Noised abroad immediately

Posted by Matthew Watkins on July 15, 2018

Christ first appeared to the Nephites in 3 Nephi 11. That initial visit lasted all day and concluded with His ascension into heaven at the end of chapter 18 with the promise to return the next day. Chapter 19 records the response of the Nephites, starting with “And now it came to pass that when Jesus had ascended into heaven, …” But before I continue with what that chapter actually says, I want to give a few “alternate” responses of what it very well could have said, if it had been written in our day.

Alternate response #1

And now it came to pass that when Jesus had ascended into heaven, the disciples whom Jesus had chosen did go forth among the multitude and did exhort them with all diligence that they should go throughout the land of the Nephites, ministering unto those were not in the land of Bountiful at the time of the appearing of Christ unto the people, and exhorting them that they would come and hear the words he should speak unto them when he should return again on the morrow.

But behold the multitude, many of them, would not go forth among the people for fear lest their brethren would not listen to the message which they should speak. For, said they, what doth it profit anyone that we should lose the relationships of our friends and neighbors and yet they be not baptized?

Alternate response #2

And now it came to pass that when Jesus had ascended into heaven, the disciples whom Jesus had chosen did charge the multitude that they should send messengers among all the people, that they also might be present on the morrow when Christ should return.

And the multitude did meet together and did counsel one with another all how best they might share the message with their neighbors. And all the day long did they counsel, and into the night their voices were lifted up in deliberation so that when Christ did truly appear unto them the next day, they did present unto him all the many twelve-step programs they had designed for the purpose of inviting their brethren to come and see him.

Alternate response #3

And now it came to pass that when Jesus had ascended into heaven, the multitude did disperse, and every man did take his wife and his children and did return to his own home.

And on the morrow when they did meet again, Christ appeared unto them and asked, Wherefore is the multitude not grown since last I came? Have ye not gone forth among the people and preached the words which I gave unto you, and exhorted them that they also should come and hear the words which I should speak unto you this day?

And the people responded and did answer him saying, because thou didst not command us to go forth among this people, therefore we knew not to go forth and invite others to come also, for which cause we did remain in our homes with our wives and our children and did not go out. For is it not true that we have many meetings, yay, an exceedingly great number of meetings, which meetings do require our much attention and sacrifice, wherefore we are not left with time in which to accomplish so great a work that was even not commanded us?

Alternate response #4

And now it came to pass that when Jesus had ascended into heaven, the multitude, feeling somewhat of the calling to tell the people that the Christ had come, did go forth amongst a few of their friends and did invite them to dinner.

And it came to pass on the morrow that Christ did appear again unto the people and said unto them, why is it that the multitude is not larger than it was before? And the multitude answered and said unto him that it was not reasonable that they others be bidden to come after only one day, but that only over the course of many days and nights should their relationships be established sufficient that their neighbors and brethren might accept their invitation to come unto Christ.

Alternate response #5

And now it came to pass that when Jesus had ascended into heaven, the disciples whom Jesus had chosen did send forth a search among the multitude, that they might find those who would go out among the people in the lands round about and proclaim that the Christ had come.

And behold there were ten of the multitude that did answer and did speedily take their journey among the lands round about. And after many hours they did return with many others. And as it was yet night the disciples whom Jesus had chosen did inquire among the people yet again, and after a short time, behold the same ten did offer themselves up that they might go again to call their brethren that they might come and be partakers also of the heavenly gift.

And it came to pass that when they returned again with the people, that it was still not as yet time for Christ to appear again, therefore a search was made a third time, yet it was only these same ten who did go up unto their brethren, and all the night long did these ten labor with their might, and behold the fruits of their labors!

The correct response: Just do it!

OK, enough playing around. Here’s how the Nephites actually responded after spending a day with the Savior:

And now it came to pass that when Jesus had ascended into heaven, the multitude did disperse, and every man did take his wife and his children and did return to his own home.

And it was noised abroad among the people immediately, before it was yet dark, that the multitude had seen Jesus, and that he had ministered unto them, and that he would also show himself on the morrow unto the multitude.

Yea, and even all the night it was noised abroad concerning Jesus; and insomuch did they send forth unto the people that there were many, yea, an exceedingly great number, did labor exceedingly all that night, that they might be on the morrow in the place where Jesus should show himself unto the multitude.

