Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Insights from the Book of Mormon: 1 Nephi 3:5

"And now, behold thy brothers murmur, saying it is a hard thing which I have required of them; but behold I have not required it of them, but it is a commandment of the Lord." ~The First Book of Nephi 3:5

The background for this is as follows. When Lehi and his family left Jerusalem, they did not have a record of the Jews with them; a record that would contain the commandments of the Lord, a record that would have their lineage. Therefore the Lord gave a commandment to go and get one that He had prepared and preserved for them. Lehi was obedient to this word. Because of Lehi's rather old age the instruction was that his sons Laman, Lemuel, Nephi and Sam would go and get them. The challenge was that the record was in the hands of Laban; a rich, easily angered, violent, greedy elite man with a private guard of a kind. This is why Laman and Lemuel did murmur.

But now you know the starting point I had. This sparked a thought in my mind. It reminded me of Christ's words when he spoke along these lines: "one who acts according to these words will know if they are from God or if I speak of my own."

For many of our youth it may be hard to grasp one of the lessons here. Standards and principles that the Father and Christ, our oldest Brother, expect us to follow are not just arbitrary limits to bug us. They are road signs to balanced life filled with inner peace and foundational happiness.

The challenge is that not too many of us remember hearing these things face to face from the Father or the Son. Someone else, a human being or our "conscience" has always been the one to teach us. That is maybe why so many argue them as inventions of control-freak men.

We know them to be from the Father because we have tried "these words" and received a result. All of us from a rebellious teenager to a law-abiding senior citizen must find out for ourselves if the commandments are from God who knows all things or from a man who has given his or her own, perhaps a well considered but not completely waterproof, solution.

For myself I know that we have a Heavenly Father who has given us commandments, counsel and direction that are founded on eternal laws - equally unchanging and equally unrelative as the laws of nature. These laws have been received in various ways. They have been forwarded with various methods but all the same "[a man has] not required it of [us], but it is a commandment of the Lord."

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