3 Nephi 11-17
“It’s the same gospel.”
Ah, there you are; give that man a “cigar.” But it is different in form; it has a different emphasis, and each chapter has a clear-cut theme. The whole leads to a transcendental conclusion, a terrific conclusion, which is not found in the New Testament. Remember, the apostles thought it was all over after the crucifixion. Strangely enough, the [Christian] ministry of churchmen today still think it’s all over—anything that happened after that was a fond imagination of the followers of Christ who created from a beautiful memory a figure of the Christ as the “Super [Person].” That’s the general [approach] taken today.
Let’s look at chapter 11. I said each chapter usually has one particular theme that carries through. We won’t go through this again, but in chapter 11, you notice, he introduces himself. It’s surprising the way he comes down and does it, isn’t it? He helps them get over the shock of adjustment. You’d think that would be something, wouldn’t you?
Then in the next chapter, he does what you’d expect. He takes the next step. He sets up teachers and states qualifications for membership. [It contains] the beatitudes, Sermon on the Mount. Who will you admit to the church? In the New Testament, too, people don’t notice that the Sermon on the Mount is not just moral platitudes, not at all. It’s addressed specifically to his apostles, just to them. Who will be permitted into the church? These are the qualifications. He tells us here it’s a very important thing that it’s not the letter of the law, but the spirit. “The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” Does that abolish the scriptures or something like that? No. Brother Waldvogel. Isn’t there a contradiction there? “The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” Yet we’re supposed to read the scriptures. Well, that’s exactly what we’re told in section 91 of the Doctrine and Covenants about translating the Apocrypha. It says there are many things therein “which are interpolations by the hands of man”—which is true of the scriptures. There are many things therein which are true. So how do you distinguish between them? It makes it rather difficult. That’s why you have to take the doctrine that every word of the gospel was dictated directly by God. If you leave that out, then at any moment there might be something wrong in the scriptures, something that man interpolated. Well, this is taken account of in this section of the Doctrine and Covenants. D&C 91:4: “Therefore whoso readeth it, let him understand, for the Spirit manifesteth truth,” can benefit therefrom. If you don’t have the spirit, it’s not going to help you very much because you’ll give it the literal interpretation.
This is brought out very clearly in the New Testament. What is the argument that the Lord has with the scribes and Pharisees and the doctors of the law, Brother Waldvogel? What’s wrong with their teaching?
“They go by the reasons of men.”
Well, the reasons of men, but what should they go by then?
“By the spirit.”
That’s it. He tells them, you tax the mint and the rue; you make the tithes. With this [they are] careful. This should be done, he said. That’s true—you should keep careful accounts, and that should not be left alone, he said. But you are blind leaders of the blind if you choke on a mosquito, strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. The mosquito is there, but don’t choke on that. The camel is the big thing, you see. And then he goes on and says the love of God is the important thing here, if you have that. It’s the esprit des lois; it’s the spirit and intent of the law. As the prophets say, someday in the future this will be written in their hearts. Moses had it written on the tablets of stone, and they had to follow it rigorously, pointing their minds forward. It is all preparation. Everything we’re doing here is preparation. The gospel is preparation all the way along, and we haven’t prepared nearly enough yet.
But see, we have to prepare by observing. We say we observed the laws of Moses, though we knew they did not bring salvation, as Moroni said. But they pointed our minds forward, as the expression goes, just as Frank Cross calls the Dead Sea Scrolls church, the community of Qumran, “the church of anticipation,” because it looks just like a Christian church. But it’s an anticipation, and they say it’s an anticipation. They’re out there in the desert waiting for more revelation. So we get the same thing here then. The letter of the law is superseded by the spirit and intent of the law—for this intent the law was given. The Jews in the Old World, as we know, had become legalistic and pharisaical. What about the lawyers in the New World? The lawyers have laid the foundation for the destruction of this people, he says. They’re working hard at it now.
Now chapter 13—notice, this has another theme. Notice how often the word reward is repeated in chapter 13. Verse 1: If you give your alms before men, you’ll have your reward here, but don’t expect any reward there. No reward of your Father in Heaven. Next verse: “Verily I say unto you, they have their reward.” He doesn’t resent their having it. If you want rewards for being famous—if you want to become renowned in Hollywood or something like that—you’re welcome to it. But that’s all you’re going to get; you’re not going to get anything further out of it.
Verse 3: “But when thou doest alms let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth; that thine alms may be in secret; and thy Father who seeth in secret, himself shall reward thee openly.” Reward thee openly how? In the next world? In this life with your own prosperity, etc. But you know where it’s coming from. You know whom to thank for it, but you don’t advertise your good deeds. You keep them covered. Don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing and the other way around. The Lord will reward you; you’ll have your reward, all right, either here or there. Then the hypocrites who pray in the streets, “that they may be seen of men.” Well, you’ll be seen, appreciated, and praised. You’ll be famous, so you’ll have your reward, all right. Happy you. Verse 6: “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou has shut thy door, pray to thy Father who is in secret [don’t pray openly on the rooftops, etc. Nephi did, though, didn’t he? He did that for a purpose]; and thy Father, who seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.”
