Tuesday, February 17, 2009

II Nephi 1-2

II Nephi 1: This land (the Americas) is a choice land reserved for an inheritance for the righteous. It will be a blessed land--prosperous and free, as long as the inhabitants serve the Lord. But, if iniquity abounds, the land will be cursed and there will be no promise. Lehi is close to death and he speaks to his sons and people. He begs his sons to “Awake and arise from the dust my sons and be men, and be determined in one mind and in one heart, united in all things. . . Awake my sons; put on the armor of righteousness. Shake off the chains with which ye are bound, and come forth out of obscurity and arise from the dust. Rebel no more . . .”

Application: This is also my plea to my own sons (and all sons everywhere). If you read this someday--- Shake off the chains which bind you--alcohol, drugs, materialism, pride, anger, feelings of unworthiness. The Lord loves you,-- you are choice spirits saved for these latter days--sent to a country and a home where the Gospel was available to you. I know it wasn’t and isn’t a perfect home and family but you can rise above our imperfections and pull yourselves up and Stand Tall. BE MEN--men of righteousness--men of God!

II Nephi 2: Jacob receives his final “Father’s blessing and teachings. Jacob is a righteous man and son, he has had his ‘calling and election made sure’. He has seen the Lord face to face. Lehi also states that all “men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil” (the light of Christ) so that they can justly be judged by the law. Redemption is only possible through Christ’s atonement and resurrection. There is "opposition in all things" and Lehi expounds on this great principle. For a man to be free to act for himself, and, for there to be a choice,---there must me an enticement or opposition to each decision. Satan became part of the plan by providing the enticement which is in opposition to the Lord's commands and plan. This life is a time of probation and repentance. If Eve had not partaken of the fruit there would have been no change or growth, no children, no joy (for they knew no misery), and no good (for they knew no sin). It was God’s plan that by that act of disobedience--this probationary period of earth life and opposition would be introduced. “Adam fell that men might be and men are that they might have joy!” men are free to chose liberty and eternal life through Christ the Lord or to choose captivity and death according to the power of the devil.

Application: Do I act or am I acted upon? Do I CHOOSE my path or just allow each day to slip away--No choice=no action=no valiancy=no glory. Also, I have thought about what went on in the Garden of Eden, the tree, the command, ultimately the choice. I truly believe that the tree was placed because God will never force us to do things, even for our “own good” It had to be a choice. Also we have heard that “no unclean thing can enter into heaven” Conversely, perhaps “no clean thing can be kept out of heaven” Adam and Eve prior to the partaking of the fruit in opposition to God’s command were clean and pure and walked and talked with God and Christ in the garden. But that small act of disobedience set in motion the entire plan of salvation. A necessary step for all of us to be able to progress, grow and ultimately return again to that Father who sent us forth into this earthly experience.

Monday, February 16, 2009

1 Nephi 22

1 Nephi 22: This chapter is partially an interpretation of chapter 21. A marvelous work and a wonder to be brought forth to bless the Gentiles, the Jews, (House of Israel) and all kindreds, tongues and peoples of the world. The Book of Mormon was first brought to the Gentiles, then the Lamanites and now to all nations. The second coming is close. All those who fight against Zion will turn and war against themselves. Nephi prophesizes about the second coming and the millennium. Satan is bound- not by some miraculous imprisonment- but by the righteousness of the people. Any and everyone can be saved if they repent.

Application: Could I bind Satan in my own life by living righteously? Could I and my family “bind Satan” and cast him out of our lives and homes by living righteously? Do I honor the Book of Mormon for the marvelous work and a wonder that it is or do I take it for granted?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

1 Nephi 21

1 Nephi 21: (see Isaiah 49) Monte S. Nyman* states this chapter is one of the most important chapters in Isaiah, because it clearly foretells the mission of the Latter day Saints and the “destiny of the land of America in connection to the house of Israel.” And that “it is of such importance that it should be studied diligently by every member of the church. He gives an outline whose main points are 1.) Israel is the servant of the Lord in whom he will be glorified. 2.) Israel’s mission is to gather Jacob in the strength of the Lord. 3.) The Lord will show that he has not forgotten his promises to Zion (the Americas) 4.) many will gather to Zion who will be adorned as a bride 5.) Israel will be delivered from the hands of the Gentiles.
It is sometimes hard for me to remember that when the Lord speaks of the House of Israel he is not just speaking of an ancient people or the Hews. But that I am of the House of Israel- the line of Ephriam and the promises also extend to me. The Land of Zion (the Americas) mourned and felt the Lord had forgotten her (the earth has a spirit) The Lord will keep his promise and so many people will come to America that they shall cover the land like a cloth and they shall even fill her waste and desolate places until it will seem too narrow. It is the gentiles who will come- with “nursing Kings and Queen’s” (England?) They will come for freedom because their home lands are “too Strait”. The Lord will protect and fight for Zion.

