Anger, Lies, and Persuasion – 1 Nephi 16:36-39

You can read 1 Nephi 16:36-39 here.

Context and General Information

  • Everyone starts murmuring against Lehi and Nephi. They say that they want to go back to Jerusalem.
  • Laman and Lemuel use this as an opportunity to make a wicked suggestion: to kill Lehi and Nephi.
  • Laman and Lemuel manipulate the truth and lie in order to persuade the others to kill Lehi and Nephi.
  • Thankfully the Lord steps in. He spoke to them and chastised them. They turned away their anger, repented of their sins, and then were once again blessed with food so that they did not perish.

Persuasion and Lies

The verses included in these verses have always been interesting to me. First of all, I’m interested in the idea of persuasion. I feel like it often has a negative connotation, but really it is neither positive or negative. It’s just a thing.

In the dictionary, we learn the real definition of persuade:

Persuade
1: to move by argument, entreaty, or expostulation to a belief, position, or course of action
2 : to plead with : URGE – Merriam Webster

Persuasion is the simple act of trying to move another person. When we understand that this is the case, then we will also find that often people have many motives of persuasion and different ways to persuade others. These aren’t always good! This is where the bad stuff may come in.

We are taught in the Doctrine and Covenants that power or influence over others ought NOT to be maintained – by force. Instead of unrighteous dominion, Priesthood leaders (and probably other leaders, too), should lead others through persuasion, long-suffering, gentleness, meekness, love unfeigned, etc.

Persuading others – to believe in the Savior Jesus Christ, to do good – is okay!

NOW.

We should look at it from the other side, too. We have to remember that there are forces at play trying to persuade us to do one thing or another. Yes, we have the prophets (ancient and modern) who are persuading us to come closer to Christ. We have good friends, teachers, leaders, and family members who are doing the same. There are good people around us who are persuading us to be better people because they love us and they want us to be happy.

Then, there are people who are trying to persuade us for other reasons. They want power, they are selfishly motivated. They don’t care about us – other than they need us for some reason or another. They need our money. They need our support. But they don’t intend to lift us up or see us happy!

We are surrounded by persuading voices. It is easy to think of politicians. But also commercials, sociopaths, internet trolls. Whatever.

In 1 Nephi, we read how Laman and Lemuel tried to persuade their brethren:

“And Laman said unto Lemuel and also unto the sons of Ishmael: Behold, let us slay our father, and also our brother Nephi, who has taken it upon him to be our ruler and our teacher, who are his elder brethren.

38 Now, he says that the Lord has talked with him, and also that angels have ministered unto him. But behold, we know that he lies unto us; and he tells us these things, and he worketh many things by his cunning arts, that he may deceive our eyes, thinking, perhaps, that he may lead us away into some strange wilderness; and after he has led us away, he has thought to make himself a king and a ruler over us, that he may do with us according to his will and pleasure. And after this manner did my brother Laman stir up their hearts to anger.” – 1 Nephi 16:37-38

I think that if we study this experience, we can learn how not to be persuaded by little jerks like Laman and Lemuel.

Heart Conditions

Remember what we read in the verse before:

“And thus they did murmur against my father, and also against me; and they were desirous to return again to Jerusalem.” – 1 Nephi 16:36

Notice the condition of the hearts of the brethren of Nephi. They were upset. They were murmuring. Because of their anger, the Spirit of the Lord wasn’t with them anymore. They were so irrational that they expressed the desire to return back to Jerusalem – despite the extreme hardships they endured to get to the point they were at!

The angered state is not a good state to be able to think spiritually or rationally, so if we are worked up into an anger, we are very easily persuaded by those who don’t have our best interest in mind. We are already stirred up. We aren’t seeing clearly. We need to fight to stay in a positive state – one that is open to the truth and the Spirit of the Lord.

This is really resonating with me right now. We are surrounded by this. There are news agencies and politicians banking on us losing our wits and then buying into anything they say by getting us angry.

Laman and Lemuel were perceptive enough to see their chance. Everyone was angry enough for them to voice their murderous idea – to kill Lehi (their father!) and Nephi (their Brother!)

Lies!

Laman and Lemuel don’t just stop there – with this idea to kill Lehi and Nephi. Instead, they give their reasons, which are laced with lies.