Blessings cannot be concealed, actually. But where do they come from? It’s always talking about these rewards here and about vain repetitions. What would we say the theme of this chapter is? It’s where our values lie—in this world or the other. Think only of the eternal order of things. This is the surprising thing: We want to compromise. We say we can have it here, and we can have it there. We can be respected. We can live in fine houses and be blessed hereafter. The New Testament emphasizes repeatedly, and this does it again—don’t think too much of this [world], and everybody knows it. From being a sergeant in the army, Septimius Severus became the most powerful and destructive emperor the Romans ever had. On his deathbed he said, “I’ve been everything, and nothing’s worth a damn.” That’s true. You’ll reach the same conclusion as Citizen Kane; you’ll go crazy. You’re not going to get any satisfaction there.
This is the reward we want, so he keeps at that—think only of the eternal rewards. Take no thought of the things of this world—forget appearances. Then the Lord’s Prayer comes in this particular chapter. Notice how it emphasizes space here. The emphasis in the Lord’s Prayer is on space or distance all the time. It begins with “Our Father.” So we have a Father, and he’s ours, you see, but he’s in heaven. He’s in the heavens, as it actually says here. It’s talking about space and closeness. Then “hallowed be thy name.” There’s the connection. If the person isn’t there, how can you refer to him? How can you call upon him? How can you know him? How can you phone him? Unless you know his name, you’re not going to get through at all. The name becomes extremely important as identity between parties who are separated. When we’re brought together at the veil or something, you must know a name; you must identify yourself. You are identified by your name, and how do you address the Father? By his name, which must be held set apart, sacred, secret. It’s a secret name. Of course, in the temple, it is. The high priest in the temple in Jerusalem uttered the secret name, which was written with secret letters that nobody knew, only once a year in a whisper as he went through the veil. He gave the name to his son, but no one else ever learned it, so there was this particular name which he exchanged with the Lord. This is the point of contact, and our main tie to him is always the name.
Then he says “thy kingdom come.” It’s an optative [verb mood that expresses a wish]. It isn’t here; we’re praying that it will come. We’re looking forward to it. We want it to come as soon as possible, but we are waiting. There is that distance always. And again “thy will be done on earth,” as it is not now. Again another optative—may thy will be done “as it is in heaven.” Your will is done up there, not down here. Where his will is done, that is the kingdom. When that comes, then his will will be done here. There’s always this emphasis on space; we’re talking about two worlds here.
It’s very interesting that mē eisenengkēs is the word used here, which means “don’t let us get too deep in sin.” Then the word rūsthai, a very good word, which means “to snatch, to rescue, to pull a person out of the water or out of the fire or something, to rescue a person at the last moment.” Don’t let us go so far that we’ll be destroyed. “My punishment is greater than I can bear.” Even Cain was delivered from that, you know. Then he says, “And lead us not into temptation.” Don’t let us get too deep in temptation, but snatch us out at the last moment. Please don’t let us go all the way. [Rescue us] from that which is evil or he who is evil, either one—from the evil one or evil-doing. The worst thing is the evil-doing, not the evil one, because we embrace him when we do evil.
And then “thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.” This is omitted from the late editions of the New Testament, the Nestle, etc. But as Joachim Jeremias showed recently in Palestine, that was the old archaic ending that all prayers to God had to have. “Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory.” It has to end with a doxology. He wouldn’t have left it out at all here. They use that as an argument against the Book of Mormon. That shouldn’t be in there; that’s not in the original text of the New Testament. Well, it is in some of the texts. It’s not in all of them, but it had to be there. That’s chapter 13, the Lord’s Prayer.
How does it get through to him? This is a very interesting thing here. We mentioned the laws of physics which confine us to this earth. We can get away, but with the speed of light. But there are unknown laws of physics which ignore such limitations, and we know that such laws exist. I’ll read you just one sentence here from Hawking that shows this. When I pray to the Lord, do I think it’s getting through to him in anything like a real sense at all. Well, these men are thinking about it very seriously now. He says here, “If one neglects gravitational effects, as Einstein did in 1905, one has what is called a special theory of relativity. However, this is inconsistent with Newtonian theory of gravity which says that objects attract each other with a force that depends on the distance between them. This meant that if one moved one of the objects, the force on the other would change instantaneously.” It wouldn’t take 50 light years to change a planet because the motion of every body affects every other body. Of course, he says this ties us completely. We’ll never have a complete system because, he says, we still can’t solve the problem of three bodies. We know about two bodies by laws of gravitation, but when we have three bodies influencing each other, we cannot predict for certain. We still haven’t solved it. They worked 2,000 hours in Chicago with computers on it and came out with an approximate solution, just of three bodies. That’s all—not 300 billion trillion bodies, or anything like that. So we’re a long way from this. But the fact that we have a force here that gets instantly everywhere and is the strongest and weakest of all forces at once is just a paradox. See, gravitation is so weak; it’s 1 x 1042 weaker (we could add zeroes all day long here) than the weak force which holds the atoms together. Yet a power as weak as that crushes the universe. That power and that alone, because it never stops, it never weakens, it’s always steady. They say that’s going to bring the universe back together and crush it into a singularity that has no space at all but contains all the matter in the universe. It is so powerful, to do all that. Well, this is amazing; it’s full of contradictions and everything. But the weakest force is the strongest.
