alma 13]

12 And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

This is so important. Today, many seek to build their foundation upon good will. They focus upon love, spiritualism, acceptance, philanthropy and charity, and other good things, yet their foundation is not in Christ. There is an unbelief that all religions and people will find salvation in one way or another. If Christ is not the focus, all things will fall. (3 Nephi 14:20-27)

13 And it came to pass that these were the words which Helaman taught to his sons; yea, he did teach them many things which are not written, and also many things which are written.

14 And they did remember his words; and therefore they went forth, keeping the commandments of God, to teach the word of God among all the people of Nephi, beginning at the city Bountiful; [The city of Bountiful was a spiritual center for many of the Nephites.]

15 And from thenceforth to the city of Gid; and from the city of Gid to the city of Mulek;

16 And even from one city to another, until they had gone forth among all the people of Nephi who were in the land southward; and from thence into the land of Zarahemla, among the Lamanites. [These are those who politically identified as Lamanites living in the land of Zarahemla. Many of these who were associated as Lamanites were light skinned.]

17 And it came to pass that they did preach with great power, insomuch that they did confound many of those dissenters who had gone over from the Nephites, insomuch that they came forth and did confess their sins and were baptized unto repentance, and immediately returned to the Nephites to endeavor to repair unto them the wrongs which they had done.

18 And it came to pass that Nephi and Lehi did preach unto the Lamanites with such great power and authority, for they had power and authority given unto them that they might speak, and they also had what they should speak given unto them— [This is the definition of the gift of prophecy. It is not only to speak the Lord’s words regarding future events, but to say that which the Lord commands them to speak. When one is overcome with the gift of prophecy that cannot hardly resist the need to speak and the words are given either before or during their preaching. What did they say to them? Exactly what would cut their hearts like only the Lord can do.]

19 Therefore they did speak unto the great astonishment of the Lamanites, to the convincing them, insomuch that there were eight thousand of the Lamanites who were in the land of Zarahemla and round about baptized unto repentance, and were convinced of the wickedness of the traditions of their fathers.

20 And it came to pass that Nephi and Lehi did proceed from thence to go to the land of Nephi. [A dangerous attempt, like unto the days of the sons of Mosiah. However, the Lamanites were accustomed to fair skin people walking amongst them.]

21 And it came to pass that they were taken by an army of the Lamanites and cast into prison; yea, even in that same prison in which Ammon and his brethren were cast by the servants of Limhi. [In the central northern regions of the Lamanite lands, near eastern Tennessee.]

22 And after they had been cast into prison many days without food, behold, they went forth into the prison to take them that they might slay them.

23 And it came to pass that Nephi and Lehi were encircled about as if by fire [White fire, the glory of God, what is often referred to as a pillar of fire.] , even insomuch that they durst not lay their hands upon them for fear lest they should be burned. Nevertheless, Nephi and Lehi were not burned; and they were as standing in the midst of fire and were not burned.

24 And when they saw that they were encircled about with a pillar of fire, and that it burned them not, their hearts did take courage. [This is the same as a baptism of fire, which occurs each time one mingles with the angels of God or prepares to be in the presence of the Lord. No unclean thing can be in such a presence. Normally, such things cannot be seen by the naked eye, but these men’s spiritual eyes were opened that they could see.]

25 For they saw that the Lamanites durst not lay their hands upon them; neither durst they come near unto them, but stood as if they were struck dumb with amazement.

26 And it came to pass that Nephi and Lehi did stand forth and began to speak unto them, saying: Fear not, for behold, it is God that has shown unto you this marvelous thing, in the which is shown unto you that ye cannot lay your hands on us to slay us.

27 And behold, when they had said these words, the earth shook exceedingly, and the walls of the prison did shake as if they were about to tumble to the earth [A similar sensation that the sons of Mosiah and Alma experienced when the angel appeared to them.]; but behold, they did not fall. And behold, they that were in the prison were Lamanites and Nephites who were dissenters. [both white and brown skinned Lamanites]

28 And it came to pass that they were overshadowed with a cloud of darkness [They could not see what was happening, feeling confused and afraid as the Adversary attempted to gain control.], and an awful solemn fear came upon them.

