Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Lehi's Dream

So, now the group is all together.  Lehi and Ishmael's families are out in the wilderness, with the scriptures, and for a little while, things calm down.  Then one night, Lehi has a dream that he is inspired to tell his family about.
He says while he dreamed, he was in a dark, lonely wilderness, and he didn't know where to go.  Lost, he called out to God, and a man appeared to guide him.  The man led him to a tree with fruit whiter than driven snow, and sweeter than anything he'd ever tasted before.  After tasting the fruit, Lehi's first thought was that he wanted to share it with his family.  He looked around and saw them at the mouth of a wide river, looking as if they didn't know where to go.  He called out to them, and most of them came eagerly.  Laman and Lemuel, however, refused. 
As Lehi looked around, he noticed more and more people on a path, trying to get to the tree.  Some of them got lost in a mist that sprang up.  They had to cross the river, and many people drowned.  Those who didn't drown were holding tight to a rod of iron, leading straight to the tree.  When they got there and tasted the fruit, however, some of them suddenly looked ashamed and left.  When Lehi looked around to see why, he noticed a great and spacious building, floating in the air.  It was filled with people mocking those who ate the fruit, and there were many people trying to reach it, though most drowned before they could get to it.
No matter what Lehi said, Laman and Lemuel wouldn't eat the fruit.

Fare thee well, friend!

Friday, October 25, 2013

My First Haunted House

Not as bad as I thought it was gonna be, actually.  I will admit, I screamed more than Kay and Ash combined, and I couldn't go first through anything, but it was actually a lot of fun.  And I didn't end up a blubbering mess by the end, which is a definite plus!  Honestly, I had the most fun snarking at the actors.  I know it makes it more boring for them, but if I didn't snark I was going to go crazy, so there we go.  I think the scariest bit for me was the mental asylum.  I don't do crazy labs.
Best part of the night?  The very last section had constant strobe lights, and by the time I got out my eyes were burning.  There were actors milling around outside, trying to scare people waiting, but I didn't think much of it.  Kay, Ash and I were just standing around talking, and I complained that I still couldn't see.  At which point Kay smirked and said that in that case I probably shouldn't look over my shoulder.
I was so jumpy I didn't even bother finding out if she was pulling my leg or not.  I gave a scream and got behind her as fast as I could.  Turns out one of the actors from the last haunt was standing behind me.  *shuddder*.

In less creepy news:  For those of you readers in Utah, my most marvelous sister-in-law Kar is offering piano lessons!  She's an amazing teacher.  If any of you know someone looking for a teacher, please share the information!  Here is her website, check it out!  Let people know!

Fare thee well, friend!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Family of Ishmael

And here we go, Nephi and his brothers going to get the family of Ishmael to join them in the wilderness.  I have to say, this is one of my favorite stories from the Book of Mormon.  I've been really excited to write this!

Nephi and his brothers had just gotten back from Jerusalem with the brass plates.  It was a long, dangerous journey and Laman and Lemuel constantly complained about it.  A few days after they got back, Lehi came to his sons and told them the Lord had commanded him to send them back to Jerusalem one more time to get Lehi's cousin, Ishmael, and convince him (and his family full of eligible daughters) to join them so they could have families.
Guess who didn't complain this time?
So off the sons went, and as far as we know it wasn't too hard to convince Ishmael.  At least, it wasn't documented if it was.  What we do know is that halfway back to Lehi in the wilderness, Laman and Lemuel had enough.  They, and a few members of Ishmael's family, refused to keep going.  They wanted to go back to Jerusalem because they believed their father was insane and wasn't really having visions. 
Nephi was understandably irritated, and he let them know it.  He basically said fine, if you want to go back to Jerusalem and get yourselves killed, go ahead.  Just don't come crying to us when Jerusalem really is destroyed.  Of course, Laman and Lemuel weren't happy with that.  In fact, they were angry enough to kill.  They tied Nephi up and were planning on just leaving him in the desert to be eaten.
You have to wonder if they remembered what happened last time they tried to beat Nephi up (aka, angel appearing and chewing them out).
Nephi was always described as a strong man.  He could have relied on his strength to save him at this point.  Instead, he prayed to God, and with His help Nephi was able to break his bonds before he could be left to die.
When Laman and Lemuel saw this, they were furious, and this time they weren't content just waiting.  They were going to just kill Nephi themselves, until one of Ishmael's daughters, Ishmael's wife, and one of his sons begged them to stop.  When the pair had finally come to their senses, they begged for forgiveness, and the family returned to Lehi again.

So, this story is a bit shorter than the others, but I love it.  Why?  Let's go back a moment: One of Ishmael's daughters.  Even though it made more sense for Nephi to mention the mother first, it was the daughter he wants us to know right away (for clarification, Nephi is the one writing the record at this point).  The Book of Mormon doesn't say much about Nephi's love life, but a few years ago reading I noticed a cross-reference about this woman to a verse a few chapters later, where Nephi mentions taking a wife.
Now, this is all strictly my own speculations.  THIS IS NOT CHURCH DOCTRINE!  However, I can't help wondering if Nephi owed his life to the woman who would eventually become his wife. :)

Fare thee well, friend!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Castle Amphitheater

So, I'm not actually too into Halloween.  I mean, I enjoy dressing up and eating pumpkin-flavored treats, but I've never really been into scaring myself. 
Until I met Ash. 
For those of you who haven't been following, Ash is the newest roommate in our apartment (and another writer, so that makes life interesting. ;)).  She LOVES Halloween, and it's starting to rub off.  Our apartment is now decorated with spiders and vampire portraits, and at some point closer to the actual holiday we're putting bloody footprints on the floor. 
Well, part of the Halloween fun is getting scared, right?  Well, it just so happens that near an old mental hospital in the next city over, there's a theater.  But not just a theater.  A castle.  A castle amphitheater sitting between the mountains and the mental hospital.
What better place to perform a Halloween show?
So Ash and I went to see Doctor Faustus.  It was fascinating!  Having never seen it before, I was enthralled!  I think the most interesting part was the way they showed how the devil works.  All throughout the play angels were trying to convince Faust to repent, but every time he hesitated, the devils would swarm in and tell him that he had no hope for repentance.  There were so many times everyone in the audience was shouting at him to repent (they wanted a very interactive audience), but he just refused to believe there was any hope for him.  It was really well done!
Well, I guess now it's on to the next Halloween experience: a haunted house.

Fare thee well, friend!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Nephi and the Brass Plates: Part 2

Here's the second half to the story.  If you missed the first half, you can check it out here

Nephi snuck into the city at night without really knowing what he was doing.  All he knew was that if God had asked them to do something, there was obviously a way to get it done.  As he was walking through the streets of Jerusalem, he came upon a drunk passed out in the street.  When he took a closer look, he realized it was Laban, and the Spirit of God told Nephi to kill him.
At first Nephi shrunk back.  He had never killed anyone in his life, and he certainly didn't want to start now.  But the Spirit spoke to him again and reminded him of a few things: Laban had not only stolen from Nephi and his brothers (a crime punishable by death), but he had also attempted to have them murdered; if Nephi didn't kill Laban and take the plates, Nephi's own descendents would quickly fall into apostasy because they wouldn't have the scriptures; and God had delivered Laban into Nephi's hands for this reason.  Laban was known as a wicked man.  So, though the idea repulsed him, Nephi took Laban's sword from its sheath and cut off his head.
Afterwards Nephi put on Laban's armor (it fit pretty well because Nephi was "large in stature") and went to Laban's house to find the brass plates in the treasury.  While he was there he ran into one of Laban's servants, a man named Zoram.  He asked Zoram, who assumed he was Laban, to take him to the treasury, then come with him to meet his brothers outside the walls of Jerusalem (Zoram assumed he meant elders).
When Nephi finally made it to his brothers, however, they saw him in Laban's armor and started running in terror, assuming Laban had killed Nephi and had come after them.  Nephi had to take off the helmet and call to them, which was when Zoram realized what must have happened to Laban.  He turned to run and alert the city.  Obviously Nephi didn't want that, so he turned and grabbed Zoram and tried to reason with him.  He told Zoram that if he would come with Nephi and his brothers, he would be a free man: they would treat him as an equal.  Zoram agreed, and they escaped Jerusalem and returned to their parents without incident.  By studying the brass plates, Lehi learned that he was a descendent of Joseph through Manasseh. 
A few days later, the Lord had another request to make of them.  Up to now, it had only been Lehi's fairly young family in the wilderness.  Now God needed them to go to Lehi's relative, Ishmael, and bring back wives.
And I will tell you that's one of my favorite stories. :D  Can't wait to tell it next Tuesday!

Fare thee well, friend!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Internet's Back - Officially Now

Guess what, everyone?  Remember that big storm I told you about?  The one that flooded the library (sort of)?  Well, it kind of knocked the internet out at my apartment... and it hasn't been on since.  Ash, my new roomie, actually ended up having to make her phone a hot-spot so we could work done (many thanks to her for that!).
After bugging the office for ages, they finally told us to just call the internet company, which Kay did Wednesday, and yesterday THEY FIXED OUR INTERNET!!!!
Can I just say how unbelievably relaxing it is not to have to worry about when you'll actually be able to get online for school?
Oh, and for those of you waiting for the end of Nephi's story, I've decided to do those once a week, so I guess you'll see what happens on Tuesday. ;)