Then he says instantaneously, or in other words, “gravitational effects should travel with infinite velocity, instead of at or below the speed of light.” Well, they tell us if bodies influence each other, there must be an exchange of particles. The particles are virtual. They don’t really exist on paper, I suppose, but there must be an exchange of particles. So if gravitation has an effect and these two bodies are to affect each other, they must exchange particles. That’s the gravitons. They invented gravitons, but nobody’s ever found a graviton. They’re purely theoretical today. But something has to explain the fact that there’s an influence that gets instantly everywhere. That’s an astonishing thing—a billion light years would mean nothing. The same thing will happen. So we’re dealing with a strange situation here.
Well, let’s get to chapter 14. You have decided for the other world, he’s telling us here, so don’t confuse the two ways of life. Don’t get them mixed up. We’ve been talking about keeping them apart, you know. How do you know who else has got things [straight]? How do you know who’s on the Lord’s side? He organized them into a church, as you know, right at the beginning and set the apostles aside (they’re not called apostles here, they’re disciples). So you have a church, but how do you know who’s really a saint? This is taken up a great deal in the Book of Mormon. When the case of the Nehors comes up, that’s a classic example. How can you tell? So who’s on the Lord’s side? This chapter is addressed not only to the disciples; this is addressed to everyone. So that’s what they’re talking about. So he turned again to the multitude, and the first thing [he said was], “Judge not.” You’re not going to judge anybody. That’s not our business, because “with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again.” You’ll be judged by the measure you mete. Accept that. Then here comes this: Why do you behold “the mote that is in thy brother’s eye?” A mote is a Brownian particle, one of those little specks that move in a ray of sunlight. You see the dustlike particles that move in there. Those are Brownian particles, that Einstein discovered incidentally. That’s what you see in your brother’s eye; you wouldn’t even see that. But you have a beam in your own eye. The word they use for beam is a husk—a piece of dry grass or some piece of garbage that’s been blown around. It’s something that’s been blown around by the wind. You get that in your eye and you’ve really got something. You don’t notice that in your eye, but you notice a little tiny speck in your brother’s eye. So don’t judge anybody. Do not. You may be worse than anybody else.
Verse 4: “Or how wilt thou say to thy brother: Let me pull the mote out of thine eye—and behold, a beam is in thine own eye.” And then there’s this again in verse 6. When you have something holy, what do you do? Keep it to yourself? Do you share it? No, grant that other people may have it, but don’t try to force it on others. In this case, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet.” Does that mean that they are dogs or swine? This is not an uncharitable statement at all. The word he uses is puppy dog, as he uses it when he’s talking to the Samaritan woman. He said, yes, but the dogs can eat the crumbs that fall from the table. The word kunarion means a “little pet,” the darling family pet. Well, if you give them the choicest crumbs from the table, as little kids do, to the family dog, naturally the little doggie is going to get sick. It’s not going to do him any good at all—no benefit whatever, though he might like it. It’s the same thing with pearls before swine. Would they appreciate them? Will they do them any good, any benefit whatever? You’re not insulting the swine or anything like that. You don’t hate them because they can’t take pearls. Lots of people can’t. It’s the same things with the dogs here. I say the image is that of feeding some animal that’s not going to be benefitted at all, and it’s not going to benefit you. See, you’re giving away something valuable to you, but be careful; it will hurt the little doggie. It will hurt somebody else.
What do you get? What do you want? Well, you ask for what you want, and you’ll get it. You seek, and you’ll find; it will be opened unto you. You settle for yourself. If you want anything in particular, these things you ask for, and you’ll get them. I remember when Wilkinson went up to Salt Lake once. He was raging and raving about a gift that had been given to the University of Utah by somebody who might just as well have given it to BYU. He [the donor] was a good member of the Church with a lot of money. Wilkinson stormed and ranted, and President McKay asked him, did you ask for it? No, we never asked for it. All right, then. He asked for it, and he got it.
The Lord says, if you ask for it, you’ll get it. But you have to ask for it first. You really have to want it. You seek and you shall find. You must seek first. As the Talmud says, “There must be a stirring below before there can be a stirring above.” You do not ask a blessing on an empty table. You set the table and ask for the blessing. You make the stirring below first. This had to do with Abraham. He moved first. He had the first move, as he tells us in Abraham [2:12]: “Thy servant has sought thee earnestly; now I have found thee.” But he had to seek him first. You must seek first. You make the first move here. If you don’t have that desire and that yearning [you don’t receive], because that’s where you assert your own eternal individuality, your own spirit. You’re an independent being, so you make the first move. The Lord will meet you far more than halfway. You knock, and it will be opened to you. So what are you waiting for? It’s all spread out before you, he tells us here. He says in verse 9: “Or what man is there of you, who, if his son ask bread, will give him a stone?” It’s all there. All you have to do is ask for it when you want it.
