Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Redeemer of Israel, Nephi's and Isaiah's Delight (1 Nephi 20, Isaiah 48)

I don't have a picture of it, but, like this story of a man who was saved from a bullet by his Bible during the Civil War, there is a similar story of a man being shot in his Book of Mormon in World War 1.  The man had his BOM in his shirt pocket when the bullet struck it square in the middle.  The bullet's aim was for his heart.  It entered through the faux leather cover, sliced through the introduction, testimonies of the witnesses, and title page, and ripped through 1st Nephi.  Miraculously, it stopped at 1 Nephi chapter 20.  After recovering from the shock of his experience, the man examined his BOM closely, trying to understand.  When he saw where the bullet had come to a stop he figured it out immediately.  How many times had he started through the Book of Mormon, only to be stopped by Isaiah. 
Warning:  While the cool Civil War photo and story may be true, the story that follows it about World War 1 is fiction, and was completely made up by the author for the purpose of allegorical humor.  My apologies to those of you who swallowed it whole, and who so desperately wanted to believe it.  I'm sure something like this happened some time.  Let's just say that the BOM and The Bible have saved a lot of lives. 

College days.  In the common TV room watching Bonanza. Circa 1993

Note from Mr. John Barney, author, clown and noted relaxation expert!

1 Nephi 20 is the the first of many chapters in the BOM taken from the book of Isaiah, whose writings were a part of the brass plates Lehi's family brought with them.  Nephi loves Isaiah, but acknowledges that he is difficult to understand for those who never lived at Jerusalem, or who were not familiar with the culture there.  You might expect me to study and research the deep meanings of Isaiah for my blog so's I can write more intelectualler about him.  Well, I am not doing that for the following reasons:

  1. I'm way too lazy for something like that.
  2. This blog isn't supposed to be about deep scholarship, but about building a better understanding of the surface.
  3. Even if I went and bought me a big Isaiah book by Hugh Nibley or somebody, I still don't think I would get the things that I don't get, at least, not with enough understanding to write about it.  So's anywayz.

On to Isaiah

1 Nephi 19: 23 (Nephi speaking)

23.  And I did read many things unto them which were written in the books of Moses; but that I might more fully persuade them to believe in The Lord their Redeemer I did read unto them that which was written by the prophet Isaiah; for I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning.
Some chapters from Isaiah have plain and obvious prophecies and testimonies of Jesus Christ (like Isaiah 53 for example), while in others, the meaning is harder to see.  Let's take them one at a time...

In 1 Nephi 20 (Isaiah 48) the confusion starts right away.

1 Nephi 20: 1-5
1.  Hearken and hear this, O house of Jacob, who are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, or out of the waters of baptism, who swear by the name of The Lord, and make mention of The God of Israel, yet they swear not in truth nor in righteousness.

(Hypocrisy is something that really seems to get on The Lord's nerves) 
2.  Nevertheless, they call themselves of the holy city, but they do not stay themselves upon the God of Israel, who is The Lord of Hosts; yea, the Lord of Hosts is His name.


  1. A stay that extends from the maintop to the foot of the foremast of a sailing ship.
  2. A thing on which something else is based or depends: "whitefish are the mainstay of the local industry".)
3.  Behold, I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I showed them, I did show them suddenly.

(I revealed the gospel to you quite plainly)

4.  And I did it because I knew that thou art obstinate, and thy neck is an iron sinew, and they brow brass.
(Iron sinew = stiff necks = pride = hard to teach)
5.  And I have even from the beginning declared to thee; before it came to pass I showed them thee; and I showed them for fear lest thou shouldst say -Mine idol hath done them, and my graven image, and my molten image hath commanded them.
( I like that verse 5 thing.  Prophets prophecy of things to come so that when they do come, you know for sure that the Prophet, whose real job is to testify of Christ and His gospel, is a prophet, and, therefore, inspired by The Lord)

I like this next part.  This is what I see in there.  If you see something else or different, feel free to add to or take away from in the comments...

