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With yesterday's reading fresh on my mind, I found the scriptures today were filled with even more detail about their own origin, significance and purpose. I have been considering attending a Bible study group with a group of people who are not LDS, and as I read the explanation of how the Book of Mormon restores the plain and precious truths that were lost in the Bible, I kept thinking to myself, "How can I share this with them?"
I also found several scriptures that increased my understanding of the state of men's hearts: 1 Nephi 11:22-23, 12:17 and 14:7. The scriptures make it pretty clear that it is Satan who hardens men's hearts, through temptations that lead us away from the Savior. He makes our hearts hard so that we cannot feel the love of God "which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men" which is "most desirable above all things" and "the most joyous to the soul." The "great and marvelous work" that the Lord works among men is simply, and miraculously, a deliverance from the hardness of our own hearts--deliverance both temporally and spiritually. I found this particularly relevant when compared to the scripture in 1 Nephi 12:19 when Nephi attributes two things to the destruction of his people--pride and the temptations of the devil. Those two things hardened the hearts and brought about the destruction of a people who once understood and lived gospel. Similarly, we are just as blessed with the fulness of the gospel, and we are just as vulnerable to the temptations of the devil.
Also in chapter twelve, I wondered at the specific mention of idleness included in the final verse of the chapter:
23 And it came to pass that I beheld, after they had dwindled in unbelief they became and dark and loathsome, and a filthy people, full of idleness and all manner of abominations.
When I think of the word "abominations," idleness is not the first thing that comes to mind. I think of more drastic things, like murder or adultery or actions rooted in dishonesty. But idleness? This scripture kind of gives a little more meaning to my childhood memories of the continual urging from my dad--whenever we complained of being bored or he found us wasting time in front of the television, he would repeat: "Go find something constructive to do." or "Go do something productive." Idleness--something to consider...