Come Follow Me – 3 Nephi 27- 4 Nephi

Thoughts on Chapter 27

Up through chapter 26 of 3 Nephi, the people experienced Christ first hand. They were simultaneously chastened for past sins and lifted up through first-hand exposure to the core essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ, transformed through amazing spiritual experiences. With Christ’s departure, the designated disciples worked diligently to establish the church but got stuck early-on over names. In response, early on in Chapter 27, they unite in “mighty prayer and fasting” (verse 1) over what to name the church.

Why is naming things correctly so important?

Christ responds to their prayers with a final visit, instructing them to search the scriptures, wherein they may find the answer to this particular question. To be Christ’s church it must be called in Christ’s name. Being called in Christ’s name would make it Christ’s church but only “if it so be that they are built upon my gospel” (verse 8).

In these sets of verses we get some clues about the role the gospel of Christ should play in our lives – the gospel needs to be foundational. We build our lives in individually unique ways according to our gifts and circumstance, but the foundation of our lives must rest firmly on the rock of the gospel of Christ. Which begs the question, what is the gospel of Christ? This question is answered, yet again, in chapter 27.

The gospel of Christ is to uplift, to elevate, but the only way to do that truly is to “do the will of my Father” (verse 13). Christ’s life was fully consecrated to do the will of the father, which led him inevitably to the cross. And through that sacrifice, our lives may be lifted up as we dedicate them fully to the will of the Father. “Now this is this commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day.” (verse 20) Baptism is a way to dedicate our lives fully to Christ through covenant.

Earlier, Jesus warns about the lives not built upon the gospel, that “I say unto you they have joy in their works for a season, and by and by the end cometh, and they are hewn down and cast in the fire, from whence there is no return.” (verse 11)

I don’t think this is quite as harsh as it sounds, but it is descriptive. Life is short, everything that begins must end. It is this way by design. As we fully consecrate everything to Christ, we share in the eternal round of God. We die in God, we are renewed in God. We die but then we live again.

Think of art. Really great art, architecture or music fully produced through the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ lives in some capacity, ever renewing and expanding as one generation’s art inspires and informs the next. As we flow within the conversation of deep time (to use a Richard Rohr concept), we contribute to an ever-growing, ever-continuing, never really dying life of humanity. We become one. That is the gospel of Jesus Christ. I’m sure there’s more to it than that but that’s the way I experience it right now.

Thoughts on Chapter 28

In Chapter 28, Jesus asks the disciples, “one by one, saying unto them ‘What is it that ye desire of me’ after that I am gone to the Father?” Nine of the twelve asked to have a full life fully consecrated to God and then when it’s done they can enter speedily into the kingdom of heaven. A full life in these terms is 72.

Can you imagine requesting this? 72 used to be a long, blessed life, considering the many ways life could be cut short. Now it’s considered an early-ish death. But this request shows a deep embrace of life’s temporariness. Having direct experience with eternity, these nine had no fear of it. They wanted a full life and a gentle transition into eternity. Contrast that with the more typical experience we all endure, the uncertainty and ever-present possibility of our lives cut short. We live life like it will never end, but it will, sometimes sooner than we expect.

The remaining three disciples, however, wanted something different. They wanted their lives extended to see and experience first hand the events to unfold on this earth until Christ returns again. They wanted to live on earth like the rocks or the trees, a permanent fixture, living on, while others died, that they may have a direct influence for good over the course of events while they remain.

After these blessings are requested and granted, the twelve disciples “were caught up into heaven and heard unspeakable things”. (verse 14).

When I think of unspeakable things, my mind goes in two directions – the information conveyed in the words being taught are so deep, requiring a level of sophistication, experience and training for the words to be understandable at all, they might as well be unspeakable. I can imagine going to a conference event in a field meant for people in an industry, where I have no direct training, and finding what’s being said to be, from my perspective, unspeakable.

Second, I can think of experiences that I cannot properly convey through language. Perhaps experiencing a devastatingly beautiful landscape or being captured in beautiful music at just the right time my entire soul is raptured. There’s no way to really communicate what I experience to another person that will give that experience justice. I’m imagining some combination of both is what’s being experienced here.

Mormon concludes describing the experiences of the three disciples that continue to live, writing as he is 400 years after the time described here, having encountered them himself.

Thoughts on Chapter 29 and 30

As the Book of Mormon comes forth into the world and as people all over the world really engage with its text, then you may know the time of Christ’s covenant to his people of Israel will be fulfilled, that Christ will remember the remnant. But not just the remnant of Israel but the Gentiles also. Now is the time for the gathering of Israel, a gathering that excludes no one. We will all be gathered in a final time.

Thoughts on 4 Nephi

Imagine if the Book of Mormon were organized differently. 4 Nephi consists of a single chapter, 49 verses covering three generations and two hundred years. This single chapter of 49 verses covers considerably more time than Alma, a book that takes up 1/3rd of the Book of Mormon. Imagine if Alma were one chapter of 49 verses, and 4 Nephi expanded out like Alma into 60 chapters, filled with multiple sermons and specific experiences described in as much detail. I think it’s wrong to think nothing of note happed during the time of 4 Nephi. Mormon applied editorial discretion in his summary for reasons I’m not sure are clear. Mormon knew war, named his son after Captain Moroni, a central hero of Alma.

But know, fourth Nephi is remarkable. Describing in some detail that the people achieve Zion over multiple generations, for 200 years.

“And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift.” (verse 3)

They rebuilt their civilizations. The people did “wax strong, and did multiply exceedingly fast.” (verse 10)

“And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people. And there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders… and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.” (verse 16, 17).

