Thursday, December 10, 2009

1 Nephi Chapter 9

This is a logistical chapter in the Book of Mormon. There is not much in terms of doctrine or teachings. It is an explanation of Nephi's journal. He wrote two different accounts; one being a spiritual journal, and the other being a logistical journal. One dealt with his ministry, and the other dealt with wars, contentions and kings. This amazes me. I wonder what Nephi's proliferation rate was. I have a great grandfather who is still alive. he is 103 years old and doing very well. He has about 150 descendants including in-laws. He has one of the greatest posterities of anyone I know. If we were the only ones in the continent, I could not imagine calling ourselves a kingdom. If we did, I wonder what his definition was of war, and battles, and kings, and kingdoms. This is one of those times I would like a visual on the Book of Mormon. I would love to read the other plates. The Book of Mormon makes for a wonderful book of ministry, but a horrendous history. This chapter explains why,

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

1 Nephi Chapter 8

Lehi's vision is one of the great visions in the scriptures. It has many tiers, and I do not believe that I, at this point of my life, understand many of these tiers. I have discussed the matter with friends and relatives of mine, and they have given me some insight on the matter. I think that like most of the scriptures that this vision ought to be personalized and applied to one's own personal understanding as the Holy Ghost prompts.

Talking with LeGrand Baker, he indicates that there is deep symbolism that we find in much of out own understanding of the Plan of Salvation. Lehi was taken to a dark and dreary wilderness where he tarried. An angel appeared and brought him to a fruit tree where he partook of Eternal Life. This is the end goal that we want to share for ourselves and for our families.

There are other elements of this vision that have shaped the LDS tradition. One of which is the "iron rod." Later we learn that the iron rod is the word of God. Should we hold on to the iron rod without letting go, the word will lead us to Eternal Life. Lehi describes the journey with the saints as "Pressing forward." Many hymns with were written with this theme including "The Iron Rod," and "Press Forward Saints."

Monday, December 7, 2009

1 Nephi Chapter 7

To whine, or not to whine, that is the question. Whine Whine Whine Whine. Laman and Lemuel are most famous in the Book of Mormon for whining. The thing that they whine about the most is that they do not want their little brother to be a ruler over them. They want to be in charge because they are the oldest, best-looking, strongest, smartest, and so forth. I know all about it, I am a middle child. (I love you Ben).

The thing I like best about Laman and Lemuel is that they know when to whine. They whine when they leave Jerusalem. They whine when they have to go back to Jerusalem for the plates. They whine when they fail in their mission. They whine when they go back to their parents. However, nowhere in the seventh chapter of Nephi does it state that they whined about going back to Jerusalem to obtain wives. They know their priorities. How can you go on a voyage, never returning home without a wife? It was not until they finally convinced Ishmael to yield his daughters that Laman and Lemuel started whining again.

After fighting and wanting to stay in Jerusalem Nephi rebuked them once again. This upset Laman and Lemuel, so they bound him. They somehow forgot that an angel appeared to them. After Nephi performs his first miracle and breaks free of the chords which had him bound, Laman and Lemuel still wanted to kill him. Not until one of the daughters of Ishmael plead to save him did they stop. Nephi forgave, because he is the son that everyone wish they had. They went back to the wilderness and burnt a sacrifice.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

1 Nephi Chapter 6

This is a really quick chapter. Just a couple notes.

This lays about where Lehi's family came from. They were descendants of Joseph, who was sold into Egypt.

4 For the fulness of mine intent is that I may persuade men to come unto the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and be saved.

This sounds like what Moroni wrote in the introduction of the Book of Mormon. From the introduction he wrote:

. . . Which is to show unto the remnant of the House of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever—And also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God . . .

The wording is very similar, because Nephi had the same vision as Moroni. They knew that it was important to write down their testimonies to help others at some future date.

1 Nephi Chapter 5

Some things change over time. Parenting doesn't. I could easily mistake Lehi and Sariah for my own parents. Nephi and his brothers were sent out on a seemingly impossible task facing danger and death. The father is proud to have them go out, and has faith that they will come back, and should they not come back, at least they will die in honor and he will be a proud father. Meanwhile Sariah worries about her sons and mourns her loss. Does anyone have any similar mission stories?

No sooner than when they returned home Lehi jumped into the scriptures and read as much as he could in order to learn about where he came from. That is my dad too.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

1 Nephi Chapter 4

Attempt #3 - Three times a charm.

Nephi is quite amazing. After being beaten with a rod, he is resilient and has his eyes on one thing. Accomplishing his mission. After chastising his brothers for being blockheads he decides to go at it alone.

Nephi states in verse six, "And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do."

I think of this as him saying "I'll figure it out when I get there." President Kimball and Nike both exclaimed, "Just do it." I think it is the same idea.

Next comes the part that I had to explain the most when I was a missionary in Southern Italy. We encouraged people to read the Book of Mormon, and they always came across this passage and thought it was funny that the Lord commanded Nephi to chop someone's head off. Right now, I think it is sufficient to reference David and Goliath, Joshua, and Samuel (as a couple of many examples. Keep in mind Nephi is still living in Old Testament times. Funny things happened back then I suppose. I don't think I'll be asked by the Lord to slay anyone. The Lord explained what his motive was. "It is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief."

Nephi accomplished his goal. He obtained the plates of Brass, from which he learned about his ancestry. They received the commandments, and went back to the wilderness to rejoin his father. He even met a new friend along the way. Nothing like threatening to slay one's life and kidnapping to start a relationship.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

1 Nephi Chapter 3

Every parent should have a Nephi. When I was living with my parents as a child they bought me John Bytheway's book "How to be an Extraordinary Teenager." The book talks about how awesome it is to be good. I think that John Bytheway had Nephi in mind when he was writing the book. If I could get all my kids to act the way he did, I'd name them all Nephi, even the girls.

Lehi dreamed a dream dreaming that their family would be ultimately destroyed if they did not leave in the night. Now Lehi tells Nephi to go back and get the Brass Plates from an evil man (probably his cousin), who has a lot of riches and probably political power. What was Nephi's response?

"7 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them."

After their journey (probably 3-7 days), they returned and attempted to take the plates from Laban.

Attempt #1 - They cast lots, and they fell on Laman. He attempted to negotiate, and Laban tried to kill him. Fail.

Attempt #2 - Nephi persuades his brothers to buy the plates from Laban. Laban sees the riches, tries to kill them, steals the riches and doesn't give them the plates. Fail.

Laman and Lemuel then get mad and hit Nephi and Sam with a rod. An angel appears and chastises the older brothers. Laman and Lemuel complain after the angel leaves. (good riddance right?) Nephi of course doesn't complain, and he encourages his brothers to have faith.

Attempt #3 - to come