In scripture when our natural man is unable to spiritually see into the spirit realm, it is considered the “cloud.”

29 And it came to pass that there came a voice as if it were above the cloud of darkness, saying: Repent ye, repent ye, and seek no more to destroy my servants whom I have sent unto you to declare good tidings. [They heard the voice of the Spirit of God speaking to each of them. As the words come forcefully to the mind, they sound like one’s own voice to a degree, yet is a distinct and unexpected signaling of a source beyond one’s own conscious.]

30 And it came to pass when they heard this voice, and beheld that it was not a voice of thunder, neither was it a voice of a great tumultuous noise, but behold, it was a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it did pierce even to the very soul—

When the voice of the Spirit of God speaks to us it is usually subtle and gentle. It comes with perfect clarity and has an effect of stilling our mind. It may sound like our own voice, yet it is not. For those who live in as busy of a society as we do, it is important that we make room for this voice to have a place in our life. 

31 And notwithstanding the mildness of the voice, behold the earth shook exceedingly, and the walls of the prison trembled again, as if it were about to tumble to the earth; and behold the cloud of darkness, which had overshadowed them, did not disperse—

They heard the good voice, yet were still encompassed by the fear and despair of the Adversary. Often in our great suffering we feel that God is close, yet we are encumbered by despair, discouragement, fear, and confusion. Watch how it is overcome in the coming verses.

32 And behold the voice came again, saying: Repent ye, repent ye, [Come unto me! Turn your hearts to me!] for the kingdom of heaven is at hand [Your opportunity to be saved is NOW.]; and seek no more to destroy my servants. And it came to pass that the earth shook again, and the walls trembled.

33 And also again the third time the voice came, and did speak unto them marvelous words which cannot be uttered by man; and the walls did tremble again, and the earth shook as if it were about to divide asunder. [What kind of marvelous words did God utter to them that cannot be shared? It was personal revelation to these men regarding their sins and what God would do for them.]

34 And it came to pass that the Lamanites could not flee because of the cloud of darkness which did overshadow them; yea, and also they were immovable because of the fear which did come upon them.

35 Now there was one among them who was a Nephite by birth, who had once belonged to the church of God but had dissented from them.

36 And it came to pass that he turned him about, and behold, he saw through the cloud of darkness the faces of Nephi and Lehi; and behold, they did shine exceedingly, even as the faces of angels. [His spiritual eyes were opened.] And he beheld that they did lift their eyes to heaven; and they were in the attitude as if talking or lifting their voices to some being whom they beheld. [Who do you think they saw? Were they not conversing with these beings within the pillar of fire? Had they not been so transfigure this could not have occurred. This is a glimpse of what occurs when someone converses with angels. Had it been an ascension to the Throne of Heaven they would have been still or laying down.]

37 And it came to pass that this man did cry unto the multitude, that they might turn and look. And behold, there was power given unto them that they did turn and look; and they did behold the faces of Nephi and Lehi.

38 And they said unto the man: Behold, what do all these things mean, and who is it with whom these men do converse?

39 Now the man’s name was Aminadab. And Aminadab said unto them: They do converse with the angels of God.

Before anything, these Lamanites began to exercise a small degree of faith. They began to believe, they beheld the glory of God and the administering of Angels.

40 And it came to pass that the Lamanites said unto him: What shall we do, that this cloud of darkness may be removed from overshadowing us? [Asking questions is always a preliminary step in receiving any gift of the Spirit.]

41 And Aminadab said unto them: You must repent [turn your heart to God], and cry unto the voice [a physical crying out to God], even until ye shall have faith in Christ [keep at it “until” you receive an answer], who was taught unto you by Alma, and Amulek, and Zeezrom [in Ammonihah years ago]; and when ye shall do this, the cloud of darkness shall be removed from overshadowing you.

