Sunday, January 19, 2014

What is a Liahona, and How Do I Use It?

The Liahona is a round ball of curious workmanship made of fine brass. It has two spindles that give direction to the reader. It can take one safely across a treacherous wilderness, towards sources of food, and across a raging ocean. Like a compass it gives direction, but with two major exceptions. First, it points to food and shelter, not just to the north. Second, it runs on faith and diligence or obedience. It can often be found outside of tent doors. And by often, I mean just once in recorded history.
Lehi found the Liahona outside his tent on the ground one morning just before he and his family began on their trek through the wilderness to the promised land. For the next eight years, the Lehites followed a tool of divine inspiration to keep them alive. God didn't give them a map; He gave them a compass that led them day by day. When Lehi and his family lived righteously, it guided them through the more fertile parts of the wilderness. When they didn't and murmured and complained, such as when Nephi's bow broke or Laman and Lemuel's mutinied on board the boat, it stopped giving directions.

Also notable about the Liahona was the writing that would appear on it. The writing changed from time to time, chastened Lehi when he wasn't obedient, and gave them understanding concerning the word of the Lord. Nephi called this one of the small and simple ways the Lord works to bring about great things.

To me, a Liahona isn't small and simple; it's magical. That's why I highlighted it in yellow every time it's mentioned in the Book of Mormon. If I had one to guide me through my life—what school to go to, who to marry, where to apply for jobs, where the investigators are—I would follow it exactly. But even Lehi and his family became slothful because of the easiness of the way.

Do you know what else is easy to do, but easy to forget, guides us through our day-to-day lives, and helps us understand how plain the Word of God is?
Today's Liahonas
Reading the scriptures every day requires faith and diligence in order to get the direction we need out of them. The stories in the Book of Mormon apply to, like, everything, and they answer the questions of your soul. But if you're unrighteous, forget to read, or aren't applying what you learn, the scriptures can't do you any good, and of course they'll be boring. They chasten you when you need it, too.

The scriptures' words don't change for us like the Liahona's did or like a Magic 8 Ball. We change, though, every time we read them. New meanings and new insights will come to you as you read the Book of Mormon faithfully, diligently, prayerfully, thoughtfully, and repeatedly.

Elder Mervyn B. Arnold wrote about 'A New Writing' we get when we read the scriptures, in the Ensign last April.

In closing, Alma would like to repeat what I just said. 
"And now, my son, I have somewhat to say concerning the thing which our fathers call a ball, or director—or our fathers called it Liahona, which is, being interpreted, a compass; and the Lord prepared it.
"And behold, there cannot any man work after the manner of so curious a workmanship. And behold, it was prepared to show unto our fathers the course which they should travel in the wilderness.
"And it did work for them according to their faith in God; therefore, if they had faith to believe that God could cause that those spindles should point the way they should go, behold, it was done; therefore they had this miracle, and also many other miracles wrought by the power of God, day by day.
"Nevertheless, because those miracles were worked by small means it did show unto them marvelous works. They were slothful, and forgot to exercise their faith and diligence and then those marvelous works ceased, and they did not progress in their journey;
"Therefore, they tarried in the wilderness, or did not travel a direct course, and were afflicted with hunger and thirst, because of their transgressions.
"And now, my son, I would that ye should understand that these things are not without a shadow; for as our fathers were slothful to give heed to this compass (now these things were temporal) they did not prosper; even so it is with things which are spiritual.
"For behold, it is as easy to give heed to the word of Christ, which will point to you a straight course to eternal bliss, as it was for our fathers to give heed to this compass, which would point unto them a straight course to the promised land.
"And now I say, is there not a type in this thing? For just as surely as this director did bring our fathers, by following its course, to the promised land, shall the words of Christ, if we follow their course, carry us beyond this vale of sorrow into a far better land of promise.
"O my son, do not let us be slothful because of the easiness of the way; for so was it with our fathers; for so was it prepared for them, that if they would look they might live; even so it is with us. The way is prepared, and if we will look we may live forever.
"And now, my son, see that ye take care of these sacred things, yea, see that ye look to God and live. Go unto this people and declare the word, and be sober. My son, farewell." Alma 37:38-47

1 comment:

  1. I loved this Sister Johnson. I think it has been my favorite of your blogs. I love you, too!