Thursday, September 11, 2014

Born of Goodly Parents

Lesson 1- 1 Nephi 1 

I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father; and having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days."

      This first verse perfectly sums up Nephi's life and introduces the main idea of the record that he is about to write. Nephi lived in Jerusalem around the time of King Zedekiah, the last King of Judah, right around 600 B.C. It was a time of chaos and a time when Judah was weak and stumbling along due to the lack of faith of its people. Jeremiah was a major prophet at the time preaching to the stubborn young King. The Jewish leadership were looking to other kings rather than to God for help. The people of Judah were getting warned by the prophets to repent or else they would lose their freedom, but they were rebellious and immoral. Nephi's father, Lehi, had to raise his family in this decadent world.  Just a couple of years after this story began, Jerusalem fell to Babylon.

     Nephi's parents remained steadfast and taught their children, following what Moses taught, "And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." (Deuteronomy 6:7)
     I also live in a decadent nation, one that relies more on the flesh of man than on God. In fact, God has been taken out increasingly from out daily lives. We are surrounded by media that mocks God and praises evil. Even the very definition of the family is questioned. We may not burn offerings to gods, but we make the heathen gods "cool". People wear symbols of ancient Egyptian gods and prefer yoga over prayer. (I like yoga, but it shouldn't replace prayer to God.) Women dress immodestly and fight against their nature. Prophets are mocked and ignored. It is difficult to raise a family in this world. Even Lehi had two children apostasize and that was before the internet! Lehi did his best and his son, Nephi, acknowledges the role his father had in his life.

     I also had goodly parents who did their best to teach me in an increasingly decadent world. I rebelled but turned back eventually because my parents never gave up on me.

     I noticed the Book of Mormon has this theme of the long suffering parent over and over, struggling to teach their children and lead them back on the straight and narrow. The Lord knew we as parents would have it tough in this Latter Day world and included those stories right from the first verse.

     Nephi was taught by his father to see the blessings in life even through great trials. He was able to see the "tender mercies" of the Lord. He was taught to pray directly to God for guidance and for truth. All of these things he gave credit to his faithful parents who suffered for their faith.

     I realize that being born of Goodly Parents is a blessing and a gift from God. Not everyone has this gift and many have endured without goodly parents. (Abraham is a great example of this) Having goodly parents does not mean that you will have an easier life. People with wonderful parents still choose to rebel against God. Having "goodly parents" does help us get through those tough trials. L. Tom Perry in his talk "Born of Goodly Parents" compared it to having a strong foundation or having an anchor. I know that when my life hit rock bottom, my goodly parents were always there to support me and cheer me on through my repentence process. Good parents don't tell a child "Do what thou wilt" or "Do what makes you happy!". A goodly parent will guide their child to eternal truths, not worldly pleasure. They will do it with love and patience and will never stop praying for their children.

     Lehi was such a father for his son Nephi. I hope that I am being such a mother for my children.
     I will have my eyes open for more references on parenting in the Book of Mormon. It really is emphasized a lot.

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