Saturday, October 25, 2014

the book of mormon book club, chapter five

1 Nephi, Chapter 5: Of Great Worth


Let’s start with the first 9 verses.


          I love these verses. I love these verses because it makes this family seem so very real to me. I love the insight into Sariah, and I love the insight into her marriage with Lehi. If we comb over these verses we can learn a thing or two. Go ahead, comb.


What did you learn about Sariah?






          This is what I gathered: Considering my tendency to complain against my husband for something as trivial as leaving wet towels on our bed, you can bet your backside that I would have plenty to say to him about it just as Sariah did. It seems that it wasn’t until her boys were back safe and sound from the house


of Laban that she received her confirmation that the whole moving into the wilderness thing was in fact the will of the Lord and not the will of Lehi. She declares, in verse 8, “Now I know of a surety that the Lord hath commanded my husband to flee…”


Look again at verse 8, do you see a repeating phrase? What is it?





          It seems Sariah had to follow in blind obedience for a while before she received her own confirmation that this was the will and the commandment of the Lord for her family. Perhaps she was too upset, too annoyed or angry to be feeling the Spirit. I know that would be the case if I was in her shoes. However, I think there is significance in the timing with which her confirmation was received. It wasn’t until she was so over-joyed, so full of gratitude that she was praising God, that she knew the will of the Lord. Maybe you’ve had a similar experience? I know I have. My bitter and complaining heart was simply not able to hear the answer that I had spent years praying for. Contention is of the Devil. We can’t hear God when we’re mad.


What type of marriage do you think these two had?





          Here’s my answer: a normal one! The evidence is that these are people not so very different from me. I’ve complained against my husband a time or two. There have been moments when I have been stressed beyond stressed and my husband instead of telling me to “Cowboy up” or “Stop with the drama already” has calmly done his best to ease and quiet my fears in the most loving and kind ways. I’m sure there was a flip side too. We don’t get a chance to see Lehi behind his tent doors following the shenanigans of his two older sons. I bet he had his own times of great frustration, and I bet Sariah was right there in the middle, doing her best to keep the peace. What do you think?


Let’s move onto verses 10-15.


What was the first thing Lehi did with the record?





How similar was this book to our Old Testament?




In verse 14 it mentions the record contained the genealogy of Lehi. How important is your personal genealogy to you? Why?





          In verse 15 one tiny word jumped out at me, it’s the word also. Nephi says, “And they were also led out of captivity.” Nephi was, again, likening the scriptures to himself. The interesting thing to me is that Nephi’s life and record became scripture to us. With the thoughts of my ancestors still fresh in my brain, and knowing all the courage and strength I’ve gathered from them in my days, I have to wonder if my life is going to also read like scripture to my descendants? Will my children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren read the record of my life and be inspired to turn to the Lord? I sure hope so!


Keep reading verses 16-17.


Write the message of verse 17.






Let’s finish off the chapter, verses 18-22.


          The scriptures are “of great worth” to us, if we read them. If we carry them with us as we journey into the wildernesses before us –towards our promised ending. It is the Lord’s wisdom that has kept this record of Nephi, his wisdom that he had this record kept, and saved expressly for us in our day and in these times. Let us read, study, liken, and be filled.


 In the last few chapters have you noticed any parallels between Nephi’s experience and Joseph Smith’s? Write them out here:


Thursday, October 16, 2014

the book of mormon book club, chapter four

1 Nephi, Chapter 4: Nephi’s Courage


        This chapter, to me, is about Nephi’s courage, which is propped up by his faith and unflinching obedience.


Let’s begin with the first three verses.


Who and what does Nephi reference in verse 2?






Like Nephi do you look to the scriptures for faith, courage, and strength?






          Clearly Nephi’s faith is deeply rooted and bearing fruit.



Let’s read verses 4 and 5.


          See? Right off the bat we’re watching the courage of Nephi.


Now verse 6. I love verse 6.


And I was led by the Spirit not knowing beforehand the things which I should do.



          I know we just got started, but we need to pause here for a second because this is a verse that has powerful personal application.


When have you been led by the Spirit? Write freely, my friends. I’m sure it’s been more than once or twice.









Okay, onto verses 7-19. Ready, go!


          This is an intense scene, is it not? Imagine Nephi, strong, courageous, faithful Nephi standing over Laban and receiving the commandment to take Laban’s life. I imagine his facial expression reading shock and confusion. In verse 10 he says, “I shrunk and would that I might not slay him.”

          In chapters two (and three) we see that when Nephi was required to do something that maybe didn’t make sense to him, he sought the Lord for wisdom and understanding. Here the Lord is asking him to do something that doesn’t make sense to him, so in verses 14-17, he’s reviewing it in his own mind. I like that Nephi seems to be continually working to keep himself on the same page with the Lord. He’s making sure his will aligns with God’s. It’s a good practice, wouldn’t you agree?



The Lord could have taken the life of Laban and spared Nephi from the task. Why do you think he didn’t?







What “hard things” has the Lord required of you?







Verses 20-38 finish off this chapter, read them then we’ll chat.



