This is a powerful ethic. I feel its pull deeply. But there is a second half, a dark side
In mythically promoting our history we risk undermining it—at least we do so in today’s information age. But this chapter with Laman and Nephi sparring makes me think that perhaps this is always the case.
I don’t care what kind of faith you have, Nephi’s idea on the face of it is loony.
Two remarkable items: the repetition of Nephi’s mantra concerning the need to keep the commandments of God in order to prosper and to see the hand of the Lord; the placement of this mantra immediately preceding Laman’s criticism.
In passages like this one, Nephi strikes me as incredibly concrete and practical in nature—much more a Brigham Young than a Joseph Smith.
Like the story of Moses (to which Nephi often refers) the story of Lehi’s & Saraiah’s exodus is epic and foundational, as well as typological.
Sandwiched in between the Daughter’s of Ishmael’s complaints about their afflictions and Laman’s complaints about the women’s afflictions (16:35-36 and 17:20-21), Nephi acknowledges that they were indeed afflicted.
Perhaps I ought to be grateful that no such crisis demanding the voice of the Lord has come into my life. Or perhaps I should wonder at the silence of the heavens.
It’s hard for us, as humans, to pry apart the empirical from the normative—and for good reasons. Facts don’t come to us bare of value. Especially with regard to those facts that we appreciate and evaluate in existential contexts (i.e.,…
Why did everyone tremble when they looked on the Liahona?
I can’t help but picture the women pregnant, nearing full-term. Nephi rarely mentions the women or their condition, but this strikes me as likely, almost a certainty; particularly when considering Sariah’s age.
Food is a huge issue for Nephi. I’m tempted to add up the verses that account for the eight years between the Valley of Lemuel and Bountiful and divide them by the number of verses speaking about food. Quantitatively and qualitatively, this is the issue—in a way that it isn’t and really could never be for most of us.
Would we have the Book of Mormon if Lehi had not ignored Jeremiah’s jeremiad and embraced his dreams? Even so, can you imagine—honestly—forsaking your home and property, putting your wife and children (and grandchildren?) in significant jeopardy over a dream?
There are times when the androcentric nature of the Book of Mormon is stark and unavoidable. These verses are rough.
My typical reaction in reading this vision (or, as more often is the case, segments of the vision) and Nephi’s sermonizing and exhortations is to rejoice. This confrontation Nephi has with Laman (et al) pulls me up short, though.
Three more quick points: first, the tree is no longer merely metaphorically or symbolically, but now explicitly made to be the Tree of Life.
I … see two differenet Nephi’s in this passage, and I’m not sure which is more accurate.
I suspect that his brothers’ lack of understanding had less to do with their inability to grasp our simplistic Sunday School summary of the allegory of the olive tree, and much more to do with how culturally and theologically “other” this picture was compared to their own understanding.
I think we see here an Abrahamic trial.
More contrasts between Nephi and his brothers—although this passage strikes me as less political…and more intimate and personal.
The end of the narrative of Nephi’s grand vision is to point beyond the vision and beyond Nephi.
I feel somewhat affronted by the angel’s adamant declaration and insistence on the binary nature of humanity.
I remain fundamentally unconvinced of the book’s central claim and argument, and am personally ambivalent about it—though in that I’m surely in the minority amongst Mormons (rank-and-file and all the rest) whom I suspect will heartily cheer the book’s primary claim: Mormonism, taken as a whole in it’s historic trajectory, is patently Christian.
The angel begins by reminding or interrogating or raising the covenants of the House of Israel. I’m not sure the angel’s intent. Is this pedagogical priming? Is it interrogation? Is it a test, with the angel serving as guardian or gate-keeper, not allowing Nephi to pass on to the next part of the vision until he’s proven his gnosis? Is it the divine teaching that incorporates Socrates’s great insight that knowledge begins with acknowledgment of ignorance?