Posted by: grammakelly | February 3, 2009

D&C Lesson #5 This Is the Spirit of Revelation

 

This has been an interesting subject to study this past week.  I have always been interested in the process of seeking personal revelation.  As a youth I was taught to listen to what the pastor taught, and to think about it, but never to question it or to seek for my own answers.  We were even discouraged from reading the Bible as that may lead us to ask questions that they didn’t want to answer.   Asking God yourself was completely out of the question.  They had trained the pastors in the way they wanted them to teach and asking for yourself might lead to something contrary to their teachings.  So when I joined the church, and found out that not only was I supposed to read the scriptures by myself, I was supposed to ask God what they meant.  That was probably harder for me to understand and accept than the fact that Joseph Smith, a 14 year old boy, had done just that.  In the ensuing 35 years, I have learned to treasure and rely on this wonderful principle of the gospel. 

 

As I was reading the sections involved with revelation, I realized that I have a lot of notes and underlining in these sections.  I wanted to see if I could find a fresh perspective, so I read them again from an unmarked book.  It worked for me-here’s what I saw:

 

 “A great and marvelous work is about to come forth unto the children of men.

Behold, I am God; give heed unto my word, which is quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword, to the dividing asunder of both joints and marrow; therefore give heed unto my words.

Behold, the field is white already to harvest; therefore, whoso desireth to reap, let him thrust in his sickle with his might, and reap while the day lasts, that he may treasure up for his soul everlasting salvation in the kingdom of God.

Yea, whosoever will thuist in his sickle and reap, the same is called of God.” D&C  6:1-4

 

Section 6 teaches us all the tools we need in order to prepare to receive revelation. We need to: ask, knock, keep the commandments, seek for wisdom, do good, desire, you get the idea, there are many.  In section 8 we are told that He will tell us in our mind and our hearts by the Holy Ghost what we are seeking.   Section 9 He tells us he will answer us with a burning in our bosom or the stupor of thought.

 

 How do these fit in with the scriptures above?  If you can disengage your thinking for a moment that these are a reference to missionary work.  In section 4 they clearly have that reference and we always associate those words with missionary work. 

 

The world has just passed though an apostacy, with no clear communication from God through a prophet.  There has been no priesthood authority on the earth, and people have learned to rely on “pastors” to tell them what they should know.  In answer to a young mans prayer all the keys of priesthood authority have been restored, and it is time for the general population to begin to ask themselves and become more self-reliant, if you would, in their religious pursuits.   We have a prophet to guide us and lead us in general, but there are many areas that are left for us to find our own way.  Now, read those verses again, thinking about seeking your own personal revelations. 

 

The great and marvelous work—many good and righteous people will now be seeking to  find meaning and purpose in their lives by reading scriptures, listening to the prophet and seeking to know the truth through prayer, study ect.  When they learn it, they will share it.

                                                     

Give heed to my word…powerful, sharp—the Lord doesn’t take revelation lightly.  Once we ask and are given answers, we are expected to act on that knowledge.  Nothing condemns a man quicker that not doing what he knows to be right and true.

                                                                                                    

Field is white already to harvest…whoso desireth to reap…thrust in his sickle—there has been a dearth of communication for far too long and He is waiting and ready to share, and teach, and uplift us if we will but ask. Revelation doesn’t usually come without a lot of work on our part.   

 

That he may treasure up for his soul everlasting salvation—nothing brings us closer to Him than when we seek His council and advice.  It is through the process of humbling ourselves, and seeking His will in our lives that we stumble upon the real jewels of salvation.

 

What a blessing to live in a time of great turmoil and turbulence!  It draws us closer to the Savior, and by so doing brings us more peace and comfort to know of his plan.  We are not left to find our way alone, as so many of our ‘brothers and sisters’ think that we are.  We have a living prophet to lead us and guide us, council us and prompt us.  And on top of that, we are entitled, and expected to find out for ourselves just what exactly He has in mind for our personal mission here on earth.  We have been given all the tools to find that out for ourselves, and by so doing, we will find ourselves eternally blessed

Posted by: mice152 | January 17, 2009

D&C Lesson #3: The First Vision

This week’s lesson is on the First Vision; something we’ve all heard about and discussed about a million times, literally.  It’s a huge part of the foundation of our Mormon faith; we believe, literally, that a 14-year-old boy, knelt in a grove of trees to ask God which church he should join.  We believe that God answered that prayer in a miraculous way, appearing to this boy in His flesh, not just God the Son, but also God the Father. It’s an amazing thing, really, and many of the world would scoff at such faith but this vision is a pivotal part of our beliefs.

I’ve been pondering over this assignment and found myself drawn again and again to one of the questions in the study guide: “What are some of the truths we can learn from the First Vision?”

Clearly, we learn about God and Jesus looking quite alike, having real, tangible bodies.  We learn that they answer prayers and we learn that the fullnes of the gospel needed to be restored.  But what else is there?

I think that as a group of people, called to be one, it is important that we have a united history.  The First Vision and the history of the early church provides us with a common background regardless of whether we are a new convert or can trace our history back to the Saints who lived in Kirtland and Nauvoo and crossed the plains.

Another important truth I take is that miracles, big, holy cow kind of miracles and smaller, quiet miracles, happen.  They happen frequently.  I think that we are just not aware of them as such things are sacred, but they do happen.  God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow; He proved it by showing Himself to Joseph and beginning the restoration.  He continues to do so by miracles in our lives.

I also think of the moments directly before the vision when Joseph was “seized upon by some power which entirely overcame [him], and had such an astonishing influence over [him] as to bind [his] tongue so that [he] could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around [him], and it seemed to [him] for a time as if [he] were doomed to sudden destruction.” (JS-H 1:15) We talk often of enduring to the end and what that means.  I think Joseph’s example of “exerting all [his] powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy,” is a good one.  He clung to his hope and faith in God (2 Ne 4:19), believing not only that he would receive an answer to prayer but that he would be delivered from this powerful enemy.  When did deliverance come?  “At the very moment when [he] was ready to sink into despair and abandon [him]self to destruction . . . just at this moment of great alarm, [he] saw a pillar of light exactly over [his] head.” (JS-H 1:16)  God delivers us in His timing and not ours.  Sometimes I find it happens early on, sometimes, like Joseph, it seems to happen at that last crucial second.  But God is continually mindful of us and our needs.

I think the First Vision teaches us a great deal not only about the corpality of God but of His nature and who He is that we should trust so deeply in Him; I also think it teaches us about who we are as mortals, our weaknesses, our strengths and our need for such a God.

What do you think?

Posted by: isaiahsfan | January 11, 2009

D&C Lesson #2–The Atonement as the Root of Christian Doctrine

Those of you who got your little class member study guide in Sunday School last week may have been interested to see that the lessons are arranged thematically this year.  We will be studying principles and themes and using the D&C to develop these themes.  I am interested to see how this method will work in our ward.  I am hoping that we will be able to explore the doctrines of the gospel thoroughly while still maintaining an emphasis on Church history.

