Trouble in Paradise – 2 Nephi 4:13-14

You can read 2 Nephi 4:13-14 here. You can also find the rest of the Blogging the Book of Mormon entries here.

Context and General Information

  • After Lehi’s death, Laman and Lemuel are angry with Nephi – because of the Lord’s admonitions.
  • Nephi was constrained by the Spirit of God to speak to them – most likely a warning.

Trouble in Paradise

Well, it shouldn’t come to a surprise to any of us that as soon as Lehi dies trouble brews between Nephi and his brothers. We read:

“And it came to pass that not many days after his death, Laman and Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael were angry with me because of the admonitions of the Lord.

For I, Nephi, was constrained to speak unto them, according to his word; for I had spoken many things unto them, and also my father, before his death; many of which sayings are written upon mine other plates; for a more history part are written upon mine other plates.” – 2 Nephi 4:13-14

Nephi Was Constrained

First of all, a quick reminder on the definition of the word constrained:

Constrain: (verb)
appearing forced or overly controlled

Before blogging the Book of Mormon, I think that when I read that Nephi was “constrained” to speak to his brothers, I underestimated the severity of this spiritual impression. I also underestimated, or even forgot, Nephi’s responsibility to God.

I’ve never been in the Nephi was an annoying younger brother camp. Mainly because I think that it is an over-simplistic view, and it doesn’t match with what we know about Nephi. I’m even the oldest in my family. I have plenty of younger siblings. They have all excelled in various ways beyond my capabilities. My siblings are smarter, funnier, and more successful than I am. And rarely am in charge. In fact, I was shorter than my next sibling by the time I was four.

In other words, my siblings were the ones that were “large in stature.” Not me.

This isn’t to say that I don’t lead. Of course I have been a leader in my family. I had to babysit when I was a kid (like every oldest child – no big deal). I had the opportunity to be a cheerleader and help get my siblings excited about something or the opposite. Usually, I just “led” my siblings to do weird things like make potty jokes and sing weird songs that would annoy the grown ups of the house.

Often, I did treat my siblings poorly. We fought from time to time – especially when playing video games. I know I started some of those fights. I certainly didn’t prevent many fights. And, there may have been more punching (on my part) than I would like to admit.

My point is, I don’t want to make it sound like I was perfect. I wasn’t. I tried to be a nice sister because I loved my siblings, but we were also real.

Anyway, my family didn’t have the dynamic of Lehi’s family. So, it’s hard to really compare my family with his.

But I want to say that, as an oldest sibling, I have never been bothered or jealous of the wins and successes of my siblings. I was proud when my sister went on a mission. I love that my brother is a great cook. I know that my other younger brothers are much funnier than me. It doesn’t bother me that I have a brother that runs, we share this love. I went to a simple state college, and was not threatened (instead excited) when younger siblings were awarded entry and scholarships to really good schools.

The successes of my siblings have no bearing on my self worth. I love them and rejoice in their wins. Additionally, I know that the Lord doesn’t have a limited supply of blessings. We don’t have to compete for God’s blessings or love.

All of this shapes how I feel about Nephi. I don’t think that he was trying to be some annoying “know-it-all” younger brother. He knew the Lord. He loved his brothers. He forgave them time and time and time again. He never exercised power over them.

Instead, he was constrained by God to correct them.

Let’s think about this for a second:

One
Nephi was a special witness of the Savior. In 1 Nephi 11, Nephi sees the vision of the tree of life and its meaning. Nephi sees the coming of the Savior. Nephi sees a vision of Christ’s life on the earth. After this experience, Nephi doesn’t merely have faith, he has knowledge. Even before showing Nephi this vision, the Angel warned:

“And behold this thing shall be given unto thee for a sign, that after thou hast beheld the tree which bore the fruit which thy father tasted, thou shalt also behold a man descending out of heaven, and him shall ye witness; and after ye have witnessed him ye shall bear record that it is the Son of God.” – 1 Nephi 11:7

The knowledge that Nephi both sought and obtained came with responsibility. He not only had to qualify for such knowledge with faith, but he also had to have real intent – meaning that he intended to live according to the knowledge that he received.

If Nephi wanted to be nurtured by the Spirit, then he had to nurture the Spirit in his soul. This is done by obedience to the whisperings and promptings of the Spirit that we receive.

So, Nephi couldn’t be a wallflower. He knew too much. He couldn’t stand back while his brothers were plotting to kill his father. He couldn’t just pretend that Laman’s and Lemuel’s exceeding rudeness were okay. The Spirit wouldn’t let him.

It wasn’t Nephi that wanted to correct his brothers, It was a commandment from God given to Nephi to go and correct his brothers.

Think of how this usually ends for Nephi: getting beat, getting tied up and dragged into the wilderness, nearly getting pushed off a cliff, getting tied up on a boat. Do you really think that Nephi enjoyed these experiences? Do you really think that Nephi liked correcting his brothers – knowing that it would result in abuse?

nephi-laman-lemuel-ropes-d61da2-gallery.jpg

Of course not!

I wouldn’t have wanted to be Nephi.

But Nephi always obeys the Spirit. He corrects his brothers. He does this out of his devotion to God. And probably his love for his brothers. (Even though eventually he refers to them as enemies. But hey – he loves his enemies!)

The point here is, because Nephi was a special witness of the Savior and because Nephi was a devoted disciple of Christ, he knew he had to obey, or then he would be sinning.

Two
Lehi reminded Laman and Lemuel:

“Rebel no more against your brother, whose views have been glorious, and who hath kept the commandments from the time that we left Jerusalem; and who hath been an instrument in the hands of God, in bringing us forth into the land of promise; for were it not for him, we must have perished with hunger in the wilderness; nevertheless, ye sought to take away his life; yea, and he hath suffered much sorrow because of you.” – 2 Nephi 1:24

Laman and Lemuel can think of what they want about Nephi. Modernly, we can deride Nephi and imply that he was a know-it-all younger brother. HOWEVER, without Nephi, all of Lehi’s company – both Lehi’s family and Ishmael’s family – would have died in the wilderness with hunger.

Nephi got the brass plates.

Nephi made a new bow and hunted food in the wilderness.

Nephi built a boat.

He wasn’t just some know it all trying to correct his brothers at every chance. He wanted to get out of the wilderness and get to the promised land!!!!!! He lived worthy of the Spirit, and that Spirit constrained him to admonish his brothers.