1 Nephi 20: 8-11
8.  Yea, and thou heardest not; yea, thou knewest not; yea, from that time thine ear was not opened; for I knew that thou wouldst deal very treacherously, and was called a transgressor from the womb.
I believe this verse is talking about The Fall, and the effects of it that were a consequence of the righteous choice Adam & Eve made in the Garden of Eden.  "A transgressor from the womb", or subject to the weaknesses of the flesh.  The Lord knew of the difficulty His children would have remaining an obedient people.
 9.  Nevertheless, for my name's sake will I defer mine anger, and for my praise will I refrain from thee, that I cut thee not off.
OK, so He taught Israel what to do, but they tended to be disobedient.  He knew they were a weak people because He understands man's weaknesses.  He will be patient in His judgment for a while, and not pronounce them a lost cause.  He will continue to give them His word through His prophets.
10.  For, behold, I have refined thee, I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.
Hard times came upon them.  They were conquered, re-conquered, held as slaves in Egypt for 400 years, conquered again, etc., but this will make them a chosen people again, hopefully.
11.  For mine own sake, yea, for mine own sake will I do this, for I will not suffer my name to be polluted, and I will not give my glory unto another.  
The old testament just has a strange way of putting things sometimes.  For The Lord's sake (not ours?) will he be patient in judgment, but allow some pretty tough trials. For "His Name's sake" will He allow their world to be a challenge for them.  The Old Testament sometimes can make The Lord appear like He is saying something self-centered.  Since we KNOW that He is NOT self-centered, we examine the wording more closely.  And, "I will not give my glory unto another."  What comes to your mind when you read that?  To me, it is when Satan argues against Our Heavenly Father's Plan, and wants the glory for himself.  Christ's answer is:  "Glory be to The Father!"  So, I see this as a restatement of His victory over Satan and sin.  His glory is to bring us salvation and exhaltation.  He will not give up on us.

Tolstoy Ploughing -by Ilya Repin

Back in Genesis where The Lord is dealing with Adam and Eve's decision to transgress His commandment, The Lord said, "...cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life." (Gen 3:17).  We have an understanding that the consequences given to Adam and Eve were for "their sake", His efforts in helping them come back into His presence and receive Eternal Life.

So, in saying "For Mine Own sake" and "for My Name's sake", The Lord is really saying the same thing, isn't He?  The Lord's work and glory is to bring about our salvation, so if He's not successful, it was all for nothing.  His Name, Jesus Christ, is The Name given under heaven which will bring that salvation.  "For His Name's sake" is just that: for the sake of bringing us salvation.  Does that sound right to you.  That's just my thoughts on that.

Many parts of the Isaiah chapters are still beyond my level of the know.  Sometimes I'll read through a whole chapter and not really get most of it, but a couple of verses will stand out on their own and speak something to me.  If you are one of the trillions of us who don't understand Isaiah, read it anyway. 

Remember how we're supposed to be looking for principles as we read through the BOM?  Here's one from Isaiah:

1 Nephi 20: 18
18.  O that thou hadst hearkened to My commandments -then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea.
Isn't that a cool way of putting it.  Righteousness as the waves of the sea.  Peace as a river.  That's the reward for obedience.  The consequence for disobedience:

1 Nephi 20: 22
22.  And notwithstanding he hath done all this, and greater also, there is no peace, saith The Lord, unto the wicked.

Christ reading from Isaiah -by Greg Olsen
1 Nephi 20: 20
20.  ... with a voice of singing declare ye, tell this, utter to the end of the earth; say ye: The Lord hath redeemed His servant Jacob.

I love this.  Over 700 years before Christ's birth, Isaiah declared the victory His, the victory Ours.

