Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Every year for the past 6 years I try to read the Book of Mormon from cover to cover. I normally just get one of those blue missionary copies and read and highlight accordingly. A few years I have read the Book of Mormon and given it away as a gift. It seems kind of strange to mark a book up and then give it away. I mean, who really likes getting a used present? But those I've given it to seem to have been appreciative.

The first time I did it, I gave the copy to Russ. He seemed to really appreciate it. I can't really remember now, but I'm pretty sure he liked it.

I finally delivered the second one this past week. I had read this one in 2009. I gave it, rather returned it, to my best friend Tiff. She had given this copy of the Book of Mormon to me when we were tweens and somehow I've hung onto 10+ years. Anyway so I held onto it for a while after reading it. I was nervous to give it to her because Tiff hasn't really cared for religion for a long time. I didn't want to offend her. But last week I was mailing her some belongings she had left here and I stumbled across this Book of Mormon while looking for a pen to write the address on her package. I decided, "Why not? I'll send it."

Well, I got the best phone call from Tiff on Tuesday. She loved it. It brought her to tears (but she is pregnant so I'm not so sure that it was hard to do so). I took a moment to be so grateful to have returned that gift to her. Now, who knows what will happen. Tiff is a free spirit and will do her own thing. But she's my best friend. And I want to share my joy with her. Now if we could just get her out of the bubble she's been living in that has been judging her her whole life! She needs to come to Texas.

*************The Real Reason For This Post**************************

I bet you're wondering about know why this post is entitled "Zeniff"? If you're not, well then you're a passive reader and that's okay. Really the above is not why I wanted to make this post. But I've been formulating this post for a few days, and then Tiff called. So I stuck that in there just because it's sort of topical with this post.

Because this is about Zeniff. Zeniff is a man written about in the Book of Mormon. And he sort of makes me mad every time I read the Book of Mormon. But I'm trying to figure out what I can learn from Zeniff.

Honestly, I've always learned a lot from him. Zeniff is a "overly-anxious" Nephite that sees some good in the Lamanites. He tries to get his Nephite captain to make a treaty with the Lamanites, but this causes a fight in the army and most everyone is killed. Zeniff heads back to the Nephite people, tell the wives and children of the dead soldiers what happened and the get a band of Nephites to go back to the Lamanites and make a treaty with them. Zeniff does this, but the Lamanites put Zeniff's people in bondage, the Lamanites attack Zeniff's people, a bunch of them die, and Zeniff leaves the kingship to his son Noah. King Noah is a wicked whip who later burns Abinadi. 

So that's Zeniff's story, in a tiny nutshell. Here's what I used to get out of this story:
  • Beware of dissenters and people who think they know best but have no authority. 
  • Beware of people who have a "feeling" but don't have any goals.
  • If a person has a good idea, and that good idea results in fighting and the killing of a lot of good people, that good idea is not worth it.
  • Don't follow some guy into enemy territory.
  • Don't elect leaders who lack experience, knowledge, and who are not patient. Or are overly anxious.
Really my heart would just ache when I thought of all the people who were miserable or who lost their lives just because Zeniff saw some good in some really wicked people. I still wonder what that good was. Because, once Zeniff makes his treaty with the Lamanites, all he can talk about is how awful and lazy they are.

Anyway. Here is what I now get out of this story:
  • Don't be hasty. As much as I like to think that I am not a Zeniff, I could be. Reading about his life it is easy to point out his many mistakes. But I'm just as capable of relying on a hunch and refusing to see all the wrong choices I'm making.
  • Maybe Zeniff didn't really want to go make a treaty with the Lamanites. Maybe it was just hard being around all the wives and children of the soldiers that had been killed because of Zeniff. In which case what I learn is this: don't cover up one bad mistake with another. Just do my part to repair & repent.
  • Always pray about the big decisions in life. Don't just listen to some dud and then act on what they say. 

I guess it's not very much. But it's a start. I feel like I can learn something from everybody. I hope to keep learning more from Zeniff. And I guess if there had been no Zeniff, there would not have been an Abinadi. 

For those BoM readers, any thoughts on why I should not be so hard on Zeniff?
Non-BoM readers, anyone you hate but can see some good in them?

Oh, and sorry to C for no pictures. Well, here's one for your viewing pleasure:
This is Zeniff, Arizona. I'm assuming it was named after Zeniff in the Book of Mormon.
Anyway, Zeniff, AZ was a farming community regularly ravaged by floods.
Today it is a ghost town.
Coincidence? Or is it all in the name...

No comments: