Meet Three Men Called Nephi

Prophets Are People

The Lord is very careful of whom he chooses as his prophets, but he gives each one the chance to prove that he can live up to the potential that is expected of all of Heavenly Father’s children. Prophets are not different from other people.
They have faults and challenges to face, sins of which to repent and sorrows to overcome. Often times we think of prophets as some extra special beings, and they are—but aren’t we all?
How, you might ask. Well it is simple. God gives us each responsibilities that He knows that we are capable to do. It is like the servants and the talents. In Matthew 25:14-29, the Lord Jesus speaks of talents given to three servants. Each one was given a different amount of talents to increase.
Now, I don’t want to focus on the story so much as the amount of talents that the servants were given. The Lord knows each of us, and he accordingly gives us the trials that will help us grow. I may be a one-talent trial person and the Lord expects me to take that one talent trial and increase it by overcoming it and showing that I am now at two talents in strength for overcoming it.
You may be a three-talent trial person who can increase it to six talents in strength,spiritual strength for overcoming it. A prophet might be five a five-talent trial person expected to increase in strength to ten for overcoming. The savior rewards those he increases with the same blessings no matter our talents.
He gives us what he knows we can deal with, and then blesses us for dealing with it. Also, it is not as if he leaves us to ourselves to deal with the trials, he comforts us throughout the experience to make sure we know that he loves us even though we may have to suffer a little to go through the trial.
Prophets are expected to suffer and overcome as all of us are expected to do. And no matter how big or small our trial of a talent is to others, they are significant to God because the power it takes to increase in faith to overcome those things are equally difficult for each individual.
We are not expected to lose everything as Job did, but we may be expected to lose a job, or a house, or a family member, but still come out righteous in the end. God will reward us no less than a prophet.

The Three Nephi's of Faith

That brings me to some prophets that had a great deal of trials by talent who increased in faith to honor God and receive a just reward. Nephi, Nephi and Nephi were great prophets. One Nephi lived above five centuries before the other. The other Nephi was the son of the second Nephi!
Number One Nephi of Faith

The first Nephi of Faith

The first Nephi is one of my heroes because of the struggle he had to overcome within his immediate family in obeying the gospel and hearkening to the counsels and edicts of God. God commanded Lehi to take his family into the wilderness. Nephi was a member in this family.
Lehi explained that God commanded that he send his sons back to Jerusalem to get the genealogy of their fathers and the sacred scripture in the house of his cousin Laban. Two of his eldest sons of Lehi murmured about the commandment.
In 1 Nephi 3:7, Nephi responded to Lehi when asked to return to Jerusalem and retrieve the plates of brass “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.”
Nephi is a symbol of righteousness who leads our thoughts back to Christ. We learn from him that God gives us no commands that He will not provide a way for us to complete. For example, God commanded my family to move to Arizona from Georgia.
We had no place of which to move, I had no job to support my family and a feeling in my breast to confirm the command. My wife and I prayed about it and made the journey. True to the promise of Nephi, God made a way for us to accomplish the move he commanded and he has sustained us every day since—because the trials do not stop.
Nephi number Two with Lehi his brother
Nephi number Two with Lehi his brother

The second Nephi of Trust

The second Nephi I want to mention was busy with missionary work—baptizing those who would follow Christ. IN Helaman chapter 7, Nephi is said to have went on a mission to the land northward to preach to his people there and was rejected utterly.
He then returned to his own house and lamented in prayer upon his tower over the wickedness of the people. From that tower he preached to the people and sought their repentance.
To drive home how wicked the people had become he was inspired to announce something tragic, something that put his own life in peril. Nephi, sorrowing at the evil of his day informed his listeners in Helaman 8:26-28,
Yea, even at this time ye are ripening, because of your murders and you fornication and wickedness, for everlasting destruction; yea, and except ye repent it will come unto you soon. Yea, behold it is now even at your doors; yea, go ye in unto the judgment-seat, and search; and behold, your judge is murdered, and he lieth in his blood; and he hath been murdered by his brother, who seeketh to sit in the judgment-seat. And behold, they both belong to your secret band, whose author is Gadianton and the evil one who seeketh to destroy the souls of men.
What a revelation, a real-time, play-by-play announcement of a tragic event. The great thing that happened in this case was not what Nephi said to the people but what occurred when the entire incident ended.
In Helaman 10:2, Nephi ponder what the Lord had shown him, as if he did not know those things beforehand, which he did not. Nephi teaches us that we should have faith to speak when we recognize the spirit has revealed something to us put forth to others—a wayward teen son or daughter, or families that we visit or home teach.
Because he was faithful, not only in that tower incident, but in his missionary work, in Helaman 10:6-8, the Lord declared in blessing “Behold, thou art Nephi, and I am God. Behold, I declare it unto thee in the presence of mine angels, that ye shall have power over this people, and shall smite the earth with famine, and with pestilence, and destruction, according to the wickedness of this people.
Behold, I give unto you power, that whatsoever ye shall seal on earth shall be sealed in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven; and thus shall ye have power among this people. And thus, if ye shall say unto this temple it shall be rent in twain, it shall be done.”
If we have faith to act when moved by the spirit, the Lord will trust us as well as he did Nephi.
Nephi number three being ordained by Jesus
Nephi number three being ordained by Jesus

