Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Book of Mormon Starts With a Family 1 Nephi 1

The Book of Mormon starts with a family. This is an important observation for many reasons. I believe that one of the major reasons that we experience the family dynamics from the accounts we read is simply to show us that every family has some sort of crisis or conflict to work through. I find it interesting to see how each of the members of the family of Lehi individually act, or react, to problems or blessings that may arise, all in such diverse ways. I find these observations to be made with realism, and can accept them as valid, simply because of the differences I see in my own family unit.

From the very beginning of the record of Nephi we are taught the value of “goodly parents” and receive instruction on what is considered a “goodly parent” as we read:
I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father;
Goodly parents teach their children what they know to be true. Goodly parents teach correct principles.
Doctrine and Covenants 68:25 And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents.
28 And they shall also teach their children to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord.
We soon come to understand that Nephi chooses to remember the teachings of his father by applying correct principles as he seeks for himself to understand the “great goodness and mysteries of God.”
I believe that an even greater reason for the Book of Mormon to start with a family is to teach us more fully the power that is available through the Patriarchal Order of the Priesthood. Lehi operates under the authority of the Patriarchal Priesthood as he blesses, directs, and offers sacrifice in behalf of his family.
I was asked a question by a dear friend regarding Lehi’s authority to offer sacrifices, she was concerned because he was not from the tribe of Levi. The Law of Moses, which was the law that was in effect at the time of Lehi, required that ordinance to be done by one with Levitical authority, one who was a descendant of Aaron, which Lehi clearly was not. I believe that the reason Lehi could perform these sacred rites was because he was operating under a much higher law, namely the order of the Patriarchal Priesthood.
“The priesthood does not have the strength that it should have and will not have until the power of the priesthood is firmly fixed in the families as it should be.”
Now, fathers, I would remind you of the sacred nature of your calling. You have the power of the priesthood directly from the Lord to protect your home. There will be times when all that stands as a shield between your family and the adversary’s mischief will be that power. You will receive direction from the Lord by way of the gift of the Holy Ghost.
The adversary is not actively disturbing our Church meetings—perhaps only occasionally. By and large we are free to assemble as we wish without much disruption. But he and those who follow him are persistent in attacking the home and the family.
The ultimate end of all activity in the Church is that a man and his wife and their children might be happy at home, protected by the principles and laws of the gospel, sealed safely in the covenants of the everlasting priesthood.”
I believe that the Book of Mormon is such a valuable gift for us to study today, because we can discover the power of the Patriarchal Priesthood more fully, as we see the lives of the men who operated within that order unfold before our eyes. We see the importance of the family and the power that a righteous family, armed with power from on high, can wield against the adversary.
Again, the instruction given by Joseph Smith bears repeating, “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.”

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