If the sons of Ishmael and others who were listening to this argument had their wits about them, I think that they would have seen the incredible irony in what Laman and Lemuel were saying versus the actual truth.

What Laman and Lemuel Said – Versus the Actual Truth

  1. Laman and Lemuel:“…Nephi, who has taken it upon him to be our ruler and our teacher, who are his elder brethren.”

    Actual Truth – Nephi didn’t seek to be a ruler or a teacher over his brothers. Nephi is loyal to God and willing to do what God asks Him. In fact, Laman and Lemuel knew exactly why Nephi was chosen to lead them. The angel told them this as Laman and Lemuel were beating Nephi and Sam with a rod:

    “…Why do ye smite your younger brother with a rod? Know ye not that the Lord hath chosen him to be a ruler over you, and this because of your iniquities?…” – 1 Nephi 3:29

    Laman and Lemuel are manipulating the truth to engender more anger and persuade the others to go along with their evil plan. Yes, it is true that Nephi has become a sort of leader over them. But it isn’t because he sought power over them. And they know it. They know that their own iniquities have disqualified them from being leaders themselves.

  2. Laman and Lemuel:“…Now, he says that the Lord has talked with him, and also that angels have ministered unto him. But behold, we know that he lies unto us; and he tells us these things, and he worketh many things by his cunning arts, that he may deceive our eyes, thinking, perhaps, that he may lead us away into some strange wilderness…”

    Actual Truth: – Nephi did see angels! They know this! They were there when an angel ministered to him! And this wasn’t the only time. An angel taught him the meaning of Lehi’s vision of the tree of life. His brothers were in Lehi’s tent arguing. Nephi wasn’t there! And when Nephi returned, he was able to teach his brother the meaning of Lehi’s words. Laman and Lemuel once again are twisting the truth. They know that Nephi has borne testimony to them of these experiences.

    Not only that, but it wasn’t Nephi’s idea to go into the wilderness. It was Lehi who had received the commandment to go to the wilderness, and many people – other than Lehi – had also received a witness of this command.

  3. Laman and Lemuel:“… But behold, we know that he lies unto us; and he tells us these things, and he worketh many things by his cunning arts, that he may deceive our eyes,…”

    Actual Truth: This is almost getting comical. Laman and Lemuel are lying in the very moment! They are working cunning arts – taking advantage of people’s emotions! They are deceiving the eyes of the rest of the people in their party.

    If the others weren’t so blinded by their own murmuring, then one of them might have had the wits to say, “Wait a minute…aren’t you lying right now?! Didn’t you also see an angel?! Why are you trying to use your ‘cunning arts’ to deceive us and have us kill them?!

    Laman and Lemuel are guilty of exactly what they leverage against Nephi. It’s kind of disgusting. (And it happens all the time still…I won’t go into examples, but I’m sure you can think of some).

  4. Laman and Lemuel:“…and after he has led us away, he has thought to make himself a king and a ruler over us, that he may do with us according to his will and pleasure. …”

    Actual Truth: THIS IS WHAT LAMAN AND LEMUEL WANT TO DO! They want to become the rulers and leaders over the people so they can do with them according to their will and pleasure. They pretend like getting rid of Nephi and Lehi will grant them “freedom.” Instead, and everyone there should know this by now killing Nephi will ensure their death.

    They are in the wilderness. They are somewhere on the Arabian Peninsula. It isn’t a particularly hospitable climate. They aren’t a stone’s throw from Jerusalem. They have been traveling months, if not years by now.

    They have already nearly died from starvation in the wilderness, and they were only sustained by Nephi’s faith and wits – to make a bow and arrow and go hunt for food.

    Laman and Lemuel aren’t interested in the truth, though. They are interested in something else. They want their father and their brother eliminated so that they can have power. They can’t go out and say this, though. Instead, they decide to appeal to the anger of the people who are in distress.

    It’s all completely insane.

More Anger

We read:

“…And after this manner did my brother Laman stir up their hearts to anger.” – 1 Nephi 16:38

So – the sons of Ishmael (and others) were angry. Laman and Lemuel used this anger to persuade them of their evil idea. Laman and Lemuel were, unfortunately, effective. The people became angrier.

This is where we have to be careful. In their anger, which was based on a series of fallacies, they had decided that murder would be a good idea. They had been persuaded to break a pretty major commandment!

What Can We Learn from This?

