So my husband and I have resumed regular Family Home Evening’s, we got off track for a while, but we are back. We have been inviting our neighbor Kevin (who was recently baptized) to join us. We are also acting as interim Home teachers, since he hasn’t as yet been officially assigned one. But none the less, Kevin is typical of most new converts to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He is an older adult with a disability. He has some family members who are members of the Church, but they are not in close contact to encourage him. He has a roommate who is not a member and has no desire to join, and he has not as yet developed a firm testimony of the Book of Mormon.
That’s not a bad thing, because when I was investigating, I struggled with the reading the Book of Mormon. I did not have a problem with the truth of it, but I really needed my missionary’s to explain a lot to me. A wise Sunday school teacher told me that for every question I had concerning the why’s and what’s and if’s of the scriptures, there was an answer. D&C 46 gives a beautiful analogy of the gifts we receive at our baptism. D&C 46:11 For not every gift is given unto them; for there are many gifts and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God. It had not occurred to me that a gift of the Holy Spirit was to “know” the truth, and another was to “believe” the truth; with each of these gifts are manifested by faith, which is also a gift. So I guess you could say that by us alone, it is logical that many will struggle with comprehension of the scriptures as well as finding them believable. D&C 46:13 To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world. 14 To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful. I think most of us fall into both categories. I digress.
So in our FHE discussion, the subject of the 3 Nephites came up. I don’t know much about those three brothers except for a cursory reading in a Book of Mormon class I attended. For some reason there was a lot of conversation about “3 Nephite Lore”; so we struggled at the doctrine of the 3 Nephites, and I was left slightly confused. So naturally, when we asked Kevin if he knew about them, he didn’t. He hadn’t read 3rd Nephi yet, and wasn’t taught it. When my husband told him about some of the “Nephite Lore” we had been told, naturally he gave us the “hairy eyeball.” He didn’t believe us for one second and demanded proof their existence. Wow that wasn’t the reaction I was expecting, it caught me off guard. So we broke out our trusty Book of Mormon and located the record in 3 Nephi 28 and read it. In this record, a resurrected Jesus is somewhere in the “new world” with the remnant of the Nephites. He has organized the faithful, and taught them the same lessons given to those believers in Jerusalem, even to the organizing and appointing of 12 Nephite Apostles. I don’t know how long Jesus “tarried” in Bountiful, but in this record he is preparing to ascend to the Father. It had to be long enough that the men he had appointed as leaders have proven themselves enough to warrant a reward. He seems to be asking each man to verbalize their heart’s’ desire concerning Him. He wants to reward them for their faithfulness in serving.
3 Nephi 28:1 And it came to pass when Jesus had said these words (that) he spoke unto his disciples, one by one, saying unto them: “What is it that ye desire of me, after I am gone to the Father?
2 And they all spoke, save it were three, saying: We desire that after we have lived unto the age of man, that our ministry, wherein thou hast called us, may have an end, that we may speedily come into thy kingdom.
3 Blessed are ye because ye desired this thing of me; therefore, after that ye are seventy and two years old ye shall come unto me in my kingdom; and with ye shall find rest.
4 And when he had spoken unto them, he turned himself unto the three, and said unto them; “What shall ye that I should do unto you, when I am gone unto the Father?
5 And they sorrowed in their hearts, for they dare not speak unto him the thing which they desired.
6 And He said unto them: Behold I know your thoughts and ye have desired the thing which John my beloved, who was with me in my ministry, before that I was lifted up by the Jews, desired of me.
John .21:21 Peter seeing said to Jesus, “Lord, and what shall this man do?”
22: Jesus said unto him, “If I will he tarries till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me.
7Therefore, more blessed are ye, for ye shall never taste of death; but ye shall live to behold all the doings of the Father unto the children of men, even until all things shall be fulfilled according to the will of the Father, when I shall come in my glory with the powers of heaven.
I have always been shocked that those 3 men would ask to "stay or live forever or as long as forever is" doing the work that they were appointed to do until the Savior comes back. Look at what happened to John the Beloved, he was exiled on the island of Patmos, by himself!! These men had to be totally unselfish and transparent in their desires. Wow. My first reaction was that "I couldn't do it", but I started to ask myself, what is it that "I couldn't do?". Could I live up to a covenant I made to stand for the Savior in all times and in all places, even unto death? I said yes so It must be so. How hard would it be to live a life of service? How hard is the work? What does it really mean to tarry, especially when it comes to serving God? It means to stay in expectation; to wait or as in Exodus 24: Tarry ye here for us, till we come again for you…
I had an impression once that it would not be a hard decision to ask the Savior if one could “tarry” until He comes and be a part of this great work of the gathering of souls unto Christ. I felt this way after Kevin was baptized. I wanted to see the results of this great work and I can believe enough to do it. I have felt this way since being called to teach Gospel Doctrine. I believe that we all need a refresher course in the scriptures because knowing them is a pivotal piece of the “armor of God” that he has put upon us. But the surprising thing is that as I made the decision to “tarry”, I knew I wouldn't be “translated” or even taken up to heaven for further instruction. But what I have been taught, and continue to be taught is right here, and I can ask to know who it is that the Lord wants me to help, to gather, to teach, to love, to tarry. See that’s not so hard or so difficult. I believe that there are 3 Nephites, and also John the Beloved, even Enoch and Moses, all these men and I am sure a fair amount of women unnamed, chose to “stay behind” and help the others make it through.
God is a Marine, in that no one is left behind.