PonderIt

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Where did the Liahona come from?

Seriously, where did the Liahona come from? (I’m talking about the directional ball with pointers, not the Church magazine.) From 1 Nephi 16:10:
…My father arose in the morning, and went forth to the tent door, to his great astonishment he beheld upon the ground a round ball of curious workmanship; and it was of fine brass. And within the ball were two spindles; and the one pointed the way whither we should go into the wilderness.
I know that God could have created it Himself, but it seems to make more sense to me that a mortal made it.

I get a kick out of thinking about a humble, spiritual brass-smith. He’s sitting in his workshop one night, inspired to make this odd round ball, and to put two little spindles inside it. His wife comes in and says, “What is that for? What does it even do?” and he can’t answer here. He feels much the way Mormon feels at a later time:
And I do this for a wise purpose; for thus it whispereth me, according to the workings of the Spirit of the Lord which is in me. And now, I do not know all things; but the Lord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore, he worketh in me to do according to his will. (Words of Mormon 1:7)
He even adds a little blank space for words that can change from time to time (see 1 Nephi 16:27-29). Then he puts it away, because he really doesn’t know why he made it. Years pass. One day he goes to look for it and it’s gone!

He never knows what happened to it, he never knows that it leads Lehi’s family to the Promised Land, he never knows that it becomes a symbol of faithful following of the Lord’s commandments. But he’s blessed because he followed the inspiration of the Lord.

I suppose this little story could be a parable to teach us to cheerfully follow the Lord’s will even when it doesn’t make complete sense to us. But, really, I just like thinking about my imaginary faithful brass-smith!

20 Comments:

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

  • Hehehe.

    Very nice. The Liahona is one of my favorite images in scripture. It is one of the things I would most like to see. I have seen some artists depections of it and would like to get one. Maybe for Christmas or something.

    Also, I wrote a hymn once called the Liahona. I mad a post on it with a link to the sheet music and a midi file of the music. With your interest in music maybe you would be interested in this. It is here.

    Hope the link works.

    By Blogger Eric Nielson, at 4/26/2006 11:46 AM  

  • It works if you delete the backslash at the end.

    By Blogger Eric Nielson, at 4/26/2006 11:47 AM  

  • The Liahona is a fictional device in a fictional novel. No need to think any more deeply than that about it.

    The T-shirt Blog

    By Blogger Stenar, at 4/26/2006 1:37 PM  

  • Wow! I feel like we have finally arrived or something. Anti-Mormon comments! Hooray!

    Just kidding. On a more serious note, how awesome that you wrote a hymn about the Liahona, Eric! I read through the lyrics (I'll have to wait until Bradley gets home to play it on the piano--he's the pianist in this family!), and I have to say I'm impressed.

    I love the Liahona, too. I just love the whole idea of it, a little brass ball in the middle of the desert. In my much younger, sillier days, I even considered naming a daughter Liahona...not so much anymore. Liahona Ross just sounds silly!

    By Blogger Keryn, at 4/26/2006 3:44 PM  

  • Yeah, I thought it was odd that we had a hymn about the Iron Rod, but not one about the Liahona. I'm afraid my hymn might be a little juvenile, being a first try at such a thing.

    By Blogger Eric Nielson, at 4/26/2006 7:06 PM  

  • My institute director thought that Nephi was the one who made it since he is the one who was so concerned with metalurgy in general.

    By Blogger jeff g, at 4/26/2006 8:44 PM  

  • It seems like Nephi isn't shy about saying good stuff that he did, so you'd think he would awknowledge it if he made the Liahona. I am more convinced by Keryn's inspired brass-smith model. She doesn't explain how the Liahona got from the smith's shop to Lehi's tent. I'm sure it must have been one of the Three Nephites. ...oh wait.