Overall, the thought I keep having is that we need to do everything we can to be worthy of the Spirit. We need to do what we can not to be blinded by the deception of the Devil.

Marion G. Romney stated:

“We know that there is available to each of us the gift of the Holy Ghost—the power of revelation which embraces the gift of discernment by which we may unerringly detect the devil and the counterfeits he is so successfully foisting upon this gullible generation.” – Marion G. Romney

If we stay close to the Spirit, then we will not succumb to the Devil or those who have evil motives.

***

Laman, Lemuel, and the rest are extremely blessed. The Lord himself stopped this. He spoke to the entire party, chastised them – and they repented. If Laman and Lemuel had been able to go with their plan, then not only would Lehi and Nephi have died, but the rest of them would have, too.

They were dependent on the Lord. They didn’t even know where to go to find food – would they really have been able to make it back to Jerusalem. Once again, the righteousness of Nephi saves this group as they journey to the promised land.

And we can learn – we can learn not to let ourselves be deceived. We can do this by keeping our emotions in check – not allowing ourselves to get angry. We can do this by staying close to the Spirit so that we have the Spirit of discernment and charity.

Advertisements

They Got Angry – 1 Nephi 7:16

A short one for today. Read 1 Nephi 7:16 here.

Context and General Information

  • This is all happening while on the journey back from Jerusalem to Lehi’s tent – with Ishmael’s family.
  • Laman and Lemuel had rebelled, along with some of Ishmael’s children, and they want to return to Jerusalem.
  • Nephi reminds them of the danger in moving back to Jerusalem – it will be destroyed! However, Nephi admits that they have a choice. He is simply giving them an educated choice.
  • Laman and Lemuel get angry. They tie him up with the intention of him dying in the desert.

They Got Angry

What is the response of Laman and Lemuel – who were already agitated and rebellious – to what Nephi had to say. We read in 1 Nephi:

“And it came to pass that when I, Nephi, had spoken these words unto my brethren, they were angry with me…” – 1 Nephi 7:16

Laman and Lemuel were angry with Nephi.

Why? Why would they get mad at Nephi? Let’s think about what is happening –

  1. Laman and Lemuel rebel – against Nephi while traveling back to the wilderness to their father – against their father in traveling in the wilderness at all. They want to go back to Jerusalem.Their hearts are in Jerusalem. This isn’t really good.

    And why isn’t it good? As I think about it – I’m reminded of others who have left Jerusalem so far:

    • Lehi, Sariah, Sam, and Nephi – and by this point we know that Lehi has a testimony that they need to leave, Nephi and Sam have testimonies that they need to leave, and Sariah has a testimony that they need to leave. Though this inspiration originally came to Lehi, the Lord did give confirmation to others that Jerusalem would be destroyed and that they needed to flee.The point I’m trying to make – Nephi, Sam, and Sariah were not relying on Lehi’s witness anymore. They had witness for themselves. Laman and Lemuel could have, too, but they didn’t seek it. And if they did, they ignored it and desired Jerusalem more. (which is crazy, right?! Who would want to stay in a place that would be destroyed?!…a quick tangent – based on what we know about Laman and Lemuel, I think it’s safe to assume that if they had stayed in Jerusalem and it got destroyed, and they were starving, or fleeing for their lives, or slaves they would be thinking “Why weren’t we warned? I would have rather traveled in the wilderness for 8 years than to deal with this!”)
    • Zoram – It’s easy to forget that Zoram is even with them still. But it’s important to note. Zoram isn’t making a move to escape back to Jerusalem. He stayed loyal to Nephi and Lehi – even though Nephi killed his master, Laban! We don’t know a whole lot about Zoram, but it seems apparent that at some level Zoram knew Jerusalem would be destroyed and wanted to escape it, too. He didn’t seem tempted to rebel against Lehi or Nephi on the way to the promised land.
    • Ishmael and his wife, and a few of his children (that didn’t rebel) Even though Ishmael and his family are only beginning this journey, there are plenty members of his family who don’t rebel.

    So – it’s not only Nephi and Lehi that want to move out of Jerusalem. There are many others who have received their own witnesses and motivation for leaving Jerusalem. Laman and Lemuel want to go back, so they rebel.