Admonitions

I really should probably have ended this blog post already, but I want to say one thing about the word “admonition.” When I read the following verse, I think that I have misunderstood it in the past:

“And it came to pass that not many days after his death, Laman and Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael were angry with me because of the admonitions of the Lord.” – 2 Nephi 4:13

For some reason, I don’t have the right connotation of the word “admonition.” I’m trying to think of where my misunderstanding stems. I think that it is from the 13th article of faith – when I think of the phrase “the admonition of Paul.”

In a way, I have kind of mistakenly signified the word “admonition” to mean something like “doctrine.” I tend to define the “admonition of Paul” as the directives or doctrine of Paul – to believe all things, hope all things, and endure all things.

I tend to mentally define the scripture in 2 Nephi as “…Laman and Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael were angry with me because of the doctrines of the Lord.”

In both cases, I realize, I’m wrong.

(This is why the dictionary is such an important tool in scripture study. If we misunderstand a word, then we can misunderstand an entire concept).

Instead, admonition means the act of admonishing. Okay…that already starts to feel different. Laman and Lemuel, the sons of Ishmael: they didn’t dislike God’s doctrine. They disliked God’s admonishing.

What is admonishing? To warn or reprimand someone firmly.

Paul’s admonition isn’t just some fun little doctrine. It’s a warning: Believe all things, hope all things, endure all things…It’s strong advice that will keep us safe!

Laman, Lemuel, and the sons of Ishmael…they weren’t angry about God’s doctrine. They were angry because of the warnings of the Lord. They were angry with the warning words that Lehi left them with (keep the commandments and prosper; don’t keep the commandments, be cut off!). They are like toddlers, but the anger that they have against these sound warnings will have deleterious effects.

Wrapping Up

This is along blog post. I will wrap it up now. But I feel that these things are important for us to recognize. Understanding these things helps me to consider my own discipleship. Do I get angry at the warnings and gentle correction of God? Do I get angry at the messengers of God’s word?

Do I have charity, and rejoice in truth – even if the truth is I have made a mistake and need correction?

Lehi – A Goodly Parent – 2 Nephi 4:5-12

You can read 2 Nephi 4:5-12 here. You can also find the rest of the Blogging the Book of Mormon entries here.

Context and General Information

  • Shortly before Lehi’s death, he blesses his grandchildren a final time.
  • Lehi passes away.

Lehi—A Goodly Parent

Well, we’ve been studying the Book of Mormon for a while now. I have spent months with Lehi, Sariah, and the rest of their family. And now, in 2 Nephi 4:12, Lehi passes away. As I read of his death, I am reminded the opening of the Book of Mormon:

“I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father;…” – 1 Nephi 1:1

Nephi was born of “goodly” parents. As we have been studying the life of Lehi and Nephi and their family, we can see that this was true.

I did a quick search and found that goodly basically means what we think it means. During archaic times this word was especially used to mean attractive, excellent, or admirable. I feel that this is probably what Nephi meant.

So – for today, I think that I will ponder some of the points that made Lehi a goodly parent. Also, I’m going to lump Sariah into these points. Cultures and practices were different anciently. I don’t know why women weren’t as included, but it just didn’t happen. Perhaps it was because people were more sexist back in olden times (or at least what we would perceive to be). But perhaps it isn’t that simple. Maybe in ancient times, especially in a culture like Nephi’s, they considered the whole unit – husband and wife – as one unit. Perhaps marriage partners weren’t as individualistic as today’s are (especially in the U.S.)? Most likely, the lack of female inclusion is a combination of many different things.

I don’t know.

But, for myself, I’m going to consider Lehi and Sariah as a package. Lehi wouldn’t have been who he was without her. And Sariah wouldn’t have been who she was without him. Not only do partners shape their marriage, but the marriage shapes them. So, as I write about Lehi, remember that I consider Sariah to be at his side. I consider them companions.

One – Lehi and Sariah were Disciples of Jehovah

Lehi Comforts Sariah

When the Book of Mormon opens, we read of a deeply spiritual experience of Lehi’s. His conversion to the Lord increases, and he is called to be a prophet.

Lehi is righteous and is willing to keep the commandments of God.

Additionally, we can infer that Sariah was also righteously devoted to the Lord. She let her husband preach! This was a dangerous and difficult time to be preaching as he did, but he was supported in it.

Two – Lehi and Sariah Faithfully Protected Their Family

Lehis begins Journey

Lehi’s willingness to keep the commandments of God and preach to the people of Jerusalem ends up putting him and his entire family in danger. The people of Jerusalem want to kill him.

I believe that the threat to Lehi’s life was immediate. In other words, had Lehi stayed in Jerusalem, I am not sure that he would have lived to see it destroyed. I think that he would have been killed beforehand. Perhaps his entire family would have been targeted.

God warns Lehi in a dream to flee, and he does.

One interesting note: this method of “protection” may not seem all that intuitive or conventional. Lehi protects his family by taking them into the dangerous wilderness! The thing to keep in mind is that Lehi trusts the Lord, and this is the best protection any parent can offer to their children.

Additionally, it is good to note that Sariah also aided in this protection. Lehi didn’t pack the camels, family, and provisions himself. He had the help of his wife. She didn’t receive the revelation, but she supported him, and in this way she also protected the family.

Three – Lehi Provided for His Family

In 1 Nephi, we read:

“…And he left his house, and the land of his inheritance, and his gold, and his silver, and his precious things, and took nothing with him, save it were his family, and provisions, and tents, and departed into the wilderness.” – 1 Nephi 2:4

Additionally, when Nephi and his brothers travel back to Jerusalem to get the plates from Laban, we read that they gathered up their old treasures to buy them:

“Wherefore, let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord; therefore let us go down to the land of our father’s inheritance, for behold he left gold and silver, and all manner of riches. And all this he hath done because of the commandments of the Lord.

And it came to pass that we went down to the land of our inheritance, and we did gather together our gold, and our silver, and our precious things.” – 1 Nephi 3:16, 22

Lehi had amassed some kind of wealth during his life in Jerusalem. I’m not sure how he did it, but we know that he did provide for his family.

Again, it may have seemed counterintuitive for a man who was a good provider to leave everything behind and go into the wilderness. But his choice to listen to the Lord and take his family to a promised land would soon provide and protect his family better than anything he could have come up with on his own.

One more, Sariah must also be remembered here. She provided for her family as well. We don’t know the details, but I would imagine that she helped procure the beautiful and precious things that they enjoyed. She would have also helped to maintain the house and tents – providing an environment that would nurture faith.

