Book of Mormon

My Missionary Scriptures

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As I mentioned in previous posts, my friend and I are kind of studying the Book of Mormon together, quite long distance. We are taking it slow and steady. I am also reading the scriptures by myself at random times and places, and I try to make an effort of doing some scripture journaling every few days, so I am at three different places in the scriptures simultaneously. To make it easier for me, I use three different copies for the three studies. At this point, I have to admit, that none of them is in Hungarian. I am still getting used to the “new” translation, and the comfort of familiarity only comes with the English copies. So in addition to having my journalized scriptures I use a pocket-sized Book of Mormon in my individual study. It is small, but it’s not a screen. I can carry it everywhere, and just mark it as needed.

I for the study with my friend, and usually for reading anything other than the Book of Mormon I use my missionary scriptures. It’s huge. It has everything. It is easy to read all the cross references, and it’s easy to have a Wikipedia-like experience when starting with a single verse in 2 Nephi one ends up three hours later somewhere in the Old Testament, via the Bible Dictionary, the Doctrine and Covenants, and thanks to a footnote, the New Testament as well.

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On this photo the book in the middle is the standard sized soft-cover copy of the Book of Mormon. I think it is quite evident why I don’t carry my missionary scriptures around much! I love them, though. I bought them a few months into my mission, and gifted my previous set to a friend. I hardly ever used the previous set, I used an individual copy of the Book of Mormon most of the time, but I really wanted a quad to make study more comfortable. It was made possible when a former missionary who had served in Hungary and had taught me invited my companion and I to dinner, and gifted us with some cash. So scriptures and a new-to-me pair of boots were purchased one P-day, and that quad became what I refer to as my missionary scriptures. It came with me to Anaheim, I used it the one time I was asked to give a talk, I used them for individual and companionship study, I used it to give the spiritual thought when it was my turn. So many memories are attached to this book. Over my years of not being active I still used it whenever I needed to turn to the scriptures for a story or a discussion, or even an online argument.

Using them again regularly has been fun. A lot of times reading my old notes and finding things that I thought was relevant to me 18 years ago brings back memories, and remind me of things that can be helpful in my life again. I love how all the new member enthusiasm shows through those comments! I love reading the scriptures, and I love how my Heavenly Father keeps guiding me as I study them.

 

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The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ

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When I was on my mission one of the verses I really loved in the Book of Mormon was 2 Nephi 25:26.

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This was our lives as missionaries. All we did every day was to talk of Christ, to rejoice in Christ, to preach of Christ. We did it when we talked about the blessings of the Temple. We did it as we shared the pioneers’ stories. We did it when we bore our testimonies of His love, sacrifice, and triumph over death. At the flagpole, in the Tabernacle, at the Christus statue. As my friend Gabi said, it was easy to be good on Temple Square. It was easy, because our whole life was centered around Christ and serving Him.

We often recited this verse, and one day I decided to put it to a test when it came to the Book of Mormon. During my personal study the next two months I marked every time He is mentioned in the Book of Mormon.

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On Sunday when I opened my missionary scriptures in preparation of reading it together with a good friend, I was, again, surprised at all the red marks in the Book of Mormon, showing all the mentions of Christ. Considering that one of my favorite Bible books, Esther, doesn’t even mention God directly, the straightforward witness of the Book of Mormon prophets seems so simple and uncomplicated. Simple and uncomplicated are good, because that is something even I can understand.

As I said earlier, for me the greatest purpose of the Book of Mormon is to invite people to come unto Christ, to bear witness that Christ loves us, and is always ready to receive the faithful and repentant. The Book of Mormon is truly for our time, and the opportunity of learning from it is one of those things that our Heavenly Father has blessed us with in these latter days.

Scripture journaling on a budget

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The Book of Mormon, in English, is 531 pages long, not counting the Introduction and the testimony of witnesses. I have been planning to move from the million post-its in my BoM to a proper scripture journal. So many of my friends have beautiful wide margin Bibles they use for that, and a wide margin template of the BoM (and the rest of the standard works) is available to be printed as well. In English.

While I used to work at a company that also manufactured printers, and allowed us to print some materials for personal use, 531 pages would not have been reasonable there either. So I started to look at various copy shops, and printing at the cheapest place on the cheapest paper that many pages would have come to around HUF 5000. With a better quality of paper, even printing double sided, it would be close to twice as much. That I found a little bit too much. Not to mention, if I wanted to do it in Hungarian, then I didn’t even have the option to print wide margin scriptures!

So I decided to create my own scripture journal on a budget.

