Look! And I looked… – 1 Nephi 11:8-23

You can read 1 Nephi 11:8-23 here.

Context and General Information

  • According to Nephi’s desire and faith, the Spirit begins to show Nephi the things that Lehi saw in a dream.
  • Nephi sees the tree his father saw – it exceeds all beauty.
  • After seeing the tree, the Spirit tells Nephi that it is most precious above all. The Spirit then asks Nephi, “What desirest thou?”
  • Nephi wants to know the interpretation of this tree.
  • Nephi spoke to the Spirit as a man speaks to another man. Th Spirit was in the form of a man, but Nephi knew it wasn’t actually a man.
  • The Spirit answers Nephi by telling him to Look!
  • Nephi saw Jerusalem, Nazareth, and a virgin.
  • The Spirit asks Nephi if he knows the condescension of God, but Nephi doesn’t.
  • The Spirit explains that the virgin that Nephi sees is the mother of the Son of God. She was carried away in the Spirit, then the Spirit told Nephi: Look!
  • Nephi looked and saw the virgin bearing a child in her arms – the Son of God.
  • Through this, Nephi begins to understand the meaning of the tree- the love of God – it is the most desirable above all things and the most joyous to the soul.
image-44

Amazing what you’ll see when you stop to look.

Look! And I Looked..

Yesterday, I already mentioned that we would study this section for more than one day. Some of this, I actually wrote in yesterday’s post. Yesterday, when I started studying/writing a blog post, I actually had titled it “Look! And I looked…” (today’s title). Then, if you read yesterday’s post you already know this, the post went in a completely different direction – one I wasn’t necessarily prepared for, but it was the exact right thing to study. So, I changed yesterday’s post title then published it as you read it.

But I really like the concept of looking and I wanted to study it further…

So I’m going to repeat a few things from yesterday, but not everything will be the same, I promise.

For the past couple of days, we’ve studied Nephi’s desire. He wanted to know the the things his father had seen. This is how chapter 11 opens. Now, the After a little back and forth, the Spirit rejoices – Nephi has the desire and faith in order for Nephi to learn more about this dream. The Lord will grant according to Nephi’s desires.

So then, what we read next looks like this, right? (Spoiler alert, this is NOT how it goes).

The Spirit pulls down a giant blackboard, dons a pair of glasses and writes at the top of the Blackboard: Lehi’s Dream. “Get your plates and etching tool out, Nephi. You’re gonna need to take notes.”

Then he continues, “First all – the tree. It symbolizes the love of God. Okay? Get it? Let me know when you’re done writing…”

If you’ve read the text, then you know that there is no blackboard, no glasses, no list of meanings.

The Spirit doesn’t just show Nephi the dream and tells him what it means. Instead, the Spirit commands: Look!

And Nephi looks.

This is kind of fascinating to me. Look! The command, “Look!” appears at least 12 times throughout the vision that Nephi sees. (There are other similar commands, too – like Behold…but I didn’t count the “beholds.”) Instead of answering Nephi’s question outright, the Spirit bids him to look.

So, in other words, instead of answering Nephi’s question with information, the Spirit answers Nephi with an experience that requires work on Nephi’s part.

After “looking” the first time, the Spirit asks Nephi again what desirest thou? Nephi answered that he wanted – not only to see what his father saw, but to understand the interpretation of that tree.

How does the Spirit answer?

“And it came to pass that he said unto me: Look! And I looked as if to look upon him, and I saw him not; for he had gone from before my presence.” – 1 Nephi 11:12

Over and over again, the Spirit says to Nephi: Look!

And Nephi looks.

What can we learn from this?

One – The Teacher

What really stands out to me is that this is how the Lord chose to teach Nephi. He doesn’t tell Nephi. Instead, the Lord invites Nephi to have an experience.

As a mother, am I just telling my children? Lecturing them? And then expecting them to learn this way? Or am I inviting them to have an experience – with the Spirit that will help them to know what they need to know? I can’t force my children to look, but I can force them not to look by keeping them from the opportunity in the first place.

I’ve been thinking a lot about persuasion lately, and I actually think that this is one of the keys of persuasion – letting the person “look” for themselves. We can learn from this experience, too. Nephi is high up on a mountain. He is in a safe environment. The Lord is letting him “look” and experience these teachings in a relative risk-free place.

Part of this, of course, is because the place needs to be holy in order for the Lord’s spirit to dwell there. But I also think that there is something we can learn about this as parents.

While our children are still in the safety of home, we can let them have their own experiences where they have to “look” instead of endure lectures. Then, we can help to guide them – just as the Spirit guided Nephi – as they learn for themselves.

Two – Accountability

I’ve been thinking a lot about the Spirit asking Nephi “What desirest thou?” for the last few days. I’ve also been thinking a lot about the Spirit, instead of answering Nephi directly, giving the answer of “look!” Yes, Nephi’s question is answered, but it requires much more work and submission on Nephi’s part.

I also feel fairly confident that the Lord knew exactly what Nephi wanted.

But I think that the Spirit asks Nephi “What desirest thou?” and then requires work of Nephi by telling him to Look! Because what Nephi sees is a big deal. The Lord can’t force this on Him. The Lord can’t just “show” Him. Nephi can’t be passive. If he is to see and understand all of what the Lord will show, then it absolutely must be based on Nephi’s agency and his tenacity to keep looking.

Even before Nephi sees the vision, the Spirit tells Nephi:

“And behold this thing shall be given unto thee for a sign, that after thou hast beheld the tree which bore the fruit which thy father tasted, thou shalt also behold a man descending out of heaven, and him shall ye witness; and after ye have witnessed him ye shall bear record that it is the Son of God.” – 1 Nephi 11:7

This isn’t just a fun dream for Nephi. The Lord isn’t answering him just to satisfy his curiosity. Nephi will be a witness of Christ, and then after that, Nephi will be expected to bear a special witness of Christ.

The command to “Look!” is required because the information he receives is so sensitive. If Nephi isn’t willing to do the work for this desire, then the Lord can’t give it. It would be unfair – to Nephi!

I mean think about it – if Nephi was to treat this vision and revelation lightly, he might have been treading on the line of perdition. The Lord wouldn’t set Nephi, you, or me up for that kind of problem. But that is what’s on the line for any blessing, really. Satan is always going to try to destroy us. We need to remember the warning that the Savior gave to Peter:

“And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:” – Luke 22:31

If the Lord is too liberal with His prophecies, revelations, blessings, then He knows He might be setting us up for massive failure.

To Peter, the Savior continues:

“But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” – Luke 22:32

The Vision that Nephi sees – the interpretation of the Vision, as well – is a vision that will give Nephi a special witness of Christ. It is powerful. Depending on how Nephi chooses to use this powerful experience, it will either propel him closer to God and make him a mighty prophet, or it will destroy him.

