1 Nephi 16:5 — LeGrand Baker — “I had joy and great hopes of them”

1 Nephi 16:5  

5. And it came to pass that they did humble themselves before the Lord; insomuch that I had joy and great hopes of them, that they would walk in the paths of righteousness.

Nephi’s feelings are the very foundation of true Christianity and the strongest testimony of the power of the Atonement. We come to this world of hunger and death in linear time with two objects—one is thrust upon us by our physical needs in time and place. The other seems to linger in the shadows of a foreordination that we do not remember. The first is that we must eat, sleep, and be warm when the earth is cold. To do that one must earn a living, provide shelter, food and warmth for himself and those he loves. The linear time in which we finds our Selves projects those needs into an unknown future, magnifying their intensity and diminishing their ability to be satisfied. This seems good, for it teaches one to be prepared for the future, defines him as wise and gives a sense of security to himself and his loved ones. But if it becomes too big, too urgent, too consuming— his job, social standing, expensive toys, and position of “respect” and power—it can calcify his soul, turn love to a desire to possess or to control, and cause him to lose sight of the mission for which he came here.

Everyman is a Silas Marner who, if he turns around, ceases to be the thing he was, and makes himself receptive to the new heart Ezekiel promises (Ezekiel 11:19). The Biblical word translated “repentance” does not mean to change what one is and become something else, it means “to turn”—implicitly, to walk toward rather than away from Christ.

6. Now, all these things were said and done as my father dwelt in a tent in the valley that he called Lemuel.

Here again, Nephi introduces us to a series of sacred events by reminding us that his father dwelt in a tent.{1} The sacred events he describes in this context are his marriage and his father’s discovering the Liahona.


{1} For a discussion of the tent as a temple, see above, the chapter called, “1 Nephi 2:4-6, Lehi’s tent as a Tabernacle.”


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