Tuesday, November 3, 2009

1 Nephi - Chapter 18

Wouldn't it be a fun archaeological discovery to find that ship!  I suppose that since the Nephites and Lamanites stopped being mariners for several generations after their arrival, that the revealed technologies used in its construction are lost to us.  Clearly, ship building technology was not considered by Nephi to "be of worth" to the children of men, but it would be interesting.  Over the years, I've noticed that even in temporal things, God's methods far exceed man's.  One example was my first visit to a Bishop's Storehouse.  Another, can be found in a neat book called "The Mormon Way of Doing Business."

I was, initially, curious why Nephi attributed Lehi and Sariah's illness to Laman and Lemuel's pride and wickedness.  In my mind I thought, "Anybody who'd ridden a terrible storm in a relatively small ship would be horribly sea sick."  I hate to admit that the natural man in me was not at all unlike Laman and Lemuel.  I'm sure they didn't take credit for the storm or their parent's illness.

I have been like this so many times in my life.  During the long years of my addiction, I blamed the addiction.  I would never blame the real cause; my pride, my determination to have life on my terms rather than the Lord's.  In other words, I was loathe to take the blame and quick to find other explanations for my choices and their consequences.  Of course that became easier and easier as Satan's flaxen chords became chains and I surrendered more and more of my freedom to choose.  It would have been easy for Laman and Lemuel to convince themselves that the storm was just one of those things and that it had nothing to do with their own choices and behavior.

Even as a nation we do this all the time.  We blame and deride Congress for giving us exactly what the majority of us are asking for.  We despise ear tags unless they are meant to develop something locally beneficial.  We cuss Wall Street, when we ourselves are often buried under a mountain of debt.  The societal storms that beat upon us are brought on by our own choices, but like Laman and Lemuel we are loathe to see our own fault in bringing about the storm.

How about in our own personal relationships.  If I am honest, every storm in my marriage that I was so quick to blame on her, had a larger component of error on my part.  Every one!  But, again like Laman and Lemuel, I was just too proud to admit it.  That is until, and this too is selfish, I thought I might actually come up the loser in the deal.

Lehi and Sariah were truly sick and upon their death beds and Laman and Lemuel, not the storm, were truly the cause.

Today, Sweetie and I are on a little road trip, enjoying one another's company and so thankful the storms in our marriage are so far in the past.  I'm thankful too, that even on the road, I can keep up with blogging.  You may never know how much your participation in studying The Book of Mormon here, means to me.  Hopefully, more of you will be willing to share your insights.  Every comment lifts, teaches and inspires me.


di said...

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.

Perhaps this is a stretch, but I have been in 12-steps and thinking of addiction as bondage and being bound by the addiction. I think in my bindings (addiction) the compass that the Lord has prepared for me had ceased to work, or at least I had ceased to be able to read it. I need to read the compass. Only by following His lead will I be loosed from this bondage. I, myself, am powerless in this storm-tossed sea. I must look to Him. He can deliver me.

Candleman said...

How did I miss that one. Thank goodness, I'm not doing this alone.

So much appreciated di!

D1Warbler said...

I had never thought of the fact that Laman and Lemuel and might not have connected either the storm or their parents' illness with their own "rude" behavior or their treatment of Nephi. I had always thought they had connected the dots but just didn't care! The possibility that they didn't even consider their behavior to be the cause of all of that adversity is amazing to me on the one hand, but, then when I think more deeply about it, it totally makes sense considering their lack of spiritual sensitivity. Even so, it is mind-boggling to me that they would continue to "miss" that connection for so many danger-filled days. The fact that they could continue with such behavior for so long -- after over eight years worth of past experiences with the Liahona and the knowledge that experience should have given them about the fact that rebellious and unrighteous behavior would cause the instrument to cease working -- tells me volumes about them and about their situation.

I truly believe that Laman and Lemuel had become addicted to anger and to the emotional rush and personal satisfaction of the “righteousness” of their anger toward their brother which it gave them. Just as an addicted person gets so caught up in their addiction that they lose sight of the world around them in meaningful ways, Laman and Lemuel had become so caught up in their anger and indignation that they lost sight of their very safety and missed cues that would have normally informed them of their error and allowed them to repent and alter their course.

In thinking about this and about di's and Candleman's above comments about addictions, I remember a non-member friend whose husband was an alcoholic saying to me that because of her experience with her husband's alcoholism, she wouldn't even drink caffeinated drinks, let alone anything with alcohol in it, because she didn't want anything to interfere with her own connection to her Father in Heaven. At the time, I remember being extremely impressed with her understanding of the importance of that connection, and her overwhelming desire to protect it.

Along with di and Candleman, I think that addictions and bad behavior (perhaps another kind of addiction) also sever our connection to our Father in Heaven, and that that resulting insensitivity to the Spirit may (and often does) result in some kind of bondage.

In Laman and Lemuel's case, the result of their insensitivity was that they became subject to a bondage of the power of a storm which nearly destroyed them as well as those they loved. With typical, modern day addictions, the resulting bondage can also destroy lives and families in both spiritual and temporal ways.

Candleman said...

When I first emerged in recovery, after 45 years of addiction, I was astonished at the recurring theme of delivery from bondage in The Book of Mormon. How had I missed it for so many journeys through it's pages? Part of the answer was rooted in what I had been taught in my youth. The notion of the five steps of repentance from Sunday School and Seminary had left out the most important step of repentance - Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

People stop sinning all the time, but without Faith and Reliance upon the Merits and Mercy of Christ, it cannot result in remission of sins. For me, one of the great values of the 12 Steps is that the first three, required me to first have Faith in Jesus Christ so he could put my addiction in remission.

It appears to me that Laman and Lemuel, while they stopped sinning all the time, seldom, if ever, made the leap of faith required to actually be fully freed from the bondage of sin.

D1Warbler said...

What an important insight. It makes perfect sense. Thank you for sharing it.