Hope for When a Loved One Leaves the Path

Wow! I’m rejoicing with family and friends about the overturning of Roe v. Wade, last Friday June 24th. The day of joy, however, was dimmed. One of my girlfriends expressed shock and disappointment that one of her adult children didn’t share the joy with her. This child left the covenant path a few years ago. After my friend texted the news to the child, the adult child replied negatively to the mom’s rejoicing.

This incident reminded me of sadness that comes when children don’t embrace parents’ values for the sanctity of life, and other sacred values. It reminds me of the sadness I feel for all the people I know, and even people I don’t know, who have left their parents’ teachings so much that they have left the covenant path. Great news though! That same day, I discovered a story in the Book of Mormon that greatly encouraged me about this, giving me hope!

I have read this story many times, but this time around, I noticed little details that I have never noticed before. I just love how when we read classics, including the scriptures, we can get different things out of them based on what’s going on in our lives. The Holy Spirit uses the scriptures to speak to us what God knows we need based on our current woulds and questions.

This story happens in Helaman 5. It shows that people who knew/know the truth, and then leave the path, can be converted and go back to the truth. What I just wrote is the short story. If you want the long story, keep reading!

In this story, told in Helaman 5, Lehi and Nephi, sons of Helaman, live in an extremely wicked city. They decide to leave their day jobs and start preaching. People don’t like this at all and cast them into prison for their preaching of Jesus Christ. Some people come to them in prison to kill them, but then fire comes down to surround them in prison, to protect them from getting taken to their death. Despite the fire surrounding them in prison, they do not burn up.

Then the prison walls shake. A cloud of darkness surrounds the people. The people inside the prison witnessing all of this are completely spooked. They want to run away in fear but they can’t because the cloud of darkness makes it so they can’t see where they are going. The soft voice of God comes to tell them to stop persecuting His servants, Lehi and Nephi, and to repent. The people stop. They hear things from the voice of God that are too marvelous to write down.

Then one man, Aminadab, is allowed to see the face of God through the cloud of darkness. He tells the people to turn and look through the cloud. The people see Nephi and Lehi and ask Aminadab what Nephi and Lehi are doing. He tells them that they are conversing with angels of God. He also tells the people to repent, and “cry unto the voice.” So then all the people pray to the voice, to God.

Then the earth stops shaking. Then all the people are encircled with fire, with Nephi and Lehi in the center. The people are filled with joy and the Holy Spirit. This rush of the Spirit causes them to speak marvelous things that aren’t recorded in this account.

A voice tells them that the joy comes from His “Well Beloved,” Jesus Christ. God tells them to go forth, doubting not and marveling not.

The people then go round about their city to tell people of their conversion. They tell the people what they heard and saw. This is what they do to “minister to the people.” Because of this ministering, most of the people are

  1. convinced to put away their weapons
  2. convinced to give up the hatred and traditions of their fathers and
  3. yield up their land to the Nephites

i just love this story because it gives me so much hope!

It shows that someone who left the covenant path, a Nephite dissenter, can come back. Amindab was a former Nephite. He “was a Nephite by birth, who had once belonged to the church of God but had dissented from them.” (Helaman 5:35)

He was with people who didn’t believe in God and didn’t recognize a spiritual experience. He, we can presume, because of his spiritual upbringing as a Nephite, could recognize what was going on when Nephi and Lehi were talking to angels. He was able to explain to this peers in darkness what was going on in the light. Because of Him, 300 people converted to Jesus. Although he had left the path, it was he who said to his peers, “You must repent, and cry unto the voice, even until ye shall have faith in Christ, who was taught unto you by Alma, and Amulek, and Zeezrom; and when ye shall do this, the cloud of darkness shall be removed from overshadowing you.” (Helaman 5:41)

That’s the power of the Holy Spirit!

Wow! This is amazing! Aminadab goes from being in a society where they are so wicked that they are ripe for destruction, with corrupt laws, to being someone who tells the people and cry unto God until they are filled with faith in Christ. That’s the power of God and the Holy Spirit! This gives me hope for dissenters of today.

God uses people in all places, as they repent, to lead even more people to the path. He can use his power to touch their hearts, draw upon their memories of what they learned while on the path, and use them to teach others and inspire them to get on the path.

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