Posted by: isaiahsfan | March 12, 2007

1 Nephi 2: Blessed Art Thou

Ever obedient to the Lord’s call, Lehi heeds the promptings he is given in Chapter 1 to prophesy to the people concerning the destruction of Jerusalem (1:18).  In the first verse of Chapter 2, the Lord speaks to him in a dream.  “Blessed art thou, Lehi,” the Lord says, “because of the things which thou hast done.”  The Lord tells Lehi that because he has been faithful and declared unto the people the things he has been commanded to relate, behold, they seek to take away his life.  One might ask: what kind of a blessing is that?!!  Furthermore, because of his obedience Lehi is told to take his family and leave his comfortable home in the land of Jerusalem to inhabit a tent. He is told to leave behind his gold, silver and precious things, wander around in a desert wilderness, cross a vast and dangerous ocean, and settle a wild and strange new land.  “And it came to pass that he was obedient unto the word of the Lord, wherefore he did as the Lord commanded him” (2:3). 

Lehi in the desert

And now let us liken this unto ourselves.  From our perspective, sometimes it seems that the more we strive to faithfully fulfill our callings, the more we are criticized by ward members.   The better we become at keeping commandments, the more we are asked to do, and the less thanks we get.  As we earnestly endeavor to build the kingdom, we are “blessed” with roadblocks. 

BoM Groupies, how shall we respond to these types of “blessings?”  Why does it often seem that our efforts meet with more trials?  How can we avoid the murmuring and stiffneckedness of Laman and Lemuel?  How can Nephi and Sam’s example motivate us as we toil through the wilderness areas of our lives?  How can the Book of Mormon help us gain an eternal perspective and become more visionary, as was Lehi?

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Responses

  1. While recently teaching about the life of Joseph F. Smith I was impressed with the way he handled an incredible amount of persecution.
    “Vilified and lampooned in newspapers, maliciously lied about, the ‘Fighting Apostle’ would not so much as write a letter in his own defense. ‘During these years (1905-1911) this newspaper almost daily cartooned President Joseph F. Smith with a spirit of wicked and malicious villification. These papers were scattered all over the U. S. and naturally, appearing day by day and month by month, the people of the nation and even beyond the borders of the U. S. reached the conclusion that the President of the Church, Joseph F. Smith, was the lowest and most despicable character in all the world. Missionaries out in the world were made to suffer and were persecuted and insulted in all parts of the earth. ‘

    ‘Joseph F. Smith endured persecution, the revilings and ravings of the wicked, false accusations coming from the most contemptible and vilest creatures of the human family, and endured it all without a word of retaliation….He took the stand that if Joseph Smith could endure the abuse and vilification which was heaped upon him; if the Son of God could endure it and not return in kind, then he, too, as the humble servant of the Master, could endure in silence, for his fear was not in the arm of flesh but in the Lord, and the time must come when truth would triumph and the falsifier would sink into oblivion and be forgotten’ ” Life of Joseph F. Smith

    For me, learning how others have dealt with their ‘trials’ and overcome them, gives me strength and courage to do the same. Not letting others drag me downto the point of not caring or even worse, wanting to get even, is my constant goal.
    The scritpures are filled with the legacies of just such men and women. David, Ruth, Joshua, Moses, Esther, Lehi, Alma, Christ, Paul, Joseph Smith, and countless others. Their examples of ‘turning the other cheek’ and ‘going against the crowd’ are preserved for us to be edified and strengthened by. I look forward to looking for examples specifically set by our BoM heros and for the comments and examples set by my BoM Groupies to help me to learn and grow so that I can gain an understanding and appreciation for opposition.
    “…know this my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.” D&C 122:7

  2. I think I have an understanding of why it must come, but I don’t know that I have an appreciation of the opposition yet!

  3. This being the 21st Century and all, I suppose a guy can be a groupie, too. When it come to the BoM, I hope so.

    Let me say how refreshing this site is. There is so much whining and issue bashing on many LDS sites, I avoid most. I want to be like Nephi, not Laman and Lemuel.

    Someone once commented on blessings in disguise, noting how difficult they are to spot. In fact, she said, unless such blessings are bestowed upon others, she can’t seem to recognize them at all.

