Minerva Kohlhepp Teichert, Treasures in Exchange for the Plates of Brass, BYU Museum of Art, not for commercial use.


1 Nephi 3:1–8

For Younger Missionaries


  • Can the Lord trust you? How can you earn that trust?
  • Does persisting in the face of fear make us more effective missionaries? Does it increase our humility and dependence on the Lord?


[One] evening over dinner I … groused, “Why can’t I find the person weeks or months before the date? Why does the Lord have to string me out to the very last minute?”

My son Spencer replied, “Dad, I’ve seen this happen often enough that I think I know what’s going on. Several months before your date you’re so relaxed about it that the Lord can’t trust you. If He puts someone in your path, He doesn’t know if He can trust you to invite that person. But two things happen. First, you take seriously your commitment to find someone. And second, as the date approaches, you become more and more desperate. And when you become desperate, the Lord can trust you. He knows that you’ll invite anybody He puts into your path.”

I labeled this phenomenon “Spencer’s Principle of Desperation.”…

Out of these experiences in setting dates, I have learned a few important lessons. First, Spencer’s Principle of Desperation is a general principle. When we engage in a covenant with Cod that we will do something that one of our leaders has asked us to do, and we are desperate to do what we have committed to do, God truly comes to trust us. He came to trust Abraham…; and He can come to trust you and me. I think that a reason why so many people have set a date but then never found someone for the missionaries to teach is that they never became desperate. The date was a casual commitment.

The second insight is that setting a date is not a program. Making commitments to God is a principle of obedience and improvement that can and should bless every dimension of our lives. I wonder if a key reason why the missionary work sometimes flounders is that too few members take seriously the commitment we made when we were baptized “to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places” (Mosiah 18:9).

And third: I think that as we get busy in our family, church, and secular lives, our inclination when confronted with uncomfortable commandments or instructions from Church leaders is to rationalize—to assert that because we are already stretched to the limit, we are doing enough, and our particular extenuating circumstances exempt us from having to obey those specific words of counsel or commandment. These experiences have taught me that the busier we get, the more important it becomes, actually, that we exercise the childlike faith of Nephi: “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them” (1 Nephi 3:7)….

God’s role is a constant, not a variable. He always keeps His promises. The only variable is whether we have the faith that we will be blessed with miracles if we
make commitments to God and then obediently do what we said we would do (Clayton M. Christensen, The Power of Everyday Missionaries, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2013, 77–79).


I Will Go and Do


The Brass Plates


  • Do we sometimes think, like Laman and Lemuel, that that the Lord asks of us is too hard?
  • How did Nephi persuade his brothers to keep trying?
  • Why was it so important for Lehi and his family to have the plates?
  • Does it make you want to share the Book of Mormon when you remember that Nephi risked his life so you could?


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