  2. Nephi, troubled by Laman and Lemuel’s rebellion and constrained by the Spirit, speaks to his brothers – He asks them the series of “how is it?” questions. He is trying to jog their memories and help to persuade them not to return to Jerusalem.
  3. Nephi gives Laman and Lemuel the choice to do whatever they want – with the reminder of what is in store for Jerusalem. He is a good brother, but with their hard hearts, they see his warning as some kind of manipulation or guilt trip. They don’t see that he is delivering the message being given to him by the Lord.

So back to the earlier question. Why are Laman and Lemuel mad at Nephi? He gave them the truth and he gave them an option. What’s it to them?

Anger…

“And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” – Moroni 7:45, emphasis added.

They are mad because the devil has a hold of their hearts. They don’t have charity. They don’t have the pure love of Christ. You can tell because they are quick to anger. They aren’t patient. They don’t rejoice in truth. Instead, when they don’t get their way, they get angry. When they hear the truth, they get angry. When they are reminded of the Lord and their covenants, they get angry.

We are taught, by the Savior Himself:

“For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.” – 3 Nephi 11:29

Why are Laman and Lemuel angry? For the very same reason that they murmur: they know not the dealings of that God who created them.

Silly. Beyond silly. This is what Laman’s and Lemuel’s anger has brought them to do:

“And it came to pass that they did lay their hands upon me, for behold, they were exceedingly wroth, and they did bind me with cords, for they sought to take away my life, that they might leave me in the wilderness to be devoured by wild beasts.” – 1 Nephi 7:16

This is the second time (that we have read about) where Laman and Lemuel use violence against their brother. Out of anger. They have no self control – they are completely emotional. And they make a choice that, if it had worked out the way that they intended, would have made them murderers.

Personal Application

I’m toying with this idea – to do more personal application. We’ll see how it goes.

Yesterday, I was in my car, driving home after a doctor’s appointment. It was a beautiful, sunny day in the Heber Valley.

I was driving down a country road that starts off as two lanes in each direction and then narrows down to only one lane in each direction. It is a simple merge, there aren’t usually many cars on this road.

As I drove along, I was singing to music and happy that my kids are all healthy. I noticed in my rear-view window someone coming up on me really fast. The lanes were merging, but I was already in the portion of road where the lanes had merged. The person behind me would simply have to stay behind me.

By the way. I was driving about 50 in a 35. So I wasn’t going a leisurely pace. I could have been pulled over and ticketed.

But it wasn’t enough for the person behind me. They nearly drove me off the road and passed me illegally. I have no idea how fast they were going. Soon they were tailgating someone else ahead of me, and passing them even though it was a double yellow. Even though they nearly hit another car head-on.

I wanted to get angry.

***
A few days ago, I was talking to someone who I don’t consider a particularly good listener. Even though I know this, I was still engaged in a “conversation,” and then it progressed as usual. I was frustrated with the conversation, with being spoken “down” to. With the whole entire situation.

I wanted to get angry.

***
Right now, we are living a life of transition. It’s not easy. It is a burden on me, my husband, my children, and my extended family. I know that faith in God includes faith in his timing. Yet there are times when it is hard to understand why His timing takes so long. Stress and pressure mounts up.

And I want to get a little angry.

***
So – personal application…Learn from Laman and Lemuel. Don’t be quick to anger. And how is it done?…
One – Instead of getting angry for too long, I just sang louder to my music. The day was too pretty to let some driver get me angry. They must have somewhere to go. And I hope that they stay safe!

I remember when I had a kidney stone and we were driving to the hospital. (If you have had a kidney stone, you understand the pain)… Any time my husband slowed down, I yelled at him to hurry up!… Maybe that driver had a passenger with kidney stones! Who knows. Who cares. Whether they had a good reason to drive aggressively or none at all, it makes no difference.

I can keep proper perspective and stay happy.

Two – Instead of getting angry at someone who I consider isn’t a good listener, I can look at the situation with honesty. What kind of listener am I if I’m getting angry at someone else? Instead of worrying about people listening to me, maybe I should remember the sage advice of Mom’s everywhere – we have two ears and one mouth. Maybe I need to take my own advice.

Not maybe.

I need to take my own advice.

I am not always a good listener, but I know that when I take the time to listen and care about others, I always feel so good. It’s easy to think that having someone listen will make me feel better about myself. Maybe I should try another tactic – maybe I should try listening if I want to feel better. I know that if I do, I’ll be happy rather than angry.

