Reading Nephi – 10:17-22

068-068-the-liahona-fullNephi does it again right at the start of this passage, though this time it’s in reverse: he talks about faith in the Son of God, and then realizing that his reader would need clarification on that, he inserts the parenthetical about the Son of God being the Messiah of whom Lehi had been prophesying earlier in the chapter.

The whole passage here is interesting in terms of its being a small bit of autobiography leveraged to preach a sermon at us. Nephi relays his experience to us in order to explicitly teach us and convince us that we can follow in the same path. Lehi was faithful, followed the commands of God, followed the inspiration of the spirit, obtained revelation (his own and others’), diligently studied that revelation, and came to know the mysteries of God. Nephi heard and hearkened and followed the same seeking pattern. His autobiographical description is both an invitation and a warning—we will be judged for how we react to our mortal framework and whether and how we seek.

It’s really nice to read this passage in Hardy’s addition, which makes the poetry plain. This passage was my favorite when I was a small boy and first going through the Book of Mormon—I’m not sure why, not even sure that there was a reason why. I liked the sound of yesterday, today, and forever, and the one eternal round. And going through it slowly this time, it feels like the whole point is about repentance and redemption through the Son of God as means and not as ends in themselves, and that strikes me as an incredibly profound reversal. This passage that sounds so much like a Protestant sermon is really not that at all. The point of redemption through Christ is that it puts you in a position to seek and find, to have the mysteries of God revealed to you, and ultimately to dwell in God’s presence where one can continue on a path of eternal progression. This is Mormon Christianity.

And here Nephi is exhorting all—those in his day and those in a time to come—to do as he and as those of old have done, and experience these things for ourselves.