The Covenant Path Unveiled in the Book of Mormon: The Witness of Lehi—”Men Are, That They Might Have Joy” (2 Nephi 1-2)

In a previous 5-part series entitled, “The Covenant Path Unveiled”, we uncovered the Savior’s personal teaching of what His true saving doctrine is (3 Nephi 11-26).  Though the term “covenant path” is not found in scripture, His saving doctrine is referred to by other names in scripture including “my doctrine,” “the doctrine of Christ,” “the gospel” and others.  He teaches some important characteristics of His doctrine.  He also includes the very few, yet essential steps or milestones that you personally have to fulfill or receive.  If you have not yet studied through that 5-part series, I encourage you to do that first before studying this additional witness.

The purpose of that 5-part series was to clarify what the covenant path really is, to unveil the simplicity and beauty of the true covenant path so that it does not lose its meaning, and that you might know the true way to personal redemption.  As I stated about the Savior’s own teachings (3 Nephi 11-26), my witness is that any other teaching of what the covenant path is other than what is taught by the Savior is rooted in darkness and will frustrate your personal journey “in and through Jesus Christ.”

By now you should be reading the Book of Mormon with new eyes. If you have yet to see that the Book of Mormon was restored as an additional witness of the Everlasting Covenant and the doctrine of Christ, I invite you to study The Doctrine of Christ Study Guide. A person that reads the Book of Mormon without this critical insight may miss the mark altogether.

There are some who still might respond to previous posts of this same collection (“Unveiling the Covenant Path”) saying, “This is not how a person receives salvation or exaltation” and yet, they claim to believe the Book of Mormon, the need for its restoration, and its promises. Also, ironically, they also claim to believe God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Awaken! How can you not see what the Book of Mormon really is? Urgently, I plead with you to cease your unbelief!

In addition to the Savior’s own witness there are other Book of Mormon prophets that add their own personal witness of the true covenant path. So far we have unveiled the following additional witnesses:

That We Might Have Joy

As a full-time missionary, I was taught and therefore asked to teach the purpose of life a certain way. The shortened version is that the purpose of our mortal life is to gain a mortal body, to gain experience through personal choices, and to even have joy. It is similar wording to things now officially taught to missionaries in the Preach My Gospel handbook:

“We are physically separated from God during life on earth, but He wants every one of His children to find peace in this life and a fulness of joy in His presence after this life. He wants us to become like Him…

Under the direction of the Father, Jesus Christ created the earth as a place for us to live and gain experience. In order to progress and become like God, each of us had to obtain a body and be tested during a time of probation on the earth. While on the earth we are out of God’s physical presence. We do not remember our premortal life. We must walk by faith rather than by sight…

Life on earth is an opportunity and a blessing. Our purpose in this life is to have joy and prepare to return to God’s presence

Among the scriptures that are cited in the handbook to support this include the second chapter of 2 Nephi. One of the most popular and most often cited verses from the words of Lehi is:

“Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.”

2 Nephi 2:25

One popular interpretation of this, like I was taught on my mission, is that finding joy is a primary purpose in our mortality—that we need to simply enjoy the mortal experience as much as possible and find the silver lining in life amidst the hard things, the unfortunate things, or even just the plain old sad things.

However, I have come to learn that this verse is often used as a spiritual soundbite. You might remember that a spiritual soundbite is:

Due to its brevity, the sound bite often overshadows the broader context in which it was spoken, and can be misleading or inaccurate. The insertion of sound bites into news broadcasts or documentaries is open to manipulation, leading to conflict over journalistic ethics.

Post, “We Love Spiritual Sound Bites

Without the proper context, this verse is dangerously misunderstood. The Lord has personally taught me the true context, interpretation, meaning, and significance of these words. Today, I’d like to share my witness with you through the witness of Lehi that is contained more fully in 2 Nephi chapters 1-2.

I will always invite you to first read it on your own and use the spirit of the Lord to help you see the doctrine of Christ with new eyes. Then feel free to supplement your own reading with mine if you would like. Use the spirit to discern any of my personal messages. My comments are only there to help clarify the simplicity and beauty of Christ’s true saving doctrine.

The Witness of Lehi

Keep in mind that the original Book of Mormon was in paragraph form (not verses). What is now chapters 1 and 2 of 2 Nephi are part of the same message from Lehi.