I know that Heavenly Father understood this. In a way, each utterance, “What desirest thou?” and each command, “Look!” is another time for Nephi to exercise his agency. The Lord will not force this amazing blessing on Nephi. Yes, the Lord wants us to know Him – He wants each of us to develop testimony like this. He delights in blessing us with all of His greatest blessings.

But He will not force them on us.

Not only that, the Lord is merciful. He knows that if there is a blessing that He’s willing to bestow on us, but that it comes with a lot of responsibility, then He gives us many opportunities to really understand and make the choice to receive the blessing.

Nephi had many choices, and each time he faithfully chose to Look! He faithfully chose the Lord, and I think that this is what makes Nephi Nephi! This is how his testimony develops. This is the game-changer. Nephi was part of the “game changer” moment. He chose the Lord when he chose to look.

What are We Doing?

I want to bring in what I’ve been learning in the last few days – desire and now looking. When we express our desires to the Lord, I think that He gives each of us the opportunities we need to receive. Are we taking those opportunities?

Just like the vision that Nephi’s having, sometimes these opportunities happen in real time. The Lord teaches us line upon line, precept upon precept – which means we might have to “look” again and again and again until we receive according to our desires. (By the way, we’re assuming that these desires are righteous and in line with the will of God).

When Nephi told the Spirit that his desire was to know the interpretation of the tree that his father saw, the Spirit responded with: Look!

Nephi looked. The Spirit was gone completely, and then Nephi saw:

  • Jerusalem, Nazareth, and other great cities.
  • A beautiful virgin

The Spirit interrupted and asked Nephi what he saw. Nephi told the Spirit, and then the Spirit asked:

“…Knowest thou the condescensionof God?” – 1 Nephi 11:16

Nephi admits that he doesn’t know the condescension of God. The Spirit tells Nephi that the virgin was the Savior’s mother. Then Nephi was back to looking/beholding without the Spirit telling or explaining. Now he sees:

  • A virgin bearing a child in her arms.

The Spirit stops again, and then bears witness of that child saying:

“And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father! Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw?” – 1 Nephi 11:21

I’m not sure how Nephi really began to understand this – other than through the experience of looking, He was feeling the Spirit, too. But Nephi answers:

“And I answered him, saying: Yea, it is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things.” – 1 Nephi 11:22

He gets it! He is beginning to understand exactly what his father saw.

The Lord works in mysterious ways, and we don’t really need to understand those ways to know that he works. When we understand that, then we will be like Nephi – willing to “look.”

It is worth noting that Nephi’s “looking” isn’t just a passive stare. He is looking, listening, feeling, and learning. The Spirit is working with His Spirit – so that he is able to discover what his father’s dream meant – rather than simply be told.

In our own lives, we shouldn’t be passive either. We need to heed the promptings of the Spirit with exactness and with real intent. It is then that we will learn and receive what we desire.

Thanks for looking at looking with me today.

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What Desirest Thou? (Deux) – 1 Nephi 11:8-23

You can read 1 Nephi 11:8-23 here.

Context and General Information

  • According to Nephi’s desire and faith, the Spirit begins to show Nephi the things that Lehi saw in a dream.
  • Nephi sees the tree his father saw – it exceeds all beauty.
  • After seeing the tree, the Spirit tells Nephi that it is most precious above all. The Spirit then asks Nephi, “What desirest thou?”
  • Nephi wants to know the interpretation of this tree.
  • Nephi spoke to the Spirit as a man speaks to another man. Th Spirit was in the form of a man, but Nephi knew it wasn’t actually a man.
  • The Spirit answers Nephi by telling him to Look!
  • Nephi saw Jerusalem, Nazareth, and a virgin.
  • The Spirit asks Nephi if he knows the condescension of God, but Nephi doesn’t.
  • The Spirit explains that the virgin that Nephi sees is the mother of the Son of God. She was carried away in the Spirit, then the Spirit told Nephi: Look!
  • Nephi looked and saw the virgin bearing a child in her arms – the Son of God.
  • Through this, Nephi begins to understand the meaning of the tree- the love of God – it is the most desirable above all things and the most joyous to the soul.

What Desirest Thou? (Deux)

FYI, we will be studying this section of scriptures for more than one day. Just letting you know now.

Yesterday we talked about Nephi’s desire. He wanted to know the the things his father had seen. This is how chapter 11 opens. Now, the After a little back and forth, the Spirit rejoices – Nephi has the desire and faith in order for Nephi to learn more about this dream. The Lord will grant according to Nephi’s desires.

So then, what we read next looks like this, right? (Spoiler alert, this is NOT how it goes).

The Spirit pulls down a giant blackboard, dons a pair of glasses and writes at the top of the Blackboard: Lehi’s Dream. “Get your plates and etching tool out Nephi. You’re gonna need to take notes.”

Then he continues, “First all – the tree. It symbolizes the love of God. Okay? Get it? Let me know when you’re done writing…”

If you’ve read the text, then you know that there is no blackboard, no glasses, no list of meanings.

The Spirit doesn’t just show Nephi the dream and tells him what it means. Instead, the Spirit commands: Look!

And Nephi looks.

This is kind of fascinating to me. Look! The command, “Look!” appears at least 12 times throughout the vision that Nephi sees. (There are other similar commands, too – like Behold…but I didn’t count the “beholds.”) Instead of answering Nephi’s question outright, the Spirit bids him to look.

And what does Nephi see? We read:

“And I looked and beheld a tree; and it was like unto the tree which my father had seen; and the beauty thereof was far beyond, yea, exceeding of all beauty; and the whiteness thereof did exceed the whiteness of the driven snow.” – 1 Nephi 11:8-22

So – Nephi sees the tree of life. Nephi confirms this:

“And it came to pass after I had seen the tree, I said unto the Spirit: I behold thou hast shown unto me the tree which is precious above all.” – 1 Nephi 11:9

After this the Spirit asks Nephi again What desirest thou?

You know, as I write this, I realize that the Spirit probably already knew the answer to this.

Think about it. Nephi had already been praying and pondering – to know what Lehi saw. Then, after Nephi was taken away into a high mountain the Spirit asked him “What desirest thou?” He probably already knew the answer then. Nephi told him – to see what his father had seen.

Then, as we know, the Spirit asked Nephi if he believed. Yes, Nephi believed. Rejoicing! The Spirit shows Nephi this one thing – a tree. Then asks him again, “What desirest thou?”

Why is he asking this again? Why is it so important for Nephi to reiterate what he desires so many times? I firmly believe that the Spirit already knows what Nephi desires. We know that the Spirit can discern our thoughts. So, why is the Spirit asking this again?

I can’t say that I know for sure.

Right now, the only thought I’m having is prayer.

I don’t know if it is the right train of thought, but we’ll see where it goes.

Remember the parable:

“And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;

Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:

And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.

And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;

Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.

And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.

And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?