Four – Lehi Teaches His Children

Over and over again, we read of the ways that Lehi taught his children. He gathered them in his tent while they lived in the wilderness. He testified to them. He told them his dreams. He expounded scripture to them. He warned them. When he sinned, he repented. He blessed them. Even to his dying day he exhorted them to come unto Christ.

As far as Sariah is concerned – this is an actual example that we have in the scriptures. She taught her children and then testified to them:

“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

Five – Lehi and Sariah Loved One Another

For the most part, we have to infer and read between the lines when it comes to Sariah. But as a woman and a wife I have to believe that she was Lehi’s companion, love, and number one support. I understand what it is to be in a marriage, and I understand what it is to support and love a husband. I understand what it is to have a husband that also supports and loves me.

Lehi offers sacrifice

In 1 Nephi, we read of one of Sariah’s “bad” days. This “bad” day of hers wasn’t because she was selfish or bratty. It’s because she loved her sons and was worried about them! She complained to her husband.

Lehi, instead of getting frustrated, comforts Sariah.

Even though we have this one interaction, we can assume that this type of behavior was often extended one to another – between Lehi and Sariah. Lehi’s actions, in such stressful circumstances, reflect a loving relationship. If Sariah and Lehi had a toxic relationship, there is no way that this would have worked! Lehi and Sariah wouldn’t have been able to have peace while waiting for their sons to return to the wilderness with the plates.

And actually, that’s only the small part. Lehi and Sariah needed to have companionship, love, and devotion in order to be able to lead their group through the wilderness to the promised land. Can you imagine this undertaking!?! Can you imagine the stress it would have put on Lehi and Sariah? Can you imagine the way that it would have tested their relationship?

The only way that the journey to the promised land would have worked is if both Lehi and Sariah were equally yoked, humble, and devoted to the Lord.

Conclusion

This post is kind of all over the place, and I make a lot of assumptions in it. But I hope it is helpful. Truly, Nephi was born of goodly parents.

And now, we read in 2 Nephi:

“And it came to pass after my father, Lehi, had spoken unto all his household, according to the feelings of his heart and the Spirit of the Lord which was in him, he waxed old. And it came to pass that he died, and was buried.” – 2 Nephi 4:12

Father Lehi led his family to the promised land. He taught them, protected them, provided for them. He loved them and given them an example of what a “goodly parent” ought to do. And now, as we read, he has died. It is the end of an era and we are moving on to new things in the Book of Mormon.

I’m so grateful for Lehi’s and Sariah’s examples. I hope that I can also be a “goodly parent.”

True Prosperity – 2 Nephi 4:1-4

You can read 2 Nephi 4:1-4 here. You can also find the rest of the Blogging the Book of Mormon entries here.

Context and General Information

  • Lehi finishes speaking to Joseph and now, shortly before his death, blesses his grandchildren – the sons an daughters of Laman.
  • Lehi reminds them of the promise that the Lord has made concerning the promised land: if they keep the commandments, they will prosper in the land. If not, they will be cut off from God’s presence.

True Prosperity

In this chapter, Lehi recites a promise given to him:

“For the Lord God hath said that: Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land; and inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from my presence.” – 2 Nephi 4:4

I grew up a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I have heard this promise repeated over the years. Or, I think that I’ve actually only heard part of it repeated over the years. In my mind, the beginning of this promised is often emphasized: If we will keep God’s commandments, then we shall prosper in the land.

Often, I feel that this promise is interpreted as, if we keep the commandments, then will will prosper in a material way. I don’t know. I don’t want to speak for everyone. But I know that there have been times when people who are faithful but who aren’t prospering financially feel frustrated. Why aren’t they prospering if they keep the commandments?

To add to the confusion that can sometimes come, when reading the Book of Mormon, we know that when the people – in general – were righteous, they did prosper materially. They made more money, their crops did better, they became wealthy.

Of course, then, came a problem. Their prosperity seemed to blind them from God and His commandments, and they became proud. Their pride and sin would last for a while – seemingly without consequence. But, eventually their pride would hit a critical point where they would self-destruct. (Or they were weakened to the point that destruction from an outside source was significantly easier).

These patterns in the Book of Mormon seem to affirm the idea that when God says “ye shall prosper in the land.”

gilbert temple side

And yet, there is something that is bothering me about this interpretation. I suppose that I’ve already illustrated the potential problem. If this promise is all about material prosperity, then it gives way to pride. Not only do we see this in the Book of Mormon, but I think that if we closely look inward, we may see it in ourselves, too.

One – When we go through financial struggles, do we think why am I having this struggle, when I’m righteous? I pay my tithing!

Two – When we see others who are not seemingly righteous do we end up wondering how they have been financially blessed even though they aren’t keeping God’s commandments?

Three – When we see others who are poor but seemingly righteous, do we feel smug, thinking that they must be committing some kind of sin, otherwise God wouldn’t let them suffer in such a way?

Al of these scenarios may be traced back to the incorrect interpretation of Lehi’s prophecy.

Sedona AZ

Now, I don’t think that we need to ignore this warning. I don’t think that God is lying. He is neither promoting nor justifying the sin of pride. So – we need to take a closer look at the warning.

One – Keep My Commandments

So, first and foremost, we must keep the commandments. Which means that, even if prosperity can often tempt us into pride, we are not justified in being prideful. That is breaking a commandment!

Of course, Satan wants our failure. It shouldn’t come as a shock that he would tempt us to misuse that with which God blessed us.

I think that it is okay for us to desire a measure of temporal blessings. We need to stay alive!!!! We have basic biological needs – food, clothing, and shelter. It is a part of our life on earth to obtain these needs and help others to do so, too.

Not only that, but I think that this promise offers us comfort. We can trust the Lord. If we will keep the commandments, then we will be taken care of. It reminds me of what the Lord said in the New Testament:

“Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” – Matthew 6:25-33

It’s not that if we are keeping the commandments everything will be easy. Instead, the Lord is imploring us to trust in Him. We shouldn’t set our hearts on riches. That leads us away from God. Instead, we need to 1) Love Him and 2) Love each other. And He assures us that as we do so, our very real temporal needs will be met.

Two – Ye Shall Prosper in the Land

I don’t want to dwell more on this, but I would ask what is true prosperity? What is true wealth? Is it having a lot of money, a big house, fancy cars, nice jewelry?

Is it health?

Is it loving relationships?

Is it a testimony in the true and living Christ?

