“The way a book is read — which is to say, the qualities a reader brings to a book — can have as much to do with its worth as anything the author puts into it…. Anyone who can read can learn how to read deeply and thus live more fully.”
~Norman Cousins

Writing is where we truly learn. Join the Journey.

I read from my scriptures (book), but you can find scripture reference here.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

To Be a Great Man? Helaman 9:6-24

When my LacrosseSon was about nine years old, hecame to me in a whimsical mood one night and asked,"Mom do you think I will ever touch a star?"
I replied

.. "I don't know son, perhaps stars are not all they seem. I know that if you don't reach for it, believing that you can, you won't. So reach for the star of your dreams and let it's light guide you."

What makes a man great? What makes the world stop and listen to their words, their works? What happens to a man when he reaches deep inside of himself and acknowledges to himself who he really is?

Great men don't just happen. Great men work at becoming. Great men spend hours, days and years studying what it is that makes them great. If I were to list a few men that history has defined as "great", what would it be that sets them apart from their contemporaries?

Abraham Lincoln(Freedom Activist President), George Washington(Political leader, Commander, President), Mozart(Composer), Brahms(Composer), Beethoven, Adam Smith(The Wealth of Nations), Robert Shaw (Chorale), Gordan B.Hinckley(prophet), Joseph Smith(founder of LDS church), Mother Theresa (Catholic Saint), Gandi, Roosevelt, Einstein, sport stars, Galileo, Copernicus
...etc... Does notoriety give cause for greatness. Does accomplishments give rise for greatness? Or is greatness found within us and all we have to do is reach deep inside and touch it. If Adam Smith had said what Abraham Lincoln said about freedom would anyone have listened? If Mother Theresa had been born a Jew would it have made a difference? If Gandi had receive a formal education as a young child, would it have changed his star?

Ask a child who is great to them? Ask a child who has a father and a mother who care for their every need, lead them with love and sacrifice? Ask a child who understand what love is? They will tell you who is great in their eyes.

What does a child think about what it takes to be great? What does a child know about the path of greatness?

The world acknowledges greatness when a man stands up, stands out, or stands strong for what he believes. Children don't understand the way the world sees greatness, they just understand that there is a one special person who will stand up, stand out, and stand strong to love them.

The greatest teacher I ever knew was great because she stood up to me and challenged my best work and made me write it better. The greatest friend I have known did not compromise standards or truths when I sought advice. She told me like it was. The greatest religious leader taught me to Be Grateful, Be Smart, Be Clean, Be True, Be humble, Be Prayerful, Be positive, Be still. The greatest Bishop I have known, listened but did not let me complain, and taught me to stand strong and draw a line in the sand. The greatest love I have ever known taught me to endure, to be patient, and has held me in the dark so that my fears would fly away. The greatest parent I have known has encouraged me, guided me, taught me truths, and given me opportunities to feel the difference between men who bore God's spirit and men who bear the world's spirit. The greatest difference is the degree to which these men love.

Men who grow to be great do so by loving: others, themselves, their work, service, truth, righteousness, their friends, their family, the old, the young, their enemies, the good times, and the bad times. Men who are great have learned to look beyond their physical limitations and find strength from the spiritual stars within them.
Nephi chose to be great in the sight of God. He chose to be great at keeping the commandments of God. He chose to be great at discerning truth and helping others understand truth. Nephi chose to stand for truth and righteousness come what may. He chose to stand for love. For love is truth. Love brings truth. And as one great past leader said, "The truth shall set us free." So who said it?

As I read the scripture for today it was easy to get caught up in the script of what happened and forget the role that this great prophet played. We all play roles in life. Do our roles bring us to the rim of greatness? Do our roles help us discover the star that shines brightly within? Can we reach that star that seems so distant by merely reaching inside of ourselves and loving what we see? Nephi did and then he hoped to help others see their own stars of truth.

