"And now, when Abinadi had said these words he fell, having suffered by fire; yea, having been put to death because he would NOT deny the commandment of God." -Mosiah 17:20.
It’s incredible that Abinadi would die even by fire to be a witness of this gospel. He knew it was true with everything inside of Him. He loved the gospel, and he loved our Father in Heaven.
In our home we have three words written over a doorway: But If Not. This saying reminds us to be faithful no matter what. It comes from a story in the Bible, about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego when told they would be thrown in a fiery furnace said, “Our God will deliver us, but if not, we will not deny him.” In life it doesn't always work out the way it did for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego when they were saved. It sometimes can turn out like how it did for Abinadi.
I chose to write my first post about Abinadi because, for me, he is the greatest hero in the Book of Mormon. He courageously stood for truth when it was unpopular. In the end his main testimony was to not lower his standards, to not recall his words, and to not deny the commandments of God no matter what. We may not have to have the death sentence pronounced upon us but it takes courage to stick to our standards when so many are following the ways of the world. We find we are ridiculed just as Abinadi was for having clean language, not dating before sixteen, having a serious boyfriend in high school, dressing modestly, and keeping the Sabbath Day holy.
While attending high school, some boys came up to my brother Tanner in the hall. With sneering voices they said, “Tanner you’re such a pansy because you don’t swear.” Without hesitating Tanner replied, “No you are the pansies because you can’t control your tongue.” It would have been so easy for him to fall into peer pressure, but he stood fast in his beliefs. However, the power with which he responded made the boys turn and shrink away from him.
If you are altering your standards to escape the judgments of others, stop it. Stop trying to justify or rationalize your actions. The Lord needs a strong people. Not next week or next year, but today. These are the last days and we must prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. It is so critical for you to understand that we must put upon us the Lord’s standards and stand for truth and righteousness at this time.
How do we get the power and strength that Abinadi had? We can serve others, speak kindly to others, especially your family, bearing your testimony in either timely or untimely situations, reading the scriptures daily, saying our morning and night prayers, and having family night. Too often we let sports, school, friends, or any other activities get in the way of doing these things. But there should be no excuse to keep the Lord’s commandments. Be like Abinadi who made no excuse to deny the commandments to the point of dying.
Sometimes it may not be easy because you may question yourself, “why don’t I just do it, they are going to think I’m so dumb if I don’t.” Don’t listen to those thoughts. Please brothers and sisters don’t fall into Satan’s trap of peer pressure.
As I try to do my best in everything I do, I tend to fail like everyone else does here and there. For example, while attending BYU, I have been struggling to do well on all of my exams. Each time I get a low grade, I am devastated. I often wonder, why even try to get a better score when I just keep getting the same low scores over and over again. But that’s when I remembered that faith wasn't just for when things were going right but faith meant we trust that God has a plan for us even if things don’t turn out the way we hoped. I have found that when we respond in faith to trials the Lord strengthens us.
We must have that same faith that Abinadi had. Elder Simmons said, "Our God will deliver us from ridicule and persecution, but if not. ... Our God will deliver us from sickness and disease, but if not. ... He will deliver us from loneliness, depression, or fear, but if not. ... Our God will deliver us from threats, accusations, and insecurity, but if not. ... we will trust in the Lord. Our God will see that we receive justice and fairness, but if not. ... He will make sure that we are loved and recognized, but if not. ... we will have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, knowing that if we do all we can do, we will, in His time and in His way, be delivered and receive all that He has."
I have a very strong testimony that each and every one of us had been given a special mission here on this earth. The only way we can find out what that is and accomplish it is by first putting ourselves out there like Abinadi. Do the unpopular and stand as a witness of God at all times. I know for a fact that Christ needs us at this exact day and time. The time is now, He comes so soon and we must build our army of Helaman and not fear opposition or the judgments of others, just as Abinadi did not fear. We must be strong, which strength will come from the Lord. Don't forget that great challenges make great men and women.
In our house we have saying written on the wall, " Et si omnes ego non," which means: Even if all not I. Never forget that you are a child of Heavenly Father and that He loves you. Stand up for what you believe in; bear your testimony frequently in words as well as actions. Please brothers and sisters, do not follow the world, God needs you to follow Him. I feel that is so crucial in this day and time.