I started slow on Sunday... and today I was reading 1 Nephi 3:31 and 1 Nephi 4:1 (see...slow)
Laman had already gone to see Laban about the brass plates, and was turned away, accused of being a robber. Then Nephi, the baby brother comes up with the idea to take all their valuable, material possessions to Laban as a currency for the plates of brass. So Laman, Lemuel, Sam and Nephi try a second time to get the brass plates, and Laban chases them off with his guards, thereby keeping the treasure and plates.
Laman and Lemuel are steamed. They're freaked out from being threatened, they already don't want to go into the wilderness, and now all the things they value are gone. So they do something totally irrational and thoughtless, they start beating their younger brothers.
An angel comes down and stops them. He chastizes them, and then leaves. Here's the part that hit me. I've read this so many times, and this is the first time I've really noticed the following two verses:
And after the angel had departed, Laman and Lemuel again began to murmur, saying: How is it possible that the Lord will deliver Laban into our hands? Behold, he is a mighty man, and he can command fifty, yea, even he can slay fifty; then why not us?
Then in Chapter 4:1 Nephi responds:
And it came to pass that I spake unto my brethren, saying: Let us go up again unto Jerusalem, and let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord; for behold he is mightier than all the earth, then why not mightier than Laban and his fifty, yea, or even than his tens of thousands?
He then continues to remind his brothers of how God helped Moses part the red sea... and then the brothers follow Nephi, and try a third time to gain the plates.
What hit me first was how Nephi, after his brothers beat him, simply stayed focused on the task at hand - obtain the brass plates. If I had older brothers that were crazy, beating me... I'd be terrified to speak back...let alone stay on course with my mission. I admire Nephi for that ability to stay on course and endure persecution at the hands of his family members.
Then I thought about the challenges we face as latter-day saints. We've all felt a personal struggle with the work on proposition 8. I admit until the Prophet came out with that formal letter asking us to do all we can to support, and protect families through marriage between one man and one woman, I was sporting a laissez-faire attitude. I just figured, the world is going to pot anyway, the forces that want it to disintegrate are louder, with more money and own the airwaves... anything we do is tiny.
Then that letter came. When I heard the call from the Prophet, whom I sustain, despite my trepidation, despite my heart strings, I knew there was only one thing I should do. I know there were times in the early campaigning that my faith wavered. So it was nice to read these two verses and remember, we are to do all we can to do what is right. We need to remember that it is in His hands. We need to remember that He has more power than any nation in the world. I need to remember that putting my trust in God is always the right thing to do. I need to remember that feeling intimidated by the voices of Babylon can be overcome by remembering who I am, and who God is.
And on a more personal level, that people who seek to hurt us, don't matter. We just need to focus on our eternal goals, and keep steady....come what may.
Frankly, I am grateful. I am blessed.