Church News searched the archives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to learn what leaders have said about these chapters.
1 Nephi 16
“As we study and ponder the purposes of the Liahona and the principles by which it operated, I testify that we will receive inspiration suited to our individual and family circumstances and needs. We can and will be blessed with ongoing direction from the Holy Ghost.
“The Liahona was prepared by the Lord and given to Lehi and his family after they left Jerusalem and were traveling in the wilderness. This compass or director pointed the way that Lehi and his caravan should go (see 1 Nephi 16:10), even ‘a straight course to the promised land’ (Alma 37:44). The pointers in the Liahona operated ‘according to the faith and diligence and heed’ (1 Nephi 16:28) of the travelers and failed to work when family members were contentious, rude, slothful or forgetful (see 1 Nephi 18:12, 21).
“The compass also provided a means whereby Lehi and his family could obtain greater ‘understanding concerning the ways of the Lord’ (1 Nephi 16:29). Thus, the primary purposes of the Liahona were to provide both direction and instruction during a long and demanding journey. The director was a physical instrument that served as an outward indicator of their inner spiritual standing before God. It worked according to the principles of faith and diligence.
“Just as Lehi was blessed in ancient times, each of us in this day has been given a spiritual compass that can direct and instruct us during our mortal journey. The Holy Ghost was conferred upon you and me as we came out of the world and into the Savior’s Church through baptism and confirmation. By the authority of the holy priesthood we were confirmed as members of the Church and admonished to seek for the constant companionship of ‘the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you’” (John 14:17).
— Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, April 2006 general conference, “That We May Always Have His Spirit To Be With Us”
1 Nephi 17
“Lehi’s family endured an intense wilderness experience designed to teach, test and sanctify them. Likewise, the path from our former home to eternal life runs right through this earthly wilderness, where we may expect similar challenges and difficulties. But in our journey we are not alone, for the Lord’s promise to Lehi is the same to us: ‘I will prepare the way before you [and] inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall be led towards the promised land. … After ye have arrived … ye shall know that … I, the Lord, did deliver you’ (1 Nephi 17:13–14).
“The Lord knows the way because He is the way and is our only chance for successfully negotiating mortality. His Atonement makes available all of the power, peace, light and strength that we need to deal with life’s challenges — those ranging from our own mistakes and sins to trials over which we have no control but we still feel pain.”
— Sister Sheri L. Dew, then the second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, April 1999 general conference, “Our Only Chance”
“In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Nephi tells his people why many of the children of Israel perished in the wilderness after leaving Egypt. Because of their iniquity, the Lord ‘sent fiery flying serpents among them; and after they were bitten he prepared a way that they might be healed; and the labor which they had to perform was to look; and because of the simpleness of the way, or the easiness of it, there were many who perished’ (1 Nephi 17:41).
“Brothers and sisters, we must not fail to do the simple and easy things that the gospel requires and thereby deny ourselves and our families the great blessings that the Lord has promised.”
— Elder Rex D. Pinegar, then a General Authority Seventy, October 1994 general conference, “The Simple Things”
“The Lord spoke to Nephi and said, ‘Arise, and get thee into the mountain’ (1 Nephi 17:7).
“Nephi obeyed the Lord; he went into the mountain and prayed. And the Lord commanded Nephi, ‘Thou shalt construct a ship, after the manner which I shall show thee, that I may carry thy people across these waters’ (1 Nephi 17:8).
“Then Nephi asked the Lord, ‘Whither shall I go that I may find ore to molten, that I may make tools to construct the ship after the manner which thou hast shown unto me?’ (1 Nephi 17:9).
“The Lord instructed Nephi where he could find ore, but then Nephi was on his own. In 1 Nephi, chapter 17, we read:
“‘And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did make a bellows wherewith to blow the fire, of the skins of beasts; and after I had made a bellows, that I might have wherewith to blow the fire, I did smite two stones together that I might make fire (1 Nephi 17:11). …
“‘And it came to pass that I did make tools of the ore which I did molten out of the rock’ (1 Nephi 17:16).
“This is one of the more interesting stories we have in the scriptures because it tells of an instance in which the Lord provided help but then stepped aside to allow one of His sons to exercise his own initiative. I have sometimes wondered what would have happened if Nephi had asked the Lord for tools instead of a place to find the ore to make the tools. I doubt the Lord would have honored Nephi’s request. You see, the Lord knew that Nephi could make the tools, and it is seldom the Lord will do something for us that we can do for ourselves.