Words and Phrases

vs 6 a garb of secrecy - there is no greatness in secrecy. Stars do not shine under a cloud of darkness
vs 6 raising a cry of murder - the murderer yelled murder and blamed another. Where is the greatness here?

vs 7 the five men - remember these men fell because of their spiritual astonishment at discovering the truth within Nephi. When these people were astonished they were so because they felt that these five had been captured by their guilt. Again they let their physical symptoms mark their course and ignored the spiritual truths that astonished them. If they had questioned their astonishment, it might have occurred to them that it was wrong to expect 5 men to kill someone and then remain, to not argue amongst themselve, or to all have the same story.
Vs 8 God has smitten them? Why would God send them and then smite them. Surely these men must have gained a new understanding of faith that day. They arrived on assignment to discern the truth, and then were cast in prison unable to convince anyone present of the truth. Truth is like this. It brings controversy not because it is not true, but because so many don't want to believe it as it changes their favor (in the eyes of the world).
vs 10 to mourn and to fast - mourning and fasting both bring truth. Truth then brings the seeds of greatness.

vs 14 even as Nephi testified - Great men testify of truths. Weather it be political, musical, intellectual, philosophical, historical, religious. Great men testify of truths that live within them and then they equally accept the blessings with the consequences. The speak with surety for the vision of the star within them gives them insight and vision beyond what others may know.
vs 16 raise himself to be a great man- Great men do not raise themselve up. Great men allow the truths of what they teach, say and do raise them up. Great men have spirits of truth that resonate in all of their being. Great men teach by their actions that are selfless and pure.

Vs 16 Chosen of God, and a prophet - Great men are chosen of God. It is men who are not close to God that can not see this. Great men are lead by God as I believe Columbus was. Great men allow God to lead their actions. Great men understand that the star within them is lit by their faith in a being greater than themselves.
vs 17 we will detect this man - how do you detect the truth when you know not the truth? How does an unrighteous man judge a righteous man? How do you detect the spirit of a man? Ask a child. They will not only know they will be truthful about it.

vs 19 they did rebuke and confound - the 5 who had been astonished stood up for the new truth they found. Would they have done this if they themselves had not been accused? What happens to us when we stand on trial for what we know to be truth? We learn to value truth with a greater passion. These men spoke with passion in defense for Nephi. What changed their perspective? The spirit. The spirit of truth that gave witness not to their physical senses but to their spiritual beings.
vs 19 question him in divers ways - Why is that those who stand for truth must endure this ritual of trial? It is so that the truth may stand strong, bright, and pure before the world. And the world will know the brightness of truth within themselves. Truth must be purified by the accusations of those who do not know it. Truth must be tried before it can be set free. For truth is a powerful force for good and those who know it must value its power so that they hold onto and never let it go. For to let go of truth is to lose ones soul.

vs 20 thou are confederate - look and see how they bribe Nephi. I had a friend who shared with me how we need to be careful what we say for our words act as mirrors to our souls. They tell what we think, how we feel, and what we plan to do. These men's words mirrored their souls and how they would have behaved. They had no conception of Nephi's pure actions.

v 22 except ye repent - we repent so that we may know, understand and feel the power of truth in our lives.

vs 23 I did know of the wickedness and abominations - Prophets must be strong and capable of bearing the truth of all things. Prophets must understand the power of truth and the burden it is to bear. Prophets know goodness and seek after it, but to know goodness is to understand wickedness for the stark contrast is blazing. The reason most of us cannot see the contrast is because we live somewhere in between. We walk the fence and hope it will be okay. When we get down from the fence and stand on one side only, then the contrast becomes defined and definite.

vs 24 because I showed you this sign ye are angry with me- signs do not bid well for the sign bearer. It's like don't shoot the messenger. We don't always like what the signs show us. Why? Because truth acts like a mirror on our soul, a mirror that reflects both the heat of sin and the glory of goodness.

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