Then comes the beauty in verse 12, the Golden Rule. This covers it all in our one-to-one relationships. God says if you want to please me, do as I do. And this is the law and the prophets—do what you would have done to you. Of course we don’t do that. The “eye for an eye” won’t do there anymore. It [the Golden Rule] doesn’t appear for the first time in the New Testament; we know that. A Chinese proverb [has] the same effect. You don’t want anybody to hit you. Why should you hit them? Then there are the two ways, and you’re going to take the narrow way here. [This is] deciding who’s on the Lord’s side. The two ways—the narrow way and the broad way—was a basic doctrine of the early church.
Verse 15: “Beware of false prophets.” Samuel the Lamanite talks about them in sheep’s clothing. Inwardly, they are ravening wolves. We insist on judging by appearances, you see. We take them with their sheep’s clothing. Again, we’re judging by appearances. We’ll get fooled if we judge by appearances. “Beware of false prophets . . . in sheep’s clothing.” He’s been telling us all along not to judge by appearances. Now here’s a good example. It works both ways, you see. Don’t be taken in that way.
And then the rule is “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” Again, you’ll see lots of people claiming to be pious in the Church and this sort of thing. Verse 21: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven.” That is the test. But they’ll say, “Lord, Lord”—they can use his name. The name can be used by anyone. People in all other churches pray in the name of Jesus and the Lord. That’s perfectly valid. They can receive answers to their prayers, but the Lord says when they cast the devils out and so forth in my name, “then will I profess unto them: I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” They use the name for that purpose but they do not seek after [him] nor follow his commandments. He says that’s the thing—you have to do what I’m telling you to do here. Well, this is where you distinguish who’s who here. You have no means of knowing that I don’t have a double life, a real humdinger, and I don’t have any means of knowing the same about you. Big surprises [come out] about everybody, you know. He has been living that way all of his life!
Oh, I must read a poem my son wrote some years ago when he was a little kid. It’s a very good poem on this subject. See, we can rave and rant against evil and sin. The preacher can go on denouncing wickedness in the world. It doesn’t affect people at all. They can get away with murder. We can quote the Book of Mormon and all this, but everybody thinks it doesn’t apply to them—people as different as Robert Redford and Senator Hatch, for example. Both complimented me on the same book, but [they have] a very different point of view. They both read the book. They think it’s wonderful, but it always applies to the other guy. This is what Michael has written here. It’s a good poem just the same.
When Anthony preaches, he goes to the beaches Converting the fish who can’t make it to church. They swarm up to listen, adrip and aglisten The trout and the minnow, the pike and the perch.
“Treat all as your brother; don’t murder each other For all of God’s creatures are children alike.” What a marvelous spirit; the minnows all cheer it. They whisper and glare at the murderous pike [they’re the ones who get eaten]
“The root of all evil, great tool of the devil Is love of possessions—you’d best do without.” What a marvelous spirit; the pike love to hear it And cast a stern eye on the miserly trout.
“Work hard. Those who idle will bear harsh requital, Who shirks at his labors gets left in the lurch.” What a marvelous spirit; the trout just revere it. They nudge one another and mutter “Those perch!”
“Eschew fornications and lawless relations For sex unrestrained leads to sorrow and tears.” What a marvelous spirit; the perch love to hear it. They glance at the minnows with snickers and sneers.
The saint ends his preaching; the fish love such teaching. They watch as his figure recedes from the shore. Then greed, lust and slaughter resume in the water And all is exactly the same as before.
After all the teaching, you see. I think that’s a neat poem for a little kid to write. We won’t talk about Michael here.
Let’s rush on to the next chapter then. Chapter 15 answers these questions: What is the overall plan? How does this affect the old law? What about Israel in the New World? This is the “other sheep.” This tells us a very important thing—that the plan of the Lord is from eternity to eternity and throughout all the immensity of space. But, of course, it’s divided. It’s divided into the history of this world; it’s divided into cycles, plays, acts, scenes, separate speeches, etc. Each is a play in itself. The universe is divided up into various scenes where various things are going on. What has happened in worlds heretofore formed of exactly the same sort of materials? They have their dramas going on, too. There are plays going on all over the place and at various stages of advancement. So this is introduced into this world. There’s more than one place where the Lord appears and does his preaching. This brings in the subject of world religions. We’re not the only pebbles on the beach here. We claim to have the only religion—how exclusive and snooty we are. But what about these others? This takes up that, the overall plan.