Application: I have ancestors who came from Europe in the early years of this country . They came as is said for freedom, especially the freedom to worship as they please. John Throckmorton did just that and sought truth and changed his life several times in that quest. What is my role as a child of Israel, raised in Zion? What is my role and responsibility to my forbearers and my posterity.

*Great Are the Words of Isaiah; by Monte S Nyman, Bookcraft, SLC, 1980, pgs 173-185

Thursday, February 12, 2009

1 Nephi 19 and 20

1 Nephi 19: Nephi is commanded and instructed of the Lord to make plates of ore and engrave thereon: 1) a record of his people 2) the record of his father and their travels in the wilderness, 3) The prophecies of his father, 4) His own personal prophecies. These plates were in addition to the “large” plates which held the genealogy of his fathers and the more part of the proceedings in the wilderness. Nephi states that the “more plain and precious parts” should be written on these small plates that he had made. “I do not write anything upon these plates save it be that I think it be sacred.” Nephi refers to the scriptures and speaks prophetically concerning Christ’s crucifixion and death and the destruction that will accompany that event. He also speaks of all peoples of the earth, including the House of Israel’s, acceptance one day of Christ. Here also Nephi urges us to “liken all scriptures unto us, that it may be for our profit and learning” “that we may have hope.”

Application: We should be keeping a personal sacred record of OUR own dealings with the Lord and OUR journeying through this life. When we read the scriptures we need to be asking ourselves how this applies to us in our day and listen for the sweet promptings which will follow that we may profit, learn and abound in hope.

1 Nephi 20: The Lord calls to the house of Israel-(born into the genealogical line of Judah) and those who are born out of the waters of baptism (adopted into the House of Israel) The Lord declares and shows all things (through His prophets, visions, scriptures) so that we will acknowledge that they are from the Lord and so we can’t attribute them to idols or our own strength. He has declared them from the beginning, even before our births that we may know that he is God. Great blessings are often lost because of sin and stiffneckedness. We should take his word to all the world.

Application: Do I remember the Lord in all things? Am I obedient and grateful? Do seek out missionary experiences?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

1 Nephi 17 and 18

1 Nephi 17: Nephi is commanded to build a boat, and goes up into the mountains (symbolic temple) where the Lord instructs him in how to accomplish such an overwhelming task. And once again we find that when faced with a challenge Laman and Lemuel and those who have sided with them harden their hearts and start their IF ONLY crying and once again seek to murder Nephi. Nephi rehearses to them the parallel story of Moses and the children of Israel in the wilderness and he chastises them for being “swift to do iniquity and slow to remember the Lord” he accuses them of being murderers in their hearts. Then his indignation decreases and his sorrow and love for them overwhelm him. He is so overcome he can hardly stand. At this point his murderous brothers see that he looks weak and think “we can take him NOW” and rush to grab him. Nephi is filled with the power of the Holy Ghost and he rises up majestically and warns them that if they touch him they will ‘wither” (die) and he speaks to and confounds them. Then being commanded by the Lord to demonstrate The Lord’s power to them he stretches forth his arm at his brothers and gives them a great shock. Nephi’s power is so great that now his brothers seek to worship him, but he instructs them to “worship the Lord thy God and honor thy father and thy mother.” Only after Nephi’s demonstration of the Lord’s power do they cooperate and help to construct the ship.
Another interesting point in this chapter is how the Lord is their only source of light and heat. They were not allowed to make fires during the journey so the Lord was a piller of light at night and since they could not cook the meat that they hunted the Lord made “the meat sweet” so it did not require cooking. The Lord said that He did all that He did, so ALL would know that it was Him who lead them through the wilderness to the promised land. No one who was on this journey in the wilderness could ever be justified in thinking that they were the ones responsible for making the journey just by their own strength, craftiness or wisdom. .