Is it having a Book of Mormon?!

Is it peace and contentment – no matter our circumstances?

I’ll let you think of your own answers, but I will share one thought. I’ve had my own financial struggles. Very difficult financial struggles, despite doing all I can to keep the Lord’s commandments with exactness. During these times of financial stress, I woke up one morning, and realized I have everything I need. I am so abundantly blessed. I have a husband that loves me, and I love him. I KNOW THAT THIS IS A BLESSING!!!!!! I was in a terrible relationship in the past, and yet Heavenly Father saw fit to bless me by delivering me from the one that would have destroyed me. I have lived as a working single mom. I understand the pain of betrayal and loneliness.

This knowledge was not lost on me as I looked at my husband that morning. Though we very little by way of material blessings, I truly had everything I needed. I realized that my wealth exceeded my expectations. I have a family that I love and they love me.

So…What is prosperity??? Are we prosperous without knowing it???

Dandelions

Three – Not Keep My Commandments

This is pretty self explanatory since we already discussed keeping the commandments. But let’s remind ourselves:

One – Love God

Two – Love One Another

We have other commandments too, but they all fall under these two basic commandments. Are we living the laws that the Lord has given us? Are we living the law of sacrifice, chastity, the gospel, etc.? Are we cultivating faith, hope, and charity? Do we live the higher law that the Lord taught both in the New Testament and to the Nephites in 3 Nephi?

Are we listening to the whisperings of the Spirit?

If not, then….

Four – Ye Shall be Cut off from God’s Presence

Okay. This stands out to me. The warning does not say that if we keep the commandments, we’ll prosper and if we don’t keep the commandments, then we won’t prosper.

If so, then we could make the assumptions as stated above about material prosperity and righteousness.

Instead, God says, that if we keep the commandments, we’ll prosper, and that if we don’t keep the commandments, we’ll be cut off from His presence.

That’s different.

That means that maybe we can keep God’s commandments, be poor, but still have the constant companionship of His Spirit.

It also means that maybe we can break God’s commandments, and be rich; however, we will not have His Spirit, His happiness, His contentment or joy with us.

Perhaps by thinking about this aspect of the warning and promise, we can better understand what God means by “prosperity.”

field and hose.jpg

***

I need to end this. I don’t have a firm conclusion on anything, but that actually happens a lot when I study the scriptures. This concept will, no doubt, percolate in my mind and spirit for a while. This will give way to more studying and a better understanding of what God desires.

What I know right now is that I do want prosperity – as God defines and gives it. I’m grateful for the blessings that I already enjoy. I do not want to be cut off from the Lord or His Spirit. I’m grateful for the promises of God, and that we can learn about them in the scriptures.

Hope in the Covenant – 2 Nephi 3:17-25

You can read 2 Nephi 3:17-25 here. You can also find the rest of the Blogging the Book of Mormon entries here.

Context and General Information

  • Lehi, shortly before his death, is blessing his son Joseph.
  • Lehi quotes some of the prophets of Joseph (in Egypt) to his son Joseph.
  • Lehi finds hope in the covenants that God has made with him and with his fathers.
  • The Lord would bless and restore the House of Israel.

Hope in the Covenant

I know that I mention this nearly every time I write a post, but I’ll say it again. There is so much to learn in this chapter. I don’t attempt to explain the entire Book of Mormon through these blog posts. I’m just kind of unpacking what is standing out to me.

In case you don’t know this, I actually write these blog posts a few months before they actually publish. I reread and revise them within a few days of publishing, but the bulk of what I write is written a few months before they appear on the web.

So, I’m actually writing this blogpost on Tuesday, October 8. I can’t help but think about the things that we learned in general conference.

Lehi, speaking to his son Joseph, quotes Joseph of old, who was sold as a slave in Egypt. In this prophecy, Joseph is quoting the Lord. We read:

“Because of their faith their words shall proceed forth out of my [the Lord’s] mouth unto their brethren who are the fruit of thy loins; and the weakness of their words will I make strong in their faith, unto the remembering of my covenant which I made unto thy fathers.” – 2 Nephi 3:21

The Lord will remember the covenant that He made. If we pause to really think about this, there is hope in that covenant. Elder Gong made a comment that expands our understanding in the hope of a covenant:

“To belong with God and to walk with each other on His covenant path is to be blessed by covenant belonging.” – Elder Gerrit W. Gong

We are not alone. When we covenant with God, we enter into a companionship with Him. Not only that, but the Lord will keep His covenant. Lehi understood the hope of the covenant. He declared to his son:

“Wherefore, because of this covenant thou art blessed; for thy seed shall not be destroyed, for they shall hearken unto the words of the book.” – 2 Nephi 3:23

I can’t really think the way I would like to right now. I’m not sure what I want to say or express here. But I will say that I feel an overwheming sense of hope. We have been blessed by the covenants that God made and kept with Joseph, Moses, Abraham, and Father Lehi.

Lehi prophesied:

“And there shall rise up one mighty among them, who shall do much good, both in word and in deed, being an instrument in the hands of God, with exceeding faith, to work mighty wonders, and do that thing which is great in the sight of God, unto the bringing to pass much restoration unto the house of Israel, and unto the seed of thy brethren.” – 2 Nephi 3:24

This scripture is a prophecy of Joseph Smith. He was an instrument in the hands of God. It has been nearly 200 years since Joseph Smith, a teenage farm boy, had a question. He went into a grove of trees and earnestly asked Heavenly Father for guidance. This prayer ushered in the restoration of the fulness of the Gospel.

God kept His covenant.

We have the Book of Mormon. We have the gospel. We have the temple. Yes, there is still more revelation coming. Yes, the church is still in the process of being restored, but we are the ones blessed to be able to live in a time that the prophets foresaw.

In fact, I can’t help but think about what our prophet – President Russel M. Nelson just said in conference:

“Now I would like to turn to another topic: plans for the coming year. In the springtime of the year 2020, it will be exactly 200 years since Joseph Smith experienced the theophany that we know as the First Vision. God the Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, appeared to Joseph, a 14-year-old youth. That event marked the onset of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in its fulness, precisely as foretold in the Holy Bible.

Then came a succession of visits from heavenly messengers, including Moroni, John the Baptist, and the early Apostles Peter, James, and John. Others followed, including Moses, Elias, and Elijah. Each brought divine authority to bless God’s children on the earth once again.

