Saturday, February 8, 2014

Lessons from Laban

Tonight as our family read more of First Nephi, the spirit whispered to me.  It whispered knowledge more surely than my professors trying to teach me in class.  As the spirit whispers, I find I don't hear the meaning of the scriptures.  No.  Not at all.

I know them.

As surely as if I had written them myself.

I couldn't have asked for a better gift from my heavenly father than to be able to expound and know the meanings of scriptures.  Perhaps there are better gifts to be had, but of the ones I've been given, this is one I treasure dearly.

This being said, I don't claim to know all the meaning of the scriptures in this and my interpretations are my own.  I leave you, dear reader, to decide for yourself as we all must when we read scripture as to what it really means or can mean.  However, if you are expecting some dazzling, flashy interpretation of scripture here, I'm afraid you may have come to the wrong place.  I find that the scriptures touch our souls more and that connection with God is the "flash" and "dazzle" if you will, far more than any sophist-sounding arrangement of words in a spectacular, yet empty fashion.  So read what you will.  But this is just a bit of what was told to me tonight, I hadn't seen it before and I really enjoyed it.

I had always thought that the ending of Laban in First Nephi was kind of harsh.  In fact, I had a girlfriend who investigated the church and turned on the Book of Mormon over the fate of Laban.  The book was justifying the killing of a man and it wasn't even page ten yet!!!

Cuz we all know the bible didn't have anybody killed by floods, eaten alive by worms, eaten by bears, burned alive, sawn in half, fall in a pit and get a spear-enema or anything.  It was just a bunch of people reading poetry on a hill in a sunny meadow wearing spring fresh laundry and colorful robes, right?


But as I read about Laban, a few things struck me.  One, Lehi had prophesied destruction to the Jews for their wickedness.  This is why he left the city.  Laban was a Jew. Who would be the first to meet the fate prophesied by Lehi.  And Laban had the word of God on brass plates.  Plates that went back to Adam that we do not have revealed to the world yet.  And as such a steward, he should have lived what was in them.

But instead, he mingled with the Jews, and sought to murder for a sack of gold and silver and precious stones, stole the goods - all contrary to the word of God - while keeping the word of God on brass plates and refusing to give it to those who were on the Lord's errand.

What fate should a man who has the word of God and then murders - or tries to - for gold? 

I know, killing is so harsh, right?   Maybe we should think of it as simply....going to another room.  The spirit room.  Granted the transition from the "mortal room" to the "spirit room" can be a bit....gruesome to mortal eyes and experience.  But that's really what it is.   As in "Times up.  Game over.  You don't get to play anymore.  You're not playing by the rules and you're harming other players,'re outta the game."

There was a lot to reflect on as to why the Lord let them try and fail before he finally sent an angel to assure the mission, and, then the question: why take Laman and Lemuel in the first place?

Well, they and their posterity's doings are a testament to the wickedness that Lehi left behind in part, but I won't go into that here. 

For now, I just was thinking how wicked Laban really was and how a man who tries to murder for gain ends up.....dead.  At the hands of the Lord.  Just as was warned and prophesied.

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