Author Archives: Sweep The Earth

Alma 30 and Missionary Work: 3 Lessons Learned from Korihor

Korihor was a bad guy.

If we’re going to break down Book of Mormon characters into two camps, good and bad, Korihor = bad.

(I would prefer another term besides “characters” because I don’t view the BoM as fiction … but that’s for another day. They’re people talked about in a written work, so they’re characters in the broad sense.)

I know people are complicated, we’ve all got light and dark in us, etc., but on the spectrum, Korihor fell pretty close to the devil end.

The Book of Mormon actually refers to Korihor as an “Anti-Christ” (Alma 30:12) – this dude was not only opposed to Christian teachings, but he set himself up as a false minister, preaching among the people that “there should be no Christ” (meaning, there’s wasn’t going to be a Christ – this was about 74 years before the Savior was born).

Here’s three quick insights I got from reading and studying Alma chapter 30 in regards to missionary work, especially by observing the (bad) example of Korihor:

1. Watch the heart closely.

It’s not what people look like on the outside so much, or their external actions that really matter.

It’s where their hearts are, and where their hearts are headed.

Alma 30:18 – Korihor was “leading away the hearts of many.”

2. Watch the head closely.

Scripturally speaking, what is the person you’re preaching the Gospel doing with her head? Is she lifting it up or letting it hang down low? Typically, being “lifted up” with pride is spoken of as a bad thing in the Book of Mormon. (“Pride” as used in the Book of Mormon always refers, if I remember correctly, to what we would now think of as a bad form of pride – not “Hey I’m so proud of you son, you aced the math test” – but “Who is God to tell me what to do? And how come I’m not getting praised more than everybody else?”)

Alma 30:18 – Korihor was “causing [the people] to lift up their heads in their wickedness” – that’s a pride thing.

Side note – if you’re doing life right, you have every right to hold your head high. That’s the happiness and satisfaction you’re entitled to by virtue of the righteous life you’re leading.

3. Don’t tell people what they know or don’t know.

Alma 30:48 – Korihor tells Alma (good guy, the main Nephite high priest in Christ’s church at the time), “Ye do not know that there is a God.”

Alma 30:26 – Korihor tells Giddonah (good guy, the Nephite high priest in the land of Gideon), “Ye do not know that there shall be a Christ.”

Alma 30:24 – Korihor tells Giddonah about Christ-related prophecies: “Ye do not know that they are true.”

Is it getting annoying yet? If not, just wait – here’s Korihor speaking in Alma 30:13 and 30:15:

“No man can know of anything which is to come. … Ye cannot know of things which ye do not see; therefore ye cannot know that there shall be a Christ.”

Now the flip side of this is also important – as a missionary, don’t try to tell people what they know or don’t know. At best, it’s ignorant; at worst, it’s deeply insulting. You’re not inside their mind – don’t try telling them what’s in there.

What else can you gain from Korihor’s story? (The guy got trampled to death, by the way … just a sad tale overall.) Any other insights or thoughts related to missionary work from Alma 30?

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Elder David A. Bednar Delivers BYU Devotional Address on Sweeping the Earth with the Restored Gospel

Check it out.

Did you see it / read it? What were/are your thoughts?

My favorite part:

My beloved brothers and sisters, what has been accomplished thus far in this dispensation communicating gospel messages through social media channels is a good beginning—but only a small trickle. I now extend to you the invitation to help transform the trickle into a flood. Beginning at this place on this day, I exhort you to sweep the earth with messages filled with righteousness and truth—messages that are authentic, edifying, and praiseworthy—and literally to sweep the earth as with a flood.


What Price Are You Willing to Pay For The Restoration of the Gospel?

How far are you willing to go?
What are you willing to do or say?
How much suffering are you ready to endure?

Think carefully about it. Whatever the Lord asks of you is right, even if it doesn’t make sense when He asks, or for a long time afterward.

In all likelihood, most of what He’ll ask of you is just to be willing to live the Gospel daily and share it as often as you can.

You probably won’t be required to do anything too wild and crazy, in other words.

But what price are you willing to pay, if it comes down to it?

Where does your heart truly lie?

What price was the prophet Joseph Smith willing to pay?
What price were Moroni, and Mormon before him, willing to pay?
What price was the Lord Himself willing to pay?

Just some thoughts for today.