42 And it came to pass that they all did begin to cry unto the voice of him who had shaken the earth; yea, they did cry even until the cloud of darkness was dispersed.

There is great power in approaching the Lord as a group. Some of the greatest outpourings I’ve seen amongst people who have never experienced revelation, visions, prophecy, and healing (and other gifts), occurred in a group gathering. When the baptism of fire comes down upon an entire group it is electric and powerful.

43 And it came to pass that when they cast their eyes about, and saw that the cloud of darkness was dispersed from overshadowing them, behold, they saw that they were encircled about, yea every soul, by a pillar of fire. [This is a sign of having received the gift of the Holy Ghost. If one’s spiritual eyes are not open they will not see it. I have witnessed this on occasion and it appears as a twisting white flame, like plasma, just above the head or around the body.]

44 And Nephi and Lehi were in the midst of them; yea, they were encircled about; yea, they were as if in the midst of a flaming fire, yet it did harm them not, neither did it take hold upon the walls of the prison; and they were filled with that joy which is unspeakable and full of glory. [Joseph Smith described something similar in one of his accounts of the First Vision, as the flames of glory appeared that they would consume the trees, yet they did not.]

45 And behold, the Holy Spirit of God did come down from heaven, and did enter into their hearts, and they were filled as if with fire, and they could speak forth marvelous words. [Another sign of the reception of the gift of the Holy Ghost, that they are given a new heart. It is white and pure, seen with the spiritual eyes. The disposition to do evil is burned away. Their words are spoken by the Spirit, often exhibiting the gift of prophecy and the words (voice) of angels. It is likely that one would shout out praises to God as they are overcome by the Spirit. This is a kind of display, but people may respond differently.]

46 And it came to pass that there came a voice unto them, yea, a pleasant voice, as if it were a whisper, saying:

47 Peace, peace be unto you, because of your faith in my Well Beloved, who was from the foundation of the world. [They received the first portion of the Holy Spirit of Promise, which comes from the Father. This is charity, and prepares them to receive all things.]

48 And now, when they heard this they cast up their eyes as if to behold from whence the voice came; and behold, they saw the heavens open; and angels came down out of heaven and ministered unto them. [Now their spiritual eyes are opened. It is important to see how their faith made this possible. They believed the words spoken to them. They acted upon what they had been told. They “cast up their eyes” believing that what they had heard was more than an epiphany, or some kind of random thought. They did not doubt. They did not question. They did not ask themselves if they were conjuring or using hypnotic suggestions. They simple looked, and the heavens opened.]

49 And there were about three hundred souls [the number 300 represents “chosen of God.] who saw and heard these things; and they were bidden to go forth and marvel not, neither should they doubt. [After such and experience it is common to doubt or wonder. Always seek a confirmation with the Lord, but when the witness is given do not ever doubt.]

50 And it came to pass that they did go forth, and did minister unto the people, declaring throughout all the regions round about all the things which they had heard and seen, insomuch that the more part of the Lamanites were convinced of them, because of the greatness of the evidences which they had received.

51 And as many as were convinced did lay down their weapons of war, and also their hatred and the tradition of their fathers.

52 And it came to pass that they did yield up unto the Nephites the lands of their possession.

What caused this great event to occur? This was the greatest unprecedented conversion that Nephi and Lehi, the sons of Helaman, had ever experienced. It their deepest suffering, while being forced to fast for numerous days, they prayed with great faith for the souls of their captors, the very people they had come to save, and the ones who wanted to kill them. The Lord came in their darkest hour, to anointed servants of the Most High fulfilling a sacred mission, and gave them the power to affect 300 Lamanites to their salvation. They didn’t know what to expect. They simply did as the Spirit commanded them.