Fare thee well, friend!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Stories: Nephi and the Brass Plates

So, I had a thought over the weekend.  I personally love hearing stories from other people's religions.  I think they're fascinating.  So I decided I would love to share stories from my own religion.  For those of you who don't know, I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  We are Christians, we believe in the Bible, but we also believe in continuing revelation, and that God speaks to all His people.  The book that gave us our nickname, The Book of Mormon, is a record of God's people in the Americas.  I'd like to share the story of their founding: the story of Nephi and the Brass Plates.
The Book of Mormon begins around 600 B.C., just before Jerusalem is destroyed by the Babylonians.  At that time there were many prophets warning about the city's destruction.  One of these men was named Lehi.  The people were angry with him because he told them they were sinning, and they decided to kill him.  Lehi was warned in a dream to take his family out of Jerusalem before they were all murdered, so he, his wife, and his children packed the essentials and fled into the wilderness.  Lehi's family included him, his wife Sariah, and four sons: Laman, Lemuel, Sam, and Nephi (there is some speculation that there were daughters as well, but they were never specified).  Laman and Lemuel were furious about having to leave their home, their birthrights, and their wealth (Lehi was a very wealthy man).  They blamed their father for all their hardships in the wilderness.  Nephi, on the other hand, decided to ask God if what his father had done was right.  When he prayed he received a revelation telling him that his father was right, and that because Nephi was humbler than his brothers, he was called to be a ruler over them in the land God was leading them to.  God also warned Nephi that unless Laman and Lemuel would soften their hearts and humble themselves, they would be cut off.
When Nephi returned to his father after praying, Lehi told him God had spoken to him again in a vision, telling him his sons needed to go back to Jerusalem to retrieve the brass plates.  These plates were not only a collection of the books of Moses, which they would need to teach their children, but they also included a record of Lehi's ancestry.  Laman and Lemuel complained that their father had given them a hard task, but Nephi knew it hadn't come from their father, but from God, and that God never gives His children commandments that they can't keep.  They traveled back to Jerusalem and drew lots to see who would go to visit Laban, the man who currently had the plates.  The lot fell to Laman.  When he asked Laban for the plates, however, Laban called him a thief, threw him out of his house, and sent his servants to kill him.  Laman escaped, came back to his brothers, and said, "Well, that didn't work, time to go!"  Nephi, however, wasn't quite as willing to give up yet.  They'd tried just asking, that hadn't worked, but as I mentioned before, Lehi was a wealthy man, and he had left all his possessions in Jerusalem before he left.  They went back to their home, gathered their wealth, and went back to Laban and offered to trade all their property for the brass plates.
Well, Laban was a wicked man.  He saw their property and coveted it, but he wasn't about to give up the brass plates.  Instead he told his servants to kill them, and when they fled, he took their property for himself.  Now not only had he tried to kill them for no reason, he had stolen their property.  The four brothers hid in a cave outside the city, and Laman and Lemuel were so angry they found a rod and began to beat Nephi, and then Sam.
Then an angel appeared.  He chewed Laman and Lemuel out for a) not believing their father and their brother, b) complaining about their task, and c) beating their brothers.  Basically, he warned them that if they didn't shape up, they were going to be cut off from the presence of God.  When he left, Laman and Lemuel stopped beating Nephi, but they still complained about how hard their task was.  Nephi decided to go alone into Jerusalem to get the brass plates himself.

Well, unfortunately, I have to run to class now, so I guess I'll finish the story in my next post!

Fare thee well, friend!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Still Open

I have a dance exam coming up on Thursday, and I really needed to get dancing shoes.  Problem: no freaking time.  I'm either at school from 8-6, or at work from 9-5.  No real time to drop by a shoe store.  And besides that, I had no idea where I could find a dance store.  I had a couple friends that told me what street to look on, but... well, let's just say I get lost really easily.  Still, I really needed these shoes, and if it was along one street, there shouldn't be too much of a problem, right?  So I planned to grab shoes today after school.
Of course, life struck.  I left my jacket in my dance class, so I had to drop by my teacher's class to get it.  Then one of my friends asked me to drive her home, and I couldn't say no, could I?  So by the time I got on the road again, it was about 6:30, and I still had to find the store.  Finally I spotted it, and I could have sung for joy.  I pulled in, and then I got a look at the times.  Open 10-6 Monday through Friday.
Still, the lights were on, and when I checked the door, it was unlocked, and I poked my head in.  A woman came from the back room and asked if I was here for the shoe fitting.
Me:  "Uh, no, but I am here to buy shoes."
I guess she'd specifically left the store open late for someone that hadn't shown up yet.  She was very kind and got me a pair of shoes, and I went on my merry way with a grateful prayer.

Fare thee well, friend!