“Thou Hast Been Merciful Unto Us O Lord”

The brother of Jared, as a natural man—carnal, fallen, and sinful—was admitting his “own nothingness” (recall Mosiah 3:19; 4:5, 11), but at the same time he was confident that God is approachable—merciful and condescending to hear our mortal cries and respond to our righteous desires.

The fact remains, however, that the Fall is so powerful and pervasive that without the regenerating power of the Atonement, our very natures are “evil continually,” even though we were born as spirit children of God the Father. The Fall is so powerful that it changed not only our condition but also our location in relation to God’s presence.

President Boyd K. Packer taught: “It is easier for me to understand that word Fall in the scriptures if I think both in terms of location and of condition. The word fall means to descend to a lower place.

“The fall of man was a move from the presence of God to mortal life on earth. That move down to a lower place came as a consequence of a broken law.

“Fall may also describe a change in condition.”21

President Brigham Young declared: “When the earth was framed and brought into existence and man was placed upon it, it was near the throne of our Father in heaven… . But when man fell, the earth fell into space, and took up its abode in this planetary system, and the sun became our light. When the Lord said—‘Let there be light,’ there was light, for the earth was brought near the sun that it might reflect upon it so as to give us light by day, and the moon to give us light by night. This is the glory the earth came from, and when it is glorified it will return again unto the presence of the Father, and it will dwell there, and these intelligent beings that I am looking at, if they live worthy of it, will dwell upon this earth.”22

The atonement of Jesus Christ changes both our fallen condition and our location. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that by the power of the Atonement, “this earth will be rolled back into the presence of God and crowned with celestial glory.”23

“These many years we have been in the wilderness.” Moses and Lehi and their peoples later spent many years in the wilderness also, as a testing ground of their faith and obedience. We, too, are “trav’ling thru this wilderness” of life to test our faith and obedience.24

D. Kelly Ogden, Andrew C. Skinner -

D. Kelly Ogden, Andrew C. Skinner

Verse by Verse: The Book of Mormon: Vol. 2