by Terri Wagner
It seems like a thousand years, but I'm sure it wasn't that long ago that our then stake president challenged us to read the Book of Mormon in a month, specifically December. My then roommate and I took the challenge. We couldn't read at the same time due to working schedules, but we would remind each other, and discuss what we had learned. It was an awesome experience. I learned things I never knew, and saw the continuity in the book that had escaped me before. So I decided to do it again. Day three and I'm on schedule...yahoo.
This time my focus seems to be on question everything. Yes, Glenn Beck's favorite expression. But honestly had I not questioned my former faith's beliefs compared to my own, I might never have started on the journey that led me to the church. It may be an unusual approach, but I'm kinda liking it.
First up, who's Ishmael? Why did he just up and go with Lehi? Did he look around and say, Lehi's right, better get out of here? Was he rich too? He died during their eight year wandering, so was he older? less healthier? His daughters and sons were a mix of faithful who followed Nephi and not-so-faithful who fell in with Laman and Lemuel. Researching a bit, I discovered that latter-day prophets have suggested that Ishmael was a relative of Lehi's. Quite possibly of Ephraim's tribe, not Manasseh or Judah, which is very interesting to me since those tribes have different responsibilities. Wonder if that finally throws off all the naysayers of the BOM who claim since the Native American DNA is not Jewish, the BOM can't be true. Yikes, don't get me started on them.
Then I got to thinking about the money they left behind. Why was it there when they got back? I don't mean any disrespect here, but if anyone around here left a "rich" home behind, it would be looted. We don't know, but the time they spent between leaving, getting the plates of brass and going back to get wives was a bit of time, enough for a little looting. So did they perhaps give it to family who agreed to give it back? Was it stashed somewhere? Judging from Laban's response to the bribe, it's obvious Lehi was wealthy enough for him to covet the money, so where was it? I know these are not earthshaking things. But I'm curious. I haven't found a latter-day answer to this one yet, but I'll keep looking.
My point isn't really the questioning, just the manner in which we read the BOM changes every time we pick it up. Do you find that happens to you?