This week’s scriptures paint a tragic picture of a family divided. How can this be, when this family was led by a prophet and the children were taught the same doctrines and commandments? How can sheep from the same shepherd leave the flock?

Whenever Nephi encouraged them to be faithful and keep the commandments (1 Nephi 16:15), Laman and Lemuel responded that commandments were foolish (vs. 16) and Nephi and Lehi were judgmental (vs. 22). Why did they respond so differently to the teachings of prophets?

We see a stark contrast between the world view and personalities of Laman and Lemuel and their wives and that of Nephi, Sam, Zoram and their wives. Laman and Lemuel appear to have more cynical and critical dispositions, while Nephi, Zoram and Sam appear to have more optimistic and trusting dispositions. But there were also big differences in the way they viewed God’s commandments.

Today, we see different levels of doctrinal understanding and keeping of commandments all around us. Especially when it comes to teaching why “the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.”

Everyone is at different spiritual levels of understanding on the doctrine of the family, as President Dallin H. Oaks taught:

“Those who do not fully understand the Father’s loving plan for His children may consider the Family Proclamation no more than a changeable statement of policy. In contrast, we affirm that the Family Proclamation, founded on irrevocable doctrine, defines the mortal family relationship where the most important part of our eternal development can occur.”

How do we navigate such differences? We don’t see Nephi lash out in anger. Rather, he was a Christlike example of patience and kindness. But make no mistake: he was also absolutely unwavering, firm, and totally committed to teaching pure truth and pure doctrine.

Like our current prophet and apostles, he never shied away from teaching truth. Ever.

How can we emulate Nephi’s and Christ’s example in our own families, congregations, and neighborhoods?

“Going Home,” by YongSung Kim.

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