1 Nephi 15:1-6 — LeGrand Baker — Joy Swallowed in Sorrow.

1 Nephi 15:1-6 

1 And it came to pass that after I, Nephi, had been carried away in the spirit, and seen all these things, I returned to the tent of my father.
2 And it came to pass that I beheld my brethren, and they were disputing one with another concerning the things which my father had spoken unto them.
3 For he truly spake many great things unto them, which were hard to be understood, save a man should inquire of the Lord; and they being hard in their hearts, therefore they did not look unto the Lord as they ought.
4 And now I, Nephi, was grieved because of the hardness of their hearts, and also, because of the things which I had seen, and knew they must unavoidably come to pass because of the great wickedness of the children of men.
5 And it came to pass that I was overcome because of my afflictions, for I considered that mine afflictions were great above all, because of the destruction of my people, for I had beheld their fall.

There is an apparent incongruence about Nephi’s words that is not only real but actually typical. He has just come down from a high mountain where he has talked with God and seen things that were too marvelous for his words. Yet his response is to feel deep sorrow and to be “overcome because of my afflictions.” Actually, this kind of conflict is what one would expect of a prophet who has experienced love and truth. Truth—knowing reality in sacred time—floods his intellect, but love—knowing God and his children in sacred time—is his dominant emotion. Hence the dissonance that brings the tears.

When one knows truth and knows the exalting power it has upon the human soul, then one’s primary desire is to share truth so that it may exalt others as well. The joy of doing so is an eternal fulfillment, but the sorrow of watching them turn their back on both the truth and the joy it brings is a devastating sorrow. So, while still basking in the light of the revelation he had just received, Nephi could remember, “I was overcome because of my afflictions, for I considered that mine afflictions were great above all, because of the destruction of my people, for I had beheld their fall.” Similarly, the Three Nephites were warned that they would experience the same dichotomy, and with the same cause (3 Nephi 28:9).

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