“The Lord does help when we go to Him in times of need, especially when we are committed to His work and respond to His will. But the Lord only helps those who are willing to help themselves. He expects His children to be self-reliant to the degree they can be.”
— Elder L. Tom Perry, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, October 1991 general conference, “Becoming Self-Reliant”
“As I [think about] Nephi building a ship, I can imagine what might have gone through his mind. ‘How can I do that? I don’t know anything about building a ship. I haven’t had any training!’ Instead, he faced his challenge with courage. He said:
“‘If God had commanded me to do all things I could do them. If he should command me that I should say unto this water, be thou earth, it should be earth; and if I should say it, it would be done.
“‘And now, if the Lord has such great power, and has wrought so many miracles among the children of men, how is it that he cannot instruct me, that I should build a ship?’ (1 Nephi 17:50–51)
“So Nephi built a ship.
“When tasks seem too great or even impossible, I think of courageous Nephi by the water’s edge building a ship.”
— Sister Ruth B. Wright, then the second counselor in the Primary general presidency, October 1990 general conference, “Draw Strength From the Book of Mormon”
1 Nephi 18
“Challenges are different for each of us, but the source for help is the same. Let’s look at Nephi’s experience.
“He grew up in a desert. We don’t know if he had ever seen a ship before the Lord asked him to build a ship — a seemingly insurmountable task! But Nephi had faith the Lord would help him. He said the Lord showed him ‘from time to time’ how he should build it (1 Nephi 18:1). Nephi tells us he did not build it like men build ships. He built it ‘after the manner’ the Lord showed him (1 Nephi 18:2). Then he tells us how.
“‘I did pray oft unto the Lord; wherefore the Lord showed unto me great things’ (1 Nephi 18:3).
“When you pray often and seek to know the Lord’s will like Nephi did, the Lord will show you the way. But you can be sure when you are trying your best to obey, you may face strong opposition from those wishing to discourage and dissuade you. Nephi’s dissenters were his own brothers. Think how hard that would be!
“At times you … may feel you are having an experience like Nephi. The Lord has not asked you to build a ship, but to build your life. You don’t yet know what your completed mortal life looks like. But your Father in Heaven knows and can guide you one step at a time. He is asking you to build your life according to His guidelines because He is the One who created you and wants you ready to return back home with Him someday.”
— Sister Sharon G. Larsen, then the second counselor in the Young Women general presidency, April 2001 general conference, “Your Celestial Guide”
1 Nephi 19
“A verse from the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ powerfully describes the Savior’s perfect love: ‘And the world, because of their iniquity, shall judge him to be a thing of naught; … they scourge him, … they smite him, … they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men’ (1 Nephi 19:9). The Savior’s universal love is the motivating force behind all that He does. We know that it is the same love our Father in Heaven has for us, because the Savior humbly taught that He and the Father ‘are one’ (see John 10:30; 17:20–23).”
“The Savior is the greatest example of how we should respond to potentially offensive events or situations.
“‘And the world, because of their iniquity, shall judge him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he suffereth it. Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men’ (1 Nephi 19:9).
“Through the strengthening power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, you and I can be blessed to avoid and triumph over offense.”
1 Nephi 20
“Most of us experience some measure of what the scriptures call ‘the furnace of affliction’ (1 Nephi 20:10). Some are submerged in service to a disadvantaged family member. Others suffer the death of a loved one or the loss or postponement of a righteous goal like marriage or childbearing. Still others struggle with personal impairments or with feelings of rejection, inadequacy or depression. Through the justice and mercy of a loving Father in Heaven, the refinement and sanctification possible through such experiences can help us achieve what God desires us to become.”
1 Nephi 22
“The chapter heading to 1 Nephi 22 reads in part, ‘Israel will be scattered upon all the face of the earth — The Gentiles will nurse and nourish Israel with the gospel in the last days.’ … With the Restoration and Book of Mormon, the concept of gathering Israel has greatly expanded.
“Those who accept the gospel of Jesus Christ, regardless of lineage, become part of gathered Israel. With that gathering and the numerous temples built and announced, we are in a unique position to gather Israel on both sides of the veil as never before under the Father’s plan.”