Posted by: isaiahsfan | March 1, 2007

Nephi and the Mysteries

Posted by Isaiahsfan 


I’ve enjoyed taking 2 weeks on the chapter.  I think it will work out well.  I’ve read 1 Nephi 1 every night now for 10 nights and I feel like I almost have it memorized!  One thing that struck me last night was in the very first verse when Nephi says that he is making a record because he has been highly favored of the Lord and because he has had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God.  Nephi seems to be quite interested in the mysteries.  Here’s what he has to say on the subject:


1 Ne 1:1—yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days.


1 Ne 2:16—And it came to pass that I, Nephi, being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature, and also having great desires to know of 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.


1 Ne 10:17-19—And it came to pass after I, Nephi, having heard all the words of my father, concerning the things which he saw in a vision…I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things, by the power of the Holy Ghost… For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost.


I’ll admit to being a bit curious about the mysteries myself.  In considering some of the mysteries that Nephi was privileged to know, I thought about the following:


  1. The Lord speaks to him (1 Ne 2:16)

  2. Visit of an angel (1 Ne 3:29)

  3. He is led by the Spirit (1 Ne 4:6), constrained by the Spirit (1 Ne 4:10)

  4. Vision of the tree of life (1 Ne 11)

  5. Vision of Christ’s birth and ministry (1 Ne 11)

  6. Vision of Latter-day Zion (1 Ne 13)

  7. He is instructed by the Lord on how to find ore to make tools, and to construct a ship (1 Ne 17:9-19)

  8. Confounded his brothers by the Spirit (1 Ne 17:52-55)

  9. Shown “great things.” (1 Ne 18:3; 2 Ne 4:25))

  10. Calms a storm (1 Ne 18:21)

  11. Prophesies (1 Ne 19:1)

  12. Understands Isaiah! (1 Ne 19:23-24; 2 Ne 25:4) 


Indeed, Nephi writes about many of the mysteries that he has learned.  Some of the mysteries that Nephi learns are imparted to him because he has a desire to know firsthand what his father has experienced.  Lehi is also a partaker of the mysteries of God.  Here in Chapter 1 of First Nephi we learn a valuable lesson about what Lehi did before he received his vision:


1 Ne 1:5—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. 


It seems to me that both Lehi and Nephi first strongly desired to know of the things of God.  Then, they wished to benefit others with their knowledge.  Later in the Book of Mormon we learn that many may know the mysteries of God, but that they can only impart them to others according to their heed and diligence. (Alma 12:9)  I have concluded that there are many mysteries within the pages of the Book of Mormon which Lehi, Nephi, and others have set out for us, and which we may find through our diligence and willingness to take heed.  In addition, we may desire to know firsthand the things that the writers of the Book of Mormon knew, and we may pray for our own witness as Nephi did.





  1. I’m quite fascinated by the following…I think it might teach us something.

    having great desires to know of 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

    Of course, desire was a key. So was prayer. But I am intrigued by the fact that Nephi’s heart was softened. Now, Nephi was a good guy. We know he wasn’t perfect, but we know he cared about being obedient and following God and the prophet (his father). So, I wonder if this might teach us that any of us at any time could rebel (he says because the Lord softened his heart, he could have rebelled). Or that the natural man won’t want to accept the things of God (I’m thinking 1 Cor. 2 there).

    I think also it teaches us that in order to learn about the things of God, we need really soft and humble hearts. Indeed, might we need them softened by God…???

    I also have always been intrigued by the concept of “mysteries.” I think sometimes they are misunderstood as only “weird,” obscure truths that are “out there.” (Hard to explain what I mean…hope I can be understood here.) While I’m sure there are truths that we might be able to learn that might be obscure, I like a definition I once heard of mysteries: mysteries are simply things that can only be learned through the Spirit…and that can sum up pretty much everything in the gospel. So, in that light, I really like the idea that Nephi and Lehi and the other prophets have given us their words, which can help us discern the mysteries of God. Whenever I feel I have learned something ‘new’ about God or the gospel, it has been while pondering the scriptures (or with the help of someone else’s insights into them). I’m amazed, too, at how much there is to learn about what seem like “basics.” (At my “farewell,” my sister shared a story about a visiting authority who said he was going to speak on “the mysteries” and then proceeded to surprise everyone and speak about faith, repentance, baptsim and the gift of the Holy Ghost!) I think the more we study, the more the Spirit can peel layers off our spiritual eyes and help us see more of the amazing truths that lie within the words we read and reread (like reading the same chapter for two weeks. Excellent, Isaiahsfan!)

  2. i love all the comments on the book. i agree that it is definitely symbolic, but think that it is also a real book as well. Like the scripture stories themselves are real, but the symbols in the stories are rich and multi-layered. Kelly’s comment about what we do with the “book” that we have gave me a lot to ponder and so did Jan’s comment about the “eating” of the book. I have enjoyed taking 2 weeks to read. I don’t think I’ve read and reread any chapter of any scripture so much and I keep finding more and more to learn. I love m&m’s comment on the “mysteries” being those things that need to be understood by the Spirit. Just this chapter of 1 Nephi has contained “mysteries” that have been unfolded as I’ve read your insights and continue to read the chapter. Reading the chapter again, one of the things that touched me was that the Lehi’s vision came after a response of Lehi to the prophesying of the prophets. His response was to pray in behalf of his people, even with all his heart. What is our response to the words and messages of our living prophets? Do we really understand the power that our prayers can invoke?
    Are we filled with the same kind of charity that Lehi was? One of the quotes that just has stayed with me from the V.T. message this month was, “charity is something we become”. I know I have such a long way to go in this regard.

  3. Back again. More thoughts on Lehi’s prayer and the results of it. I really think that prayer is one of the most under utilized tools we have. How often do we really pray with all our heart? What could the results be if we did? The results of Lehi’s prayer was a Heavenly vision. We are also entitled to personal revelation. If we pray in behalf of “our people” we can be guided and directed for and in behalf of them even as Lehi was. We also need to be ready for whatever that direction might be. Are we willing to follow the Lord’s counsel even if it is something we feel unprepared and scared to do. I love that this chapter was at least partially about the tools we have to access our Heavenly Father. He has given us prayer, revelation, books to guide us. Lehi’s family is about to start their journey to a promised land; it is comforting to know that as we are journeying to our own promised land that the Lord has given us ways to access Him and that we are truly not alone.

  4. At Time Out for Women this last weekend, Sheri Dew defined the “mysteries of God” as the “Workings Of God”. In other words, what is a mystery to us is how God works. We do not understand all that He does or all that He is. My kids are always asking me how Jesus was able to “fly” after He was resurrected. Their comments prove that our minds are finite. We are constrained by what we understand of this world and it’s laws. We have so much more to learn about the infinite. Fortunately, we do understand God’s purpose. “For this is my work and my glory; to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man”. So though we may not understand everything, we can have hope and faith that it is all for our good.

  5. Carrie! So glad to see you commenting.
    What I’m getting from this comment is that understanding of the mysteries comes as our minds expand to be able to comprehend the workings of God. He wants us to be able to do this, since his purpose is to bring us into immortality.

    Because of our finite minds, much of this will not be possible by our own efforts alone. The workings of the Holy Ghost probably have much to do with preparing our minds to understand the mysteries. Accounts in the scriptures such as Lehi in 1 Nephi 1 and Moses’ experience of seeing the whole world in panorama make it clear that they were transfigured in some way that they didn’t understand in order to see those things. (1 Nephi 1:8 ; Moses 1:14, 24)

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