Monday, April 20, 2015

"Because they knew not..."

Hey there everyone!

I thought this week I would talk for a little while about Laman and Lemuel, specifically from one lesson that I learned from them.

It has been pointed out to me, and I would now like to point it out to you if you didn't know, that every character in the Book of Mormon is either an example, or a warning.  To list a few examples there is Nephi, Nephi, and Nephi.  They're all great men with unshaken faith in the Lord.  And those are Nephi son of Lehi, Nephi son of Helaman, and Nephi son of Nephi; respectively. 
Some examples of prime warnings to us are Korihor, Nehor, and of course the subject of today's blog, Laman and Lemuel. 
We often look at Laman and Lemuel and see their story as almost comedic.  There is the oft repeated cycle in the 1 Nephi where a trial comes, Laman and Lemuel murmur, Nephi shows faith and works miracles, and Laman and Lemuel repent for a short while before murmuring again about some other inconvenience.

I have often wondered how and why Laman and Lemuel could be so hard in their hearts that even a visitation of an angel wasn't enough to set them on the right path.  To cover the how, lets turn to the very beginning of 1 Nephi, beginning in Chapter 2, Verse 12:

"And thus Laman and Lemuel, being the eldest, did murmur against their father. And they did murmur because they knew not the dealings of that God who had created them."

This scripture was one that I have missed many a time while reading the beginning of 1 Nephi.  But it tells where Laman and Lemuel made their grave error in their path to salvation.  They strayed so far from the 'straight and narrow' because they had disregarded the teachings of the prophets and the testimonies of the future birth of Christ.  And while this is how Laman and Lemuel became warnings, I find the why to be even more intriguing. 
We learn about the all important 'why' to Laman and Lemuel's actions in the 17th Chapter of 1 Nephi.  Amidst Nephi's obedience to build a ship, Laman and Lemuel in their usual fashion come and mock Nephi's righteous example, seeking to tear him down even to being "exceedingly sorrowful because of the hardness of their hearts; and now when [Laman and Lemuel] saw that began to be sorrowful they were glad in their hearts".
In the rebuttal to their mocking attitude, Nephi drops some doctrine on his brothers from the Plates of Brass.  In verses 26 and 51 of the above chapter Nephi states:

Now ye know that Moses was commanded of the Lord to do that great work; and ye know that by his word the waters of the Red Sea were divided hither and thither, and they passed through on dry ground."

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 should build ship?"
I find there are two things to be learned from these short passages.  One is that Laman and Lemuel were not completely ignorant of the past.  They understood and even believed that Moses, Abraham, and Jacob were men that were called of God and performed many great and miraculous things.

In the second item to note we see that Laman and Lemuel, despite their belief in the books of Moses, believed that the works of God were merely a thing of the past.  They did not, and it seems that they could not, believe that God was still a god of miracles. 
A lesson to be learned from this is to never put the things of God in the past.  Don't restrict your belief in God to that of a partially loving or partially powerful deity.  If we desire to not be like Laman and Lemuel, believe that God is, not that God was.  Understand and study the scriptures with the mindset that if "the Lord has such great power, and has wrought so many miracles among the children of men," he can still do so today.  Equally important with the worship of God is having the understanding of who it is we worship.  I exhort you to focus this week on growing in understanding of who you worship.  Know who your Heavenly Father is, because without understanding who your God is and his manner of working among us, your worship is misplaced much like Laman and Lemuel's. 
It has become my firm testimony, and I use the phrase become because I did not always know this, that God is our ever-loving Heavenly Father.  He perfectly understand us and our struggles.  Just as he has worked in the past, he is working in the present, and throughout the remaining time on this earth, he will be working among the children of men as they are faithful in keeping his commandments. 
I hope and pray that you all have a great week, and I'll speak to you again next week!
Love, Elder Gailey

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