    By Blogger Bradley, at 4/26/2006 9:00 PM  

  • Maybe it was one of the three stooges who put the Liahona at Lehi's tent.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/27/2006 8:56 AM  

  • Sorry, anonymous commentor #2, I removed your comment. We don't allow swearing on this blog. If you would like to comment again, please do, but refrain from using offensive words. Thanks.

    By Blogger Keryn, at 4/28/2006 12:47 PM  

  • Swearing? I didn't swear.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/28/2006 1:49 PM  

  • Perhaps "swearing" was too strong a word, Anonymous. However, using the slang word for dung to describe a part of my religion is rather offensive, and I decided that it didn't have a place in the comments. (Just to make it clear, the comment referred to has been deleted--I am not referring to the anonymous comment #8.)

    By Blogger Keryn, at 4/28/2006 4:38 PM  

  • Hello!

    I "discovered" your blog today (smile) and I really appreciated the idea that you propose. I have had similar thoughts, but with a slightly different twist: I have always imagined that there was a more direct event like an angel appearing to a tinsmith (more specialized than a blacksmith) and telling him to make the Liahona and when asked why it was needed, the angel would reply along the usual lines of, "for a wise purpose" etc, with lots of faith required and little detail provided. The smith would still have to exercise a lot of faith and wait for the afterlife before getting the whole story. As you suggest, I think there is direct application of such a parable in our own personal lives.

    By Anonymous Volcano Ben in the UAE, at 5/02/2006 6:49 AM  

  • Hello!

    I "discovered" your blog today (smile) and I really appreciated the idea that you propose. I have had similar thoughts, but with a slightly different twist: I have always imagined that there was a more direct event like an angel appearing to a tinsmith (more specialized than a blacksmith) and telling him to make the Liahona and when asked why it was needed, the angel would reply along the usual lines of, "for a wise purpose" etc, with lots of faith required and little detail provided. The smith would still have to exercise a lot of faith and wait for the afterlife before getting the whole story. As you suggest, I think there is direct application of such a parable in our own personal lives.

    By Anonymous Volcano Ben in the UAE, at 5/02/2006 6:50 AM  

  • Sorry, I meant "brass-smith" not "blacksmith." Tinsmith is the real name for fine workers of light metals. Anyway...

    By Anonymous Volcano Ben of Arabia, at 5/02/2006 6:53 AM  

  • I ALWAYS WONDERED WHY IT HAD 2 POINTERS. WHAT WAS THE SECOND POINTER FOR

    By Blogger PAS120, at 7/31/2006 11:34 AM  

  • I ALWAYS WONDERED WHY IT HAD 2 POINTERS. WHAT WAS THE SECOND POINTER USED FOR.

    By Blogger PAS120, at 7/31/2006 11:36 AM  

  • Nobody's written here for awhile, but I saw the question, and wanted to suggest my idea! Read Hugh Nibley's thoughts on the subject. (Such an excellent original idea from me. Turn to Hugh.) In Hugh Nibley's Teachings of the Book of Mormon, Semester one, 1993, he speaks of the Arabs and divination arrows, which explains the two pointers on your Liahona. (Yes, divination arrows. Just read it.)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/12/2008 1:59 PM  

  • I'm going to have to read that talk--we have all of Hugh Nibley's BOM lectures, so I know we have it. Maybe that can be my Sunday reading tomorrow. Thanks for the suggestion!

    By Blogger Keryn, at 2/16/2008 5:20 PM  

  • I think the second pointer was just to make sure that the first arrow was giving the right information. I mean one pointer always points somewhere right!

    By Blogger ohana=)mama, at 2/22/2008 1:13 PM  

  • I like the story but I like to think that the brass-smith would have been woken up in the middle of the night and inspired to wander in the wilderness. I imagine a greater test of faith for that man. The reward being that he eventually came a across a camp. All hi doubts subsided and his faith triumphed. He smiled as he left the device at the door of one if the tents and quietly slipped back into the night.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 3/20/2016 2:26 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home


 
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.