Christ personally here takes over for the transition in this earth. We’ve got to make this transition to the way of life that was laid down for us in the beginning, that Adam agreed to. He was taught by the angels. We have to agree to that. We have to go through a transition. We’ve drifted a long way, and the Lord is here personally to supervise that. Notice verse 12 and following in chapter 15 have to do with localizing and with coordinating the operations here. He starts out here in 3 Nephi 15:1: “. . . remembereth these sayings of mine and doeth them, him will I raise up.” They wonder about the law of Moses. Well, there’s one law, but now you’re living under another. It’s the same one, only now you’re living it completely. The law is fulfilled that was given to Moses. Verses 5-6: “Behold, I am he that gave the law. . . . The law in me is fulfilled. . . . I do not destroy the prophets. . . . [They] shall all be fulfilled.”
Oh, I didn’t bring my Doctrine and Covenants. There’s a very good passage there that I could have brought in here. It comes in later, though. Old things have passed away, but you don’t destroy that which has been spoken already. We love to destroy things; that’s the great weakness here, you see. We have this turnover. I traveled around with an architect from New York, a friend of mine, quite an eminent person, and he showed me all these buildings his son designed. He said this was built to last for thirty years; it was going to be torn down in thirty years. That’s progress, you see. That’s the way we do these things. Must all the old things be done away with this way? Don’t we have some continuity? Remember, it’s like memory. Without memory, you have no identity, and we throw away our memory. We throw our past as we go along, so the America we see today isn’t the America of our fathers. [We have] no attachment to it. We’re like people with Alzheimer’s; we’ve lost our memories. We’re just going around doing the next thing, looking forward to the next moment. We think that’s being up-to-date; that’s being practical.
Well, he’s talking about this, about the old law which is still in effect. But the covenants have not all been fulfilled. Verse 9: “Behold, I am the law, and the light [the object of that law]. Look unto me, and endure to the end.” See, the object of the law is to test us. This is the time of our probation here. This life became a time of probation. “. . . and endure to the end, and ye shall live, for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life.” That’s the object, to get this thing going on an eternal basis, and we’re far from it now. If we were to partake of the tree of life now and live forever in our sins, it would be the ultimate tragedy. We would yearn to die. But no, we’re preparing for that. If you endure, if you pass through here, if you can hang on here to the end, then you’ll have eternal life. But don’t expect anything here.
Then he speaks to the Twelve [verse 12]: “Ye are a light unto this people.” This is the promise to Lehi’s children who really have a feeling for the land. This is about this land. For the Gentiles it’s a commodity, but for the Indians it’s sacred. I know. I’ve spent lots of time among them, and it is holy [to them]. Their religion makes a very important thing of it. When Yigael Yadin was here, a little group of us were having an evening with him over at Kent Brown’s house. Yadin was the great Israeli general and commander of the army, and also the head of Israeli Antiquities. He just died a few months ago. He was talking about it. We said, what religion are you? What do you believe in? He said, my religion is the land. That’s what I believe in. It’s the land. To me that is sacred. That’s carrying it pretty far, the land of Eretz Israel, but lots of people feel that way—that the land itself is sacred. No other land would do. There’s something special about this place. But this inheritance is not for the Gentiles; it’s given to this branch of Israel.
Verse 13: “And behold, this is the land of your inheritance; and the Father hath given it unto you. [It’s yours. As I say, we use it as a commodity.] And not at any time hath the Father given me commandment that I should tell it unto your brethren at Jerusalem.” When the Peabody Corporation bulldozed the sacred canyon of the Hopis, the Blue Canyon, it was a sad thing. It was a place where they used to meet. Developers, and we have a lot of them now, accused the Indians of pagan reverence for the land—of being sentimental and romantic, whereas they are solid and practical. They’re businessmen. We might fight to get a brief income from allowing nuclear waste to be deposited in there, and we do. There are parts of Utah where the people actually fought and got very nasty about people who didn’t want nuclear waste to be brought in and dumped because that would mean they’d make money for a few years. But then for thousands of years the land couldn’t be walked on; it would be no good at all. That didn’t count. They wanted the money the same way. We call Palestine the Holy Land, and yet we scoff at the Indians for believing their assigned portion of the land is holy. They have their holy rocks, as you know, and canyons and streams and particular things. The Greeks and other ancients were the same way. Would you call that nature religion? Well, there’s an awful lot of that in the Pearl of Great Price, especially in the book of Enoch. We’re not talking about that now, but he makes it very specific. This is your holy land.
Now there are other tribes “whom the Father hath led away.” He’s calling them a tribe. Verse 17: “[There are] other sheep I have which are not of this fold [and we know this passage, too], . . . and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” That’s the theme. This is to bring them together here. And the stiffnecked of the Jews didn’t understand what he was talking about. Verse 19: “Ye were separated from among them because of their iniquity.” You’re going to be rehabilitated. This is the Rechabite principle, as you know. We have to get out. They left wicked Jerusalem so they could live the pure law. The only way they could do it was to get out of town by themselves. This is what happened with the Rechabites. They were separated from among them. Other tribes the Father has separated from them. This is the process, and “because of their iniquity” they know not of them. So we’re all living separately because we’re not righteous enough to associate. If we associated with each other in a corrupt state, we’d corrupt each other. Verse 21: “And verily I say unto you, that ye are they of whom I said: Other sheep I have; . . . they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” They didn’t understand me. But “the Gentiles should not at any time hear my voice . . . save it were by the Holy Ghost.” That they can have, you see. But they can become Israel; we can see how they can become Israel.