Peace like a river be with you...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Lost and scattered, gathered and loved (1 Nephi 19)

So, I went to Gospel Doctrine class last Sunday for the first time this year because of being involved in a Family History class.  When the teach says, "We're going to talk about 4 Josephs today", I knew my well intended intention of keeping ahead of the Sunday School curriculum was in a lost and fallen state.  I shoulda figured.  This BOM blog is going to take me a couple of years at least. They're already in 2nd Nephi.

I can't fight City Hall.  We are where we are...

...and we are in 1 Nephi 19. In this chapter we find out the reason we have this chapter.

1 Nephi 19: 1-3
1.  And it came to pass that The Lord commanded me, wherefore I did make plates of ore that I might engraven upon them the record of my people.  And upon the plates which I made I did engraven the record of my father, and also our journeyings in the wilderness, and the prophecies of my father; and also many of mine own prophecies have I engraven upon them.

2.  And I knew not at the time when I made them that I should be commanded of The Lord to make these plates; wherefore, the record of my father, and the genealogy of his fathers, and the more part of all our proceedings in the wilderness are engraven upon those first plates of which I have spoken; wherefore, the things which transpired before I made these plates are, of a truth, more particularly made mention upon the first plates.

3.  And after I had made these plates by way of commandment, I, Nephi, received a commandment that the ministry and the prophecies, the more plain and precious parts of them, should be written upon these plates; and that the things which were written should be kept for the instruction of my people, who should possess the land, and also for other wise purposes, which purposes are known unto The Lord.
I've never read this book.

Nephi made 2 sets of plates. One (the larger plates), Nephi says, gives a greater account of their experiences, and gives a record of Lehi's geneology.  All of that was in the Book of Lehi, which was lost by Joseph Smith and Martin Harris after the first 116 pages were translated.  The other (the smaller plates) were for the purpose of recording their gospel doings, their prophecies, and the plain and precious things that The Lord revealed to them.

Painting taken from this website

Here's an example of what Nephi was talking about when he said "the more plain and precious parts", which would be for the instruction of his people (his descendants) and for us:

1 Nephi 19: 8-10
8.  And behold He cometh, according to the words of the angel, in six hundred years from the time my father left Jerusalem.

9.  And the world, because of their iniquity, shall judge Him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge Him, and He suffereth it; and they smite Him, and He suffereth it. Yea, they spit upon Him, and He suffereth it, because of His loving kindness and His long-suffering towards the children of men.

10.  And the God of our fathers, who were led out of Egypt, out of bondage, and also were preserved in the wilderness by Him, yea, the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, yieldeth himself, according to the words of the angel, as a man, into the hands of wicked men, to be lifted up, according to the words of Zenock, and to be crucified, according to the words of Neum, and to be buried in a sepulchre, according to the words of Zenos, which he spake concerning the three days of darkness, which should be a sign given of his death unto those who should inhabit the isles of the sea, more especially given unto those who are of the house of Israel.

I love these verses and others like them that describe some of what the atonement did to The Savior, and I love the simple explanation as to why He was willing to suffereth such things: Because of His loving kindness towards the children of men.   Loving kindness.  I really like that.  If there is anything about The Savior that I would strive to emulate, it's His loving kindness.  My strivings, although they may yield some, small victories, fall flat on their face most of the time, but it's the very nature of His loving kindness that both helps me in my success and suffers long my inadequacies.  I love Jesus Christ very much.

I like looking words up that I think I know the meanings of, but may not fully get:


The digit 0; zero.

Nothing: "he's naught but a worthless fool".

Worthless; useless.

noun.  nil - nought - nothing - zero - cipher - nix - cypher
adjective.  worthless - nugatory - useless - vain - valueless


A whip used as an instrument of punishment.