Miraculously, we have also received the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, a companion scripture to the Holy Bible. The revelations published in the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price have also greatly enriched our understanding of God’s commandments and eternal truth.

The keys and offices of the priesthood have been restored, including the offices of Apostle, Seventy, patriarch, high priest, elder, bishop, priest, teacher, and deacon. And women who love the Lord serve valiantly in the Relief Society, Primary, Young Women, Sunday School, and other Church callings—all vital parts of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in its fulness.

Thus, the year 2020 will be designated as a bicentennial year. General conference next April will be different from any previous conference. In the next six months, I hope that every member and every family will prepare for a unique conference that will commemorate the very foundations of the restored gospel.

You may wish to begin your preparation by reading afresh Joseph Smith’s account of the First Vision as recorded in the Pearl of Great Price. Our course of study for next year in Come, Follow Me is the Book of Mormon. You may wish to ponder important questions such as, “How would my life be different if my knowledge gained from the Book of Mormon were suddenly taken away?” or “How have the events that followed the First Vision made a difference for me and my loved ones?” Also, with the Book of Mormon videos now becoming available, you may wish to incorporate them in your individual and family study.

Select your own questions. Design your own plan. Immerse yourself in the glorious light of the Restoration. As you do, general conference next April will not only be memorable; it will be unforgettable.” – Russell M. Nelson

 

I can’t help but think of this charge given to us by the prophet as I read Lehi’s words. Lehi knew that the house of Israel would be scattered. In fact, his departure from Jerusalem to the Promised Land was a part of the scattering. Lehi knew, as Nephi did, that his family would flourish into a great civilization. But then, at some point, they would forget the Lord, they would forget their covenants with God, and then they would be smitten and scattered – just as the rest of the house of Israel was.

Remember how Nephi felt when he saw what would happen with his seed:

“And it came to pass that I was overcome because of my afflictions, for I considered that mine afflictions were great above all, because of the destruction of my people, for I had beheld their fall.” – 1 Nephi 15:5

I can understand why Nephi would feel so much pain when considering the fact that his people would eventually be destroyed. Look at all of the work that he did – all that he sacrificed – so that his family could dwell in the safety and peace of the gospel! And yet, at a future point they would forget.

Despite the destruction of the Nephite civilization, Lehi had received a promise that some of his seed would eventually return to the Lord and his gospel. This is the hope of the covenant. And we have lived to see this covenant fulfilled.

phoenix temple 2019

I feel like our world is full of strife, sadness, discouragement, misery, pain, and hopelessness. Isn’t it an irony. We live in the time when the gospel has been and is being restored. Right now we have true hope at our fingertips. Are we basking in the hope and joy of our covenants? If not, then what is stopping us from doing so???

Confidence in the Lord – 2 Nephi 3:14-16

You can read 2 Nephi 3:14-16 here. You can also find the rest of the Blogging the Book of Mormon entries here.

Context and General Information

  • Lehi, shortly before his death, is giving a blessing to his youngest son, Joseph.
  • Lehi is quoting some of the prophecy of Joseph (in Egypt), as recorded in the Brass Plates.
  • The Lord promised Joseph that the Lord would raise up a seer in the last days to bring the knowledge of the covenants made with the fathers back to his posterity.
  • This is a prophecy about Joseph Smith, Jr. – This seer would have the same name as him (Joseph) and as the seer’s father (Joseph Smith, Sr.)
  • Joseph was confident in the promise made to him by Heavenly Father.

Confidence in the Lord

All aboard the train of thought. Time to swim in the stream of consciousness. Thanks.

Cascade Springs

One

I’m not exactly sure how to start this blog post/scripture study. Maybe I’ll share a little bit of what I’ve been up to this morning before my study.

My health is iffy right now, so I’m spending a lot of time resting. This morning I chatted with a friend. Then I spent some time online reading emails, articles, and stuff. One thing leads to another, and I find myself looking at a profile of someone who has said some not very nice things about my faith.

I don’t spend all that much time seeking out material that is negative. I don’t need any negativity or stress in my life, especially right now. But I came across it. As usual it had something terrible to say about Joseph Smith, and I just dismissed it.

Maybe you have a problem with Joseph Smith, and you are wondering why I could dismiss it? Well, it’s because I know that Book of Mormon is true. I know that God answers prayers. I’m only 40 years old, but I’m old enough to have tried the gospel, the Book of Mormon, and prayer in my life time and time again. And it always works.

Joseph Smith was a seer, and interestingly enough, today’s scripture study is a little bit about that. We read:

“14 And thus prophesied Joseph, saying: Behold, that seer will the Lord bless; and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded; for this promise, which I have obtained of the Lord, of the fruit of my loins, shall be fulfilled. Behold, I am sure of the fulfilling of this promise;

And his name shall be called after me; and it shall be after the name of his father. And he shall be like unto me; for the thing, which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand, by the power of the Lord shall bring my people unto salvation.” – 2 Nephi 3:14-15

This doesn’t mention much about Joseph Smith’s personality, strengths, weaknesses, foibles, or virtues. This just says that the Lord would bless all of us with a seer. He would bring forth God’s word and work in these latter days.

Joseph Smith was a man. He wasn’t perfect. Which is fine. I don’t worship him. He simply testified of God and Jesus Christ – whom I do worship.

Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ…now that’s where my confidence lies.

Two

This may seem unrelated to point one, but I’m going to explore because it is also on my mind this morning. We’ll see what happens.

As I mentioned earlier, my health isn’t all that great right now. It is strange. In many accounts I’m healthy. I’ve had a recent physical and the results were all A+++. My numbers were not borderline, but were healthy! My doctor stated, “Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it.”

But sometimes, our health can be impacted by things we cannot control (our DNA). Right now, I’m guessing that whatever is ailing me is more along those lines. Three weeks ago, I was either running or walking for an hour, then coming home and doing yoga, or other resistance work. Today, If I move around too much, get too animated in conversation, or even sit/lie down in the wrong position, I start exhibiting symptoms of a heart attack. Not sure what is going on. I’ll be having an angiogram in the next week to see.

So, I have this on my mind. This challenge has been one of those moments that really get you thinking about your life. I’ve been thinking about my life. About the choices I’ve made. About the paths I’ve taken.

Three

One last thing that’s kind of on my mind, and may be helpful for today’s study…Several years ago, my husband and I started our own business. It has taken us on a very unconventional, exciting, and sometimes stressful path. Though the path can be difficult, we have had many experiences and tender mercies that have shown us we are still on the right path, and we need to simply persevere.