I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” – Luke 18:1-8

This is such an interesting parable. I found the following in the Institute Manual:

“Luke stated the main message of the parable of the importuning widow and unjust judge- “men ought always to pray, and not to faint,” (Luke 18:1). The Greek word translated as “to faint” means to become discouraged or weary or to tire of something. In the parable, praying without giving up is represented by a widow who repeatedly appeals to a judge to remedy her injustice.” – New Testament Student Manual

“to faint” means to become discouraged or weary or to tire of something. Nephi doesn’t get discouraged or tired when repeatedly asked “What desirest thou?”

In fact, I kind of wonder – even though the Lord probably knew his heart and what he desired, maybe Nephi needed to say it. To get better answers, we need better questions. The Lord was willing to answer his questions, but he had to ask them first.

Maybe, before being asked “What desirest thou?” Nephi hadn’t really verbalized his feeling. I’m not sure if this makes sense. I have found that there are many times when I have “feelings.” Then, if I’m asked to describe what I’m feeling, I have to kind of search to figure it out. If you are reading this blog, then you get to see me trying to sort out the feelings I have into words. I think that this process can lead to epiphanies.

So – maybe Nephi needed to say what he wanted so that he would know precisely what he wanted – so that the Lord could then answer his prayer. He needed to be asked repeatedly because for some reason, we have to pray in the same way – without getting discouraged, always expressing our faith.

The institute manual continues:

“Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught: “When lonely, cold, hard times come, we have to endure, we have to continue, we have to persist. That was the Savior’s message in the parable of the importuning widow. …” – New Testament Student Manual

I’m interrupting this quote for a second because I love what comes next, but I want to address one idea first. We have to persist. Nephi didn’t get frustrated when asked repeatedly, “What desirest thou?” He thought about it, and then he asked. He persisted, and this is why he received.

Okay, continuing on:

“Keep knocking on that door. Keep pleading. In the meantime, know that God hears your cries and knows your distress. He is your Father, and you are His child.” – New Testament Student Manual

I needed to read this today. Yesterday, I wrote about nudges. I kept feeling a nudge when I read the question “What desirest thou?” And then I wrote on this blog all about what I desire.

And then, again, I read “What desirest thou?” Again, I have the nudge. I haven’t written much about this nudge today because, well, because I wrote about it yesterday. Is it worth repeating? If there are people reading this blog post, then maybe they would rather read some kind of amateur commentary on 1 Nephi 11:8-22. But I’m getting nudged.

What desirest thou?

The next nudge I received was the thought about the parable that I shared earlier. Are these two things related? Maybe not. As in, maybe not in a scholarly way. Don’t go to your Sunday School class and say that there is a relationship between the Spirit asking Nephi “What desirest thou?” and the parable of the importuning widow and the unjust judge. You may seem crazy.

Of course, this isn’t a scholarly blog. It is more or less my journal, and I’m sharing more personal information that I would normally want to. Yet I feel inspired to do so, so I will.

And here’s the connection. Yes, I told the interwebs what I desire. But have I been like that widow? Have I knelt down and prayed? Have I poured out my soul to the Lord telling him what I desire? Have I answered that question again and again – like Nephi – so I can discover on a deep level exactly that which I desire, and so I can also receive it?

I mean, the Spirit isn’t setting Nephi up! He asks Nephi what he desires so that Nephi will express his desire, so that then the Lord can deliver! AMAZING!

We’re kind of doing a part two on “What desirest thou?” today. I hope that’s okay. And we’re combining it with the parable told in Luke. What is it you desire? Does the Lord know it?

I have an admission to make – yes, of course the lord knows that I desire home. He is omniscient, and I’m sure that He has heard me talk about my desire with my husband, my friends, and with you. And yes, I’ve lightly mentioned it in a few of my prayers.

But I haven’t cried day and night. I haven’t shared with Him my desires and why they are my desires. I ponder, yes. And I pray, technically, but I know that I’m not praying the way that the Lord wants me to pray. I know that I’m capable of praying in a way that really creates an environment where I can commune with God. I’ve had amazing experiences praying, and then I’ve become lazy

I take for granted that God knows my heart, and I just think that I should be lazy sometimes – let Him read my mind and answer my prayers. I don’t trouble the Lord. I don’t weary Him with my prayers, with my desires, with my gratitude.

And yet the Lord is so merciful and patient with me. Even though I haven’t humbled myself in prayer the way I ought to, He loves me. He sees the efforts I make. And He is speaking to me through the words of Nephi:

 

What desirest thou?

 

I know that my desire is righteous. And I know that I need to kneel down, pray, and tell Him directly.

***
This blog post went a lot differently than I expected, but I hope that it may have helped someone else today. What desirest thou? Have you asked God? Have you pled with Him – without getting tired or discouraged? Have you explained to Him concerning your desires the way that you have explained to your friends? Have you expressed yourself to the Lord and then asked in such a way that He can answer you.

In a way I’m ashamed of myself right now. It’s hard to write a blog post and admit online about my lackluster prayers. Shame isn’t the right word. I feel sorrow, that I haven’t been praying as the Savior taught – that we should pray always and not faint. I feel sheepish that I’ve been so open with so many people, but quiet and coy with the Lord about my desires. And I also feel so full of hope and love for God.

I feel His love, knowing that even though I’m kind of an idiot, He doesn’t ignore me. He has recognized my efforts, and through the Book of Mormon is asking me over and over again, What desirest thou? I’m so grateful that He is patient enough with me to help me to discover why I’m having this nudge. I know that He wants me to pray to Him, tell Him of my desires, so He can bless me.

So, I’m going to stop blogging right now, and I’m gonna get on my knees and pray. Thanks for reading. Thanks for your patience.

What Desirest Thou? – 1 Nephi 11:1-7

You can read 1 Nephi 11:1-7 here.

Context and General Information

  • After both desiring to see the things that his father saw, and then believing that he could Nephi sat pondering.
  • While pondering, Nephi was “caught away” in the Spirit of the Lord – to a high mountain.
  • The Spirit asked him, “What desirest thou?”
  • Nephi told the Spirit that he wanted to see what his father saw.
  • Nephi believed what his father saw.
  • The Spirit was joyous to know that Nephi was faithful, and Nephi would be blessed to see what his father saw.

What Desirest Thou?

I really believe that we can get exactly what we need from the scriptures every single day. No, I don’t believe that. I know it. I have experienced in my life.

I don’t want to be a scriptorian. I don’t care about “knowing” the scriptures. I know that the Pharisees “knew” the scriptures. In fact, they used the scriptures against the Savior. It is an irony that also serves as a warning to me. I don’t want to get caught up in the facts of the scriptures. I don’t want to study the scriptures so that people will say to me, Wow. You really know the scriptures.

However.

I do love the scriptures! I want to know them, not to show others that I know them, but so that they can be a source of strength in my life. I want to be close to the Spirit and to God on a daily basis. I know that a good way to do this is through prayerfully studying the scriptures. I have experienced this in my life. I know that if we open our scriptures, our minds, and our hearts, then we will be instructed in a way that is 100% relevant to our lives every single day.

