Likening (Identifying) My Own Life in the Scriptures
Some time ago—years, actually—I sat down to edit and rewrite the first section of my original Twelve Step Commentary on the Book of Mormon--the section covering First and Second Nephi. I had no idea what the Lord meant for me in His command to “add to” and “amend” the original work. For time’s sake, I was hoping He meant the smallest of changes. But, as usual, I am finding that time matters nothing to Him. I found myself, last night, going through every single verse in the Book of Mormon and “gleaning out” every single phrase that means something to me, that feels highlighted or emphasized to me for the sake of my own life—to help me understand the events I have lived through. In other words, He desired of me to “liken” the scriptures unto myself.
As I opened the file and looked at the first page this morning, I realized that what I have before me are what I was given somewhere, nine years ago (probably in the original writing of this ‘commentary’), to recognize as the “heads” of “preaching” that is sacred and “revelation which [is] great, or prophesying,” (Jacob 1:4).
Jacob goes on in that verse to say that he will “touch upon them [these heads] as much as it were possible, for Christ’s sake, and for the sake of our people.” This is the exact same desire and motive that pierces my heart and lays it open to its very center. I am possessed by this same desire, this same love, this same hunger, this same calling. I have resisted it long enough, thinking myself unworthy, scared away from it by the fact that I am a woman, that I am a sinner of the most human kind, that I am required to do other things like earn a living, parent my children, etc.
To coax me to it, the Lord God has had to speak the most loving, confident, exalting words into my mind and heart. He has had to open the most supernal visions to me and make them as real--no, more real, more sensory, more plainly and permanently filed in my memory than anything I have lived on this earth in this mortality. He has had to completely redefine me. This morning, I find myself willing to embrace that “new” (more correctly, restored) definition. This is the purpose, in fact, of the Restoration of the original gospel of Christ--to restore each one of us individually to the Truth about our own “self” and about God. Joseph Smith taught that the truth about God and about each of us is absolutely intertwined: “If men do not comprehend the character of God, they do not comprehend themselves.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.343.)
And so, this morning, I see plainly what I am about. I see that I am to go through every single verse of the Book of Mormon gleaning out the “heads” (or as the Lord put it to me, “the ‘headlines’) and set each of them apart to serve as or titles for whatever the Lord God would give me to receive and share from the weaving of these thoughts into my life and my life into these thoughts.
And when I get through with gleaning the Book of Mormon, I am to go on into the Doctrine & Covenants, then into the New Testament, and finally into the Old Testament. And if I don’t get it all done in this life, I am supposed to die trying. Simultaneously, I am to be “processing” the things I “glean.” This processing will bless me, initially, and any others that the Lord God would have me share these things with. It will bless all those who are “my brethren”--in other words, all those who hear my voice as familiar, as comforting and inviting. My invitation is unto all, without exception, to come unto Christ, to come unto Him through the miracle of the Restoration, to come to Him in detail, in depth, in the small things as well as the large. I invite them to love Him and His word through the prophets, the scriptures, but most especially from His own mouth as conveyed directly to our hearts and minds by the Holy Spirit. Everything else I write or do or accomplish will be beside this, an expression of it.