“Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts. And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart , with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” – Book of Mormon, Moroni 10: 3-5.
The first person I experienced in reading the Book of Mormon was the Egyptian-Jew, Lehi. He traced his Hebrew lineage to Joseph. I had never considered the reality that Joseph the son of Jacob, who had obtained such power and prominence in Egypt and saved his family of origin from famine, would naturally integrate with local population. The name Lehi is Hebrew meaning Jawbone and was the name of a city in which Samson picked up a donkey’s jawbone and went berserk in Holy Spirit rage, slaying quite a few Philistines. So the name has some history.
He lived in Jerusalem during the reign of King Zedekiah around 600 BC. I wonder if there was a prejudice or jealousy from his neighbors for not being pure blood and yet having wealth and prominence? There were prophets that told the King what he wanted to hear and there was the prophet Jeremiah who condemned the moral decay and predicted the destruction of the city and the Babylonian captivity. This atmosphere caused Lehi to seek God in his own earnest prayer life. God answered him in a spectacular way, showing him that Jerusalem was most certainly facing destruction. Lehi was told that this was part of a plan to include all of humanity in redemption when he sends the Messiah and that the Messiah’s coming would be a global move. This paradigm shift for Lehi was a lot to take in. He was amazed that God’s love extended beyond the Jews and that the Jewish Messiah would be used not only to restore Israel but to overcome human death and spiritual separation.
Nevertheless, Jerusalem would fall in its isolation from Jehovah God. Lehi began to proclaim the truth in his own environment and was not received any better than Jeremiah. God spoke to Lehi in a dream and told him to leave the city, go into the surrounding wilderness, for the locals were planning to kill him. And Jerusalem would surely fall and those who remained would be either slain or taken captive.
Lehi obeyed the vision taking camping gear and provisions, leaving behind wealth and possessions. Except for Nephi, his family was none too pleased with their Patriarch’s decision to follow his “visions.”
This began one exceptionally fantastic voyage to lay the foundation in the securing of a Promised Land for the Gentiles.
This is what I understand with the first of my focused readings.
So what significance does this have to your individual life?
I suppose the one thing that sticks out for me is a matter of trust built between a man and the Eternal Father. When Lehi is confused he seeks God. When God answers and they connect, Lehi seeks to help others with his acquired understanding. When God commands him to let go and develop a camping attitude, he does it. These seem to be the elements of a spiritual adventure. I desire that kind of trust and connection between myself and the Eternal Father.
I agree. I still prefer the GOMU, the God of my understanding, as we have both been taught.
Yes, but GOMU has come to me in this specific manner. GOMU was a bridge for me to reconstruct my faith in Christ.
Okay. I respect that. I just need to keep it simple. It sounds like a good story though.
It is a quest plot and that tends to be one of my favorite stories. Abraham’s story was something like that as well. He followed a command from God to leave the known and pursue the promised land.
I had not thought of that. I supposed Lehi is for the Gentiles what Abraham was for the Jews. Maybe. Hmm.
The Master-slave relationship between the Egyptians and Hebrews has created a long history of love-hate intimacy that led to the rise of Israel as a nation and I think continues to exalt it today. Don’t you think that the essence of all faith inspiring myths are empowered by some form of consensual Master-slave dynamic?
I am not sure what you mean. Could you elaborate?
Is it possible to experience and express power from our own Self or is it always necessary to seek a power greater than ourselves to navigate life? Is freedom a self-destructive delusion in the eyes of those who are Book Believers?
I suspect that freedom should parallel responsibility. A child should not be granted a driver’s license. It is more of a transformation into a powerful, responsible being than a perpetual status of slavery. Maybe we could say there are temporary times of consensual slavery that is not intended to be an eternal status. It is a form of protection in the growing process.
I have no words for this. It is your sacred text. I respect.