Several questions have been posited recently concerning the necessity of the Liahona. Obviously, Lehi was fully capable of receiving revelation. Here he was, because of revelatory inspiration, in the wilderness with his family. The question is – why did Lehi also receive the Liahona?
Let us observe that God does everything with purpose. My experience is that God is a minimalist. If He can bless us with a penny to overcome a difficulty over many years – He will not give us a million dollars to fix it instantly. In my opinion, the Liahona was indispensible, and it was the minimum and most elegant possible solution. There actually was an inescapable need for the Liahona, or God would not have provided it. The question that remains is what was that overwhelming need?
Laman and Lemuel constantly wanted to turn back. They argued against everything Lehi asked, and were murderous in their dissent. They were, lazy, rebellious, abusive, cruel, murderous, devoid of conscience, inspiration proof, and seekers of pleasure and wealth.
It appears that very shortly before Lehi discovered the Liahona that Laman and Lemuel had again rebelled and Nephi had spoken to them with sufficient inspiration and passion to humble them. (1 Nephi 15-16). A short time later Lehi found the Liahona and was commanded to reconvene their journey – at a rare moment while Laman and Lemuel were humbled and somewhat compliant.
So, here we have Lehi, a prophet of God who doesn’t need revelatory aids, standing before his wayward sons rejoicing, holding a revelation aid. Why? Because he knew that Laman and Lemuel could not doubt that the Liahona was from God. It was of curious workmanship, meaning they couldn’t understand how it worked, which may also explain why we are never told what the second pointer was for. It was finely crafted of “fine brass” which they knew neither Nephi nor Lehi could duplicate. (1 Nephi 16:10; Alma 37:39) And, they knew it had not come with them from Jerusalem. It was a miracle they could not deny which would remain with them as a constant reminder – and hence the source of Lehi’s joy. He considered that his sons were finally convinced, and would no longer hinder their journey. He may even have hoped they would repent and share in salvation.
As we discussed earlier, the mere fact that God provided it, means that the Liahona was essential to their completing the Lord’s journey. We can safely assume the miracle of the Liahona was what convinced Laman and Lemuel to endure the remainder of the journey, and without it, they would have finally rebelled, killed Nephi and probably Lehi, and returned to Jerusalem.
I have often wondered why God didn’t just leave Laman and Lemuel in Jerusalem, or even better, in the wilderness. The whole Nephite history would have unfolded differently, and probably not ended in so many wars, bloodshed and utter devastation of the Nephite nation. I wonder why Nephi didn’t just leave his awful brothers in Jerusalem on the several occasions they went back, especially after seeing in vision that their seed would destroy his people! (1 Nephi 12:19-23) I wonder at times why Lehi didn’t just give them permission to return. I’ll bet he wanted to at times, parental love notwithstanding. God could have provided someone to take their places as easily as He provided the daughters of Ishmael to wed his sons.
The truth is that for reasons we can only guess, God needed those two rebellious brothers to make it to the Promised Land, and worked many miracles to accomplish that end– including creating the Liahona with His own hands. (Alma 37:38-39)
Next on the Un-Blog: Liahona, a Type and Shadow
© February 2012, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved. Non-commercial reproduction permitted.