26 June 2012

The Inner Vessel


Do ye suppose that God will look upon you as guiltless while ye sit still and behold these things? Behold I say  unto you, Nay. Now I would that ye should remember that God has said that the inward vessel shall be cleansed first, and then shall the outer vessel be cleansed also. Alma 60:23

Captain Moroni was not a whiner and complainer. He was the leader of an army. HE was a man of God. Of him it was said:

If all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men. Alma 48:17

He was not afraid to stand up for what he believed to be true – even if it meant he needed to issue a complaint. In Alma chapter 60 we read Moroni’s epistle to Pahoran, which begins, “I have somewhat to say unto them [Pahoran and other leaders]  by the way of condemnation” and then he goes on to explain the ways that he feels the armies have been mistreated and neglected. Then in verse 6 he politely says, “we desire to know the cause of this exceedingly great neglect; yea we desire to know the cause of your thoughtless states.”

What a great example of tact and diplomacy. Obviously, he is not afraid to defend himself, but he is kind and considerate in his manner of making his complaint known and trying to understand the situation at hand.

Throughout the whole chapter he eloquently alternates between making his case of the difficult war situation and reminding the leaders of their need to support the army in their fight for freedom in a most diplomatic manner. Verse 10 reads “And now, my beloved brethren-for ye ought to be beloved; yea, and ye ought to have stirred yourselves more diligently for the welfare and the freedom of this people.”

As I read this chapter in the context of my past year and trying to decide how to move forward with the next phase of my progression this concept of standing up for my beliefs and for freedom, through tact and diplomacy really made an impression on me. I realized I don’t have to let what others have done control my life, I can stand up to them, can explain the wrongs, can forgive, and be healed, no matter what their response.

“I would that ye should remember that God has said that the inward vessel shall be cleansed first, and then shall the outer vessel be cleansed also.” (verse 23) Moroni is in a war, he is fighting for freedom, and he threatens to fight the government if need be to get their support for the war. He is concerned that the government has been corrupted, and as a true freedom fighter he is willing do go to battle with the government.

Unlike Moroni I can then move on, and begin working towards something better. The inner vessel that I need to clean is myself, and I can see that as I have made progression forgiveness and inner cleansing, I am also make progress in cleansing the outer vessel, my home and my relationships. It has been a marvelous change.

The next chapter contains Pahoran’s reply, and I can also learn much from him. “And now, in your epistle you have censured me, but it mattereth not; I am not angry, but do rejoice i n the greatness of your heart.  . . . My soul standeth fast in that liberty in the which God hath made us free.” Pahoran was a great man, he was open to listen to the condemnation given until him and to learn from it, he took it as advice, given in love and kindness and used it to make a better informed decision about the course of the war.

Like Pahoran I have received advice and learned lessons from many different resources, through reading scriptures, from leaders, from movies, from personal trials and sometimes the feelings that come pierce to the soul. They hurt. Personal growth is not easy. There is pain involved in learning, just as in fighting for freedom. The freedom I fight for is from the natural man, but like Pahoran I want to be steadfast in liberty and learn more about and from God, and then eventually be prepared to help in the great battle for Freedom that we all must fight together, but first I must clean the inner vessel of myself, then I can work to prepare my family and my community to fight the good fight for freedom.

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