I just finished reading the Book of Mormon again and, therefore, started it again. I love reading this book! I decided to record some of my thoughts during this read and I'm calling this series of blog posts Hidden Gems.
Sometimes I look forward to reading 1 Nephi, and sometimes I dread it. It can be difficult to listen to Laman and Lemuel complain, or if I'm in a complaining mood it can be difficult to be reminded how unhelpful that is and that I need to stop it. But I love Nephi. My opinion of him has evolved over the years. I used to see him as a bit prideful and/or self-righteous. And he may have been. We all have our faults. One of mine, for example, is fault-finding. Thus, my previous opinion of Nephi. I'm trying to focus on the good in others, and Nephi had a ton of good. He was pretty much a fireball of faith and determination. He endured a lot, and was loyal to his God and his people. He was hard working and kind to his brothers, especially his younger brothers. He loved, honored, believed in, and obeyed his parents. He was good with his hands, and made plates to keep a record and built a ship and a temple. He repented. He suffered. He rejoiced. He was am amazing person.
(I'm sure someday I'll write a post about Joseph Smith and my testimony of him as a prophet, but I felt impressed to mention a part of that now. As a writer, I know what it takes to create a story. I know what kind of thought, time, and effort goes into creating characters, plot, etc. If Joseph Smith were a fraud, his characters would be less distinguishable from one another and much more flat. But they are real. They are so real, it is astounding that people who believe Joseph Smith isn't a prophet do not regard him as a literary genius. From what I've seen, he is either a prophet or a fraud. Nobody gives him any sort of literary credit even though he wrote a book about the length of five of my books put together with a "plot" and "setting" so intricate that it takes intense study to even comprehend. His characters each have unique voices, personalities, and spiritual gifts. In short, it isn't his book at all. He translated the personal writings and journals of real-life human beings. Becoming an author has only intensified my testimony of this book. I loved this explanation of the Book of Mormon I saw recently by Elder Christofferson, one of the current twelve apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.)
A year or two ago, I was having some specific doubts when I began reading the Book of Mormon again. By the way, doubts are like little gnomes in your brain, don't you think? Mean and ugly gnomes. Anyway, I was blown away on the first page when this scripture hit me with a wave of Nephi's strength and testimony.
"And I know that the record which I make is true; and I make it with mine own hand; and I make it according to my knowledge" (1 Nephi 1:3).
The Spirit flooded my mind and it was like Nephi was saying, "Look, sista, this is my journal. This really happened to me. Believe it." I was given spiritual insight into what it feels like for someone to not be believed when they were relating the true events of their life. The Spirit testified to me once again that the Book of Mormon is true, and it happened on verse 3!
I'm glad I'm writing this down because even after a long time, it is still having a profound impact on me and it's good to have it recorded.
In thinking about this now, I think it relates to the 13th article of faith. In part, that states "we believe all things." I think for the most part, when people are relating a story, they are telling their truth. Others may have seen it differently, or may have explained it using different points and highlights, but most of the time, we can believe that people are relating their true perspective. More than that, I believe that Nephi was a prophet acting in obedience to commandment. This gives him even more credibility. I am sorry to have ever doubted him. I shouldn't like it very much if someone read my journal and doubted my experiences were true, or thought some things were fabricated or embellished. I know the scriptures are true, and I'm grateful for this prophet who took the time to write down his thoughts and experiences so that we could learn from them.