BOM: 1 Nephi chapter 1

One thing that always amazes me about the Book of Mormon is that no matter how many times I read it, I always notice something different, in every single chapter, every single time. I love that.

So the kids and I are starting fresh with 1st Nephi, Chapter 1, which you can find here. This time I noticed the love of a Prophet. We read verse 4:

“For it came to pass in the commencement of the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah, (my father, Lehi, having dwelt at Jerusalem in all his days); and in that same year there came many prophets, prophesying unto the people that they must repent, or the great city Jerusalem must be destroyed.”

I wondered what that would have been like. Here I am muddling along minding my own business, when a bunch of prophets come out of the woodwork saying we’ve got to repent or we’ll be destroyed. I’d imagine that aside from a few hecklers, most people would ignore them. I mean, yeah, things are obviously messed up, what what am I supposed to do about it?

I think we tend to lull ourselves into this safe little place where we compare ourselves to what appears to be going on around us. So we say, “Okay, so I’m not perfect, but at least I’m not as bad as some people. Look at Joe Schmoe! He cheats on his wife. There’s really no harm in what I’m doing. Joe Schmoe really ought to straighten up.” We don’t say Joe Schmoe, of course. We do often say they instead of we or I when referencing wrong-doers, though, don’t we? We forget to take it personally.

But then along comes this prophet and he says, “I’ve seen your abominations. I know you wouldn’t want your spouse to overhear those flirty conversations with your coworker. I know that wasn’t just a pop-up. I know you’re sarcastic and mean with your kids because you think that’s the only way to make them do what they’re supposed to do. I know when you see someone with their blinker on that you speed up so they can’t get in front of you. When that stranger needed help, you ignored them and left the helping to someone else. I saw you eat candy for breakfast – don’t you know that will destroy your body? And I know what you’re thinking about in church. God showed me all of this. When I say we all need to repent, I’m talking about YOU, too.” Suddenly that prophet becomes much harder to ignore. And his message starts to sting a little. So then what do you do?

We know what they did. They mocked, they threw stones, they sought to destroy these prophets or drive them away. They didn’t repent, and ultimately they suffered for it. It’s easy to see that pattern in the past. It’s easy to apply the harder stuff to someone else. But what will I do when I’m called to repentance?

None of those thoughts were new thoughts for me actually, but this was: in thinking about what I would do, and discussing it with the kids, we started to wonder why the prophets would put themselves out there like that. If these prophets have seen how many bad things their people are up to, surely they’d also know what would happen if they called them out on it. So why would they stick their neck out like that for someone they know is just going to mock and scourge them? Is it so they can say, “Neener neener nyah nyah! I told you!” Somehow I don’t think it would be worth it. The obvious answer would be that God asked them to call everyone to repentance and they are doing His will. I had never noticed the less obvious answer, even though it was just five verses into the chapter I’ve read more than any other. Adding my own emphasis:

“Wherefore it came to pass that my father, Lehi, as he went forth prayed unto the Lord, yea, even with all his heart, in behalf of his people.

Lehi prayed with all his heart for his people, because he loved them. Because he loved them, he testified to them, even though he probably knew he’d just be rejected like all the other prophets. Christ knew He’d be hurt and rejected, too, but lived and died, and lives for us again, because He loves us. And, because we are so very deeply loved by a merciful God, we’re sent prophets to remind us that He’ll help us if we just turn to Him. And the Lord doesn’t give us these commandments because He wants us to feel guilty all the time. He gives us the commandments out of love, too.

Would I repent if a prophet asked me to? That isn’t so much the question, because we have all been given guidance and correction by modern-day prophets and the Holy Spirit. So it isn’t a matter of “would I” but “Will I?” I hope I’ll keep striving to continually do the Lord’s will, and I hope you will, too. It’s how we’ll learn the most from life’s trials and get through them without being caught in destruction, dysfunction, and dispair. The Lord blesses us through our faithfulness, as we see in verse 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.”

He’s blessed me, and I know He’ll bless you, too.

