Saturday, January 16, 2016

I have not dropped off the face of the Earth!! I am here and life is pretty busy these days. The biggest change to life lately is the return of John and I to school. We both decided it was time to head back and get our degrees. We decided that the price and the online capabilities, along with the opportunity to get a reputable degree, made our church’s Pathway program the best option for us.
We’ve been in class for a little over two weeks now. It’s been a bit of a change for us but it’s been going well. We have two classes for three semesters in the Pathway program and then we’ll go (assuming we’re accepted) to BYU-Idaho online to finish up. As a requirement in the program, one of the two classes is a religion course. For the first semester, the religion course will be covering the first half of the Book of Mormon. We are also taught and encouraged to use different study skills and to share what we’ve learned in different ways. One way to share what we’ve learned is to post a blog entry…and here we are.
 This first lesson in our religion course was over the first 5 chapters of 1 Nephi, in the Book of Mormon. I cannot tell you how many times I have read the first few chapters of this sacred book but this time through, I still learned so much. As I read, I tried substituting my name for Nephi’s. This study skill is aptly called substitution. I did this for the first three chapters and then it dawned on me that some of the verses wouldn’t be true if my name were placed there instead of Nephi’s. For example 1 Nephi 2: 16 reads And it came to pass that I, Nephi (Clara), being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature, and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of God,
This is only the first half of the verse but it hit me “I am not large in stature, nor exceedingly young”. Then I continued the verse  Wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father; wherefore, I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers. Then I had to ask myself if this part of the verse would be a true statement if it were referring to me and not Nephi.  Then I continued reading first Nephi in that mindset: “Is this a true or false statement?”
Asking myself this question was a bit sobering, to be honest. I found that many of the things said about Nephi would, in fact, not be considered true if my name were placed in the subject line.
My mind continued to mull over this and I continued to study and pray.  I kept substituting my name for Nephi’s. 
When I got to the chapter three, I had another idea, “why don’t I substitute my name for some of the others in this part of the history?”  So I did.  I went back and substituted my name for Lehi’s and Sariah’s.  I also felt a bit under-qualified when I put my name in for Lehi’s.  I did, however relate to Sariah in 5:2-3.  2 For she had supposed that we had perished in the wilderness: and she also had complained against my father, telling him that he was a visionary man; saying, Behold thou hast led us forth from the land of our inheritance, and my sons are no more, and we perish in the wilderness. 3 And after this manner of language my mother complained against my father.
I have complained before. I have certainly been concerned for my children before and I definitely have lost faith before.
Then, the kicker, I tried my name in the parts of Laman and Lemuel. I kind of bristled at the thought, given that they play the part of villain at many points in the story. But I gave it a shot: Chapter 2: 12 And thus Laman and Lemuel (Clara), being the eldest, did murmur against their(her) father. And they(she) did murmur because they(she) knew not the dealings of that God who had created them (her).
I already admitted that I murmur, at least a little.
And Chapter 3: 28 And it came to pass that Laman(Clara) was angry with me, and also with my father;
And again in Chapter 3: 31 And after the angel had departed, Laman and Lemuel (Clara) again began to murmur, saying: How is it possible that the Lord will deliver Laban into our hands? Behold, he is a mighty man, and he can command fifty, yea, even he can slay fifty; then why not us?
Again in Chapter 4: Now when I had spoken these words, they(she was) were yet wroth, and did still continue to murmur; nevertheless they(she) did follow me up until we came without the walls of Jerusalem.
Okay, okay. I complain a lot. It’s not becoming and it’s certainly not faith building, I know. I do get wroth on occasion as well. It’s a good thing I am also working on my temperance in this class.
Unfortunately for me, some of these versus hit much closer to home than the faith and obedience Nephi demonstrates in Chapter 3: And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them. Do I have that kind of faith? Or am I too busy murmuring?
This exercise was an eye opener for me. I realized that I might stand closer to Laman and Lemuel than Nephi when it comes to my murmuring, my faith and my willingness to obey. I certainly have some work to do. I want to be one of the heroes in my family’s story, not the villain or even the bystander. What about you?