What is the difference, really, between the message shared that night among the Nephites in 34 AD versus the one we are charged with spreading to the whole world today? When you boil it down, nothing. Like the Nephite messengers, we share the message that Christ has appeared, that He is coming again, and that anyone and everyone can come and hear what He is saying today. Our modern-day invitation, like the invitation that spread across the Nephite nation like wildfire, is to come and sit at the feet of the Savior and His servants and hear the words of eternal life. And this time, it’s even easier– we don’t need to labor exceedingly all night to get to where we can hear Him. We just simply need to visit a webpage or open an app!

I wish I could have been there for that. Going door to door, city to city, shouting and yelling, waking everyone up and letting the whole world know that the Savior had come to Bountiful and that He would return in the morning. Imagine the anticipation of those who traveled all night just to be there when the Christ would come again. Imagine the joy of the messengers, running from village to village spreading that message!

The Nephite multitude needed no programs, no guilt trips, no list of names to invite by a certain date. They offered no excuses, they did not hesitate, and from what we can tell, they received no explicit instructions to go forth in the first place. They just did it. They “noised it abroad.” They did it immediately, “before it was yet dark.” And it wasn’t awkward. It wasn’t forced. It was natural. It was what the automatically wanted to do. They are the evidence of what Joseph Smith taught:

A man filled with the love of God, is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race.

I know that feeling. I was at a Youth Conference. We watched a video about missionary work. I don’t remember the video, but I remember the fire it kindled in me. I felt the Spirit so strongly and was so on fire that I semi-seriously considered standing up and saying, “Well, what are we waiting for? There are about 200 youth here. If we divide into pairs we can talk to half the town before bedtime!”

I fueled that fire all through my youth as I went on exchanges with missionaries and shared the Gospel at my high school. On my mission, those around me quickly labeled that drive as “greenie fire.” My trainer told me during our first transfer that his goal as trainer was to squelch that fire out of me. Defiantly, I immediately made it my inner goal to make it through my whole mission without losing that “greenie” fire. I wanted to be just as enthusiastic, just as energetic– just as “on fire” as the day I landed, if not more so. To the dismay of a few of my companions, I think I succeeded in that.

I still feel that fire, but it doesn’t blaze quite the same way it used to. Sure, I try to work the Gospel into conversations, but I’m always afraid of going over the line. What that line is, I don’t know, but I sure do worry about going over it. I’m not as bold as I thought I’d be. Have I matured and tempered my overbearance? Or have I started losing that fire?

I’m afraid of losing my fire. And when I read quotes from the General Authorities like this one, I get the feeling I should be doing more:

Is each of us doing all we can to take the gospel to the inhabitants of the earth whom the Lord has placed within our circle of influence?

There is an urgency about this work that I feel some have not sensed, but it is an urgency that is real nonetheless. The Spirit will renew this sense of urgency in the soul of each person who asks God for help in these matters…

I wish we could more effectively and faithfully establish in the hearts of all members of the Church the understanding that if a person is old enough to be a member, he is old enough to be a missionary; and he doesn’t need to be set apart especially for that calling. Every member has the obligation and the calling to take the gospel to those around him. We want every man, woman, and child to assume his rightful responsibility. It is very important. For this is the message of the gospel: We receive blessings from the gospel, and then we go out and share those blessings with others.

As I have urged before, we must increase our devotion so that we can do the work that is here for us to do. There are numerous people in the world who are hungering for the Lord and his word. They are thirsting for associations with the Lord’s truths and work, and yet they neither know exactly what they are hungry for nor what will quench their thirst. It is your and my responsibility to quench their thirst…

I feel the Lord has placed, in a very natural way within our circles of friends and acquaintances, many persons who are ready to enter into his Church. We ask that you prayerfully identify those persons and then ask the Lord’s assistance in helping you introduce them to the gospel…

With the opportunities all around us, why should we fear? The gospel is indeed the power of God unto salvation. All people need it in their lives… Again, why should we fear? Sharing the gospel brings peace and joy into our own lives, enlarges our own hearts and souls in behalf of others, increases our own faith, strengthens our own relationship with the Lord, and increases our own understanding of gospel truths. Perhaps almost more comes to us than to those to whom we introduce the gospel.

I know that the Nephites’ situation doesn’t exactly parallel our own. I know there are a million reasons not to share the Gospel. I go through each one many times in my head every time the Spirit prompts me to talk to someone. But I guess we just need to remember: being in the multitude at the Savior’s feet is great. But it will be a hundred times better if we brought friends. And if we don’t try to bring friends, maybe we won’t be able to stay at His feet ourselves.

This post first appeared on Power in the Book