Who Am I?- Moses 1:6, 13

And I have a work for thee, Moses, my son; and thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten; and mine Only Begotten is and shall be the Savior, for he is full of grace and truth; but there is no God beside me, and all things are present with me, for I know them all.
And it came to pass that Moses looked upon Satan and said: Who art thou? For behold, I am a son of God, in the similitude of his Only Begotten; and where is thy glory, that I should worship thee?

COMMENTARY

And I have a work for thee, Moses, my son; and thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten
And Moses looked upon Satan and said: Who art thou? For behold, I am a son of God, in the similitude of his Only Begotten;
I know that I shared this passage just a few days ago with my last study, but it was these verses that inspired my new research topic, so I felt it would be worth revisiting them again under this context. In these verses we see Moses receiving an identity and taking ownership of it. That identity, though, is interestingly dual-natured.
Moses is told that he is “in the similitude” of the Savior. “Similitude” does not mean carbon copy. It does not mean a clone. It does not mean a personification of the exact same being. All that it means is to be similar to Jesus, to be like Him.
We often speak of our discipleship as us “becoming more like Jesus.” But though we aspire to be like Jesus, I do not think we are supposed to be Jesus. Perhaps we need to become the same sort of fruit as him, but just as how one apple may be unique from other all apples, so we, too, retain our own individuality.
If this were not the case, then how would we account for the diverse personality traits that we see in all the prophets and apostles? Peter, Paul, Moses were each very distinct from each other…but each was also like Jesus, too.

The Virtue of Remembering- Summary

This has been one of the longest studies that I’ve done for this blog. I didn’t plan it that way, I just kept finding “one more” scripture to review, another after another, until it had gone on for nearly three weeks!

I often find with these studies that I begin by exploring the periphery, doing a search on key phrases, laying out verses side-by-side, and just seeing what sort of themes are consistent across them. Then, as I muddle about I start to see the actual principles and systems at play. I move inward from the periphery and start to see the heart of the matter.

This study on remembrance followed that pattern exactly. At first it was just random verses about how it is good to remember the Lord and the work that He does. Then it moved inwards, to considering our fundamental state as mortal beings, and why an active practice of remembering is essential to perfect our natures. Let us consider the core lessons we’ve discovered along the way.

We Forget

Fundamental to understanding why God so often encourages us to remember Him, is to recognize that we are a forgetful people. This is not a cultural issue, it is a direct consequence of being temporal beings. Our nature is that we cannot conceive of anything directly, except for what is in the immediate present. I can see you and know that you exist, but as soon as you walk around the corner I am dependent upon belief and memory to remain convinced of your existence. After time I might forget you entirely, and any mention of your name brings up only a void in me.
Many times I have a spiritual experience, and in that moment I know the reality of God. I cannot question His existence, for it is manifesting to me directly. But then, the next day, I look out the window and I see cars, and lamp-posts, and door-mats…but not God anywhere. And though I knew He was totally real just the day prior, I find myself wondering how I can still believe in Him right now, when I cannot feel His reality any longer.
Which brings us to another key point. Remembering things intellectually is not what really matters. Knowing in my mind that I felt God speak to me just doesn’t cut it. I need to be able to remember things in my heart, I need to not just know that He loved me yesterday, I need to feel that He loved me yesterday, and that He still does today. If I cannot remember mentally, spiritually, and emotionally, then I am left to doubt.
Isaiah 53:6- All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way.
Psalm 106:21- They forgat God their saviour, which had done great things in Egypt;

We Can Remember

But though it can be difficult for us to remember things down in our souls, it is not impossible. We can only experience the present, but in the present, we can once again feel what we felt before.
How to accomplish that used to befuddle me. I would say to myself “yes, I remember that I felt really good that time I prayed when I was seven…so what now?” No matter of replaying the experience in my mind was enough to make it come alive in my heart. I wanted to remember it in my soul, but I didn’t know the right way to make it happen.
And what I did not understand was that we don’t make the remembering happen. Our ability to feel afresh the miracles of before is, itself, a miracle. We do not have the spiritual witness in the first place except by the grace of God, and we do not have the heartfelt remembrance of it except by His grace again. My spiritual remembering took a far better turn once I stopped trying to make myself feel things, and instead asked Him to put the feelings in my heart for me.
John 14:26- But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
John 14:14- If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

What We Must Remember

This is not to say that our actions are useless, though. Indeed, asking God to grant us His Spirit is an action. And what is more, I find that I very much invite the remembrance of God’s love into my life, when I do whatever my conscience is pricking me to do today. It is still God’s miracle that my obedient actions will be met with a spiritual witness, but I did do my part to make space for that miracle.
And when I do what is right, though it is hard to do, I feel that I not only gain a remembrance of God’s reality, of God’s love, and of God’s spirit…I also gain a remembrance of myself. My authentic, son-of-God-self feels the glory of his Father constantly. But sometimes I am not in that authentic self, and so I do not feel it. But when I return to that identity, when I put it on me anew, I remember both Father and self at once.
These are the things that we must remember, these are the things that we must ever keep fresh within us. The longer we go between remembering our Holy Father and our own self, the more likely we are to stumble and be lost. I want to return to that place continually, until at last I never stray from it again.
Hebrews 10:16- This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
John 17:26- And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

The Virtue of Remembering- Moses 1:6, 12-13

And I have a work for thee, Moses, my son; and thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten; and mine Only Begotten is and shall be the Savior, for he is full of grace and truth; but there is no God beside me, and all things are present with me, for I know them all.

