Nephi, of course is heartbroken because he has seen in revelation the destruction of his people. He says, “O the pain, and the anguish of my soul for the loss of the slain of my people” (2 Nephi 26:7). He says it consumes him. But he is given a promise of comfort. What is it? We’ll talk about it today.

You can also find it on any of these platforms by searching for Meridian Magazine-Come Follow Me.

Maurine and Scot Proctor have taught Book of Mormon for many years in Institute and have spent extensive time in the Arabian peninsula, following Lehi’s trail. They are the creators of a foundation that has sponsored a multi-year archaeological study of the best candidate for Nephi’s Bountiful in Oman. They have written a book on the Book of Mormon, as well as immersed themselves in the culture, history, and geography. of the scripture.

Join our study group and let’s delve into the scriptures in a way that is inspiring, expanding and joyful.


Nephi, of course is heartbroken because he has seen in revelation the destruction of his people. He says, “O the pain, and the anguish of my soul for the loss of the slain of my people” (2 Nephi 26:7). He says it consumes him. But he is given a promise of comfort. What is it? We’ll talk about it today.


Welcome to Meridian Magazine’s Come Follow Me podcast. We’re Scot and Maurine Proctor and we love to study with you. Thanks to so many of you who pass this podcast on to your friends. Today we are studying 2 Nephi 26-30 called “A Marvelous Work and a Wonder.” You can find the transcripts for these broadcasts at That’s While you are there sign up for a free subscription to Meridian Magazine, and then every day you can join us for insightful articles that help you live the gospel where the rubber meets the road—in every day life.


And we have a really fun announcement:  It hasn’t happened in our 21-years of publishing—To celebrate our Meridian Magazine’s birthday, we’re giving away the Ultimate Church History Tour for 2—a whopping $7,100 value—which includes two $350 airline vouchers!  This is our way of saying THANK YOU for all your support and loyalty over the years.  It’s so easy to enter (just put in your name and email), there’s no way you want to miss this opportunity. 


Yes, Scot. This is for the trip this coming fall that we lead, beginning in Boston for two days of American Revolution, and then on to Sharon, Vermont, the birthplace of Joseph. We follow his life chronologically and end at the Carthage Jail. What a giveaway! To enter go to  Again that’s


Nephi understands that “the Spirit of the Lord will not always strive with man. And when the Spirit ceaseth to strive with man then cometh speedy destruction” (2 Nephi 26:11) It is not that the Lord wants to destroy His children. No, in fact, “He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world” (2 Nephi 26:24). 

What’s more we are assured, “Hath he commanded any that they should not partake of his salvation? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but he hath given it free for all men” (2 Nephi 26:27). He calls out “Come unto me all ye ends of the earth, buy milk and honey without money and without price” (2 Nephi 26:25).

Who is invited for this feast? Every one, He “inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female and he remembereth the fheathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile” (2 Nephi 26:33)


Yet, when the Spirit of God is withdrawn, when humanity is left to our own devices, we are enticed into bondage by Satan and speedy destruction is inevitable. Why would we turn our backs on these free gifts?  

We are left vulnerable and naked without the Spirit of the Lord. The Spirit is protection, active, real protection in our lives. 

Nephi’s comfort is to know that though his posterity will be rebellious and therefore destroyed, their knowledge, distilled into the Book of Mormon, will come forth when it is needed in the due time of the Lord.


He learns “For those who shall be destroyed shall speak unto them out of the ground, and their speech shall be low out of the dust, and their voice shall be as one that hath a familiar spirit; for the Lord God will give unto him power..and their speech shall whisper out of the dust” (2 Nephi 26:16).

“And the things which shall be written out of the book shall be of great worth unto the children of men, and especially unto our seed, which is a remnant of the house of Israel” (1 Nephi 28:2).

This book will be like a ray of light in the gathering darkness, giving us knowledge that we could have in no other way.


It will come at time when his seed and the seed of Nephi’s brethren have dwindled in unbelief, and the Gentiles (which includes our nation here—the United States of America) have lost their way amidst stumbling blocks of every kind. 