Application: We can compare our journey here on earth to Lehi’s family’s journey in the wilderness. At every trial do we murmur and complain? Do we cower in fear if a life experience is threatening? Do we shrink and never attempt greatness because we fear failure and we “don’t know how to accomplish the task, or feel that we don’t have the skills necessary”? Or worst of all do we deny Christ and our Heavenly Father - refusing to acknowledge in gratitude their help and blessings, in effect “murdering” them by our relegating them out of existence in our lives. Do we give heed to our personal “Liahona” (the scriptures, Ensign, Prophets, Personal Revelation) do we check each day to see what message is written for us there? Do we let the Lord “light our way” or do we determinedly continue to stumble about in the darkness? The symbolism of the Liahona and the parallels between Moses and the children of Israel’s journey into the wilderness and how they apply and also parallel our journey through life should be a matter of continued personal reflection and study

1 Nephi 18: The ship is completed and the journey to the promised land is begun. This chapter shows how quickly a person can turn away from the Lord. The family begins the journey praising God but after just a couple of days, they had a party maybe some drinking was going on but they became more rude perhaps with loud, boisterous or foul language or with suggestive dancing or worse (it doesn’t specify) What ever was going on Nephi feared that they were offending the Lord and feared the Lord’s condemnation. He tries to tell everyone to calm down and remember who they are. Laman and Lemuel flair into a fit of anger at their younger brother, they’re “tired of their younger brother always telling them what to do” so they take him and tie him up, binding him tightly. Over the next three days, no amount of pleading or tears from their parents or Nephi’s wife will entice them to set him free. Lehi and Sariah are so disheartened, sick and brokenhearted they are brought “near unto death’. Only as God brings a great storm which threatens their very lives do Laman and Lemuel relent and free Nephi. Nephi refuses to be angry but rather praises God and continues on the journey.

Application: Do I forgive and forget like Nephi does or do I let my perceived injustices fester and canker? Am I ever watchful of my actions, and strive to stay close to the Lord at all times? It seems that Laman and Lemuel were always found pushing the line between righteousness and apostasy Only great physical events could keep them in the right. (an angel, a powerful shock, a great storm and it’s immediate calming etc.) They seem spiritually hardened, do I keep my spirit humble and my heart soft?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

1 Nephi chapter 16

1 Nephi 16: In this chapter Lehi and family continue their travel in the wilderness, the Liahona (“a round ball of curious workmanship” that would point “the way whither we should go”) is given unto them from the Lord. Nephi breaks his steel bow (vital in obtaining food) and Ishmael dies. The loss of the bow quickly leads to extreme hunger and afflictions which drive even Lehi to murmur and complain. Lehi humbles himself quickly, repenting with great sorrow. The others are chastened and their repentance lasts only until the next trial where they again plot to kill Lehi and Nephi blaming them for all their struggles and problems. Laman, Lemuel and those aligned with them concoct a wild scenario to explain all the miraculous things that have happened so they can deny the Lord’s existence and justify their murder of their father and brother. Ishmael’s death was particularly hard for his family (esp. Laman’s and Lemuel’s wives). They want to blame someone so they blame Lehi for bringing them out of Jerusalem and Nephi for keeping them in the wilderness--for of course (in their minds) IF ONLY they hadn’t left Jerusalem they would be fat, happy, rich, and their father wouldn’t have died

Application: Do I seek to learn the LORD”S WILL in all things? Or do I just want what I want when I want it? Do I recognize his hand in everything--the food on the table, our home, our health, event the very breath we breathe? Or do I deny him and praise the arm of flesh for providing these things. (I.e. I’ve worked hard all these years, I’ve strained, sweat lifted and gone to work every day! I have earned this by my labor! Or I’m so intelligent, I got my degree and this job, prestige and money.--aren’t I smart and aren’t I strong-- I did it by myself! It is hard not to accept the worlds doctrine that is constantly being pushed at us though TV, news, friends etc. We must be ever vigilant and we must truly have and express gratitude to our Heavenly Father for all that he provides for us

Saturday, February 7, 2009

chapters 12-15

1 Nephi 12: Nephi’s vision continues he sees the Americas at the time of Christ’s crucifixion and coming. The great destruction and then the righteous generations after his appearance. He also is told that the mists of darkness from Lehi’s dream are the temptations of the devil, to blindeth the eye and hardened the heart. The river is the depths of hell. Those who dwindle in unbelief became “a dark, and loathsome, and a filthy people, full of idleness and all manner of abominations.

