Friday, January 27, 2012

Peppermints and Hungry Elephints (1 Nephi 16, part 2)

Me at Hueston Woods State Park in Ohio, about 100 years ago.
When I lived in Oxford, Ohio I used to like to ride my bike out to Hueston Woods.  Hueston Woods was my go to place whenever I felt down or blue, or troubled by some foolish game, it always seemed to make me change my mind.  I had a lot of spiritual experiences there, and one scary experience with a demonic beaver I'll have to tell you about sometime.

From my apartment in Oxford out to Heuston Woods was 5 miles.  The loop road that went around the park was 10 miles around.  So the whole round trip was..., let's see... yeah, 50 miles or something.  Only when I felt real ambitious did I do the whole thing.  One time I was about 3/4 around the loop road when I had an attack of the starving to deaths.  I have a touch of hypoglycemia, ya see, and sometimes it can really wipe me out.  When it hit on this occasion I was alone and had..., let's see, 3/4's around a 10-mile loop plus 5 miles back to Oxford, yeah, about 50 miles to go, I was in trouble.  My brain gets all foggy (or foggier), I start to sweat and shake and stuff.  I lose the connection between my head and my legs.  I was in need of sustenance, fast.  It was a real Paul Blart moment.  I prayed for help.

Voila!!  I was still trying to ride, facing down instead of looking where I was going, a common pose in that condition, when I saw my tire run over an already smashed peppermint candy. I circled around and stopped to pick it up.  It was just peppermint powder in a plastic wrapper.  I poured it down my throat.  Fog clears, eyes open, legs feeling fit, I biked the 62 miles back to Oxford.  A miracle?  Well, prayer is definitely cool, and can come in quite handy when you're drooling.

Being hungry can produce some awful grouchiness.  In 1 Nephi chapter 16, Lehi and the fam are very hungry, and they are getting quite vocal about it.  Laman and his minions are up to their old murmuring ways of course, no surprise there, but Lehi, the prophet of God, joins in this time.  But, I totally get it.  He's an old man.  He's been walking all day. He's starving. 

1 Nephi 16: 18-20
18.  And it came to pass that as I, Nephi, went forth to slay food, behold, I did break my bow, which was made of fine steel; and after I did break my bow, behold, my brethren were angry with me because of the loss of my bow, for we did obtain no food.

19.  And it came to pass that we did return without food to our families, and being much fatigued, because of their journeying, they did suffer much for the want of food.

20.  And it came to pass that Laman and Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael did begin to murmur exceedingly, because of their sufferings and afflictions in the wilderness; and also my father began to murmur against The Lord his God; yea, and they were all exceedingly sorrowful, even that they did murmur against The Lord.
Nephi's broken bow
It must have been very hard on Lehi to see his wife hungry.  The life of leisure they left behind them in Jerusalem probably added to their orneriness.  It is surprising that Lehi joins in with the murmuring.  He has a solid testimony of The Savior, and that he can count on Him no matter what.  How could he not know The Lord would provide for them?

Oh no, do I have to apply this to myself?  Rats!!

This ever happened to you:  You pay your tithing like a good boy or girl, then BAM!! your car needs a new car?  When things like this happen, is "The Lord will provide" the first thing that comes to your mind, or is it more often a word that rhymes with BAM!!?  Well, good for you if you never murmur, but I ain't always so quick to remember my faith in such moments. 

A Sorrowful Juxtaposition

1 Nephi 16: 20
20.  ...and also my father began to murmur against The Lord his God; yea, and they were all exceedingly sorrowful, even that they did murmur against The Lord.

1 Nephi 16: 23-25
23.  And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did make out of wood a bow, and out of a straight stick, an arrow; wherefore, I did arm myself with a bow and an arrow, with a sling and with stones. And I said unto my father: Whither shall I go to obtain food?

24.  And it came to pass that he did inquire of The Lord, for they had humbled themselves because of my words; for I did say many things unto them in the energy of my soul.

25.  And it came to pass that the voice of The Lord came unto my father; and he was truly chastened because of his murmuring against The Lord, insomuch that he was brought down into the depths of sorrow.
Is there a difference in the 2 uses of the word sorrow?  Yup. #1 is worldly sorrow (I'm sorry that I'm so BAM!! hungry) and #2 is Godly sorrow (I'm sorry I was of little faith, and was so quick to complain).  This sorrow thing deserves more time and space than it will get here.  I'll get back to it, if not in 2nd Nephi 4 or Alma 36, then definitely in Ether 8.

Ishmael Died
His kids were pretty upset.

1 Nephi 16: 34-35, 37
34.  And it came to pass that Ishmael died, and was buried in the place which was called Nahom.

35.  And it came to pass that the daughters of Ishmael did mourn exceedingly, because of the loss of their father, and because of their afflictions in the wilderness; and they did murmur against my father because he had brought them out of the land of Jerusalem, saying: Our father is dead; yea, and we have wandered much in the wilderness, and we have suffered much affliction, hunger, thirst, and fatigue; and after all these sufferings we must perish in the wilderness with hunger.

Laman & Lemeul, who were in a humble and thankful state just a few verses back, have once again forgot to remember not to forget.

37.  And Laman said unto Lemuel and also unto the sons of Ishmael: Behold, let us slay our father, and also our brother Nephi, who has taken it upon him to be our ruler and our teacher, who are his elder brethren.

This time The Lord yells at Laman and Lemeul:

1 Nephi 16: 39
39.  And it came to pass that The Lord was with us, yea, even the voice of The Lord came and did speak many words unto them, and did chasten them exceedingly; and after they were chastened by the voice of The Lord they did turn away their anger, and did repent of their sins, insomuch that The Lord did bless us again with food, that we did not perish.

Man, that's good news!  Laman and Lemeul are all humble and repentant now, and will no more bother Nephi... until chapter 17.

Closing Arguments

  • Have Faith in God.  He knows you need food for goodness sakes.
  • Accept chastisement from Him with Humility and Obedience.
  • Don't forget to remember not to forget how He blessed you when you were in that other fix.
  • Pay your Tithing, even if an elephant sits on your car.
  • Sometimes your ability to support your family can break, even when it's made of steel.  If this happens, go to the words of the Prophets, go to The Lord in Prayer, He will show you what to do.
  • Don't tell people you biked 62 miles when you only biked 20, unless it's funny.
  • Road kill peppermint candy can save your life.
  • Add yours here.

Peace be with you...


  1. So very funny and so true! Another item I can use in teaching. You're great John!

  2. just discovered your blog. I love it! Your humor is right up my alley. Can't wait to see what else you post.

    1. Hi Rachael. I welcome your insanity to my vanity. Thank you.