Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Don't forget to remember not to forget...(1st Nephi 6-7)

Sorry, forgot your sodas...

I have always been the forgetful sort, and it's only getting worse as my Dad's genes continue to turn my hair prematurely gray.  I'll forget to turn here, or not turn there.  I'll drive home from work looking very forward to quenching my addiction thirst by stopping at the gas station up the street from my house for a soda, only to forget 2 minutes later, and find myself pulling into my driveway empty soda holdered.  I have cursed my brain many times.  But usually, I only forget the small stuff:

  • Replacing the trash bag in the kitchen after I take out the garbage, then Em throws gross stuff in there & has to dig it back out.
  • Closing the window in the bathroom & going to bed with the thermostat set on 68, showering the bedroom with heat as the furnace tries to keep the hallway warm.
  • What day it is.

Those kinds of things.  One time I put oil in my car before driving a 1/2-hour to work to find that I'd forgotten to replace the oil cap.  The engine was covered with oil while hardly a drop remained where it needed to be.  Luckily, I didn't ruin my car.  Before going home after work I borrowed 5 quarts of oil to replace what I'd lost for my drive home.  When I got home I discovered that I'd left the oil cap off again and all 5 quarts were gone.  This makes me appreciate my Mom, who long ago begged me never to get my pilot's license.  My wife gets mad when I call myself an idiot, so I won't do that.

Ruining my car may not have turned out to be a small thing compared to the trash bag thing, but it is when compared to not forgetting my Heavenly Father and the love He has heaped upon me all of my life.  I have never forgotten the time I prayed to see whether the BOM was true, and whether Joseph Smith had received a visitation from The Father and The Son.  The answer I received then, along with other spiritual experiences I've not forgotten, remains the foundation of everything I am and believe.  I know God lives.  I know Jesus is His Son.  I know God answers prayers.  I know the BOM is the word of God.  I know the Bible is the word of God.  I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true gospel, restored to the earth after centuries of apostasy, and is God's Kingdom on earth.  I know my Heavenly Father loves me.  I know He loves you.  I know Jesus Christ suffered willingly and gave His life willingly to offer us salvation and Eternal Life.  I know all that because of the answer to that one prayer I uttered back on January 24th, 1987. 

Joseph Smith translating the BOM
Don't forget to remember all that remembering and forgetting stuff as we read chapters 6 and 7 of 1st Nephi.

Remember, Lehi is a prophet, and the patriarch of this family.  He is keeping a record at this time also, called the Book of Lehi.  The Book of Lehi doesn't appear in our BOM due to a major event that happened with Joseph Smith and Martin Harris during the translation of the plates in 1828 (see Doctrine and Covenants section 3) where the first 116 pages were lost.  We'll talk more about that later, but knowing that gives the following a little more "wow" to me...

1st Nephi 6: 1-2
1.  And now I, Nephi, do not give the genealogy of my fathers in this part of my record;  neither at any time shall I give it after upon these plates which I am writing; for it is given in the record which has been kept by my father; wherefore, I do not write it in this work.
2.  For it sufficeth me to say that we are descendants of Joseph.
And then there's this...

1st Nephi 1: 17
16.  And now I, Nephi, do not make a full account of the things which my father hath written, for he hath written many things which he saw in visions and in dreams; and he also hath written many things which he prophesied and spake unto his children, of which I shall not make a full account.
17.  But I shall make an account of my proceedings in my days.  Behold I make an abridgment of the record of my father, upon plates which I have made with mine own hands; wherefore, after I have abridged the record of my father then will I make an account of mine own life.
Everything that Nephi chooses to record in the first part of the BOM is a smaller retelling of the same things his father Lehi is also writing about.  In my next post I'll talk about Lehi's Dream in chapter 8.  Lehi must have written about it in his record.  Why does Nephi take the trouble to rewrite it?  The fact that we have Lehi's Dream in chapter 8 of Nephi's record is a testament to the wonderful love and omniscience of our Heavenly Father. 

After all, Nephi continues in chapter 6 to say he has very little room to write on his plates, and plans to reserve that space to only write the things of God, and to command his children to do the same, for the sole and complete purpose of bringing souls to Jesus Christ.

Before you forget what we were talking about earlier, about remembering to not forget, lets go to...
Chapter 7

My wife Emilie's ring

Lehi received instructions from The Lord to send the boys back to Jerusalem to get a guy named Ishmael and his wife, 2 sons and their families, and 5 unmarried daughters.  It's never good to be alone.  Oddly enough, there's no murmuring complaints from Laman and Lemuel about going back for women. 