Lesson #2 may be a little bit difficult for most teachers to present without being extremely general.  The topic of Jesus Christ as Savior is so broad and important that it will be hard to cover.  The teacher’s manual focuses on the Atonement, which is still huge and deep and broad!  The first place my mind went when I read the lesson was to Atonement Theory.  The Christian movements have been trying to explain the atonement for centuries, and at this point in time there are many basic theories explaining how the atonement works.  I want to quickly summarize the dominant ones here just so we can see how the D&C can clarify and make sense of the whole debate.  Because I want to be brief, what follows is a MAJOR simplification of the theories:

Satisfaction Theory — Human sin dishonors God. A price must be paid to satisfy God and restore his honor. The only penalty suitable to God was a divine sacrifice–Christ’s obedience when he willingly suffered torture and death at his crucifixion. By allowing himself to be ritually sacrificed, Jesus’ death replicated in many ways the ritual sacrifice of animals were slaughtered in the Temple. (fits with Roman Catholic beliefs)

Christus Victor Theory–Jesus voluntarily allowed himself to be executed. This defeated the power of evil and released humanity from its sin. The atonement is seen as a victory which makes possible a rescue or liberation of humanity from the slavery of sin.

Ransom Theory – Because of Adam and Eve’s sin and its effect on all mankind, Satan acquired dominion over the human race. In order to free people from the grip of Satan, God agreed to arrange the death of Jesus, his son, as a ransom price to be paid to the devil. This would compensate for sin and release humanity from Satan’s grasp. People can then be reconciled with God if they trust in Christ as their Lord and Savior. (Eastern Orthodox churches subscribe to this theory)

Acceptance Theory–God could have decided of his own free will to save humanity through the work, and perhaps the death, of an angel, of Adam, of any other human being, or even an animal. But he decided, for his own reasons, to achieve atonement through the torture-death of his son, Yeshua. (not generally taught by Christian groups)

Moral Theory–Jesus Christ’s life and death is primarily a moral example to humanity. It can inspire us to lift ourselves out of sin and grow towards union with God. (commonly accepted by Liberal Christians & post Christians)

Penal-Substitution Theory–Sin incurs a debt to God which requires repayment. The punishment for sin must involve the shedding of blood. Jesus Christ’s obedience to God by living a sinless life, and by voluntarily dying on the cross made it possible for him to vicariously pay the debt in behalf of those who accept him as their Savior. (Conservative & some Mainline Protestants)

We can boil this down even further and view atonement theories this way: (the theories may have one or more elements of the following)

* Atonement as sacrifice
* Atonement as victory
* Atonement as forgiveness
* Atonement as  moral example
* Atonement as payment

I think that many members in the Church today have a penal-substitution, or payment view of the atonement, which is heavily influenced by Boyd K. Packer’s parable and our desire for acceptance from mainstream Christianity.  A few LDS theologians have done some work on developing a uniquely Mormon atonement theory which addresses the problems we have in entertaining any of  the prevailing schools of thought.  One of these is Blake Ostler’s “Compassion theory.”  Another is Jacob Morgan’s “Divine Infusion Theory.”  Morgan’s paper is a good read if you want to know why the theories I have listed above all have problems!   Another interesting place to read about a the uniquely Mormon take of the Atonement is the MormonWiki entry.  It is instructive to read the suggested verses in the SS lesson which emphasize the position of Christ as “advocate.” These are found in 29:1-5, 45:3-5, and 110:4-5. Also important is 18:10-11 which tells us that the purpose of Christ’s suffering was so all men would repent and come to him.

How has your reading in the D&C or Book of Mormon this week helped you come to a better understanding of how the atonement works?  Let’s include in our discussion a consideration of Section 19.

Posted by: isaiahsfan | January 8, 2009

BoM Groupies are Back!

A whole new group of BoM Groupies are ready to start a new scripture study this year.  This week we plan to put some introductions up so you can get to know us.  We’d love to have anyone who is interested in studying the scriptures with us join in.  Come and make comments, get ideas for your Sunday School class, or just lurk!  If you are interested in becoming a BoM groupie, send us your email.

Our plan for this year is to study the Doctrine and Covenants along with the Gospel Doctrine course of study.  Since the GD lessons are organized thematically, and since we love the Book of Mormon, we would like to pull in insights that we can get from there.  We welcome your input.

Posted by: isaiahsfan | January 19, 2008

L&L Learn More About the Vision–1 Nephi 15

We get our information about Lehi’s dream from three main accounts:

  1. Lehi’s account of his vision as summarized by Nephi (1 Ne 8 )
  2. Nephi’s own vision of the Tree of Life (1 Ne 11)
  3. Nephi interprets the vision for his brothers (1 Ne 15)

It’s interesting to look at the focus of Laman and Lemuel’s interest in 15:21-36.  First the brothers ask Nephi what the tree means.  He answers, “It’s the tree of life.”  Before he can go into any detail on this incredible symbol, which he and his father understood to be central to the vision, the brothers are ready with their next question: “What does the iron rod mean?”  Nephi gives them a bit more information here.  He tells them that the rod of iron is the word of God.  He tells them how important it is in keeping them away from temptation.  He puts a lot of effort (all the energies of his soul!) into trying to convince them to give heed to the word of God.  But they seem to hurry to the next question: “What does this river of water mean?” 

Now, for the righteous, the river of water is one of the least significant parts of Lehi’s vision.  In fact, Lehi was so focused on other parts of his dream–eternal life, and how to get his family to partake–that he didn’t even notice the filthiness of the river.  But Laman and Lemuel want to know all about it.  Nephi tells them that the river represents an awful gulf between the wicked and the tree of life.  The river is what separates sinners from the Lord.  Or in other words, the river is Hell.  Somehow this river of water captures the attention of Laman and Lemuel.  They continue to question Nephi about this subject.  Because of their interest we learn much about the temporal and spiritual nature of Hell.  We learn that our works in this life separate us from God.  We learn that we will be judged for these works.  We learn that if we have not been cleansed by partaking of the fruit, that we will be found unclean and unable to dwell in the presence of God.

We also learn about the characters of these two brothers. 

What interests YOU the most about the vision?

Posted by: isaiahsfan | January 18, 2008

What Brian Said

An excellent summary of what is available around the net on the subject of 1 Ne 8, 11, 15 (SS Lesson 3) is found at Feast on the Word blog.  BrianJ has done a fabulous job of summarizing the different posts on the Vision of the Tree of Life.  One could scarcely improve upon it, and you’ll be able to spend the whole weekend perusing the sources he mentions! 

There are a few questions Brian has written which deserve further inquiry, and I have chosen to post on one of these today.

Who Leads us to the Tree?

Recent consensus has shown that the Tree of Life is a representation of Jesus Christ.  So we’re really talking about who leads us to the Savior.  I’ll start with a scripture in 3 Nephi where Jesus explains to the Nephites that he has been lifted up upon the cross “that I might draw all men unto me.”  (vv. 14-15)  This is echoed in John 12:32 where Christ explains, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”  Finally, we find the same concept beautifully expressed in Jeremiah 31.  This is a lyrical chapter in which the Lord describes the covenant he has made with the House of Israel:

“Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” (v. 3)

In this chapter the Lord describes himself as a father who leads his children in a straight way (v. 9) and as a shepherd who gathers his scattered flock (v. 10). 