And it came to pass that when Moses had said these words, behold, Satan came tempting him, saying: Moses, son of man, worship me.
And it came to pass that Moses looked upon Satan and said: Who art thou? For behold, I am a son of God, in the similitude of his Only Begotten; and where is thy glory, that I should worship thee?

COMMENTARY

And I have a work for thee, Moses, my son; and thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten
And Moses looked upon Satan and said: Who art thou? For behold, I am a son of God, in the similitude of his Only Begotten;
When Satan came to tempt Moses, Moses was able to rebuff the Devil by remembering the truths that God had given him. Though Satan referred to Moses as “son of man,” Moses retained the title his Heavenly Father had given him: “son of God.”
We often speak of how God works to change us, and He does, but we often forget His other great objective, which is simply to remind us of who we already are. For the forgetting of oneself is the beginning of all tragedies, and the remembering of oneself is the first step in every victory. All paths of discipleship begin with returning to who we truly are, and who we truly are is sons and daughters of God. Once we retain the reality of that in our hearts, then everything else starts falling into place.

The Virtue of Remembering- Hebrews 10:17; Alma 36:17, 19

And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.

And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world.
And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more.

COMMENTARY

And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more
Thus far we have spent a great while discussing the need for constant remembrance. But here we come to a very interesting verse, one where God attests to His own selective remembrance. One of the most encouraging things that we can ever remember is that God doesn’t have to.
Of course the assumption is not that God loses a piece of His infinite knowledge, but rather that when we are willing to repent, He does not care to hold on to the offense anymore. “Remembering no more” means being able to release the guilt and condemnation of it.

While I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, I remembered also to have heard concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ
And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more

And, thankfully, this isn’t a miracle that is exclusive to God. We, too, can let go the remembrance of our own damnation. Yes, we will still remember our actions, but we do not have to live in our guilt and our shame once we have had them taken from us. The lively terror of being cast off can be surrendered forever.
Alma illustrates this beautifully in his account of how he was kept in a horrible remembrance of pain, which he was then able to replace with the remembrance of Jesus’s atonement. And just like that a bitter memory was turned into something beautiful.

The Virtue of Remembering- Exodus 13:16, Hebrews 10:16

And it shall be for a token upon thine hand, and for frontlets between thine eyes: for by strength of hand the Lord brought us forth out of Egypt.

This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;

COMMENTARY

And it shall be for a token upon thine hand, and for frontlets between thine eyes
The Ancient Israelites took strips of paper, wrote scriptures upon them, and bound them to their hands and foreheads. Yes, this practice was to help them remember the words, but the exact placement chosen by the Lord was meant to suggest something further. Upon the forehead to imply seeing the will of God wherever you look. Upon the hand to imply doing the work of God in all that you do.
The Israelites were being told to not just remember the words, but by the remembering be moved by them. Remembering God’s words is meant to color every aspect of our life, not be sequestered into a single meeting at church.

I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them
In this verse we are promised that God’s law will be written into our minds, suggesting that we remember the words of it always. But as with the Israelites of old, if we stop at remembering the words only we have only received half of the promise. For also we are told that the law is to be put into our hearts as well. We need to know the law, but we need to feel it, too. We need to remember its injunctions, but also its intent. We need to consider its structure, but also its joy.

The Virtue of Remembering- John 14:26, Luke 24:31-32

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.
And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?

COMMENTARY

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, he shall bring all things to your remembrance
And their eyes were opened; And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us
We have discussed how difficult it can be for us to remember the things of God, to keep the fire of Him burning in our hearts. There have been many times where I have been able to remember a past spiritual event clearly in my mind, but just haven’t known how to bring back the feelings of the heart that went with it.
And frankly, I think it is because I can’t. A sign to the disciples that they had truly met the resurrected Christ was how he brought the fire back into their hearts, something they had known before in his presence, and which only he was able to return to them.
And just before his departure, Jesus had explained to his disciples that they would be given the Holy Ghost, whose express purpose was to bring back to them the things they could not bring back to themselves. It is essential that we return to the fire that we have felt before, but we are not supposed to try and force those feelings back into us. It doesn’t work that way. It does not return by our own power, only by His grace. Thus what is required of us is simply to remain open to receiving that presence that is already beside us. We must permit it to stir our souls back to Him again.

