I drive long hours every day. I might perish of tedium if I didn’t have audio to listen to. I usually start my day by listening to a couple chapters of the Book of Mormon followed by an hour of singing lessons.
I love to study Mormon scripture and history, for it reminds me where I have come from and what I believe. I believe we can learn so much from the successes and failures of past generations. How often I find that words uttered thousands of years ago are relevant to this very day in our modern lives. I marvel how often history repeats itself.
I was particularly struck today with these words of Samuel, the Lamanite prophet. How courageous he was to stand upon the walls of the city declaring the word of God to the Nephites while they shot arrows at him and tried to kill him.
The Prophets are my Heroes. They are the most courageous men on earth. They are not afraid to speak the truth when it is unpopular. They willingly obey the Lord‘s instructions to teach the people even when they know it will not be well-received. They obey the Lord‘s command to speak up though it may lead to their imprisonment and/or death. Only God knows who has that kind of courage. He alone chooses the prophets.
I take these words personally. Perhaps we can all pretend we are at Payless trying on shoes to see how they fit. Sometimes shoes pinch something awful, but they still fit.
- Ye do not remember the Lord your God in the things with which he hath blessed you, but ye do always remember your riches, not to thank the Lord your God for them; yea, your hearts are not drawn out unto the Lord, but they do swell with great pride, unto boasting, and unto great swelling, denyings, strifes, malice, persecutions, and murders, and all manner of iniquities.
- For this cause hath the Lord God caused that a curse should come upon the land, and also upon your riches, and this because of your iniquities.
- Yea, wo unto this people, because of this time which has arrived, that ye do cast out the prophets, and do mock them, and cast stones at them, and do slay them, and do all manner of iniquity unto them, even as they did of old time.
- And now when ye talk, ye say: If our days had been in the days of our fathers of old, we would not have slain the prophets; we would not have stoned them, and cast them out.
- Behold ye are worse than they; for as the Lord liveth, if a prophet come among you and declareth unto you the word of the Lord, which testifieth of your sins and iniquities, ye are angry with him, and cast him out and seek all manner of ways to destroy him; yea, you will say that he is a false prophet, and that he is a sinner, and of the devil, because he testifieth that your deeds are evil.
- But behold, if a man shall come among you and shall say: Do this, and there is no iniquity; do that and ye shall not suffer; yea, he will say: walk after the pride of your own hearts; yea, walk after the pride of your eyes, and do whatsoever your heart desireth—and if a man shall come among you and say this, ye will receive him, and say that he is a prophet.
- Yea, ye will lift him up, and ye will give unto him of your substance; ye will give unto him of your gold, and of your silver, and ye will clothe him with costly apparel; and because he speaketh flattering words unto you, and he saith that all is well, then ye will not find fault with him.
- O ye wicked and ye perverse generation; ye hardened and ye stiffnecked people, how long will ye suppose that the Lord will suffer you? Yea, how long will ye suffer yourselves to be led by foolish and blind guides? Yea, how long will ye choose darkness rather than light?
- Yea, behold, the anger of the Lord is already kindled against you; behold, he hath cursed the land because of your iniquity.
- And behold, the time cometh that he curseth your riches, that they become slippery, that ye cannot hold them; and in the days of your poverty ye cannot retain them.
- And in the days of your poverty ye shall cry unto the Lord; and in vain shall ye cry, for your desolation is already come upon you, and your destruction is made sure; and then shall ye weep and howl in that day, saith the Lord of Hosts. And then shall ye lament, and say:
- O that I had repented, and had not killed the prophets, and stoned them and cast them out. Yea, in that day ye shall say: O that we had remembered the Lord our God in the day that he gave us our riches, and then they would not have become slippery that we should lose them; for behold, our riches are gone from us.
- Behold, we lay a tool here and on the morrow it is gone; and behold, our swords are taken from us in the day we have sought them for battle.
- Yea, we have hid up our treasures and they have slipped away from us, because of the curse of the land.
- O that we had repented in the day that the word of the Lord came unto us; for behold the land is cursed, and all things are become slippery, and we cannot hold them.
- Behold, we are surrounded by demons, yay, we are encircled about by the angels of him who hath sought to destroy our souls. Behold, our iniquities are great. O Lord, canst thou not turn away thine anger from us? And this shall be your language in those days.
- But behold, your days of probation are past; ye have procrastinated the day of your salvation until it is everlastingly too late, and your destruction is made sure; yea, for ye have sought all the days of your lives for that which ye could not obtain; and ye have sought for happiness in doing iniquity, which thing is contrary to the nature of that righteousness which is in our great and Eternal Head.
- O ye people of the land, that ye would hear my words! And I pray that the anger of the Lord be turned away from you, and that ye would repent and be saved.
That last verse always hits me square on. It’s as though Samuel is speaking to me, to you, to everyone. I don’t think we can comprehend the love that our Lord and Savior has for each one of us, or the love that each of the prophets have shown in their day to risk everything that we might be taught. I believe they still yearn after us and pray for us to wake up and not live for those slippery treasures. They hope we will work for our Treasure in Heaven that we must earn here on earth.
3 Nephi 19-21
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and thieves break through and steal;
but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.