Back to the Scriptures

The testimony of Joseph is standing out to me today. He declared:

“Behold, I am sure of the fulfilling of this promise;” – 2 Nephi 3:14

I find it especially inspiring to read this testimony from Joseph when I consider his background. He received many promises and prophecies of the Lord. And then, his life took some wild turns. He had this vision, that he would be a leader of his family. Then, not long after this series of visions, he is sold into slavery and taken to Egypt.

Imagine being Joseph. How would you feel about the spiritual impressions and visions you received if then, immediately afterward, you were made a slave. Remember his dream:

“And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed:

For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf.
And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.

¶ And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.

And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?

And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.” – Genesis 37:6-11

So, he has a dream that these various objects, symbolizing his family, are making obeisance to him. And then, what happens??? He becomes a slave. It’s a strange fulfillment of that dream.

How would you feel? Would you second guess your dream? Would you second guess what the Lord is trying to impress upon your soul?

I don’t know all of Joseph’s feelings or thoughts at the time, but he continued to trust in God, and the Lord took him on an unconventional path, but eventually the promptings, prophecies, and dreams that Joseph had were fulfilled.

So – here in 2 Nephi, we read his testimony. He has been promised that his posterity would be blessed, and he is sure that the Lord would fulfill this promise. And…the Lord did.

The Lord raised up a seer in Joseph Smith, and although he may not have been perfect, the Lord was able to use him as an instrument to do so much good. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. It has brought me wisdom, peace, and clarity. It has been a guiding beacon in my life. The Lord’s gospel, the testimonies of his prophets, and the scriptures – they have worked in my life.

Because of these testimonies and my prior life experiences, I can be sure that the Lord will fulfill His promises. He will bless my heart and my health. He will bless my family as we travel the path we are on. He will bless us and fulfill the personal promises that He has made with each of us, just as He did with Joseph in Egypt.

Four

Yes, we can be sure of the promises of the Lord, but as I write this, I’m aware that we have to understand what this means.

In Joseph’s life, the promises and blessings of the Lord came to Joseph, it’s true, but Joseph had to follow God’s instructions! He had to stay faithful and true to the Lord. If we want apple pie, often times the Lord doesn’t magically bless us with a finished, warm apple pie. Often he gives us instructions – a recipe – one step at a time. Then we have to do the work to procure the ingredients. We have to make the crust, core and slice the apples. We have to mix in the sugar and spices, and then bake the pie. But He instructs us. He makes it all possible.

In other words, often, God’s promises are conditional – based on our willingness to accept them in our lives. Our willingness to accept these promised blessings usually takes the form of obedience—to the commandments and our personal promptings.

So, if I apply this in my own life (excuse the personal examples…), then I can have good health, but I have to walk a careful path. I have to listen to the whisperings of the Spirit and the good advice of my doctors. I can’t say, “Oh, I’m going to be fine because I’ve been promised of God,” and then ignore all of the advice that God gives me. His advice is what will result in the promised blessing!

Remember – blessings aren’t just magic. The Lord has told us that there are laws governing blessings:

“There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—

And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.” – Doctrine and Covenants 130:20-31

If we want to receive promised blessings in our lives, then we need to keep the laws that are associated with these blessings. God wants to bless us, so He gives us the inspiration, promptings, and personal commandments we need, so we can obey the laws that govern the promised blessings.

Of course, we aren’t perfect. But when we do the best we can, and when we plead for the Savior to be our advocate with the Father, then through both our good works and through Christ’s grace, we can be blessed.

Five

One final thought. This confidence prior to the blessing is critical. This confidence is what will help us take one step after another. This confidence is what brought comfort, hope, and determination to Joseph – even when he was a slave, even when he was wrongfully imprisoned.

The paths of life are hard. The Lord will bless us with inspiration, commandments, and promptings – it’s true. But perhaps the best blessing is that confidence we can take in the Lord. We can say, just as Joseph did:

Behold, I am sure of the fulfilling of this promise.

This confidence will empower us when everything around us seems impossible.

Grace – 2 Nephi 3:4-13

You can find 2 Nephi 3:4-13 here. You can also find the rest of the Blogging the Book of Mormon entries here.

Context and General Information

  • Lehi, shortly before his death, is leaving a blessing with his youngest son, Joseph.
  • Joseph was named after Joseph (who was sold into slavery in Egypt). Lehi and his family are descendants of Joseph.
  • Joseph (in Egypt) saw the future – he saw the day of Lehi and his family. God promised Joseph that the Lord would raise a righteous branch of the house of Israel from his loins.
  • The branch that was promised to Joseph would not be the one of the Messiah. Joseph’s posterity would be “broken off” but still remembered by God.
  • The Lord would raise up a mighty seer from Joseph’s lineage. This seer would help to do the Lord’s work of gathering scattered Israel.
  • Both the fruit of Joseph’s and Judah’s loins would write. These records would, together, testify of Christ and His gospel.
  • Out of weakness, he would be made strong.

Out of Weakness He Shall Be Made Strong

There is so much to learn from this scripture block. We could study Joseph in Egypt. We could study the promises the Lord made with Him. We could study the scattering of Israel. We could study the prophecy of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. We could study the prophecy of Joseph Smith.

We could learn so much. But for today, there is something else standing out to me, entirely.

I will warn you now, it’s more personal. I hope that by sharing my thoughts today, you will be both uplifted and able to see how we can apply the scriptures to our lives.

flowers in Midway

As I read today, the phrase in verse 13 kept standing out to me:

“And out of weakness he shall be made strong,…” – 2 Nephi 3:13

Actually, at first, when I saw this phrase, for some reason I read it with a ye or you rather than he. And I know why.

Lately, I’ve been struggling with some health issues – with my heart, specifically. I have an angiogram scheduled for next week. I may go in earlier if there is a cancellation. I have no idea what is going on.

So…let me back up. A few months ago, I was feeling shortness of breath and dizziness. Then one day, I felt some mild chest pain. I made an appointment to go to the doctor. He had me go to the ER to make sure I wasn’t in some kind of acute situation. I also set up an appointment with a cardiologist and I was scheduled to do stuff like lab work for my primary physician.

Oh – and also – growing up I had some issues with my heart. I had arrhythmia. I also was borderline Prolonged QT syndrome. The point – my heart is healthy, but I have a few “electrical issues.” I was medicated from the age of 15-25. Then, trends and understanding of arrhythmias changed, and I was cleared to go off of the beta blockers.

