Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Laman and Lemuel's Motivation

In our family scripture study we just stated re-reading the Book of Mormon again. A few days ago we read the story of when Lehi commands his son's to go back to Jerusalem and get the brass plates (1 Nephi 3). Laman and Lemuel, the older brothers, murmur about going and the whole trip wanted to turn back at the first sign of hardship. When things didn't go as planned and they loose all their wealth they beat their younger brothers with rods until an angel has to come and intervene. Even after the angel tells them they will succeed in their mission they still murmur and refuse to accomplish what their father had sent them to do. In the end Nephi is courageous enough to follow the spirit and single handily retrieves the plates (1 Nephi 4).

Lets contrast this experience with the next time that Lehi tells his sons to go back to Jerusalem. This time Lehi asks them not to go back for plates but for... girls. In 1 Nephi 7 The Lord tells Lehi that he shouldn't take his family out into the wilderness alone but that he should send his sons back to Jerusalem and bring the family of Ishmael, who happens to have five daughters, to journey in the wilderness with their family. This time, when their mission is to bring back wives and not just stack of rusty old plates, Laman and Lemuel didn't murmur at all.

It just sort of makes me laugh that these two brothers didn't murmured or hesitated at all to do the Lord's bidding when it was something they wanted... wives. I can't help but see myself in them. I know that when the Lord tells me to do something that I want to do, and that I understand, I am willing to do whatever he asks no matter how hard it is. Yet when he tells me to do something I don't want to do, or that I don't understand, I often murmur at Him and am angry.

It also makes me laugh to see that even back in the Book of Mormon days young men were still motivated by pretty faces.


  1. Heatherlady,
    Your Blog is such a wonderful breath of fresh air for me. Your observations into the lives of the Women in the Scriptures are both inspired and insightful.

    I have just started studying the Book of Mormon once again because my Institute class has started and that is the topic. Unfortunately I too can relate to Laman and Lemuel all too well. lol

    It is interesting to discover that both of those rebellious brothers did exhibit some degree of obedience. This command to return to get "daughters" is one of those times. It was important for them to return to Jerusalem so that they could marry inside the covenant. The same principle was shown to us as Eleazar was asked by Abraham to go and find a wife for his son Isaac, and Jacob was given the task of returning to the land of his relatives to find a wife too.

    I love the fact that the Lord instructs us in the Book of Mormon too of the importance of marrying in the Covenant.

    Thanks for all your beautiful insights into the scriptures. I am a fan.

  2. I just read that bit earlier this week, too! I find it interesting that growing up I tended to vilify Laman and Lemuel (they pretty much ask for it most of the time :)) and could never see how I could relate to them. Being older the similarities are much more glaring. Luckily we have their examples and can learn from their mistakes.

    Mostly, I have to wonder what exactly happens on the trip home from picking up the "pretty faces" that lead L & L to once again gang up against Nephi - even to threatening his life. What influence did the daughters of Ishmael have in not only turning away L & L's wrath, as mentioned, but in stoking it in the first place? Something to consider. The things men won't do to please their ladies!

    I would also love to be the bird on Ishmael's shoulder when the boys were convincing him to join them in the wilderness. That must have been a very interesting conversation.

    Love the blog, as always!

  3. ha ha. i've never picked up on that. Too funny. Thanks for sharing. I want to know when Nephi has seen snow. He described something as white as the driven snow, but he lived in Jerusalem. When did Nephi ever see snow?

  4. Oh, really good point about the snow Shauna! That is kind of strange-- but now that I think about it my friend who lives in Jordan says that they do get snow there sometimes... just not very much. So maybe he had seen a little bit of it.

  5. This one cracked me up ;-) Can't wait to share that one in Relief Society this sunday ;-)

    Unfortunately also very easy to relate to, but oh so funny...

  6. I think this post is spot on. I noticed that some time ago, but I never thought of writing about it.

    I also think it is interesting that once Laman and Lemuel have got the girls, they go right back to doing what they seem to do best--complaining and murmuring and wanting to return to Jerusalem.