The personage who led Lehi to the tree was described as a man dressed in a white robe who came and stood before him.  This man spoke and told Lehi to follow him.  Thus described, the personage seems to be Christ, or at least a representative of Christ.  Similarly, a personage in the form of a man showed Nephi the meaning of Lehi’s dream.  Nephi names him variously as “the Spirit,” “the Spirit of the Lord,” “the angel,” and “the angel of the Lord.”  In the Church there has been some controversy as to whether this personage was the preexistent Christ, the Holy Ghost, or an angel.  

For more insight on the “angel of the Lord,” we might look to the Old Testament.   When given a heavenly message, the Patriarchs were contacted by a figure usually referred to as the “Spirit of the Lord” (malak YHWH).  This is often translated as the Spirit of the Lord, or the Angel of the Lord, but could also be rendered the “Messenger YHWH,” or the “Sent Jehovah.”  Some biblical scholars recognize the “Sent Jehovah” as Christ himself, and I agree with this interpretation.  Thus we see that it is Christ who is responsible for leading us to himself.  It makes sense, doesn’t it?  He is constantly exhorting, “Come Unto Me!” 

This is not to say that His representatives do not assist in the work of bringing souls to Christ.  Case in point: After Lehi is shown his vision of the Tree of Life, he beckons for his wife and children to come and partake also.  Members of our families, priesthood leaders, Prophets, Visiting Teachers–all can act as representatives of the Savior and beckon for us to come to the Tree.  But to me it is comforting that in all these voices it is the power of Jesus himself who is drawing us where we need to go.

Posted by: isaiahsfan | January 16, 2008

A Reservoir of Living Water

I thought you all might be interested in a talk Elder Bednar gave last year titled: “A Reservoir of Living Water.”  In it, he speaks about the scriptures and there is a short discussion of Lehi’s dream near the end of the talk.  It goes along with our Sunday School topic for this week.  He identifies the tree of life as a representation of Christ, which is how I prefer to interpret it also.  He says that the major theme in the BoM, inviting all to come to Christ, is central in Lehi’s vision.  Let me know what you think of Elder Bednar’s words.

(Groupies–this reminds me of when E. Bednar was first called to the Quorum of the 12 and we placed his first talk at conference into Davidic Chiasmus!  Wasn’t that fun?)

Posted by: isaiahsfan | January 15, 2008

1 Nephi 16: Gift of the Holy…Liahona

An important principle is taught in the opening verses to this chapter.  Notice how Nephi sets the stage for the reception of the Liahona.  First he explains an important principle to his brothers:

And now, my brethren, if ye were righteous and were willing to hearken to the truth, and give heed unto it, that ye might walk uprightly before God, then ye would not murmur because of the truth, and say: Thou speakest hard things against us.  And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did exhort my brethren, with all diligence, to keep the commandments of the Lord.

In one of the rare cases when Laman and Lemuel actually listen to their younger brother, they now humble themselves and begin to follow the commandments of the Lord.  Because these brothers are known for their murmuring, this instance of humility is noticeable and significant.  In verse 7, another important event occurs: the brothers (and also Zoram) marry the daughters of Ishmael.  After these things have taken place, Nephi announces that now his father has fulfilled all the commandments of the Lord which had been given unto him.  The family has placed themselves in a position to receive further revelation.  They are told that they will take their journey into the wilderness the next day.  When they wake in the morning, the Liahona has been deposited on their doorstep.

Liahona 

This curious item is clearly representative of the Holy Ghost, or perhaps I should say: revelation through the Holy Ghost.  It “points the way whither we should go into the wilderness.” (v. 10)  It gives direction and it leads into fertile areas.  (v. 16)  It responds to questions.  (v. 23-26)  It works “according to the faith and diligence and heed” which we give unto it. (v. 28)  It “gives us understanding concerning the ways of the Lord.” (v. 29) 

I believe this passage in verses 1-10 teaches us how we can prepare to successfully receive revelation in our lives.  

  • First, we must humble ourselves as Laman and Lemuel did.
  • We must be willing to hearken, not only to listen but to give heed unto the truth.
  • We must walk uprightly, keeping the commandments of God.
  • We must receive the ordinances of the Gospel, including those found in the Temple. (Notice that these things were done “as my father dwelt in a tent,” a phrase we have already discussed as being symbolic of the Temple; also that the ordinance of marriage was performed at this time.)
  • We must do all of the things the Lord has already commanded us, which places us in a position to receive new revelation. 

More about the Liahona to come!  Prepare yourself for the morrow!

Posted by: isaiahsfan | January 12, 2008

1 Nephi 15–Introducing the Olive Tree

Van Gogh Olive Trees

Lehi’s teachings were causing “much disputation” among his older sons.  Apparently the things he was teaching them were difficult to understand.  In particular, the brothers were struggling with the allegory of the olive tree.  The olive tree was a symbol that was used by many of the ancient Israelite prophets.  This type of tree lent itself particularly well to a description of the House of Israel. 

graftingGrafting is a horticultural process of uniting two genetically compatible plants so that they grow as one.  This is done by surgically inserting a branch or shoot of one plant into the tissue of another; after the union heals, they are a single living entity. The purpose of grafting is most often to unite a root stock with grafted parts that together produce some desired result.   Some varieties of olive trees had very vigorous roots, but produced poor olives, and vice-versa, so branches from good quality olive trees were grafted onto olive trees of stronger root stock which together made an all-round superior olive tree. 

The olive tree allegory is explained so much in the Book of Mormon that it is hard for today’s readers to understand why Lehi’s sons had such difficulty with the concept.  Here in chapter 15 Nephi gives his brothers some insight into where they fit in the allegory.  Lehi’s family is a branch of the House of Israel which has been broken off of the natural olive tree and planted elsewhere (v. 12).  In the latter days, the gospel will be given to the Gentiles.  Through them, Lehi’s descendants and the rest of the natural branches will receive the fulness of the Gospel of the Messiah and be grafted back in to the true olive tree. 

The olive tree allegory helped Lehi’s sons to see their place in the House of Israel.  I have a feeling that they were not so pleased that they had been broken off and would not be considered a part of the Lord’s covenant people until many generations had passed away.  But after they had reached an understanding of this concept, Nephi was able to teach them the words of Isaiah “who spake concerning the restoration of the Jews, or of the House of Israel; and after they were restored they should no more be confounded, neither should they be scattered again.”  

The Book of Mormon claims that the olive tree allegory originates with the prophet Zenos (whose writings are no longer extant).  Jacob quotes Zenos’ allegory in full in Jacob 5.  Biblical passages seem to cite the allegory as if the reader were already familiar with it.  (see esp. Romans 11:16-25)  The verses in Romans and Jacob’s treatise are so clearly parallel that they likely share a common source.

