Saturday, October 31, 2009

1 Nephi - Chapter 15

My natural inclination would be that Nephi would return from his vision invigorated for having been granted such a great blessing.  Instead he was utterly spent.  Such seems to be regularly the case.  Moses and Sidney Rigdon are just a couple of examples.  Also, when after Lehi received his first vision, he went home and cast himself upon his bed.  Such experiences appear to be a physical as well as spiritual ordeal.  I wonder why that is.  I wonder what the nature of their exertions are that should leave them so spent that they need to recuperate afterwards.

Possibly, with divine assistance, the capacity of their minds are enhanced sufficiently to receive large amounts of information in a short period of time.  Both Nephi and Moses seem to have been shown the future in such detail as to have required days to see and comprehend.  It is unlikely that much time elapsed.  Couple that with the utter dismay Nephi must have felt beholding the outcome, which clearly caused him such distress that he thought himself the most afflicted of all people.  My heart goes out to him.  I thank God that I have no idea what tomorrow will bring.  Today is often as much as I can handle.

That begs another question.  Am I remiss in not wanting to see the things which Lehi saw?  I admit that I am content to know that he and Nephi have told me the truth.  That much has been shown me by them in their words and the Spirit has witnessed to me that their words are true.  I am content with that, but perhaps I should seek more.  What do you think?

I have loved living in this day, only dreamed of by the prophets of old.  We are so blessed to be eye witnesses to the blessings of the Restoration.  How marvelous to see first hand, the gathering of Israel and then to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Saints as we gather in our Wards, Stakes and in General Conference and sing praises to God for his great gifts.  To Nephi, these days must have seemed so far off and the conflict, distruction and despair in the foreground of that view must have been a burden beyond imagination.

I remember a Priests Quorum Adviser who complained.  "There is so much we could do, but have you seen the boneheads I've been given to work with?"  His boneheads all eventually went on missions and turned out great.  When compared to Nephi's boneheads, they were angels.  That Nephi never gave up, in light of what he had seen of the future is such a mighty tribute to his character.


D1Warbler said...

I think that to be able to withstand seeing the glory of the Lord or of an angel (celestial persons), your body needs to be changed -- physically as well as spiritually. (Perhaps -- to another energy frequency.)

Regardless, obviously such a transformation -- no matter how short -- takes strength away from a mortal (or telestial) person.

These are the words recorded in Section 76: 113-119 of the D.& C after Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith had their vision of the three kingdoms of glory.

113 This is the end of the vision which we saw, which we were commanded to write while we were yet in the Spirit.

114 But great and marvelous are the works of the Lord, and the mysteries of his kingdom which he showed unto us, which surpass all understanding in glory, and in might, and in dominion;

115 Which he commanded us we should not write while we were yet in the Spirit, and are not lawful for man to utter;

116 Neither is man capable to make them known, for they are only to be seen and understood by the power of the Holy Spirit, which God bestows on those who love him, and purify themselves before him;

117 To whom he grants this privilege of seeing and knowing for themselves;

118 That through the power and manifestation of the Spirit, while in the flesh, they may be able to bear his presence in the world of glory.

119 And to God and the Lamb be glory, and honor, and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

I think that verse 118 tells us the most about the process: "That through the power and manifestation of the Spirit, while in the flesh, they may be able to bear his presence in the world of glory."

Perhaps such glory and power is like radiation – only not harmful to us if we are protected by the Holy Ghost. (Even so, a great deal of radiation does zap your strength.) Perhaps in such a transformation, even the molecules of our mortal bodies are temporarily re-arranged and changed. That would consume lots of energy!

D1Warbler said...

In thinking of the above a bit more, I remembered what happens when Nephi's brothers try to slay him and the Lord tells him to "shake" them so they might realized the power he has been given from God.

Nephi 17:52 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said many things unto my brethren, insomuch that they were confounded and could not contend against me; neither durst they lay their hands upon me nor touch me with their fingers, even for the space of many days. Now they durst not do this lest they should wither before me, so powerful was the Spirit of God; and thus it had wrought upon them.

53 And it came to pass that the Lord said unto me: Stretch forth thine hand again unto thy brethren, and they shall not wither before thee, but I will shock them, saith the Lord, and this will I do, that they may know that I am the Lord their God.

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.

I'm sure the "shaking" was like being administered an electric shock -- i.e., energy. Having that kind of energy in your system and then having it withdrawn would certainly make you feel weakened and depleated.

(Also, I then remembered in Luke 8: 43-46 when the woman with an issue touched the hem of Christ's robe, and he said he felt "virtue" go out of him.

43 And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any,

44 Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched.

45 And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?

46 And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.

That miracle happened when Christ was in his "telestial" body, but even in that body, he felt energy and power go out from him when he healed someone. The full force of that power must be impossible to withstand without being strengthened by the Holy Ghost.

We know that Joseph Smith and Moses had such experiences more often and so their bodies -- perhaps as they became more sanctified -- could withstand the experience more easily -- as testified by Joseph Smith's comment about Sidney Rigdon not being as "used" to the experience of seeing a vision, etc., as he was.

Also, it just may be that seeing so much in so little time simply drains you!

D1Warbler said...

As to your other comment about wondering about whether or not you should seek to have the kinds of visions Nephi had. If we think about it -- visions usually come to such people because of questions they ask. Prophets and others who receive visions usually tend to be very curious people -- as in "inquisitive" -- not strange! The Lord typically never gives us anything without our asking for it (or someone else asking for it in our stead like Alma the Younger's father did for him and for his friends, the sons of Mosiah), so I guess if we really want to know about the mysteries of God -- and visions would certainly be that -- we need to ask!

After all -- even to Prophets -- visions are personal revelation and we all want access to that.

di said...

36 ...that tree of life, whose fruit is most precious and most desirable above all other fruits; yea, and it is the greatest of all the gifts of God.

If the Tree is the love of God, and the fruit of the love of God is the most desirable and is the greatest of all the gifts of God. This makes you think. I have often felt the love of God in my life. It is a very sweet feeling even from here. What are the fruits of this love? It is lovely to contemplate.

Candleman said...

Wonderful counsel, both of you. I still don't want to see the future though. Is that wrong?

D1Warbler said...

I don't think it's wrong at all. I have an identical twin sister who doesn't want to have the answers to most of the things that I desire answers for -- big things in general -- not just personal revelation -- because she's content to wait for those answers. That doesn't make either of us wrong, it just makes us different -- which is how we should all be!