Application: Do I stay close enough to Christ and the gospel that my garments are white? And do I radiate an inner light? OR am I also dark and full of idleness? I don’t think the word “dark” refers to the color of the peoples skins but rather is a synonym to the other words loathsome, filthy abominable just as my reference to white is a synonym for pure, good, righteous.

1 Nephi 13: Nephi sees the future of his own people and of the land they had come to. He sees the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. He also sees “other books” that shall come forth to the convincing of the whole earth that Jesus is the Christ.

Application: Do I study and use the scriptures which have already been revealed and which I have? Do I respect and honor them enough that God will trust us with more?

1 Nephi 14: Nephi’s vision concludes, he writes of the great and abominable church whose fonder is the devil. In Verse 10 he states “behold there are save two churches only. The Church of the Lamb of God and the great and abominable church. He states if one doesn’t belong to Christ’s church than by default you belong to the church of the devil. The concept that our church is the only true church often causes bad feeling among people and potential converts. It is difficult to condemn those who live righteous lives in accordance with what truth they have. Wendy Dewitt once put forth the theory that perhaps condemnation of other churches comes because all men are born with the light of Christ to guide them back to Heavenly Father. All men have a desire to find truth. The other churches upon the earth, step in and satisfy that desire and stops the person from searching further and the person is they left with only part of the truth and is kept from the full gospel, the priesthood and the savings ordinances. Satan will tell nine truths just to get you to believe in one lie. ( We justify the lie by rationalizing “this was true and that was true and he knew this or that, so this must also be true”) We also learn that the Apostle John will tarry and record all that transpires and the end of the world. We look forward to receiving more of John’s writings as on of those “other books” mentioned in the last chapter.

Application: Am I worthy to desire a vision for my family. Am I sure enough of my faith to live up to that vision and endure to the end? There was a time in my life when I was worthy and did receive visions and guidance--can I humble my self again?

1 Nephi 15: Laman and Lemuel are talking about some of Lehi’s visions. They are confused and are unable to understand. Nephi enters and asks them simply--Why are you confused?--Didn’t you ask the Lord about it? They reply “no” because they have never received an answer from God. Nephi reminds them of the Lords assurances that If we ask in faith we shall receive. He then “translates” the vision of the olive branches for all. Following the explanation of the olive tree parable, Nephi explains the Vision of the Tree of Life. He also pleads with them with all the energies of his soul ane with all the faculty he possesses for them to become righteous men. He expounds on the state of men after death, the justice that divides the wicked from the righteous. He states that the fruit (God’s Love) is the most precious and most desirable above all other fruits, yea, and is the greatest of all the gifts from God. Nephi spoke plainly and explained to his brothers the plan of salvation, He pleads and crys with and for his brothers. Then he explained the consequences-(hell) and the reward-(the kingdom of God).

Application: I can also deal with my family this way, clearly outlining the plan and what is expected of them and outline the consequences for disobedience and the rewards for obedience while always respecting their agency.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

1 Nephi 9-11

1 Nephi 9:
Nephi makes two sets of plates because “the Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men: for behold he hath all power unto the fulfilling of all his words.: (during translation, Martin Harris get the only copy of the first forty pages to show his wife and then loses them. Heavenly Father refuses to allow those pages to be retranslated because of plots to discredit them so that same time period of Lehi’s journey is covered in the 2nd set of plates.

Application: We must trust in God’s guidance and follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost even if it doesn’t make sense to us at the time the instruction is given.

1 Nephi 10:
Lehi prophesies concerning Jerusalem and the coming of Jesus and John the Baptist. He compares the house of Israel to an olive tree whose branches are broken off and scattered, but that they would one day be gathered. Nephi also wants to see the visions of his father, he reminds us that we all can have this knowledge through the gift of the Holy Ghost. “For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and all the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them”. for God is the same today, yesterday and tomorrow-all men at all times can seek God.

Application: I am part of the House of Israel! I am also entitled to personal revelation through the gift of the Holy Ghost.

1 Nephi 11:
Nephi is carried away by the Spirit of the Lord unto an exceedingly high mountain. He expresses his desire to see his father’s vision. He is praised for believing in Jesus just from his father’s words. He will therefore be allowed to see Jesus’ birth and life in vision himself. So he can testify and bear record of Jesus as well. He is given an interpretation of the Tree of Life vision. The tree was more beautiful than he had imagined. The tree represents the love of God which spreadeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men: wherefore it is the most desirable above all things. And the angel states “and the most joyous to the soul”. The rod of iron was the word of God. The Large and Spacious building is the pride of the world;. Nephi sees the fall of the great and spacious building. “Thus shall be the destruction of all nations, kindreds, tongues and people who fight against the Lord or his apostles.