If you are reading this blog, and feeling overwhelmed by the scriptures or if you feel like you’ve read them and they are boring, then I’ll share something that I try to do when I read the scriptures. I try to keep my mind open to those little nudges. Maybe something stands out to you and makes you feel good. Maybe something makes you pause and say, huh. Maybe you get stuck on an idea and then go off on a tangent that seems unrelated to what you are studying.

In my experiences – those little nudges are often the Spirit – speaking to me and helping me to know the answers to my questions, give me comfort, or help to calm my concerns.

Remember – if you want better answers, then ask better questions. …And it doesn’t hurt to be like a four year old – keep asking why (and finding an answer) until you can’t go any further.

OKAY

Sorry – to put all of that in here, but I hope it helps you in your personal study, and I hope it helps you to see why I’m about to dig into this one concept.

***

There are a lot of interesting things happening here in 1 Nephi 11 so far. First of all – Nephi is desiring to know what his father had seen. We talked about this a bit in this post and this post.

Nephi is also pondering in his heart. Man we could get into that…I’d love to write more about that, but that’s not the nudge for today.

As Nephi ponders, he is caught away in the Spirit – to a high mountain. This is another idea that I’d love to study further. Maybe one day in the future. For now, though, this isn’t the nudge that I’m feeling I really need to address today. But it is worth noting. Nephi is desiring, pondering, and then the Spirit responds. But the Spirit takes him to a holy place before showing him the vision.

After being brought to a mountain top, the Spirit asks Nephi, What desirest thou?

This is my nudge for today. I don’t really know why. But it has caught my eye and now my curiosity.

Nephi’s Desire

After being asked this question of the Spirit, Nephi answered him:

“And I said: I desire to behold the things which my father saw.” – 1 Nephi 11:3

What does Nephi want? Vision. He wants to see what his father saw. He wants to understand the vision of the tree of life. He recognizes that there is more than what his father simply related to them, and Nephi wants to know it.

Nephi is feeling a nudge! This isn’t a scripture or something that Nephi could really study. He did ponder it. Why was he so interested in pondering it and knowing it? I’m not sure – other than he had a desire.

I would venture to guess that Nephi was feeling drawn to this vision. He was having a nudge. Feeling an impression. It didn’t really “stand out” to him in a way that he could understand it immediately. Instead, I think that he was probably puzzled by the whole thing, and it wouldn’t leave him alone. This nudge turned into a full-fledged desire – Nephi needed to know what that dream meant!

After expressing his desire to the Spirit, the Spirit then asks Nephi if he believes his father. Nephi responds:

“And I said: Yea, thou knowest that I believe all the words of my father.” – 1 Nephi 11:5

Isn’t that interesting. Nephi didn’t want to know Lehi’s dream so that he would believe it. Nephi already believed his father and what his father said about the dream. His belief in what his father said is what is nudging Nephi to find a deeper understanding of what his father had taught.

When Nephi gave this response, the Spirit rejoiced:

“And when I had spoken these words, the Spirit cried with a loud voice, saying: Hosanna to the Lord, the most high God; for he is God over all the earth, yea, even above all. And blessed art thou, Nephi, because thou believest in the Son of the most high God; wherefore, thou shalt behold the things which thou hast desired.” – 1 Nephi 11:6, emphasis added

Nephi hasn’t yet received what he desires, but he will. And why will he receive? Because of his faith. Because he followed this nudging, had faith that the Lord would answer his prayer, and did the work (praying, pondering, and believing) required to receive.

My Desire (Personal Application Time!)

I just got stuck on that question today:

What desirest thou?

Even though this question was asked to Nephi, as I read it today, it felt so personal to me. What do I desire???

Going to my favorite scripture study tool (the dictionary):

Desire: (verb)

  1. Strongly wish for or want (something) “he never achieved the status he so desired.”synonyms:

    want, wish for, long for, yearn for, crave, be desperate for, be bent on, covet, aspire to, fancy; Informalhave a yen for, have a jones for, yen for, hanker after/for

I think that I know why this is standing out to me right now. I know exactly what I desire.

Home

(When I say home – I mean a place to call home. I don’t mean “a house.” I just mean one consistent place for my family to feel at home.)

Four years ago, my husband and I started our own business. At the time, we were living in the Phoenix area. If you are familiar with Phoenix, then you know that in the summer time it gets pretty warm…

Giant Saguaro

Does this picture look hot to you?

Hiking in North Phoenix

How about this one???

Now, we really loved living in Arizona, but it is easy to talk yourself into moving when July comes around. My husband and I started toying with the idea. Finally, the next year, we decided it was the right thing to do. We sold our house. We sold most of our possessions. We made the move – to Hawai’i.

Sunrise

From sunup

Hanging in Hawaii

all the day long

Hawaii Sunset

to sundown.

We really loved it there. We made the move. Shipped our car, sold a ton of our stuff, and found a little three month rental. We figured we’d find something permanent when we got there and then we’d ship our stuff.

A few months later, when the rental was about to expire, we hadn’t found anything, and my husband had a strong impression move to Utah… So we did.

We moved to Utah, and then we moved again. And then we moved across the country to Massachusetts. Then back to the west. And now we are hanging out at my in-laws house getting things in order to move again. I’m hoping one final time.

Midway

Midway

Swiss Oaks

Swiss Oaks

Pine Canyon Road

Pine Canyon – Another move in Midway

Wompatuck

Wompatuck, Mass.

Nantasket in January

The Frozen Atlantic…a little different than tropical Pacific

Heber Valley

Heber Valley in late spring.

We’ve been here for a few months now – we only anticipated a few weeks. But that’s how life goes sometimes. In the past few months i’ve found myself:

  • wanting…
  • wishing for…
  • longing for…
  • yearning for…
  • craving…
  • desperate for…
  • bent on…
  • coveting… (okay, not coveting, I promise)
  • aspring to…
  • hankering for…
  • jonesing for…

HOME!!!!!!!

I promise you that it isn’t a complaint. It isn’t me feeling sorry for myself. I’m actually not coveting. I feel satisfied with the decisions I’ve made. I have been grateful to live in every place we’ve lived. You saw the pictures. AMAZING. There is nothing that I will change about the last four years.

Despite my satisfaction with life, I have recently felt a longing, a desire. In church the other week, we sang “Love at Home,” and I just felt how deeply I want home. I have loved our adventures, but I’m ready to settle down for a while.

What desirest thou? for me – it’s home…I’ve gone on about this too long. If this is nudging, it’s not so that I can talk about how much I long for home…

One – The Desire

As I mentioned earlier, I kind of think that Nephi had a nudge – to desire to know more. I believe that his desire wasn’t unrighteous, but that it was a good, spiritual desire.

Additionally, I truly believe that my desire for home is a good, spiritual desire. It is righteous. It is a nudge.

Two – Go to the Lord

Ask. Seek. Knock. And we will find. After Nephi realized what his desire was, he went to the Lord. He pondered on the words of his father. He tried to do what he could to obtain his desire.

