A phrase we see throughout the Book of Mormon is the conclusionary comment “and thus we see”. It is most often used by the writers as an inspired conclusion to events they have just portrayed. Its purpose is to serve as a warning to readers. In the words of Moroni:
“…give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been.” (Mormon 9:31)
There is something very special about these verses. Here we have an ancient prophet writing to us, knowing exactly what was going to happen in our day. He then reviews many hundreds of records of his people and takes not even “the hundredth part” to share with us, knowing it’s 100% relevant to our day, and ends these stories with, “and thus we see.” These are extremely significant verses. They are some of the very most important verses in all of scripture. They aren’t just doctrinal thoughts, they are major warnings designed to get our attention and understand just how relevant they are to our present day situation.
The Book of Mormon reminds me of George Santayana’s famous statement, “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” The Book of Mormon’s writers don’t want us to fall into the same individual or collective “pits” that the ancient people on this continent fell into.
Lets just look at one instance of this phrase from 1 Nephi 16:29 about the Liahona which states:
29 And there was also written upon them a new writing, which was plain to be read, which did give us understanding concerning the ways of the Lord; and it was written and changed from time to time, according to the faith and diligence which we gave unto it. And thus we see that by small means the Lord can bring about great things.
In the first tutorial we explored the Liahona as a symbol of the Lord being our director. Here we can see that Nephi is telling us that through simple things the Lord brings about great things. How often has a prompting come to us that when followed led to a spiritual experience, confirming our faith, and perhaps that of someone else whose life we may have blessed by following that direction? Conversely, how often have we ignored or dismissed a prompting and not experienced anything, which confirmed our bias that it was just a product of our imagination. If we continue in that course of dismissing promptings, it would be easy to fall away from the gospel because we have hardened our hearts and never see our faith confirmed.
I imagine it would have been quite easy for some in Nephi’s family to say “it’s not reasonable that words appearing on this ball actually come from God.” But once the promptings were followed, it would be a lot harder to deny the fruits of the blessings that come to you from following the prompting. Such a simple thing led them to accomplish the work the Lord commanded them.
For this study project, we’ll just keep it simple. Open up Scripture Notes and do a search for this whole line to capture both short phrases.
"we see" or "thus we"
This will capture a lot of the variations of this phrase such as “thus we can behold,” and others as used by the writers.
We get 56 results.
Going down the list of verses, remove everything in the Bible except Hebrews 3:19 which is relevant to this study project. Just start with the first verse and click the minus button to the right of the verses. Then create a collection note from the remaining verses. There are other verses you can remove, but you can do those as you move through the verses in the collection note.
Title this note “And thus we see” and tag it the same. That way if you search for part of that phrase you’ll find this in your tag list.
Lets begin by pressing ctrl/cmd-F and typing “we see” to highlight most of the phrases.
Now with the collection note expanded, start going down the verses. Remove irrelevant verses as you go, which will drop this collection down to 36 verses.
On relevant verses, click the verse reference to open that chapter up in a new pane to the right. Look at the doctrine or story being taught and make notes about what that verse is summarizing to teach us.
You might also mark the verses as you go with something that stands out to you such as I’ve done here. This one verse contains two conclusionary statements.
There is a wide variety of things being talked about in this collection of verses. It’s not the same as studying a topic like “humility” or something closely related. Your master collection note should probably be done after you do the individual verse study just so you can look for patterns in your verse notes. You might want to paste that Santayana quote in the master note or these quotes below that I found which seemed appropriate to the topic. Reading and applying the lessons from the scriptures certainly brings wisdom if we will recognize the destructive patterns people engaged in and then ensure we don’t fall into the same traps. And to the contrary, apply the positive things they did to bring greater joy and happiness into our lives.
“Intelligence is the ability to learn from your mistakes. Wisdom is the ability to learn from the mistakes of others.” – Anonymous
“It takes too long, and is too painful, to make every possible mistake. Wisdom is Intelligence with even greater humility.” – Jason Beans (https://www.risingms.com/the-difference-between-wisdom-and-intelligence/)
Please share one of your discoveries from this project below in the comments.
(Blog image from Tithi Luadthong @ 123rf.com)
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