The scripture stories in the Book of Mormon have always been a treasure to me. Honestly, I didn’t know why the experiences of Nephi and his family were positioned right at the beginning of the book. I don’t wonder about that anymore.
Building a ship .. persecution from brothers .. lost on a journey we’re unsure about .. challenges to our faith and at times we, too, may be less than faithful. We face much the same things when we choose to follow the commandments and be involved in the Lord’s work today. We are asked to do things that are far beyond our individual abilities. The pointing finger of scorn is not unfamiliar to those that follow Christ.
Life is a journey, and we have all felt lost, alone, or misguided at some point. Like Nephi, you may have felt on your own or abandoned or forsaken. But spiritual guidance, protection, and being led by the hand of the Lord are real experiences in our lives today as well.
Lehi’s dream is an interesting metaphor for us. It is about us. Often we read the scripture stories and experiences of others that lift and edify our own lives. But the verses in 1 Nephi that describe Lehi’s dream are not just about others on their way to find happiness. They are about us! Holding to or losing our grip on the Rod of Iron, staying on the straight and narrow path or “they who had commenced in the path did lose their way, that they wandered off and were lost.”
We all find ourselves in one of those situations at some time or another. During our lives, we have probably experienced each one of them. That’s OK. It was meant for our benefit and edification. Yes. We are represented in that scripture. So is He. In fact, his role is an essential part that no one else can play.
41 O then, my beloved brethren, come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name. 2 Nephi 9:41
Personal conviction to Jesus Christ and gospel truths is an anchor in our lives as described by President Dieter Uchtdorf. “It is steady as the North Star.”
- God lives. He is our Living Father in Heaven, and we are his children
- Jesus Christ is the Son of God and Savior of the World
- Joseph Smith is the prophet through whom the Church was restored in these latter days
- The Book of Mormon is the Word of God
- President Monson, his counselors, and the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are the prophets, seers, and revelators of our day. They speak God’s will.
No good thing comes without effort and sacrifice. As we test these truths and implement them, we can know that they are true. President Uchtdorf encourages us as follows:
“We need to know for ourselves with a certainty beyond doubt that Jesus is the resurrected Living Son of the Living God.”
Patriarchal blessings are a sort of Liahona for our lives. Once again, the experiences of Nephi have direct application in our lives. We had the joyous occasion of attending our daughter’s patriarchal blessing recently. It confirmed for me the things about her that I already knew. She is an elect lady. Her patriarchal blessing confirmed that.
In Deuteronomy, we are taught that by the mouth of two or three witnesses truths shall be established. But then our Heavenly Father gives us dozens of witnesses to confirm his work, purpose, and testify of his Son. Not only do we have the scriptures, but we have living apostles and prophets, the priesthood ordinances and covenants, temples, and good examples all around us.
Missionaries proclaim these truths all across the world: Jesus Christ is the Son of God and Redeemer of mankind, Prophets and the Book of Mormon are living scriptures, the truths of the commandments like chastity and modesty and fidelity in marriage bring hope, the Gift of the Holy Ghost and perhaps the most prolific, the Spirit of Christ given to every man and woman on earth—these all witness of the Great Plan of Happiness.
I love the following video. I first saw it in Seminary when I was just a young man, but I get the same feeling of happiness and joy every time I watch it. The Spirit testifies to the gospel truths and witnesses of our Heavenly Father and his Son Jesus Christ.
Just as we are promised in the Book of Mormon, we can know the truth of all things
3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
We can and do know these truths for ourselves. I am not unique in this realization. Tens-of-thousands of saints all across the world testify of these important facets of the great plan of happiness and much more. We can all know for ourselves that these things are true.
And perhaps that is the greatest truth of all.
In 1989, Walter Penning formed a consultancy based in Salt Lake City and empowered his clients by streamlining processes and building a loyal, lifetime customer base with great customer service. His true passion is found in his family. He says the best decision he ever made was to marry his sweetheart and have children. The wonderful family she has given him and her constant love, support, and patience amid life's challenges is his panacea.