Friday, September 26, 2014

First Chapter of The Book of Mormon Book Club: First Nephi Series

1 Nephi, Chapter 1: Nephi Introduces Himself


I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents…


Here they are; the famous first words of The Book of Mormon. Raise your hand if you’ve read these words more times that you can count. I know I have. In fact, I’ve found that these words are so deeply etched in folds of my brain that reading them switches my brain over to auto-read while my mind wanders to things like the mountainous pile of laundry that needs folding, and the meat that needs taken out of the freezer.

I mention this because if I do this, there are probably at least a few of you who do this too. It’s okay. It happens. We’re human. Some of us are more Martha than Mary. This time through, I’m determined to stay focused. I hope you are too.


Let’s read: 1 Nephi 1:1-3


What do we know about Nephi from these first three verses?





Do you have anything in common with Nephi? If so, what?





Let’s continue onto verses 4-15.


What do we know about Lehi from these verses?





Let’s go back to verse 5 for one second:


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.



Have you ever prayed with all your heart for someone? For yourself? Take a few minutes to reflect and record your experience.
Now let’s look more closely at verses 13-15.
In vision Lehi sees Jerusalem, his birthplace, the “great city” in which he had “dwelt all his days” destroyed and the inhabitants carried away captive into Babylon. I don’t know about you, but if I saw my hometown destroyed and its people carried away to be slaves, I’d be devastated. Yet, Lehi comes away rejoicing with a full heart. In 14 he exclaims, “Great and Marvelous are thy works, O Lord God Almighty! Thy throne is high in the heavens and thy power and goodness, and mercy are over all the inhabitants of the earth, and because thou art merciful, thou wilt not suffer those who come unto thee that they shall perish!”
          Somehow I have a bit of a hard time wrapping my mind around his reaction. The only thing that makes sense to me is the statement he makes at the end of verse 14: thou wilt not suffer those who come unto thee that they shall perish! The scripture says he saw “many great and marvelous” things –perhaps he saw much more than just the destruction of his city. Perhaps he came away knowing what we with lesser faith must only believe: That the promises of the Lord are sure, that those who come unto him shall not perish.
Am I “coming” towards Him? Is my heart turned towards him? Is my face on His? Am I moving towards Him in thought and action?
Let’s continue, read verses 16-20.
Lehi goes about prophesying and declaring the things he saw and heard and he is met with mockery. In verse 20 they become angry, they cast him out, stone him, and seek to take his life. In our day I imagine this would look a little
like the prophet and apostles having rocks lobbed at them during General Conference. When I think of this scene in this way, I really get just how hardened this community had become. They were members of the church after all.
Then I have to wonder, in our own small ways, do we do this too? Not with literal rocks of course, but with criticisms? What about with deliberate disobedience? Just something to think about.
Let’s move onto my very favorite part of the chapter, the end of verse 20.
But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.
Tender mercies are brought on by faith and deliver us. Deliver us from what?
What have been some “tender mercies” in your life?

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