As I’ve started into the Book of Mormon from the beginning again one of the things that has stood out to me more this time around than at others is the efficiency and efficacy of what is conveyed.
There’s just so much packed into the first five chapters, things happen so quickly, and so much about doctrine, human nature, the nature of revelation, repentance and so many other principles are shot out like a great fire hose. All of this and it is a very coherent and interesting story for anyone that really takes it seriously.
There’s been literally nothing I can write off as being fluff or inconsequential in the relation. It’s simultaneously a bare bone account of what is happening while being fully functional on any conceivable level of utility.
If you are trying to read it principally to apply it to yourself it’s chock full of a wide range of examples of both intrapersonal and interpersonal struggles. From the conflicts of Laman & Lemuel Co. v. Nephi & Co, to Nephi & Co v. Laban and his hosts, to Sariah and Lehi, etc. to the personal conflicts both explicit (Nephi confronting the prompting to kill Laban) to the implicit, the difficulties one can imagine being part and partial to the difficulties that fill the first 5 chapters.
Or if you’re looking at it from an investigative perspective, if you’re trying to judge the veracity &/or divinity of the work the first five chapters have plenty to chew on. Most of that’s better suited to investigating through sites like FairLDS and the Interpreter blogs, but I can say that just those first five Chapters are very consequential historically and in terms of what is presented through the lens of a more literary analysis.
Yet another measure of the density and richness, and potentially among the most obvious of evidences, is the speed at which things change.
These first 5 chapters scream that this is a dynamic and fast paced history. There’s no plodding, there’s no getting caught up in anything that doesn’t show things changing.
After Nephi quickly states his purposes in making the record and then describes the condition and work of his father and the reaction of the people we’re into Chapter 2 where the family both looses their inheritance, gain another, and define a rift in the family that will last for many generations but that God will turn to the general betterment of the overall family. Chapter 3 wastes no time bringing the conflict between the brothers to some of the most extreme levels imaginable. Then in chapter four seeing Nephi face a test approaching the caliber of that for which Abraham was famous. To say nothing of adding even more people to their caravan through the wilderness as well as some of the most profound pronouncements on seeking to faithfully obey the commands of God.
Likely the most striking thing to me this time in terms of efficacy and efficiency was how immediately and perennially relate-able it all is to my own personal situation at this point in time.
Whether we’re talking about personal, familial, career or spiritual I find myself relating with virtually every character and to some degree understanding why they are where they are and, thereby, getting a better understanding of where I am, why I’m here, and getting a glimps of what God has in store for me.
Just as God doesn’t waste time or space, and neither have those who have sought to follow Him, I need to not delay nor slacken in my efforts to both do His will, to seek His blessings and to keep stepping into the places the Spirit directs me to, even if I have no idea of exactly what I’ll be doing before I get dressed and step out the door.