December 31, 2003
This article by Neal A. Maxwell was exerpted from the new book A Book of Mormon Treasury, containing gospel insights from General Authorities and religous educators. Read this article to enhance your study of the Book of Mormon as we begin the new course of study. The Book of Mormon provides resounding and great answers to
designated as "the great question"—namely, is there really a redeeming
Christ? (Alma 34:5-6). The Book of Mormon with clarity and with evidence
says, "Yes! Yes! Yes!" Moreover, in its recurring theme, the book even declares
that "all things which have been given of God from the beginning of the world,
unto man, are the typifying of [Christ]" (2 Nephi 11:4). How striking its
answers are, considering all that God might have chosen to tell us! He, before
whom all things—past, present, and future—are continually (see D&C
130:7), has chosen to tell us about the "gospel" (3 Nephi 27:13-14, 21; D&C
33:12; D&C 39:6; 76:40-41)—the transcending "good news," the resplendent
answers to "the great question."
Astoundingly, too, God, who has created "worlds without number" (Moses 1:33,
37-38; see Isaiah 45:18), has chosen to reassure us on this tiny "speck of
sand" that he "doeth not anything save it be for the bene fit of [this] world;
for he loveth [this] world" (2 Nephi 26:24); and "for behold, this is my work
and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man"
It should not surprise us that this glorious gospel message is more perfect
than any of its messengers, save Jesus only. Nor should it surprise us that the
gospel message is more comprehensive than the comprehension of any of its
bearers or hearers, save Jesus only.
Apparently translated by Joseph Smith at an average rate of eight or more of
its printed pages a day, the Book of Mormon's full sig nificance could not have
been immediately and fully savored by the Prophet Joseph. Given this average,
according to Professor Jack Welch, only one and a half days, for instance,
would have been spent translating all of the first five chapters of Mosiah, a
remarkable sermon about which books will be written.
Coming forth as the Book of Mormon did in Bible Belt and revival conditions
early in this dispensation, we of the Church have been slow to appreciate its
special relevance to the erosive conditions in our time, the latter part of
this dispensation. Questioning and doubting has grown rapidly on the part of
some scholars and even some clerics about the historicity of Jesus. Such,
however, was not the America of 1830. Demographically speaking, therefore, the
majority of the "ministry" of the Book of Mormon is occurring in a time of deep
uncertainty and unrest concerning "the great question"—the very question
which the Book of Mormon was created to answer!
Another strong impression is how the Book of Mormon foretells the latter-
day emergence of "other books" of scripture (1 Nephi 13:39), of which it is
one, "proving to the world that the holy scriptures are true, and that God does
inspire men and call them to his holy work in this age and generation, as well
as in generations of old" (D&C 20:11).
With regard to omissions from the precious Holy Bible, in just one chapter
of 1 Nephi, chapter 13, four phrases appear:
June 25, 2003
In Gospel Doctrine Lesson 25, we study the accounts of the Savior's experience in the Garden of Gethsemane. Be sure to read the following commentary by Bruce R. McConkie, James E. Talmage, Orson F. Whitney, Hugh Nibley, B. H. Roberts, Daniel H. Ludlow, and James E. Faust. The publications from which these passages were excerpted can be found in their entirety in GospeLink 2001.
Bruce R. McConkie on Jesus Praying in Gethsemane:
Where and under what circumstances was the atoning sacrifice of the Son of
God made? Was it on the Cross of Calvary or in the Garden of Gethsemane? It is
to the Cross of Christ that most Christians look when centering their attention
upon the infinite and eternal atonement. And certainly the sacrifice of our
Lord was completed when he was lifted up by men; also, that part of his life
and suffering is more dramatic and, perhaps, more soul stirring. But in reality
the pain and suffering, the triumph and grandeur, of the atonement took place
primarily in Gethsemane.
It was there Jesus took upon himself the sins of the world on conditions of
repentance. It was there he suffered beyond human power to endure. It was there
he sweat great drops of blood from every pore. It was there his anguish was so
great he fain would have let the bitter cup pass. It was there he made the
final choice to follow the will of the Father. It was there that an angel from
heaven came to strengthen him in his greatest trial. Many have been crucified
and the torment and pain is extreme. But only one, and he the Man who had God
as his Father, has bowed beneath the burden of grief and sorrow that lay upon
him in that awful night, that night in which he descended below all things as
he prepared himself to rise above them all.
