Summary: Zeniff leads a group from Zarahemla to possess the land of Lehi-Nephi--The Lamanite king permits them to inherit the land—There is war between the Lamanites and Zeniff’s people. About 200—187 B.C.
In case any of you are like me and need to see the lineage written out, here is the order of the kings we will be reading about:
In the land of Zarahemla (north):
Benjamin (Mosiah I's son)
Mosiah II (Benjamin's son)
In the land of Lehi-Nephi (to the south):
Noah (Zeniff's son)
Limhi (Noah's son)
3 And yet, I being aover-zealous to inherit the land of our fathers, collected as many as were desirous to go up to possess the land, and started again on our bjourney into the wilderness to go up to the land; but we were smitten with famine and sore afflictions; for we were slow to remember the Lord our God.
Why doesn't Heavenly Father just send us an Angel every time we need to align our will with His? Wouldn't that make life a whole lot easier?
I think the answer is yes, it would make life easier, but only in the short-term. We all know we are not here for the short-term. We are here to be students to prepare for the long-term. What is a student without a course (the Gospel), without texts (scriptures), without tests (trials) of what we have learned for ourselves. What we experience here, while important, will not seem long once we are at the end of it. We will struggle with some things our entire lives here on earth, and some of these things will be as difficult as we could possibly bear. But our worry can ease by knowing two things:
1) The Lord is always mindful of us, knows us better than we know ourselves, knows exactly the pain we are going through, and still lets us experience these things.
2) If we continually try to endure in righteousness, it will always, always, always, be worth it in the end.
17 Yea, in the astrength of the Lord did we go forth to battle against the Lamanites; for I and my people did cry mightily to the Lord that he would bdeliver us out of the hands of our enemies, for we were awakened to a remembrance of the deliverance of our fathers.
18 And God did ahear our cries and did answer our prayers; and we did go forth in his might; yea, we did go forth against the Lamanites, and in one day and a night we did slay three thousand and forty-three; we did slay them even until we had driven them out of our land.
279 people were killed in these battles, and Zeniff helped bury them himself. If you had lost your husband in this battle, would you have felt that the Lord had answered your prayers? I am sure there were families at home praying for the safe return of their men. Maybe there were a few embittered women, but the majority of the people had gratitude in their hearts.
This made me think about the hardship the saints experienced while crossing the plains. I came across this touching quote (you can find it here.)
Mary Ann Jones described their arrival [to the salt lake valley]: “It was a day never to be forgotten. We had reached our goal, traveling on foot all of the way. … We had left comfortable homes, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, and friends all for our testimony of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and for the privilege of hearing a prophet’s voice and to live with the Saints of God. I have never regretted the trip.”
I was struck by how similarly we might express our journey in this life on earth once we get to the other side. We will never regret the trip. Never regret it.
Brigham Young said this about knowing the saints could find it within themselves to cross the plains:
"Many people have believed that they could not walk much of a distance, if they had to walk right along in a road, but this is not so. …
“I wanted to tell one secret. While those brethren and sisters were faltering, and did not know whether to stop or go along, there was faith in this valley that bound them to that journey. … That is the secret of the movement.”
And, one final quote (sorry!). This a pretty well-known one. I have been thinking about the pioneers because it has really hit me how similar our journey through life is to the journey the struggling handcart companies made. This is a beautiful quote and it really makes me examine my own experiences in a new way.
"A man who crossed the plains in the Martin handcart company lived in Utah for many years. One day he was in a group of people who began sharply criticizing the Church leaders for ever allowing the Saints to cross the plains with no more supplies or protection than a handcart company provided. The old man listened until he could stand no more; then he arose and said with great emotion:
“I was in that company and my wife was in it. … We suffered beyond anything you can imagine and many died of exposure and starvation, but did you ever hear a survivor of that company utter a word of criticism? … [We] came through with the absolute knowledge that God lives for we became acquainted with him in our extremities.
“I have pulled my handcart when I was so weak and weary from illness and lack of food that I could hardly put one foot ahead of the other. I have looked ahead and seen a patch of sand or a hill slope and I have said, I can go only that far and there I must give up, for I cannot pull the load through it. … I have gone on to that sand and when I reached it, the cart began pushing me. I have looked back many times to see who was pushing my cart, but my eyes saw no one. I knew then that the angels of God were there.
“Was I sorry that I chose to come by handcart? No. Neither then nor any minute of my life since. The price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay, and I am thankful that I was privileged to come in the Martin Handcart Company.” (find it here)
P.S. If you would like to read a touching account of Janetta Ann McBride's pioneer trek, go here. It is worth a read, and if you look, you can see a lot of parallels between her journey on the trek and our journey in this life.