BOOK OF MORMON
. another testament of jesus christ
containing answers and examples
containing answers and examples
The Book of Mormon has accounts of more detailed family relationships, an extremely useful insight into how men of God, even Prophets dealt with their own families under a variety of circumstances and situations. Challenging ones!
The story of Lehi, and Nephi... and examples of the challenges of their family relationships. The story of Alma and his son Alma, and the story of Alma's sons including Corianton where four chapters were dedicated to a serious talk he had with his son...etc., etc.
...that's what I love about the book of Mormon. It gives you examples of real people and what challenges are possible within your families even when you are on the Lord's errand, and also what is expected of us as followers of Jesus Christ.
NEPHI: YOUNGER BROTHER but Prophet of God. What can we learn from Nephi and his interactions with his brothers, even his older brothers Laman and Lemuel? Well I can tell you what I learn. I learn that Nephi was a human just like me but he did a much better job than me when it came to facing serious challenges, even awkward and heartbreaking challenges. Same with the example of Lehi, his father, also Prophet of God. I am beginning to believe that the Lord called Lehi and his family to leave Jerusalem and spend a decade in the wilderness just so that we could have so many scriptural accounts of real family life challenges and how they dealt with the challenges and also how they sometimes failed at the challenges. Their challenges are our challenges in many ways, and we can learn from them. We see the human side of them as well as the spiritual strength that comes from their allegiance to the Lord and the commandments of God. So we know it's possible to do good at the level they did it, because there is a true account of how family members returned CHARITY to other family members who were not nice to them, or Christ-like to them. And they did this to the end, they endured to the end.
For example, the older brothers of Nephi, Laman and Lemuel, were often harsh to Nephi for speaking the words of the Lord to them, even angry to the point of trying to do mortal harm to Nephi, but the Lord would miraculously intervene and save Nephi as needed. But the Lord also let Nephi suffer as well. Nephi still had to deal with the very real reality that his older brothers did NOT like him, took joy in making him sorrowful, and all of the potential awkwardness that this brings to human relationships. How does a good person react to people, even family, who so obviously do not like him, even hate him? Nephi said it in his own words after his own brothers did try to kill him in the wilderness:
What more can I say about it? This was Nephi's approach, to be Christlike. Nephi cherished the Spirit of God which rewards man with His presence when they do what is right. The Lord comforts the righteous in their afflictions and their challenges with others.
LEHI: FATHER and LEADER. Lehi had a most challenging scenario dealt to him by the Lord. He was commanded to take his family from Jerusalem around 600 BC and depart into the wilderness... and leave Jerusalem, forever. This did not set well with his older sons, who no doubt had their eyes on their inheritance (for they were a rich family with spare gold and silver, etc). So these sons complained and made life miserable for the family from time to time.
Lehi would talk to them. He would preach to them. He had seen the Lord, had seen the heavens open, and so he did know that they were on the Lord's errand. But his older sons did not know and they didn't want to know. They were rebellious. How do you speak to these kind of children as a father? The Book of Mormon gives example after example of how Lehi spoke to them and taught them, and how he did prevail, but in the end, Laman and Lemuel had choice... and after 15 or 20 years of rebellion after leaving Jerusalem and arriving eventually at the promised land, America, Lehi died and was not able to see his sons converted. He died sorrowful for this, but at the same time, happy that he chose to follow God and do the best he could have done as a parent. Nephi his son said this of him:
A tender parent. Now I can learn something there. Obviously Lehi had charity and a Christlike love for his family, even these sons who were not nice. Sons who conspired to kill their father. Sons who rebelled and breathed out threatenings to their father who tried to defend Nephi from their harsh and murderous treatments. Lehi was charitable to the end, and even on his deathbed he preached to these sons, in hopes that they would listen and not be damned. They did not listen and Lehi went to his grave not seeing them repent. A sad tale, but Lehi's soul was saved. He did the will of the Lord. It was HARD. He ENDURED. He kept trying. He did not say "whatever..." and move on. He kept trying. We can learn from that on how to deal with challenges or problems in our own families. We can learn that we keep trying until the end, until we DIE, we don't give up on others. We LOVE them to the end.
What does the love mean? When you truly love somebody, you think of them in the same way that Heavenly Father thinks of them. He loves everybody unconditionally. He doesn't love you more than me for more than the next person. He loves us all the same. He has said this:
This is an unconditional work and glory. No one is excluded. All have an equal privilege. God is no respecter of persons. He loves every single one of his children. We too, in order to love God perfectly, must love all mankind without conditions. Jesus said, love your enemies. Do good to those that persecute you and despitefully use you.
