Location: the wilderness
People: Nephi, his family, and Ishmael’s family
Important events & details:
- Nephi and his brothers marry the daughters of Ishmael; Ishmael passes away, and his family begins to murmur because of their hardships in the wilderness.
- Lehi finds the Liahona (“a ball of curious workmanship”) outside his tent one morning. The Liahona directs them through the wilderness, leading them toward “more fertile parts” and towards the promised land. The Liahona also displays messages from the Lord from time to time. Nephi tells us that the Liahona only works according to their faith.
- Nephi breaks his bow and is unable to obtain food for his family, and his brothers complain; he makes a new bow and arrow from wood and sticks, and he prays to the Lord to help him find food.
28 … I, Nephi, beheld the pointers which were in the ball, that they did work according to the faith and diligence and heed which we did give unto them.
29 And there was also written upon them a new writing, which was plain to read, which did give us understanding concerning the ways of the Lord; and it was written and changed from time to time, according to the faith and diligence which we gave unto it. And thus we see that by small means the Lord can bring about great things.
- The guidance of the pointers in the Liahona and the messages that are written for Nephi and his family remind me of the Holy Ghost, the scriptures, and my patriarchal blessing. These are all things that I have free access to, at any point in my life, but that can only guide me when I have faith and humble myself. Even though the scriptures and my patriarchal blessing never change – sometimes, at different times in my life – new things become important to me, or I gain new and different understanding from the things I have previously read.
- I love that when Nephi broke his bow, the first thing he did was go out and make himself a new one, rather than complaining or moping. Once he did all he could on his own he turned to Heavenly Father, to gain inspiration and guidance in solving the rest of the problem.
- “Your patriarchal blessing is yours and yours alone. It may be brief or lengthy, simple or profound. Length and language do not a patriarchal blessing make. It is the Spirit that conveys the true meaning. Your blessing is not to be folded neatly and tucked away. It is not to be framed or published. Rather, it is to be read. It is to be loved. It is to be followed. Your patriarchal blessing will see you through the darkest night. It will guide you through life’s dangers.” – Thomas S. Monson
- Do I give as much heed and importance to scripture study and my patriarchal blessing as I should? Do I allow them to guide me in all things?
- When faced with a problem, do I do everything I possibly can, before turning to the Lord?
Location: the wilderness, and Jerusalem
People: Nephi’s family, Laban (he had the brass plates)
Important events and details:
- Nephi and his brothers return to Jerusalem to get the brass plates from Laban. They try twice to get the plates: first Laman asks Laban for the plates, he is thrown out; next the brothers return with all their “gold, silver, and precious things” to trade Laban, they are chased out
- After the brothers are chased our Laman and Lemuel are mad at Sam and Nephi and begin beating them, an angel appears and stops them. After the angel departs Laman and Lemuel begin to murmur again
7 … 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 them.
16 Wherefore, let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord…
- Nephi is faithful always, knowing that if he is obedient the Lord will provide away. Contrast that with Laman and Lemuel who have no faith, even seeing an angel is not enough to make them believe. Seeing angels/signs/miracles is never enough to make someone believe, there has to be faith first. If someone has faith then angels/signs/miracles will be a testament to them and will increase their faith.
- Conference talk references:
- Do I have enough faith that I follow all of God’s commandments, even when I can’t see how I will accomplish them/why they are important?
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