How many miracles do you count in these verses?





What type of man do you imagine Zoram to be?





          In verse 22 we learn that Laban, so drunk he had passed out, had been out that night partying it up with “the elders of the Jews.” Knowing the wickedness of Laban and now his friendly association with the elders gives us yet another insight into just how corrupted this people had become. No wonder they were about to be destroyed!

In verse 37 it says, “When Zoram made an oath unto us our fears did cease concerning him.” Did that stand out to anyone else? In our culture a verbal promise is pretty cheap. This is why we have contracts and signatures and notaries and lawyers. Our verbal words more or less don’t mean a thing. And here Zoram makes an oath and that’s that. They can trust him explicitly. Wow. Can we bring that kind of integrity back to this world? Please?

Saturday, October 11, 2014

book of mormon book club, chapter three

1 Nephi, Chapter 3: Back to Jerusalem


Let’s begin with verses 1-6.


If this were you, not Nephi, how would you react?



I think if it were me, I’d say something along the lines of, “You want me to do what? Doesn’t my life mean anything to you?” You see, I’m pretty positive that if Nephi and Laman and Lemuel didn’t know Laban personally, they had to have known him by reputation. As we’ll soon see this guy had money and power and he was ruthless.

I’m sorry to admit, my friends, that all too often my attitude is more like Laman’s and Lemuel’s than Nephi’s. As much as I’d like to believe I could answer the way Nephi does in verse 7, I just don’t know if that would be the case –at least in this particular situation.


What does Nephi say in verse 7? Go ahead and write this whole verse out. Writing helps with memory and this is a good verse to memorize.



Let’s read it again, one more time.


And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my Father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandment unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.



          Write this promise on your heart my friends. It’s a real one. I. Know. It. I have lived it.


When have you been asked to do or face something that was beyond your power?


Now, onto verses 8-14.


Let’s take a second to recap. They “cast lots” to see who has to go up to the house of Laban. (More proof they knew just the kind of guy they were dealing with.) Laman loses, asks Laban for the record, receives a death threat, runs for his life, escapes, and tells his brothers what happened. Laman and Lemuel and Sam are like “Well, can’t say we didn’t try. Let’s go home.” And then we get another glimpse of the level of Nephi’s faith.

Verses 15-20.


Anything stand out to you in those verses?






          This is what struck me. First, I’d really like to put the first part of 16 (Wherefore let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord)

In vinyl on my living room wall. Second, and a little more relevant to our discussion, Nephi really grasped the importance of obtaining the record. He understood it was necessary for the preservation of their language as well as the importance of his people having access to the “words of the prophets.”

          To me, this is a great deal of insight for one who just a few pages before described himself as “exceedingly young.” To my mind, just as he had with the whole moving into the wilderness thing, young Nephi must have gone to the Lord concerning this journey as well. The Lord must have provided this wisdom to Nephi concerning the significance of the record. To me the deeper lesson here is this: While God requires obedience he doesn’t necessarily require blind obedience. If we go to Him with “diligence” and “lowliness of heart” asking and knocking –He will answer.


Have you had the experience of asking and receiving? Record it here:





Now, onto verses 21-27.


Describe Laban.





         If you used words like evil, murderous, selfish, thief –you’ve hit the nail on the head. He was one villainous man, no question.


Let’s continue, verses 28-31.


          I don’t know if there is anyone in all of scripture more spiritually stupid than Laman and Lemuel. Honestly. An angel of the Lord stands in front of them, tells them to return to Jerusalem, tells them that Laban will be delivered into their hands, and instead of marveling at the experience what do they do



What do they say?

Focused so heavily on the power of a man, they completely forget the Power of God. Unbelievable! But wait! Do we, in a way, do this same thing?

Do we ever fear man more than God? Have we ever found ourselves being more concerned with the opinion of man than the opinion of God?

Friday, October 3, 2014

book of mormon book club: first nephi series, chapter two

1 Nephi, Chapter 2: Into the Wilderness

Read Chapter 2 verses 1-5

The fact that people are trying to kill you is pretty good motivation to pack your bags, but even so, can you imagine!? As a woman I like to think of this through the point-of-view of Sariah. What would I do if my husband woke up one morning and said, “Pack up the food and toilet paper (I count toilet paper as a necessary provision). I’m going to get the tent and sleeping bags. We’re leaving our house, heading for the woods!” I think I’d be saying, “For how long?” –I’m super reasonable, and go-with-the-flow you see. So, my number one question would be: for how long? The answer to that question (forever, my Sweets) would be the one that would instantly spark a series of strong protests (aka kicking and screaming). I might even go as far as to tell him something along the lines of, “Have fun without me!”

 I like my city life. I do. When I’d finish my ranting –my husband always, with great patience, waits for me to finish my ranting- he’d calmly tell me that this wasn’t some hair-brained idea of his, that it was in fact a commandment of the Lord. Then, then I’d take all of thirty seconds to find a quiet place to hit my knees –and if I’m being honest with you, I’d likely take my complaining straight to the Lord. He’d also patiently wait for my ranting heart to calm, and then he’d confirm the truth to me, in his own time, in his own way.