This Book of Mormon is astonishingly prophetic as it describes our time.  The book will come forth in a time of secret combinations. “And there are many churches built up which cause envyings, and strifes and malice” (2 Nephi 26: 21).

You can think of a church as any system of thought that becomes like a religion to people. It is their passion, their core, their center. It morphs into envyings, strifes and malice when you look at others as not just differing from you in opinion, but your enemy because they don’t agree with you. When you see others as enemies who are to be silenced or punished or ridiculed or mocked for their point of view, we have given into Satan, who is the great divider.


In 2 Nephi 28, we see not only a description of our day, but we also see clearly some of the tools that Satan uses to convince us to follow him. We like to call them “Notes from the War Room” for he has found techniques that work to corrupt us and he uses the same things over and over again. What we see in chapter 28 are the ideas which he has found particularly effective for the last days and our generation. It is just a peek into his war strategies.

We may never think of Satan as a strategist, who wages war with precision because he has seen his techniques succeed again and again to corrupt people, but that is exactly who he is. 


One of the important truths we learn in the Book of Mormon is that the Adversary is real, that he wages war upon us personally with fiery darts—which are lies and false ideas, that this battle is hot and deadly. 

Some of you may be familiar with the book by C.S. Lewis called The Screwtape Letters. It is based on this premise, A senior devil, named Screwtape, writes a series of letters to a junior devil instructing him on the best ways to tempt his human. There are definite techniques that the junior devil must learn that work well and consistently.

I remember, Scot, the first time I saw this book I was a freshman in college and first turned to it late at night. I couldn’t put it down. After my roommates went to sleep and the apartment was all dark, I went into the bathroom and sat on the tile floor and read most of the night. The techniques of this tempter in this book of fiction, seemed right on. I found myself saying, “I’ve been tempted like that. I’ve seen that technique used on me.” Until that time it had never occurred to me that the Adversary had his tried and true methods, that he strategized how to get us, that this was happening to me, as well as others.


We live in a time when people don’t believe that Satan exists and certainly don’t acknowledge the war that is being waged upon them. People think of him as a cartoon character carrying a pitchfork. C.S. Lewis said, “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.”

Satan is not a cartoon, not a fictional character, not a joke, not a fairy tale. He is the enemy of your soul, make no mistake about it. And he wages war upon you personally and wants you to be miserable like unto himself. That is why you need the protection of the atonement.


Satan loves to blind us, and it does not always take a major sin to leave us blind. Enough little things that turn our heads will do.  Take what Screwtape says about distractions and how he uses that to tempt us.

Screwtape explains, “I once had a patient, a sound atheist, who used to read in the British Museum. One day, as he sat reading, I saw a train of thought in his mind beginning to go the wrong way.” In other words, this sound atheist considered for a moment that there might be a God. He had a moment of serious reflection about the divine and eternal.


Screwtape says, “Before I knew where I was I saw my twenty years’ work beginning to totter. If I had lost my head and begun to attempt a defence by argument I should have been undone. But I was not such a fool. I struck instantly at the part of the man which I had best under my control and suggested that it was just about time he had some lunch. [God] presumably made the counter-suggestion … that this was more important than lunch. At least I think that must have been his line, for when I said, ‘Quite. In fact much too important to tackle at the end of a morning,’ the patient brightened up considerably; and by the time I had added ‘Much better come back after lunch and go into it with a fresh mind,’ he was already halfway to the door.” Of course, Screwtape reported with satisfaction, the distraction worked, and by the time the man was out the door and had seen a No. 73 bus and a newsboy, he was back to what he called “real life” and the thought of God never returned to his mind.27 Why tempt us with dark deeds, when our heads can be so easily turned from eternal things by a distraction?


So let’s look at 2 Nephi 28 and talk about Satan’s tools which are also the condition of the world we live in. That it is, shows just how successful Satan has been. 

