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Cleansing One’s Garments (Jacob 1)

A Video Supplement for
Come, Follow Me Book of Mormon Lesson 11:
Be Reconciled unto God through the Atonement of Christ (Jacob 1-4)




In 2 Nephi 9:44, during his discourse to the Nephites, Jacob says, “O, my beloved brethren, remember my words. Behold, I take off my garments, and I shake them before you; I pray the God of my salvation that he view me with his all-searching eye; wherefore, ye shall know at the last day, when all men shall be judged of their works, that the God of Israel did witness that I shook your iniquities from my soul, and that I stand with brightness before him, and am rid of your blood.” So can Jacob cleanse his soul just by cleansing his jacket? Can we all launder our souls so easily?

In Jacob 1:17-19, Jacob again uses similar language and a bit more explanation when describing his ministry among the Nephites, “Wherefore I, Jacob, gave unto them these words as I taught them in the temple, having first obtained mine errand from the Lord. For I, Jacob, and my brother Joseph had been consecrated priests and teachers of this people, by the hand of Nephi. And we did magnify our office unto the Lord, taking upon us the responsibility, answering the sins of the people upon our own heads if we did not teach them the word of God with all diligence; wherefore, by laboring with our might their blood might not come upon our garments; otherwise their blood would come upon our garments, and we would not be found spotless at the last day.” Based on this, then, as the priest, Jacob was responsible for the sins of the people if he failed to teach them the Lord’s words, laws and standards.

In Mosiah 2:26-28, King Benjamin, as both head of the Church and head of the state is under a similar responsibility to teach the people the truth, and exhort them with all diligence, otherwise he would be accountable for their sins that they committed in ignorance of their duty. He has taught them diligently all his days but even still feels that he must do his duty toward them in teaching them even as he is approaching the end of his rule and life, “And I, even I, whom ye call your king, am no better than ye yourselves are; for I am also of the dust. And ye behold that I am old, and am about to yield up this mortal frame to its mother earth. Therefore, as I said unto you that I had served you, walking with a clear conscience before God, even so I at this time have caused that ye should assemble yourselves together, that I might be found blameless, and that your blood should not come upon me, when I shall stand to be judged of God of the things whereof he hath commanded me concerning you. I say unto you that I have caused that ye should assemble yourselves together that I might rid my garments of your blood, at this period of time when I am about to go down to my grave, that I might go down in peace, and my immortal spirit may join the choirs above in singing the praises of a just God.”

Thus by teaching them the gospel, he rids his garments of their blood.

Moroni later confronts a similar and yet unique situation in Ether 12:38. Moroni is worried that the Gentiles who read what he has written will mock it because of his weakness in writing. He nevertheless has a duty to write to testify to the Gentiles and complete the Book of Mormon which Mormon has entrusted to him. If he does this then, like King Benjamin and Jacob, he will have done his duty and will rid himself of the responsibility for those who would sin despite his witness, while also helping bring those who would listen to salvation, so very much the same situation as Jacob and Benjamin, except Moroni fulfills his assignment through writing rather than speaking, and his obligation to minister is directed toward a future generation. Beginning at verse 36,

36 And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord that he would give unto the Gentiles grace, that they might have charity.
37 And it came to pass that the Lord said unto me: If they have not charity [likely so they would not mock his writing] it mattereth not unto thee, thou hast been faithful; wherefore, thy garments shall be made clean. And because thou hast seen thy weakness [that is: in writing] thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father.
38 And now I, Moroni, bid farewell unto the Gentiles, yea, and also unto my brethren whom I love, until we shall meet before the judgment-seat of Christ, where all men shall know that my garments are not spotted with your blood.
39 And then shall ye know that I have seen Jesus, and that he hath talked with me face to face, and that he told me in plain humility, even as a man telleth another in mine own language, concerning these things;
40 And only a few have I written, because of my weakness in writing.
41 And now, I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever. Amen.

May we all do our duty in teaching those for whom we have priesthood stewardship and responsibility so that we may stand clean before the judgement seat of Christ, not being through neglect the cause of other men’s sins.

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