And now it came to pass that after I, Nephi, had made an end of teaching my brethren, our father, Lehi, also spake many things unto them, and rehearsed unto them, how great things the Lord had done for them in bringing them out of the land of Jerusalem. [The temporal and historical record of Lehi’s family being invited out of Jerusalem in favor of a promised land is a spiritual metaphor. Every aspect of it has spiritual meaning with a very deliberate message. Ponder the meaning in its entirety as well as the unique symbols as you study the Book of Mormon.]

And he spake unto them concerning their rebellions upon the waters [spiritual symbol], and the mercies of God in sparing their lives [spiritual symbol], that they were not swallowed up in the sea [spiritual symbol].

And he also spake unto them concerning the land of promise [spiritual symbol], which they had obtained—how merciful the Lord had been in warning us that we should flee out of the land of Jerusalem [spiritual symbol].

For, behold, said he, I have seen a vision, in which I know that Jerusalem is destroyed [spiritual symbol]; and had we remained in Jerusalem we should also have perished [spiritual symbol].

But, said he, notwithstanding our afflictions, we have obtained a land of promise [spiritual symbol], a land which is choice above all other lands [symbolic language]; a land which the Lord God hath covenanted with me [symbol] should be a land for the inheritance of my seed [There is a much deeper symbolic meaning here—even a mystery]. Yea, the Lord hath covenanted this land unto me, and to my children forever, and also all those who should be led out of other countries by the hand of the Lord [symbol].

Wherefore, I, Lehi, prophesy according to the workings of the Spirit which is in me, that there shall none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord [more symbolic meaning—none can inherit (receive) it except they are brought (delivered) by the Lord and no other means].

Wherefore, this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring. And if it so be that they shall serve him according to the commandments which he hath given [personal commandments (which is to “keep His commandments”)], it shall be a land of liberty [spiritual freedom meaning is freedom from the bonds of captivity. This freedom is salvation] unto them; wherefore, they shall never be brought down into captivity [no salvation]; if so, it shall be because of iniquity; for if iniquity shall abound cursed shall be the land for their sakes, but unto the righteous it shall be blessed forever [symbol].

And behold, it is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations [symbol]; for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance [symbol].

Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise, that inasmuch as those whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem shall keep his commandments, they shall prosper upon the face of this land; and they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves. And if it so be that they shall keep his commandments they shall be blessed upon the face of this land, and there shall be none to molest them, nor to take away the land of their inheritance; and they shall dwell safely forever. [“Blessed” and “prosper” are different. To be “blessed” is when your soul receives a portion of the glory of God to any degree. The purpose of prospering is to enable people to be in a place of peace where they can learn and focus on their personal relationship with the Lord even unto personal ascension and receiving all things from the Lord. Don’t think of prospering as temporal gain. All things temporal will be destroyed.]

10 But behold, when the time cometh that they shall dwindle in unbelief [the susceptibility of all peoples and all religions—yes, all.], after they have received so great blessings from the hand of the Lordhaving a knowledge of the creation of the earth, and all men, knowing the great and marvelous works of the Lord from the creation of the world; having power given them to do all things by faith; having all the commandments from the beginning, and having been brought by his infinite goodness into this precious land of promise—behold, I say, if the day shall come that they will reject the Holy One of Israel, the true Messiah, their Redeemer and their God, behold, the judgments of him that is just shall rest upon them.

[This is as serious as it can get. This is very direct and very plain. Do not dismiss this. This is the equivalent of the children of Israel that after having received so much from the Lord (over and over) repeatedly rejected the Lord in favor of prophets, priests, kings, and judges. This is to “reject the Holy One of Israel, the true Messiah, (your) Redeemer and (your) God.” And like the children of Israel, you may not realize you are doing it. This happens when people do not have sufficient hope in the nature of God and do not seek for personal revelation and therefore do not act with faith. This is what keeps a person from repentance—which is to make the Lord your God and keep an eye single to His glory (truth, power, omniscience, more).]

11 Yea, he will bring other nations unto them, and he will give unto them power, and he will take away from them the lands of their possessions, and he will cause them to be scattered and smitten. [The consequences that he allows to happen out of both justice and mercy. It is mercy because these types of bondage are what can compel people to seek their God and despise the adversary.]

12 Yea, as one generation passeth to another there shall be bloodsheds, and great visitations among them; wherefore, my sons, I would that ye would remember; yea, I would that ye would hearken unto my words.

13 O that ye would awake; awake from a deep sleep, yea, even from the sleep of hell, and shake off the awful chains by which ye are bound, which are the chains which bind the children of men [as opposed to spiritual Israel], that they are carried away captive down to the eternal gulf of misery and woe.