First, churches shall say, “I am the Lord’s’ and the others shall say; I, I am the Lord’s; and thus shall every one say that hath built up churches, and not unto the Lord—

“And they shall contend one with another;…and they shall teach with their learning and deny the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance” (2 Nephi 28:3,4).


This is the temptation not only to contention, which the Lord says, we must abandon if we are to be His. We are to abandon contention amongst systems of thought, in our families, with everyone, even if we think we can justify that they deserve our anger. This is not of the Lord.

Just as important is we must abandon that intellectual superiority that suggests that we have answers that we don’t have, especially while denying the Holy Ghost, which is our access to truth. What an exercise intellectual arrogance is in self-importance. Look to me. I have the only answer. I have the credentials. Revelation and commandments are so old-fashioned and out of step.

Remember the verse in 2 Nephi 9 “When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish” (2 Ne. 9:28).


Second, we learn that “they deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel”. What’s more if we say” there is a miracle wrought by the hand of the Lord”, they answer “Believe it not; for this day he is not a God of miracles; he hath done his work” (2 Nephi 28: 5,6).

The visitation of God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ? Gold plates and ancient records? Miraculous means of translation? It is ironic that some of the same people who believe in ancient prophets and miracles on Mt. Sinai, scoff at our claims. 

How about the miracles we have seen in our own lives? Healings. Answers given. Protection when you need it.  People say this is naïve, magical thinking. Because they are not aware of this other dimension, they don’t believe it exists. God has done His work, they say, which blocks them from learning.

How foolish for any to think they can strip God of his power and that he does no more miracles. That He loved those of the past more than He loves His children now.


A third condition of the world and a tool of Satan is described here: “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us” (2 Nephi 28:7). This is not just the idea of hedonism. It is that you can do whatever you want and there is no consequence. The most important thing is to be authentic, do your own thing. It is a philosophy heedless of tomorrow. It is a philosophy heedless of other people that you hurt. It is the ultimate in self-indulgence.

Sometimes I think this is the emptiness of a life without meaning expressing itself. 

And self-indulgence has become so important to people that they are willing to kill God and truth to partake. Why should anyone or anything beyond my own desires curb me? What a high price we pay in coming to see the world as meaningless when we abandon God and standards.

Ironically, the eternal laws still exist even if we refuse to believe them. It’s not just that we break the commandments, they also break us if we ignore them. We have to pay our dues to Reality and eternal law is Reality.


Fourth idea that Satan loves, And there shall also be many which shall say: aEat, drink, and be bmerry; nevertheless, fear God—he will cjustify in committing a little dsin; yea, elie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a fpit for thy neighbor; there is gno harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God” (2 Nephi 28:8)

This is the description of people who want religion only to be convenient. We want to do whatever we want by diluting God. Again, C.S. Lewis, “We want, in fact, not so much a Father in Heaven as a grandfather in heaven—a senile benevolence who as they say, ‘like to see your children enjoying themselves’ and whose plan for the universe was simply that it might be said at the end of the day, ‘a good time was had by all.’

This is the mindset that suggests God is lax and loves us so much that he has no standards, that He does not warn us about things that hurt us. 

All roads lead to heaven. It redefines words like charity to mean God accepts everything. He understands that I am only human.


As members of the Church, you may not think we would be tempted in this way, but sometimes we do pick and choose what commandments we obey, thinking that good enough is good enough. We were struck when Clayton Christensen died with this story from his life that happened while he was at Oxford, told in his own words:

He said, “You may have noticed how high they had to raise this podium – I am 6’8″, and when you are tall you don’t have to be very good to play basketball. So, I tried out for and made the Oxford Varsity basketball team. We had a great team. Those guys were the best friends that I’ve ever known in my life, and we went through the regular season and were undefeated. Then we went into the British equivalent of what we would call here the NCAA basketball tournament. We marched through each of those games in a fairly easy fashion until we came to the final four, and then kind of cluelessly I looked at the schedule to find out when the games were scheduled, and to my horror saw that the final basketball game was scheduled to be played on Sunday in Bristol. And I was devastated because I had made a commitment to myself when I was 16 that I would never play basketball on Sunday. I went to the coach truly conflicted because these guys, we had worked our guts out all season long and I was the starting center, and the guys on the team were the best friends that I’ve ever had in my whole life and I needed to help them win this goal that we had all practiced for.


