How to learn great things from the Lord

While reading my scriptures tonight, I was reading about Nephi and his brothers building their ship to sail to the Americas. For example, see 1 Ne. 18:2

Now I, Nephi, did not work the timbers after the manner which was learned by men, neither did I build the ship after the manner of men; but I did build it after the manner which the Lord had shown unto me; wherefore, it was not after the manner of men.

But it was the next verse that stuck out to me. Not only for the insight it gives us into how Nephi was able to build the ship, but how we might apply it in our own lives.

I, Nephi, did go into the mount oft, and I did pray oft unto the Lord; wherefore the Lord showed unto me great things.

What’s interesting here is that Nephi showed us to learn great things from the Lord, he went often into the mountain and prayed often. Perhaps if we want to learn great things, we too should pray often and go to the mountain ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äù in other words attend the temple ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äù often.

Unexpected

When we first moved to Calgary, it was a little overwhelming.?Ǭ† At first, as a family, we didn’t know how we were going to adapt to living in a bigger city.?Ǭ† Everything was so fast paced.?Ǭ† My wife and kids didn’t know anybody in our neighborhood.?Ǭ† It felt like quite the adventure.

?Ǭ†The Semi-trailer backed up to the front of our house and the moving company employees deployed the ramp.?Ǭ† Boxes started to move into the house.?Ǭ† My wife and I started directing the movers where to put what.?Ǭ† The kids were excited, running around in the back yard.?Ǭ†?Ǭ†

?Ǭ†That’s when we first met Kim, our next door neighbor.?Ǭ† She, and her two small girls came out the front door and cheerfully introduced themselves.?Ǭ† They were the only people in our cul-de-sac who did so.?Ǭ† What a wonderful family Kim has.?Ǭ† We met her husband Steve when he got home from work that evening.?Ǭ† They are two of the most friendly people we had ever met.?Ǭ† Always helpful.?Ǭ† Always a hello or goodbye.?Ǭ† You couldn’t ask for better neighbors.?Ǭ† They helped make our transition to Calgary a smoother one.

?Ǭ†Over the last few years, we have grown our frienship with Kim and Steve and their girls.?Ǭ† My daughter would often babysit for them if they needed a night together at the movies or dinner.?Ǭ† Our children would play together.?Ǭ† It was nice to have good friends nearby.

This evening, Steve knocked on our door and brought us some bad news.?Ǭ† He and Kim?Ǭ†were in a car accident this morning.?Ǭ† Kim passed away.?Ǭ†?Ǭ†?Ǭ†Its difficult to think that she is gone.?Ǭ† It’s one of those things that just hits you out of nowhere, unexpected.?Ǭ† My heart breaks when I think of those wonderful girls of hers who will have to grow up without their mother.?Ǭ† I can’t imagine what Steve must be going through.?Ǭ† I wish there was something I could do to make it better, but it’s just one of those hard lessons life teaches us.?Ǭ† She leaves behind two wonderful children, a good husband, a loving extended family and friends, and some very sad neighbors.?Ǭ† Thanks for making Calgary so friendly Kim.?Ǭ† We love you and will never forget you.

I know the gospel of Jesus Christ teaches about the afterlife, the resurrection, and that family ties extend beyond this earth life.?Ǭ† Somehow, that doesn’t offer me any comfort or relief from the cold hard reality Steve brought to our family tonight.

Opposite Word Associations

You’ve probably heard of ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äù if not played ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äù a game called “word association”. The premise is someone says a word and the other person says the first word to come to mind. A lesser known variation involves restrict the word association to opposites only. For example, if someone said “cold”, I would probably say “hot”.

If you were to play that variation with the average Mormon and said the word “Nephi”, the other person would likely say “Laman” or “Lemuel”. For good reason. Nephi seems to do the opposite of what his brothers do.

In fact, I came across an example of this tonight.

In 1 Nephi 17, the Lord told Nephi to build a ship. Naturally, his brothers didn’t beleive him when they found out what he was up to. Let’s read verse 17:

I, Nephi, was exceedingly sorrowful because of the hardness of their hearts; and now when they saw that I began to be sorrowful they were glad in their hearts, insomuch that they did rejoice over me, saying: We knew that ye could not construct a ship, for we knew that ye were lacking in judgment; wherefore, thou canst not accomplish so great a work.

This verse in particular stood out to me for two reasons. Both reasons have to do with opposition.

First, let’s compare this verse to 1 Ne 16:5, which is shortly after Nephi explains to his brothers his father’s dream:

they did humble themselves before the Lord; insomuch that I had joy and great hopes of them, that they would walk in the paths of righteousness.

In the first scripture, Nephi is sorrowful; in the second, he is joyful. In the first, the brothers were hardhearted; in the second, they were humble. It really shows Nephi’s love: he’s joyful if his brothers are doing right and sorrowful if they’re being pigheaded.

The second reason becomes apparent when we read in 1 Ne 17:9 when Nephi responds to the Lord’s request:

I said: Lord, whither shall I go that I may find ore to molten, that I may make tools to construct the ship after the manner which thou hast shown unto me?

When Nephi’s brothers found out he was to build a ship, they ridiculed him and and said he lacked judgement. When Nephi received the direction to build the ship, he didn’t stop to think whether doing so would be good judgement or whether he could “construct a ship”. Rather, he accepted the command and showed initiative.

I wonder what it could take for me to stop being part Laman and part Nephi.