Whip (someone) as a punishment.

noun.  whip - plague - lash - pest
verb.  whip - flog - lash - flagellate - castigate - punish

(these lines were brought to you by the inefficiencies of blogger)

Definition of SUFFER

transitive verb
1: to submit to or be forced to endure <suffer martyrdom> b : to feel keenly : labor under <suffer thirst
2: to put up with especially as inevitable or unavoidable

So, the reason we have 1 Nephi 19 is because The Lord commanded Nephi to make a 2nd set of plates just in case, sometime in the future, Joseph Smith and Martin Harris lose the Book of Lehi. Wow, I'm glad that worked out.

Warning:  No violations of D&C 89 were committed during the placement of this segway

The House of Israel

A major theme of the BOM and all scripturedom is the scattering and gathering of Israel.  At the time the BOM was written, the scattering is still in progress.  There were 2 kingdoms in Palastine when Lehi's family left, Judah in the south and Israel in the north.  Israel was a combination of a few tribes that were brought together by King Saul and then more so by King David.  Lehi lived in the Kingdom of Judah, but found that he was actually a part of the tribe of Joseph when he read the brass plates. 

Keep that in mind when we start getting into the Isaiah chapters (insert scream here).

This verse is a prophecy of Zenos Nephi writes about the future of the tribe of Judah, or Jews:

1 Nephi 19: 13-15
13.  And as for those who are at Jerusalem, saith the prophet, they shall be scourged by all people, because they crucify the God of Israel, and turn their hearts aside, rejecting signs and wonders, and the power and glory of The God of Israel.

14.  And because they turn their hearts aside, saith the prophet, and have despised the Holy One of Israel, they shall wander in the flesh, and perish, and become a hiss and a byword, and be hated among all nations.

15.  Nevertheless, when that day cometh, saith the prophet, that they no more turn aside their hearts against the Holy One of Israel, then will he remember the covenants which he made to their fathers.

I need to say something here that I feel very strongly about.  I feel strongly about it because of some people's beliefs expressed to me in the past regarding the Jews deserving what history has done to them.  I cannot believe and refuse to accept that there is any truth in that.  I believe what happened to the Jews was absolutely not inflicted upon them by God, but by man in his most wicked and sinful state.  To bring something about and to prophecy of something are two distinctly different things.  I guess I'll leave it at that, except to give you 2 words in opposition to the words "sin" and "wicked":

Loving Kindness

-Carl Bloch
Peace be with you...

Monday, February 6, 2012

Great was the soreness thereof (1 Nephi 18)

I've always been amazed at how cut Jacob is, especially for a 7-year old. Well, that's my guess. I get that from where it says that Jacob and Joseph were born in the wilderness, and Lehi's family was in the wilderness for 8 years. There may have been some time not accounted for, like how long they were in Bountiful before they built the ship, how long it took to build the ship, and the time it took to actually get across the whole ocean. My wife thinks I'm The Standard of Truth, so I ought to be careful what I'm preachin'. He may not have actually been 7.
Ok, 8. Happy now, Em?

Nephi is a prophet
Lehi is The Prophet

Each time I begin reading 1 Nephi 18, I always notice something about how The Lord works with his children (that's us).  Here's some quick excerpts from verses 1-5.

1 Nephi 18: 1-5
1.  ...And The Lord did show me from time to time after what manner I should work the timbers of the ship.

2.  ...I did build it after the manner which The Lord had shown unto me...

3.  ...I did pray oft unto The Lord; wherefore The Lord showed unto me great things.

But, here's the kicker in verse 5:

5.  And it came to pass that the voice of The Lord came unto my father, that we should arise and go down into the ship.

I just find it interesting that, though Nephi is a very righteous man, and The Lord recognizes that in him, it is to Lehi that the direction is given.  He fills a double role here as a righteous father and prophet of God.  Anywayz, off they go, sailing to the promised land.

There's a storm a brewin'

Laman hasn't tried to kill Nephi since chapter 17.  I think it's about time to up his dosage again.  I'm proud to say that, at least in this part of the journey, I Am Not a Laman.

