When writing a paper, it is common to follow a format of an introductory paragraph, the body, and a concluding paragraph. The introduction includes a thesis statement and sometimes a mini-outline for the paper. A thesis statement is the sentence that states the main idea of a writing assignment and helps control the ideas within the paper. It is not merely a topic. But rather, often reflects an opinion or judgement that a writer has made about a reading or personal experience.
As I have been studying from the Book of Mormon lately, a new theme has stood out to me, which seems to be comparable to the format of a paper.
Introduction and thesis statement - 1st Nephi 1:20 “But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the TENDER MERCIES of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.”
Nephi in a way sets up a “thesis statement” for the rest of the Book of Mormon. Whenever I read that verse, I think of the purpose of the Book of Mormon - to show how merciful the Lord has been to his children.
The “body paragraphs” of the Book of Mormon seem to simply portray that truth. One of my favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon is Alma 26, when Ammon glories in the Lord.
Alma 26:37 “God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea he numbereth his people, and his bowels of MERCY are over all the earth. Now, this is my joy, my great thanksgiving.”
When Moroni is finishing up his father’s record, before he invites us to read, pray and ask if this record is true, he reminds us in verse three, of the original "thesis statement" of the Book of Mormon.
Moroni 10:3 “I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how MERCIFUL the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things.”
My studying of the Book of Mormon recently has shifted to specifically looking for the Lord's tender mercies. This has opened my eyes more to the tender mercies in my life - or how I see the Lord’s hand in my life.
Often times, it is easy to overlook these “tender mercies” and say it was by coincidence or by chance. But I truly do believe and find power in Elder Bednar’s words that “the Lord’s tender mercies do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence.” We should not overlook or underestimate the tender mercies. I think the Lord is more aware and more involved in our lives than we know or can comprehend.
A tender mercy in my life this past week was on Saturday. I work in the temple as an ordinance worker in the morning. This past Saturday, before heading into the temple, around 5:00 in the morning I received a few phone calls from the members in Slovenia, telling me that my dear friend Urša Grahek had passed away. She has been battling with the physical pains of mortality for quite some time, so I know she is happy and relieved from her limitations. Nonetheless, still heartbreaking. The first part of my schedule was spent in initiatories. The patron that first walked in, happened to be holding 5 families names, all from Croatia, and I was able to perform the ordinances for this patron. This was the first time I have ever seen a Croatian name in the temple. This could be considered just a coincidence, but I find it a tender mercy. The simple promises and words found in the initiatory ordinances meant much more to me, as I thought of Urša, her family, and her future posterity. All of those blessings are appertaining through her faithfulness, and she is one of the most faithful women I know. I know that she again has a healthy body, and will continue to find true joy.
This week being the week of Thansksgiving, I'm striving to let my prayers be more filled of gratitude to the Lord, and his tender mercies. They are truly all around us, if we will "lift up our eyes!"
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