    John

  4. Thanks for your comment, John. Male groupies are definitely welcome here!

  5. I think it has more to do with our relationship with God, and how it develops, than with what actually happens to us. Lehi was blessed because he and his family were brought closer to God because of his faithfulness. The relationship became deeper – it wasn’t just a matter of doing what the law taught him, he was able to have communications with God, revelations for his family, and assurances that things would work out. It’s like the whole 1 Nephi 1:1 thing: “I, Nephi…having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days (the same paradox in 1 Nephi 2); yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God (what it means to be “highly favored”).” It’s sort of like serving a mission. It’s definitely not a cakewalk – any RM who won’t admit that there were times on his mission where it really, utterly sucked isn’t being totally honest – he’s giving you the formulaic, cookie cutter story that he feels he’s expected to give, not the real story. Despite the fact that a mission is full of afflictions and difficult times, it is still one of the most blessed things that can happen to you, if you will allow yourself to draw closer to God through the experience. My personal relationship with God completely changed because of my mission, and that was a great blessing.

    Ok, now that I’ve contributed something useful, I have to tell you what caught my eye in this post. It was the picture of Lehi’s family travelling across the wilderness. It looks so ridiculous to me that it honestly made me laugh out loud! Correct me if I’m wrong, but Arabs actually ride ON the camels, they don’t walk by their sides! Especially through the middle of a desert! From the photo, it looks like a bunch of pioneer re-enactors got dressed up as Arabs and decided to do their thing as if they were on the 19th century frontier! I haven’t seen the Book of Mormon movie, but I hear it had some funny parts to it (like the camels running off). Maybe the actors were scared of riding the camels? I hear that they are some of the most stubborn creatures on the face of the earth, and that mounting and dismounting can be very difficult. Interesting.

    Nice blog! I like it.

  6. Well, OneLL, now you’ve got me wondering if Lehi & Co. even had camels with them. “…and took nothing with him, save it were his family, and provisions, and tents, and departed into the wilderness.” (1 Ne 2:4) Were they indeed walking through the middle of the desert with their provisions on their backs???

    Additionally, a word search shows that there are no instances of the word “camel” in the BoM.

    (btw, I am no fan of the BoM movie. Blech.)

  7. Hugh Nibley says of course they took camels or beasts of burden. Have you seen the size of the tents? How could they possibly carry all the “provisions” that they needed on their own backs? Try carrying a gallon of water for a mile or two and see what it does to you. I read where Nibley went into the office of President Joseph Fielding Smith and argued this point, convincing the prophet there had to be animals to carry both provisions and people. I think the “took nothing with him” part referred to the abundance of riches they left behind. In other words they took only the essentials…which required beasts to carry them.

    I’m trying to get caught up with the rest of the group…but I’ll never catch up with the Cheryls. They each seem to go through simple passages and find meat where I see just fluff. Yes, I too am intimidated but don’t have the sense to keep my big mouth shut!

  8. Just a bit more… my mind runneth on and on, and then I have to go to bed. (notice the time?)

    Hugh Nibley (HN) states that he could write an entire book on that one scripture (Nephi 2:15) And my father dwelt in a tent…..and he actually DID!! HN tells us that tents were very expensive and took a long time to make (animal skins stitched together, and/or black goat hair woven to make the tent fabric)…thereby only the wealthy, and folks who used tents often, owned them. Every time a new member was added to the family, a new room was added to the tent. They were huge affairs with plush rugs to sit on. Think of all the old Arab movies years ago….that’s what the tents more or less looked like. They took quite a while to pitch and take down, so they only set up camp with the tents, when they were going to rest in a spot for a few days. Notice how it says they traveled for 3 days and then pitched the tents?

    HN states that Lehi was an Olive merchant and traveled to Egypt in a caravan to sell the olive oil (had to have a caravan just to carry the tent!). Olive merchants had to travel a considerable distance so of course they had to have tents. They also had to have beasts of burden to carry the oil, figs and whatever else they had to sell. One just assumes that beasts of burden where extant then, just as one assumes that we had some means of transportation when we vacationed in Las Vegas while living in Texas. There was no need to mention the trip by plane. It was just assumed by all that we didn’t walk!

    There is no mention of camel….maybe it had a different name back then?

  9. Although sometimes I wonder where “HN” gets his information, I’m sure he has a point on this one. Especially if we equate the tent to the tabernacle. (An entire tribe was assigned to carry it into the wilderness!!) And, given the importance Nephi gives it in his narrative, it must have been some deal.


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