The mention of Sariah, in the Book of Nephi, is another time when I wonder what her journal must have said about the experience of traveling into the wilderness then sending her sons back to Jerusalem.
Because we have the record of Nephi, and a few of the stories of Lehi, we see that Lehi had been converted to the Lord, and had personally received the charge to flee into the wilderness. I’m sure that the task was difficult for Lehi – to leave everything behind and go into the desert toward an unknown promised land. Yet, Lehi had the vision, he had the promise. Sariah did not have such a confirmation. She had to have faith in Lehi’s testimony and experience. We learn from Sariah that, sometimes, to be a good mother means to be a trusting and good wife.
After her sons go back to Jerusalem, Sariah begins to worry. The journey was undoubtably difficult. After her worries came to a fever pitch, she complained to Lehi, calling him a “visionary man”. It could be tempting to “condemn” her for this, but as I try to put myself in her shoes, I think I understand – she still hadn’t received a spiritual confirmation of the entire trip to the promised land.
Revelation – especially when it comes to revelation for a family – truly intrigues me. For years, I was a single mother, which meant I was the sole receiver of revelation from Heavenly Father for my family. If I needed to move, I knew. If my children needed special attention, I knew. Raising my family was strictly between me and the Lord. Yet I yearned for a partner. I knew that I didn’t have the capabilities or energy to be a mother and a provider on my own. I wanted my children to experience a home with the priesthood. I wanted a companion.
I was blessed. I met and married Homey – a faithful priesthood holder. Things were going along as well as they could as we learned to live with one another. For the most part, he was getting up to speed – Tiger, Panda, and I had been together for years. He was the newbie. I could see that he followed my lead when it came to matters with the children.
However, one day, a situation came up. I was not really feeling any kind of inspiration one way or another, but Homey had a strong feeling. He knew what we, as a family, including the girls, needed to do. It was a little shocking – not to have the revelation. And I found myself needing to believe. It makes sense – that he would receive revelation for our family, but it hadn’t happened yet. I had to exercise faith and follow his prompting. I knew that this was my duty as his wife and helpmeet, and I also knew that to be the best mother I could be, I would be united with my husband. Sariah didn’t yet have a sure knowledge of the need to flee Jerusalem bound for a promised land. She, instead, was being a good mother by standing by her husband and trusting in His closeness to the Lord and ability to receive revelation.
Obviously, Sariah falters as her sons are gone. But this rift is short lived. Lehi explains to Sariah that he is a visionary man! He bears his testimony. We learn:
“And after this manner of language did my father, Lehi, comfort my mother, Sariah, concerning us, while we journeyed in the wilderness up to the land of Jerusalem, to obtain the record of the Jews.” – 1 Nephi 5:6
Lehi’s testimony comforts Sariah. To me, this speaks volumes to Sariah’s faithfulness and closeness to the Spirit. If she wasn’t close to the Spirit, a testimony would not have comforted her. Sariah trusted her husband: she trusted that he was close to the Lord and was righteous. Through her humility, she was able to feel the Spirit comfort her about the divine mandate to flee Jerusalem and go to a promised land.
I don’t think I can stress how impressive this is. Trusting other people takes a lot of faith, but don’t you think that’s what’s most important – especially in a marriage relationship? Of course there are exceptions, but I have found the Lord guide me in the same way. when I go to him with a problem – especially some kind of problem I’m having with my husband – I’m reminded that he is righteous, and just as much as the Holy Ghost works with me, the Holy Ghost works with my husband. We are on the same team. Sometimes, the Lord gives the revelation to the husband. Other times, the wife is guided. Either way, we need to be united as husband and wife – trusting in each other and in the Lord.
Finally, Laman, Lemuel, Nephi, and Sam return – with the plates. Sariah is completely comforted and she shares her testimony. (another testimony from a woman!)
“Now I know of a surety that the Lord hath commanded my husband to flee into the wilderness; yea, and I also know of a surety that the Lord hath protected my sons, and delivered them out of the hands of Laban, and given them power whereby they could accomplish the thing which the Lord hath commanded them. And after this manner of language did she speak.” – 1 Nephi 5:8
She knew Lehi had been commanded to flee Jerusalem. She no longer had to go on faith, but she had received a confirmation of her own.
I can only imagine the impact that Sariah’s testimony must have had on her children. Obviously, Nephi recorded it. I think about Sariah, and I’m inspired to be a better wife and how that translates into being a better mother. Sariah inspires me to be closer to the Spirit, humble, and to bear my testimony.
Here is a little study guide you can use to learn more about Sariah. (If you don’t see the pdf, then click here).
What did you learn from Sariah? How does Sariah inspire you to be a better mother?