Yeah, I know this is a strange list to begin a message. But I think you will find it helpful before we are done here.
There is a prophet in the Book of Mormon who was placed in a very tough spot. He did what prophets do – preached the gospel – but his audience was not a very receptive lot. In fact, the record shows that only one person actually listened to what he had to say (somewhat discouraging from my point of view).
But like all men of God, he fulfilled his calling and then waited for the results. In his case, the culmination of his efforts was death – he was burned at the stake. I suspect he knew that would be his reward for the work he did but he went ahead anyway.
My point is not to bemoan the wickedness of any particular group or the injustice that happens to so many who try to right the wrongs of the world at the Lord’s behest. What I want to do is look at the message he used to challenge his detractors. So, if you will go with me to the Mosiah 13, I would like to introduce you to Abinadi and his visit with wicked King Noah.
Noah was not a novice in the gospel of Christ – his father was a righteous man who recognized the need to do things “in the strength of the Lord” (Mosiah 9:17) to be successful. But worldly tastes became more important to Noah and he lost the sense of right that came from his dad.
Confronted by Abinadi, Noah and the false priests who supported him made a fatal choice to destroy the prophet of God who had come to save them. Their anger against Abinadi was so fierce that they “stood forth and attempted to lay their hands on him…” but were warned to not touch him until he had finished his message.
And what was that message?
As simple as it may seem, with all the things Abinadi could share or bring to mind, he was inspired to teach these educated, powerful and wicked men, who claimed to be priests of God, about the Ten Commandments.
I can imagine the disdain these pompous souls must have shown for such a simple message. They well could have said, “Why, if God was going to teach men of our stature, why didn't He have this “prophet” share some deep doctrine we don’t already know.”
And there’s the rub. As Abinadi had told them before:
If ye teach the Law of Moses why do ye not keep it? Why do ye set your hearts upon riches? Why do ye commit whoredoms and spend your strength with harlots, yea, and cause this people to commit sin, that the Lord has cause to send me to prophesy against this people, yea, even a great evil against this people? (Mosiah 12:29)
Most times, the Lord works with simple things to get us to change. In this case, the simplest message was to take Noah and his ‘friends’ back to the basic rules issued by God through Moses.
If a person can live those, then they have a chance – if not – well, there are other places than heaven to live when we leave mortality.
So, the list at the top is my way of offering help in remembering the basics for how to stay out of trouble. Each word (OK, one has two words so we end up with eleven) is meant to remind us of one commandment. And if the simple commandments are in our memories, there is a greater chance that they will, somehow, make their way down to our hearts.
It only takes a few minutes to memorize the words and the benefit will be quick a recall of truth to guide our lives. Good luck and let me know how it works.