THE FIRST BOOK OF NEPHI
Nephi describes his parents as “goodly”, and says they taught him well. Even though his life had its share of afflictions, he felt blessed by the Lord. Having been taught in righteousness, he made a record to help others learn what he knew.
His father, Lehi, heard the words of the prophets that spoke in Jerusalem, calling the people to repentance. Warning them of the coming destruction of the city, if they would not repent. Lehi didn’t take the prophets words at face value, he decided to take his questions to God in prayer. The Spirit overtook him and Lehi saw a vision.
In his vision he saw Our Heavenly Father sitting on a throne, surrounded by angels. The angels were singing and praising God. One descended from heaven, having brightness beyond that of the sun. Then he saw 12 others descend, who were brighter than the stars.
The 12 went to the earth, but the first stood before Lehi, showing him a book, which he was able to read. From the book, Lehi learned that Jerusalem would soon be taken over by Babylon, many would die, and others would be taken captive. Lehi asked the Lord if the people who turned to Him would be treated the same as the people who reject His warnings. Lehi found reason to rejoice in the answer, though it wasn't mentioned in the Book of Mormon.
Nephi explains that he isn’t planning on writing everything that Lehi saw, or taught, but will abridge them. His goal is to write of his own experiences, thoughts and blessings.
Lehi took what he had learned and went out to teach, and warn, the people of Jerusalem. As was usually the case, the people didn’t take the news too well. They mocked him and got mad at him because he said they weren’t living the way God intended. He also prophesied of the coming of Jesus Christ, which didn’t make them feel any better. The people got mad to the point that some set out to kill him. Lehi credits the tender mercies of God for helping his father get home alive.
From 1 Nephi, chapter 1, we learn about the importance of prayer in our lives. While it is important to pray to thank the Lord for our blessings, and ask for things needed for ourselves or for others, there is are other reasons to turn to God.
I don't expect any of you to take what I write here as "gospel" simply because I write them. Take the example of Lehi for everything you learn about things of the spirit. Who knows more about truth than the ultimate arbitor of truth than Our Heavenly Father?
The same goes for your ministers, bishops, priests, sunday school teachers, or anyone else you look to for spiritual learning. Faith is an important part of our spiritual development and why we're here on Earth. However, if our faith is in another person, it better be someone who can help you after this life is over. Otherwise your faith is wasted.
As we move through the stories of The Book of Mormon, continue to pray about the topics discussed, the scriptures referenced and what we talk about amongst ourselves. That is how all the prophets of old learned the truth for themselves. It's not just available to prophets, but to everyone.
We also learn that doing God's will isn't always going to be easy, convenient or popular. There are wonderful times when it is, but like everything else, you have to take the good with the bad. Newton's 3rd Law of Thermal Dynamics would come into play here (btw, I use this law a lot because it seems almost universally true). "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction". In other words, the equal and opposite reaction to calling people to repetance could be them doing something to you that would require them to repent of later. ;~D
8 And being thus overcome with the Spirit, he was carried away in a avision, even that he saw the bheavens open, and he thought he c">saw God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels in the attitude of singing and praising their God. 9 And it came to pass that he saw One descending out of the midst of heaven, and he beheld that his aluster was above that of the sun at noon-day. 10 And he also saw atwelve others following him, and their brightness did exceed that of the stars in the firmament. 11 And they came down and went forth upon the face of the earth; and the first came and astood before my father, and gave unto him a bbook, and bade him that he should read. 1 Nephi 1:8-11
Notice the capitalization of "One" in the verse. Nephi saw "numberless concourses of angels", and "twelve" others followed, but neither reference is capitalized. The One was symbolic of Jesus Christ, coming down to teach His Gospel, the 12 were sent to "the face of the earth", symbolic of the future preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ by the 12 apostles. The way he worded the verses separated Christ and the Apostles from the angels; and for that matter, from each other.
The description of the "One" being brighter than the noon day sun is a typical example of the glory and deity of Jesus Christ, whereas the twelve apostles were important, and had an important roll in the Gospel, but were (after all) just men.
This first chapter sets the stage for the prophet status of Lehi, and later, Nephi as they journey through the wilderness, seeking the "promised land", but more importantly, gaining the experience, knowledge and faith necessary to take on the challenges to come.
TERMS OF PARTICIPATION