January 03, 2003
Need help keeping all those New Testament place names straight? In this final installment of our "New Testament Primer" series, we take a look at new Testament geography. Professor D. Kelley Ogden examines the Holy Land by region, describing the topography, population, and history of each area.
There are over fifty
references in the Gospels to Galilee as a region, the first mention being
Joseph's return from Egypt with Mary and Jesus to live in the northernmost
region of the land of Israel: "When he heard that Archelaus did reign in
Judaea . . . , he was afraid to go thither: . . . he turned aside into the
parts of Galilee." (Matt. 2:22.)
Jesus' ministry begins with a geographical note: "Then cometh Jesus from
Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him." (Matt. 3:13; see Mark
1:14.) And then "Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues."
(Matt. 4:23.) Important towns of Galilee in Jesus' ministry included "Nazareth
of Galilee" (Matt. 21:11), "Capernaum, a city of Galilee" (Luke 4:31), "Cana
of Galilee" (John 2:1), and "Bethsaida of Galilee" (John 12:21).
One of the most important towns in Galilee was Sepphoris (located about
three miles northwest of Nazareth), where Herod Antipas resided prior to
making Tiberias the capital of Galilee. Since Sepphoris is not mentioned in
the New Testament, few people have heard of it. Jesus may have taught there
since he went throughout all of Galilee.
All but one of Jesus' apostles were Galilaeans (Judas Iscariot was perhaps
a Judaean). When Jesus departed into heaven from the Mount of Olives, two men
in white apparel asked, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into
heaven." (Acts 1:11.)
The speech of Galilaeans was apparently distinct from their fellow
countrymen. A young girl at Caiaphas's palace in Jerusalem accused
Peter, "Surely thou art one of them: for thou art a Galilaean, and thy speech
agreeth thereto." (Mark 14:70.) Matthew adds, "Surely thou also art one of
them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee [Greek: reveals you]." (Matt. 26:73.) At
the celebration of Pentecost after the Lord's resurrection, the thousands that
had gathered in Jerusalem from all the Mediterranean world were amazed and
marveled at the linguistic phenomenon they had witnessed, "saying one to
another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?" (Acts 2:7.)
January 02, 2003
They didn't abandon the Old Word, for new understanding had made it more precious than ever. But they now had a New Word as well--Christ's teachings and the powerful example and acts of his life.
Because of the Jews, the
Christians from the beginning possessed a body of scriptures as a unique
heritage. But unlike orthodox Jews, who believed the collection to be
completed scripture, Christ's disciples knew there was now a richer
portion. They didn't abandon the Old Word, for new understanding had made it
more precious than ever. But they now had a New Word as well—Christ's
teachings and the powerful example and acts of his life.
The testimonies that have come to us of this New Word are those of apostles
or of disciples closely associated with apostles: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and
John. Several ancient sources confirm that the gospel bearing the name of
Matthew was written by the apostle Matthew, otherwise called Levi, the tax
collector, who is said to have been run through with a spear as a consequence
of his written and oral testimony.
Matthew spoke powerfully to his own people, longing for their eyes to be
opened so they could see that the man Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament
prophecies and was their long-expected Messiah. His testimony is sweetened by
many direct quotations of the Savior's own words. It is Matthew to whom we are
indebted for a detailed recounting of Christ's Sermon on the Mount. In fact,
there is a recorded statement by a bishop named Papias in the first half of
the second century that Matthew was the one who compiled a record of Christ's
sayings in Hebrew, and that others used his record as a source for their own
testimonies of Christ's life and teachings.1
December 31, 2002
Whether you're a Gospel Doctrine teacher preparing to teach the New Testament for the first time, or a Gospel Doctrine student anxious to drink deep this coming year, you could probably use a good book (or two) to supplement your study. From recent titles to perennial favorites, here is a review of some of the best New Testament books for Latter-day Saints.
Whether you're a Gospel
Doctrine teacher preparing to teach the New Testament for the first time, or a
Gospel Doctrine student anxious to drink deep this coming year, you could
probably use a good book (or two) to supplement your study. A reliable
commentary can enrich your understanding of the language, culture, and lands
of the New Testament, provide significant doctrinal insights, and expand your
appreciation for the life and mission of Christ and his apostles.
But where can you find a dependable commentary? Fortunately, there are
dozens of fantastic books on the New Testament suited for LDS readers. From
recent titles to perennial favorites, here is a review of some of the best New
Testament books for Latter-day Saints. If you have other suggestions, please post them to the
board for this article.