Thursday, January 19, 2012

Strength Through Adversity

Book of  Mormon Papers - a series of posts 
containing papers I wrote for a 
BYU Religion class my freshman year of college.

(Note: This is the first paper I wrote in my freshman Book of Mormon class at BYU in the fall of 2004. I have learned a lot since I took that class - I have learned a lot about repentance, forgiveness, and trials. I will admit I was - and probably still am - a naive, inexperienced young woman. The things that stand out to me about what I wrote here are Nephi's "frank forgiveness" of his brethren - charity anyone? - and the reminder that faith produces miracles, not the other way around. As I was reading this paper, I was a little surprised at the ... finality of my conclusion. It is important to understand that what Alma said about the blood of the innocent crying out in judgement against with wicked is true - however, in the past year or so, I have become increasingly aware of the fact that God will give us every opportunity to change - up until judgement day. And if we do repent and partake in the atonement, we can and will be forgiven of all of our sins - even the ones that seem very serious.)

While Lehi and his family journeyed in the wilderness, Nephi was often ridiculed by his older brothers Laman and Lemuel.  At one point, his brothers even beat Nephi and their other brother Sam with rods.  Why when Nephi was so righteous, blessed, and even “chosen” did the Lord allow his brothers to bind him and beat him at various occasions?  Not only did all of his trials help to strengthen Nephi, but they also allowed his brothers to witness on several occasions the power of God, making their punishment for sinning against the Almighty even more serious.
            The Lord has said that “where much is given, much is required.” (D&C 82:3)  Nephi was blessed, as he himself stated, with “goodly parents” (1 Nephi 1:1) and with many other blessings he describes throughout the section.  Because Nephi was given so many great blessings, he was required to endure more than others may be required to endure.  Countless times Nephi records statements from the Lord to himself saying “Blessed art thou, Nephi” (1 Nephi 2:19) and “thou shalt be made a ruler and a teacher over thy brethren” (1 Nephi 2:22).  Nephi was truly chosen of the Lord who only gave him trial after trial to prove him and strengthen him.  Nephi grew in patience and in love toward his brothers as he “frankly [forgave] them all that they had done.” (1 Nephi 7:21).  That kind of frank forgiveness can only come from one who has accepted the challenges of the Lord and looks at those challenges in a spiritually positive light.
            Every time Laman and Lemuel were involved in mocking, abusing, or ridiculing their younger brother, the power of God was made manifest to them.  When Nephi and his brothers returned to Jerusalem to obtain the plates of brass, Laman and Lemuel beat Nephi and Sam and stopped only with the appearance of an angel (1 Nephi 3:29).  Later when Laman and Lemuel bound Nephi in the wilderness and left him for dead, by the power of God, Nephi broke the bonds with which he was bound (1 Nephi 7:17-18).  Unfortunately, even these miracles of God did not convert Nephi’s brethren because they had no faith.  “Miracles do not produce faith... faith comes by righteousness” (BD Faith).  The Lord said to Nephi, “…inasmuch as they brethren shall rebel against thee, they shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord.” (1 Nephi2:21).  Not only does the Lord allow bad things to happen to good people for the growth and development of the righteous, but also so that “the blood of the innocent shall stand as a witness against [the wicked], yea, and cry mightily against them at the last day” (Alma14:11)
            The Lord allowed Nephi to be bruised and afflicted by his brethren for Nephi’s own personal growth regarding his brothers and others.  Laman and Lemuel’s judgment was also sealed by their actions toward Nephi and the other righteous members of Lehi’s family.

What lessons have you learned from Nephi and his family in the Book of Mormon?

1 comment:

  1. The "frankly forgive" line stood out to me as well recently...hard to do sometimes.What an example nephi is!


What makes your soul delight? This is my invitation to you to share your thoughts right here on my blog. I read every one of them, and I appreciate them!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...