“And yet,” he continued,  “I’d made this commitment to Heavenly Father. So, I told my coach about this conflict and asked him what I should do. And he was just incredulous. He said, ‘We have worked so hard for this. I can’t believe you’re even asking.’ He said, ‘I don’t know who your god is, but mine, let me tell you what he’s like. He lets us by on things like this. And Clay, just this once, just this once, play this game and then go off and do whatever you have to do with your god and make peace with him and never do it again.’

“Well, then we played in the semi-final game, and my friend who was the back-up center got up-ended on a rebound and fell down on his shoulder and dislocated his shoulder, which then increased the pressure for me to play that game. So, I went back into my hotel room after that game and knelt down and asked Heavenly Father if it would be all right, just this once, if I played that game on Sunday. As I started my prayer, really before I could even utter a word, Heavenly Father put a full-sentence answer in my mind, and it was ‘Clayton, what are you even asking me for? You know the answer.’ I sat up on the bed and looked at the door and I said, ‘You’re right, I know the answer.’ So, I went to my coach and I told him how sorry I was, but I just couldn’t play on Sunday.


He went on, “Then I went to the Bristol ward meetings that day, and prayed that God would bless my teammates that they would win, and they did, which means, I guess, I wasn’t that important to the team. But you know, as time has passed, and that was a decision I made now almost [45] years ago, it looms as one of the most important decisions I have ever made because it would have been very easy to say, in general, keeping the Sabbath day holy is the right commandment, but in my particular extenuating circumstances, it’s okay, just this once, if I don’t do it. And the reason that decision has proven so important to me is that my whole life has turned out to be an unending stream of extenuating circumstances, and had I crossed that line just that once, then the next time something came up that was so demanding and critical, it would have been so much easier to cross the line again.”

“And when I have been subsequently confronted with opportunities to look at pornography or not pay my tithing, or compromise on others of God’s commandments, this lesson that I learned has been very important. The lesson is it really is easier to keep the commandments 100 percent of the time than it is 98 percent of the time. 


“If I could paraphrase Alma 34:34, that same spirit that possesses our souls before something ‘just this once,’ possesses our souls after we do it as well, and if we do it just this once, doing it again becomes so much easier. And that’s why that decision has loomed to be so important in my life, and I am grateful that I drew the line in a safe place, and never crossed it.”

Clayton Christensen’s story seems like the perfect commentary on 2 Nephi 28:8. We can give ourselves all kinds of excuses and think of perfectly legitimate “extenuating circumstances” for almost anything. We can be a little casual. We can look around us and say, ‘Nobody takes this or that so seriously, why should I?”

So this 2 Nephi 28, intrigues us because it is the perfect depiction of how Satan corrupts people. 

They wear astiff necks and high heads; yea, and because of pride, and wickedness… they have all cgone astray save it be a dfew, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are eled, that in many instances they do ferr because they are taught by the precepts of men.”


We err when we are taught by the precepts of men or adopt the secular culture that we have been born into. Because we have the Internet and 24-hour news cycles, we are drowning in the false philosophies of men. We must pray to have eyes to discern the difference, because sometimes we don’t even realize that we are being subtly changed in our perspective. 

We are warned against being “puffed up in the bpride of [our]  chearts”  (2 Nephi 28:15),  and yet, so much about our world encourages that very thing. Who looks best? Who is considered part of the intellectual elite? Who’s most important? Who do we listen to in any gathering? Whose opinion carries? Living life as if you were building a resume. 


And others will he apacify, and lull them away into carnal bsecurity, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the cdevil dcheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell” (2 Nephi 28:21). This is the invitation to live beneath our privileges. To have power in the covenant given to us and waste our lives as if the gift were never given.  To keep our mouths shut when we should proclaim the good news. To not understand that this is the very kingdom of God we are part of and we are invited to be more than passive observers as it rolls forth to fill the entire earth. 