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I ordered two copies of The Book of Mormon, they were €1.15 each. Then I bought a pack of 120g copy paper for HUF 1890. That will leave me about 16 sheets short, but I use this type of paper for a lot of other things, I will be buying more anyway. Of course the D&C  will need some paper as well. I prefer this thicker, whiter paper than the regular 80 g because I usually use a fountain pen or other liquid ink containing pens. Currently I use a low acid ink, and it writes beautifully on this paper.

Because I’m clumsy I prefer to see where I’m glueing something, so I primarily use these colored glue sticks, but double-sided tape works for people who don’t need to reposition their pages several times.

I am generally against mutilation of books, but this time I had to.

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The reason why two copies of the BOM are needed, because I need a copy of both sides of the same sheet to be glued onto the A4 paper. The missionary editions in English have thicker paper than the triple combination, and the soft cover BOM normally starts to fall apart by itself anyway, so I went with that. I expected to need a craft knife to get the pages out – and I’ll definitely need that for the Hungarian journal that I expect to be making in about a year’s time – , but with using some gentle force on separating the binding from the sheets, I could remove the pages without having to cut.

Then I glued.

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As you can see, it is not straight, and the glueing didn’t result in a completely fat and glued page, but as I’m not the artist type who would create a beautiful artwork out of her scripture journal like seen on Pinterest, it works fine for me. If you are better at using glue, you’ll get better results. Maybe I should outsource the glueing to my 8-year-old niece.

Currently the already made pages are in a binder, waiting for me to start study again tonight, but eventually I plan to have them spiral bound. This way I can add more pages where needed to add more thoughts, lessons, relevant talks or articles, even pictures as I go. This way it truly becomes a journal.

Another thing I started to do is to use the same type of paper (see, I use this kind of paper for everything!) to print some General Conference talks. I shrink the talks down to 70%, leaving me space to take notes, write thoughts, doodle, and generally use those pages as scripture journals. It helps a lot when I prepare for 4th Sunday in  Relief Society during the week. A similar journal for Sunday School preparation, printing the passages to be read, is also something I have been planning to use next year.

Every time I read the scriptures I discover something new and exciting. It is time to keep those thoughts at least somewhat organized. Because I do love to read the Scriptures.

 

 

An invitation

Just now I finished reading the Book of Mormon again.

Two of my favorite verses are the two right before the very last one, Moroni 10:32-33.

As John Bytheway once said, “Come unto Christ” is the ultimate invitation. That is the is the greatest purpose of the Book of Mormon. That is the message we receive from our Heavenly Father via His prophets during General Conference. Everything comes down to this. Come unto Christ.

Tents and prophets

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There is a point in every young Mormon’s life when in search of a quick verse to memorize they discover 1 Nephi 2:15. “And my father dwelt in a tent.”

For the longest time I considered this to be a very odd verse. Then I realized how much more this verse was telling me than I had originally thought. Throughout the first few chapters Nephi frequently makes a point of mentioning that something happened while his father dwelt in a tent. Obviously that was important! There really had to be more to this verse than an easy memorizing opportunity.

Then I read 1 Nephi 3:16.

Wherefore, let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord; therefore let us go down to the land of our father’s inheritance, for behold he left gold and silver, and all manner of riches. And all this he hath done because of the commandments of the Lord.

And then it all made sense.

Nephi’s father, Lehi, a prophet who lived in Jerusalem, was commanded by the Lord to leave the city and follow His lead into the wilderness. Lehi went and did as the Lord commanded him. But he didn’t just leave a humble home, he left a very comfortable life, with lots of riches behind to follow the Lord. He went, and chose poverty and hardship based on his faith in the Lord. He was willing to  live in a tent.

To me that realization has been very powerful. The example Lehi showed us has always been great, but now I view it as even more of a sacrifice he made. It was not unlike the sacrifices the early saints made when following the Lord’s call they gathered in the Salt Lake Valley, leaving their lives, homes, loved ones behind.

I’m grateful that the Lord no longer requires us to move to new lands, giving up everything. I’m grateful to live in a time when the stakes of Zion are all over the world, and we can receive the blessings of the restored gospel in our own homelands, in our own languages. Without Lehi doing what he did we would not have the clear message of the Book of Mormon today. One man’s obedience has blessed millions of people, and the clessings continue on.

 

The Political Post

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And behold, now I say unto you, ye cannot dethrone an iniquitous king save it be through much contention, and the shedding of much blood.

Mosiah 29:21

26 Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law—to do your business by the voice of the people.

27 And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even as he has hitherto visited this land.

Mosiah 29:26-27

32 And now I desire that this inequality should be no more in this land, especially among this my people; but I desire that this land be a land of liberty, and every man may enjoy his rights and privileges alike, so long as the Lord sees fit that we may live and inherit the land, yea, even as long as any of our posterity remains upon the face of the land.

Mosiah 29:32