(If you've never read of the Book of Mormon you can read it by clicking this link.) https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm?lang=eng
First of all, I should mention that I've been trying to work on making the Savior my primary source for Joy in my life. I'm not going to take away the love I have for my children and husband or the time I spend as a Mother and wife. Those things give me joy too, I'm just referring to my thoughts of the Savior as Joy, another emotion other than just admiration and gratitude. But real, pure joy like I can't find anywhere else.
It's hard to think that I could learn something new about the Savior that I don't already know. Or to think that I could feel more grateful for him and his atoning sacrifice. But, I'm going to try and draw even closer to him. And in just under one weeks time since I made that goal.... I ALREADY HAVE! That kinda blows me away. "Ask and ye shall receive!" God hears your prayers and if it's a righteous desire, he will help you. Especially if your prayer is to come to know the Savior more.
On this subject, I was hit with some profound teaching in my class last night. How did the class instructor know? I could have been put in any group of classmates to study. And in fact a few of us had already decided to clump together and make a group and so did the rest of the class, but right before she handed out each groups study assignment, she decided to give us a number and switch things around a little more and because of that I ended up with what the other side of the room would have been asked to study. (make sense?) The Lord works in mysterious ways. And he has a hand in every little thing that we're involved in.
So, we were given what was considered lesson #1. (I would have ended up with lesson #5 had she not split us up. A great lesson but not nearly as profound for my new goal of learning more and finding more Joy in the Savior.) The lesson was finding cause and effect in 2 Nephi 9:4-27
-vs 4-9 Is summarized by saying- Because of the atonement we shall overcome the grave. Because of transgression there is spiritual dearth but Atonement overcomes both. And here's the cool part that I hadn't ever even KNOWN or thought of before..... If there was no atonement we would be angels to Satan! Did you know or ever think about that before? See what I mean about asking Heavenly Father to draw nearer to the Savior? If you want knowledge about his only begotten... lesson learned, ye shall receive it! And within just a few days too!
-vs 10 paraphrased: Because of the Savior we can escape the grasp of that awful monster.... What a way to phrase it! That really gives me... just off the top of my head... JOY! Jesus Christ's mission on earth was successful! He did it! It's not like I never thought about how hard it was for him before, but I definitely didn't think about 'what if it wasn't successful'. Then what? I usually just thank him for his life and atonement and perfect example and teachings. I am a Christian. I think of his perfect life all the time. But, wow to think of what would have happened if he decided, "this is too hard." But, he didn't, he really saved me from Satan's grasp! What an image!!!
I kinda came at this, my whole life, from the view point of, he did what he was asked and it was the most precious gift he could have given. To atone for my sins and then give his life for me. Do you see what I'm getting at? Anyone else feel like this is another view point that they hadn't thought of before? This is Another reason to have Joy in the Savior.... He didn't just save me from my sins, he saved me from Satan.
-vs 13- 20 If we follow the plan we will be restored spirit and body with a perfect knowledge as our reward! (nice. I'll take it!) His plan had to be fulfilled! Obviously or we'd be lost, not just in sin but His mercy delivers us from Hell. He knows all! He is great!
So, we already knew that Jesus Christ was Jehovah in the Old Testament and was the God of Abraham. He was Heavenly Father's greatest gift to mankind. (John 3:16). And while learning about Lehi's dream Nephi asked to have the same dream and was shown more detail, in fact was guided by the Holy Ghost himself. I found it particularly sweet and poignant when Nephi asked what the tree of life represented and the spirit showed him Mary holding the baby Jesus. Now that is a gift! That image was very powerful in terms of what Heavenly Father really gave to us... his literal son to be sacrificed so that we could all come back to live with him again. And tying both those examples together of Jehovah from the Old Testament and God's gift to us, it's important to point out that Jesus Christ is the Mediator and only link to Heavenly Father. We would not be able to pray to him or have any communication with him if the Savior hadn't fulfilled his mission. More blessings than we can comprehend... but we're getting there guys. slowly but surely.... "line upon line, precept upon precept".
We also understood that Christ had to "buy" us with His life so that we would be in complete debt to Him, in order to be able to offer us the law of mercy and have a chance that we would accept it. (Anyone else thinking about the war in heaven right now? And how we chose to follow the plan of salvation? The more I study, the more in awe I become of how perfect this plan really is.)