BOOK of MORMON Answers: Parenting and Free Agency. The Myth of Control. In the end, Children decide Religion and Faith all on their Own!
It's true! Many parents try to control because they think they can, and indeed they do have success when the kids are YOUNG and still naturally want to please their parents and so harmony in the home on matters of faith/religion is naturally easier when kids are younger. Depending on how the kids turn out when they get older, some parents take credit for it if the kids turn out well and successful. The kids did everything they told them to do and maybe take over the family business as well. Carry on the tradition. They will brag about them. But let's be fair. Let's be real.
Not all kids are like that, and it has nothing at all to do with the parents. It has everything to do with the personality and nature of the kids. Are they followers? Are they obedient? Or are they mavericks and completely independent thinkers? Are they service minded, or selfish? It all depends on the person, doesn't it. We have scriptures to show that this is the case even in very special families. Indeed, it was the way it was in the pre-mortal existence when all of us were in the presence of the Father of us all. 1/3 did not listen to Him, and are forever damned.
In modern times, God commanded parents to teach their children the gospel, and doesn't hold parents accountable if those children rebel against their teachings. He does hold them accountable if they don't teach them HIS teachings. Here are the facts on what the Lord has said on the matter:
Doctrine and Covenants 68:25
All the Lord requires is that parents teach their children the doctrines of repentance, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, baptism requirements, and receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the time they are eight years old! If not, the sin will be on the heads of the parents, who should have taught their children.
In ancient times we have a great example of a family of a PROPHET of GOD, Lehi, who also had a son who also was a PROPHET of GOD and another son Jacob who also became a PROPHET of GOD so this family had a lot of righteousness in it! They also had a lot of wickedness in it. Laman and Lemuel come to mind. They were the exact opposite of the faithful father and brothers that were in their family... spiritual giants who had visions of the beginning and end of the earth, the tree of life, of the Savior of the World, visits by angels, etc. Nephi, Lehi, Jacob, etc. were very very righteous. But Laman and Lemuel made excuses. They also tried to KILL their younger brother and threatened to kill their father too. They were not only spiritual rebels, they were physically violent and dangerous to the family. So we would call this a "dysfunctional" family in today's terms. But were they really? Or were they just a NORMAL family?
My opinion is the latter. I think it is rare for a single family to turn out all perfect. I believe God smatters families with spirits of different personalities and spiritual leanings and capabilities, probably to give more of HIS CHILDREN a CHANCE in this world because He is so merciful and wants all to succeed. What better way for a Child of God to come to earth who was possibly struggling in the Spirit Realms of Heaven before this life, than to send them to an earthly home with parents kind and dear? And with possibly brothers and sisters who were strong in their FAITH so that they could learn from their examples!
I know I learn from the examples of good people. Probably especially those people in the SCRIPTURES because the Lord had those stories and examples selected for us to learn from. The Book of Mormon has specific and instructive examples of family relationship details, how they were hard, and how good people had to suffer through the learning experiences of those who were not good, and who threatened the peace of the family. These stories showed how the good people in the family learned from the scriptures and so adjusted their lives and attitudes and spiritual strength to do the will of the Lord. Take Nephi for instance shortly after his older brothers tried to KILL him because they were so angry with him for always speaking the truth, the words of the Lord:
1 Nephi 7:16-21
So the next time someone in our families offends us, let alone tries to KILL us, we can learn from Nephi what he did. He did frankly forgive it, and moved on, was positive, didn't hold a grudge, and tried to help again and again and again. For Nephi this was a trial that repeated many times throughout his record, as his older brothers never seemed to be able to overcome their PRIDE and accept Nephi as a prophet of God. They dismissed him as a fool and mocked him many times, and man-handled him many times. But Nephi being a disciple of Jesus Christ, bore all of these afflictions in patience and prayed to God while under situations of great duress. On another occasion when they were on a ship going to the promised land, on the ocean, Nephi preached to them, admonished them on account of their wickedness on the ship and so they tied him up for 4 days with tight cords, and left him to die. But as the Lord threatened them with a sinking ship in a huge storm, they repented, untied Nephi, and Nephi prays to stop the storm and it did. Peace and calm, because of FAITH. The faith that Laman and Lemuel lacked. Nephi once again suffered at the hands of his brothers and yet he remained a true disciple of Jesus Christ, patient in all afflictions and pains:
14 And on the fourth day, which we had been driven back, the tempest began to be exceedingly sore.
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