After that, I kind of stopped going to the cardiologist. I still had/have arrhythmia. I still had/have a very slow heart-rate. But I felt great. I ran a marathon! I was in shape, healthy, happy, etc.

So, when I started getting the shortness of breath, I realized I needed to see a cardiologist again (I haven’t seen one in 13 years…shame on me, I guess). The cardiologist ordered a battery of tests: Holter monitor, stress test, echocardiogram, etc.

rose hips

The night I felt chest pain, I have to admit that I was worried. I was praying a lot – for direction and comfort on what I should do. I came away with the conclusion that I needed to follow the Word of Wisdom. I decided to immediately adopt a nearly vegetarian diet. I knew that I needed my diet to be primarily fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts. The spine of my diet needed to be grain. And then meat very sparingly.

I made this change and within days felt amazing. I was dropping weight, and things were great.

However, some things still hadn’t changed. I was still getting short of breath. It was mysterious as to why I was short of breath – I’ve always been very active. But I wasn’t worried. I was now seeing a cardiologist and getting tested. I did what my primary doc wanted me to do. I did the tests for my cardiologist. For the most part, I was feeling great. Every once in a while I’d have a little chest pain, but it would last only a few minutes. I chalked it up to life – I had done a hard workout, whatever.

So, we got the labs back from my primary doctor. Everything was GREAT. My triglycerides, cholesterol, etc – It was not just normal, but excellent. I’m not even close to the borderline for any kind of issue. My doctor said, “Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it.”

Super!

I still had some more cardiologists tests to do. I wore the Holter monitor for three days. I felt fine the whole time. I ran, I did workouts, I pushed it – so they could see the full range of my days.

Even though I was still having shortness of breath and dizziness from time to time, I could do what I needed to do daily.

I did the stress test. Not too stressful! haha!

Again, I was still having dizziness and shortness of breath from time to time, but maybe that’s because I’m in Phoenix, and it’s hot. I just need to keep eating plenty of bananas and avocados and salt – to keep my electrolytes in check. Sometimes this shortness of breath and dizziness made me tired, but I’d get a quick catnap and feel good as new.

Life is good.

A few days after the stress test, I started noticing more of those chest pains that I was attributing to muscle strain. Should I be worried? Nah.

But then again, maybe. I decided I needed to do the mammogram that my doctor had ordered (and I hadn’t taken because it just sounded so uncomfortable.) When I went into the mammogram, I had to fill out a form. One of the questions is if I’d had chest pain. I realized that I couldn’t honestly answer this “no.” In fact, that day I was feeling quite a bit of chest pain – especially under my left pectoral muscle and into my armpit.

When I told them this, I had to reschedule the mammogram screening and instead have a diagnostic one that would be a little more in depth. This was quite alarming. What was this pain? Was it breast cancer? Was it phantom pain from when I had shingles 2 years ago? Was it my heart???

A few days later, I had undeniable chest pain. I was having pain into my neck, my jaw, my shoulder – all on my left side. And I was feeling indigestion. I knew I needed to go to the ER. So, I went. They rushed me in. It seemed serious…

…Until all of the tests came back.

Negative on the enzyme that shows the heart is being damaged. My EKGs showed arrhythmia (to be expected), but not a heart attack. They watched me a little longer, then I was cleared to go home.

More chest pain the next day. And again. I went to the ER again. Once again, nothing acute.

I saw my cardiologist, who, when I walked into my appointment was happy to give me great news…your tests were great! Yes…those tests were probably fine. But within the last two weeks everything had changed – I explained.

I told him about my chest pain. I was feeling it there at the doctor’s office. He asked me loads of questions. He decided that I needed to get an angiogram as soon as possible. He also told me to take daily aspirin. And he gave me nitroglycerin in case I started having chest pain that wouldn’t go away.

It was decided that I needed to have the angio because there was no obvious explanation for the way I’m feeling. They needed to see if there is some other problem with my heart.

trail in midway

So – now I’m waiting. The idea of nitro scares me, so I’m doing everything I can not to tax my heart. I even talk to it, “Don’t worry little guy…we’re gonna take care of you.” I have sat around on the couch all day – limiting my movement and even talking because then I start to feel major heart pain. I have to bide my time for this angio…

OKAY. So where do the scriptures come in?! Good question…

blue flax

Throughout all of this, I have asked my husband to give me a few priesthood blessings. I’m so grateful for these special blessings. They bring comfort and calm to my spirit. (I need it. Even thinking about stressful stuff starts making my heart feel physical pain!)

I will share some verbiage from two separate blessings:

“Heavenly Father and Jesus know you and your future and your past, and they understand the body that you have and the weaknesses that it has… that these are not your fault but they are just a part of this earthly life, with these temporal bodies that we have now.”

and

“…I bless you that you will know that the health issues that you have been going through lately are not a result of this path [my life choices]… but that our bodies are merely imperfect and they have weaknesses.”

Notice that word: Weakness.

Let’s go back to that scripture, with the change to reflect application:

“And out of weakness [ye] shall be made strong,…” – 2 Nephi 3:13

My heart is physically weak. I’m writing this blog post on my couch as my family is outside at the park. Usually I’m the champion of family walks and activities! I am so incredibly grateful for the body with which I have been blessed. I try to show that gratitude through healthy activities and diet.

But, we live in a fallen world. We are mortal. We have imperfections, flaws, and weakness. Sometimes those physical weaknesses persist, no matter our determination to do be healthy. I logically know this, but still felt a little down and out about the entire situation.

Until I read my scriptures today…

Night to Day

Yes. I’m weak. I have weakness – the weakness of mortality. This weakness effects my mind, my body, and my spirit. Sometimes, I can get caught up in perfectionism. I forget that despite my very best efforts, I will always be weak.

It sounds bleak, but remembering this gives way to hope.

I will always be weak, but out of weakness I will be made strong – if I will turn to the Lord and trust in Him.

I don’t know what will happen when I get my angio. I don’t know if something will happen before then with my heart. I don’t know. Maybe I’m fine. Maybe I’ll go in and need some kind of stent or something. Maybe I have a strange condition that has never really presented itself until now, and I’ll need some other kind of therapy. Maybe my arteries are fine, but I’ll need to see an EP because I’m having problems with the electrical part of my heart…I don’t know.

But that doesn’t matter. Because I know that the Lord will make me strong.

