Boy, this past week was like a whirlwind through the early years of Lehi’s family’s journey from their comfort zone to the land of promise! We followed Nephi’s vision from the tree of life right into the modern-day colonization of the Americas, and some of its major events and developments. We stumbled over “the great and abominable church” (see 1 Nephi 13-14); while also trying to grasp the thin line between divine inspiration and selfish greed, as we discussed the plight of Christopher Columbus. Inspired words from your parents helped us better understand these conflicts, and we can now visualize “mindsets” instead of “organizations” when pondering upon the Church of the Lamb of God battling the church of the devil. We are also able to understand that early explorers were truly inspired to “discover” America and prepare the way for the restoration of Christ’s church in these latter days, even though personal design and greed may have eventually eclipsed the divinity of their efforts, and caused great pain, suffering and death among the inhabitants of the continent. We also talked about similar battles between good and evil in the Holy Bible. Remember David, the chosen King of Israel, whose story is retold in the Old Testament? Or how about Judas Iscariot, as related throughout the four gospels in the New Testament? In God’s great plan for our salvation and happiness, he has given mankind the freedom to choose between right and wrong…between good and evil. These individuals possessed the inalienable right to follow the dictates of their own heart and mind, and sometimes they made some wrong choices after making some right ones.
Don’t we do the same thing today? We seem to be on the strait and narrow path leading right up to the tree of life, trying to maintain our grasp on the rod of iron; but then one of our feet slips and gets wet in the murky depths that lead towards that great and spacious building. Our grasp on the rod of iron is being tested all of the time, and we need to rely upon our personal revelation and inspiration in order to better understand these chapters and verses that we are studying and pondering, and learn from their successes and failures.
The whirlwind didn’t stop there, though, did it?! It continued to cut its path right on through the continuation of the family’s journey from the Valley of Lemuel and venturing deeper into the wilderness along the borders of the Red Sea. We shared in the delight of the discovery of the Liahona which guided the family in their journey and plight for survival. Following the guidance of this divine tool, they finally made their way to the Indian Ocean and the delightsome land of Bountiful. Through births and deaths, through obedience and murmurings, their arrival at the shores of the ocean gave them a brief respite, but also presented them with the daunting view of the grandiosity of the next leg of their journey – crossing the great waters over to the promised land. Nephi, along with the help of his brothers…maybe after a little murmuring, and even worse thoughts!…do begin constructing a boat to get them across the oceans to their ultimate destination.
Are you yet beginning to notice that our journey in life is being mimmicked throughout Nephi’s recounting of their journey? The parallelism and similitude are eye-opening, lending to the value of the Book of Mormon as our own personal Liahona!
There are days, even weeks, that will be quite overwhelming for you – like being caught up in a whirlwind! When life seems to throw too much at you all at once, you can learn a thing or two from Nephi. When everyone was hysterical about their lack of food, he stepped back from the confusion and crafted himself a bow and arrow from some wood he found. Remaining calm and cool, he simply asked his father for inspiration…”Whither shall I go to obtain food?” (see 1 Nephi 16:23) After a little well-deserved chastening, the Liahona indicated the direction Nephi should go in order to find wild beasts to hunt for their food. So, when life seems to be going too quickly around you, do as Nephi did – step back away from the confusion and gather your wits, and then look to your Liahona for directions from God. As you learned this week, you are blessed with a few different Liahonas in your life – the Book of Mormon, prayer, and above all else, the Holy Ghost. Tune out the bustling noise around you, and you will certainly be able to tune in to the promptings of the Holy Ghost, eliminating the static between you and your loving Heavenly Father. Then, your journey through life will continue in the right direction. Just try it, and see for yourself!