This week at the lunches there was this little baby chicken wandering around the floor. While we ate it pecked our legs and shoes and kept biting the scabs of one of the sisters. It was a pretty funny lunch.
Another day we were getting on a bus to head back to our area from the food and this guy started going off on us about how all prophets just want money and all leaders are corrupt and he went on and on about nothing. While on the bus we were standing up in the isles holding on to the rails because there were no seats and he sat up a few rows from us and he kept periodically turning around and angrily saying stuff swearing and flipping us off. We both just kind of chuckled and never said anything because the guy was drunk. But it must have looked really strange on the bus because no one was saying anything except for this guy every once and a while blurting out angrily at us. On his way out he turned around and set a curse on us and on God. It was a pretty interesting way to wrap up the day.
Later in the week we had a lesson from President Chavez. He started out by giving us a scenario where we were going to die this weekend and we had to write a letter to our families in our notes with our last words. He then had someone hand them their letter and he was going to read it to us. He made a comment on the bad hand writing and uninterestedly read through it, said that this is garbage to me, threw it on the floor and asked for the letter of someone else. He read the letter of a sister but with a nice voice and with pauses.
He then said that the first one was actually good and there wasn’t anything wrong with it, it was the guy leaving an assignment for his siblings to find medicine for his sick mom. He then related that to the Book of Mormon. He said it contains the pure and deep feelings of the prophets and often times we as members or missionaries treat their words like the president treated the first letter he read.
He said to more appreciate the Book of Mormon we have to understand how the book came to be. How it came to be in our hands. How much work was done, how much sacrifice was made, and how much blood shed to get the book to you.
Nephi had two plates, not referring to the plates that he took from Laban. When he got to America the lord commanded him to make some plates. He had the larger plates and the smaller plates. The larger plates had to do more with the governance and the history than with the things of God. They were resumed by Mormon and stuck into the golden plates by Mormon.
The smaller plates which come first (Nephi to Omni) are the revelations and spiritual things. And they were inserted in the gold plates. Then later came the plates of Ether. And they were resumed and inserted by Moroni in golden plates. The plates of Ether came from 24 other plates of gold from the history of a destroyed people. The seal in the golden plates was in the last part and covered much of the plates of Ether. From the testimonies of the people who saw the plates of gold that Joseph Smith had estimated different amounts sealed off so we aren’t sure how much is sealed. After Joseph Smith, the plates of gold were taken by angel Moroni.
He then talked about the book of Lehi. It was in the larger plates at first then moved to the smaller plates by Mormon. They initially had lots of temporal info so for that reason they were in the larger plates.
He then told the story of the 116 pages and how martin Harris was given the translations and he lost them. And how Joseph Smith lost his right to revelation for around two months. In 1 Nephi 1:4, it starts telling story of Lehi because the lord knew that the pages would be lost and he told Nephi to write the most important stuff. So the book of Lehi is resumed in the first eight chapters.
The Book of Mormon has the answer to everything in the fullness of the gospel. If we don’t know why we have rules like the ones we do, it is because we aren’t reading the Book of Mormon like we should. He pointed out that we don’t really have that many rules other missions have giant binders of rules. He said that is how it should be. Less rules.
We should be more aligned and in tune with the spirit to not have to refer to lists. He said he thinks that in the millennium the Ten Commandments are going to cease to be because we will be closer and more aligned with the will of God. In other missions, they have tons of rules because of worse behavior. The fewer rules we have assigned to us the more righteous we are. Because we are anxiously engaged in the doing the right and not because we are told to but because we want to.
Before the restoration Satan ruled the world. It was his kingdom underneath his control. So the minute that Joseph Smith opened his mouth saying he had seen God, Satan threw everything he had at him. Joseph Smith didn’t have just any golden plates, he carried the salvation of millions. The life changing tool.
What if he would have let the opposition against him impede him from getting the job done, what if he just used excuses. Satan would still be reining over the world. There were no excuses, he went and did what he needed to do. And because of that, we have the Book of Mormon today. Satan doesn't rule anymore. Knowing this we should put a little more effort in when reading or teaching about it.
Love Elder Blanchard