The Virtue of Remembering- Isaiah 40:31, Isaiah 41:10, 13

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.

COMMENTARY

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee

Our natural state is to be deeply aware of our own limitations. We are intimately familiar with all the things that we cannot do, for we live within those constraints every moment of every day.
What is unnatural, then, is to remember the power that exists outside of ourselves. It takes genuine effort to keep in remembrance the influence of God, and how it can make the impossible things become possible.
Thus there is no shame in saying that we have difficultly remembering to make use of God’s help in our lives. Of course we do. But this tendency of ours has to be fought against, because otherwise life takes us into waters that are too deep for us and we start to drown in poor choices.
God, Himself, knows that we tend to forget Him, and it is for that very reason that He has seeded reminders of Himself all throughout our lives. We find the reminders to lean into God through the scriptures, in church sermons, in the majesties of nature, and in the pricking of our own conscience. Of all the things that we must remind ourselves of on a regular basis, the first must be the reality of Him.

The Virtue of Remembering- Luke 11:9, John 14:14, 1 John 1:9

And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

COMMENTARY

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you
If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us

We have considered how God asks to remember the good things that He has done for others, and also the good things that He has done for us. By reflecting on these we find the hope to do new good works. But this is not all. God does not only invite us to remember what has been done, but also to reflect on what will be done.
God makes promises for our future, blessings to be delivered “then,” if we will prove faithful “now.” And they are very rich promises as well. He assures that we will gain understanding, that we will receive what we seek, and that we will be forgiven of our sins. By remembering just the promise of these things we are encouraged to live in such a way that one day we are remembering the fulfillment of them instead.

The Virtue of Remembering- Judges 6:12, 14, 17, 21-22, 25, 27

And the angel of the Lord appeared unto Gideon, and said unto him, The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour. Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee?
And Gideon said unto him, If now I have found grace in thy sight, then shew me a sign that thou talkest with me.
Then the angel of the Lord put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there rose up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes. Then the angel of the Lord departed out of his sight.
And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the Lord, Gideon said, Alas, O Lord God! for because I have seen an angel of the Lord face to face.

And it came to pass the same night, that the Lord said unto Gideon, Throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that is by it:
Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did as the Lord had said unto him: and so it was, because he feared his father’s household, and the men of the city, that he could not do it by day, that he did it by night.

COMMENTARY

The Lord is with thee. Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel: have not I sent thee?
Shew me a sign that thou talkest with me
The entire account of Gideon, in Judges chapters 6-8, is well worth studying for how it shows the man moving from one great act to another, in each step being motivated by the remembrance of the last. Today I have shared snippets just from the very foundation of his campaign.
Here we see God calling Gideon to free the Israelites, and Gideon asking for an assurance which is granted. A small miracle occurs, and it is enough to convince Gideon of his holy calling. The memory of that moment will be fundamental for him moving forward.

And it came to pass the same night, that the Lord said unto Gideon, Throw down the altar of Baal
Then did as the Lord had said unto him: and because he feared his father’s household he could not do it by day, that he did it by night
That very same night, when the memory of the holy encounter would still be fresh in Gideon’s mind, the Lord gives Gideon his first test. Gideon is motivated enough to carry out the task, though he is also still weighed by the fear of the people. He performs the deed in the dead of night when none can witness it, but he does do it.
This, I believe is a turning point for Gideon. Now he does not only have the memory of the angelic visitation, he also has the recollection of he, himself, acting for good, even when it was hard to do.
God uses this same pattern numerous times throughout the scriptures. David faces a lion before Goliath, and Goliath before leading a nation. Abraham is commanded to sacrifice the home of his birth before sacrificing his son. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego hold to their principles of diet before holding to their principles in the furnace.
God is very wise in this pattern of initiating us through a small test of faith. It isn’t just about building up our confidence in Him, it is building our confidence in ourselves. When we reach our hardest times we are preserved by two memories:
1) God is good
2) And so am I

The Virtue of Remembering- John 14:26, Doctrine and Covenants 6:22-23

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, if you desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart, that you might know concerning the truth of these things.
Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?

COMMENTARY

The Holy Ghost, shall bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you
Did I not speak peace to your mind? What greater witness can you have?
We have seen how many of us begin our path of discipleship by remembering the good that God has done for others, and by that having hope that He will do the same for us. But this is not to be the end of our journey. Each one of us is meant to join the scriptural records with some personal accounts of our own.
Notice how Jesus left his disciples with the promise that they would be able to remember what he, himself, had said to them. All their lives they had had the story of Moses to reflect on, but that was not to be the only pillar of their faith any longer. Now they had their own personal experiences, words of the Savior spoken directly to them, to help sustain them as well.
Peter, James, John and the others had forefathers who had lived by the manna that was sent from heaven. But now Jesus was pointing out to them that they had a manna of their own to take courage from as well.
Each one of us must also come to see how God has nourished us directly, and then hold to the remembrance of that forever after.