Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Book of Mormon project: 1 Nephi 1

After a friendly reminder from the bishop and a good Sunday school lesson, I've decided that I need to be more dedicated about my scripture study. I need to search them instead of simply reading. So I'm re-reading the Book of Mormon from the beginning, writing my insights in my journal, and blogging what I learn. So far I'm 7 out of 7 this week, up from too-glassy-eyed 4 or 5.

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So, from the beginning.

One of the big things I've been impressed with is that the Book of Mormon depicts ordinary people, being asked to do extraordinary things. Sure, there are lots of really good people, but I don't think above and beyond the people you meet in church on Sunday.

For example, look at 'murmuring' and the general level of rebelliousness. Laman and Lemuel aren't evil, they're just really stubborn and prone to anger. They try to kill Nephi because they see his plan as completely ruining their life -- and there are a lot of people that would behave similarly.

Or, who 'murmurs.' Lehi murmurs when the steel bow breaks and he thinks they are all going to starve. Sariah murmurs when she thinks Laban has killed all of her sons. Laman and Lemuel murmur all the time, of course -- the only person who doesn't murmur is Nephi. And my journalistic guess is that he wasn't always perfect either but he was writing the record so we don't get to hear about it. (Except in lament form in 2 Nephi 4.)

The action in 1 Nephi 1 begins with some strange scenes, including Lehi seeing a vision and throwing himself on his bed. Not much of a catchy lede, is it?

Stephen Covey makes the point that private victory precedes public victory. Wars are won in the general's tent. Anger and malice are quieted in the heart before others observe a changed countenance. The events of Gethsemane gave Christ the courage he needed for Calvary and completed the triumph of the empty tomb that first Easter morn.

In 1 Nephi 1:20 we have the first "thus we see" passage. These form somewhat of a series of thesis statements [PDF, but a really good one], and this is the first one.
"But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance."

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