Application: Nephi first desired to know, and believed the Lord could show him and then Pondered in his heart the things he was seeking. Do I follow this pattern when seeking answers or do I glibly and thoughtlessly ask for knowledge? Do I recognize God’s love as THE MOST JOYOUS thing in my life?

1 Nephi 1-8

A few years ago, I journaled as I read the Book of Mormon, writing my own personal synopsis of each chapter, including whatever insights I gleened. I tried to then apply each chapter's message to myself and my life. I am trying to get it typed into the computer so I can print it out and thought that I would also post it here. I hope that you might gain some insight as I share and, in the very least, it is another place to safeguard my journal besides just on my hard drive.

A Book of Mormon Journey and Journal----by Deanna Steffler

This journal will contain thoughts, inspirations, applications and synopsizes derived from the reading of the Book of Mormon. I started on November 18, 1999 (and as is my style) layed aside and restarted, and layed aside and started again etc until I finally finished April 30, 2006.

1 Nephi 1: Nephi starts his portion of the record by recording an account of his father Lehi (a prophet) and the marvelous vision he had manifested as a pillar of fire on a rock. Lehi sees and hears much. Lehi returns home and is overcome by the spirit. He is then carried away in a vision and sees Christ and his apostles. He is shown the coming destruction of Jerusalem (if the people do not repent). Lehi goes forth and testifies to all Jerusalem, despite the persecutions and danger that accompanies his call to repentance. “When thou art converted-strengthen thy brethren.” and perhaps also “Where much is given, much is expected” is brought to mind. Also twice in this chapter it speaks of the Lord’s ‘tender mercies’ “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.”

Application: Lehi and Sariah were “goodly parents” yet two of their sons were rebellious and become unbelievers and persecute their family that remain faithful. We must be ever vigilant in helping our children learn how to get their own answers and testimony. Also, Lehi’s experience with the Lord parallels and has many of the same descriptive markers of other prophets record of their interaction face to face with the Lord. A testimony of the truth of Joseph Smith’s description of his first vision.

1 Nephi 2: When Lehi is commanded by the Lord in a dream to leave Jerusalem, Lehi packed up his family and left into the wilderness. No negotiating or foot dragging. He took only his family and necessities (tents food etc.) and left. Leaving the rest of their property and wealth behind. Laman and Lemuel are rebellious and first Lehi speaks lovingly “O (Laman) that thou mightiest be like unto this river, continually running into the fountain of all righteousness” and “O, (Lemuel) that thou mightest be like this Valley--firm and steadfast and immovable in keeping the commandments of the Lord.” but as they continue to murmur and begin to plot to kill Lehi (“the were like unto the Jews who sought to take away the life of my father”). Then Lehi spoke unto them with great power insomuch that their very bones shook and they dared no say another word. On the other hand Nephi though upset at leaving sought the Lord for confirmation. The Lord answered Nephi and reveled much about Nephi and his posterities future. In addition, I have read that one scholar of the Middle East stated the Lehi’s reference to the VALLEY being unmovable (rather than a mountain) is unique to that geographical area. The shifting of the sands could form hills which could be gone tomorrow but the valley remains.

Application: Obey quickly and without murmuring . Seek confirmation don’t just complain and back bite. Have enough faith to seek your own answers and truth.

1 Nephi 3: Laman and Lemuel were the first asked to go get the brass plates, but they murmured and said it was a hard thing to do. Only after nephi came to his father to share his revelation did Lehi go around Laman’s “birthright” and ask Nephi to get the plates. Nephi’s vision has shown him God’s plan and power. He accepts willingly knowing God will provide a way. Laman and Lemuel have to be coaxed, coddled and pacified throughout the hourney. Even an angel is sent down to intervene and speak to them, but as soon as the angel left they started again to murmur.

Application: A sign will not convince or convert-only the willing, humble heart can be changed. The Lord will not force anyone to believe, they must choose for themselves. In Verse 28 we learn that Laman was the leader/instigator and that Lemuel went along with whatever Laman said or did. Do we subject ourselves to someone else’s will-just to be popular?