Why the House of Israel Is Important to Missionary Work

God has promised that in our present day, He will restore the descendants of Israel (Jacob) “to the true church and fold of God” (2 Nephi 9:2). Every person who joins the Church of Jesus Christ is either a literal blood descendant of Israel or becomes adopted by the Lord as if they were. So when you seek to share the Gospel, you are seeking only to restore the House of Israel to the blessings that Israel’s family once enjoyed.

One of the reasons the Lord gave the prophet Joseph Smith to the world “for a covenant of the people” was to bring back truths and priesthood keys that had been lost through wickedness and faithlessness. These truths and keys are necessary in order for a church to have the power to carry out the divine promise to gather Israel for the second time.

So the Lord put these truths and keys into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In 1836, the ancient prophet Moses appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and “committed unto [them] the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth.” So Mormons, or Latter-day Saints (LDS), believe that we have been selected to lead the global effort to put the jigsaw puzzle of the House of Israel back together.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. What do you think – why else is the house of Israel relevant to latter-day missionary efforts?

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The Furnace of Affliction: A Missionary’s Best Friend?

1 Nephi 20:10 quotes Isaiah 48:10: “I have refined thee, I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.”

The Lord often makes Mormon missionaries suffer, whether they’re the full-time missionary or the LDS member missionary type.

This suffering frequently comes in great measure before the missionary is chosen to render service.

Many are called, but few are chosen. The chosen are those who remain faithful in the midst of adversity and affliction.

Without the furnace of affliction – the burning intense heat of suffering, pain and grief – a human being cannot harden or crystallize into a completely unassailable force for good.

Like a piece of clay in a kiln versus one unheated on a shelf, you can achieve a far greater level of Gospel sharing success because of the things you suffer and endure than you ever would if you remained untested, unproven.

The roiling, unrelenting flames of affliction are your best friend if you want to become a truly incredible missionary.

Can you think of any examples from either the scriptures or your own life in which a person gained greater power to preach the good news of Jesus Christ or the Restoration of His Gospel by means of intense suffering?

The Book of Mormon Experiment

“[A]wake and arouse your faculties,
even to an experiment upon my words.”
Alma 32:27

If you are grappling with deep doubts or burning questions about God, truth, or the Book of Mormon, I invite you to do the following experiment.

Search through the Book of Mormon for 30 minutes a day, and spent the rest of your time trying to live according to the principles and teachings found in it.

That means devoting about 2 percent of your life to an intense study of the book, and the other 98 percent to an intense effort to become the way the book teaches you to be.

Take a few minutes each day to write down whatever questions, answers, insights, feelings, ideas or experiences result from this quest.

Do this for one year.

Finally, compare your levels of happiness and inner peace and personal conviction of the truths of the universe to what you had before. Your written record will help you remember what you have learned, felt and experienced.

I promise you that you will be delighted with the results, and that you will know by its fruits that the Book of Mormon was put in your life by a loving God, to convince you that:

  • Jesus is your Savior
  • Joseph Smith was and is an actual prophet of God
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the organization you should join and support in preparation for the return of Christ to the earth and for your eternal happiness

My Own Book of Mormon Experiment

I have done this sort of experiment for myself, from about May to September 2000. In my case, the numbers involved were 60 minutes of Book of Mormon study a day, for about four months.

I felt mostly convinced going into the experiment that the book was actually what it claimed to be, but I wanted to make absolutely sure. For me, mostly convinced was not enough.

The result? I became absolutely sure. All doubt disappeared.

Since then, I have tried to help others taste the joy that I have tasted by testing the Book of Mormon to learn whether it is true.

How The Book of Mormon Experiment Works

“[F]aith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things;
therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen,
which are true.
[E]ven so it is with my words.
Ye cannot know of their surety at first, unto perfection,
any more than faith is a perfect knowledge.
But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties,
even to an experiment upon my words,
and exercise a particle of faith,
yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe,
let this desire work in you,
even until ye believe in a manner
that ye can give place for a portion of my words.

Now, we will compare the word unto a seed.
Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart,
behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed,
if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief,
that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord,
behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts;
and when you feel these swelling motions,
ye will begin to say within yourselves—
It must needs be that this is a good seed,
or that the word is good,
for it beginneth to enlarge my soul;
yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding,
yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.”
Alma 32:21, 26-28

The Undeniable, Indescribable Power of The Book of Mormon

Whenever I have made a serious effort to study the Book of Mormon and live by its teachings, I have been overwhelmed by the real power I feel flowing into my life:

  • Power to do good
  • Power to want to follow the footsteps of Christ
  • Power to resist temptation to stray from the right path
  • Power to know that the man Joseph Smith is really a prophet of God
  • Power to know that God put His church back on the earth through Joseph Smith to continue what the Savior established during His mortal life

On the other hand, when I skirt around the Book of Mormon, or gloss over it, that power ebbs away.