Three – I can’t do anything about my life being in a transition right now. Faith in the Lord includes faith in his timing! So, instead of worrying about the things that I can’t control, I can focus on the things I must do daily to eliminate stress, fear, and doubt.

Pray. And go for walks. I’ve noticed that when I don’t get outside (of the house or my own head…or both), then I get crazy.

How can you feel angry when you go for a walk and see this???

Heber Valley Golden Hour

Anger? Not possible in the Heber Valley during the Golden Hour.

Globe Mallow

Anger? Not possible when you spy a little bloom on a roadside.

Chicken Crossing

Anger? Not possible when you actually see a chicken crossing a road!

Yellow Swallowtail and Blue Flax

Anger? Not possible when there are swallowtails flitting along in the flowers.

Mama and Baby Horse

Anger? Not possible when you pass by a cute, new foal and his mama.

Summer Storm

Anger? No. Simply Admiration.

***
Anger is an easy option. It’s the go-to reaction for the “natural man.” But we miss out on so much in life! Laman’s and Lemuel’s anger nearly caused them to miss out on a promised land. And anger won’t just disappear when we think we have what we want.

We must make the choice to strip anger out of our hearts. And then, when we do – we open our hearts to beauty and joy.

 

Anger and Acceptance (1 Nephi 16:18-23)

In learning about how people navigate obstacles in their lives, I’ve observed two main reactions to adversity:

acceptance

In the past, I tended to confuse acceptance with endorsement. There are times when acceptance means, this, but a few years ago, when I started a deeper meditation practice, I came to realize that acceptance actually means something a little different. In terms of “accepting” the obstacles in our lives, it isn’t that we give a ringing endorsement, but that we are regarding it as true, we are understanding it.

anger

Anger is an emotional response to adversity.

We see both of these responses in 1 Nephi when Nephi broke his bow.

“And it came to pass that as I, Nephi, went forth to slay food, behold, I did break my bow, which was made of fine steel; and after I did break my bow, behold, my brethren were angry with me because of the loss of my bow, for we did obtain no food.

And it came to pass that we did return without food to our families, and being much fatigued, because of their journeying, they did suffer much for the want of food.

And it came to pass that Laman and Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael did begin to murmur exceedingly, because of their sufferings and afflictions in the wilderness; and also my father began to murmur against the Lord his God; yea, and they were all exceedingly sorrowful, even that they did murmur against the Lord.” – 1 Nephi 16:18-23

Laman, Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael react to Nephi’s broken bow is anger. They murmur and complain. But what does it do? What is the point? They are all starving in the desert. How is standing around, murmuring or complaining going to improve their situation?

Being angry is a waste of time and energy.

“And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did speak much unto my brethren, because they had hardened their hearts again, even unto complaining against the Lord their God.” – 1 Nephi 16:22

Even though Nephi didn’t react with anger, no solution can be found. He is diffusing the anger of his brethren. What a waste of time! Nephi isn’t doing the wrong thing here, but notice how much effort he must make to calm their anger.

I think that this is usually the result of anger. We waste our energy on murmuring and complaining instead of resolving the solution. Additionally, we have to waste time and energy to abate our anger – before we can finally see clearly to solve our problems.

I get that there are times when we have a physical, emotional reaction. There have been times when I have been hurt that I have felt anger. But my anger never has solved anything. It usually makes things worse, then takes a lot of energy out of me before I finally shake the angry feeling.

This is why meditation and prayer is so helpful. There is not a better way to learn to detach and accept our adversities with a discerning and understanding heart than through meditation and prayer.

Finally,

“And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did make out of wood a bow, and out of a straight stick, an arrow; wherefore, I did arm myself with a bow and an arrow, with a sling and with stones. And I said unto my father: Whither shall I go to obtain food?” – 1 Nephi 16:18-23

When we use our energy to accept the problem, then we are able to find solutions! Nephi accepted his loss of a bow. I’m not sure he was feeling super gung-ho and happy about it. But he accepted it. Then he was able to analyze the situaiton and figure out a way to make a new bow.

It’s such an easy solution.

His brothers could have done the same. They could have had food before Nephi went out and procured it. But they wasted their energy and effort, which was already in limited supply, by murmuring and complaining.

