Lehi, family faced new challenges in new land

In his April 1980 general conference address, Elder Howard W. Hunter, then a member of the Council of the Twelve, spoke of the phenomenon of friction, without which a person or vehicle could not move about or, if already in motion, could not be stopped except by collision.

Without friction, he explained, simple things like nails, screws and bolts would not stay in place; a cork would not stay in a bottle, a light globe would drop from its socket and a lid would not stay on a jar."The law of friction or resistance that we think of as only applying to science seems to find application in our personal lives," Elder Hunter said. "This is probably what Lehi was referring to when he spoke to his son Jacob. He reminded Jacob of the afflictions and sorrows that had come to him because of the rudeness of his brethren, and told him how these afflictions would ultimately result in good. These are the words of [LehiT to his son [JacobT:

" `. . . Thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain.' (2 Ne. 2:2.)

"In other words, the afflictions that had come to him in the form of opposition or resistance would be for his good. Then Lehi added these words that have become classic:

" `For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, . . . righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad.' (2 Ne. 11.)

"We came to mortal life to encounter resistance. It was part of the plan for our eternal progress. Without temptation, sickness, pain, and sorrow, there could be no goodness, virtue, appreciation for well-being, or joy. The law of opposition makes freedom of choice possible; therefore, our Heavenly Father has commanded His children, `Choose ye this day, to serve the Lord God who made you.' (Moses 6:33.) He has counseled us to yield to His Spirit and resist temptation. . . ."

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Applying the scriptures

Nephi taught people how to read and apply the scriptures

"And I did read many things unto them which were written in the books of Moses; but that I might more fully persuade them to believe in the Lord their Redeemer I did read unto them that which was written by the prophet Isaiah; for I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning." (1 Ne. 19:23.)

From this passage, it appears that Nephi, in teaching his people, explained the scriptures and applied their teachings to their own needs and circumstances.

"That is the correct way of reading the scriptures," states Commentary on the Book of Mormon 1:206, by George Reynolds and Janne M. Sjodahl. "In reading, for instance, the story of Abraham and Isaac on the mountain of Moriah, he [NephiT would probably point out how the Lord rewards His faithful servants, who trust in Him to the utmost and obey His commandments. . . .

"Or, in reading the story of the passage of Israel through the Red Sea, he might draw the lesson from it that God, who was mighty to take the Children of Israel across that sea, would also be able to take [Lehi'sT company safely across the ocean to the land of promise.

"That kind of reading is the most profitable literary exercise imaginable.

"In reading any of the standard works of the Church it is well to ascertain the literal meaning of the passage read first, and the lesson it was intended to convey to those to whom it was first communicated. And then it might be well to ask, `What does it convey to my time and age? To my nation? My community? My family? Or to myself?' "

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Lehi gave blessings to his daughters, as well as his sons

The present Book of Mormon gives no specific references to Lehi's daughters by either name or number, although the term "daughters" is used, as in the account of Lehi giving blessings to his family. (2 Ne. 4:3.)

Although called "daughters," the subjects mentioned on that occasion actually were Lehi's granddaughters: ". . . he [LehiT called the children of Laman, his sons, and his daughters, and said unto them: Behold, my sons, and my daughters, who are the sons and the daughters of my first-born, I would that ye should give ear unto my words."

There are evidences that Lehi had daughters. In A Companion to Your Study of the Book of Mormon, Daniel H. Ludlow quoted a statement by Erastus Snow:

" `The Prophet Joseph informed us that the record of Lehi was contained on the 116 pages that were first translated and subsequently stolen, and of which an abridgment is given us in the first Book of Nephi, which is the record of Nephi individually, he himself being of the lineage of Manasseh; but that Ishmael was of the lineage of Ephraim, and that his sons married into Lehi's family, and Lehi's sons married Ishmael's daughters. . . .'

"The words that Ishmael's sons `married into Lehi's family' would seem to indicate that the two sons of Ishmael (1 Ne. 7:6) were married to Lehi's daughters (and thus to two of the sisters of Nephi).

"However, the sisters referred to in 2 Ne. 5:6 are evidently still other sisters, because the sisters mentioned here follow Nephi when the schism with Laman occurs, whereas the sisters of Nephi who were married to the sons of Ishmael evidently stayed with their husbands and joined with Laman." (See Alma 3:7 and 47:35.)

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Articles on this page may be used in conjunction with the Gospel Doctrine course of study.

Information compiled by Gerry Avant

Sources: Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 1, by George Reynolds and Janne M. Sjodahl; A Companion to Your Study of the Book of Mormon, by Daniel H. Ludlow; and April 1980 general conference report.

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