Now he carries this through in the next chapter. What about the rest of the human race, we ask. Well, no one is denied. Here we have accommodation with the Gentiles. Since it’s the same gospel, all must be given a chance to get into it. In this chapter, which is so packed with history and prophecy, one is up and the other is down. The Gentiles are up, and then notice what goes on here. In verse 4 the Jews are out and the Gentiles are in, but Israel benefits. In verse 6 the Gentiles are blessed. In verse 7 Israel is out and the Gentiles are in. In verse 8 some of the Gentiles are unbelieving. They’re out [rejected] in the Promised Land, and Israel is scattered. In verse 8 everybody is out. The Gentiles have become unbelieving, and Israel is scattered. In verse 9 the Gentiles are up and Israel is down. In verse 10 and following, the Gentiles begin to slip. In verses 11-12 Israel is taken back again. In verse 13 the Gentiles are given another chance. In verse 14 Israel is held back to give them the final chance. In verse 15 the Gentiles refuse the gospel, and Israel is unleashed. In verse 16 Israel gets the Promised Land. It’s up and down, in and out, back and forth. Now this is repeated in some of the chapters that follow, to make perfectly clear what he’s talking about here. We’ve gone rather fast through that. What I’m asking you to do is read this through carefully and see if that isn’t so. See who is up and who is down.
Third Nephi 16:10: “And thus commandeth the Father . . . at that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel. . . . I will bring the fullness of my gospel from among them.” This is the ultimate prophecy in the Book of Mormon. The tenth verse is the great warning. If they will not return, Israel “shall go through among them, and shall tread them down.” We have vivid imagery here, but we don’t know what it is, what will happen. It’s very interesting. Jack Anderson has said all along that he’s far more frightened of what will come up from the south against this land than of the Russian threat to us. He said the Russians don’t really threaten us, and, as we see now, they don’t. But the threat will come when we’re so weak they can go through us like a knife through butter, and this sort of thing. If our morals are weak and our economy breaks down, since we have nothing to live for except the economy [they can do it]. There’s nothing in our lives except that, nothing to sustain us. What would happen if the economy collapsed? You have no idea how people were broken up and completely shattered by the Great Depression. It didn’t faze the Hopis at all. They’ve always been living on dry sand and nothing else. They didn’t lose a thing; they got through beautifully. It’s just as hard for them today. But with us, [there were] suicides right and left—the most terrible things happening. I had a project in sociology in which I had to consult with all the pastors in Glendale, California, about what was going on in the churches, etc. I got some very interesting things. Their morale had completely collapsed, just because the economy wasn’t holding up. Who cares about that, you see. Then he says [verse 16], “I should give unto this people this land for their inheritance.”
After all this chapter 17 is marvelous. This changes the tone completely. This is the happy chapter. After this pageant of mounting conflict and folly, we reach the grand climax in the Book of Mormon, and it’s all good news. That’s wonderful. The Book of Mormon’s the happiest book in the world. The terrible questions without the gnawing doubts are here, you see. After all, we’re all we’re just one loving family, he says. Christ wants it that way; he sets the example. This is the great intimacy in the church. Remember, when Jesus comes he talks, he prays, he eats, he converses, he even weeps with them. He does everything they do. When they kneel on the ground, he kneels on the ground. He heals them all. Then it’s the children’s turn, and they alone offer no opposition. Most of this chapter belongs to the children, too. But at the beginning of the chapter he says this isn’t just a display. I’m not just putting on a show here. This is something to exercise your minds on. You’ve got to think about this. He said, I see you cannot understand all my words.
It isn’t just that you’re impressed by special effects, like Star Wars. That’s not it at all. In verse 2 he says, you don’t understand what I’ve been talking about, do you? So this is what you do—you go home and concentrate. “Ponder upon the things which I have said, and ask of the Father [you pray that you can understand it], in my name, that you may understand, and prepare your minds.” You see, we think if we accept the gospel [we have arrived]. A missionary goes out and a family is baptized into the Church, but we have a long way to go here. It’s something to exercise the mind. It requires understanding, and you must prepare your minds for it. These people were the righteous. They’d grown up in the church and been baptized. They were those who weren’t destroyed. The others were in the church, too, but the church was corrupt on their part. But they [the righteous] didn’t understand it when the Lord came. They didn’t understand the words any more than the apostles understood the words when the Lord spoke to them after the resurrection. Remember, at the end of Mark and Luke when he spoke to them, then their eyes were opened, and they began to understand it. We don’t have what he taught them [in the New Testament], but this is what he taught the apostles after the resurrection. He’s speaking to his disciples here, too, remember. So this is the story. This is the New Testament we have. This is the most valuable part of all, the gospel of the forty days, that we have here. It is missing [from the New Testament]. But it had to have that preparation. He says, this is what I taught the Jews and I’m giving it to you now. So, ponder these things, think about them, and prepare your way. You must make an intellectual effort; you don’t just sit around.
