1 Nephi 17:18-21 — LeGrand Baker — “we might have been happy”

1 Nephi 17:18-21 

18 And thus my brethren did complain against me….
21 Behold, these many years we have suffered in the wilderness, which time we might have enjoyed our possessions and the land of our inheritance; yea, and we might have been happy.

Nephi was ever the optimist. His optimism is the testimony that he threads though his entire story, assuring us again and again that he understood what he was supposed to do and that he was always disappointed when his brothers tried to change either the method or the outcome. Now their argument (which had, no doubt been an underlying motive for their earlier determination to kill their father) came to full blossom: “we might have enjoyed our possessions and the land of our inheritance; yea, and we might have been happy.”

That argument would have struck Nephi to the heart. He knew that the “happiness” their property would have brought them would have been turned by the Babylonians into enslavement or death. But he also know that the happiness they were determined to exchange for their temporary satisfaction was only an ephemeral lure for emptiness, sorrow, and eternal aloneness. His knowledge that they sought such fleeting happiness probably hurt his soul as much as their refusal to assist him in building the boat.
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