Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Day We Were Nephites

When I was about six or seven years old, my parents bought me 2 baby chicks for Easter.  They were pretty cute.  My dog, Spike (German Shepherd mix), was about a year old at the time.  Those chicks were around Spike quite a bit, and he ended up raising these chicks for me.  My dad grew up on a farm so he knew how animals would react to one another and he created an environment where the animals were docile with each other.  Strange to me, but it worked out just fine.  Spike herded and played with these chicks as if they were his own.  The chicks grew up to be roosters who had a dog for their mother.  When there were strangers around, Spike would put himself between the stranger and the chickens and bark so the chickens would scatter to the back of the house.  They were very loyal to Spike.  Still strange, I know!  When I read the words of the Savior in 3 Nephi 10, I immediately understood it from my experience with Spike and the chickens.   I'll explain in a minute.  Anyways, today we pretended to be Nephites.......

In 3 Nephi 8-10, we are approaching the arrival of the Savior.  Tempests, earthquakes, fires, whirlwinds and physical upheavals attest to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in the Old World while we, as Nephites, are experiencing the movement of the earth in the New World.  I blocked out all light from the outside of my classroom.  I had previously downloaded all sorts of natural disaster sounds on my iPhone (iPod), and plugged it into my lovely speaker dock.  When class started, I turned out the lights and had my class sit and listen to the sounds of a convulsing earth.  It lasted for close to 12 minutes.  As students walked in late, which many do, they were instructed to find a seat, sit quietly, and just listen.  I was trying to give them the "full effect" of being a Nephite during the time of the signs of Christ's death prophesied by Samuel the Lamanite.

We kept the lights off, and discussed what had just happened; the signs testified of Christ's death on the cross in the Old World.  Only faithful Nephites would have recognized those signs and would have had their faith strengthened by them.  We discussed that the storms and earthquakes lasted 3 hours, and then there was total and complete darkness for 3 days, signifying the death of the light of the world. The lights were still off.   Since I also have the Book of Mormon downloaded to my iPhone, I played the portion of 3 Nephi 9 beginning with verses 2-22, which is when the voice of Christ pierces the darkness and proclaims the destruction of many people and cities because of their wickedness.  Still sitting in the dark, we discussed why he destroyed all of the cities mentioned in these verses and that the Law of Moses has been fulfilled.  Instead of burnt offerings, he has asked us to offer a broken heart and a contrite spirit. 

There was silence in the land for many hours (a few minutes for us as Nephites), and then the Lord spoke again.  I played for them 3 Nephi 10:4-7.  
 "O ye people of these great cities which have fallen, who are descendants of Jacob, yea, who are of the house of Israel, how oft have I gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and have nourished youAnd again, how oft would I have gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, yea, O ye people of the house of Israel, who have fallen; yea, O ye people of the house of Israel, ye that dwell at Jerusalem, as ye that have fallen; yea, how oft would I have gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens, and ye would not.  O ye house of Israel whom I have spared, how oft will I gather you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, if ye will repent and return unto me with full purpose of heart.  But if not, O house of Israel, the places of your dwellings shall become desolate until the time of the fulfilling of the covenant to your fathers."

Chicks who know the voice of their mother will heed the call when it comes.  Loyalty is inbred through nurturing, love, and repetition.  A mother hen accounts for all of her chicks and knows if one is missing.  She will sacrifice her life to protect them.  When danger threatens, she gathers the chicks under her wings for protection.  In a similar way, the Lord loves His people, the House of Israel.  He gave His life for His people and has sought to gather them together so he could protect and nourish them.  On many occasions, however, Israel has chosen to forsake the Lord. 

We are the chicks. We turned on the dim classroom lights and continued to discuss the resurrection and our preparation to His coming.   At this point, we switched from being Nephites to latter-day saints.  We are preparing for His arrival.  He still calls for us to keep His commandments, to keep our covenants, and remain loyal to Him so that when He calls for His elect, we will hear and heed.  There are consequences to our actions if we don't heed.   If we are unrighteous when He calls, we take the chance of not hearing His call.  This is a great message to us to try to be as faithful as we can at all times.  We always want to be ready.

I couldn't find a picture of Spike with the chickens in my scrapbook.  But I found these funny pictures online so I thought I'd post it for your pleasure.  Honestly, if I hadn't seen this same sort of thing with my own eyes in my back yard, I wouldn't believe it either.


  1. Lori,
    Donna Nielsen Posted this today... it goes right along with your wing insights.

    But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings, Malachi 4:2

    One of the best known miracles of healing that Jesus performed was the occasion when a woman who had suffered from a hemorrhage for twelve years came up behind him and touched the hem of his garment (Matthew 9:20). The woman was, in fact, reaching for the tassels on Jesus' prayer shawl. In Hebrew, these tassels, which are attached to the corners of the prayer shawl, are called tzitzit. Why should she stoop to touch the fringe? Why not his arm, or his feet?

    As the Atorah (prayer shawl) was placed over the head, it formed his own tent. Wings of the garment were formed when the arms were held out. [Note: It was common to pray with upraised arms in Jewish prayer.] For this reason, the corners of the prayer shawl are often called "wings." During the first century there were several traditions associated with the tzitzit concerning Messiah.

    One was that these knotted fringes possessed healing powers. Certainly the woman with the issue of blood knew of these traditions, which would explain why she sought to touch the hem (the wings) of Jesus' prayer garment. The same word used in Numbers 15:38 for corner is used in Malachi 4:2 for wings. With this understanding in mind, an ancient Jew under the prayer shawl could be said to be dwelling in the secret place of the Most High and under His wings (Ps. 91:1-4).

    The lady with the issue knew that if Jesus were the promised Messiah, there would be healing in His wings (fringes). That this was the opinion of many other people is revealed by the crowd who sought his healing powers, "that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole," Matthew 14:36. When one realized the significance of this concept to the first-century Hebraic mind, it becomes clear why this woman was instantly healed. She was expressing her faith in Jesus as the Son of Righteousness with healing in His wings and declaring her faith in God's prophetic Word.


    Lori, isn't it interesting that the shawl formed a "tent" or covering... perhaps he was speaking of temple covenants....being the protective wings??

  2. Wow what a great lesson Lori....I wish I were your one of your students. It makes you realize how important it is for your kids to not miss a day of seminary....I would hate to think my child missed this lesson! Thanks for sharing it with all of us. I love the story of your dog and the little chicks....how cute!