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Saturday, December 19, 2020

What Are the Tender Mercies that God Has Given unto You?

             I completed my study of the Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, meaning the Come, Follow Me lesson for Moroni 10. The introductory material for this lesson reminded me that Nephi opened the first chapter in the Book of Mormon with a promise that he would show us that “the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith” (1 Nephi 1:20). Moroni issued an invitation in the closing chapter of the Book of Mormon to “remember how merciful the Lord hath been” (Moroni 10:2-3).

            The Book of Mormon shares many instances where the Lord showed great mercy to His people. The Lord showed tender mercies as He led Lehi and his family away from Jerusalem, through the wilderness, and across the great waters to the land that He promised to give to them.

The Lord showed tender mercies to many of the descendants of Lehi, such as Enos when he prayed all day and all night for forgiveness. The Lord showed tender mercies to Alma and the sons of King Mosiah who went about trying to destroy the Church but were visited by an angel and became powerful missionaries and leaders in the Church.

One of the most powerful examples of the tender mercies of the Lord happened when the resurrected Jesus Christ appeared to the people in ancient America to teach them the same gospel that He had taught the Jews before His death. The Savior healed the sick, the lame, the blind, the deaf, and those with every other type of ailment. He took their little children in His arms and blessed them individually. He taught them how to pray and introduced the sacrament to them.

The Book of Mormon is a record of Jesus Christ dealing with His people in ancient America. The ancient Americans did not have the record, at least not in the form that we do. The messages in the Book of Mormon were written for the people of today. The Prophet Joseph Smith (1805-44) declared: “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book” (History of the Church, 4:461; Book of Mormon introduction).

There are three keys to understanding the Book of Mormon: (1) The Book of Mormon is a modern witness of Jesus Christ (2 Nephi 25:22-30). (2) The Book of Mormon was written for our day (Mormon 8:34-35). (3) We can know the truth of the Book of Mormon and all things by the power of the Holy Ghost (Moroni 10:4).

Elder Gene R. Cook, while serving as a member of the Seventy, spoke about the importance of pondering God’s mercy. He said that doing so would helps us to achieve greater faith and humility:

The last five words of [Moroni 10:3] offer an important admonition – “ponder it in your hearts” What is the antecedent of “it” – the thing that we are to ponder? It is “how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things.” We are to remember how loving, how provident, how good, how forgiving our Heavenly Father has been toward us.

What usually happens when we begin to ponder how merciful the Lord has been to mankind? To us personally? What happens when we count our blessings, or perhaps our sins for which we must ask his forgiveness, and recognize his hand in our individuals lives? Is it not true that our hearts turn to the Lord in love and gratitude? Do our faith and humility increase? Yes, and that, in my judgment, is the impact of verse 3 – following the counsel therein helps us to become more humble, more willing and ready to receive new information and knowledge with an open mind” (“Moroni’s Promise,” Ensign, April 1994, 12).

            Moroni closed his last chapter with an invitation: “Come unto Christ, and be perfected in Him” (Moroni 10:32). He continued with an explanation that we can become sanctified through the blood of Jesus Christ which He shed on the cross. It is through the grace of Christ that we can receive remission for our sins and become “holy, without spot” (Moroni 10:33). He then bid farewell to all people, but he promised that we would meet him at the judgment bar of God. We will be judged by the words that were written by Moroni, his father Mormon, and the other ancient prophets who wrote the Book of Mormon.

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