Lessons From Laman and Lemuel


confusionI like for things to make sense. When faced with a situation that seems to defy my sense of logic or fairness, I get too easily confused and am prone to make poor decisions. I think I share this character flaw with Laman and Lemuel.

Like most of you I spent a majority of my life upset that Laman and Lemuel could be so mean. Look at all the crazy things they did to Nephi:

  • They beat him near to death.
  • The bound him with cords to die in the wilderness.
  • They tried to drown him in the ocean.
  • They tied him to the mast of the ship for three day.
  • They finally tried to kill him.

angerClearly, they had anger issues. But by looking at the story a different way, maybe there is something we can learn from Laman and Lemuel’s exploits. Keep in mind:

  • They didn’t want to leave Jerusalem, but they did.
  • They didn’t want to get the brass plates, but they did.
  • They didn’t want to build a boat, but they did.

Much like me, Laman and Lemuel needed things to make sense. Leaving Jerusalem or getting the brass plates didn’t make sense. So they struggled to make good decisions.

But I think what lead to their tragedy was the boat.

After the bow breaking incident, eight years went by before we hear any more stories from Nephi. To be clear, the young Nephi seemed overly anxious to tell of his brothers’ short comings. But for eight years Nephi is silent.

focusMy guess is that the brothers focused their attention on their growing families instead of wasting time on sibling rivalries. As they matured, harassing Nephi grew out of fashion.

Then they arrived a place they called Bountiful.

I am convinced all but Nephi were sure that this was the promised land. They probably finally admitted to themselves that Nephi and Lehi were right all along.

But, after many days, Nephi starts to build a boat. Not a fishing boat. A boat that would take them away from what they thought to be their promised land. Laman and Lemuel got angry.

Yet, once they “consented” to help Nephi build the boat, that is when the thing which they feared the most, that thing which never made sense to them, clouded their judgment. If they left on that boat, Nephi would soon rule over them.

They could see no logic to that. Hand’t they done what God asked of them? Sure, they complained. They made mistakes. But they did what was asked of them — even hard things.

Why would God rob them of their right to be leaders?

Because they failed frame this problem into something that made sense, they made poor decisions that ultimately lead to them being cast out and cursed.

patiencePerhaps the lesson I can learn from Laman and Lemuel is to give God the time He needs to teach me. Nephi obeyed and allowed God the time to explain His reasons. Laman and Lemuel failed to trust in God and as a consequence, they denied God the opportunity to bless them.


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