In 3 Nephi 9:20 the Lord later revealed regarding this event:

“And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost, even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not.” (3 Nephi 9:20)

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Stand in Holy Places – Helaman 4:1-26

1 And it came to pass in the fifty and fourth year there were many dissensions in the church, and there was also a contention among the people, insomuch that there was much bloodshed. [How quickly the people begin to divide amongst the Church. What is the source of this contention? Differences in political views, doctrinal views, opinions on rights and privileges, who has the “keys.”]

2 And the rebellious part [those who took up arms] were slain and driven out of the land, and they did go unto the king of the Lamanites.

3 And it came to pass that they did endeavor to stir up the Lamanites to war against the Nephites; but behold, the Lamanites were exceedingly afraid, insomuch that they would not hearken to the words of those dissenters.

4 But it came to pass in the fifty and sixth year of the reign of the judges, there were dissenters who went up from the Nephites unto the Lamanites; and they succeeded with those others in stirring them up to anger against the Nephites; and they were all that year preparing for war. [The Nephites were viewed by the Lamanites as arrogant, imperialistic, untruthful, barbarous, and evil. They often felt justified in their hatred for them. Interestingly, this is how much of the world views the United States of America. Often their views are justified by some of the people they interact with, those who work for government who actually do display these characteristics. The same can be said for how we view countries that are opposed to us.] 

5 And in the fifty and seventh year they did come down against the Nephites to battle, and they did commence the work of death; yea, insomuch that in the fifty and eighth year of the reign of the judges they succeeded in obtaining possession of the land of Zarahemla; yea, and also all the lands, even unto the land which was near the land Bountiful. [This is a major accomplishment of the Lamanites. Imagine if all of America was conquered with the exception of the Mountain West? Little is said in Mormon’s abridgment about how this happened.]

6 And the Nephites and the armies of Moronihah were driven even into the land of Bountiful; [considered the gateway to the Northern countries]

7 And there they did fortify against the Lamanites, from the west sea, even unto the east; it being a day’s journey for a Nephite, on the line which they had fortified and stationed their armies to defend their north country. [At the time there was roughly a 20 mile gap between the two lakes.] 

8 And thus those dissenters of the Nephites, with the help of a numerous army of the Lamanites, had obtained all the possession of the Nephites which was in the land southward. And all this was done in the fifty and eighth and ninth years of the reign of the judges.

9 And it came to pass in the sixtieth year of the reign of the judges, Moronihah did succeed with his armies in obtaining many parts of the land; yea, they regained many cities which had fallen into the hands of the Lamanites.

10 And it came to pass in the sixty and first year of the reign of the judges they succeeded in regaining even the half of all their possessions.

11 Now this great loss of the Nephites, and the great slaughter which was among them, would not have happened had it not been for their wickedness and their abomination which was among them; yea, and it was among those also who professed to belong to the church of God.

12 And it was because of the pride of their hearts, because of their exceeding riches, yea, it was because of their oppression to the poor, withholding their food from the hungry, withholding their clothing from the naked, and smiting their humble brethren upon the cheek, making a mock of that which was sacred, denying the spirit of prophecy and of revelation, murdering, plundering, lying, stealing, committing adultery, rising up in great contentions, and deserting away into the land of Nephi [Leaving to the land of the Lamanites.] , among the Lamanites—

13 And because of this their great wickedness, and their boastings in their own strength, they were left in their own strength; therefore they did not prosper, but were afflicted and smitten, and driven before the Lamanites, until they had lost possession of almost all their lands.

The interesting thing in how Mormon describes the wickedness of the Nephites at this time is they sound similar to our society today. Most people living in such wickedness do not consider themselves bad people. They feel justified in their behavior and judge their worth as a person by their passion toward causes that they believe are noble and righteous, yet they forget everything else that is important. Mormon says they make a “mock of that which was sacred.” This is a sign of a society in decline. Do you see that in our world today?