1 Nephi 18: 11-13

11.  And it came to pass that Laman and Lemuel did take me and bind me with cords, and they did treat me with much harshness; nevertheless, The Lord did suffer it that he might show forth His power, unto the fulfilling of His word which He had spoken concerning the wicked.

12.  And it came to pass that after they had bound me insomuch that I could not move, the compass, which had been prepared of The Lord, did cease to work.

13.  Wherefore, they knew not whither they should steer the ship, insomuch that there arose a great storm, yea, a great and terrible storm, yea, a great and terrible tempest, and we were driven back upon the waters for the space of three days; and they began to be frightened exceedingly lest they should be drowned in the sea; nevertheless they did not loose me.

Some people are really blockheads.  I can sometimes identify with Laman when he does stupid stuff, but this is just ridiculous.  
Let's see...

Nephi's free: Calm seas and fare winds, good to go.
Nephi's tied up: Huge storm is gonna kill us all and the compass doesn't work. 

Obvious conclusion...

Untie Nephi and not die.

Laman's conclusion...

Leave Nephi tied up and die.

The Picture

Ok, you get the picture, so let's move on.  Oh no..., wait a second... 

Isn't ignoring your scriptures while they get more and more dusty and you get closer and closer to the world and the pride thereof sort of like tying up Nephi?  And, don't we often wait until the 4th day when our tempest gets exceedingly sore and we're threatened with utter destruction before we finally wake up and smell the leather?

1 Nephi 18: 14-15, 20-21

14.  And on the fourth day, which we had been driven back, the tempest began to be exceedingly sore.

15.  And it came to pass that we were about to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea.  And after we had been driven back upon the waters for the space of four days, my brethren began to see that the judgments of God were upon them, and that they must perish save that they should repent of their iniquities; wherefore, they came unto me, and loosed the bands which were upon my wrists, and behold they had swollen exceedingly; and also mine ankles were much swollen, and great was the soreness thereof.

20.  And there was nothing save it were the power of God, which threatened them with destruction, could soften their hearts; wherefore, when they saw that they were about to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea they repented of the thing which they had done, insomuch that they loosed me.

And what is the result of repentance?

21.  And it came to pass after they loosed me, behold, I took the compass, and it did work whither I desired it. And it came to pass that I prayed unto The Lord; and after I had prayed the winds did cease, and the storm did cease, and there was a great calm.

I like calm.  Calm is my friend.

Closing Ceremonies

Just a couple of things...

When Nephi is finally loosed, and great were the soreness of his wrists and ankles, he is quick to say: "Nevertheless, I did look unto God and praise him, and I did not murmur." That's nice, but why did he write that?  It strikes me funny.  Like, "That really hurt, bad!!!  I'm not complaining about it. I just want you to know, it really hurt bad; like, real bad!!!"  I shouldn't make fun.  I love Nephi.

Lehi and Sarah weren't having a great time during this either.  Parents hate seeing their kids fight.  This must have been so hard on them.  The following verse says it pretty clear.

1 Nephi 18: 18
18.  Because of their grief and much sorrow, and the iniquity of my brethren, they were brought near even to be carried out of this time to meet their God; yea, their grey hairs were about to be brought down to lie low in the dust; yea, even they were near to be cast with sorrow into a watery grave.

I love this verse.  So poetically said, man.  I dig this painting too...

-By Walter Rane

Look at Lehi in the background, sitting on the deck in an almost fetal position, trying to get the compass to work.  How many parents are afflicted by the sins of their children?  So sad.  I know I compare myself to Laman a lot, and it has its purpose, but I'm glad I only mean it metaphorically.  Laman and Lemuel's got issues, man.

And this is how Nephi responds to his adversity...

When in doubt, look up...

Peace be with you.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Journeyings without murmurings (1 Nephi 17)

How do you like your steak?

I guess a lot of people like their steak rare.  Me, I can maybe do a medium, but prefer medium well.  Just a slight touch of pink.