After convincing Ishmael and his family of the truth of their mission, they agree to follow Lehi's family into the wilderness.  Things get a little out of hand on the way back to Lehi's camp at the Red Sea, however.

1st Nephi 7: 5-7
5.  And it came to pass that The Lord did soften the heart of Ishmael, and also his household, insomuch that they took their journey with us down into the wilderness to the tent of our father.
6.  And it came to pass that as we journeyed in the wilderness, behold Laman and Lemuel, and two of the daughters of Ishmael, and the two sons of Ishmael and their families, did rebel against us; yea against me, and Sam, and their father, Ishmael, and his wife, and his three other daughters.
7.  And it came to pass in the which rebellion, they were desirous to return to Jerusalem.
I italicised "his household" to show that all of Ishmael's family had received a spiritual confirmation of His will concerning them.  I italicised "his 3 other daughters" to point out how cool the numbers turned out to be.  2 of Ishmael's daughters rebelled (lovely wives for Laman and Lemuel), while 3 of Ishmael's daughters were true to the faith (let's see, who would they be a good match for?  Hmm...Nephi, Sam, and... hmm.., Oh Yeah!  Zoram.)  The Lord didn't forget about Zoram.  I just think that's cool. The Lord doesn't forget any of us.  Whether we remember Him, well, that's another thing.

It's time for Nephi to give a lecture again. 

1st Nephi 7: 9-13
9.  How is it that ye have not hearkened unto the word of The Lord?
10.  How is it that ye have forgotten that ye have seen an angel of The Lord?
11.  Yea, and how is it that ye have forgotten what great things The Lord hath done for us, in delivering us out of the hands of Laban, and also that we should obtain the record (brass plates)?
12.  Yea, and how is it that ye have forgotten that The Lord is able to do all things according to his will, for the children of men, if it so be that they exercise faith in him?  Wherefore, let us be faithful to Him.
13.  And if it so be that we are faithful to him, we shall obtain the land of promise...
First, verse 13:  Remember when I talked about principles?  This is a principle.  If we are faithful to The Lord, we shall obtain the land of promise, the land of promise being Eternal Life.

Second, remembering not to forget:  Have you ever had some issue in your life that Heavenly Father helped you with, and then have had another issue in your life and wondered if Heavenly Father would help you with that one?  Have you ever been lifted into the rafters by the Spirit of God, crying with joy, and then 5 years later wondered if you wanted to continue going to church, or even pray?  Have you ever received a sure answer to a prayer, and then a short time goes by and you find yourself wondering if that's really the answer? 

One time while reading the BOM through I decided to start highlighting all the places where it says "remember", or some variation of it.  Turns out, there are few chapters in the BOM without the word "remember" in it somewheres. 

Like Helaman 5: 6, nearly 600 years later
6.  Behold, my sons, I desire that ye should remember to keep the commandments of God; and I would that ye should declare unto the people these words.  Behold, I have given unto you the names of our first parents who came out of the land of Jerusalem; and this I have done that when you remember your names ye may remember them; and when ye remember them ye may remember their works; and when ye remember their works ye may know how it is said, and also written, that they were good. 
I don't remember now, but there's about 250 times the word "remember" is used in the BOM (out of 531 pages) in some form or another.  I should have written it down so I wouldn't forget.  Anywayz, I think it's important.  I'm going to mention this again and again in later blogs, if I don't forget.  But, if I do forget to bring it up again, please remember this one thing:

Helaman 5: 9
9.  O remember, remember, my sons, the words which king Benjamin spake unto his people; yea, remember that there is no other way nor means whereby man can be saved, only through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, who shall come; yea, remember that he cometh to redeem the world.
And Helaman 5: 14
14.  And they did remember his words;  and therefore they went forth, keeping the commandments of God...
Oh, we've got teachings, right here in the BOM, with a capital T, and that rhymes with P, and that stands for principle:  If you remember the words of the prophets, it is easier to follow the commandments.

And Helaman 5: 12
12.  And now, my sons, remember, remember, that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation.
I guess we're out of time.  Tune in next time as people point and laugh at you while you eat.

Peace be with you...


  1. Wow. That took a lot of thought and work. Now that you are another year older it seems you are establishing yourself as a Book of Mormon "Sage". It looks good on you. Thanks for helping me remember to remember - it truly is an issue that I need prompted on .I guess because I forget.

  2. Hey I remember that Domino's pizza guy! I love your spiritual thoughts, John Barney. Keep them coming.

    1. Very Cute! And I loved the part about a time when you knew and the next time you doubted. Very human of us, it's nice to have that pointed out. I'm going to use it in my lesson!