Romans is an excellent chapter to read along with 1 Nephi 15.  Paul asks in Rom 11:1 “Has God cast away his people? God forbid.”  Nephi explained to his brothers that by breaking off the natural branches and bringing Lehi’s family to the Americas, he was scattering them, but not casting them away.  They would have an opportunity to be restored into the olive tree in the last days.  Romans 11:11 states “I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall?  God forbid.  But rather through their fall, salvation is come unto the Gentiles.”  Here we see that God’s plan was always for the Gentiles to bring the House of Israel to a knowledge of their Redeemer.  Finally, verses 26 and 27 sum up the matter: “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.”  Nephi concurs: “they shall come to the knowledge of their Redeemer and the very points of his doctrine, that they may know how to come unto him and be saved.”  

Posted by: isaiahsfan | January 2, 2008

1 Nephi 14–Who Belongs to the Church of the Devil?

A key passage in understanding the Great & Abominable Church which Nephi introduces in Chapter 13 is 1 Nephi 14:9-10.  This passage sets up a division between the two churches, making it plain that one must belong to one or the other. 

And it came to pass that he said unto me: Look, and behold that great and abominable church, which is the mother of abominations, whose founder is the devil.  And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.

Frequent use of the words “in that day” throughout the chapter signal that the division of mankind into two “churches” will occur at the end times, or in our day.  Nephi preaches that the wars which come to pass among the nations occur because the wrath of God is beginning to be poured out upon the Great & Abominable Church.  This signals the beginning of the Restoration.  The G & A, as described here, is over-the-top horrible.  It is founded by the devil.  Its members are those who work wickedness and abomination.  Its specific purpose is to lead men to hell and to destroy their very souls.  This description might lead one to believe that the Church of the Lamb of God is fairly comprehensive.  If you must belong to one or the other, and you are not actively trying to lead people to hell, then what will your placement be? 

On the other hand, the numbers contained in the Church of the Devil are many.  This organization is worldwide, having great dominion over the earth and every nation and people.  The numbers belonging to the Church of the Lamb of God, although also found worldwide, are few.  In verse 14, the members of the Church of the Lamb are identified as “the saints of the church of the Lamb” and “the covenant people of the Lord.”  Many members interpret this to mean solely those who belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  Others are uncomfortable with such a severe cut-off point.

Whore of BabylonIn chapter 14 Nephi is introduced to “one of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb” whom we assume to be John the Revelator.  This Apostle has been given the commission to write about the Last Days.  Many of his writings deal with what Nephi has just seen.  John also writes about the Church of the Devil.  In the Book of Revelation, John calls this church “Babylon.”  In the past, LDS Church leaders have identified this with the Catholic church.  Remnants of this school of thought persist even in our Bible Dictionary (see BD “Babylon”) which opines: “In Revelation [14-21] Babylon probably denotes Rome, the great antagonist of Messiah’s kingdom; or possibly, apostate Jerusalem.”  Recently leaders have steered away from linking the Church of the Devil with any specific religion or organization. 

Some of you might think that exact identification of the Church of the Devil is unnecessary.  I disagree.  If we accept the premise that every human is either a member of Christ’s church or Satan’s, I would think it might be important to identify allies and foes in the war against Satan.  Are members of the Catholic church, for example, for us, or against us?  Should we embrace that friendly Methodist as a fellow Christian, or beware of his beliefs as though they have the potential to damage our souls and lead us to hell?  Should we give the benefit of the doubt in these cases, or are members of the Church of the Lamb of God few and far between?

Posted by: isaiahsfan | November 12, 2007

Nephi and the Gentiles–1 Nephi 13

Christopher Columbus

Fairly early in the Book of Mormon account, the reader is notified of the close relationship this account will have with the yet-future Gentile nation.  Starting in 1 Nephi 10, Lehi uses the allegory of the olive tree to explain how the House of Israel will be scattered and the branches broken off of the Tree of the Covenant.  Later, after the Gentiles have been given the opportunity to enter into the Gospel Covenant, the House of Israel will be gathered back in and grafted back on to the Tree.

Here in 1 Nephi 13, Nephi receives more information about the Gentiles.  He sees a vision of the Land of Promise–the land upon which he and his family have recently arrived.  He is shown that his own descendants will be scattered, yet another remnant of the House of Israel which will be scattered.  Nephi sees how it is that the Gentiles will come to the Land of Promise and be given this land for their land inheritance.  Nephi is shown the Bible and the Book of Mormon, and their relationship to the Jews, his people, and the Gentiles is explained.

Several things I found interesting in this chapter were:

1. The Great and Abominable Church–Stephen E. Robinson identifies this as “an immense assembly or association of people bound together by their loyalty to that which God hates,” and goes on to discuss the characteristics of the Great and Abominable Church in 1 Ne 13 and in the Book of Revelation.

2. A Cryptic Quote by Orson Hyde–I came across this quote by Orson Hyde and wished I had my Journals of Discourses handy! 

In those early and perilous times, our men were few, and our resources limited. Poverty was among the most potent enemies we had to encounter; yet our arms were successful; and it may not be amiss to ask here, by whose power victory so often perched on our banner? It was by the agency of that same angel of God that appeared unto Joseph Smith, and revealed to him the history of the early inhabitants of this country, whose mounds, bones and remains of towns, cities and fortifications speak from the dust in the ears of the living with the voice of undeniable truth. This same angel presides over the destinies of America, and feels a lively interest in all our doings. He was in the camp of Washington; and, by an invisible hand, led on our fathers to conquest and victory; and all this to open and prepare the way for the Church and kingdom of God to be established on the western hemisphere, for the redemption of Israel and the salvation of the world. This same angel was with Columbus, and gave him deep impressions, by dreams and by visions, respecting this New World. Trammelled by poverty and by an unpopular cause, yet his persevering and unyielding heart would not allow an obstacle in his way too great for him to overcome; and the angel of God helped him was with him on the stormy deep, calmed and troubled elements, and guided his frail vessel to the desired haven. Under the guardianship of this same angel, or Prince of America, have the United States grown, increased, and flourished, like the sturdy oak by the rivers of water (Journal of Discourses, Vol.6, p.368, Orson Hyde, July 4, 1854.)

Of what angel is Hyde speaking? Is he referring to Moroni?  Could it be possible that the angel who is speaking to Nephi in Chapter 13 is the premortal Moroni?

3. When do we get to read the other books (v. 39)?  In this chapter we are told of other records besides the Bible and the Book of Mormon which will come forth from the Gentiles and be given unto the Nephite/Lamanite remnant, the Jews and the Gentiles to establish the truth of the Bible and Book of Mormon, and to convince these groups of people that Jesus is the Savior. 

Posted by: isaiahsfan | November 6, 2007

2 Questions on 1 Nephi 12

I don’t have much time to research this right now, but I want to look into 2 questions this week.  If you have any insights, please help!