Verse 4: “But now I go unto the Father, and also to show myself unto the lost tribes of Israel.” He’s going to somebody else. In the next verse [he says] he’s going to the lost tribes. This is a new vista. This is beyond Jerusalem, beyond Zarahemla, beyond the Wasatch. It’s the lost tribes of Israel. We don’t know where they are. The people didn’t want him to leave, and they were in tears. Then he talks about the next epiphany, his “bowels are filled with compassion,” because he’s leaving. They weep in the New Testament, too. What will we do when you have gone? Again, there’s this separation. Christian theology teaches there was none—that after the crucifixion it was the Christ’s spirit that suffused everywhere, and it’s just love in your hearts and nothing else. It’s not talking in those terms only.
He’s filled with compassion, and then he asks, are there any sick? He’s going to heal all the sick there. Now this is an interesting thing. Verse 8: “I see that your faith is sufficient that I should heal you.” Remember, he couldn’t heal them unless their faith was sufficient. That’s a very important thing. Remember, it happened during his mission. He could not do miracles among them because of their lack of faith. Remember when he went to his own home town? The Nephites’ faith was sufficient, so with one accord they went forth and brought their sick (you can be sure of that). And “he did heal them every one.” Now the preaching of the gospel is not a medical mission. Notice, he was healing them so they would be able to hear the gospel the next day. He was going to teach them the next day. He was going to bring them all together. They were to be washed up and prepared for it. They were not only to be healed, but they were to be baptized again. They’d all been baptized. Nephi’s order was to baptize them all again. Everybody is going to have to be there cleaned up, washed up, and healed of any disease. Then they’re ready to hear the gospel. Then we’re ready for him. We say medical missionaries do a wonderful work, like the Seventh Day Adventists. But the gospel begins where the healing ends. The Lord says heal them, feed them, and then you preach to them, as he preached to the multitude. He fed them, and then he preached to them. That was the bread they really liked. He said then I’ll give you bread, and you’ll never be hungry again if you eat this bread. So this illness is actually a distraction. The gospel requires concentration, and it requires health. These are prerequisites, but they’re not the goal of Christianity. They’re the preparation to hear the gospel he is going to teach them.
Before he leaves he commands that the children should be brought—all this concern with the children. They’re the only ones that can be reached. We have to start with them, with this new generation—just as the great corruption came with the new generation a few chapters back right in 3 Nephi. It says the new generation had grown up not knowing the gospel, and they were lured away by the Nehors and the Gadiantons. They found it was romantic. The young kids found it was romantic to be robbers in the mountains, etc. They joined these secret societies in great numbers. This is the sort of thing that happens, like Satanism and all this nonsense.
But now he commands [verses 11-14] “that their little ones should be brought. So they brought their little children and set them down upon the ground round about him, and Jesus stood in the midst; and the multitude gave way till they had all been brought to him. . . . He commanded the multitude that they should kneel down upon the ground. . . . Jesus groaned within himself, and said: Father, I am troubled because of the wickedness of the people of the house of Israel.” See, this is the thing. These you’d think would be the most righteous people in the world. But can’t the human race ever get going? Must we always louse things up this way? This is the point. Why do we settle, when we’re capable of such tremendous things, for such a shabby bargain we make. It’s amazing.
He said he was “troubled because of the wickedness of the people of the house of Israel.” They are the ones who should be more righteous. It’s the contrast between them and the innocent children that is so moving here.
Verse 15: “He himself also knelt upon the earth.” Here’s Christ the resurrected Lord kneeling upon the ground. Remember, Moroni didn’t touch the earth when he appeared to Joseph Smith. His feet were above the ground; he didn’t touch it. He was a messenger from above come to deliver a message. But the Lord had come down here to take us into his arms. He’s going to be one of us, one of the family, you see. He goes all the way. And what “he prayed cannot be written.” Now we’re getting out into these other dimensions, which you can’t describe. We know they exist, like a singularity. This is what we’re talking about here, but they bore record of it. When he says it can’t be written, is he saying that it’s impossible, or it’s not permitted? Either we’re forbidden to write it or we can’t write it. Or if we’d write it, you’d misunderstand it. So he’s not going to talk that way. This is a demonstration of what is available to the undefiled human race as such, not a sentimental interlude here.
Verse 16: “The eye hath never seen, neither hath the ear heard, before, so great and marvelous things as we both saw and heard Jesus speak unto the Father.” Notice what the theme is. What is this theme here? Again we have one of those passages where every verse in succession sounds the gong on one particular word, and the word here is what? Can you find the word in the next four verses? The same word is the center of each of the next three verses [17-20]. What is the word? “And no one can conceive of the joy which filled our souls at the time we heard him pray for us unto the Father [and] he arose; but so great was the joy of the multitude that they were overcome. And it came to pass that Jesus spake unto them, and bade them arise. And they arose from the earth, and he said unto them: . . . And now behold, my joy is full.”
