Great & Spacious Memes

Isn’t it weird that the activity of choice in the great & spacious building is mocking the people who are partaking of the fruit of the tree of life? The building is great and spacious, right? Surely there’s a cafe in there somewhere, a bookstore, or a bowling alley? A 3D Cineplex showing the latest superhero movie? Miniature golf? An aquarium? Something?

I was thinking about this a few weeks ago when I started my study of the Book of Mormon for this year and I’ve just kept coming back to the thought “Why is mocking the activity of choice? They could be doing literally anything else!”

In the scriptures, Lehi twice uses the word “ashamed” to describe the people who fell away after partaking of the fruit (1 Nephi 8:25 and 1 Nephi 8:27) and words like “mocking,” “scoffing,” and “scorn” to describe the people in the great and spacious building (1 Nephi 8:27-28).

And I got to thinking… what do we do in our day when we disagree with someone or disapprove of what they are doing? We make fun of them. And how do we make fun of people (or ideas or events) in the age of the internet? We make memes.

Memes can be educational, informative, or inspirational, but mostly they’re used as “entertainment” to mock someone or something. As with everything, we need to be selective about the media we consume (including memes we share).

An article in the Church News from November 2015 explores the effect the mocking, scoffing, and scorn has on the people partaking of the fruit of the tree of life–some “heeded them not,” while others “were ashamed.” Elder Neal A. Maxwell is quoted in this article as saying “The ‘finger of scorn’ has its own way of separating the faithful from those who have little or no faith.”

So let us build up our faith and share uplifting memes.

Doctrine, Invitation, and Blessings

Since I started working from home full time in December 2020, I can listen to audiobooks and podcasts while I work. In addition to general news and entertainment podcasts, I also listen to several inspirational podcasts, such as LDS Living’s All In and This is the Gospel and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ podcasts Latter-day Saint Women and Church News.

On today’s Church News episode, Scott Taylor interviews Elder David A. Bednar about his pattern for studying messages from General Conference.

Elder Bednar identifies three key components that he looks for in General Conference messages.

“The basic pattern is to identify the fundamental doctrine or principle that is being taught, find invitations to act related to that doctrine or principle, and then also recognize the promised blessings that will come as we act in accordance with that invitation.”

Elder David A. Bednar

This is very timely for me since General Conference is this weekend! (You can find the schedule here.) I had been thinking for a while now about how I generally take notes during General Conference but then, unless I happen to write a blog post about a particular talk, I don’t really do anything with my notes after that, they just sit in my notebook collecting dust. I want to make my study of the messages in General Conference more meaningful and useful and I think this format (1) Doctrine, (2) Invitation, (3) Blessings, might be just the thing to kick my study up to the next level!

Be Faithful

I had originally planned to share my thoughts about each of the aspects of spiritual preparedness at the end of my last post but I quickly realized that I have so much to say about each one that it would be better (for you, haha!) to have a separate post for each item:

  • Be faithful
  • Pray always
  • Be wise
  • Receive the truth
  • Take the Holy Ghost for your guide
  • Be not deceived

Faith vs. Be Faithful

I started my research with a quick keyword search in the Gospel Library app on my phone for “be faithful,” which turned up 536 scripture results, 180 General Conference results, 73 magazine results, and 293 “other” (video, Family Home Evening manual, Come, Follow Me, Jesus the Christ, etc.) results.

Most of those results were actually for faith, not faithful. Even with just this brief overview though, I learned something. I learned that having faith is not the same thing as being faithful. At least, not according to the scriptures.

In addition to lots of scripture references (536, remember?), there were several other keywords that turned up in my search results for “be faithful.” Things like Faith, Hope, Prayer/Pray, Firmness, Name of the Lord, Repentance, Charity, Heal/Healing, Miracle, Trial, Belief, and Endure. Faithfulness seems to be about steadiness and constancy and enduring to the end.

O love the Lord, all ye his saints: for the Lord preserveth the faithful and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer.

Psalm 31:23

He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is also unjust in much.

Luke 16:10

And blessed is he that is found faithful unto my name at the last day, for he shall be lifted up to dwell in the kingdom prepared for him from the foundation of the world. And behold it is I that hath spoken it. Amen.

Ether 4:19

And whoso is found a faithful, a just, and a wise steward shall enter into the joy of the Lord, and shall inherit eternal life.

D&C 51:19

If Ye are Prepared

Preparedness has been on my mind a lot lately, like it has for a lot of us, I imagine. There are tons of resources for emergency and financial preparedness, including Church resources, various preparedness, homesteading, or off-grid blogs, government resources, and more.

But what about spiritual preparedness? How do we prepare spiritually? What does that even look like?

Would it surprise you to know that Jesus already taught us to be spiritually prepared? We can read about the parable of the ten virgins. (See Matthew 25: 1-13) In this parable we learn that we should prepare ourselves well in advance and that we shouldn’t wait until the last minute because we risk getting left behind. We also must take charge of our own spiritual preparation, we can’t borrow “oil” (a testimony) from someone else!

The Lord reminds us of this parable in the Doctrine & Covenants when He says “Wherefore, be faithful, praying always, having your lamps trimmed and burning, and oil with you, that you may be ready at the coming of the Bridegroom—For behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, that I come quickly. Even so. Amen.” (D&C 33:17-18)

He reminds us again in the Doctrine and Covenants “And at that day, when I shall come in my glory, shall the parable be fulfilled which I spake concerning the ten virgins. For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived—verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day.” (D&C 45:56-57)

The Lord gives us some good tips for being spiritually prepared in these verses from the Doctrine & Covenants:

  • Be faithful
  • Pray always
  • Be wise
  • Receive the truth
  • Take the Holy Spirit for your guide
  • Be not deceived

My Scripture Study 2017-2020

My scripture study has been pretty haphazard in the past. In 2017 I set a goal to read the Book of Mormon in one year, but it actually took me 18 months. It felt good to read the Book of Mormon all the way through, but it was difficult for me to stay motivated to read my scriptures on a daily basis.

I started President Nelson’s Book of Mormon reading challenge after the October 2018 General Conference, but never finished.

So I recommitted to reading the Book of Mormon every day and started over again in 2019 with the goal of reading the Book of Mormon all the way through in one year and I did it!

I was so motivated by that success that I decided to read the Book of Mormon all the way through TWICE in 2020! I’m on track for finishing on June 30 for the first read-thru! I’ve missed maybe four or five days so far and I gotta tell you, it feels great to be studying my scriptures so regularly!

For 2021, I’m thinking about repeating my schedule from 2020 or maybe even trying the 30 day Book of Mormon reading challenge, which I’ve never done. I’ll keep you posted.


I’ve heard that reading the Book of Mormon from start to finish on a faster schedule brings different insights than the insights gained through a slower study and I’ve found that to be true.

One insight I’ve gained in my scripture study this year is that, in addition to the Pride Cycle of the Nephites, there is an accompanying Hate Cycle on the part of the Lamanites that overlaps some of the stages of the Nephites’ Pride Cycle. Other than realizing that this cycle is also happening, I haven’t learned much else about it, though I’m sure I’ll gain additional insights when I read the Book of Mormon again this year starting on July 1.