Our "nothingness" is only in comparison to God and is comparing our mortal selves to our divine potential. Do not be discouraged. The scriptures referring to "Nothingness" can help us to seek understanding of self, humility to desire growth and motivation to move forward. We can choose to be inspired by our "nothingness" or let it reinforce our lack of understanding of that potential.
The remarkable brother of Jared added an important insight: "because of the fall our natures have become evil continually." We are evil and nothing because of the fall--not because we lack value or goodness. We are angels fallen in a barnyard. It is immensely comforting to me to know that the stench I smell is not me but is the fall world in which I am currently struggling and learning. Rather than be burdened by this fact, I am immeasurably encouraged that, after learning the lessons of mortality, the atonement can clean me up and make me a fit companion for God. I love the idea!
I have never found it very motivating to be told I was nothing. A friend, who has struggled for years with mental health problems, once expressed to me how discouraging he found these scriptures.
They may be a paradox, but I do not find them helpful. As President Packer once expressed his disagreement with the inclusion of the story of Paul's disagreement with Peter over the Law of Moses in the New Testament, I disagree with these scriptures taken as they are. I agree the whole truth is wonderful, but the Book of Mormon does not teach the whole truth in these instances. And who needs their scripture reading to be discouraging.
I have always wished the Book of Mormon had expressed this differently. I know in full, the doctrine is great, but the statements in the Book of Mormon just left me feeling depressed, not enlightened or desirous to progress.Too often when we tell only part of the story, people give up.
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This stunning Bicentennial Calendar celebrates The First Vision with gorgeous photographs each month and with quotes from Joseph Smith that will fill your heart with wonder.