The theme is joy here. They’re rejoicing. This is the happiest possible time they’re talking about here. The theme is joy, and what is harder to support, great joy or great sorrow or great pain or great suffering or great fear? The joy is the hardest. You have to be pure and righteous, I suppose, to [experience] great joy. It’s the hardest thing to take of all. That’s what we run away from. We fear it. As I said, we can suffer, suffer, suffer the way they do in the art theatres. You must suffer to produce a work of art. We’re great sufferers—like the Russians there’s no end to what we can suffer. It’s unlimited. But joy is a thing that scares us. It’s a very interesting thing that our friend Hawking here says there are certain things that cannot be defined or conceived that are very real in the universe. He gives as the best example, joy. He says you can’t confine it or define it. You can’t tell somebody else what it is, and you can only take so much. It will knock you out. How much sweet can you take? How much sour can you take? How much of a particular kind of food can you take? Well, joy is strong medicine. It’s powerful stuff, and we’re preparing to be able to receive it, you see. We’d wither up if we had to receive it now. It sounds like a paradox, doesn’t it? But if we were righteous, then we could receive the joy without the guilt. When the joy we’re not worthy of is upon us, we feel guilty as hell, so there’s no joy at all.
So on with the paradoxes. He took the children and “he wept, and the multitude bare record of it, and he took their little children, one by one,” again. Never the plural. Even the children are blessed one by one. Verse 22: “And when he had done this he wept again.” We read that passage from Moses where Enoch asked the Lord, how is it that you can weep? He [the Lord] said when I consider what opportunities I placed before Adam in the garden . . . I gave him his agency, and I gave him the necessary knowledge. I even gave him commandments about what they should do, that they should love one another. But behold they are without affection; they hate their own blood. So God weeps, and therefore shall the heavens weep. This earth has to be destroyed, and all the other earths weep for it, because what happens in one part of the universe affects all the others. You see this is right out of our quantum mechanics. One thing affects all the others. They all contribute to the others. They all exchange particles, actually. Everybody’s exchanging particles with every other. It’s an amazing theory, isn’t it?
When he had done this, then, “he wept again; And he . . . said unto them: Behold your little ones.” And why wouldn’t you weep about that? Do you realize that 40,000 children a day die of hunger? That’s what the figure is. That’s hard to realize. It’s talking about African nations, etc.— 40,000 a day is the average of these little children. Remember what the Lord says, Wo unto him who offends one of these little ones. It were better that he had a millstone tied around his neck and were dropped into the sea, if that should happen. It’s the little ones we offend. Look at our [society]. Look at the child abuse. Look at the child neglect in our society. It is the most alarming, most increasing statistic we have—the offense to the harmless, innocent children. Parents don’t care about them. Nobody cares about them. It’s a horrible thing. This seems to be the normal procedure of the human race—exposure and all the rest of it. Jesus weeps when he thinks of it because that’s not the way things should be. And he says unto them, “Behold your little ones.”
Verse 24: “And as they looked to behold they cast their eyes towards heaven [and the angels came and administered to them]. . . . And the multitude did see and hear and bear record; and they know that their record is true for they all of them did see and hear, every man for himself; and they were in number about two thousand and five hundred souls; and they did consist of men, women, and children.” It explains elsewhere in the Book of Mormon, too, that they [angels] walked around among them, conversed with them, comforted them, and gave them blessings which they would always remember, etc. They ministered to them in that way. That’s what angels do when they minister; they bring the word. When Gabriel came in Luke 1, he said, behold, I have come to minister to you. Then he preached the gospel.
“They cast their eyes towards heaven . . . and they saw angels descending out of heaven as it were in the midst of fire; and they came down and encircled those little ones about, and they were encircled about with fire; and the angels did minister unto them.” Why did the angels finally agree to come down? Because the children were qualified to receive them, but the others weren’t. The children could receive the angels. Their conversation was with the angels; they mingled among them. The multitudes saw them here with the children and bore record, and all of them saw, every man for himself—there’s the individualism again. They were in number about 2,500—men, women, and children. They saw the angels minister to the children. There was nothing wrong with that; they could do that. You see, that’s why Moroni had to come to Joseph when he was still a child.
Well, actually, what Gabriel says here in Luke 1:19 is: “I have come to chat with you,” and with Zacharias and Mary he uses the same word. Lalēsai means “to talk with you.” It’s the regular Greek word for an intimate chat or talk. Zacharias was absolutely struck dumb. Nobody had seen an angel for 400 years. When he came to Zacharias in the temple, behind the veil, he said, “I have come to have a conversation with you.” I’ve come to chat with you. And he says the same thing to Mary, I have come lalēsai. He said to Zacharias, “I’ve come to preach the gospel to you.” So they come and chat. That’s what angels do when they come and administer.
Well, I see the time is up now. I was going to take us up to the end of 3 Nephi. What we’ll do is go through and “hoe the ground” a couple of times because it’s a long book and has important things in it.