I love the prophet Jacob in the Book of Mormon. He begs to be spoken. Not just spoken, but read aloud with gusto, purpose, and meaning. I always laugh, midst Jacob’s flowery oration (e.g., “O” this and “O” that), that he stops to painstakingly tell us that he spoke much and wrote little “because of the difficulty of engraving our words upon plates” (Jacob 4:1). Yet, even with the difficulty of etching his message into metal plates, Jacob writes his spoken word — flowery phraseology and all. I love it. He’s great.
During Jacob’s day there came a man named Sherem into the Nephite area who had a perfect knowledge and use of the Nephite language and who used that gift to convince the Nephites that there should be no Christ (Jacob 7:1–2). His confidence did cause him to seek for Jacob, as he knew Jacob’s reputation for preaching of Christ.
While Sherem “preached many things that were flattering to the people” in order to “overthrow the doctrine of Christ,” (Jacob 7:2) Jacob was having none of this — for Jacob’s testimony was not a belief in external ideas but an empirical knowledge of internal realities and truths. Sherem had sought to “shake [Jacob] from the faith,” but while “he did lead away many hearts of the people” of the people — Jacob appealed to “the many revelations and many things which I had seen concerning these things.”
“For I truly had seen angels, and they had ministered unto me. And also, I had heard the voice of the Lord speaking unto me in very word, from time to time;
“Wherefore, I could not be shaken” (Jacob 7:5).
Whereas Sherem’s use of language, rhetoric, and flattery had convinced many Nephites to leave behind and discount the doctrine of Christ, Jacob had entirely too many real-life experiences with the divine to be persuaded away from the gospel and doctrine of Christ.
In our day and age where the convincing sounds of the world’s philosophies and sophistries dissuade us from doubling down on the gospel of Jesus Christ and experimenting with the doctrines of Christ in our lives, it is becoming more and more important that we have those experiences — the same and greater than the prophet Jacob — in order to overcome the modern fiery darts of the adversary.
Said Elder Kim B. Clark, the Commissioner of Church Education, of the need for us to double-down on our testimonies of Christ and to experience the gospel of Jesus Christ in ways that will cement the knowledge of Christ in our lives,
“Whatever level of spirituality we now enjoy in our lives; whatever degree of faith in Jesus Christ we have; whatever strength of commitment or consecration we have; whatever degree of obedience, or hope, or charity is ours; whatever level of professional skill or ability we may have obtained — It will not be sufficient for the work that lies ahead.
“Brothers and Sister, we need to be much better than we are now!” (“CES: The Lord’s Education System for His Church”).
Let us be better, let us be stronger, let us increase in our testimonies and reliance of Christ, so that we — like Jacob — can withstand all of the flattering words that the world has to offer that seeks to convince us to abandon the full power and reality of the gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives.
Jacob tells us that a sincere study of the words of the prophets leads to the spirit of prophecy, as growing in the spirit of prophecy there is a newfound power where “we truly can command in the name of Jesus and the very trees obey us, or the mountains, or the waves of the sea” (Jacob 4:6). This is but one example of realized blessings for obeying commandments that are given to us not for divine control but perfect self government. Imagine what the Lord has waiting for those who continually “turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and put your trust in him, and serve him with all diligence of mind” (Mosiah 7:33).