The third Nephi of Humility

The third Nephi was ordained as a prophet under the hand of his father Nephi and lived to witness the fulfillment of a prophecy revealed by the first Nephi that Jesus Christ should show himself to the Nephites after great destruction occurred.
Nephi in his own right was as great a missionary as was his father testifying to the wicked children of Lehi and exhorting them to turn to Christ and live prepared for Christ's coming.
The most important message from him is his humility. At the coming of Christ to the Temple at the city of Bountiful, though Nephi was the ordained prophet of God at his coming, he did not elevate himself above his brethren.
In 3 Nephi 11:18-21 it is written "And it came to pass that he spake unto Nephi (for Nephi was among the multitude) and he commanded him that he should come forth. And Nephi arose and went forth, and bowed himself before the Lord and did kiss his feet. And the Lord commanded him that he should arise. And he arose and stood before him. And the Lord said unto him: I give unto you power that ye shall baptize this people when I am again ascended into heaven."
What is significant about Nephi is that though he had the power given him already to act in the name of God, Jesus had to call him from among his fellow worshipers to renew his authority under the new covenant that Jesus established after resurrection.
Nephi did not presume to have privilege above any other person. The Lord made him the chief apostle among the children of Lehi, which was followed by almost 200 years of perfect harmony among the Christians on the Ancient American continent. To be powerful is good, as long as we do not exalt ourselves above our brethren.

Faith To Act

If we have the faith to open our mouths to those around us, the Lord will fill us with things to say. The men called Nephi shared a common trait—faith. All had faith to seek the Lord in prayer, faith to trust the Lord’s commands, faith to have studied God’s word and faith to act.
The blessings that each received are trust to perform the work of the Lord. Nephi went and retrieved the record from Laban at a high price. He had to take the life of a man because God commanded him to kill Laban. I have always cringed at that in the scriptures. Nephi showed us that sometimes, God requires use to do things that are hard—things that might shake us to our very moral core!
We will most likely not received a commandment to take another person’s life, but may feel prompted to change careers, serve senior’s mission, give up school for missionary work, serve in the military or sell property—something that we could only accomplish by living closely to the Lord so that we may have faith to act.
Nephi of Faith taught us is we do all we can to accomplish the designs of the Lord He will provide a way to accomplish it—even though the way might be different from what we expected. I am certain Nephi did not expect to kill Laban. I am sure of it in fact because of his reaction when the spirit promoted him in 1 Nephi 4:10.
He writes, “…I was constrained by the Spirit that I should kill Laban; but I said in my heart: Never at any time have I shed the blood of man. And I shrunk and would that I might not slay him.” Though Nephi did eventually obey the prompting he did not want to do it. He reluctantly did something because he had faith that God revealed it to him through the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
Nephi of Trust was given power over the elements for his obedience. God may not give us power or commandments to move mountains or stop the rain, but he will give us power to bring success to our stewardship. God may grant us wealth and riches because He knows that we will use them to bless our fellow beings. He may give us talent to lead nations or neighborhoods because we are willing to act when prompted.
Nephi of Humility demonstrated the humility of a true follower of Christ as he bowed at the feet of Jesus alongside other Christians without a place of honor. If we are obedient to the commands of God and show ourselves approved by walking in the path of Christ, He will reward us with responsibilities to further His work and prosper our creations and endeavors along the way.

Memory Piece: Life

Memory Piece: Life
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