Well, today’s another busy day! Preparation day typically is pretty busy as far as people to communicate with, and things to do/prepare for. But it’s still a day I look forward to every week! Due to my lack of time, I’ll just share a brief experience I had this week in relation to my studies (we’ve mostly just been on the find and grind this week).
It was suggested to me earlier this week to study "Nephi’s lament" in 2 Nephi 4 in The Book of Mormon. I’ve been struggling in relation to feeling like I can move forward when I seem to make the same mistakes over and over again. But it was needed.
I feel like I’ve always seen Nephi portrayed as this nearly perfect disciple. He didn’t seem to struggle with temptation or at least giving into it. Sometimes it was hard to relate. But I suppose there were more important things the Lord needed us to read in The Book of Mormon than every detail of Nephi’s life.
2 Nephi 4 is widely known as the chapter with "Nephi’s lament." He sorrows becasue of his weakness and sins. He doesn’t want to be dragged down any more by the temptations of the adversary that he sorrows in giving in to.
"16 Behold, my soul delighteth in the things of the Lord; and my heart pondereth continually upon the things which I have seen and heard.
17 Nevertheless, notwithstanding the great goodness of the Lord, in showing me his great and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities.
18 I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me.
19 And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted.
26 O then, if I have seen so great things, if the Lord in his condescension unto the children of men hath visited men in so much mercy, why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions?
27 And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry because of mine enemy?
28 Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.
29 Do not anger again because of mine enemies. Do not slacken my strength because of mine afflictions.
30 Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation.
31 O Lord, wilt thou redeem my soul? Wilt thou deliver me out of the hands of mine enemies? Wilt thou make me that I may shake at the appearance of sin?
34 O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm."
Studying this chapter helped me a lot with seeing myself the way the Lord sees me, and finding direction for how I can move forward. One of President Heap’s councilors told me this week,"It does not pay to worry about the past but it does pay to learn from it." Nephi seemed to understand that (after a little journal ranting- which I totally get). I’m doing my best to see myself the way the Lord sees me, and allow his grace to change me, which brings me to one final thought.
We had Ward conference yesterday, and my best friend’s Tia taught the lesson in Relief Society off of the talk Elder Dallin H. Oaks gave this last (April 2022) General Conference,"Divine Love in the Father’s Plan." My favorite part that she led a discussion on was this quote:
"To help us develop the godly attributes and the change in nature necessary to realize our divine potential, the Lord has revealed doctrine and established commandments based on eternal law. This is what we teach in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because the purpose of the doctrine and policies of this restored Church is to prepare God’s children for salvation in the celestial glory and, more particularly, for exaltation in its highest degree."
We were talking about how in God’s plan, rather than a Heaven and Hell, there are three kingdoms of glory, and in this life, God gives us commandments to help us learn how to live by the laws of those kingdoms. (The shortest way to describe "Hell" is living in sin- or not being redeemed from spiritual death, separation from God- there is also "outer darkness" where Satan and his followers are cast)
He goes on to quote revelation received by modern day prophets from God about these laws:
"He who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory.
“And he who cannot abide the law of a terrestrial kingdom cannot abide a terrestrial glory.
“And he who cannot abide the law of a telestial kingdom cannot abide a telestial glory.” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:22-24)
It’s not about a punishment, but where we will be happiest. Heavenly Father is the literal father of our spirits, and loves us all perfectly. He wants us to come home to Him, and He has prepared a way. That’s what I hold onto when I feel overtaken by temptation. He has prepared a way through His Son, Jesus Christ for me to overcome temptation and sin.
On that note, I gotta run, but I love you all! Have an amazing week, and remember your worth (that will NEVER change) and that everything is possible through Jesus Christ.
Sister (Katie) Malan