In the Sermon at the Temple in 3rd Nephi among other differences from the Sermon on the Mount, are found two verses of great significance. One includes the graphic and powerful admonition to, “take up your cross”. What is Christ asking of us when He says this?
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Recent research on early Israelite religion and belief has led some scholars to conclude that, indeed, some ancient Israelites believed in a Messiah-figure, who was the son of the Most High God and was prophesied to redeem Israel. But they didn’t seem to know exactly who this Messiah would be and when he would come onto the scene. In contrast, Book of Mormon writers show a detailed awareness of Jesus Christ’s life and ministry from the very beginning.
The prophets Ether and Moroni prophesied that “a New Jerusalem” would be built in the land of promise. However, these prophets made it clear that the New Jerusalem could only be built on the principles of righteousness, and only by keeping the Lord’s commandments. Because the Book of Mormon does not specify where physically in the New World the “land of promise” was located, or its range or extent, interested readers of the book have tried to answer these questions.
Mormon must have felt there was some importance in including these two timing clues for Christ’s ministering visit to the Nephites. Since Christ was crucified as the Passover lamb at the ending of the 33rd year/beginning of the 34th, the ending of the 34th year would be a year later. It is difficult to reconcile how a year later would be “soon after His ascension.” But what if there are some important messages in this dating that Mormon wanted to communicate? Why would he include two clues that require so much struggle to reconcile?
The temple is seen as the holiest place on earth, the sacred house of the Lord. Patrons can receive revelation and inspiration there, and they can find a peaceful refuge amidst a chaotic world. However, it can sometimes be difficult to feel the inspiration of heaven when confronted with unfamiliar or confusing symbols. These beautiful and multifaceted symbols of the temple are perfect for deep, personal reflection inside the sacred walls of the temple, and so should be treated with reverence.
In April 2006, Dallin H. Oaks, in unpublished remarks at the naming of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, reminded listeners that “this institute belongs to God.” On November 10, 2018, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland renewed that commitment.
Serving one’s country in the military can and should always be seen as a noble service, a service higher than one’s own self. Many ancient prophets righteously led soldiers in necessary battles: Moses, Joshua, King Benjamin, Alma the Younger, and of course Mormon, the compiler of the Book of Mormon. Studying the lives and examples of these warrior-prophets and leaders can provide peace and meaning to those who are currently involved in military service and to their loved ones.