1.  There is some question as to the identity of Nephi’s spirit guide in these chapters.  I have heard that Bruce R. McConkie and James E. Talmage were at odds as to who Nephi was speaking to.  McConkie held that it was the premortal Christ who spoke to Nephi, and Talmage declared that it was the Holy Ghost having taken the form of a man.  (See here in the commentary under 1 Ne 11:11.)  In chapters 11 and 12 this being is referred to as “the Spirit of the Lord,” “the angel,” and “the spirit.”  A description of this personage is given in 11:11–

And I said unto him: To know the interpretation thereof–for I spake unto him as a man speaketh; for I beheld that he was in the form of a man; yet nevertheless , I knew that it was the Spirit of the Lord; and he spake unto me as a man speaketh with another.

It seems to me that it would be odd if this personage was the premortal Christ, since Nephi is shown several visions of Christ in these chapters.  I suppose it could be possible, though, for Christ to be standing with Nephi showing him scenes of his own life.  Later, Nephi begins referring to him as “the angel.”  Do you  think it’s possible that this is simply a messenger standing in for the Lord with divine investiture of authority?

2. I’m interested in 12:8-10 where the twelve Apostles are discussed in the role of judges in Israel.  It sounds to me that these Apostles are given authority to judge at the final judgment.  The Angel tells Nephi that the Twelve who were called by Jesus in his Galilean ministry are to judge the twelve tribes of Israel, including the twelve Nephite Disciples.  Then the Nephites will be judged by their own Twelve.  I have heard it taught that we will be judged by the Apostles of our day.  How does this fit with 2 Nephi 9:41  and other scriptures which say that Christ alone will be the judge?

Posted by: grammakelly | October 29, 2007

1Ne 11 What Desirest Thou?

posted by: grammakelly
 

This chapter begins a long and beautiful vision given to Nephi by a heavenly messenger sent to reveal truths to him because he ”…was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things, by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him…” 1Ne 10:17 

The Spirit asks Nephi “…what desirest thou?”  Nephi replies, “…I desire to behold (see and hear) the things which my father saw…”   The Spirit then asks him, “Believest thou that thy father saw the tree of which he hath spoken?” to which Nephi replies, “Yea, thou knowest that I believe all the words of my father.” 1Ne11:2-4.  After seeing the first part of the vision, the Spirit once again asks Nephi, “What desirest thou?” and Nephi answers, “To know the interpretation thereof…” 1Ne11:10-11.

I’ve given a lot of thought to Nephi’s ‘desires’ this past week.  This is such an eternal principal that has application in almost every aspect of the growth and development of our testimonies.  Most of the time, we desire to ‘know’ more about something because it has already been introduced to us by someone else, or perhaps something we’ve read about.  Upon occasion, it is even an original thought that causes us to want to ‘know’.

I hope I’m not reaching too far out there, but here goes.  I’ve had cause lately to thing about Moses 1:39, “For behold, this is my work and my glory–to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”  I am so grateful that the plan we all chose to follow in the pre-existence was one that allowed us to make our own choices. Heavenly Father wants us all to come home so to speak, but he doesn’t want us to be there because we were forced to be there. ( It’s kind of like have your teen-agers home on Saturday night because they were grounded, or having them choose to spend a Saturday evening at home because they want to spend some time with you.)  How much more we appreciate things when we earn them or work for them.  Getting back to live with Heavenly Father is a choice we have to work hard at to achieve. We have to go thru mists of darkness, and pass the jeering crowds, shun the wiles of the world, ignore the great and spacious buildings, and be proud of holding tight to the iron rod right up thru partaking of the fruit of the Tree of Life. It’s not an easy path we have chosen, but it is a most rewarding one.  The more we desire to ‘know’ the things of God, the closer we get to that eternal reward.  When we goof-there’s a plan in place to help us repent, get back up and grab hold of the iron rod and hold tight. We have many who will help us on the way, wanting nothing more than to see us succeed.

Here, I think, we find all parents ‘work and glory’.  The ultimate goal to be with our families for time and all eternity!  I am only now, just beginning to understand how much Heavenly Father loves me.  He wants me to ‘desire to know’ for myself, all the things he has put in place to help me to be able to return to Him.  By ‘desiring to know’ for myself and sharing the things that I learn with my family and others, I am helping him in his “work and glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” 

 

 

Because of Nephi’s desires, we have a much clearer picture of the vision of Lehi, and what we need to be aware of, look for, and do in order to gain our eternal salvation.  We see the righteousness of both Lehi and Nephi in being given this vision, and the interpretation, because of their ‘desires to know’ more of the ways of the Lord. 

We have the same right, but I find myself falling short of the mark in asking for myself, instead of relying on others to do the work for me.  BoM Groupies, THANKS for helping me to see and feel the efforts of your ‘desires to know’ the mysteries of heaven and encouraging me to have more ‘desire to know’ of the things that will bring us all home again!!!

Posted by: cheryljunegirl | October 24, 2007

1 Nephi 10 (A Chiasma of Ch. 9-10)

  • Lemuel.

  •    vs. 2 (ch.9)- vs.1 (ch.10) 2. two sets of plates. Not all written in this book.

  •       vs. 2-4 (ch. 10) 3. Jews brought into captivity, return, and a Messiah would be raised up to be the Redeemer of all Mankind

  •          vs. 7-10 (ch. 10) 4. John to bear witness of Christ to the Jews.

  •              vs. 11a (ch.10) 5. Christ to be slain and resurrected.

  •          vs. 11b (ch. 10) 4. Holy Ghost bears witness of Christ to the Gentiles.

  •       vs. 12-14 (ch. 10) 3. Scattering of House of Israel, grafting in of Gentiles and coming to the knowledge of  the true Messiah, their Lord and their Redeemer.

  •    vs. 15 (ch.10) 2. two sets of plates. Not all written in this book.

  • vs. 16 (c.10) 1. All these things were done as my father dwelt in a tent in the valley of Lemuel.

 

The center is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The whole of the gospel is centered on this atonement of the Savior.  We should do all that we can do to center our own lives around it.  Nephi’s response was to desire to know the things that his father saw for himself.  We accordingly, should also make it our focus to know for ourselves the immense blessings of the atonement.

Posted by: isaiahsfan | October 18, 2007

1 Nephi 9–The Small Plates of Nephi

1 Nephi 9, along with chapter 6, help to identify the several sets of plates from which the first 141 pages of the Book of Mormon derives. 

  • The large plates of Nephi–a full secular history of the Nephite people–abridged by the prophet Mormon into a smaller account–the first part of Mormon’s abridgement, from 600 BC until the time of King Benjamin, was translated by Joseph Smith into 116 manuscript pages.
  • The small plates of Nephi–a smaller religious history of the same time period, ending with King Benjamin’s reign–inserted whole into Mormon’s collection of plates–translated by Joseph Smith and now comprising the first 141 pages of the Book of Mormon. 
  • The plates of Lehi–containing Lehi’s record of his ministry–contains many things not found elsewhere–abridged by Nephi and included as a short account in the small plates now comprising the first 8 chapters of the Book of Mormon.
  • The brass plates of Laban–included genealogy, the Books of Moses, and other Old Testament writings–included in the plates of Lehi–not included by Nephi in his record–referred to and quoted throughout the Book of Mormon.