Starting the BOM again (and rambling about it)

So I kinda dropped the ball on the whole Blogging the Book of Mormon project I started a while ago. I drop the ball on a lot of random good ideas that I start. Someone said, “Character is the ability to carry out the decision long after the emotion of making the decision has passed.” I hope character is a lot of other things, because sometimes I’m not so good at that one … at least when it comes to habits.

Anyway. I figure my goal in this case should be to blog every chapter… eventually. Even if it takes a long time. Even if I go for months between. The point is to do it from the heart and take it slow even if it isn’t exactly steady. I don’t have to feel like giving up if I don’t keep up. Just pick up and go again when I can, right? ANYWAY…

So the kids and I have been still been working on the New Testament. We’ve enjoyed that, though I have to say, I’ve never understood why people complain about the complexity of Isaiah when they’ve read through some of Paul’s arguments. I love Isaiah. Paul is hard for me, and because we were trying very hard to understand, we were taking f o r e v e r. So we decided to start fresh with the BOM, since that’s what we’re studying in church this year. And here we are.

MAN I am verbose today. I’ll do a fresh post for 1 Ne 1. Here we go…

Sorpresa de las Escrituras!

The kids and I typically read and discuss a chapter from the new testament for scripture study each night, but on the nights when we’re out of time or just not feeling up to it, we still try to at least read and talk about a scripture mastery reference. We have a box full of scripture mastery cards for just such occasions, too. Last night for example: we were all exhausted, and I was coming down with a cold, but we didn’t want to miss scriptures altogether, so out came the box.

Imagine my surprise when the scripture mastery card came out in Spanish! I don’t know where it came from, so if you happen to be missing a Spanish scripture mastery card, we’ve got it for you here.

The kids haven’t taken Spanish for well over a year and a half now, and I’ve never taken it at all, but we sounded it out, and then each tried to guess what it meant before looking it up to verify. Surprisingly, we did alright! Some of our ‘translations’ made us laugh, too… we thought ‘Flaquezas’ might mean flakiness, and while we didn’t get the word quite right, it fit well.

I had an easier time since I know this one well, but can you figure it out en Español? This could be a fun way to learn about another language and while really letting the meaning sink in, too:

¡Oh ese sutil plan del maligno! ¡Oh las vanidades, y las flaquezas, y las necedades de los hombres! Cuando son instruidos se creen sabios, y no escuchan el consejo de Dios, porque lo menosprecian, suponiendo que saben por sí mismos; por tanto, su sabiduría es locura, y de nada les sirve; y perecerán.

Pero bueno es ser instruido, si hacen caso de los consejos de Dios.

I copied the spanish from this page at; you can find the English translation here. And I’m thinking I just might go ahead and buy my own Spanish scripture mastery card set 🙂

BOM Project: Mosiah 2

So, I’m thinking that trying to summarize each section like I do with my kids as we read, is kind of much, particularly since it’s fairly easy for anyone to see what’s going on in this chapter. There are lots of ways you can draw out a comparison to our semi-annual general conference, where we gather to hear what our prophet and leaders have to say. For now, I’m just going to comment on what stood out to me this time:

“… for I have not commanded you to come up hither to trifle with the words which I shall speak, but that you should hearken unto me, and open your ears that ye may hear, and your hearts that ye may understand, and your minds that the mysteries of God may be unfolded to your view.”

That’s from verse 9 of Mosiah 2. A few weeks ago, a friend and I were talking about how strange it is that we take revelation for granted. We really do believe that God speaks today through His prophets as well as to our hearts. That should be a BIG DEAL, right? Why is it so easy to take what we’re given and set it aside? We say to ourselves, “Well that’s nice. I’ll think about it,” … and that’s if we even took notice in the first place. Why is it so hard to take heed?

Could it be that I’m paying too much attention to the other messages out there? As Elder Holland put it in this past conference: “If we teach by the Spirit and you listen by the Spirit, some one of us will touch on your circumstance, sending a personal prophetic epistle just to you.”