14 Awake! and arise from the dust, and hear the words of a trembling parent, whose limbs ye must soon lay down in the cold and silent grave, from whence no traveler can return; a few more days and I go the way of all the earth.

[v13-14: This is the universal call and invitation to all—to AWAKEN! This is to awaken spiritually or literally for your spirit to come to a knowledge of your true self by piercing the veil little by little. This is to answer the call to exercise sufficient hope, faith in the Lord, repent with a broken heart and contrite spirit. Seek for personal salvation/redemption and from there, seek for the face of the Lord.]

15 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 is Lehi’s personal witness. He has received personal salvation/redemption through a baptism of fire and Holy Ghost. Then he witnesses that he has been in the presence of the Lord and received exaltation.]

16 And I desire that ye should remember to observe the statutes and the judgments of the Lord [the only way to receive what he has received is through personal revelation—the Lord holding his hand each step of the way.]; behold, this hath been the anxiety of my soul from the beginning.

17 My heart hath been weighed down with sorrow from time to time, for I have feared, lest for the hardness of your hearts the Lord your God should come out in the fulness of his wrath upon you, that ye be cut off and destroyed forever; [We often look at Laman and Lemuel and are highly critical of their stubborness, pride, and lack of willingness to submit to a higher power. The root cause of the Lamans and Lemuels of the world is insufficient hope in the divine nature of God. They would rather arm-of-flesh reign over them (not some intangible being), or they do not want a greater power to reign over them at all, or they do not believe (unbelief) that there is an omniscient God that knows them intimately and knows how to nurture them personally throughout mortality. Lamans and Lemuels are everywhere.]

18 Or, that a cursing should come upon you for the space of many generations; and ye are visited by sword, and by famine, and are hated, and are led according to the will and captivity of the devil.

19 O my sons, that these things might not come upon you, but that ye might be a choice and a favored people of the Lord. But behold, his will be done; for his ways are righteousness forever [always].

20 And he hath said that: Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land; but inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from my presence. [To not keep the commandments is to not be able to further your own personal ascension. This is why it is so important to learn the voice of the Lord from among the 3 voices of personal revelation (study guide). The voice of the Lord is the foundation of your unique personal relationship with the Lord.]

21 And now that my soul might have joy in you, and that my heart might leave this world with gladness because of you, that I might not be brought down with grief and sorrow to the grave, arise from the dust, my sons, and be men, and be determined in one mind and in one heart, united in all things, that ye may not come down into captivity;

22 That ye may not be cursed with a sore cursing; and also, that ye may not incur the displeasure of a just God upon you, unto the destruction, yea, the eternal destruction of both soul and body [no personal salvation].

23 Awake, my sons; put on the armor of righteousness [seek and receive personal salvation/redemption]. Shake off the chains with which ye are bound, and come forth out of obscurity, and arise from the dust.

24 Rebel no more against your brother, whose views have been glorious, and who hath kept the commandments from the time that we left Jerusalem; and who hath been an instrument in the hands of God, in bringing us forth into the land of promise; for were it not for him, we must have perished with hunger in the wilderness; nevertheless, ye sought to take away his life; yea, and he hath suffered much sorrow because of you.

25 And I exceedingly fear and tremble because of you, lest he shall suffer again; for behold, ye have accused him that he sought power and authority over you; but I know that he hath not sought for power nor authority over you, but he hath sought the glory of God, and your own eternal welfare. [The difference between Nephi and his brothers was that Nephi “sought”—he was a seeker because he believed (no unbelief).]

26 And ye have murmured because he hath been plain unto you. Ye say that he hath used sharpness; ye say that he hath been angry with you; but behold, his sharpness was the sharpness of the power of the word of God, which was in him; and that which ye call anger was the truth, according to that which is in God, which he could not restrain, manifesting boldly concerning your iniquities. [Do you take the truth and plainness of the doctrine of Christ to be hard?]

27 And it must needs be that the power of God must be with him, even unto his commanding you that ye must obey. But behold, it was not he, but it was the Spirit of the Lord which was in him, which opened his mouth to utterance that he could not shut it.

28 And now my son, Laman, and also Lemuel and Sam, and also my sons who are the sons of Ishmael, behold, if ye will hearken unto the voice of Nephi ye shall not perish. And if ye will hearken unto him I leave unto you a blessing, yea, even my first blessing. [To hearken to the voice of Nephi is to believe Nephi’s witness. Nephi spoke through the gifts of the spirit (prophecy, visions, revelation, more) on many occasions and also testified of his personal ascension in and through the Lord. The path that Nephi has taken and witnessed of, is one that Lehi declares they “shall not perish.”]