14 But behold, Moronihah did preach many things unto the people because of their iniquity, and also Nephi and Lehi, who were the sons of Helaman, did preach many things unto the people, yea, and did prophesy [speaking the Lord’s word as given to them] many things unto them concerning their iniquities, and what should come unto them if they did not repent of their sins.

15 And it came to pass that they did repent, and inasmuch as they did repent they did begin to prosper.

16 For when Moronihah saw that they did repent he did venture to lead them forth from place to place, and from city to city, even until they had regained the one-half of their property and the one-half of all their lands. [Moronihah organized them to go to battle to regain their lands.]

17 And thus ended the sixty and first year of the reign of the judges.

18 And it came to pass in the sixty and second year of the reign of the judges, that Moronihah could obtain no more possessions over the Lamanites.

19 Therefore they did abandon their design to obtain the remainder of their lands, for so numerous were the Lamanites that it became impossible for the Nephites to obtain more power over them; therefore Moronihah did employ all his armies in maintaining those parts which he had taken.

20 And it came to pass, because of the greatness of the number of the Lamanites the Nephites were in great fear, lest they should be overpowered, and trodden down, and slain, and destroyed.

21 Yea, they began to remember the prophecies of Alma, and also the words of Mosiah; and they saw that they had been a stiffnecked people, and that they had set at naught the commandments of God; [They recognized the reason for their suffering.]

22 And that they had altered and trampled under their feet the laws of Mosiah, or that which the Lord commanded him to give unto the people; and they saw that their laws had become corrupted, and that they had become a wicked people, insomuch that they were wicked even like unto the Lamanites.

23 And because of their iniquity the church had begun to dwindle; and they began to disbelieve in the spirit of prophecy and in the spirit of revelation; and the judgments of God did stare them in the face. [When the leaders of the church are guilty of sinful behavior the people lose faith.]

24 And they saw that they had become weak, like unto their brethren, the Lamanites, and that the Spirit of the Lord did no more preserve them; yea, it had withdrawn from them because the Spirit of the Lord doth not dwell in unholy temples— [This phrase “unholy temples” has two meanings. It refers to an edifice that houses those who learn of God, but also refers to our individual bodies. What causes the temple to become unholy? It requires a state of perpetual sin, where the people do not repent and actually invite the Adversary to dwell there by there wicked thoughts and actions. It then is considered unholy. The best way to reclaim such condemnation is to repent with sackcloth and ashes, which means to fully submit to the Lord. To call out to Him that He make you clean, and He will.]

25 Therefore the Lord did cease to preserve them by his miraculous and matchless power, for they had fallen into a state of unbelief [false traditions]  and awful wickedness; and they saw that the Lamanites were exceedingly more numerous than they, and except they should cleave unto the Lord their God they must unavoidably perish.

26 For behold, they saw that the strength of the Lamanites was as great as their strength, even man for man. And thus had they fallen into this great transgression; yea, thus had they become weak, because of their transgression, in the space of not many years.

The Lord does preserve the righteous. How does He do this? It means that He blesses them with an increase of spiritual power. The righteous have an increase of discernment and revelation, sometimes even physical strength and stamina to do what needs to be done. The Lord advises us to “stand in holy places” as the judgments of God are about to be released. (D&C 45:32, D&C 87:8, D&C 101:22)

 

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Nephite Expansion – Helaman 3:1-37

1 And now it came to pass in the forty and third year of the reign of the judges, there was no contention among the people of Nephi save it were a little pride which was in the church, which did cause some little dissensions among the people, which affairs were settled in the ending of the forty and third year.

2 And there was no contention among the people in the forty and fourth year; neither was there much contention in the forty and fifth year.

3 And it came to pass in the forty and sixth, yea, there was much contention and many dissensions; in the which there were an exceedingly great many who departed out of the land of Zarahemla, and went forth unto the land northward to inherit the land. [These people seeking a place with no land restriction or regulations. Most of which were motivated by the opportunity for wealth and prosperity, not the kingdom of God.]