1 Nephi 4: A disturbing chapter where Nephi is commanded to kill Laban. This brings a conflict between my western ideological and Christian theological upbringing and the ancient Judaic laws of justice and God’s knowledge of the plan of salvation and death. Laban had committed several acts that would have condemned him to death under the Judaic law---theft and intent to commit murder among others and had those acts been brought to the attention of a righteous earthly judge he would have been condemned and executed. Laban’s death was justified by all the laws of his time and place. God is the final judge as to whether our lives and actions are righteous. He also has a knowledge of each of us and our immortality. Our time here on this earth is such a small moment and God will be fair and merciful in His judgments of His children and since Laban is-despite the errors of his ways-a son of God, I believe he will have opportunity extended to him in the eternities in the form of the gospel and the atonement. Nephi’s willingness to obey God’s command to do this thing which went against everything he felt or had been taught testifies of the faith and trust he had in the Lord and also his character and his determination to be obedient in whatsoever thing the Lord asked of him. It reminds me of Abraham being asked to sacrifice Isaac and his willingness to obey even such an incomprehensible command. It is counted as righteousness to be willing to obey all that we are commanded to do. The strength and power of an oath is illustrated in Zoram’s promise to accompany Nephi into the wilderness--“our fears did cease concerning him” they did not tie him up so he couldn’t escape or worry that he would murder them in their sleep. A man’s word was a bond.

Application: Do we honor and uphold the oaths and promises we have made? Do we live with exactness in regards to our baptismal, temple and family covenants? Do we seek to learn God’s will and then obey his commands?

I Nephi 5: In this chapter, Sariah falters in her faith and murmurs because of the tremendous fear she had concerning the welfare of her sons. But her fear and murmuring turn to praise of God and an experience that would build her testimony of God’s care. She rejoices and offers burnt offerings and vows to never doubt the Lord again. The obtaining of the brass plates was not the end of the commandments concerning them. Lehi immediately read and searched them. Lehi prophesied that the teachings of the brass plates will never dim but will be carried forth to all nations, tongues and people. The importance of genealogy and family history is put forth. Nephi states how important the plates are so “that we could preserve the commandments of the Lord unto our children.”

Application: Search the scriptures daily and keep a journal and seek out your family history.

1 Nephi 6: Nephi tells how the small gold plates are to be used to record the things of God for the good of men and his posterity. The things of the world will be/are recorded on other plates.

Application: By Nephi’s example we should keep two records. One of our spiritual dealings with God and our testimony. A record designed to uplift and bring the reader (our posterity) to God, and another journal that records our life and dealings with men.

1 Nephi 7: Lehi’s sons again return to Jerusalem to bring Ishmael and his family into the wilderness with them. Laman and Lemuel rebel again, this time convincing 2 of Ishmael’s son and 2 of his daughters to side with them against Nephi and their father Lehi. Nephi rehearses all that the Lord has done for them. He exhorts them to remember that the “Lord is able to do all things according to his will: if we have faith. He reminds them of the prophesies of the destruction of Israel. He emphasizes that they have a choice to follow God or to rebel against him. They choose to rebel and bound Nephi with strong cords and plot to kill him. Nephi prays to the Lord for strength and help. His bands are loosened and Ishmaels’s wife, a daughter and another son all plead for Nephi’s life. Hearts are softened and forgiveness sought. Nephi “frankly forgives them and the journey continues.

Application. I need to remember all my blessings and spiritual interactions with God and honor my children’s (other;s) choices, and forgive easily, quickly and freely.

1 Nephi 8:
This chapter records the vision of the Tree of Life and while I won’t go into the details, it is rich in symbolisms and insight into our life here on the earth--such as; the narrow path, the iron rod, the rich and spacious building and of course the Tree of Life with its most desirable fruit. As a parent, this vision really effects me. As I read of Lehi’s loving concern for his children and how he both beckons and calls to them to come and partake of the Tree of Life. And, how despite the marvelous vision, the sweetness of the fruit, etc., Lehi’s heart had to be broken to know that two of his eldest sons refused to be saved. Even though it was their choice not to come to the tree, it evokes such heart wrenching powerlessness in those that love them and deep heart searching to find if somehow there were things that as a parent he might have done differently to have influenced them to be more receptive. I also have had many dreams where in my young children were running towards a dangerous high precipice and all I could do I cry and beg them to stop and return before they would laughingly continue in a headlong rush over the edge without ever being aware of its presence (because they ignored all the counsel to the otherwise)

Application: Do both my actions and my words teach and testify of Christ and invite others to cling to the rod and follow the path to eternal life? As a parent do I truly take the time to teach my children the gospel and to rely on the Spirit so they can choose righteously?