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Sunday, May 4, 2008

Murmuring in the Wilderness (1 Nephi 16 Part III)

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34 And it came to pass that aIshmael died, and was buried in the place which was called bNahom.

The family had passed through their first major trial in the desert, and now one of the joint patriarchs of the combined families, Ishmael, is called out of this world into the next. The family, grief stricken and mourning, bury him in a place called Nahom.

As Steve Smoot explained in his excellent post on this subject, this event is one of the best and earliest indicators that Joseph Smith was not a fraud.

Here is a map of the probable route of Lehi through the Arabian Peninsula.


View Larger Map

Here is a video for more explanation and visuals that really illustrate the impact of this information.



The name "Nahom" corresponds directly to the situation and place as Nephi describes it as well as to a place and its purpose in our day. As with all proofs given of the Book of Mormon, critics have endeavored to attack even this plain evidence of authenticity. However, those objections have been adequately debunked as well.

Yet again, we see how fragile the faith of Laman and Lemuel can be as they turn this potentially faith-building event into more cause to complain. In other words, they could have turned to the scriptures and to the teachings of the prophets to try to understand death and what it means to be mortal vs. immortal. They could have mediated upon the promises the Lord had made to them numerous times before. They could have prayed for strength to overcome their sadness and to gain hope of better things to come. The could have served the grieving family members with love and compassion.

Instead, they turned against Lehi and Nephi and even threatened to kill them both. The irony of such desires as a consequence of mourning the death of Ishmael is alarming.

It is Satan's plan to compound our grief with even more grief, heaping on a good dose of vengeance.

It is God's plan that we overcome our grief with hope of salvation and exaltation, heaping on a good dose of forgiveness and humility to accept the tests and tasks He presents to us.

But all was not lost yet for Laman and Lemuel. Even with their threatenings and feelings of hatred and jealousy, they had not progressed so far down the path of unrighteousness as to merit being cut off. The Lord was still interested in recovering them and guiding them to repentance. Verse 39 states:
39 And it came to pass that the Lord was with us, yea, even the voice of the Lord came and did speak many words unto them, and did achasten them exceedingly; and after they were chastened by the voice of the Lord they did turn away their anger, and did repent of their sins, insomuch that the Lord did bless us again with food, that we did not perish.
As with all things in the Book of Mormon, we are invited to apply these events to our own lives and see what parallels there may be. If we take the time to do that, we can avoid many of the pitfalls that plagued Laman and Lemuel. Consequently, we can reap the blessings and spirituality that came to Nephi and those who were righteous and didn't murmur.