4 And they did travel to an exceedingly great distance, insomuch that they came to large bodies of water and many rivers.

Here we are seeing a Nephite migratory expansion. Reminds me of the western expansion of the United States during the nineteenth century.

5 Yea, and even they did spread forth into all parts of the land, into whatever parts it had not been rendered desolate and without timber, because of the many inhabitants who had before inherited the land.

6 And now no part of the land was desolate, save it were for timber; but because of the greatness of the destruction of the people who had before inhabited the land it was called desolate. [Referring to the Jaredites.]

7 And there being but little timber upon the face of the land, nevertheless the people who went forth became exceedingly expert in the working of cement; therefore they did build houses of cement, in the which they did dwell. [Cement is the laying of stones, gravel and mortar. The Nephites were not rock masons like many of the ancient cultures of Egypt, Israel, or even the Mayans in South America.]

8 And it came to pass that they did multiply and spread, and did go forth from the land southward to the land northward, and did spread insomuch that they began to cover the face of the whole earth, from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea east. [They spread through Canada and across America from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean.]

9 And the people who were in the land northward did dwell in tents, and in houses of cement, and they did suffer whatsoever tree should spring up upon the face of the land that it should grow up, that in time they might have timber to build their houses, yea, their cities, and their temples, and their synagogues, and their sanctuaries, and all manner of their buildings.

10 And it came to pass as timber was exceedingly scarce in the land northward, they did send forth much by the way of shipping.

11 And thus they did enable the people in the land northward that they might build many cities, both of wood and of cement.

12 And it came to pass that there were many of the people of Ammon, who were Lamanites by birth, did also go forth into this land.

13 And now there are many records kept of the proceedings of this people, by many of this people, which are particular and very large, concerning them.

14 But behold, a hundredth part of the proceedings of this people, yea, the account of the Lamanites and of the Nephites, and their wars, and contentions, and dissensions, and their preaching, and their prophecies, and their shipping and their building of ships, and their building of temples, and of synagogues and their sanctuaries, and their righteousness, and their wickedness, and their murders, and their robbings, and their plundering, and all manner of abominations and whoredoms, cannot be contained in this work. [The Nephites were very industrious during this period of expansion. The ship building and settling went far beyond the North countries, as ships were sent from other parts of the land occupied by the Nephites.]

15 But behold, there are many books and many records of every kind, and they have been kept chiefly by the Nephites. [There were books on every topic, from science, to shipbuilding, war, and even the mysteries. None of it exists today, except that which has been sealed up in different locations unknown to the world.]

16 And they have been handed down from one generation to another by the Nephites, even until they have fallen into transgression and have been murdered, plundered, and hunted, and driven forth, and slain, and scattered upon the face of the earth, and mixed with the Lamanites until they are no more called the Nephites, becoming wicked, and wild, and ferocious, yea, even becoming Lamanites. [Here Mormon jumps ahead explaining what happened to all these people who migrated away from the Nephite lands.]

17 And now I return again to mine account; therefore, what I have spoken had passed after there had been great contentions, and disturbances, and wars, and dissensions, among the people of Nephi.

18 The forty and sixth year of the reign of the judges ended;

19 And it came to pass that there was still great contention in the land, yea, even in the forty and seventh year, and also in the forty and eighth year. [Contention arises as a new generation disagrees with the traditions of the past and demand change to both the culture and the institutions. This is fueled by those seeking power, much like today.]

20 Nevertheless Helaman did fill the judgment-seat with justice and equity; yea, he did observe to keep the statutes, and the judgments, and the commandments of God; and he did do that which was right in the sight of God continually; and he did walk after the ways of his father, insomuch that he did prosper in the land.

21 And it came to pass that he had two sons. He gave unto the eldest the name of Nephi, and unto the youngest, the name of Lehi. And they began to grow up unto the Lord.

22 And it came to pass that the wars and contentions began to cease, in a small degree, among the people of the Nephites, in the latter end of the forty and eighth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi.

