Nephi Deals with Difficult Family Members
Throughout the 1st Book of Nephi, the first book within The Book of Mormon, Nephi deals with difficult family members. In particular, his brothers Laman and Lemuel create contention and even threaten Nephi‘s life. These occurrences start being mentioned when they are living in the wilderness (1 Nephi 2:11-12). When Lehi sends his sons back to Jerusalem to complete a couple of tasks they also “Murmur” against Lehi (1 Nephi 3:5). It continues when they team up with Ishmael and his children. Some of the Daughters of Ishmael team up with Laman and Lemuel in their constant striving to create contention (1 Nephi 7:6).
When Nephi is building the ship, his brothers tried to kill him, Heavenly Father gave Nephi power that “whoso shall lay his hands upon [him] shall wither even as a dried reed” (1 Nephi 17:48, 54). Not long after, while they are on the boat heading to the promised land they are at it once again.
Laman and Lemuel Cause a Ruckus
Laman, Lemuel, the sons of Ishmael, and their wives “began to make themselves merry, insomuch that they began to dance, and to sing, and to speak with much rudeness, yea, even that they did forget by what power they had been brought thither; yea, they were lifted up unto exceeding rudeness” causing them to lose the guidance of the Lord through the Liahona (1 Nephi 18:9–12). Similarly, we can lose the guidance of the Holy Ghost if we forget the Lord in our lives.
The disobedience of Laman and Lemuel affected their parents and the rest of the family: They “suffered much grief . . . and much sorrow . . . And Jacob and Joseph also, being young, having need of much nourishment, were grieved because of the afflictions of their mother; and also [Nephi’s] wife with her tears and prayers, and also [his] children” (1 Nephi 18:12–19). How has your obedience or disobedience affected your family members? What could you do differently to improve your family’s relationships?
Nephi Keeps the Spirit With Him
Nephi’s did not murmur because of being mistreated by his brothers, but “did look unto my God, and I did praise him all the day long” (1 Nephi 18:16). Nephi understood that to maintain the help he needed from the Holy Ghost, he needed to stay in the right frame of mind. Thus instead of becoming angry and trying to fight back, he continued to call upon God for his strength. We too can follow Nephi’s example, and in turn be a good example to those around us, including our family. Nephi is a perfect example of how we can choose our own responses and actions, despite the actions of those around us. (See also D&C 122:7)
Instead of letting his brothers get him down, Nephi used the opportunity to exercise and grow his faith in Heavenly Father, and Jesus Christ. God also promised Nephi that his descendants would likewise have his brother’s descendants there as a reminder of the importance of following God (1 Nephi 2:24).
Be Prepared to Receive Spiritual Promptings
The inspiration of the Holy Ghost can come to us as a feeling of peace or comfort, a thought that inspires us to make a right choice, a quiet voice of instruction, a feeling that warns of danger, and so on. To receive these promptings we must be ready to receive them. What can you do to prepare yourselves so you can recognize the influence of the Holy Ghost? Nephi did this by praying often, and fearing and praising God (1 Nephi 18:3, 10, 16). What choices do you make daily that will help you be guided by the Holy Ghost?
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