12 June 2010

1 Nephi 2: The incredible journey begins

God speaks to Lehi in a dream and tells him to leave Jerusalem and go "into the wilderness."

The Lord spake unto my father, yea, even in a dream ... and ... the Lord commanded my father, even in a dream, that he should take his family and depart into the wilderness. 1 Nephi 2:1-2

So, with no further instructions, he and his family go into the wild. (Lehi's family included his wife Sariah, and four sons, Laman, Lemuel, Sam, and Nephi.)

He departed into the wilderness ... with ... his family. 1 Nephi 2:4

Very quickly, and with no problem at all, they find themselves over 400 kilometers away, at "the shore of the Red Sea."

He came down by the borders near the shore of the Red Sea. 1 Nephi 2:5

Apparently the hike from Jerusalem to the Red Sea took only three days. I guess the family was in really good shape.

When he had traveled three days in the wilderness, he pitched his tent in a valley by the side of a river of water. 1 Nephi 1:6

Here's what Lehi's trip looked like in Google Earth.

But maybe the "three days" referred not to the length of the trip itself, but how long it took to find a good camping spot once they got there. I've had that problem before.

In any case and however long it took them to get there, when they arrived they found a continually flowing river that emptied into the Red Sea. (There aren't any permanent rivers that flow into the Red Sea, and there hasn't been for thousands of years. But God probably made one just for the occasion and then destroyed any evidence of it after Lehi and his family left. For a good time watch: Where is the River Laman?)

Lehi named the river after his slacker son, Laman, hoping it would inspire him to be more dependable, like the "continually running" river.

He called the name of the river, Laman, and it emptied into the Red Sea ... saying: O that thou mightest be like unto this river, continually running. 1 Nephi 2:8

And Lehi named the valley after his other worthless son, Lemuel, hoping it would somehow make him more "steadfast" and "immovable" like the big valley that the River Laman passed through.

And he also spake unto Lemuel: O that thou mightest be like unto this valley, firm and steadfast, and immovable in keeping the commandments of the Lord! 1 Nephi 2:10

But the magic didn't work. Laman and Lemuel were still a couple of whiny-ass, pieces of shit that were "like unto the Jews."

Now this he spake because of the stiffneckedness of Laman and Lemuel; for behold they did murmur in many things against their father.
....
They were like unto the Jews. 1 Nephi 2:11-13

Nephi wasn't like his older brothers, though. He didn't have a Jew-like bone in his body. (OK, he was a Jew, too, but he didn't act like one.) He wanted to know the mysteries of God, so he cried unto the Lord.

I, Nephi, ... having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord 1 Nephi 2:16a

And, by golly, the Lord heard him and came to visit him to soften up his heart so he'd believe whatever the hell his bat-shit crazy dad said.

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. 1 Nephi 2:16b

And the dumb-as-shit Sam went along with whatever the Holy Spirit revealed to his younger brother Nephi.

And I spake unto Sam, making known unto him the things which the Lord had manifested unto me by his Holy Spirit. And it came to pass that he believed in my words. 1 Nephi 2:17

But Laman and Lemuel wouldn't listen to Nephi because they suffered from Pharaoh's syndrome: the hardening of the heart. So Nephi asked his good friend God what to do about it.

But, behold, Laman and Lemuel would not hearken unto my words; and being grieved because of the hardness of their hearts I cried unto the Lord for them. 1 Nephi 2:18

God, who happened to be visiting at the time, told Nephi what a good boy he was, that he would live long and prosper, and that God would lead him to a new land, a land that God had prepared just for him (and the Mormons) and that was better than everywhere else on earth. (Spoiler: God's talking about America here. God made the entire western hemisphere for Nephi and it's way better than anything in the Old World.)

Blessed art thou, Nephi, because of thy faith, for thou hast sought me diligently, with lowliness of heart ... Ye shall prosper, and shall be led to a land of promise; yea, even a land which I have prepared for you; yea, a land which is choice above all other lands. 1 Nephi 2:19-20

God goes on (and on) about what a great guy Nephi is and all the cool things he's going to do for him. But God hates Nephi's brothers, which he'll soon be cursing "even with a sore curse."

And inasmuch as thy brethren shall rebel against thee, they shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord ... For behold, in that day that they shall rebel against me, I will curse them even with a sore curse. 1 Nephi 2:21-23

The chapter ends with God saying something about how if Nephi's brothers continue to misbehave, he'll have to "stir them up in the ways of remembrance."

And if it so be that they rebel against me, they shall be a scourge unto thy seed, to stir them up in the ways of remembrance. 1 Nephi 2:24

I don't know what that means. God sometimes talks funny when he gets excited in the Book of Mormon (especially when he starts quoting the New Testament, 700 years before it was written).


Blogging the Book of Mormon
Next episode -- 1 Nephi 3: Oh my heck! We forgot the brass plates!

13 comments:

K.G. said...

Mormonism: the first religion based on obvious fanfiction.

twillight said...

Hm, so you don't have a separate blog for the Quran, Steve.
The previous was more appealing, but this is satisfying too, don't worry too much.

And thanks for the video about that river. It was really hilarious :)

Tristan D. Vick said...

Keep up the good work tallying the death toll!

Steve Wells said...

I've thought about separating the blogs, twillight, but then I'd have to come up with two new names.

And I figured out how to revert my template to the old one, more or less. Let me know if you have suggestions.

Matthew Blanchette said...

No need to separate it, Steve; it all fits under the same umbrella.

By the way, is it just me, or were you making a reference to this with your title? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Incredible_Journey
;-)

busterggi said...

Hey Steve, I preferred the newer layout - I refuse to join any herd.

A study really needs to be done on why just plain bad writing appeals to religionist.

Matthew Blanchette said...

I like this nice, bright white... but, again, the serif is too formal. :-(

Still, overall design's nice. ;-)

Steve Wells said...

Well, busterggi, I saved the old (new) template this time, so I could go back to it if necessary. But it's probably better not to change things too much, since that's what people are used to seeing here.

And yes, Matthew, I guess I was (sort of) referring that movie, although Lehi's journey was way more incredible.

twillight said...

Yeah, Steve, I see you changed things since morning.
The only thing now I'd consider some colouration to title-box, but this all seem nice and perfect even without that (what could even be a bad idea).

skanksta said...

I don't know...

I'm coming round to this BoM ! Surely if he can quote NT 700 years before it was written AND travel 400kms in three days he prob. DID have divine help.

Let's see what else comes to pass...

Matthew Blanchette said...

I'd still like some san-serif, up in heeah... :-P

Ian G. said...

"Have you heard of the River Jordan?"

"Yes"

"Have you heard of the River Laman?"

"No"

"Have you heard of the Rift Valley?"

"Yes"

"Have you heard of the Valley of Lemuel?"

"No"

That was hilarious. Of course, the Book of Mormon isn't all that different than the Bible in this respect. The River Laman doesn't exist, but neither did Abraham, Moses, or the captivity in Egypt.

862ca1bc-2cf7-11e2-a689-000bcdcb5194 said...

The chapter ends with God saying something about how if Nephi's brothers continue to misbehave, he'll have to "stir them up in the ways of remembrance."

And if it so be that they rebel against me, they shall be a scourge unto thy seed, to stir them up in the ways of remembrance. 1 Nephi 2:24
I don't know what that means. God sometimes talks funny when he gets excited in the Book of Mormon (especially when he starts quoting the New Testament, 700 years before it was written).

I think what was meant here was a warning from God that the brothers of Nephi would be trouble for his kids ("they shall be a scourge unto thy seed") but that trouble would make them remember Gods promise of a land of their own ("stir them up in the ways of remembrance")