But halfway through this chapter, Mormon slows down the pace considerably to dwell on the fractures that begin to take place. In verse 24, he describes the pride creeping in because of their riches and at that time, the society starts to divide into classes. Divisions crept in, multiple churches were created, some who claimed Christ but did not live up to his gospel, others denying Christ fully.

They begin to divide into historical tribes, Nephites and Lamanites, Nephites were they who believed in Christ and those who didn’t united as Lamanites. And then finally, they bring back in the “secret oaths and combinations of Gadianton” (verse 43).

Three hundred years had passed away and both the Nephites and Lamanites both become exceedingly wicked. The end of 4 Nephi brings the narrative right up to the time of Mormon, the prophet who had been narrating the story since Mosiah.


My Ballot

Another case for yes
Office Candidates My Vote Links Commentary
President Biden, Trump Duh The first debate if you can stand to watch it. Let me count the ways
US Senator Martha McSally, Mark Kelly Mark Kelly The debate Martha McSally moved away from her moderate pragmatic past and has become a full-on Trumper.
US Rep Congress District 9 Greg Stanton, Dave Giles Greg Stanton The Debate David Giles is not a serious candidate and has no chance of winning.
State Senate District 26 Jae Chin, Juan Mendez Jae Chin Jae Chin’s backstory Mendez is ambitious but has gone pretty far left to the extent I’m not sure what he’s doing in the legislature. And Jae Chin has an interesting story.
State Rep District 26 Bill Loughrige, Seth Sifuentes, Melody Hernandez, Athena Salman Seth Sifuentes, Athena Salman A brief summary of the candidates from ASU State Press Loughrige is too conservative, Hernandez too inexperienced. Sifuentes has some interesting ideas and Salman is the incumbent.
Corporation Commission Lea Marquez Peterson, Bill Mundell, Anna Tovar, Jim O’Connor, Eric Sloan, Shea Stanfield Lea Marquez Peterson, Bill Mundell, Anna Tovar AZ Central summary

The Debate
Peterson is the only incumbent and seems non-ideological Bill Mundell and Ann Tover both have relevant experience. Jim O’Connor is far too ideological conservative, Eric Sloan seems compromised, and Shea Stanfield seems a bit disconnected.
County Board of Supervisors District 1 Jack Sellers, Jevin Hodge Jevin Hodge Liberal Blog Perspective

AZ Central overview
Sellers seems like the more experienced candidate, however the board of Supervisors is weighted heavily toward Republicans. Going with the young guy for a bit of balance.
County Assessor Eddie Cook, Aaron Connor Aaron Connor AZ Central Summary Aaron Connor has more relevant experience. Eddie Cook seems more politically bent.
County Attorney Allister Adel,
Julie Gunnigle
Julie Gunnigle Debate

The Gaggle Analysis on the candidates
Both candidates seem pretty good, but we need serious reform, Gunnigle is the better pick.
Country Recorder Adrian Fontes, Stephen Richer Adrian Fontes AZ Central Summary Fontes had some early-term missteps that seem to have been (hopefully) mostly corrected. Richer is an interesting candidate, but I’m not sure his criticisms of Fontes are fair or non-partisan.
Country School Superintendent Steve Watson, Jeanne Casteen Jeane Casteen Liberal blog’s perspective Both candidates seem good, tie goes to the Democrat
Sheriff Paul Penzone, Jerry Sheridan Paul Penzone The debate Jerry Sheridan worked for Joe Arpiro, I don’t have a reason to vote against the incument.
Maricopa County Treasurer John Allen, Daniel Toporek John Allen AZ Central overview

AZ Central Overview
Allen’s experience seems more relevant to the position.
Constable Kyrene Ben Halloran Ben Halloran Running unopposed
Maricopa County Special Healthcare District Mary Harden, John Farnsworth Mary Harden AZ Central Overview Harden is a registered nurse, Farnsworth isn’t (she’s also the incumbent).

Blog On the race
Proposition 449 Yes The case for yes Its a continuation of a tax that pays for public health.
Maricopa County Community College District At-Large Shelli Richardson Boggs, Linda M. Thor Linda Thor AZ Central overview An entire career working with junior colleges, seeking her second term.
Maricopa County Community College District 1 Jacqeline Smith, Laurin Hendrix Jacqeline Smith Same link as above Hendrix is a politician, Smith works in education at ASU
Tempe Union No. 213 Lori Bastian, Don Fletcher, Berdetta Hodge, Sarah Lindsay James, Sandy Lowe, Armando Montero, Michael Myrick, Paige Reesor Sarah Lindsay James, Paige Reesor, Sandy Lowe Ahwatukee Overview My wife tells me Sarah Lindsay Page is fantastic, Paige Reesor is the only other teacher in the running and Sandy Lowe is the incumbent. I’m intrigued by Armando Montero, but the other’s bio’s fall short for me.
Tempe Elem No 3 Monica Trejo, Allison Ewers Running Unopposed
City of Tempe Question 1 2, 3, 4 Yes on all of them. Information on the City of Tempe’s website I’m an automatic yes for bonds to fund infrastructure.
Judges Judicial Review

AZ Republic Opinion
Legalization of recreational marijuana: Proposition 207 N/A No The Reason website takes a stab on recreational marijuana I’m sympathetic to it, but the negatives outweigh the positives in my opinion.
Proposition 208 N/A Yes The Case for No

Laurie Roberts case for yes

Robert Robb’s case for no