I didn’t realize that there were two distinct theories of the sequence of the translation of the Book of Mormon. The first is called the “Small Plates First” theory.  It postulates that after the loss of the 116 manuscript pages, Joseph Smith and his scribe, Oliver Cowdery, went back and translated the Small Plates of Nephi.  Then they continued translating the remainder of the Book of Mormon.   The second theory, called the “Small Plates Last” theory surmises that after the 116 pages were lost, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery continued on with the translation of the Book of Mormon in sequence.  They did not translate the Small Plates of Nephi until after the remainder of the Book of Mormon translation was finished. 

Shirley R. Heater has written an article titled, “History of the Manuscripts of the Book of Mormon,” written from the point of view of the “Small Plates first” theory.  Elden Watson has done a defense of the “Small Plates Last” theory.    Watson also states that, “in the Small Plates Last theory, 2 Nephi 27:12-13 reveals the need for three witnesses to the Book of Mormon within five days of the completion of the translation, while in the Small Plates First theory Ether 5:1-5 reveals the need for three witnesses to the plates which are being translated within five days of the completion of the translation. It is just possible that the Lord prepared for two scenarios, one in which the 116 pages would be lost, and another in which they would not be lost, thus allowing someone, perhaps the individual who stole the manuscript pages, some personal agency in the course he would persue. One possible explanation is that success of the Lords plan must necessarily be independent of foreknowledge that some specific individual will committ a particular sin. This would allow the sinner to be appropriately judged instead of being able to claim that he had to commit the sin or the Lord’s plan would have failed.”

Posted by: isaiahsfan | October 12, 2007

1 Nephi 8–Are You “Saved?”

As a result of the things he has seen in his dreams, Lehi says that he has reason to believe that his sons Nephi and Sam and many others will be “saved.”  Let us look at why he has come to this conclusion.  In verse 16, Sariah, Sam and Nephi hearken to Lehi’s exhortation and partake of the fruit of the Tree of Life.  Lehi describes many qualities of this fruit.  He says that it was sweet, white, desirable to make one happy, and that it filled his soul with joy.  But in order to find out why those who partook were “saved,” we must rely upon Nephi’s interpretation of Lehi’s dream. 

 In chapter 11, Nephi asks his spirit guide to tell him the meaning of the dream that his father had.  Apparently he wants to know what he must do to be saved.  Now, when Nephi asks to know the interpretation of Lehi’s dream, he is first shown a vision of the birth of Christ.  (1 Ne 11:13-20)  One might wonder what this vision has to do with Lehi’s vision of the Tree of Life.  To make sure that Nephi understands the message he has been given, the angel says to Nephi: “Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father!  Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw?”  Nephi answers this question by saying, “Yea, it is the love of God…”  A careful reading of the chapter makes plain that the love of God or the condescension of God is the Father showing his love for the world by sending his Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ. (John 3:16)  In other words, the Tree of Life is symbolically representative of Jesus Christ himself.  We will discuss this further when we cover 1 Nephi 11.  Suffice it to say that when Sariah, Sam, and Nephi partake of the fruit of the Tree of Life and become saved, they are partakers of the Atonement of Christ. 
Madonna and Child
Lehi’s dream symbolically instructs the reader what one must do in order to gain salvation, and aligns remarkably with the teachings of many mainstream Christian churches!

Laman and Lemuel refuse to accept Christ, thus Lehi fears that they might be cast off from the presence of the Lord.  But he does not cease to exhort them by his preaching and with love.

Now, read aloud 1 Nephi 8 while substituting the words “Jesus Christ” for “tree of life,” and “atonement” for “fruit.”  You will read such marvelous passages as these:

And it came to pass that I beheld Jesus Christ, whose atonement was desirable to make one happy… And it came to pass that I did go forth and partake of the atonement of Christ; and I beheld that it was most sweet, above all that I ever before tasted… And as I partook of the atonement of Christ it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also.

You will see numberless councourses of people pressing forward to obtain the path which leads to Jesus Christ.  You will see people who become ashamed of partaking of the atonement of Christ, and the proud who mock them until they fall away.  You will see multitudes who hold fast to the iron rod until they fall down in front of their Savior (the tree) and partake of his atoning sacrifice. 

May we join those in Lehi’s company, come unto Christ, and be saved!

Posted by: isaiahsfan | October 8, 2007

1 Nephi 8–Lehi’s Dream


Have you ever noticed that the story of Lehi’s dream begins with a very innocuous verse? 

“And it came to pass that we had gathered together all manner of seeds of every kind, both of grain of every kind, and also of the seeds of fruit of every kind.” 

It is not an accident that this verse is here.  Lehi had spent the preceeding hours gathering seeds of every kind.  His mind was occupied with preparation for the archetypal journey into the wilderness and with the affairs of horticulture that would be needed to sustain the group once they arrived in the Promised Land.  It was not an accident that the ensuing dream used images such as a wilderness, a field, a tree, fruit–these were already present in Lehi’s thoughts.  The Lord uses things we can see or that are immediately available to us to teach gospel truths.  In such a manner Jesus used images that were close at hand to teach principles to his followers. 

It is my opinion that God speaks to us in the language of symbols.  Thoughts or dreams come to our minds in images and stories that we must interpret.  The problem is that modern man has lost the skill of interpreting symbols.  Searching scriptures is one way that we can become more adept at understanding symbolic communication. 

In verse 2, Lehi tells his family, “I have dreamed a dream; or in other words, I have seen a vision.”  I think this is Lehi’s way of distinguishing between a dream/spiritual communication and a dream/random firing of synapses.  I don’t actually believe all dreams are spiritual communications, but that they can be used as such.  And perhaps many more of our dreams are meaningful and symbolic than we realize. 

This is one of these instances.  Lehi recognizes that his dream is a vision from God, and it causes him to worry about his family.  Lehi’s dream begins in a dark and dreary wilderness.  He is given a spiritual guide, in the form of a man in a white robe.  He follows this guide, but he must still pass through the darkness.  After many hours he becomes discouraged and begins to pray.  This is reminiscent of the descriptions of many other spiritual manifestations–notably Joseph Smith’s, where he is surrounded by thick darkness, and also Alma’s three days of torment.  It seems that passing through darkness is necessary before coming to the light.  We see this in passing through the womb before birth, passing through death before arriving in the Spirit World, being immersed in the water at baptism before coming forth in newness of life, and passing through the darkness and trials of earth life before entering into the presence of the Lord.

Lehi prays for the blessing of the tender mercies of the Lord to help him pass through the darkness.  Subsequently, he finds himself in a large and spacious field, where he espies a tree whose fruit is desirable to make one happy.  Thus far in the scriptural record, mention has been made of the fruit of three trees:

  • The fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (helps Adam and Eve distinguish between right and wrong)
  • The fruit of the tree of life (kept from Adam and his posterity lest they partake and live forever in their sins)
  • The fruit of the tree in Lehi’s dream (desirable to make one happy)

Though the tree in Lehi’s dream is referred to in the chapter headings as “the tree of life,” I am not convinced that this tree is the same as the tree in the Garden of Eden, which had fruit that would make one live forever. 

