A wise man once told me that it is very simple to walk across Death Valley. All you have to do is to put one foot in front of the other until you’ve made it across. Yet, simple does not necessarily mean easy. It may indeed be simple to cross that vast desert land, but it is certainly not easy. Our journey through mortality is simple – we are born, we grow and mature, we die. Simple…not easy. Just like crossing Death Valley, we have to simply progress one step at a time. Is it easy, though? I think that you know how far from the truth that idea truly is!
As you traverse mortality, how can you make it easier for yourself? As you take this journey, one step after another, you truly do need some direction. Your sources of direction include your parents, leaders and instructors; individuals in your life who can share their own life experiences with you and help you avoid some of the same mistakes and setbacks that slowed them down at times earlier in their journeys. This vital information is readily available to you at a wonderful price – free; all you have to do is listen to it and heed it as you take your steps. It doesn’t cost you a dime…just listening and heeding. It’s not available “for a limited time only”…it’s there for you all of the time. I’ve heard the saying, “A wise man learns from his mistakes, but a super-wise man learns from others’ mistakes.” You can avoid some of life’s bumps and bruises simply by listening to those around you, and then practicing what you hear.
During the coming weeks, you will be reading about Lehi’s family’s journey from their land of inheritance to their land of promise. Their journey was simple – leave Jerusalem, cross the oceans, settle on the American continent. Simple? Yes. But, far from easy! Sometimes the people listened to those who had experiences to share, and at other times they didn’t heed the advice. Their support system temporarily failed when they thought they knew all of the right steps, instead of heeding their parents and leaders. Although they suffered many bumps and bruises along the way, they did finally arrive in the promised land. And now, you have their experiences from which you can learn much for your journey.
As you study the Book of Mormon, you will find that it may be necessary to drop some of the things that you are holding on to, in order to reach out and grasp the iron rod. You will need to sort through the advice being offered, and to hold onto that which will indeed help you through your life journey – one step at a time. It still is simple – one step after another. All that you need to do is to discern what advice is right for you; what advice helps you to get from Point A to Point B with the least amount of bumps and bruises along the way.
The core of your studies this year, the Book of Mormon, is like a map with the directions that you need during your journey. Nephi and Sam identified those directions, and heeded them and their parents. Laman and Lemuel also identified them, but fought against them. They thought that they knew better than anyone else which steps they should take. You now have the opportunity to learn from Nephi and Sam, and also from Laman and Lemuel. As you ponder what you read and study, you can discern what your next steps should be. And when you are confused, your parents are right there with you to share their insights and experiences. Your instructors and leaders are also there to help you. Everything is at your fingertips to be sorted through, and the promise of a fun and rewarding journey is all yours! Let your journey begin…