Prayer is such a crucial part of this process. In the Bible Dictionary we learn:

“The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings.” – Bible Dictionary: Prayer

I don’t want to get prescriptive here because I think that the work we need to do largely depends on what we desire. However, I know that prayer is a form of work, and as we pray we will be guided on the work that we need to do in order to receive that which we desire.

Three – Believe

After Nephi told the Spirit his desire, the Spirit asks:

“…Believest thou that thy father saw the tree of which he hath spoken?” – 1 Nephi 11:4

This is not really the response I would have expected. I mean, Nephi has the desire, then he is asking God. Doesn’t it seem like he believes? Then, the Spirit asks, “What do you desire?” Nephi tells him what he desires, and then this?

So, why does the Spirit ask him this?

I’m not completely sure, but think about it. What if Nephi said, “I want to see what my father saw,” but then – at his core he didn’t believe it in the first place? It wouldn’t have done Nephi any good to know it. The Lord wasn’t going to answer Nephi of a little curiosity, he was only going to fulfill his desire and that desire had to be backed by real faith.

So – what about my situation?

Well – first of all – without getting too personal (it’s probably already too late for that!!! haha!), I will state that there have been times when I have received priesthood blessings recently when I have been told that soon I will be settled. We will have a place to call home.

So – the thought that comes to me is, “Do I believe?” Do I believe what the Lord has said in the past? Do I believe that the Lord will grant my desire? Do I believe that there really is a home for me and my family?

In a way, it probably seems like I’m cheating because I have Nephi’s example. But YES! Yes I do believe! I believe the promptings of the Spirit. I believe that my desire is righteous and that it isn’t just some little flirtation or curiosity. I believe that the Lord is capable and that He will do as He has already indicated and promised in blessings and other spiritual impressions.

Four – Thou Shalt Behold the Things which Thou Hast Desired

Nephi’s desire was granted after he told the Spirit of his faith. I don’t know how long Nephi was pondering and desiring. It doesn’t really matter. It’s just important to know that Nephi desired, sought, believed, and then received.

And this is the hope that I have. I believe that the Lord will fulfill His promises. Not only do I believe the words of the blessings  and spiritual blessings I have received, but also because of this experience of Nephi’s.

***

So – the nudge. I don’t know how much I really “learned” about the scriptures, but it doesn’t matter. I don’t want to be a scriptorian. The nudge I felt was about this phrase – What do I desire? And I know that this nudge was a way for the Spirit to comfort me as I continue on in my own little journey.

Following this nudge may not tell me more about this scripture story, but it did help me to better understand how the Lord works sometimes – at least how he worked with Nephi. Following this nudge helped me to see that the Lord’s promises are sure. This nudge helped me to really determine if my desires are righteous. It reminded me that prayer really is work. The nudge made me realize that not only should I desire and pray, but I must believe. Faith comes first here – it is what will power the miracle. And the nudge helped to increase my hope in the Lord’s willingness to grant us according to our righteous desires.

Thanks for reading this. I hope it wasn’t too personal or needy. I hope that it helps you to listen to your little nudges and pauses and “huhs” as you study the scriptures.

The Nature of God – 1 Nephi 10:18-22

You can read 1 Nephi 10:18-22 here.

Context and General Information

  • Nephi wants to know the mysteries of God. He is also testifying of the kind of god that God is.

The Nature of our Heavenly Father

I’ve been so fascinated by the scripture in 1 Nephi 2 –

“And thus Laman and Lemuel, being the eldest, did murmur against their father. And they did murmur because they knew not the dealings of that God who had created them.” – 1 Nephi 2:12

I don’t know if this is the most important scripture, but I think that it is quickly making its way into the top ten of “most important scriptures.” (Interesting idea for a post, huh?!). Why do I think that it is so important?

Because in this scripture, we get the key to trusting God. Laman and Lemuel murmur because they know not the dealings of that God who had created them.

While we might not outright murmur against God, it can be hard to conjure up the kind of faith and trust in God that made Nephi so courageous. As I’ve been writing these last few days – Nephi isn’t mythical or magical. He is normal like you and me. Yes he was courageous. And we can be courageous, too. How – knowing the God that created us.

So – here in 1 Nephi, 10, we can learn more about Heavenly Father. Through understanding more about His nature, we can develop the kind of trust in Him that will help to make us courageous.

One – God is a Giver of Gifts

“I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things, by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him, as well in times of old as in the time that he should manifest himself unto the children of men.” – 1 Nephi 10:17

Heavenly Father has given us the gift of the Holy Ghost. It is a gift of God to all who diligently seek Him.

We shouldn’t confuse this with the power of the Holy Ghost. The gift of the Holy Ghost is a gift that is given by they laying on of hands by those in authority. It is a gift that is given by way of covenants and ordinances. We must be baptized, by immersion, and then one who is authorized and worthy to hold and administer in the Melchizedek Priesthood can bestow this gift on us.

We must diligently seek God first – and then covenant with Him by following Christ into the waters of baptism. Additionally, we must be willing to keep His commandments and always remember Him, otherwise we remove ourselves from the companionship and gift of the Holy Ghost.

There will be more study on this later on (in 2 Nephi 32, for sure…maybe before, too.)

The real point is – God hasn’t left us alone on this earth. He has given us a gift that empowers us and makes us capable. It is the Gift of the Holy Ghost. I truly can’t imagine a better gift. When I was younger, I kind of felt like it was a cheesy concept – the Holy Ghost being a gift. But now, I realize that there has been no better gift in my life than the constant companionship of the comforter.

And this is the kind of God we believe in – one who will give us constant access to a member of the godhead as a gift.

Two – Consistent

“For he is the same yesterday, today, and forever;…” – 1 Nephi 10:18

Heavenly Father is consistent and unchanging. Now, we have to understand, that means that Heavenly Father is consistent and unchanging. This doesn’t mean that His commandments are unchanging. We can look at dietary codes – dietary codes have always existed because Heavenly Father is unchanging and He cares not only about our spiritual health but also our temporal health. But the codes themselves change – they are based on time periods and place. Though the Word of Wisdom is a little different than the dietary rules of ancient Jews, the concept behind it – the principle with a purpose – has the same purpose. It is God that is unchanging, but He often will change His methods to suit us.

We can trust Him. His intentions are always the same even if his procedures differ. We can trust Him because He loves us – because His work and glory are our immortality and eternal life.

We can also trust that He works the same way. He is a God of miracles. He will reveal to us through His Spirit – the Holy Ghost. We can seek answers faithfully and trust Him – knowing that He Will Answer.

Three – He Has a Plan

“…the way is prepared for all men from the foundation of the world, if it so be that they repent and come unto him.” – 1 Nephi 10:18

There is a plan for us and for our lives. We aren’t accidental creations of our God. We aren’t mistakes. The Fall, for example, wasn’t a big mess-up. It was a part of a plan. This plan has always had a way to provide us success. This way is the Savior. If we repent and come unto Him, then there is a way for us to return to God.

And this way has existed even before the earth was created.

We can trust God because not only is He God, but He has a plan!.