Now here’s a question for you, Groupies: Do you think any or all of these trees are actual, physical, tangible trees, or do you think one or all of them are symbolic only?

That takes me up to verse 10.  Lehi's Tree of LifeI’ll be back soon for more on chapter 8!

Posted by: isaiahsfan | October 6, 2007

We’re Back!

BoM Groupies is beginning a new season of Book of Mormon study!  We’ve had a summer full of weddings, grandchildren, moves, and craziness.  Stay tuned as we resume with 1 Nephi 8.

Posted by: isaiahsfan | June 19, 2007

Summer Break

The BoM Groupies have been swamped with lots of summer happenings.  We’ve decided to take a short break on our Book of Mormon study and will start back in August.  Check back then!

Posted by: isaiahsfan | May 23, 2007

How is it that ye have forgotten?

posted by Isaiah’s Fan

Nephi bound1 Nephi 7 portrays a family under stress. Lehi, his wife, and children have been living in the wilderness for some time. They have not yet been directed to the Promised Land, but they cannot return to Jerusalem. Already the prophet Jeremiah has been cast into prison and the people of the city have rejected all of the prophets, putting Lehi’s life at stake should he atttempt to go back. The destruction of Jerusalem is imminent. Further, Ishmael and his large family have joined them, and the blending of the two families is difficult. Alliances are being formed, and loyalties are being tested.

When Laman and Lemuel lead a group to rebel, Nephi steps forth to admonish them. He asks them how is it that they have forgotten

  • that they have seen an angel of the Lord
  • that the Lord delivered them out of Laban’s hands, and helped them obtain the brass plates
  • that the Lord can do all things

It is here that Nephi really becomes a prophet in his own right. A prophet’s chief task involves communicating a divine warning to an erring, disobedient people. He is to bring the Lord and His ways to their remembrance. Before Moses’ people entered their Promised Land of Canaan, he reminded them: “And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.”

Up to this time, Lehi has been the prophet and patriarch of the family. There is reason to believe that Lehi was the prophet of the Old World. He prophesied to the people in Jerusalem, he led his family into the wilderness, he experienced guiding dreams and visions, and he sent his sons on errands back to Jerusalem. All along, Nephi was being groomed as the prophet of the New World. By the time the party arrives on the shores of the Promised Land, Nephi will be firmly established as the leader of his people.

Much of Nephi’s ministry will be to try to stir his brothers to remember the Lord their God. In 1 Nephi 15:11, 25 and 1 Nephi 17:45 he pleads with them to remember the Lord, until he realizes that they are “past feeling” and will not hearken to his words. Nephi’s exhortations in the Book of Mormon apply to each of us as we cycle through periods of sin and disobedience in our lives. We must not forget

  • the spiritual promptings and experiences we have had (see D&C 6:22-23)
  • things that the Lord has helped us do
  • that the Lord can do all things
Posted by: grammakelly | May 16, 2007

Families are Forever

 posted by: grammakelly

 

“The family is ordained of God.  Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan.”  The Family Proclamation 1995 

 

This is no new proclamation.  Lehi understood this principle and was obedient to the admonition of the Lord to send his sons back to get the family of Ishmael before their exodus could continue.

 

“We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force.”  The Family Proclamation 1995

 

“…it was not meet for him, Lehi, that he should take his family into the wilderness alone; but that his sons should take daughters to wife, that they might raise up seed unto the Lord in the land of promise.” 1Ne 7:1

Once again they journey to Jerusalem to retrieve something that they needed to progress to the promised land. One thing that intrigues me, and has been brought up before, why didn’t they just get everything they needed to complete their exodus to the promised land right from the get-go? As I’ve thought about that over the last few weeks, I’ve wondered how many times I’ve had to go back to a point to get something that I needed. What I started with was good enough at the time, but now I need more to progress. Unfortunately with half-timers (I can only remember half the time) setting in, I seem to repeat my steps often as I forget what I was doing. But I think that sometimes the spiritual retracing of steps is more of a growing process than a forgetting process. While each journey was a physical exercise for Nephi and his brothers, it was also a spiritual exercise for them with each experience giving them the opportunity to grow or rebel. We have already defined the two groups by their obedience and willingness to really go the extra mile or tag along because they have to sort of honor their father the ‘visionary’. They have all been privileged to see angels and the hand of the Lord helping them to accomplish the things that he has commanded them to do.I’ve wondered why Nephi still wanted them to go with him sometimes. Why does he want them around? All they do is complain and murmur about him and their father. I’m sure the whole process would have been ten times easier if he had just let them sneak back up to Jerusalem and live the ‘good life’.  “I, Nephi, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, therefore I spake unto them, saying yea, even unto Laman and unto Lemuel: Behold ye are mine elder brethren, and how is it that ye are so hard in your hearts, and so blind in your minds, that ye have need that I, your younger brother, should speak unto you, yea, and set an example for you?  How is it that ye have not hearkened to the work of the Lord?” 1Ne 7:8-9   After he finished calling them to task, they were quite angry and tried to kill him.  They ask for forgiveness and he freely forgives them. 

 

As I have pondered the way Nephi treats his family members, both those who support him and those that fight him, I have learned two things:

 

1. We don’t get to choose our family but we are expected to find a way to live with them. Happily! We have been put together as family units here on earth to learn and to grow.  Sometimes the process is a painful one, and sometimes it is pleasant.  Some of us will never know what it’s like not to be loved and accepted for who and what we are, and some will long for just a glimmer of hope or love from their families.  Nephi may not like L&L and perhaps just doesn’t get them, but he loves them and he understands the eternal scheme of things.  He knows they are an integral part of his family and he knows they need him and he needs them.

 

2. Just because you are the oldest doesn’t always make you the best.(as an oldest child-this one was hard for me to assimilate)  I have come to realize that I have learned some pretty important things thru the examples of my much younger siblings.  Your position in your family doesn’t negate your responsibility to help teach and uplift other family members.  They are truly an inspiration to me and I can see the Lords hand in the ways they have taught and supported me.  I think L&L think that being the oldest is a no-brainer.  But it’s not!  They will be the cause of a very great split in their family because they will not hearken to the voice of the Lord or their father. Generations of people will fall away from the teachings of the Savior and much blood will be shed because of the hardness of their hearts. It won’t just affect them—it will affect generations of people. By the same token, many generations of people will be blessed because of the righteousness of Nephi, Jacob, and Sam.

 

“We the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.”   The Family Proclamation 1995

 

I think Nephi knew this way before 1995!  I think it is why he will do all he can to keep L&L with the family, and tolerate all the abuse they hand out.  His family is central to the Creators’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children and he knows it.  So are each of our families!!!