Lehi's family didn't eat their meat rare, they ate it raw.  Can you imagine?  I'd rather not, it grosses me out.  They did this for the same reason Nephi had to kill Laban and Zoram had to come with them into the wilderness:  Nobody's supposed to know where they went.  Eating cooked meat requires fire, and fire attracts attention. Eating raw meat requires Faith in God.

1 Nephi17: 1-4
1.  And it came to pass that we did again take our journey in the wilderness; and we did travel nearly eastward from that time forth. And we did travel and wade through much affliction in the wilderness; and our women did bear children in the wilderness.

2.  And so great were the blessings of The Lord upon us, that while we did live upon raw meat in the wilderness, our women did give plenty of suck for their children, and were strong, yea, even like unto the men; and they began to bear their journeyings without murmurings.

3.  And thus we see that the commandments of God must be fulfilled. And if it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them, and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them; wherefore, he did provide means for us while we did sojourn in the wilderness.

4.  And we did sojourn for the space of many years, yea, even eight years in the wilderness.

Journeyings without murmurings. I'm so proud of Laman and Lemuel; they've come such a long way.  I mean look at this:

1 Nephi 17: 5-6
5.  And we did come to the land which we called Bountiful, because of its much fruit and also wild honey; and all these things were prepared of The Lord that we might not perish. And we beheld the sea, which we called Irreantum, which, being interpreted, is many waters.

6.  And it came to pass that we did pitch our tents by the seashore; and notwithstanding we had suffered many afflictions and much difficulty, yea, even so much that we cannot write them all, we were exceedingly rejoiced when we came to the seashore; and we called the place Bountiful, because of its much fruit.

Yup, no more trouble from Mr. Lame, er.. Laman.


This map does NOT represent any position The LDS Church has taken on the actual path Lehi took through Saudi Arabia, Yemen or Oman, and is NOT doctrine.  It is merely the educated guessings of people who like to spend time doing such things.  All we know is that Lehi's family went south by southeast for a while, and then East for a while, and the whole thing took 8 years, and they arrived at a seashore.  Since it matters NOT, this map suits me just fine.

1 Nephi 17: 8-9
8.  And it came to pass that The Lord spake unto me, saying: Thou shalt construct a ship, after the manner which I shall show thee, that I may carry thy people across these waters.

9.  And I said: Lord, whither shall I go that I may find ore to molten, that I may make tools to construct the ship after the manner which thou hast shown me?
My level of Faith:
The Lord:  John Barney, thou shalt construct a ship.
John Barney:  What?  I can't do that; I don't know how.

Nephi's level of Faith:

The Lord:  Nephi, thou shalt construct a ship
Nephi:  OK, but where can I find the materials I need?

Replace "construct a ship" with pretty much anything and there's your lesson. "Teach a class", "give a talk", "be Elders' Quorum President", "pay your tithing"...etc. 

The good news is, Nephi has lots of willing helpers to aid him in this daunting task.  Well, I'm sure Zoram and brother Sam were willing to help.  Laman & Lemuel, and probably the Ishmael brothers too, refused to help, and ridiculed Nephi for even thinking that he could do it. 

Well, Nephi knows he can do it (faith), and I know he can do it (I've read it), and you know he can do it (testimony), and, interestingly enough, Laman and Lemuel know he can do it (experience)...

1 Nephi 17: 19
19.  And now it came to pass that I, Nephi, was exceedingly sorrowful because of the hardness of their hearts; and now when they saw that I began to be sorrowful they were glad in their hearts, insomuch that they did rejoice over me, saying: We knew that ye could not construct a ship for we knew that ye were lacking in judgment; wherefore, thou canst not accomplish so great a work.