The “epistle” part had me visualizing my mailbox full of junk: ads saying I don’t have enough, magazines saying i’m not pretty enough, bills saying I need to pay more, credit card offers saying I can play today and don’t have to pay for a long, long time…. sounds like the messages I hear every day even without checking the mail! Wouldn’t a personal message from the One who loves me most be so much more than all that? Do I give the world’s messages to and about me equal weight with what I hear at conference, in the scriptures, or through the Spirit? Now that I think about it, … well… I do. Hopefully realizing that will help me work on booting those negative messages out and opening my heart and mind to the Spirit of truth.

BOM Project: 2 Nephi: 7

So, sometimes I don’t even read chapters sequentially. Tonight I needed this. I was looking up something else for the kids at FHE and ran across this one instead. It’s Nephi’s copy of one of his favorite chapters from Isaiah (because those scriptures were valuable to him, too).

Anyway I don’t want to go into too much detail, but suffice it to say, today was rough: I feel like I’m getting myself into a pretty mess, and all the struggling myself silly has only left me tired and still stuck in many ways. I don’t even know what this chapter is really supposed to mean, but tonight it meant this to me:

God didn’t cause my problems: I did (1). But the Lord still has power to deliver me just as He has power over earth (2) and heaven (3). I’m tired, but I can take it a day at a time; the Lord knows what I need to hear in every season if I’ll just heed His word (4). Christ opened his ears & heeded perfectly (5) and though he still suffered (6) he was strengthened (7). God will fight with us (8) and help us, so we don’t need to fret about those who would condemn us (9). So trust in the Lord and walk in His light (10) rather than trying to light the way myself (11).

Glad someone out there knows just what I needed to hear. 🙂

(PS: I also happened across Ether 12, starting in verse 6. Again, much needed.)

BOM Project: Omni

So I was going to dive right in to Mosiah, but since we’re talking about King Benjamin here, we might as well jump in where he’s truly introduced: in Omni. Omni is a strange book, again just one chapter. (I remember it being a pretty cool magazine, too.)

Omni straight up admits he has not done as he should have. Wow. But he kept the plates, fought for his people, wrote his piece, and transferred them to his son Amaron. Amaron fairly summed things up in a few short sentences, then passed the record to his brother Chemish, who actually goes to the effort to carve this out:

“Now I, Chemish, write what few things I write, in the same book with my brother; for behold, I saw the last which he wrote, that he wrote it with his own hand; and he wrote it in the day that he delivered them unto me. And after this manner we keep the records, for it is according to the commandments of our fathers. And I make an end.”

He’s like, “Dude. My brother just barely wrote his schpeel, just now, and handed the records to me. What can I say?”

His son explains it this way:

” And behold, the record of this people is engraven upon plates which is had by the kings, according to the generations; and I know of no revelation save that which has been written, neither prophecy; wherefore, that which is sufficient is written. And I make an end.”

I think it’s interesting that he says “Look, the kings have their records and they’ve written sufficiently. What good could come of what I have to say?” And yet he took the time to say that much, and Mormon left it in during his editing for our sakes so we could read it today.

What’s the value here? Maybe we have a tendency to think that what we have to say or do pales in comparison to what’s being said and done by the bigger, better people around us. Maybe we don’t do anything at all & just leave it up to someone else. All of these people were commanded to keep the records and write their histories & they all did that… kind of. Seems they didn’t really take their record-keeping seriously.

(had to continue this the next morning – benadryl had kicked in!)

So the next son, Amaleki, says a bit more. Mosiah was warned to get out of the land, and he did. And after some wandering and guidance, who should they run into but another group: the people of Zerahemla who had also come from Jersualem some time before. The interesting thing is that they were very excited to find that Mosiah had brought along the record of the Jews (the old testament) — something they’d needed and missed. They had no records and had suffered for it — even their language had become corrupt. They had another record (this one on a large stone) of another group of people but didn’t know how to read it. But Mosiah was able to translate it with God’s power. Seems the Lord believes these records to be a big deal, too, eh?

(to be continued…)

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