The Worth of Souls is Great Doctrine & Covenants 18-19
The message in Doctrine and Covenants 18 about the worth of souls is one we hear often. We teach and learn that the Lord knows us and calls us by name. It might be the most comforting message in all scripture. I know that for me, it brings me a lot of peace when I feel like I matter.
He knows My Name
If you've had the chance to watch The Chosen (if you haven't, I highly recommend it--I have cried through every episode twice already!) the very first episode teaches about how the Lord knows us and calls us by name, and Mary learns it firsthand when Jesus calls out to her.
One of the things I love in these early sections of the Doctrine and Covenants that we've been studying so far is how personal the Savior's communication is with these early leaders as they undertake this monumental task of restoring His gospel and bringing forth the Book of Mormon.
And I relate to their struggles in many ways.
How strong is my faith?
Oliver, feeling like his testimony is not strong enough, despite the fact that he has taken part in such a miraculous experience. The Savior calls him by name and tells him to not doubt what he knows.
Martin, having seen an angel, touched the plates, and witnessed these sacred things, still struggling to sacrifice for the printing of the Book of Mormon. Yes, he recouped his expenses, but he didn't know when he sacrificed that it would be the case.
It brings me to another story of people that witnessed miracles but it was not enough for them to believe.... of course I am speaking of Laman and Lemuel.
These experiences remind me that faith does not come because of miracles, but miracles come because of faith. The faith to continue on in the face of uncertainty.
Witnessing angels, a compass outside my tent door that points the way, being saved while crossing the ocean, touching gold plates...none of that will make a difference if I don't choose to believe first and make the necessary sacrifice.
Am I prepared to make sacrifices?
I've been thinking a lot this week about sacrifice, and partly how grateful I am for Martin Harris' sacrifice so that I can have the Book of Mormon. I'm sure this was not easy for him considering he had the opposition of his wife, the judgement of friends and neighbors, and the fear of losing everything.
And he wasn't perfect, but he did it anyway.
The Lord knew his name, He called him by name, He spoke to his fears and asked him to proceed. His message was personal.
But even though these messages were personal for these two men, it doesn't mean there isn't a message in there for the rest of us.
There is a quote I read by S. Dilworth Young from the April 1963 general conference that said this:
The thing that impresses me about this is, and I have never thought of it before, when I read a verse in the Doctrine and Covenants, I am hearing the voice of the Lord as well as reading his words, if I hear by the Spirit.
Now I have heard it said many times by men that they have often asked the Lord for a special testimony and oftentimes haven't had it. They seem to want to hear the voice of the Lord. I confess I have often wanted to hear the voice of the Lord, without knowing that all these years I have been hearing it with deaf ears. This woke me up.
He does know my name and my struggles. He has a message for me as I study the scriptures, and just as this quote states, I can hear His voice when I read with the Spirit.
I may never be asked to sacrifice something all that monumental, (or maybe I will...who really knows?) but I know that I need to hear Him, nourish my testimony, and be ready for that day when He calls me by name. Like Oliver Cowdery, I can trust what I know to be true.
Lesson Helps Links
Be sure to grab your printable challenge cards over in FREE STUFF! Below are the links for the lesson helps:
Chapter 51: Jesus Suffers in the Garden of Gethsemane
The Savior Suffers in Gethsemane
Saints, Vol 1. Chapter 8: The Rise of the Church of Christ
Revelations in Context: Build Up My Church and The Contributions of Martin Harris
Walk in the Meekness of My Spirit
Oliver and David Taught Repentance
Doctrine and Covenants Stories Chapter 8: Getting Ready for the Church of Jesus Christ