Four – Eternal

“…the course of the Lord is one eternal round.” – 1 Nephi 10:19

I really hope that I revisit this concept soon because maybe it is worth an in-depth study on its own. But for now, when I think of “one eternal round,” I think of the eternal nature of God. I think of the Hymn “If You Could Hie to Kolob”:

The works of God continue,
And worlds and lives abound;
Improvement and progression
Have one eternal round.
There is no end to matter;
There is no end to space;
There is no end to spirit;
There is no end to race.” – If You Could Hie to Kolob – really go read all of the lyrics to this song. Amazing

Another quote I really like that has helped me to understand more about “one eternal round” was given by Elder Maxwell:

“Repeatedly God has described His course as reiterative, “one eternal round”…. We mortals sometimes experience boredom in the routine repetition of our mortal tasks, including even good works; and thus vulnerable, we are urged not to grow weary in well doing (Galatians 6:9; D&C 64:33; 84:80; Alma 37:34). But given God’s divine love, there is no boredom on His part amid His repetitive work, for his course, though one eternal round, involves continuous redemption for His children; it is full of goodness and mercy as His long-suffering shows His love in action. In fact we cannot even comprehend the infinite blessings which await the faithful—”eye hath not seen, nor ear heard . . .” (1 Corinthians 2:9)” – Neal A. Maxwell

He is eternally working, eternally creating, eternally existing. He is doing this with pure love and without boredom. What a loving God. I can’t even imagine. I get annoyed. I get bored. I get sick of my kids asking the same thing. Why do they need dinner every single night? Didn’t they just eat yesterday?

Yet God’s is one eternal round, and we can take comfort in this. Even though He has had billions of children, He still keeps listening to us, loving us, and answering our prayers.

Five – Clean

“…no unclean thing can dwell with God…” – 1 Nephi 10:21

God is clean. He is free from the filth of wickedness and sin. And He dwells in cleanliness. Not only that, but we learn that no unclean thing can dwell with Him.

We need to remember this because there will be a point when we are judged for our works on this earth. Does this mean that we need to be “perfect” in and of ourselves – and without the Savior? NO! THAT’S IMPOSSIBLE! Remember – God has a plan, and there is a way. It is through Christ.

Christ will perfect us. Christ will make us clean.

And yes, we must be perfect and clean to enter into God’s kingdom.

This is not taught to us to make us feel bad about being imperfect. We are taught this truth so that we will come unto Christ and be perfected in Him.

If we choose not to come unto Christ, if we choose to remain in wickedness, then we will be unclean. And we will not be permitted to dwell with God – whose state is a state of never-ending joy and peace.

So – we must remember this fact, and when we consider it along with the other facts – that God has given us the gift of the Holy Ghost, that He is Consistent, that God has a plan, that He is eternal – we can have hope! We can be clean! There is a way and so many blessings that make life and peace and joy (forever!) with Him possible.

***
Thunderstorm right now. I have to end. I will lose my wifi if I don’t! Please don’t judge me if there are mistakes…Thanks!!!!!!

Understanding the Mysteries of God – Part Two – What the Lord Will Do – 1 Nephi 10:17-19

Sorry I missed yesterday. I was not feeling super and my brain felt too fuzzy to write anything meaningful. But I’m back today.

You can read 1 Nephi 10:17-19 here.

Context and General Information

  • After listening to the vision/dream and then prophesies and testimony of his father, Lehi, Nephi wants to understand the things of which his father spoke.

Understanding the Mysteries of God

In Part one, we studied how our part in understanding the mysteries of God. The primary things that we must do include:

  • Desire
  • Diligently Seek

 

Understand

Before talking about the role the Lord plays in our understanding of God’s mysteries, I think that we need to understand what it means to understand.

I realize that the scripture we are reading today doesn’t use the word “understand.” Instead, Nephi is desirous to “see, hear, and know” the words of his father. Additionally, Nephi doesn’t use the word “understand” later on, but instead promises us that if we will diligently seek, then we will fine, and the “mysteries of God shall be unfolded.”

I’m using the word understanding of my own accord, but I feel like it is the right word. Several times as I’ve been writing this blog post, I’ve wanted to use the word: know. I’ve wanted to say, for example, To know the mysteries of God… But then I keep feeling like “knowing” isn’t quite the word I want to use. It’s a nice word, but not really precise.

Here’s a reason why I’m thinking about it. In the Book of Mosiah, Abinadi is teaching to the priests of King Noah. If you are familiar with the story, then you know that they are wicked.

However, we have to remember they are priests. They know the commandments. They know what is said in the scriptures. But they refuse to apply these scriptures and commandments in their own lives. Abinadi later says to them:

“Ye have not applied your hearts to understanding; therefore, ye have not been wise.  …” – Mosiah 12:27

The priests of Noah claim to preach the law of Moses. They claim to know what God’s will is, but they live at odds with His word. They do not understand!

The priests of Noah weren’t the only ones with this problem.

The most obvious example of this is the Jews who lived in Jerusalem at the time of Christ’s coming. The Pharisees knew the gospel. They knew the prophecies. They knew the law. Yet, as Isaiah said:

“…Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.’ – Isaiah 6:9

What is the point of knowing if you will not understand!?!?!?!

Thankfully, Heavenly Father has given us a way to understand His mysteries. If we do our part of desiring to know more and diligently seeking, then He will help us understand through the power of the Holy Ghost.

The Holy Ghost

The thing is – when we do our part, when we desire and when we seek, we are qualifying for the Holy Ghost. Nephi teaches:

“And it came to pass after I, Nephi, having heard all the words of my father, concerning the things which he saw in a vision, and also the things which he spake by the power of the Holy Ghost, which power he received by faith on the Son of God—and the Son of God was the Messiah who should come—I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things, by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him, as well in times of old as in the time that he should manifest himself unto the children of men.

For he is the same yesterday, today, and forever; and the way is prepared for all men from the foundation of the world, if it so be that they repent and come unto him.

For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round.” – 1 Nephi 10:17-19

I know that I spent a whole blog post writing about the things that we must do in order to know and understand the mysteries of God. But we have to understand that we can’t understand the mysteries of God without the Holy Ghost.

Yes, we can desire, and yes we can search. But if we don’t have the third ingredient – which is the power of the Holy Ghost, then we may come to know the scriptures and even the mysteries of God, but I don’t think that we will understand them.

The Savior taught the disciples that it is the Holy Ghost that would testify of Him:

But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: – John 15:26

Isn’t this interesting – Christ was speaking to the apostles. It was the Savior! Jesus Christ Himself! And yes, He bore testimony of Himself through His words and His deeds, but here – the Savior teaches that it is the Holy Ghost that will testify of Him. This is what will leave an imprint on their hearts.