29 But if ye will not hearken unto him I take away my first blessing, yea, even my blessing, and it shall rest upon him.

30 And now, Zoram, I speak unto you: Behold, thou art the servant of Laban; nevertheless, thou hast been brought out of the land of Jerusalem, and I know that thou art a true friend unto my son, Nephi, forever.

31 Wherefore, because thou hast been faithful thy seed shall be blessed with his seed, that they dwell in prosperity long upon the face of this land; and nothing, save it shall be iniquity among them, shall harm or disturb their prosperity upon the face of this land forever.

32 Wherefore, if ye shall keep the commandments of the Lord [personal revelation], the Lord hath consecrated this land for the security of thy seed with the seed of my son.

2:1 And now, Jacob, I speak unto you: Thou art my firstborn in the days of my tribulation in the wilderness. And behold, in thy childhood thou hast suffered afflictions and much sorrow, because of the rudeness of thy brethren.

Nevertheless, Jacob, my firstborn in the wilderness, thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain.

Wherefore, thy soul shall be blessed, and thou shalt dwell safely with thy brother, Nephi; and thy days shall be spent in the service of thy God. Wherefore, I know that thou art redeemed, because of the righteousness of thy Redeemer; for thou hast beheld that in the fulness of time he cometh to bring salvation unto men. [This is as plain as it can be said. Jacob, son of Lehi, has received personal redemption/salvation from the Lord. He has also progressed in gifts of the spirit including seeing visions and even visions of the the Lord’s earthly ministry and the last days. This is available to all. Mormon is consistent in capturing this throughout the Book of Mormon. To think this is reserved for only some or those with titles is “unbelief” spoken of time and time again throughout the Book of Mormon.]

And thou hast beheld in thy youth his glory; wherefore, thou art blessed even as they unto whom he shall minister in the flesh [More plainness; Again not reserved for some select persons only]; for the Spirit is the same, yesterday, today, and forever [and unchanging God (Mormon 9:19; Moroni 8:18)]. And the way [the doctrine of Christ] is prepared from the fall of man, and salvation is free. [This is the primary subject of Lehi’s words in these chapters—salvation. Now here is Lehi days from passing away from mortality and he is consistent in his message. He received it. At least two of his son’s (Nephi, Jacob) received it. Now Mormon captures these specific words which is the theme of the book of 1 Nephi and throughout the entire Book of Mormon. Salvation is free to all that seek, knock, and ask with sufficient hope, faith, repentance, broken heart and contrite spirit.]

And men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil [through knowledge and the light of Christ]. And the law is given unto men. And by the law no flesh is justified; or, by the law men are cut off. Yea, by the temporal law they were cut off; and also, by the spiritual law they perish from that which is good, and become miserable forever. [Lehi gives the reason for seeking for personal salvation—because all are spiritually dead until they are reborn in Christ.]

Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth.

[This is such a roadblock and difficult thing for many even to preventing them from being able to ascend. They place people and things between them and the Lord. This is idolatry. They lack sufficient hope in the divine nature of the Lord God. They do not believe that the Lord is able to personally and directly bestow His glory upon a person. Instead they believe that it comes from other mortals (arm-of-flesh). Yea, they even believe it comes by osmosis through their association with others or membership in any religious institution. This is to deny the power of God. The Lord takes my mind to the words of Nephi in other relevant scriptures:

And the things which shall be written out of the book shall be of great worth unto the children of men, and especially unto our seed, which is a remnant of the house of Israel.

For it shall come to pass in that day that the churches which are built up, and not unto the Lord, when the one shall say unto the other: Behold, I, I am the Lord’s; and the others shall say: I, I am the Lord’s; and thus shall every one say that hath built up churches, and not unto the Lord—

And they shall contend one with another; and their priests shall contend one with another, and they shall teach with their learning, and deny the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance.

And they deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel; and they say unto the people: Hearken unto us, and hear ye our precept; for behold there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men;

Behold, hearken ye unto my precept; if they shall say there is a miracle wrought by the hand of the Lord, believe it not; for this day he is not a God of miracles; he hath done his work.