The Double Edged Sword of Truth (Mosiah 13:8)

In Mosiah Chapters 12-15, Abinadi the prophet is delivering a message to the wicked priests of King Noah.

Abinadi preaches a message of truth. It is, for the most part a message of hope. It is the message that Christ will come. It is the message of the gospel and how God’s commandments bring us joy and peace in this life and in the life to come.

Of course, the gospel of Christ is also a message of our agency. We don’t have to choose to keep the commandments. We don’t have to choose to covenant with Him. We can do whatever we want to do. However, we are warned that when we don’t keep the commandments, then we will experience pain and misery.

Abinadi is teaching the priests truth. This message is “laws of the universe” kind of stuff. That might not make sense. What I mean is – the connection between righteousness and joy is as sure of a universal truth as gravity is. You can’t really disagree with the law of gravity. It’s a law.

I mean, I guess you could disagree with it. But you are still susceptible to it, and must be obedient to it or else experience grave results. The Lord’s laws are just as sure. But not everyone accepts or rejoices in truth.

The Priests, who claimed to be preaching the gospel, didn’t rejoice at Abinadi’s words. They didn’t nod their heads and give an “amen.” Instead, we read:

” Ye see that ye have not power to slay me, therefore I finish my message. Yea, and I perceive that it cuts you to your hearts because I tell you the truth concerning your iniquities.

Yea, and my words fill you with wonder and amazement, and with anger.” – Mosiah 13:7-8

I’ll try to cut the priests some slack. Abinadi was calling them out on their wickedness. This is because they were ripening for destruction, and God loves His children. He sent a prophet to warn them – with the hope that they would repent and unite themselves again with a God who loves them and would protect them. It isn’t always easy to hear or take correction – especially if you’re somewhat fond of your sin.

So, I can learn a lesson from these wicked priests, and ask myself, Do I respond in like manner? When someone corrects me, am I filled with “wonder, amazement, and anger?” or do I swallow my pride, accept correction, and seek to repair my relationship with God?

Meditation and Joy

About a year ago, I started meditating. I’ve always believed in prayer, and I know that prayer is basically meditation. However, I also knew that my prayers were lacking. I saw a yoga magazine about meditation and felt that I should purchase it.

As I read through their meditation articles, I had a strong impression to start incorporating some of the yoga-principles into my own meditation (breath, posture, etc).

It has been a transformative experience. My prayers are much better and more meaningful, and I love finding examples of meditation throughout the scriptures.

There is a great example of the power of prayer and meditation found in 2 Nephi 4.

2 Nephi 4 is often considered to be “the psalm of Nephi.” His soul is pained – because of the anger he has towards his brothers. This entire chapter can show us the power of consistent meditation.

For now, I’ll only focus on one part that I find especially significant (today…!)

We read:

“O then, if I have seen so great things, if the Lord in his condescension unto the children of men hath visited men in so much mercy, why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions?

And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry because of mine enemy?

Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.

Do not anger again because of mine enemies. Do not slacken my strength because of mine afflictions.

Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation.” – 2 Nephi 4:26-30

Nephi’s brothers want to kill him. This is what has driven him to anger. Plus, let’s face it. Nephi has had to deal with his brothers for a lifetime. They haven’t been all that great to him.

I can see why Nephi is angry.

I know that I’ve been frustrated with people in my life (and none of them have have threatened to kill me). I remember a time, for example, when I was a little frustrated with my husband. I prayed about my frustration.

Instead of having the Lord respond, “You’re right! He’s being such a jerk!” I was brought to humility.

As we grow in our meditation, I think that we learn to do this ourselves, and Nephi is an example of this.

Instead of trying to justify his sin, he asks questions of himself. Nephi isn’t focused on how he has been wronged, he is focused on his agency. He doesn’t complain to God that Laman and Lemuel are trying to kill him. Instead, he focuses on his own knowledge, experience, actions, and testimony.

He knows so much. He has had so many blessings in his life. He lives in a promised land. And now, he is reacting to Laman and Lemuel’s antics?! No Way! Nephi shows us that consistent meditation will help us to become agents to act rather than be acted upon.

Instead of retaliating and further pushing this wedge between him and his brothers, he prays about his own reaction. He gives up his pride, he puts his trust in the Lord, and then he is strengthened.

Meditation and prayer will help to strengthen our resolve for our own agency, and this will bring so much more joy in our lives.