Elder Robert D. Hales also taught about the Holy Ghost:

Personal revelation is essential, but it is only one part of the work of the Holy Ghost. As the scriptures attest, the Holy Ghost also testifies of the Savior and God the Father.6 He teaches us “the peaceable things of the kingdom”7 and causes us to “abound in hope.”8 He “leadeth [us] to do good … [and] to judge righteously.”9 He gives “to every man [and woman] … a [spiritual] gift … that all may be profited thereby.”10 He “giveth [us] knowledge”11 and “bring[s] all things to [our] remembrance.”12 Through the Holy Ghost, we “may be sanctified”13 and receive “a remission of [our] sins.”14 He is the “Comforter,” the same who was “promised unto [the Savior’s] disciples.”15Robert D. Hales

It is the Holy Ghost that will testify to us, and when He does, we will gain understanding. We will feel comfort and hope. Even if we are being corrected, we will be consumed with the Love of God and more understanding. The Holy Ghost will witness of the truth, and this truth lights our minds with understanding.

In the Book of Moroni, we read:

“And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” – Moroni 10:5

I love this scripture. I know that if you are a Mormon, then you associate this scripture with knowing the Book of Mormon is true. And yes, the Holy Ghost will bear witness of the truth of the Book of Mormon if you ask in faith.

However, I love to look at this scripture alone because it succinctly teaches us about one of the roles of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost teaches us the truth of ALL things. He will help us to know the mysteries of God. He will help us to know how to apply them in our lives. He will give us truth on any and every subject – if we will go to the Lord in desire and diligently seeking.

We can know God’s mysteries – from something as broad as understanding the scattering and gathering of Israel – down to something very specific and personal like where to live. The Holy Ghost will shed light on the truth. He is not a fortune teller. It isn’t a crystal ball we gaze into. We must do the work, but we will be guided on our paths if we will seek to know His mysteries and qualify for the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

I’m grateful for Nephi and his example. He didn’t know the mysteries of God. He wasn’t born with this innate knowledge. But he knew that he could find it. And He did – through his desire, his diligent seeking, and through the power of the Holy Ghost.

Prophecy – 1 Nephi 10:11-16

You can read 1 Nephi 10:11-16 here.

Context and General Information

  • Lehi has been teaching about Jesus Christ, and then John the Baptist.
  • Lehi teaches his family that the Jews would begin to dwindle in unbelief after they killed the Messiah. Though the Messiah was slain, he would rise from the dead.
  • Lehi tells about the Gentiles and the House of Israel.
  • The House of Israel would be like an olive tree – whose branches should be broken off and scattered upon the face of the earth.
  • Lehi teaches that leaving Jerusalem and going to the promised land with his family is a fulfillment of the word of the Lord.
  • After Israel is scattered, they would be gathered again. This would happen after the Gentiles received the fulness of the gospel. They would help to gather Israel.
  • Lehi continued to prophesy of many more things – all while dwelling in a tent in the valley of Lemuel. Nephi, however, didn’t include everything in this book.

Prophecy

In these verses, we read a quick synopsis of more prophecies that Lehi taught to his family. We read:

“And after this manner of language did my father prophesy and speak unto my brethren, and also many more things which I do not write in this book; for I have written as many of them as were expedient for me in mine other book.” – 1 Nephi 10:15

It’s interesting that Nephi uses the phrase: “did my father prophesy and speak.” What is meant by prophesy?

Before we answer this question – let’s reiterate what Lehi had been prophesying and speaking of:

  • The Savior
  • John the Baptist
  • The Dwindling in Unbelief of the Jews
  • The Scattering and Gathering of Israel
  • The Metaphor of Israel Being an Olive Tree
  • How Their (Lehi’s) Family’s Flight from Jerusalem to a Promised Land is a Fulfillment of God’s Word

Now, if we take a second to ponder these concepts that Lehi did “prophesy and speak” of, we will notice that they are all things that were probably addressed in the Brass Plates. We know that Lehi had the Brass Plates and that he was studying them. We read:

“And after they had given thanks unto the God of Israel, my father, Lehi, took the records which were engraven upon the plates of brass, and he did search them from the beginning.” – 1 Nephi 5:10

These Brass Plates weren’t sitting in a safe corner of the tent, collecting dust. Lehi didn’t proclaim to love them and value them, while spending his time on other things. Lehi didn’t set these plates on a coffee table in his tent, reading them from time to time – at his leisure. As soon as he received the plates from his sons, he gave thanks and then he searched them from the beginning. Nephi writes:

“And we had obtained the records which the Lord had commanded us, and searched them and found that they were desirable; yea, even of great worth unto us, insomuch that we could preserve the commandments of the Lord unto our children.” – 1 Nephi 5:21

The point I’m trying to make is this: the stuff that Lehi was prophesying of in 1 Nephi 10, wasn’t randomly put into his mind. He had exposure to these concepts. Because he had been searching the scriptures.

Quick Note: Keep in mind, we know that he started searching the Brass Plates in 1 Nephi 5 – which is right when his boys returned with the plates. In Chapter 10, plenty of time has passed. Remember in chapter 7, Lehi’s sons went back to Jerusalem to get Ishmael and his family. So, Lehi has been searching these plates for a while by the time we get to 1 Nephi 10.

***

Today, when I started my scripture study, I kind of thought that Lehi had some kind of spiritual experience where an angel or the Lord or something came over Lehi, and then he started prophesying of all the things mentioned above. I kind of thought that maybe he was like an oracle – but in a mystical Harry Potter way, not in the way that he probably actually was.

Did Lehi have some kind of spiritual experience where an angel or the Lord or something come over him? YES! He was reading the scriptures! He was having an experience with the word of God. This is the basis for all of his prophesies. We know, for example, that the comparison between the house of Israel and the Olive Tree was a story from the Brass Plates. Jacob will include this story in his record later on. Lehi wasn’t just making this up out of thin air while in some weird trance-like state. He had been searching the scriptures for weeks or maybe months, and these scriptures were being written on his heart.

So – is the reiteration of another prophet’s prophecies prophecy???

I believe the answer is YES!

In the Book of Revelation, we read:

“And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” – Revelation 19:10, emphasis added

This scripture is referenced in the Bible Dictionary, too – as it explains: In a general sense a prophet is anyone who has a testimony of Jesus Christ by the Holy Ghost. (See Bible Dictionary: Prophets.)

***

Down the Rabbit Hole

Thanks for Coming with Me

Okay. Maybe you’re wondering why this seems important to me today. Why I am going down this rabbit hole…Well, I’ll tell you.

When I started my scripture study today, I had no idea what I would write about. How could I possibly find something to write about in these verses? They are interesting, for sure, and I knew that we would absolutely be studying ALL of these topics in the future as we study future scriptures that get into these concepts more.

I wasn’t feeling like I needed to explore each individual prophecy.

And then, as I studied, I kind of wondered about Nephi’s use of the word “prophecy” – how it might be different than what I was imagining. I knew that Lehi had been studying the scriptures, and that many of these prophecies came from the scriptures. Were some of these prophecies individualized to Lehi. Sure, it isn’t written in the scriptures that Lehi’s family was moving to the promised land to fulfill the word of God. That is the individualized inspiration that Lehi received. But it was based on a general prophecy that was written in the Brass Plates – that Israel would be scattered like the branches of an olive tree.

