I did not realize that the scripture mastery verses in the Book of Mormon had been changed a few years ago!  Eight of them were “retired” and eight new ones put in their place. 

New Scripture Mastery Scriptures

23 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do….
26 And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins. (2 Nephi 25:23, 26)

This scripture emphasizes our focus on Christ and why we labor diligently to bring others to Christ.  It also tells us that while we keep the commandments, ultimately we depend upon the grace of God for our salvation. 

19 And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.
20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life. (2 Nephi 31:19-20)

These verses emphasize the importance of pressing forward while relying on Christ.  The ordinances aren’t the only things about living a good life. Pressing forward takes agency and being anxiously engaged in good causes, seeking to improve oneself and become better.  This is good message for a rising generation that needs to learn to work and self-motivate in the middle of an apathetic culture.

11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
13 Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me. (Alma 7:11-13)

This one seems to emphasize that Christ didn’t just suffer for our sins but also for our pains and sickness and infirmities.  I think greater awareness of this scripture will encourage the youth (and us) to apply the Atonement more widely in life.

Now my son, I would that ye should repent and forsake your sins, and go no more after the lusts of your eyes, but cross yourself in all these things; for except ye do this ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God. Oh, remember, and take it upon you, and cross yourself in these things. (Alma 39:9)

This is a fantastic reminder for this age when pornography is so widespread.

Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect. (3 Nephi 12:48)

I think this is a reminder of our ultimate goal and also our potential.  This isn’t about perfectionism, but about development into a whole and finished person with divine attributes.

15 Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye must watch and pray always, lest ye be tempted by the devil, and ye be led away captive by him….
20 And whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you.
21 Pray in your families unto the Father, always in my name, that your wives and your children may be blessed. (3 Nephi 18:15, 20-21)

I think this one is a good one because it encourages more prayer.  With all the temptations around us, we need prayer so that we can obtain power to resist.  I also like that it reminds us to pray for our families too.

And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise. (Moroni 7:41)

I think hope is an important principle for all of us to learn. I read somewhere that people are suffering from a lack of hope, and the Lord doesn’t want the youth to suffer from that. But in order to have hope, we need to know where we can find it.

45 And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things….
47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen. ( Moroni 7:45, 47-48 (last two verses added)

I think the two last verses are needed because they tell us how important charity is for us to gain, and they tell us how we can gain it—by prayer and following Christ.

Scripture Mastery scriptures that are no longer SM

And I did read many things unto them which were written in the books of Moses; but that I might more fully persuade them to believe in the Lord their Redeemer I did read unto them that which was written by the prophet Isaiah; for I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning. (1 Nephi 19:23)

I think we’ve pretty well gotten the message to liken the scriptures to ourselves. Also, the new scripture mastery about preaching and prophesying of Christ more strongly captures the principle “that I might more fully persuade them to believe in the Lord their Redeemer.”

18 But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God.
19 And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good—to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted. (Jacob 2:18-19)

I think this one is nicely covered by the new scripture mastery about gaining charity, though the new one is more general.

32 For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.
 33 And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed.
 34 Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world. (Alma 34:32-34)

While the message to not procrastinate the day of repentance is a good one, I think it the new scripture mastery about pressing forward in Christ approaches the issue in a more positive way. 

Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.
And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls. (Alma 37:6-7)

This is a nice thing to learn, but I don’t know how helpful this has been, since it is always so difficult to recognize what small and simple things are going to turn out to make a difference in bringing others to Christ. 

For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another. (3 Nephi 11:29)

I think the message of avoiding contention has been well-absorbed in the church.

And know ye that ye shall be judges of this people, according to the judgment which I shall give unto you, which shall be just. Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am. (3 Nephi 27:27)

I think the new scripture mastery of “be perfect even as I” captures this better, with less of an emphasis on the necessity of being judges of others.

16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.
17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him. (Moroni 7:16-17)

This scripture is more about discerning good from evil.  But it’s kind of easy to discern what’s evil when it is getting so blatant, so this doesn’t need so much emphasis.

It seems to me that the new verses chosen for emphasis in scripture mastery are just what are needed this day and age.  I suppose that means I should put some energy into learning and memorizing them myself.

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