I’ve read the Book of Mormon many times, starting my study in vigor when I went on a two year mission. I read it before my mission and I was given Mormonism by my parents. It’s my religion, a big part of my identity, and it’s my primary guide in my life. I love my religion, I love it’s sacred scripture.
Recently, I discovered this book, The Book of Mormon Made Harder“, written by a Mormon theologian and philosopher. The book has no answers, only questions. I’m going to write my answers to selected questions as I make my through this remarkable book.
My first post follows:
1 Nephi 2: 16: “And it came to pass that I Nephi, being exceedingly young, nevertheless large in stature and also having great desires to know the mysteries of God, wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father; wherefore, I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers.”
This is in the opening sequence where Lehi chooses to leave his riches to take his family to wander in the desert. The older brothers, I think understandably, complained. I would have too. Lehi does crazy stuff in the opening chapters, counter-intuitive stuff.
In this verse, Nephi says his heart was softened, implying it started out hardened, maybe in exactly the same way as his brothers. Maybe he experienced the same impulsive reaction at his father’s decision to leave their home and comforts.
But instead of giving in, he sought personal inspiration from God . He just didn’t ask for it, he cried for it. I think it must have been frought, he must have experienced pain. In the next verse, he discusses this with his brother Sam who also believes. I’m guessing if Nephi is anything like me (unlikely), this was a long, stressful, painful discussion. I’m sure they talked before Nephi prayed. I’m sure they talked after he prayed. At the end of it, they both believed his father was making an inspired decision.
There are times when I am in the lead where I am Lehi. I’ve had people rebel against me, disagree with my decisions. It’s hard to stand my ground. I’m grateful for the Nephi’s in my life who pray over it and sustain and support me. Or maybe more likely, those people who really try to see my motives, who try to understand where I’m coming from and what I’m trying to do.
But I’m more grateful for those people who have considered it, thought about it, prayed over it, and come to the conclusion that I’m on a bad path. In that realization, they come to me gently to offer another suggestion or to ask me to consider another approach. That didn’t happen here, but it could have been another possibility.
And of course, I’ve also been a Nephi, where I’ve been asked to follow someone down a path that seems wrong. What’s my role in that case? I think there are many things to learn in this short verse and in the broader context I’ve taken it that has many applications – in my home, in my job, etc.