It is more than some warm and fuzzy feeling that studying this book brings to me – it is like having a vial of pure light injected into my bloodstream, or a shield and armor placed on me. It uplifts the way I think, inspires the way I treat myself and others, and makes me a better, humbler, happier person.

If only more people would just crack open this book each day and try to understand it, try to apply the lessons and declarations in it to their personal lives, try to make it a part of who they are.

Try The Book of Mormon Experiment For Yourself

What about you? Have you ever done an experiment like this to test the Book of Mormon in your life?

If not, what do you think you might do to conduct your own Book of Mormon experiment?

image: hellogreenstar

Patience in Missionary Work: Are You Like a Tree?

How patient are you in your efforts to share the Gospel with others?

Are you as patient as a tree?

I want to share a few thoughts and scriptures on patience as it relates to missionary work, to help you become a more patient missionary, so that you can enjoy more success as you teach and invite others to follow the example of Jesus Christ.

The Unbeatable Patience of Trees

Trees are just about the most patient things out there. They start out as tiny seeds. They grow little by little, never in huge spurts. And they endure all the darkness, cold, rain, wind, birds and bugs that Nature can throw at them — all without budging an inch or crying out in frustration.

I doubt that you are that patient. I know I am definitely not!

Patience and Sharing the Gospel

Missionary work is done in two ways: by word and by example.

Both can take a long, long time to bear fruit.

Like trees.

When you seek to share the Gospel patiently, you make a conscious decision to make it a lifelong labor of love.

You accept that you will have all kinds of setbacks, yet you resolve to remain firm in trying to help others come closer to being like Christ.

And you make it a part of your daily life to think about how you will lead others toward Christ, instead of only trying to do missionary work in occasional fits and starts.

Patience is Just One of Many Important Christlike Attributes for Any Missionary to Have

Patience is not everything. It is just one of a great many attributes we must develop in order to become powerful missionaries.

And sometimes we think we are being patient when we are really being lazy or indifferent. So we have to be careful.

However, I think we can all agree that patience is a fundamental and highly important thing to develop in all areas of our lives, and perhaps especially when we are sharing the Gospel.

Scriptures on Patience for People Who Share the Gospel of Jesus Christ

Then, my brethren, ye shall reap the rewards of your faith, and your diligence, and patience, and long-suffering, waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto you.
– Alma 32:43

And now my beloved brethren, I would exhort you to have patience, and that ye bear with all manner of afflictions … with a firm hope that ye shall one day rest from all your afflictions.
– Alma 34:40-41

Also, remember Jacob 5 and the allegory of the tame and wild olive trees. The lord of the vineyard showed extreme patience despite all of the frustrating setbacks he had to endure.

Thank you for reading this post. In future articles here on the official Sweep The Earth blog, we hope to discuss the connection between missionary work and patience in much more detail!

Sign Up for Sweep The Earth

If you not yet signed up as a Sweep The Earth user, I invite you to sign up right now. I promise that you will have a great time! You will be able to work with other Church members to share the good news of Jesus Christ, the most patient of us all.

What Do You Want to Say?

So, what have you learned about being a patient missionary that you would like to share with our other readers? We would love to hear your insights and experiences!

image: Varin Tsai

We Actually Have to Hope

Just discovered Busted Halo – looks like an excellent resource for those who want to learn more about faith in all its forms.

Saw an interesting article there by Helen Lee about seeing Christ in bin Laden … and left a comment there saying this:

Helen, I like what you said here: we actually have to hope that he found salvation. I recently started a non-profit having to do with Christian missionary work and all along, an overarching idea in my mind is to have hope … not just for myself but for any person who happens across it. We all know we should love God, ourselves and others … but we often forget that we are supposed to also hope toward God, ourselves and, yes, others. Without that hope, there can be no love.

And hope is a fundamental thing you have to have if you want to be qualified to be a missionary:

And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work. – Doctrine & Covenants 4:5

Final thought for now – remember what the prophet Mormon said about hope:

And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise. – Moroni 7:41

My hope is that we have that hope not only for ourselves, but for everyone else too.

Which is why we do missionary work, right?