So now we can add to our knowledge that because of Jesus Christ's mortal ministry we are literally saved from Satan's grasp! I feel Joy in that! Pure Joy! "O how great the goodness of our God, who prepareth a way (The plan of Salvation) for our escape from the grasp of this awful monster; yea, that monster, death and hell, which I call the death of the body, and also the death of the spirit." 2 Nephi 9:10
For a simple version of the Plan of Salvation click here.
Or - For a more in depth talk on the Plan of Salvation click here.
Some other things I've learned this week that were presented in a way that made things I already knew stand out even more were:
The prophet Isiah really did see some amazing things. Things that he didn't' have the right words to describe. If you read Isiah in the Bible or 2 Nephi you'll understand what I mean. He saw people gathering to a place with mountains to establish the Lords house. It has flooded my mind with the hymn High On the Mountain Top. Read the words and you'll know what I mean. I could go on and on about how my ancestors left everything behind and packed up their children and came to Utah because of their great love of the Savior and his restored gospel. I have several stories just in my family alone of that exact scenario of packing up their kids or sometimes coming alone leaving their parents and family and friends behind to follow their heart to help build up the kingdom of God in Utah. Utah! Of all places. How would you have told your family and friends over 100 years ago why you were going so far away? Only a true and deep testimony of the Savior and his gospel would cause anyone to travel across oceans to a place they new little about in a desert. I'm thankful every day that they did. And that they found Joy in the Savior enough to press forward and establish my home here in Utah!
Here are some words that both Modern day and original Pioneers have sung about Joy in the Savior.
Come Come Ye Saints
"Come, come, ye Saints, no toil nor labor fear;
But with JOY wend your way.
Though hard to you this journey may appear,
Grace shall be as your day."
There journey was hard. And they still did it because of the Joy they felt in the Savior.
Come, Ye Children of The Lord
"Earth shall then be cleansed from sin.
Ev'ry living thing therein---
Shall in love and beauty dwell;
Then with joy each heart will swell.
Oh, how joyful it will be
When our Savior we shall see!"
I know that My Redeemer Lives
" He lives! All glory to his name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
"I know that my Redeemer lives!"
He lives! All glory to his name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
"I know that my Redeemer lives!"'
On This Day of Joy and Gladness
"On this day of joy and gladness,
Lord, we praise thy holy name;
In this sacred place of worship,
We thy glories loud proclaim!"
I love that we are referred to as "His Glories".
There is Sunshine in My Soul Today
This whole song is just Joy in the Savior!
- There is sunshine in my soul today,
More glorious and brightThan glows in any earthly sky,For Jesus is my light.(Chorus)Oh, there's sunshine, blessed sunshineWhen the peaceful happy moments roll.When Jesus shows his smiling face,There is sunshine in the soul.2. There is music in my soul today,A carol to my King,And Jesus listening can hearThe songs I cannot sing.3. There is springtime in my soul today,For when the Lord is near,The dove of peace sings in my heart,The flow'rs of grace appear.4. There is gladness in my soul today,And hope and praise and love,For blessings which he gives me now,For joys "laid up" above.
President Thomas S. Monson gave a talk on choices that we make each day and he reminded us that the gate to historical change swings on small hinges. Meaning that the small things we do will have a large impact in our lives and in our history as people on earth. Those hinges are small but it swings a large gate! Today and for the rest of my life I chose to find Joy in the Savior! He is my greatest source of Joy! I'm so very thankful for answered prayers and a knowledge that He listens to me every time I pray. He knows who I am, what I struggle with and he gives me tender mercies to help me through this mortal journey.
The whole reason for the Joy is because someone loved us enough to sacrifice them self so we can return to live with our Heavenly Parents again. I love my Savior for what he's sacrificed for me! I know one day I'll live with my Heavenly Father and Mother again if I keep the commandments and endure to the end. "When I leave this frail existence, when I lay this mortal by, Father, Mother, may I meet you In your royal courts on high? Then, at length, when I've completed all you sent me forth to do, with your mutual approbation let me come and dwell with you."