2 Nephi 28

To receive redemption “in and through the Holy Messiah” is describing a personal relationship with the Lord. It is to love the Lord and make Him your Prophet, Priest, King, and Judge. Many will still refuse this in favor of other arm-of-flesh. They just can’t wrap their head around this very plain truth. This is not to say that other’s words or counsel cannot be part of your journey. The Lord uses people all the time to answer prayers for other people. However, salvation is an entirely different matter. For example, is there any truth revealed by mankind that cannot be revealed by the Lord? Is he not the originator of the truth? Yet, we are so dependent upon other arm-of-flesh. Yet, still some are conjuring exceptions this moment. This is the roadblock—”unbelief”—manifested in countless ways. And therefore, they never initiate or develop the necessary relationship to receive all things “in and through” HIM!]

Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered. [Can this get more plain? Only Jesus Christ is authorized to offer you personal salvation because only He “answered the ends of the law.” And only a person that has a broken heart and contrite spirit actually receive it. This also means idolators will not qualify.]

Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God [which is why a person must be sanctified and justified by the blood of Christ and Holy Spirit (Moses 6:59-62)], save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah [again only He is qualified to offer it], who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead [this is spiritual resurrection which is to be born again through personal salvation/redemption/baptism of fire and Holy Ghost], being the first that should rise.

Wherefore, he is the firstfruits unto God, inasmuch as he shall make intercession for all the children of men; and they that believe in him shall be saved [salvation].

10 And because of the intercession for all, all men come unto God; wherefore, they stand in the presence of him, to be judged of him according to the truth and holiness which is in him [the light and glory that will be in you at that time will reveal everything about your personal relationship with Him]. Wherefore, the ends of the law which the Holy One hath given, unto the inflicting of the punishment which is affixed, which punishment that is affixed is in opposition to that of the happiness which is affixed, to answer the ends of the atonement—

[Here we start to see how personal salvation/redemption is tied to a state of being like happiness and even joy as we will see in coming verses. Those who have not received personal salvation/redemption from the Lord are subject to a law of justice that is opposite this desired state of happiness or joy.]

11 For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.

12 Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation. Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the justice of God.

13 And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness [and joy]. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away. [All of this demonstrates the incalculable value of the Lord and His infinite atonement. Hallelujah!]

14 And now, my sons, I speak unto you these things for your profit and learning; for there is a God, and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon [much deeper meaning to this]. [This is to instill sufficient hope in the divine nature of God for any person. How could a God with this ability not be able to engage in a personal relationship with you even to redeeming your own soul?!?]

15 And to bring about his eternal purposes in the end of man, after he had created our first parents, and the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and in fine, all things which are created, it must needs be that there was an opposition; even the forbidden fruit in opposition to the tree of life; the one being sweet [giving joy and happiness] and the other bitter [no joy or happiness].

16 Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other. [This might seem obvious at this point but a person cannot be compelled into personal salvation. It has to be something they desire and choose every step of the way “in and through” a personal relationship with the Lord. There is no other way. Enticements are the comforts of the world including things and other arm-of-flesh idols.]

17 And I, Lehi, according to the things which I have read, must needs suppose that an angel of God, according to that which is written, had fallen from heaven; wherefore, he became a devil, having sought that which was evil before God. [A person that had already ascended and partaken of the tree of life but then was enticed by a Lord of darkness and subsequently chose the path of darkness becoming a son of perdition]

18 And because he had fallen from heaven, and had become miserable forever, he sought also the misery of all mankind. Wherefore, he said unto Eve, yea, even that old serpent, who is the devil, who is the father of all lies, wherefore he said: Partake of the forbidden fruit, and ye shall not die, but ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil.

19 And after Adam and Eve had partaken of the forbidden fruit [from the tree of knowledge of good and evil] they were driven out of the garden of Eden, to till the earth.

20 And they have brought forth children; yea, even the family of all the earth.

21 And the days of the children of men were prolonged, according to the will of God, that they might repent while in the flesh; wherefore, their state became a state of probation [to choose the Lord and personal redemption or not], and their time was lengthened, according to the commandments which the Lord God gave [following personal revelation enabled them to have time to repent and seek for personal salvation/redemption] unto the children of men. For he gave commandment that all men must repent; for he showed unto all men that they were lost [cut off from the presence of God], because of the transgression of their parents.

22 And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.

23 And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.

[A state of innocence is to have no more progression. Remember, the purpose of the God’s plan is, in fact, to progress and become like the Lord. The only way to progress is to receive light and glory from the Lord—it comes from the Lord not you. The only way to receive light and glory is to choose it. The only way to choose it is to be give options—to be placed between the opportunity of light and the enticements of darkness. Therefore “joy and happiness” is to choose the Lord’s light and to do what is necessary to receive it and to ultimately receive it. The scriptural term “misery” is the opposite.]