23 And it came to pass in the forty and ninth year of the reign of the judges, there was continual peace established in the land, all save it were the secret combinations which Gadianton the robber had established in the more settled parts of the land, [the older, more established cites] which at that time were not known unto those who were at the head of government; therefore they were not destroyed out of the land.

24 And it came to pass that in this same year there was exceedingly great prosperity in the church, insomuch that there were thousands who did join themselves unto the church and were baptized unto repentance.

25 And so great was the prosperity of the church, and so many the blessings which were poured out upon the people, that even the high priests and the teachers were themselves astonished beyond measure. [What constitutes “prosperity” to the Lord? Is it the expansion of new sanctuaries, church houses, or temples? Is it the statistical rise in membership? No. This kind of prosperity is the increase of the gifts of the Spirit amongst the people. The gift of charity (gift of the Holy Ghost), healings, visions, prophecy, and many more miracles. These are the fruits of Heaven.]

26 And it came to pass that the work of the Lord did prosper [bless them spiritually] unto the baptizing and uniting to the church of God, many souls, yea, even tens of thousands.

27 Thus we may see that the Lord is merciful unto all who will, in the sincerity of their hearts, call upon his holy name. [repent]

28 Yea, thus we see that the gate of heaven [gifts of the Spirit] is open unto all, even to those who will believe on the name of Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God.

29 Yea, we see that whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God [personal revelation through scripture, the words of others, and direct revelation], which is quick and powerful, which shall divide asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil [lies and false traditions], and lead the man of Christ in a strait and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery [struggles of life] which is prepared [by the Adversary] to engulf the wicked—

30 And land their souls, yea, their immortal souls, at the right hand of God in the kingdom of heaven, to sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and with Jacob, and with all our holy fathers, to go no more out. [Lead to the Resurrection of the Just, to dwell in Everlasting Burnings in the Highest Heaven.]

31 And in this year there was continual rejoicing in the land of Zarahemla, and in all the regions round about, even in all the land which was possessed by the Nephites.

32 And it came to pass that there was peace and exceedingly great joy in the remainder of the forty and ninth year; yea, and also there was continual peace and great joy in the fiftieth year of the reign of the judges.

33 And in the fifty and first year of the reign of the judges there was peace also, save it were the pride which began to enter into the church—not into the church of God, but into the hearts of the people who professed to belong to the church of God— [Members began to divide according to class and wealth. Such distinction occurs regularly today amongst those who call themselves disciples of Christ.]

34 And they were lifted up in pride, even to the persecution of many of their brethren. Now this was a great evil, which did cause the more humble part of the people to suffer great persecutions, and to wade through much affliction.

35 Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft [focusing only upon their Lord], and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility [seeking Him], and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ [following all revelations and commandments given], unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation [peace and comfort knowing they are accepted of God], yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God. [This verse is a perfect definition of how to acquire holiness, the power to call down the glory of Heaven upon us and be worthy to stand in the presence of God.]

It is important to understand that although they were purified by the baptism of fire and sanctified by the reception of the gift of the Holy Ghost, most all had not yet stood in the presence of the Lord in the flesh. Such blessing would  befall those who lived to see Christ coming in Bountiful. I will discuss this in detail when we reach 3 Nephi.

36 And it came to pass that the fifty and second year ended in peace also, save it were the exceedingly great pride which had gotten into the hearts of the people; and it was because of their exceedingly great riches and their prosperity in the land; and it did grow upon them from day to day.

37 And it came to pass in the fifty and third year of the reign of the judges, Helaman died, and his eldest son Nephi began to reign in his stead. And it came to pass that he did fill the judgment-seat with justice and equity; yea, he did keep the commandments of God, and did walk in the ways of his father.

We have seen the passing of many prophets by this time; Alma, Alma the younger, Helaman, Helaman the younger, and now Helaman’s son Nephi takes the position as chief judge and keeper of the records.

 

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