In the song, Breathe, the lyrics say:

Every note and chapter has its place.

Throughout First Nephi, we see several times where he provides an explanation for his writing.

For the fulness of mine intent is that I may persuade men to come unto the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and be saved.
1 Nephi 6:4


…But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.
1 Nephi 1:20


Now it came to pass that I, Nephi, did teach my brethren these things; and it came to pass that I did read many things to them, which were engraven upon the plates of brass, that they might know concerning the doings of the Lord in other lands, among people of old.
1 Nephi 19:22

In 1 Nephi 15, I have learned many things. Most recently, one thing stood out to me. Let’s first put this chapter in a bit of context.

Chapter 15 is right after Nephi has just seen the vision of the tree of life, his is exhausted, amazed, and overwhelmed. As he is resting in his tent, his brothers are “disputing” (arguing? discussing intently?) what Lehi had taught them. When Nephi asks what the “issue” is, this is what they reply:

And they said: Behold, we cannot understand the words which our father hath spoken concerning the natural branches of the olive tree, and also concerning the Gentiles.
1 Nephi 15:7

Wait? What? We were just talking about the vision of the tree of life, not the olive trees. (Lehi mentions this in 1 Nephi 10:12. But we will get a more in-depth version in Jacob 5.) In the middle of the amazing descriptions and prophecies about the love of God and the mission of Jesus Christ, they were stuck in their confusion about the allegory of the tame and wild olive trees.

As we move through this life, there will be time when we are “stuck.” We can be tempted to say it is too hard.

As we read through the Book of Mormon, there will be times when we are stuck. We may say it is too hard, or want to skip over a chapter or two (like Isaiah).

It took the effort and dedication of many hands and hearts for us to have the Book of Mormon. Know that every verse, every chapter, has a purpose.

I encourage you to follow Nephi’s example to ask for understanding. Some answers will come instantly, but most will come over time and in unexpected ways. But through the “tender mercies of the Lord” they will come.

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"The Tender Mercies of the Lord" by Dr. Douglas Pew




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