24 But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.

25 Adam fell [by choice] that men might be [come into mortality]; and men are, that they might have joy [be personally redeemed by the Lord].

[Now we see the culmination of Lehi’s words. He knows we are here by choice of Adam and Eve but it is wisdom that we are here. We are here that we might be able to overcome spiritual death and misery by receiving personal salvation (joy) through a baptism in the name of the Son. There is no more or less degree of joy. “Joy” is simply to have received personal redemption and even eternal life that follows.]

26 And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given. [See the words of Alma and Amulek about the real meaning of being redeemed from the fall. It is because of the fulfillment of the atonement by Jesus Christ that a bond was broken that bound each mortal to this telestial earth.]

27 Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man [light of Christ, angels, gifts of the spirit, and more]. And they are free to choose liberty [personal salvation/redemption] and eternal life [exaltation], through the great Mediator of all men [once again, no other means or person available], or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.

28 And now, my sons, I would that ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit; [This is so plain. Do not resist this truth of receiving all only “in and through the Holy Messiah.”]

29 And not choose eternal death, according to the will of the flesh and the evil which is therein, which giveth the spirit of the devil power to captivate, to bring you down to hell, that he may reign over you in his own kingdom.

30 I have spoken these few words unto you all, my sons, in the last days of my probation; and I have chosen the good part, according to the words of the prophet. And I have none other object [desire] save it be the everlasting welfare of your souls. Amen.

Conclusion

Context is everything—spiritual soundbites will not suffice. At the beginning of this post I said, “Without the proper context, this verse is dangerously misunderstood.” I used the word “dangerous” because without the right context a person can miss the precious truths and even the purpose for the restoration of the Book of Mormon. It is also dangerous because missing it may contribute to a person’s apathy and never seek for the greater thing. Instead they are left “to enjoy that which they are willing [or able] to receive, because they were not willing [or able] to enjoy that which they might have received” (D&C 88:32).

The true meaning of “men are that they might have joy” is specifically referring to the expectation that each person should seek for and work out their own salvation with the Lord. When it is understood in the proper context, you can see that receiving personal salvation is the “joy” and “happiness” that Lehi witnesses. It is a state of “joy” or “happiness” because it overcomes the spiritual bondage, captivity, misery and death that exists as part of coming into mortality.

Lehi adds his own witness that he has personally received it and his sons have personally received it also. Lehi’s witness and plea to all readers is to do as he has done which is to repent and also receive salvation “in and through” Jesus Christ. I will add my personal witness that this is available to all who seek Christ through a personal relationship with the Lord. This is the true covenant path unveiled:

  • Exercising key principles: Sufficient Hope; Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; Broken heart & contrite spirit; Repentance
  • Receiving essential ordinances: Baptism in the name of the Son [consisting of both: (3a) Baptism of Repentance (water); (3b) Baptism of Fire and Holy Ghost (personal salvation/ redemption/ remission of sins)]
  • Receive gift of the Holy Ghost and begin being mentored as a servant
  • Receive eternal life even the literal presence of the Lord and more

The Book of Mormon was restored primarily to outline the way to personal redemption. I will speak more about this specific point in a future post. Mormon is consistently compiling and editing select portions of stacks of records while knowing exactly what would be needed in the latter and last days. Lehi’s witness is consistent with the Lord’s own teachings in 3 Nephi and all throughout the Book of Mormon. Other individual witnesses have been noted above.

For more understanding of this covenant path and its milestones taught throughout the scriptures, you are welcome to begin your personal study and your own journey in and through the doctrine of Christ through The Doctrine of Christ Study Guide. Also, to help you increase your confidence in personal revelation and develop your own gift of discernment, I invite you to study The 3 Voices of Personal Revelation Study Guide.


JourneyDoctrineOfChrist.org is based on free, online study guides to help you learnbelievelive and teach the Doctrine of Christ. The Study Guides invite any and all to see and know this truth for themselves that the Savior, Jesus Christ, has, in fact, introduced His doctrine and He personally invites all to receive personal redemption and to even literally receive Him while in the flesh (mortality).

Blog posts are only intended to supplement the Study Guides.  Per all blog posts, seek the understanding and confirmations from the Lord in your own personal revelation.  Study guides are intended to point you to both the Lord’s written word and His voice (personal revelation). These study guides will help you uncover what the Doctrine of Christ is and other essential topics that will help you in your journey to literally “come unto Christ” while in mortality. All study guides are available at JourneyDoctrineOfChrist.org.

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