Lehi and Family (and others) Examine The Liahona -by Arnold Friberg
The first painting shown here was done by LDS artist, Arnold Friberg, of an event that occurred in about 600 BC in the Northern part of the Arabian peninsula. This event is described in The Book of Mormon.
The second painting is by LDS artist, Del Parson. It is a partly symbolic depiction of the translation process of the Book of Mormon as the golden plates were not accessed directly during the translation process. The subject of the Book of Mormon translation process will be addressed in the second half of this blog post (in the video).
Please read the scripture found at the end of this paragraph to read about the device (Liahona) which was found by Father Lehi in front of his tent on the morning they were to begin their arduous trip across a forbidding deseret and later a large ocean to the Americas. (Lehi didn't know where they were to go. He needed the guidance of the Liahona to get there.
1 Nephi 16: 9 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord spake unto my father by night, and commanded him that on the morrow he should take his journey into the wilderness.
10 And it came to pass that as my father arose in the morning, and went forth to the tent door, to his great astonishment he beheld upon the ground a round ball of curious workmanship; and it was of fine brass. And within the ball were two spindles; and the one pointed the way whither we should go into the wilderness.This next verse will help you learn how the Lord, through the Liahona made sure that Father Lehi and all of his group had enough to eat in this very difficult, threatening wilderness.
1 Nephi 16:16 And we did follow the directions of the ball, which led us in the more fertile parts of the wilderness.As you sit in front of your computer reading this which I typed using my lap-top, can't both of us justifiably wonder at the amazing advances in communication tools that have been made in our lifetimes? And they just keep coming. I saw my first computer a few weeks after graduating from high shcool in 1950. It filled half a room, but it really sped up the job it was assigned to do. A few months later, I saw my first television show. It was in black and white, but it was much better than radio.
600 BC was a long long time ago, yet the device Lehi found in front of his tent that became a vital guide in their journey on the edge of one of the world's harshest deserts, appears to me to be technically much beyond what we presently can do with computers and other electronic gadgets we may have. (It didn't come with replaceable batteries and they had no electricity to plug it into!) That relatively small brass (or more accurately, bronze) ball amazingly, not only directed them to all the more fertile places around that harsh desert area so they could survive, but also printed messages in their Hebrew language (using possibly Egyptian characters like writers of the Book of Mormon said they did) and taught them to "understand the ways of the Lord."
Through this amazing device the Lord chastened them for not doing as they should and I'm sure He gave them much encouragement when they deserved and needed it. They were being led by the Lord with the help of this Liahona to travel on to the distant ocean, to build a ship and then travel, sometimes dangerously, to ancient America to where they were being led by the Lord, through the help of His device. Without this Liahona, which means, "compass" in Lehi's language, they would never have made it to what we know now as Central America.
Lehi and his family, soon after finding the Liahona, learned that the pointers within it worked "according to their faith, work, and obedience." (What! no computer manual!)
In my just previous post you learned about Alma the Younger, who was converted to righteousness by the appearance of an angel of the Lord to him and his four friends. Please read here to learn what the converted Alma tells us about the Liahona.
1 Nephi 16:28 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the pointers which were in the ball, that they did work according to the faith and diligence and heed which we did give unto them.
Alma 37: 38 And now, my son, I have somewhat to say concerning the thing which our fathers call a ball, or director—or our fathers called it Liahona, which is, being interpreted, a compass; and the Lord prepared it.
39 And behold, there cannot any man work after the manner of so curious a workmanship. And behold, it was prepared to show unto our fathers the course which they should travel in the wilderness.
40 And it did work for them according to their faith in God; therefore, if they had faith to believe that God could cause that those spindles should point the way they should go, behold, it was done; therefore they had this miracle, and also many other miracles wrought by the power of God, day by day.
41 Nevertheless, because those miracles were worked by small means it did show unto them marvelous works. They were slothful, and forgot to exercise their faith and diligence and then those marvelous works ceased, and they did not progress in their journey;
42 Therefore, they tarried in the wilderness, or did not travel a direct course, and were afflicted with hunger and thirst, because of their transgressions.
43 And now, my son, I would that ye should understand that these things are not without a shadow; for as our fathers were slothful to give heed to this compass (now these things were temporal) they did not prosper; even so it is with things which are spiritual.This brings me back to matters discussed in previous posts of this blog. In Posts 1 and 2 of this series we are told about a "so-called scholar" who appeared on a PBS program (May 2007) in which he told the viewers that everytime he reads the Book of Mormon he sees the farmboy background of Joseph Smith coming through. In other words, this man insists that the Book of Mormon was thought up and written by Joseph, who had very little education in a time in America where schools weren't very advanced anyway.Now you tell me: If this man's hypothesis is correct, how did 24 year old, uneducated farm boy Joseph Smith, come up with the idea of a Liahona, an instrument that far surpasses the electronic gadgetry we have today, in many way?
Perhaps some of you may say that Joseph Smith merely copied what some educated man had thought up and wrote, perhaps, what he intended to be a novel. This argument used to be made, but no longer do we hear it because all of the theories regarding that have been proven to be invalid.
In Post 4 of this series I wrote about the lecture I attended which was presented by Daniel C.Peterson of BYU's Neal A. Maxwell Institute of Religious Scholarship.
In that lecture (April 10, 2008)he discusses details of the translation process of the Book of Mormon by Joseph Smith. At the beginning of his translation, Joseph Smith actually used another ancient device, the "Urim and Thummin" that the Lord provided him, which, like the Liahona, goes far beyond our modern electronic devices. It was expressly devised by the Lord to allow a seer (a type of prophet) to translate unknown languages.
Now I have used "Google Translate" on this lap-top to help me translate from English to Finnish and Spanish. Although Finnish is difficult to learn, it is not in any way as difficult to learn as an unknown language like the Hebrew-Egyptian amalgamated language which was used by Lehi and his descendants. By listening to Dr. Peterson's lecture, I want you to hear what he said about how all the evidence clearly shows that Joseph Smith never had any documents with him when tranlating the Book of Mormon, from which he could have copied. He also shows how it would have been impossible for Joseph to have memorized that which he was dictating to his scribe.
Other convincing evidence is also given verifying that Joseph Smith was guided by Divine guidance in his translation of the Book of Mormon. You will be listening to Pt. 2. of Dr. Peterson's video. (Part 1 was to be viewed in my Post 4.) Part 2 lasts 10 minutes and 24 seconds. I recommend you listen to all of it. It will be very much worth your while to hear this. There are five parts to this lecture which lasted about an hour and a half altogether. You can access the other four parts of his lecture, if you so desire. Dr. Peterson tells us a number of convincing facts.
However, no matter how convincing these facts may be to the human mind, they cannot take the place of the conviction that will come to your soul when you do as the ancient prophet Moroni advises you to do. I have brought this scripture to your attention in previous blog posts, but I repeat it in case you have not yet humbly and sincerely sought the answer which Moroni promises you.
Moroni 10: 3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
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