Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Saturday, February 17, 2024

How Can We Live in Happiness?

My Come Follow Me studies for this week took me to 2 Nephi 3-5 in a lesson titled “We Lived after the Manner of Happiness.” The lesson was introduced with the following information. 

Reading 1 Nephi, you might get the impression that Nephi was somehow larger than life. “Large in stature” both physically and spiritually (1 Nephi 2:16), he seemed unshaken by the trials he faced. Or at least that is what we might assume. While Nephi’s faith was remarkable, his tender words in 2 Nephi 4 reveal that even faithful people sometimes feel “wretched” and “easily beset” by temptations. Here we see someone who is trying, who wants to be joyful, but whose “heart groaneth because of [his] sins.” We can relate to this ad to the hopeful determination that follows: “Nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted” (see 2 Nephi 4:15-19).

While Nephi and his people learned to live “after the manner of happiness”

(2 Nephi 5:27), they also learned that happiness does not come easily or without periods of sorrow. It ultimately comes from trusting the Lord, “the rock of [our] righteousness” (2 Nephi 4:35).

The principle for this discussion comes from 2 Nephi 3:6-24: “Joseph Smith was chosen by God to restore the gospel of Jesus Christ.” Lehi shared with his son Joseph a prophecy given by Joseph of Egypt. The prophecy was about a future “choice seer,” Joseph Smith. Verses 6-24 tell of many things that Joseph Smith would do to bless God’s people.

For Joseph truly testified, saying: A seer shall the Lord my God raise up, who shall be a choice seer unto the fruit of my loins.

Yea, Joseph truly said: Thus saith the Lord unto me: A choice seer will I raise out of the fruit of thy loins; and he shall be esteemed highly among the fruit of thy loins. And unto him will I give commandment that he shall do a work for the fruit of thy loins, his brethren, which shall be of great worth unto them, even to the bringing of them to the knowledge of the covenants which I have made with thy fathers.

And I will give unto him a commandment that he shall do none other work, save the work which I shall command him. And I will make him great in mine eyes; for he shall do my work.

And he shall be great like unto Moses, whom I have said I would raise up unto you, to deliver my people, O house of Israel.

10 And Moses will I raise up, to deliver thy people out of the land of Egypt.

11 But a seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and unto him will I give power to bring forth my word unto the seed of thy loins—and not to the bringing forth my word only, saith the Lord, but to the convincing them of my word, which shall have already gone forth among them.

12 Wherefore, the fruit of thy loins shall write; and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write; and that which shall be written by the fruit of thy loins, and also that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah, shall grow together, unto the confounding of false doctrines and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins, and bringing them to the knowledge of their fathers in the latter days, and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith the Lord.

13 And out of weakness he shall be made strong, in that day when my work shall commence among all my people, unto the restoring thee, O house of Israel, saith the Lord.

14 And thus prophesied Joseph, saying: Behold, that seer will the Lord bless; and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded; for this promise, which I have obtained of the Lord, of the fruit of my loins, shall be fulfilled. Behold, I am sure of the fulfilling of this promise;

15 And his name shall be called after me; and it shall be after the name of his father. And he shall be like unto me; for the thing, which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand, by the power of the Lord shall bring my people unto salvation.

16 Yea, thus prophesied Joseph: I am sure of this thing, even as I am sure of the promise of Moses; for the Lord hath said unto me, I will preserve thy seed forever.

17 And the Lord hath said: I will raise up a Moses; and I will give power unto him in a rod; and I will give judgment unto him in writing. Yet I will not loose his tongue, that he shall speak much, for I will not make him mighty in speaking. But I will write unto him my law, by the finger of mine own hand; and I will make a spokesman for him.

18 And the Lord said unto me also: I will raise up unto the fruit of thy loins; and I will make for him a spokesman. And I, behold, I will give unto him that he shall write the writing of the fruit of thy loins, unto the fruit of thy loins; and the spokesman of thy loins shall declare it.

19 And the words which he shall write shall be the words which are expedient in my wisdom should go forth unto the fruit of thy loins. And it shall be as if the fruit of thy loins had cried unto them from the dust; for I know their faith.

20 And they shall cry from the dust; yea, even repentance unto their brethren, even after many generations have gone by them. And it shall come to pass that their cry shall go, even according to the simpleness of their words.

21 Because of their faith their words shall proceed forth out of my mouth unto their brethren who are the fruit of thy loins; and the weakness of their words will I make strong in their faith, unto the remembering of my covenant which I made unto thy fathers.

22 And now, behold, my son Joseph, after this manner did my father of old prophesy.

23 Wherefore, because of this covenant thou art blessed; for thy seed shall not be destroyed, for they shall hearken unto the words of the book.

24 And there shall rise up one mighty among them, who shall do much good, both in word and in deed, being an instrument in the hands of God, with exceeding faith, to work mighty wonders, and do that thing which is great in the sight of God, unto the bringing to pass much restoration unto the house of Israel, and unto the seed of thy brethren.

Joseph Smith’s work has been “of great worth” to me, and it can be of great worth to you. From his work, I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are two separate Beings of flesh and bone. From his work, I know that families can live together for eternity. One important part of Joseph Smith’s mission was to bring forth the Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ. I have studied the Book of Mormon and prayed to God to know if it is true. I received a witness that the Book of Mormon is true and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God’s church on earth today.


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