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January 2011

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Lehi’s Life Summary


Lehi’s Life Summary

Hugh Nibley said that there is a single verse that best encapsulates what the Atonement is all about and gives us a visual imagery for the significance of the Atonement. That verse is 2 Nephi 1:15.

This particular message is delivered just as Lehi is about to die. He captures the essence of his ministry and his life experience in a single verse.

He says, “But behold, the Lord hath redeemed my soul from hell.”

I’m not sure of everything that Lehi had in mind there. My suspicion is that he may not only have been talking about the prospective hell that would be inevitable if not for the sacrifice of the Savior, but even for the hell of mortality. I think Lehi was keenly aware that life hurts us here on this earth and injures us fairly regularly. So when he says, “The Lord hath redeemed my soul from Hell”, he means the Lord redeems us not only from what lies ahead, but also from what lies behind. He rescues us from all of our past disappointments, injuries, failures and dashed hopes. He even takes away today’s pain.

Lehi continues, “I have beheld His glory”.

There is something magical about beholding His glory. When we have, it changes everything. Instead of feeling we are strangers in a strange land, we gain the understanding that we are pilgrims on a journey. While we are still far away, we are headed toward our heavenly home. So when Lehi says he has beheld His glory, he is saying, “Because I know God, I understand the meaning of life. I understand the journey. I understand me, because I understand God.”

“And I am encircled about eternally in the arms of His love.”

What amazing imagery: God reaches out and enfolds us in His arms of love! We are truly His. We are safe because we are His. Hope is possible because we are His. A joyous eternity is possible because we are His—and encircled about eternally in His arms of love.

Thus that single verse encapsulates not only Lehi’s life but the Great Plan of Happiness.