Nephi and his family were to cross the ocean towards the Promised Land. In order to do so he, with the help of his brothers, built a boat and gathered all that was needed for that perilous trip. They were driven forth before the wind towards their destiny. Shortly after, Laman and Lemuel, along with the sons of Ishmael, started to dance, sing, and speak with much rudeness. They bound Nephi and, as a result, the compass that was leading them towards the Promised Land stopped working. A great storm arose threatening to destroy them.
Compare now the story of the Brother of Jared sailing towards the Promised Land. After they had gathered all the needed food and animals, they entered their barges commending themselves unto the Lord their God. The Lord caused that there should be a furious wind that blew upon the face of the waters. They were tossed upon the waves of the sea before the wind.
Which of those two journeys seems more comfortable to you? To me both look alike in the level of discomfort and uncertainty. In the case of Nephi, the difficulties are attributed to the iniquity of Laman and Lemuel. In the case of the brother of Jared, we see that the journey is rough. The journey towards the Promise Land is not an easy, smooth ride but can be rough and bumpy.
What difference can we observe in both stories that can help us? When Nephi’s brothers realized that they were about to sink, they turned to Nephi, freed him and hoped that his relationship with God could help them be spared. With swollen wrists and ankles, Nephi started to praise the Lord all day long and did not murmur against the Lord because of his afflictions. In verse 21 we read, “And it came to pass after they had loosed me, behold, I took the compass, and it did work whither I desired it. And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord; and after I had prayed the winds did cease, and the storm did cease, and there was a great calm.”
The brother of Jared, in turn, “did sing praises unto the Lord; yea, the brother of Jared did sing praises unto the Lord, and he did thank and praise the Lord all the day long; and when the night came, they did not cease to praise the Lord.” Both Nephi and the brother of Jared praised the Lord, prayed, and sang turning their hearts to Him that could save and guide them.
With gratitude for their many blessings and trusting in God’s goodness, they offered their devotion to God in their rough and perilous journey towards the Promised Land.
The hymn “Master, the Tempest is Raging” reminds us of the lesson that the apostles had to learn, “Peace, be still…” No waters can swallow the ship wherein lies the Master.
The question then to ask is: How can the Master lie in my ship? Enos’ example of sincere repentance allows us to see how to begin, as well as the sermon of King Benjamin on how to retain the remission of our sins. Alma and his people were delivered by honoring their covenants when faced with great adversity.
The Book of Mormon is powerful in teaching us how to stay close to Jesus Christ in order to arrive safely at the Promised Land. I would challenge all of us to go back and read again the Book of Mormon. Let us seek to learn how to have the Master sail with us towards the Promised Land and how to develop that faith and confidence that will allow us to stay calm in the midst of the tempests and afflictions of the journey. As you read, compare the stories with your own life. See how the stories apply to you and share with others what you have learned. The Book of Mormon is truly the most correct book on earth and has been designed for us in these perilous days to help us safely reach the Promised Land. As President Ezra Taft Benson invited us to do years ago, why not flood the earth with stories of the Book of Mormon and their contemporary applications, in order to increase our faith in the Master? He lives and stands close to all those that seek Him and serve Him. The Book of Mormon is anchoring my soul to Christ and will do the same to all that abide by its precepts.
1- 1 Nephi 18:16
2- 1 Nephi 18:21
3- Ether 6:9
4- Hymns, 105
5- Mosiah 4:26
6- Mosiah 24:11-16