Friday, November 27, 2015

Thanksgiving

Yesterday was Thanksgiving in the U.S. Two of our children, in from Minneapolis and Los Angeles, celebrated with us. We spent time with my mother-in-law who is feeling the effects of her 86 wonderful years. We visited my brother who entertained 44 guests in his new home. We are thankful for our eternal, family. We began by offering prayers in all the languages spoken by the six people around our table - German, Spanish, Russian, French and English. We are thankful for the Church's missionary program and for educational opportunities. Our meal was splendid. We are thankful for adequate nutrition. We ended by singing the 1927 song "Bless This House" written by Helen Taylor (UK) and composed by May Brahe (Australia). We are thankful for a happy home and for the role music plays in our lives. Our other children shared reports of their celebrations in Houston and Chicago. I spent two hours on Skype with a terrific Book of Mormon scholar who lives in the Australian outback. The connection was so clear I could hear his young children playing in the background. We are grateful for the blessings of technology, for the Book of Mormon, and for the bond the Gospel creates among the worldwide fellowship of Saints. We saw photographs from our son's recent visit to one of our ancestral homelands just south of Copenhagen's Kastrup Airport. We are thankful for things which are at home and things which are abroad as D&C 88:79 says.

George Washington proclaimed that a "Day of Thanksgiving" be held on November 26, 1789. His words sound like something from Captain Moroni. "...A day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness." "...The service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us." - George Washington, October 1789.

The Book of Mormon uses the term "thanksgiving" six times.
  • In 2 Nephi 8:3 (citing Isaiah 51:3) the term is associated with the redemption of Zion and the return of the House of Israel in the latter days.
  • Alma 19:14 describes the great missionary Ammon in the court of King Lamoni.
  • Ammon himself used the term in his exultation at the conclusion of his mission Alma 26:37.
  • Amulek used the term in his preaching to the Zoramites in the land of Antionum Alma 34:38.
  • Mormon used the term to describe his hero, Captain Moroni Alma 48:12.
  • The term is used to describe the Nephites' reaction to the calming voice of the resurrected Savior following the vast destruction at His crucifixion 3 Nephi 10:10.
George Washington associated thanksgiving with prayer to God in gratitude for divine providence. This is precisely how Book of Mormon prophet/authors employed the term.