Brother M, the instructor for my Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ class, gives wonderful insights into our lessons each week. His past two screencasts have been exceptional and gave me much to ponder. I thought I would share some of his insights with my readers.
I shared last week about the visit by Samuel the Lamanites to the Nephites to call them to repentance. He was cast out of the city and was heading home when he was commanded to return and present the message that would come into his heart. Samuel could not get back into the city so he climbed up on top of the top of the city wall. As part of his message, he gave some signs of the birth of Jesus Christ as well as some signs of His death.
In Helaman 14:3, Samuel said that there would be “great lights in heaven” and “no darkness” on the night before Christ was born. In Helaman 14:20, Samuel gave a sign for Christ’s death: “… in that day that he shall suffer death the sun shall be darkened and refuse to give his light unto you; and also the moon and the stars; and there shall be no light upon the face of this land, even from the time that he shall suffer death, for the space of three days, to the time that he shall rise again from the dead.”
Third Nephi 1:15 tells us that “at the going down of the sun there was no darkness.” We read in Third Nephi 8 about natural disasters that took place at the time of Christ’s death. There was a terrible storm with thunder, lightning, tempests, and quaking of the earth. This storm lasted for three hours and was followed by three days of darkness. After experiencing a 30-60 second earthquake a couple of weeks ago, I can testify that three hours would be a very long time to experience shaking. Then there total darkness because “there could be no light, because of the darkness, neither candles, neither torches; neither could there be fire kindled with their fine and exceedingly dry wood, so that there could not be any light at all” (Third Nephi 8:21).
Jesus Christ is the Light of the world. All light comes from Him – the sun, the moon, and the stars. When we see these lights, we actually see the Light of Christ. (See Doctrine and Covenants 88:6-13). When Christ returns to earth, the sun will “hide its face,” the “moon shall be bathed in blood,” and the stars “shall cast themselves down.” (See Doctrine and Covenants 88:87.)
The previous information contains insights from last week, and the following information from this week adds to it. We are now studying about what happened between the birth of Christ and His visit to the Nephites after His resurrection. President Ezra Taft Benson compared those days to our days: “The record of the Nephite history just prior to the Savior’s visit reveals many parallels to our own day as we anticipate the Savior’s second coming.” (See Ensign, May 1987, 4.)
Even though I look forward to the return of Jesus Christ, I still feel some anxiety about what will happen in the days leading up to His return. I often wonder if I am properly prepared for this exciting event, and I was comforted by my instructor’s insights. He explained that there is a way that we can determine our readiness. We live in a world that has many symbols – Apple has an apple and Nike has a swoosh.
The First Presidency has told us to focus on the temple and to make the temple a symbol for our lives. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has published several pamphlets to help the youth live righteous lives; the cover of each of these pamphlets has a picture of the Salt Lake Temple.
President Gordon B. Hinckley explained that “we want to focus youth on the temple as the place we want them to arrive. Temple service is the end product of all of our teaching and activity.” (See Ensign, Nov. 2005, p 4.) President Hinckley also said, “Every individual who qualifies for a temple recommend is also qualified as a faithful Latter-day Saint.”
Temples are dotting the earth at the present time and increasing steadily (150 dedicated temples next month with 173 temples announced and dedicated). Yet, as my instructor pointed out, John the Revelator wrote, “And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it” (Revelation 21:22).
This scripture connects the information about light and temples. Jesus Christ is the Light of the world, and He is also the temple. Brother M. concluded that we can know how we are living by how close we are connected to the temple. If we are connected with the temple through regular and frequent temple service, we are considered faithful Latter-day Saints and prepared for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
I love to be in the temple and consider my week incomplete until I complete at least one, and usually two, temple sessions. This knowledge brings great comfort to my soul as I continue to prove myself worthy to return to the presence of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.