How would you feel? What would your reaction be?

Who all was in this original group leaving Jerusalem? List them off:

Read verses 6-8.

     The Lord said, “Depart into the wilderness.” Apparently three days out of Jerusalem was the wilderness.


Do you think Lehi thought his traveling was done? Why or why not?

      I have to tell you, this made me laugh. Perhaps you noted yesterday that Nephi and his family were city-people, born and raised? Maybe you didn’t. I’ve overlooked this every other time I’ve read this book –and I have read it a lot. But I can so picture just how out of their comfort zones they must have been to be moving further and further away from everything that was normal and convenient for them.

          I feel I can relate to them just a teensy bit because I am a city-girl born and bred. I’m used to heavy traffic, over-sized shopping centers, and being able to find virtually anything I need within half of an hour. My husband, however, is a country-boy born and bred. When he took me “home” for the first time, to meet his parents, I seriously thought I had entered another country. So I can just imagine poor Sariah at this point.

          Her husband has parked their family in the middle of nowhere. She was probably thinking, now what? How do we catch fish again? Where am I going to get our clothing? Our shoes? Who am I going to talk to out here in this wilderness?


Go back to verse 4 for a second.

What did they leave behind?


I get the idea this was a family used to living a certain lifestyle that had definitely come to an abrupt end. Gold, silver, and precious things left behind. I wonder if suddenly a marketplace in walking distance, and a well to draw water from, and a comfortable place to sleep had suddenly become “precious things.”

          Top it all off with the well-established fact that women need other women and here is Sariah –with her husband, and her four sons, and not another woman to talk to in the whole world. Put yourself there for a second. Anyone else suddenly feel intensely lonely?

          God gives us strength my Sisters, strength to do His will, strength beyond our own. He truly does.


Let’s read verses 9-14.

Is anyone else guilty of murmuring? I complain, almost daily, about having to scrape Cheerios off my floor. Note: Food I have in overabundance, a floor in a house that I get to live in, that I have the ability to clean. See all the blessings I overlook and disregard when I complain? If complaining isn’t of the Devil, it is certainly a card he loves to watch us play.

I’m going to stop complaining about having to sweep and mop my floors.


What are you going to stop complaining about? –That is, if you are a complainer.


Read verse 15.


Why do you think this was included as a verse?


Read verses 16-19.

What else do we learn about Nephi here?


What do we learn about prayer?



Have I sought Him diligently with lowliness of heart?


Verses 19-24 Nephi is in prayer with the Lord, what is he told?









(What does it say about the Promised Land?)









Circle the word ‘except’ and turn to D&C 82:10. Write that verse out below:








How does verse 22 apply to you?


How do scourges (trials, temptations) stir us up to remembrance of the Lord and His promise?


What is scourging your life at the moment? Are you remembering?





I imagine Sariah laying on her blanket that first night in the wilderness, soaking her pillow with tears, her heart literally aching in her chest. I bet her faith was wavering –at least a little, maybe a lot. In the end though, she did not fail her faith, and it did not fail her. At some point or another, maybe even still a little mad about what was being required of her, she turned her heart to the Lord, and He carried her.
If she could stand among us now, right now, I’m willing to bet she’d tell us Sister to Sister that life is not easy. There are a lot of difficult challenges to face and mountains to climb. We will be asked to do more than we think we can possibly handle, but the Lord’s hand is upon us. It is always there, lifting and sustaining. If we are looking for it, we will see it. We will have heartbreaks and sorrows, but it doesn’t mean we can’t also have JOY, deep and abiding joy. Our Savior knows us personally, He loves us, and His promises are sure. Be willing.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

i'm half zombie

Seriously. It was night 3 of Bear's* new wake-up to play at 2:30am game. I'm over it. I cannot, cannot go down this road again... No, no, no, no, no, no. Please, please, no!

A person really does need more than 3 hours a night. It's a true story. I'll admit that I've been a bit lazy with this baby. No set bedtime routines, yet. He's still in the pack-and-play next to my bed. And, as of this morning -as I've moved through this day in a fuzzy cloud of sleep depravation- I've decided I need to just bite the bullet. Take the shot. Feel the pain. And see what happens and pray like I've never prayed before that this sweet child will be a good sleeper.

In other news, he's *this close* to crawling on hands and knees. Babies are so cute and sweet and fun, except for that they're so dang HARD. They really have this weird ability to bring out the best of yourself, and also the worst. As in, I'm going on about 3 to 4 hours a night x a week at this point. I feel more dead than alive, and I yelled at Pirate this morning for coming in and waking me up when I had, for three half seconds actually had the luxury of falling asleep.

Luckily, Hubs stepped in this morning and helped me cross off a few of the must-dos on todays list, so really all I have to do now is pick up Pirate from school, and survive until bedtime. It's doable. I'm pretty sure.

Tonight: Hot bath, book, and bed by 9:00.

(Breaks down in tears of laughter at how ambitious that plan is. My odds of completion are about as likely as winning the lottery. Hahahahahahahahahahaaa. *sob*)