This reminds me of that song in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" when the brothers, referring to Joseph's dreams that he will one day rule over them, sing:
His dreams of course will not come true
That is we think they won't come true
That is we hope they won't come true
What if he's right all along?
Anywayz, to enlist their help, Nephi gets on a soapbox for a couple of pages here, bearing a powerful testimony of The Lord's dealings with the House of Israel.  Always a favorite reference is the story of how The Lord parted the Red Sea hither and thither (I love that!! "Hither and Thither") and the children of Israel passed through on dry ground (they always mention the dry ground part).  Nephi also reminds Laman & Lemuel that they themselves have seen miracles:

1 Nephi 17: 45
45.  Ye are swift to do iniquity but slow to remember The Lord your God. Ye have seen an angel, and he spake unto you; yea, ye have heard His voice from time to time; and He hath spoken unto you in a still small voice, but ye were past feeling, that ye could not feel His words; wherefore, he has spoken unto you like unto the voice of thunder, which did cause the earth to shake as if it were to divide asunder.
Notice the lesson on how The Lord often communicates with us: A still, small voice that we feel, as opposed to hear. Would you rather have that one or the thunder?

As Nephi speaks, the Spirit of The Lord comes upon him and he becomes a lion.  Have you ever seen someone become a righteous lion? I saw the bishop of my ward become a lion once. There's a huge difference between The Spirit transforming someone into a lion for a righteous purpose and a person getting worked up and yelling stuff. I would have loved to see this in person.

1 Nephi 17: 47-48
47.  Behold, my soul is rent with anguish because of you, and my heart is pained; I fear lest ye shall be cast off forever. Behold, I am full of the Spirit of God, insomuch that my frame has no strength.

48.  And now it came to pass that when I had spoken these words they were angry with me, and were desirous to throw me into the depths of the sea; and as they came forth to lay their hands upon me I spake unto them, saying: In the name of The Almighty God, I command you that ye touch me not, for I am filled with the power of God, even unto the consuming of my flesh; and whoso shall lay his hands upon me shall wither even as a dried reed; and he shall be as naught before the power of God, for God shall smite him.
Let's keep going.  I really love this part of the BOM

49.  And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto them that they should murmur no more against their father; neither should they withhold their labor from me, for God had commanded me that I should build a ship.

50.  And I said unto them: If God had commanded me to do all things I could do them. If he should command me that I should say unto this water, be thou earth, it should be earth; and if I should say it, it would be done.

51.  And now, if The Lord has such great power, and has wrought so many miracles among the children of men, how is it that he cannot instruct me, that I should build a ship?
And...1 Nephi 17: 54-55
54.  And it came to pass that I stretched forth my hand unto my brethren, and they did not wither before me; but The Lord did shake them, even according to the word which he had spoken.

55.  And now, they said: We know of a surety that The Lord is with thee, for we know that it is the power of The Lord that has shaken us. And they fell down before me, and were about to worship me, but I would not suffer them, saying: I am thy brother, yeah, even thy younger brother; wherefore, worship The Lord thy God, and honor they father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land which The Lord thy God shall give thee.

One last strain of praise:  It must have been awesome to have to build a fire to make the tools to make the ship.  The Lord didn't want them building fires too much; that's why they had to eat their meat without cooking it.

1 Nephi 17: 12-13
12.  ...I will make they food become sweet, that ye cook it not;
That's pretty cool.  Still, I bet they took advantage of this fire to roast a hot dog or two, & maybe make s'mores. 

And one of my faves:
13.  And I will be your light in the wilderness; and I will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments; wherefore, inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall be led towards the promised land; and ye shall know that it is by Me that ye are led.
Having traversed a small part of my journey through the wilderness that is my life, and having experienced what I have experienced, and being where I am now, I know that it has been by Him that I have been led.  There may have been questions, doubtings and seeming coincidences along the way, but now I see the view more clearly, and it's beautiful.  I really like the idea that, when we get there, we will know that it was He who led (or was trying to lead) us. I'll hit this again in Ether 6: 12. 

Em's brother Parker took this at Cedar Breaks
Peace be with you...