I started realizing that these prophecies, and this gift of prophecy is not uniquely Lehi’s gift. I’m reminded of the scripture:

“And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!” – Numbers 11:29

Of course, in God’s church, there is order. When Moses says, “would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets,” he doesn’t mean that we should all be vying to do the duty of President Nelson.

Instead, what he means is that God wants all of us to have the Spirit of prophecy. He wants all of us to do just as Lehi did- study the scriptures, feel the Spirit, and then through the Spirit of Prophecy make application in our own lives.

The Lord wants all of us to have his spirit daily. He wants all of us to be like Lehi – teaching and testifying to our children. And this is accessible to us! Lehi was inspired by the scriptures – the word of God. He searched and poured over them. He searched them, analyzed what they taught, and then applied them to his life. This is the spirit of prophecy that is available to us all.

Constant Companion

And as a mother, I find it so important to be a “prophet” to my children and family. I need to have the spirit in my life – daily! I want my children to have experiences like Nephi did – when he hung out with his dad in the tent. Lehi’s tent is a really cool place.

***

One last thing. It works! I share this story to illustrate that I know we can have the Spirit of prophecy in our own lives, and that we can teach our children or others in our reach with this spirit.

Last night, my family was reading the scriptures together. We don’t look like families you might see on the cover of the Ensign magazine, but scripture reading has always been a priority.

Right now, we are living with my in-laws, so we gather in the office, where two of my children sleep at night. They sleep on little foam pads. The pads were set up, sheets, comforters, and everyone is just kind of lounging around in the room.

My son is a typical seven year old boy. He can’t possibly sit still (unless he is asleep). While reading scriptures it is not unusual to see him do somersaults, the splits, or just rock around and move. He is active. And it is easy to think that he’s not listening.

We were studying the story of Nephi getting the brass plates. We had just finished 1 Nephi 4, and we were recapping the whole story. We were talking about how retrieving the plates was a commandment from God, and that – truly – God will not give us a commandment without preparing a way for us to keep that commandment.

As we were discussing this concept, I brought up the fact that sometimes, though – we have to go through a few failures. I asked my kids, “Did Nephi get the plates the first time?” No. “Did Nephi get the plates the second time?” No.

Then I said, “Because it was so hard, Laman and Lemuel thought that it was impossible. This is why they didn’t believe the angel.” Then I asked, “But, just because they didn’t get the plates the first two times, does that mean that they should give up?”

My little boy, while rolling around on the ground (very literally, like combat rolling around), spoke up, “No! Just like Mom always says, God’s not Lucy from Charlie Brown. He’s not going to put the football out and then take it away!”

It’s true. I do always say that. I smiled at my husband. I didn’t think Rex was listening at that moment – let alone whenever I had made my statement about God not being Lucy (which statement I HAD NOT made that day! I probably said it a week or two ago). He continued to roll around the floor while telling us that even if we have to try a few times, God will help us do what he told us to do.

It works. We can bear witness, we can utilize the spirit of prophecy in our own lives and prophesy to our children – what we know about our Heavenly Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ. We can help others to know and understand what we know when we share it!

The Spirit of prophecy is real, and it is available to us all. As I mentioned earlier, this is not to be confused with the calling of being a Prophet, Seer, Revelator and President of the Church. Instead, what is available to us all is the ability, through the Holy Ghost, to learn of the Savior and then testify of Him.

 

Lehi Prophesies of John the Baptist – 1 Nephi 10:7-10

You can read 1 Nephi 10:7-10.

Context and General Information

  • After Lehi prophesied of the coming of the Savior, he prophesied of the prophet that would come to prepare the way of the Savior.
  • Lehi prophesied that this man would go forth and cry in the wilderness. He would also baptize Jesus Christ.
  • Lehi prophesied that after baptizing the Messiah, he would then testify that Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God who should take away the sins of the world.
John the Baptist

John Preaching in the Widlerness, by Del Parson

John the Baptist

I find the prophecies about John the Baptist really fascinating. All of the prophets testify and prophesy of Christ. However, it isn’t very often that there is a prophecy about a prophet.

And I wonder why that is. Right now, off the top of my head, the only prophecies of prophets I can think of is this – John the Baptist and Joseph Smith (See 2 Nephi 3.)

I can’t say that I’m exactly sure why there are prophecies of John the Baptist, so let’s go ahead and look him up in the Bible Dictionary.

“Son of Zacharias and Elisabeth, being of priestly descent through both parents. This lineage was essential, since John was the embodiment of the law of Moses, designed to prepare the way for the Messiah and make ready a people to receive Him. He was the outstanding bearer of the Aaronic Priesthood in all history and was entrusted with its most noble mission.” – Bible Dictionary: John the Baptist

Okay. So I didn’t really know this. The embodiment of the law of Moses. That is interesting. Preparing the way for the Savior.

FYI, I haven’t thought this through. I’ve had a busy day, and am getting to my scripture study kind of late, so today is a bit more “stream of consciousness” than usual. Welcome to my brain. Please don’t judge me. 🙂

Back to what we were saying before. Here are the thoughts I’m having in regards to “preparing” and “embodiment of the Law of Moses.”

The Law of Moses was a preparatory gospel paving the way for the higher law that the Lord would give in His ministry.

The Aaronich Priesthood is a preparatory priesthood which leads to the Melchizedek Preisthood.

John the Baptist is kind of a signpost for this change – from the lower law to the higher law. He prepared the way for Christ.

There is so much more in the Bible Dictionary about John the Baptist, but I think that we will study it later. For now, I want to focus on the tenth verse:

“And after he had baptized the Messiah with water, he should behold and bear record that he had baptized the Lamb of God, who should take away the sins of the world.”- 1 Nephi 10:7-10

I just love this scripture because it makes me think of the fulfillment of this prophecy. In the New Testament, we read:

“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” – John 1:29

This is the very moment that is prophesied of by Lehi – this is the moment where the lesser priesthood makes way for the higher priesthood; where the lesser law of Moses makes way for the higher law of Christ.

John the Baptist has a large following. Instead of trying to nurture his own numbers and ego, he turns them over to the Savior. That’s what the lesser law is all about, after all – preparing for the Messiah. And here, John the Baptist – who was testified to precede Christ, did precede the Christ. John the Baptist was a humble prophet who fulfilled his mission on this earth.

By the way – one of the reasons why I love that scripture from John so much is because it is one of the scriptures included in Handel’s Messiah.

Can you imagine it? Can you imagine being there, listening to the John the Baptist utter those words, “Behold the Lamb of God.???

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The prophets knew that the Savior would come. That this gospel is real. That there is a purpose to our lives here on earth, and that purpose is possible because of the Messiah. And because of the testimonies of the prophets, we too can know that the gospel is real, that there is a purpose to our lives on earth, and that purpose is possible because of the Messiah.