We learn this about Satan:

“ And behold, others he aflattereth away, and telleth them there is no bhell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful cchains, from whence there is no deliverance” (2 Nephi 28:22).

And another tactic of Satans. We learn that he flatters, he lies, he cajoles, he enrages, he divides, he whips us to fear, he chains us; he blinds us.


These are strategies of war my friends, and it is really good to remember that here on earth we are behind enemy lines. Now we know that the Lord has given light and knowledge to many people in all times and places in the world because He loves them. 

Know ye not that there are more anations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the bisles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the cearth beneath; and I bring forth my dword unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth? (2 Nephi 29:7)

He has brought it in different words of wisdom that many cultures cherish. But the marvelous work and the wonder that the Lord has restored for us, for a time where Satan’s ideas have such sway with people, is the covenant in all its power with Jesus Christ and his atoning sacrifice at the center. It is precious knowledge and light flooding darkness. It is the Book of Mormon.


This knowledge is so precious, you’d think all people would shout for joy, but the Lord told us this wouldn’t be the case. Those who would open their hearts to it would receive it with such joy, but many would say, “A aBible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible.”

Oh, and that Bible is a treasure to us, but wouldn’t we want all that God had to teach? Why would we say this is enough and no more?


[story of high school friends and today, a friend’s message on Facebook]


So why would good Christians, like your friends, Scot, be so adamant that the Bible is enough and that the scriptural canon is closed? In some ways, it is because of their genuine love for the Bible, and they are afraid that something will come along to pollute or negate the message. The Lord has told us, “My words…never cease” (Moses 1:4).

Unfortunately, this attitude shuts the door to God’s speaking to us for our day and our time. It closes the canon for them and closes their ears to God’s speaking. It is not He who has stopped talking, but they who won’t listen.


As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said, “One of the arguments often used in any defense of a closed canon is the New Testament passage recorded in Revelation 22:18: “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of … this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book.” However, there is now overwhelming consensus among virtually all biblical scholars that this verse applies only to the book of Revelation, not the whole Bible.”

In fact, you don’t need scholars to agree. As Elder Holland said, “The whole Bible as we know it—one collection of texts bound in a single volume—did not exist when that verse was written.” What’s more, said Elder Holland,  “Those scholars of our day acknowledge a number of New Testament “books” that were almost certainly written after John’s revelation on the Isle of Patmos was received. Included in this category are at least the books of Jude, the three Epistles of John, and probably the entire Gospel of John itself.


Elder Holland said, “The fact of the matter is that virtually every prophet of the Old and New Testament has added scripture to that received by his predecessors. If the Old Testament words of Moses were sufficient, as some could have mistakenly thought them to be,3 then why, for example, the subsequent prophecies of Isaiah or of Jeremiah, who follows him? To say nothing of Ezekiel and Daniel, of Joel, Amos, and all the rest. If one revelation to one prophet in one moment of time is sufficient for all time, what justifies these many others? What justifies them was made clear by Jehovah Himself when He said to Moses, “My works are without end, and … my words … never cease.” 

Elder Holland said, “Continuing revelation does not demean or discredit existing revelation. The Old Testament does not lose its value in our eyes when we are introduced to the New Testament, and the New Testament is only enhanced when we read the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. In considering the additional scripture accepted by Latter-day Saints, we might ask: Were those early Christians who for decades had access only to the primitive Gospel of Mark (generally considered the first of the New Testament Gospels to be written)—were they offended to receive the more detailed accounts set forth later by Matthew and Luke, to say nothing of the unprecedented passages and revelatory emphasis offered later yet by John? Surely they must have rejoiced that ever more convincing evidence of the divinity of Christ kept coming. And so do we rejoice.” (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “My Words…Never Cease”


In 2 Nephi 27, we learn something about why the Book of Mormon would be a sealed book.

And behold the book shall be asealed; and in the book shall be a brevelation from God, from the beginning of the world to the cending thereof.

