Hurricane Utah

Adult Religion Class
Week 27:
Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther

2
3
• 2 Chronicles 36:22–23 (=Ezra 1:1–2).
• Events of 539–432 B.C.
 People of Judah reestablished in Jerusalem.
 Covenant renewal; city and temple rebuilt.


The Cyrus Cylinder
(Kurash Prism)
4
5
6
• Ezra 1–4 (538–520 B.C.).
• Ezra 5 (520 B.C.).
• Ezra 6 (515 B.C.).
Chronological break (Esther)
• Ezra 7–10 (458–457 B.C.).
• Nehemiah 1:1–7:4 (445–432 B.C.).
• Nehemiah 7:5–13:31 (432 B.C.).
• Opposition to the work of God:
 More and more frequent.
 Increasingly from secular atheists.
• Ezra 4:11–16.
 D&C 123:4–15.
• Nehemiah 4:1–3.
• Nehemiah 6:1–3.
7
8
“What should we do in the face of the opposition that now
confronts us? There is an answer in the Old Testament.
….
“When [Nehemiah‟s] enemies saw that the [Jerusalem]
wall was nearly up and that it was strong, they became
worried. Sanballat and Geshem invited Nehemiah to meet
with them in one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But
Nehemiah said, „They thought to do me mischief. And I
sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I
cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and
come down to you?‟ Their defense was simple and effective: „We
made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them‟ (4:9)
and then went about the work.
“And that is what we should do—go about our work, strengthen the
wards and the stakes, the quorums and the families and the individual
members. We have a work to do. Why should it cease while we do
battle with our enemies? … Set a watch and make a prayer and go
about the work of the Lord.” —Elder Boyd K. Packer, August 1983
9
10
Characteristics of
anti-Mormon web sites
• Nicknames.
• Mocking and satire.
• “Exit stories.”
• Lack of depth or context.
• Hyper-fundamentalist.
• Rejection of God.
• Church as dangerous, violent.
• Charges of “brainwashing.”
• Cheerleading.
“When facing the challenge of faith…[or] in
moments of fear or doubt or troubling times,
hold the ground you have already won, even
if that ground is limited…. When those
moments come and issues surface, the
resolution of which is not immediately
forthcoming, hold fast to what you already
know and stand strong until additional
knowledge comes…. Jesus said, „If ye have faith as a
grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this
mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall
remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.‟
The size of your faith or the degree of your
knowledge is not the issue—it is the integrity you
demonstrate toward the faith you do have and the
truth you already know.
11
“When problems come and questions arise,
do not start your quest for faith by saying
how much you do not have, leading as it
were with your „unbelief.‟ That is like trying
to stuff a turkey through the beak! Let me
be clear on this point: I am not asking you to
pretend to faith you do not have. I am asking
you to be true to the faith you do have. Sometimes
we act as if an honest declaration of doubt is a higher
manifestation of moral courage than is an honest
declaration of faith. It is not! … Be as candid about
your questions as you need to be; life is full of them
on one subject or another. But if you and your family
want to be healed, don‟t let those questions stand in
the way of faith working its miracle.
12
….
“Brothers and sisters, this is a divine work in
process, with the manifestations and
blessings of it abounding in every direction,
so please don‟t hyperventilate if from time
to time issues arise that need to be
examined, understood, and resolved. They
do and they will. In this Church, what we know will
always trump what we do not know. And remember,
in this world, everyone is to walk by faith.

13
….
“Last observation: when doubt or difficulty
come, do not be afraid to ask for help. If we
want it [humbly and honestly], we can get it.
The scriptures phrase such earnest desire as
being of „real intent,‟ pursued „with full
purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no
deception before God.‟ I testify that in response to
that kind of importuning, God will send help from
both sides of the veil to strengthen our belief.”
—Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, April 2013
14
“Some struggle with unanswered questions
about things that have been done or said in
the past. We openly acknowledge that in
nearly 200 years of Church history—along
with an uninterrupted line of inspired,
honorable, and divine events—there have
been some things said and done that could
cause people to question.
“Sometimes questions arise because we simply don‟t
have all the information and we just need a bit more
patience. When the entire truth is eventually known,
things that didn‟t make sense to us before will be
resolved to our satisfaction.

15
“Sometimes there is a difference of opinion
as to what the „facts‟ really mean. A
question that creates doubt in some can,
after careful investigation, build faith in
others.
“And, to be perfectly frank, there have been
times when members or leaders in the
Church have simply made mistakes. There
may have been things said or done that were not in
harmony with our values, principles, or doctrine.
“I suppose the Church would be perfect only if it
were run by perfect beings. God is perfect, and His
doctrine is pure. But He works through us—His
imperfect children—and imperfect people make
mistakes.

16
….
“To those who have separated themselves
from the Church, I say, my dear friends,
there is yet a place for you here.
“Come and add your talents, gifts, and
energies to ours. We will all become better
as a result.
“Some might ask, ‘But what about my
doubts?’

17
“It‟s natural to have questions—the acorn of
honest inquiry has often sprouted and
matured into a great oak of understanding.
There are few members of the Church who,
at one time or another, have not wrestled
with serious or sensitive questions. One of
the purposes of the Church is to nurture and
cultivate the seed of faith—even in the
sometimes sandy soil of doubt and uncertainty. Faith
is to hope for things which are not seen but which are
true.
18
“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters—
my dear friends—please, first doubt your
doubts before you doubt your faith. We
must never allow doubt to hold us prisoner
and keep us from the divine love, peace,
and gifts that come through faith in the Lord
Jesus Christ.”
—President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, October 2013
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• Hamesh Megillot (“The Five Scrolls”):
 The Song of Solomon at Passover.
 Ruth at Pentecost.
 Lamentations on the Ninth of Ab.
 Ecclesiastes at the Feast of Tabernacles.
 Esther at Purim.
21
• King Ahasuerus (Xerxes I?).
• Queen Vashti.
• Esther.
• Mordecai.
• Haman.
Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

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