April 27-May 3
We all know the story of the Jaredites. We know the story of the brother of Jared who spoke with the Lord and asked Him to illuminate stones. We know how they built ships that were “tight like unto a dish.” We know how their civilization tragically ended. How have you been influenced by what you’ve read about the Jaredites?
How many of us have truly thought about how we received the story of the Jaredites?
Where did the story of the Jaredites come from?
The story of the Jaredites came to us through the sacrifices made by many different people. We know how Mormon painstakingly put The Book of Mormon together. We know how Moroni hid them deep in the earth. We know how Mosiah worked to translate them by the gift and power of God; Joseph Smith likewise translated them with the gift and power of God. Countless more worked to spread news about The Book of Mormon, along with the story of the Jaredties.
But not many people talk about the 43 people Limhi sent into the wilderness.
How did Limhi’s people even receive the plates in the first place?
Well let’s take a small look at what was going on in their lives at the time. Limhi’s people were in bondage to the Lamanites. They were paying an obscene tribute of 50% of everything they had. Limhi was afraid to walk about his own land without his guard because of the danger. His people were surrounded by Lamanite guards to prevent their escape. They were so desperate to escape the Lamanites that they sent 43 people to look for Zarahemla because they preferred slavery to the Nephites over slavery to the Lamanites.
Think about it. 43 Nephites escaped quietly to go and look for their brethren in Zarahemla because they wanted to escape the Lamanites. Imagine the pressure they might have felt to find rescuers. It says they were lost in the wilderness “for the space of many days.” They continued to be diligent until they came across a land that was covered in bones and ruins. They found the record and brought it back along with rusted weapons and breastplates.
It wasn’t part of their original plan, but what they found instead has affected millions since that time.
When the plates were brought back, these 43 Nephites probably had no inkling of how it would affect the entire world. When the plates were finally translated by Mosiah, they probably thought it was cool. They might have appreciated the story and life lessons contained upon it. It may have contributed to their own conversion, but I doubt they had any idea what the Lord truly had in store for this record that they had found.
I also doubt they knew just how guided and inspired they were to have found it.
A parallel to our own lives
As a sophomore in college, I was extremely into music. I had written, played, and sang my own songs for much of my life. I desperately wanted to be a musician. The feeling grew stronger and stronger until I started to seriously consider dropping out of college to pursue that path. I received protests from family and friends, but I continued to hold that desire. It all came to a head one day when my mom called to let me know that they wouldn’t financially support me if I decided to leave college. This was totally fair, and it also really made me consider the choice more strongly. As I got off the phone call with my mom, I knelt down and prayed. I then turned to my patriarchal blessing.
It was like I had never read it before. Words seemed to jump off the page and beg me to read them. By the time I was finished reading it, I had my decision and I wasn’t going to go back on it. I knew I needed to drop out of college, and I was dead-set on becoming a musician.
I almost wonder if Limhi had desperately pleaded with the Lord for a means of escape. I wonder if Limhi received the prompting to send out some of his people to find Zarahemla, and I wonder if Limhi was filled with hope that he had received the answer about how to free his people.
Well. Spoiler alert. I’m not a world famous musician.
However. The next “semester” proved to be difficult. For some reason, it was impossible for me to find a job. I applied and looked everywhere. I also became increasingly sick. My mother flew up to essentially check on me and by the end of her visit, my bags were packed and I was headed home.
I wish I could describe how the trajectory of my entire life changed after I made the decision to drop out of college (temporarily!). I went home, moved in with my sister who needed help, found a desire to get married eventually, served a mission, etc., etc. Not only did events change, but I changed dramatically.
I was so convinced that when the Lord prompted me to drop out of college, He was giving me the go-ahead to pursue a music career. Little did I know, He had something much different in mind. And as I look around at my life, I recognize that I’m much happier where I’m at then I ever could have been without that prompting.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell stated that, “…the Lord gives more instructions than explanations.”
Perhaps Limhi was disappointed that they were not able to find Zarahemla. Perhaps the 43 people thought they had failed. Perhaps they were very, very wrong.
I did receive a prompting to drop out of college, but it was not for the reasons that I originally thought. Like many others, I have come to learn that it was for far better reasons than I had planned.