In his April 2013 General Conference address, “The Home: The School of Life,” Elder Enrique R. Falabella highlighted several lessons we learn at home in our families that help bring peace to our hearts and our homes and ultimately our world. Chapters five through seven in 1 Nephi outlined some of these and other lessons heroes learn in their families as Nephi and his family continued their journey in the wilderness.
1 Nephi 5
Heroes comfort with words and actions of faith and love. Heroes give hugs. Lehi’s wife, Sariah, was very concerned for her sons as they traveled in the wilderness to Jerusalem to get the record of the Jews. She worried so much that something bad would happen to them that she “complained against” her husband. Lehi reminded her of the promises and commandments he had received from the Lord. His words of faith and his confidence in the “goodness of God” comforted Sariah.
Elder Falabella reminded us that like Sariah we all need comfort and love. He said, “The words ‘I love you,’ ‘Thank you very much,’ and ‘Forgive me’ are like a balm for the soul. They transform tears into happiness. They provide comfort to the weighed-down soul, and they confirm the tender feelings of our heart.”
Heroes search the scriptures. After obtaining the records of the Jews, Lehi and his family “searched them and found that they were desirable; yea, even of great worth unto us” because they contained the prophecies and commandments of the Lord.
Heroes learn about family history and family heroes. As they searched the records, Lehi’s family “did discover the genealogy of his fathers.” They read about one of their family heroes, Joseph who was sold into Egypt by his brothers and preserved by the Lord so that he was able to preserve his family during the famine.
1 Nephi 6
Heroes “persuade men to come unto…God.” Nephi was commanded to keep a record and he explained in this chapter that he doesn’t give a full account of all the things that happen to his family, rather he wanted to save room on the plates so he can “write of the things of God” in hopes that his posterity and others who read his record will know of God’s goodness and come unto Him that they may be saved.
Heroes “do…things which are pleasing unto God.” Nephi didn’t focus on writing the things that would be pleasing to the world. Instead, he wrote the things that would be pleasing to God, the things that would be of the most worth to his family. As we search the scriptures in our families we learn what things are pleasing to the Lord. Elder Falabella reminded us that learning and knowing the scriptures is not enough. We must live the scriptures and do the things we read that Jesus and the prophets do because they “do always those things that please him” (John 8:29).
1 Nephi 7
Heroes focus on family. Nephi and his brothers were commanded to go up to Jerusalem a second time for the express purpose of inviting Ishmael and his household, which included five daughters, to join them in their journey to the promised land so that they could “take daughters to wife, that they might raise up seed unto the Lord in the land of promise.”
Heroes “set an example.” When Nephi’s brothers, Laman and Lemuel, along with some of Ishmael’s family started complaining and murmuring again as they journeyed in the wilderness, Nephi set a faithful example for them and reminded them of the whys of their journey and the “great things the Lord hath done for us.”
Heroes do not contend. Laman and Lemuel chose to escalate their anger rather than to make peace. They chose to doubt and to rebel rather than to follow in faith. They laid hands on Nephi and bound him with cords and wanted to kill him and leave him in the wilderness. Nephi chose faith and chose to make peace. His motto may well have been Sister Falabella’s motto: “In order to contend, you need two people, and I will never be one of them.”
Heroes ask for help. He “prayed unto the Lord, saying: O Lord, according to my faith which is in thee, wilt thou deliver me from the hands of my brethren; yea, even give me strength that I may burst these bands with which I am bound. And it came to pass that when I had said these words, behold, the bands were loosed from off my hands and feet” (1 Nephi 7:17-18).
Laman and Lemuel were still angry after this miraculous deliverance and sought again to hurt Nephi until their hearts were finally softened by the pleadings of Ishmael’s wife, one of his daughters, and one of his sons. These three were heroes to Nephi as they provided support. Afterward, Laman and Lemuel became very sorrowful and “did plead with [Nephi] that I would forgive them of the thing that they had done against me.”
Heroes “frankly forgive.” And that is exactly what Nephi did because he is a hero. Forgiveness is one of the key lessons we learn in families. It is one of the principles that leads to happiness in families. Pres. Thomas S. Monson affirmed, “In many families, there are hurt feelings and a reluctance to forgive. It doesn’t really matter what the issue was. It cannot and should not be left to injure. Blame keeps wounds open. Only forgiveness heals.”