Desiring the mysteries of God

While preparing for a lesson in a couple of weeks, I was doing a bit of research into Nephi’s character. From what I can tell, 1 Ne 2:16 is the first place we find out about why Nephi became the sort of person he did:

I, Nephi, being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature, and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord; 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.

According to this passage, Nephi seems to imply that his being young and his desire to learn God’s mysteries caused him to pray. He also seems to imply that those two things, along with his praying caused the Lord to visit him and soften his heart, which in turn caused him to believe everything his father had said.

In the next few verses, he tries sharing what he learned with his brothers. I don’t think it comes a surprise to anyone that Sam accepted what Nephi had to say, and Laman and Lemuel did not.

After his interaction with his brothers, Nephi went to his father. Right when Nephi returned to the tent, Lehi told him he and his brothers needed to go back to Jerusalem to get the brass plates. Nephi says the following:

I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.

I wonder how Nephi came to know this. Was it something he had known for a long time? Or perhaps this was one of the mysteries he mentioned earlier.

Are rules are made to be broken?

Imagine a scenario where someone has been called to a position and has the qualities of the average man; s/he makes mistakes, possesses an ego, and can be self-interested and partisan ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äù with the purpose of this calling being primarily for that individual’s personal and spiritual growth.

Now suppose the ordinances and decisions this person makes in their calling has a direct impact on other members of the congregation?¢‚Ǩ‚Äù they are in a position of oversight.

It’s already been stated that if there are personal or spiritual problems with the person conducting the ordinance, that the recipient of the ordinance will still receive the full effects of the ordinance ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äù God will know and make things right. For example, being baptised by a child molester would not mean your baptism is null and void.

This implies that it is not the letter of the law that must be followed but merely the spirit of the law; an exacting procedure is not required but instead just recommended because God can pull up the slack.

If it is the case that strict adherence is not required, then why is it that such an emphasis is put on perfect obedience of rules both written and un-written in the LDS faith?

There is a perception by non-members that there are many rules to be followed by members and the faith is fairly ‘rule-ladened’ when compared to other faiths which are less rigid when it comes to adherence to their respective rules ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äù lapsed Catholics, unobservant Jews, etc.

The other side of the argument being that the strict observance of ritual is an absolute requirement – i.e. temple work. If it *is* a requirement, it flies in the face of the ‘God will make it all correct’ argument and calls into question the concept of appointment to callings being for the called person’s personal and spiritual growth.

Any thoughts, on Our Thoughts, about this?