I’m so grateful for comfort during times of trial. I’m so grateful to the scriptures. Today was a rare experience. In fact, I’ve really only had three experience like this. Usually, when I read the scriptures, I extrapolate what I need to learn. And it’s great. I always find that I’m learning exactly what I need to know.

But today, when I read, it seemed like the words of verse thirteen were blinking in neon – just for me:

And out of weakness [ye] shall be made strong.

There is no need to be ashamed of my weakness. I have no reason to fear. I simply need to look to the Lord, and trust that He will help to strengthen me in my weakness.

Lehi Loved His Sons – 2 Nephi 3:1-3

You can read 2 Nephi 3:1-3 here. You can also find the rest of the Blogging the Book of Mormon entries here.

Context and General Information

  • Shortly before his death, Lehi spoke with and blessed each of his sons. In 2 Nephi 3, we read of what Lehi said to his youngest son, Joseph.
  • Lehi prayed that the land (the promised land) would be consecrated to Joseph and his seed.
  • Lehi also prays that the Lord will bless Joseph forever.

Lehi Loved His Sons

So…as I’m studying today, I know that there is a lot that we could learn from this chapter. There are a lot of intellectual things to research. There are exciting prophecies to consider. Sometimes I wonder why I thought I could “blog the Book of Mormon.” There is no way that I can be exhaustive in this study.

So, I have to remember that I can’t even try to explore every little thing in the Book of Mormon. Instead, I need to simply study that which the Spirit is prompting me to study.

Of course, we benefit the most when we study as the Spirit guides. Not only that, but when we study as the Spirit guides, then our study may look different at different times. Perhaps the Spirit will guide us to notice a topic. Maybe the Spirit will guide us to find out more about the history and context of a chapter. Who knows. It depends on day to day.

As I read through this chapter today, I keep feeling overwhelmed by the great love that Lehi had for his children.

lehi-people-arrive-promised-land-39644-gallery

One
In 1 Nephi 1:1, we read

“I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father;” …

“Yea, I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians.” – 1 Nephi 1:1

Here, we read that Lehi taught his sons. Lehi taught his sons how to read and write. According to Nephi, Lehi taught them all he could. Such teaching would only be undertaken by a father who loved his children.

Two
Time and time and time again, Lehi pled with his sons – that they would choose faith and righteousness. He named the valley where they camped Lemuel, and the river that ran through the valley he named Laman, so that they would be reminded to be steadfast and continually righteous.

This pleading, like his teaching, was motivated by Lehi’s love for his sons.

Three
Lehi’s love for his sons wasn’t wrapped up only on them – in some kind of unhealthy way. Not only did Lehi love his sons, but he loved his wife. When she was having a hard day, he didn’t get frustrated with her. Instead, he kindly comforted Sariah while they waited for their sons to return from getting the Brass plates.

This behavior from Lehi to Sariah shows Lehi’s great love for his family.

We read:

“And it came to pass that after we had come down into the wilderness unto our father, behold, he was filled with joy, and also my mother, Sariah, was exceedingly glad, for she truly had mourned because of us.” – 1 Nephi 5:1

You know, in the past, I’ve always focused on Sariah’s gladness because she had truly mourned for her sons. But here, we also read that Lehi was filled with joy.

It would have been a sacrifice for both Sariah and Lehi to send their sons back to Jerusalem. They had just recently fled because people wanted to kill their father. It probably wasn’t all that safe for them. Not only that, but the sons of Lehi had to travel through a desert wilderness. I imagine that they worried. Maybe Lehi didn’t mourn, but this doesn’t mean that he lacked concern or worry for his sons who were on a difficult journey.

Four
Another interesting manifestation of Lehi’s love for his sons comes when he talks about his vision of the tree of life. First of all, during the vision, when he partakes of the fruit of the tree of life, he immediately desired to share it with his family. We read:

“And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit.” – 1 Nephi 8:12

Lehi was also deeply concerned for Laman and Lemuel. I’m sure it must have been a difficult conversation, but he voiced his worry – that they didn’t partake of the fruit in the dream. We read about this exchange between father and sons:

And he did exhort them then with all the feeling of a tender parent, that they would hearken to his words, that perhaps the Lord would be merciful to them, and not cast them off; yea, my father did preach unto them.” – 1 Nephi 8:37

I love that phrase: with all the feeling of a tender parent. Truly, Lehi loved his sons – even though they were sometimes wayward and rebellious.

Five
Throughout 1 Nephi, we read of times when Nephi and his family conversed in the tent of their father.

Maybe this isn’t important, but it is a touching concept to me. There was a place, even when they were homeless and wandering in the wilderness, where Lehi and his family convened and discussed various things.

Truly, Lehi loved his sons enough to spend so much time with them.

Six
Lehi loved his family enough to repent. While in the wilderness, when Nephi broke his bow, the hunger (and stress, and difficulty, and years) got to Lehi. He broke down and he murmured. I truly cannot imagine what Lehi was going through.

And yet, he had a special witness of Christ. He was expected to keep a higher standard of faith and devotion to the Lord.

After murmuring, Lehi loved his family and the Lord enough to repent. Here’s the thing: I know what it is like to get frustrated. Often, when things aren’t going your way, and you are frustrated, the last thing you want to do is give up the frustration and anger.

Yet, Lehi humbled himself. He repented. He ate humble pie in front of all those he had led into the wilderness for those years. This selfless decision actually kept the entire company alive.

It seems like a strange way to express our love, but perhaps it is one of the most important things we, as parents can do for our children. We can repent. We can give up our pride. We can let go of anger and other issues. And instead, we can lead our family in the love of the Lord.

Seven
Lehi blessed his children. We have been reading of these blessings in the last few chapters. Lehi loved his children enough to teach them and bless them.

Up to his dying day, he was teaching his children, guiding them, praying for them, and blessing them.

What’s the deal

Okay…so what’s the deal with this. It’s cool that Lehi loved his children. I don’t know if it was worth an entire blog post. Maybe not.

But maybe we can learn from him for ourselves. Am I teaching my children? Am I pleading with them? Am I letting them into my “tent,” where they can ask candid questions? Am I a tender parent? A goodly parent?

What can I do to be more like Lehi???

  • I can listen to the Lord
  • I can boldly teach my children all that I know
  • I can make big sacrifices even if they seem to be difficult – knowing that we are in the hands of a God who loves His children more than I love mine.
  • I can be patient with my children and with my spouse.
  • I can repent when I make a mistake.
  • I can endure – loving, guiding, and teaching my children until my dying day.