The record of the Book of Mormon began when the Lord commanded Lehi to take his wife, Sariah, and their children and leave Jerusalem. Lehi obeyed and spent the next eight years traveling in the wilderness with his family. Not long after leaving their home and possessions, the Lord commanded Lehi to send his sons back to Jerusalem to get a set of scriptures written on plates of brass and kept by a man named Laban. As the sons tried to obey this commandment and obtain the plates, Laban confiscated all of their property, tried to kill Nephi and his brothers, and drove them into hiding outside the city. At this point, Nephi’s older brothers, Laman and Lemuel, grew discouraged and were ready to give up without getting the plates. Nephi nevertheless persevered and pressed forward until he fulfilled the Lord's commandment. Having secured the plates, the brothers returned to Lehi’s camp. While the brothers were away on this mission, Sariah’s faith wavered as she grew fearful that something terrible had happened to her sons. Her fear caused her to complain to Lehi and doubt his inspiration.
Throughout the eight year journey, Laman and Lemuel complained about having to leave their home and losing all their possessions. Their complaints eventually turned to the verbal and physical abuse of Nephi. At times the family faced trials of almost insurmountable proportions. Sometime during their journey, the family faced near starvation when Nephi’s broke his bow and couldn’t obtain food; at this time even Lehi doubted. Through all of these trials though, Nephi never doubted or complained but continued to faithfully trust in the Lord.
Upon the family’s safe arrival a place named Bountiful, eight years after leaving Jerusalem, Nephi reflected upon their journey and wrote the following:
“And if it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them, and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them; wherefore, he did provide means for us while we did sojourn in the wilderness" (1 Nephi 17:3).
Nephi never doubted who led them. Despite troubles and daunting problems, Nephi remembered that the Lord had nourished, strengthened, and provided for them; for Nephi the formula was simple—have faith and keep the commandments.
From Nephi’s experiences, we learn that the Lord will give us the strength and knowledge to overcome our difficulties if we just remain faithful and obey His commandments. At times it may seem like we too are wandering in a wilderness. Doubt can cloud our mind, weaken our faith, and cause us to become fearful. Weakened faith and a lack of understanding can cause us to complain and struggle to follow the Lord. We may even become angry and rebel. Tough economic times may put our jobs, homes, and fortunes in peril. Sickness, pain, and loneliness can turn hope into despair. As with Lehi and his family, our journey can be long, difficult, discouraging, and just as perilous; but if we remain faithful, the Lord will also bless us as He did Lehi and his family.
The point is do I believe Him when He declares:
I will be you light in the wilderness; and I will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments; wherefore, inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall be led towards the promised land; and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led. (1 Nephi 17:13)
It really comes down to trust. I know that if I trust in Him, He will bless me and my family just as He blessed Lehi's family. Nourishment, strengthening, and being provided for can also be my blessings, all I need to do is remain faithful, keep God’s commandments, and trust in Him.