1 Nephi 11:2-7 — LeGrand Baker — One Must Say and Do Truth.

1 Nephi 11:2-7 

2 And the Spirit said unto me: Behold, what desirest thou?
3 And I said: I desire to behold the things which my father saw.
4 And the Spirit said unto me: Believest thou that thy father saw the tree of which he hath spoken?
5 And I said: Yea, thou knowest that I believe all the words of my father.
6. And when I had spoken these words, the Spirit cried with a loud voice, saying: Hosanna to the Lord, the most high God; for he is God over all the earth, yea, even above all. And blessed art thou, Nephi, because thou believest in the Son of the most high God; wherefore, thou shalt behold the things that thou hast desired.
7 And behold this thing shall be given unto thee for a sign, that after thou hast beheld the tree which bore the fruit which thy father tasted, thou shalt also behold a man descending out of heaven, and him shall ye witness; and after ye have witnessed him ye shall bear record that it is the Son of God.

There is a pattern here that may be reminiscent of the judgment that we all will experience before we are permitted to enter the place where God is. Nephi is not automatically permitted to enter. Rather, he is asked questions which he must answer correctly. He does, and the person who stands before him rejoices at the answers. Even so, Nephi is not given immediate entrance. Rather, he is given promises that foreshadow and explain the experiences he is about to have.{1}

We live in a world where we are separated from the Savior by two veils. One is of the world around us—the one we see with our natural eyes. Beyond that is the Shechinah{2} —the veil of light that prophets see before they enter into his presence. An eternal principle is that while standing there, one must only speak truth. If one does not say truth one may not enter (2 Nephi 9:41-42). John quotes the Savior as saying it a little differently: “But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God” (John 3:21). A way to understand that is given by the Lord to the Prophet Joseph:

40 For intelligence cleaveth unto intelligence; wisdom receiveth wisdom; truth embraceth truth; virtue loveth virtue; light cleaveth unto light; mercy hath compassion on mercy and claimeth her own; justice continueth its course and claimeth its own; judgment goeth before the face of him who sitteth upon the throne and governeth and executeth all things (D&C 88:40).

When Paul wrote about the “whole armor of God,” he described it as one might describe the sacred clothing worn by the High Priest when he went behind the veil into the Holy of Holies. As far as we know, there were no symbolic markings on the High Priest’s garments. However, it is interesting that his belt was woven of the same colors as were woven into the veil. So he was encircled about by the colors of the veil.{3} That may have been what Paul was referring to when he wrote, “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth” (Ephesians 6:14).

Levi’s vision where he is clothed with priesthood authority describes his clothing similarly.{4}

Nephi’s is one of several accounts where someone who is about to enter the place where God is, is asked questions that he is expected to answer truthfully. Two of those were Nephi and the brother of Jared. Job had a similar experience.{5}

Psalm 21 was sung during the Feast of Tabernacles temple drama when the king approached the veil of the temple, just before he entered the Holy of Holies.{6} Nephi’s experience was essentially the same: the Spirit asked, “Behold, what desirest thou?”

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FOOTNOTES

{1} There is a similar interview in Ether 3:7-9.

{2} For a definition of shechinah see the dictionary at the back of the LDS Bible.

{3} The accounts read:

5 And the curious girdle of his ephod, that was upon it, was of the same, according to the work thereof; of gold, blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen; as the Lord commanded Moses (Exodus 39:5).
1 Moreover thou shalt make the tabernacle with ten curtains [the veil] of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet: with cherubims of cunning work shalt thou make them (Exodus 26:1). The instructions state further that these curtains were put together to make one continuous veil, except for a place in the center where the veil could be parted to give access to the Holy of Holies.

{4} “The Testament of Levi” in The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs in The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English, ed. R. H. Charles, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913), 2:308-09. It is quoted above.

{5} For a discussion of Job’s experience see Who Shall Ascend into the Hill of the Lord, First edition, p. 155-57; Second edition, p. 116-18.

{6} For a discussion of Psalm 21 as a veil ceremony see Who Shall Ascend into the Hill of the Lord, First edition, p. 553-57; Second edition, p. 397-400.

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