Continuing on in Nephi.  Today was a little rocky just because i was working hard not to fall asleep while i was reading.  Jillian's a little under the weather and we've all paid the price for it. 
    I find it awesome that Christ's birth and ministry were so well documented before the fact.  in 10:4 Nephi records his father's profecy that "even six hundred years from the time that my father left Jerusalem, a prophet would the Lord God raise up among the Jews--even a Messiah, or, in other words, a Savior of the world."  Numerous times in the Old Testament and in the Book of Mormon it was prophesied that Jesus would come, then, both in the New Testament and the Book of Mormon there are scriptures depicting the life and ministry of Christ that show how he fulfilled ancient prophesy.  for something so well documented i am flabbergasted that people still have trouble understanding or believing that He is the Christ.  it reminds me of those who think the Holocaust never happened.
    Two other things stood out to me today.  The first is the reminder that this life is all about attitude, or perspective.  it was pointed out to me many years ago that this is one of the key differences between Nephi and Laman.  Observe that we see many recorded instances where Laman and Nephi both did what they were supposed to do (along with the others, but i just want to make the comparison between these two).  Both returned to Jerusalem for the brass plates and the daughters of Ishmael, both went unto Laban twice to receive the plates, both obeyed the Lord's and their father's commands to flee Jerusalem, both helped build a ship, etc.  So why is Nephi the glowing example of righteousness and Laman always the poster boy for what not to do?  Attitude, my friends.  Attitude. 
    The second thing came from 7:5 where "the Lord did soften the heart of Ishmael and also his household, insomuch that they took their journey with us down the wilderness..." Last week we had a hymn singing sacrament meeting.  It's the second one i've ever been too and I love it more than I can say.  The hymn I would have chosen had I the guts to go up and say something would have been number 193, "I Stand All Amazed."  In the second verse of that hymn we sing "I marvel that He would descend from His throne divine to rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine."  Now, before this moment we know pretty much nothing about Ishmael and whether or not he was a proud or humble man.  Regardless of his present state, though, the Lord through His servants did touch Ishmael's heart and thus was able to achieve the purpose of bringing his family into the wilderness with Lehi's.  Even though i know nothing about the state of Ishmael's heart at that moment, I do know something about the state at my heart in a moment when the Lord saw fit to reach out and soften it.  When i was 18 i was still in a pretty solid state of rebellion.  If you've known rebellious teenagers, you've known hard-heartedness.  I went with my cousin to Education Week down at BYU that summer.  I slept through most of the classes.  Two (though i'll only talk about one) stood out to me in a way that would change my life forever.  One of them was a class given by Marvin Goldstein.  the class consisted of him choosing a conductor, then he played an arrangement of a hymn, after which we would all sing the first verse of that hymn.  he did this (i believe) 19 times.  I remember the look on the conductors face as he became overwhelmed by the spirit of the music.  i remember the swelling in my heart as that spirit spread throughout that classroom and to this day i stand all amazed that He would bother to take the time to rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine by touching and softening my heart in so beautiful and brilliant a way.

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