1 Nephi 12
Heroes look and learn. Heroes look at the lessons of the past to learn how to live better now and in the future. In this chapter, Nephi was shown the history of his posterity. He saw what happened to them and why.
Nephi saw “multitudes gathered together to battle, one against the other;…and great slaughters with the sword among my people.” He saw the mists of darkness that his father saw in his vision of the tree of life. Nephi learned that “the mists of darkness are the temptations of the devil, which blindeth the eyes, and hardeneth the hearts of the children of men, and leadeth them away into broad roads, that they perish and are lost.” He also saw the large and spacious building and learned that it is the “vain imaginations and the pride of the children of men.”
He saw that his posterity and the posterity of his brethren contended against each other “because of the pride of my seed, and the temptations of the devil” and that ultimately the seed of his brethren would overpower and destroy his seed and continue to “dwindle in unbelief.”
Nephi looked and learned that war, destruction, and “all manner of abominations” are the result when people are prideful, when they are persuaded to follow after the vain things of the world, and when they succumb to the temptations of the devil promising physical pleasure, power, and possessions (see Matt. 4:2-10).
He also saw that some of his posterity would see “the Lamb of God descending out of heaven” to come down and minister to them and teach them. Then he saw “three generations pass away in righteousness.” He learned that “because of their faith” in Christ and the cleansing blood of his Atonement, these three generations were clean from the filthiness of the world and lived in righteousness and peace.
Heroes from all ages and heroes today look at the past and the present and learn these same lessons. Faith in Christ leads to righteous living and peace. Disbelief leads to pride which turns our focus from Christ to ourselves so that we seek after the promises of the world, our eyes becoming blinded and our hearts becoming hardened to those things which truly satisfy (see Prov. 27:20).