Posted by: isaiahsfan | May 14, 2007

Joseph and Nephi

posted by gramma kelly

 

After reading in Ch.6 that the only part of the genealogy that Nephi was really concerned about was being a descendant of Joseph, it brought to my attention the similarities between Joseph of old and Nephi.  We often think of the great prophets as being types of Christ, but this time I saw them mirroring each other and thought it was neat.  I’m sure that there is a much better compiled list out there, but I was having a lot of fun discovering for myself without help.  I now open the floor to you guys to find and add to my humble start.

 

Joseph of Egypt

Nephi

1. Saw in a dream he would rule over his brothers
Gen. 37:6-8
1. Received a vision that he would rule over his brothers
1Ne 2:19-22
2. Dreamed that brothers would bow down to him
Gen. 37:9-11, 43:26
2. Brothers bow down and ask forgiveness of him.
1Ne 7:20-21
3. Joseph was young when his journey began
Gen 37:2
3.  Nephi was young when his journey began
1Ne 2:16
4. Joseph’s brothers conspire against him to take his life
Gen 37:18-20
4. Laman and Lemuel et all conspire against Nephi to take his life
1Ne 7:16
5. Lord intervenes to save Joseph’s life thru his brother Reuben
Gen 37:21
5.  Lord uses the daughters of Ishmael and their mothers to save Nephi’s life
1Ne 7:19
6. Joseph freely forgives his brothers for selling him
Gen 45:5-8
6. Nephi freely forgives Laman and Lemuel their offenses
1Ne 7:12

 

My love and appreciation for the prophets of old increases daily as I study and learn about them.  It is humbling to know that we have such a prophet as these great men living and instructing us today. I think that I tend to forget that Pres. Hinckley is just as important to me as Nephi was to them.

 

Posted by: isaiahsfan | May 12, 2007

Descendant of Joseph

Posted by Isaiah’s Fan

 Joseph in Egypt

Groupies, do you remember in Houston Alfonso used to wonder why his Patriarchal Blessing named him as being from the lineage of Joseph?  Most blessings will specify if a person comes from the tribe of Ephraim, or perhaps  Manasseh, Joseph’s twin sons.  But Alfonso had never heard of anyone who was identified in their blessing as coming from Joseph.  Joseph isn’t really identified as a tribe.  His land inheritance was divided between his sons, and because the tribe of Levi had no land inheritance, that made a total of 12 tribes.   

In 1 Nephi 5 and 6 we see the importance that Lehi and his family place on being from the lineage of Joseph.  Let’s look at the significance and symbolism of this.  Joseph was the temporal and spiritual savior of the House of Israel, and prefigured the Messiah.  He was sold into Egypt, and became a wanderer in a strange land.  Joseph was thirty years old when he began his life’s work.  (Gen. 41:46)  After he gained some power and influence in Egypt, he was able to predict an imminent famine.  He was placed in charge of a vast food storage program.  When Isaac and his sons were starving for lack of food, they came to Egypt to obtain food, and discovered their brother Joseph, who saved them by giving them grain. Thus, as a type of the Savior, he dispensed the Bread of Life to a perishing world.

Joseph had two twin sons, Ephraim and Manasseh.  In the Hebrew language, Ephraim means “fruitful,” and Manasseh means “forgetting.”  The fruitful line of Ephraim now makes up the majority of the covenant people in the latter days.  Lehi was from the tribe of Manasseh, the majority of which were taken away captive by the Assyrians and are still lost today.  Lehi, however, does not identify himself particularly with Manasseh, but with the progenitor of the line–Joseph.

1 Nephi 5:14-15 relates: And it came to pass that my father, Lehi, also found upon the plates of brass a genealogy of his fathers; wherefore he knew that he was a descendant of Joseph; yea, even that Joseph who was the son of Jacob, who was sold into Egypt, and who was preserved by the hand of the Lord, that he might preserve his father, Jacob, and all his household from perishing with famine.  And they were also led out of captivity and out of the land of Egypt, by that same God who had preserved them.

As Lehi discovered his genealogy and realized that he was a descendant of Joseph, he recognized the spiritual similarities.  Lehi and his family had also been led out of captivity and out of the land by that same God who had preserved them.  They now had the Brass Plates of Laban with them, which would be a source of spiritual nourishment to their posterity. 

What does it mean to you to be a descendant of Joseph?

Posted by: isaiahsfan | May 10, 2007

Book of Mormon Plates

The chart below shows the relationship that the Book of Lehi, the Small Plates of Nephi, and the Large Plates of Nephi have to the Book of Mormon.  Notice that the Large Plates of Nephi contained a comprehensive summary of Lehi’s record, including Lehi’s genealogy and Nephite history.  The Large Plates of Nephi were meant to be continued by later writers.  The portion that was written by Nephi was translated by Joseph Smith into 116 manuscript pages and lost.  It was replaced with the Small Plates of Nephi, covering the same time period but including a more spiritual account.  Nephi speaks about the purpose of his Small Plates in 1 Nephi 6.

Book of Mormon Plates

This chart shows the source plates for the Book of Mormon:

 

A good overview of the source plates of the Book of Mormon is found in the following article:

Plates and Records in the Book of Mormon by Grant R. Hardy and Robert E. Parsons

For more depth on Book of Mormon structure (and a better view of the above chart) read

A Theory of Evolutionary Development for the Structure of the Book of Mormon by Quinn Brewster

Posted by: cheryljunegirl | May 7, 2007

Questions after reading 1 Nephi Chapter 6

posted by cheryljunegirl

I guess the biggest question I have is why is the chapter placed here in the Book of Mormon?  I have noticed a pattern that Nephi seems to tell us that he is not giving us a full account of his father’s record after he finishes telling us about what his father has prophesied.  In 1 Nephi Chapter 2, Nephi records the visions his father had and then in verse 16, writes “I do not give a full account of the things my father has written”.  In 1 Nephi Chapter 3 we learn that Lehi had a dream where the Lord commanded him to have Nephi and his brethren return to Jerusalem.  We are not given details of this dream, however, and Nephi does NOT write that he is not giving us a full account of his father’s record.  In 1 Nephi Chapter 5 we learn that Lehi received and searched the plates of brass he prophecied concerning his seed.  Nephi follows this prophecy with Chapter 6 that again states he is not giving us a full account of his father’s writings.  We will see this pattern again in Chapter 9.  Chapter 8 is all about Lehi’s vision of the Tree of Life and then in Chapter 9 he again writes that his father did “see and hear and speak…a great many more things which cannot be written upon these plates”. Soooooooo, my question is, why did Nephi do this?  Why was it seemingly so important for him to let us repeatedly know that he was not including all the writings of his father?  Did he think we might have the writings of his father and compare them to his and think there was a discrepancy?  Was it really important to let us know that this was his, Nephi’s record, and not his father’s for these smaller plates?  He writes in Chapter 6, “the things which are pleasing unto the world I do not write”.  Did he feel that some of his father’s writing included this?  Or do you think that Nephi kind of interrupts the record after his father’s prophecies to give us a moment to ponder them before going on?  Just wondering and would love to hear what you all think about this.

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