Wherefore, because of the things which are asealed up, the things which are sealed shall not be delivered in the day of the wickedness and abominations of the people. Wherefore the book shall be kept from them” (2 Nephi 27: 7,8)


Scholar Don Bradley in his book The Lost 116 pages notes that “’Sealing up’ in the Book of Mormon often refers to a prophet consecrating sacred texts and objects into divine care to protect them against discovery, recovery, and tampering. Webster captured part of this meaning: “To mark as one’s property and secure from danger…In the Bible, a document that was sealed…could legally be opened only by the intended recipient. Thus the sealed book in the Book of Revelation could not be opened by John, nor by anyone else except the Lamb of God (Rev. 5:1-7). Similarly the golden plates, being ‘sealed up unto the Lord’ and their authority marked as his, were removed from human keeping and became a divine possession. They could be unsealed and returned to human possession only by God.” (Don Bradley, The Lost 116 Pages, pg. 15, 16)


Now comes a famous prophecy that shows up first in Isaiah 29:11 and then in 2 Nephi 27: 15-18.

“Take these words which are not sealed and deliver them to another, that he may show them unto the learned, saying: aRead this, I pray thee. And the learned shall say: Bring hither the book, and I will read them.

And now, because of the glory of the world and to get again will they say this, and not for the glory of God.

And the man shall say: I cannot bring the book, for it is sealed.

Then shall the learned say: I cannot read it.”


This prophecy, given first in the eighth century before Christ, spoke of an event we see played out in the life of Martin Harris 2500 years later. It is a reminder of how perfectly the Lord knows the end from the beginning.

Now when Joseph began to prepare to  do the translation, his mother said, The first step, “which he was instructed to take in regard to this matter,” was to make a copy of some of the characters “and send them to some of the most learned men of this generation and ask them for the translation.”

In February of 1828, Martin Harris visited three men, first Luther Bradish, a family friend who had traveled extensively in Egypt and the Middle East.  Next he went to Samuel L. Mitchill, a learned and well-respected naturalist who was interested in linguistic studies of local Indian tribes, and finally to Charles Anthon, considered a brilliant student of Greek, Latin, German and French.


Martin Harris reports on his meeting with Anthon.

I went to the city of New York, and presented the characters which had been translated, with the translation thereof, to Professor Charles Anthon, a gentleman celebrated for his literary attainments. Professor Anthon stated that the translation was correct, more so than any he had before seen translated from the Egyptian. I then showed him those which were not yet translated, and he said that they were Egyptian, Chaldaic, Assyriac, and Arabic; and he said they were true characters. He gave me a certificate, certifying to the people of Palmyra that they were true characters, and that the translation of such of them as had been translated was also correct. I took the certificate and put it into my pocket, and was just leaving the house, when Mr. Anthon called me back, and asked me how the young man found out that there were gold plates in the place where he found them. I answered that an angel of God had revealed it unto him.

“He then said to me, ‘Let me see that certificate.’ I accordingly took it out of my pocket and gave it to him, when he took it and tore it to pieces, saying that there was no such thing now as ministering of angels, and that if I would bring the plates to him he would translate them. I informed him that part of the plates were sealed, and that I was forbidden to bring them. He replied, ‘I cannot read a sealed book.’ I left him and went to Dr. Mitchell, who sanctioned what Professor Anthon had said respecting both the characters and the translation” (Joseph Smith History 1: 64,65).


I think this scholar was too proud to be associated with angels, and ironically, Scot, you and I recently came upon a first edition book of Dr. Charles Anthon for sale for only $30, while the Book of Mormon is priceless. Just ask the people whose lives it has changed and transformed. 


We’re Scot and Maurine Proctor.  Thanks for being with us today and thanks to Paul Cardall for his beautiful music and for Michaela Proctor Hutchins editing and producing this Podcast. Next week our study will be 2 Nephi 31-33, called “This is the Way” See you then, and don’t forget to enter the sweepstakes for the free Ultimate Church History trip at