Monday, November 1, 2010

From the Greatest Sorrow to the Arms of God’s Love: the Valleys and Peaks of Lehi’s Experience

And now I speak unto you, Joseph, my last-born. Thou wast born in the wilderness of mine afflictions; yea, in the days of my greatest sorrow did thy mother bear thee. (2 Nephi 3:1, emphasis added)
This tells us that Lehi suffered a terrible bout of depression while traveling in the wilderness, and it might have had something to do with the time when he murmured against the Lord when Nephi broke his bow. ”And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came unto my father; and he was truly chastened because of his murmuring against the Lord, insomuch that he was brought down into the depths of sorrow.“ (1 Nephi 16:25, emphasis added)

It may seem odd to us that Lehi would take things so much to heart, but this had to be a case when a person who had received the greater light and sinned against it was under the greater condemnation. (Joseph Smith himself went through a very dark time when it became clear that the 116 pages had been lost and he through his fear of men had let them go to Martin Harris.)

Also, this would explain why Lehi seems to drop off the spiritual radar of the account for a substantial time and Nephi seems to figure much more prominently. If Lehi was struggling with terrible depression and was practically incapacitated by it, someone had to keep things going in the family.

I take some hope from finding this because it shows me how human Lehi was; he dealt with some of the same problems we do.

Yet we also have an indication that he was able to pull out of it with help from the Lord because in 2 Nephi 1:15, Lehi says “But behold, the Lord hath redeemed my soul from hell; I have beheld his glory, and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love.”

This gives me hope that even those of us who suffer from depression can ultimately behold the glory of the Lord, be wrapped in visions of the Almighty, and be encircled about eternally in the arms of His love.


Michaela Stephens said...

To all my readers: This is not meant to suggest that all depression is caused by complaining. There are different causes and contributing factors.

Jocelyn Christensen said...

Another excellent insight...hopeful message indeed!