Location: the wilderness, by the borders of the Red Sea
People: Sariah (Nephi’s mother), and Laman, Lemuel, and Sam (his older brothers)
Important events and details:
- Lehi obeys God, takes his family, and leaves Jerusalem. They leave behind all they’re “gold, silver, precious things”, which cause Laman and Lemuel to murmur against their father.
- When Lehi gets into the wilderness the first thing he does is build an alter and make an offering to the Lord.
- Lehi confounded the Nephi’s two elder brothers and they stopped murmuring against him and did as he commanded them. But Nephi desired to know if his father’s word were true for himself, so he prayed and his heart was softened and he believed. He told his brother Sam, who also believed in his words, but the two oldest brother would not believe.
12 … And they did murmur because they knew not the dealings of the God who had created them.
20 And inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper, and shall be led to a land of promise; yea, even a land which I have prepared for you; yea, a land which is choice above all other lands.
- Lehi remembered God in all things, even after he had just left his home and all his belongings the first thing he did was give an offering to God in gratitude for His guidance and the blessings He had given them. Lehi understood that his family was being guided by a loving Heavenly Father who would protect and guide them through the wilderness and who would bless them for their faith and obedience.
- Laman and Lemuel were not able to have faith in the Lord because they did not understand how He worked. Because they did not have a relationship with Him and they didn’t understand Him they were unable to follow Him or feel His guidance and blessings.
- Nephi prayed to know for himself if his father was speaking the truth and because of his faith and diligence he was blessed and was able to gain the testimony of the truth. He was also able to help Sam to believe. Sam believed on the words of other who knew – he was able to lean on Nephi’s testimony, not yet having one of his own – which is ok! Everyone has to start somewhere, the hope is that he will eventually come to know for himself and gain his own testimony.
- The Lord promised Nephi’s family that they would be led to a land He had prepared for them. He is always preparing blessings for us. We may not be able to see them, or we don’t know what He has in store, but He is just waiting for us to be obedient and follow Him so that He can bless us and take us to the land He has prepared for us.
- Am I like the two older brother, disbelieving because I don’t have a strong enough relationship with Christ and Heavenly Father? Or am I like Nephi who prays to know the truth for himself?
- Do I follow God even when I don’t see or know what He has prepared for me?
Location: Jerusalem (first year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah)
People: Nephi and Lehi (his father)
Important events and details:
- Lehi sees a vision of God upon His throne, surrounded by angels. He also sees Christ and the twelve apostles come down to minister on the earth. Christ gives Lehi a book, which fills him with the Spirit. He reads that Jerusalem is to be destroyed and the people will be destroyed or taken captive into Babylon.
- Lehi preaches of the destruction of Jerusalem, the coming of the Messiah, and the redemption of the world – the Jews mock him.
- Nephi explains that he makes an abridgment of his father’s record and then an account of his proceedings
20 … But behold I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.
- One of the first things Nephi mentions is that he knows the record he makes is true – the BoM opens with his testimony of it’s truthfulness. It was important to him that I know immediately that he knew the importance of the BoM in my life.
- Nephi ends the chapter by saying that he will show us the tender mercies of the Lord. The BoM’s purpose is to bring us closer to Christ – to help us learn of Him, understand Him, and come to know Him. Nephi wants me to know that in the BoM I will find accounts of Christ’s tender mercies to those who have faith in Him.
- Do I show faith in Christ by diligently and obediently following the words of His prophets? Do I ever mock their teachings with my words or actions?
- Am I aware of and do I show gratitude for Christ’s tender mercies in my life each day?
In Alma chapter 32 we are challenged to exercise our faith, or to exercise even a desire to believe in order to know that the word is true.
27 But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.
33 And now, behold, because ye have tried the experiment, and planted the seed, and it swelleth and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, ye must needs know that the seed is good.
So here’s the experiment. I’m exercising my faith and reading the Book of Mormon again, but this time I’m studying it, and taking notes, and writing thoughts. And I’m excited. I’m excited to see how my faith increases and how my testimony builds. I’m excited to see how the Lord will guide me through this experiment and how I will learn and grow.
“The Book of Mormon was written for us today. God is the author of the book. It is a record of a fallen people, compiled by inspired men for our blessing today. Those people never had the book—it was meant for us. Mormon, the ancient prophet after whom the book is named, abridged centuries of records. God, who knows the end from the beginning, told him what to include in his abridgment that we would need for our day.” – Ezra Taft Benson