Waverly (not his real name) seemed like a very intelligent person. I had known him for more than a dozen years. I had watched him intently for the previous couple of months trying to decide if I should share my new views with him. That Sunday I decided I would but decided to start slow, not with a barrage of books but just with a scripture. The scripture I chose was BofM Moroni 6: 1-4. Currently NC Moroni 6:1
I arrived at priesthood opening exercises early that morning. Waverly and I were in the same High Priest group. I thought if I could peak his interest it would be a valuable addition to his understanding of Christ’s gospel. I really thought he could be poked and awakened. As he walked by shaking everyone’s hand in a very friendly manner, I held on to his hand for a few seconds longer and asked if I might share a scripture with him. His response was quick and easy, “sure.” I handed him my open book and asked if he would read the first four verses and tell me what he thought. I waited quietly as he read:
“And now I speak concerning baptism. Behold, elders, priests, and teachers, were baptized; and they were not baptized save they brought forth fruit meet that they were worthy of it. 2 Neither did they receive any unto baptism save they came forth with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and witnessed unto the church that they truly repented of all their sins. 3 And none were received unto baptism save they took upon them the name of Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end. 4 And after they had been received unto baptism, and were wrought upon and cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost, they were numbered among the people of the church of Christ: and their names were taken, that they might be remembered and nourished by the good word of God, to keep them in the right way, to keep them continually watchful unto prayer, relying alone upon the merits of Christ, who was the author and the finisher of their faith.”
Waverly looked at the scripture for the longest time as though he might never have seen this before. Then he turned and looked at me for many seconds. His face was scrunched in an angry expression, and reddening as he continued to look at me. Then he hissed (I swear that is the right word), “I don’t know what it means, but it can’t mean what you think it means.” I was taken aback, partly by his expression, but also by his reaction to the words of the scriptures. I had offered no interpretation, and really, the insides of me were hoping for a good discussion, something which perhaps would start with, “I’m not sure what it means. What do you think it means?” Instead he slammed the book shut and stomped off to the other side of the stage where we held the opening of the meeting. I was really deflated. As I sat there, a little befuddled by what had taken place, my first thought was that I had lost a friend, not that we were ever really fast friends, but the potential for it had certainly vanished. My next thoughts were about what there is in such a scripture which creates a fight or flight response. In Waverly I saw both; in the expression and reddening of his countenance, and in his stomping off to the distant corner of the stage. I never said a word during this onslaught, and can only conclude his reaction was because of the words of the scripture. How could this have presented such a threat?
Can the paradigms we put together for ourselves as we are taught by loving teachers and leaders while growing up, and the friendships and the family relationships we develop for ourselves who meet the expectations of the traditions and values these paradigms spin off and establish, can this cause us to turn on one who simply presents us with a statement which seems not to fit in our box, even when read from a book we declare is true? It can. I have seen it happen. It’s not right, but I think we have all been guilty. But such a reaction means we have not assimilated many other truths and required responses also taught in those same books. The one that immediately leaps to mind is how we should respond when we perceive someone has done us a wrong.
Well, enough philosophy. If Waverly ever reads this post I want to apologize to him. It was not right first of all to spring something on him for which he hadn’t been prepared. The Book of Mormon has those things all through it. Things we have never seen until all of a sudden! We usually see such things on our own, (we think) or in friendly groups after the Spirit has prepared us enough to be able to see them (and thus seeing them, appreciating them, and becoming responsible for them). And secondly, I have subsequently learned things work out much better if I wait until a person asks first. And in this case he hadn’t asked. My timing usually sucks, but I do love a good discussion.
I have posted this writing in messages from the recorder, rather than my own personal writings because of my responsibility to record the names of those baptized according to the Doctrine of Christ, and because the scripture which was written by Moroni meshes so closely with the Doctrine of Christ as found in 3 Nephi 11:31-41 (NC 3 Nephi 5:9) and in D&C 10:64-70. Some of the points I see are:
* Multiple baptisms each done at critical times in the person’s life.
* Belief in Jesus Christ.
* Receipt of the Holy Ghost.
* Recording of the name of the person baptized.
* The great key role of Jesus Christ in it all.
You may see many more things.
On July 1st I will begin transferring all the names submitted for baptisms performed through 2018 into the special book. These names must be entered alphabetically, which means that if you have not submitted your name by this above stated deadline, it will not be entered into the main body of the entries for your particular year. There will be a provision for an amendment to each year, but again, if you are late on your submission your name will not be entered into the main body of the submissions.
If you cannot account positively for your name having been submitted, then you should take personal responsibility to see that it is done by submitting your name yourself. It will be an easy thing for us to identify and resolve redundancies. What will be impossible for us, will be to record your name into the main body if it is not submitted by the date specified above.