What made Nephi different from his brothers? The overlooked answer that might help you hear the Spirit

Nephi didn’t know everything but desired, believed, and tried his hardest to learn.
Getty Images

Busy week? Me too. LDS Living is here to catch you up and get you ready for discussions on Sunday. Here’s a nugget of wisdom from this week’s Come, Follow Me study of 1 Nephi 11–15.

One day Nephi would be a leader of his people and a prophet in his own right. But when he heard his father recount his vision of the tree of life, he was still young and just learning how God speaks. The first verse of our Come, Follow Me section this week gives a pattern for how we can understand more from our Father in Heaven.

Desire, Believe, and Ponder

1 Nephi 11:1 is the lead-in for Nephi’s interpretation of the tree of life. And it ends up being so much more. The next four chapters in the Book of Mormon happen because of how Nephi responded to hearing his father’s preaching.

1 Nephi 11:1

For it came to pass after I had desired to know the things that my father had seen, and believing that the Lord was able to make them known unto me, as I sat pondering in mine heart I was caught away in the Spirit of the Lord, yea, into an exceedingly high mountain, which I never had before seen, and upon which I never had before set my foot.

These are the circumstances we can control when we ask from the Lord. We can desire to know, have faith that He will answer, and then ponder for ourselves.

One of the most common promises across scripture is that those who ask, receive. But we don’t always get details on how to ask, seek, or knock. This example from Nephi allows us to see the process that comes before prayer.

And the reason Nephi was asking was because he lacked understanding. It was okay that he didn’t understand everything yet. But what separated him from his brothers was that he asked for more. If it can happen to a young Nephi, surely there will be times in all of our lives when we hear the words from the prophets and don’t quite understand. Maybe we don’t understand how it applies to us, or how it fits into the parts of God’s plan we do know. This can happen when reading the scriptures or listening to general conference, but we can always ask for more understanding. And those who ask will receive.

Nephi didn’t know everything but desired, believed, and tried his hardest to learn. And he had the important stuff down. When interacting with the Spirit of the Lord in these chapters he is asked what he knows about the condescension of God, and his response is humble yet instructive.

1 Nephi 11:17

…I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.

When nothing else makes sense and you are confused by what you hear, start there. Start with knowing God loves you. And as you desire, believe, and ponder, everything else can be answered in due time.

So that was my takeaway this week. To hear more takeaways from other Latter-day Saints on this scripture block, join our study group on Facebook and Instagram.

Sunday on Monday is a Come, Follow Me podcast hosted by Tammy Uzelac Hall that is released every Monday to guide you through the scripture readings for the week. This week covers 1 Nephi 11-15. Our podcast guest this week was Diane Gerdy Iman. You can listen to full episodes on Deseret Bookshelf Plus and find out more at ldsliving.com/sundayonmonday.

Stay in the loop!
Enter your email to receive updates on our LDS Living content