2 Nephi 31: 12

“And also, the voice of the Son came unto me, saying: He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost, like unto me; wherefore, follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do.”
Notice that immediately following the quote from the Father, Nephi adds a quote from the Son. Here Nephi makes it clear that the Father said to Nephi what is quoted in verse 11, because he adds, “And also, the voice of the Son came unto me, saying…” As soon as the Father stopped speaking, the Son added the comment he now quotes.

This contradicts what is an often referred to Mormon legend. Our legend is that the Father does nothing other than introduce the Son. This comes from a misreading of the Joseph Smith Translation of John 1: 18. This verse is rendered in the JKV as follows: No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”  In the JST is is changed to read: No man hath seen God at any time except he hath borne record of the Son; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”  This is the basis for asserting the Father doesn’t ever speak, apart from introducing and bearing testimony of the Son. It is clearly a false notion, however, as the Father has many quoted words in the Book of Mormon. The fact the myth exists is, once again, evidence of how little we have as a people studied the Book of Mormon.

Well, returning to this verse, we find that the promise of the Holy Ghost is made by the Father! That is, Christ is saying when the Holy Ghost is sent, it is a gift from “the Father.” Indeed it is! The Father of our spirits (Heb. 12: 9) has given us all that spirit which dwells within us. (D&C 130: 22.)
First the Father tells us to be baptized and follow Christ. Then Christ adds to it the plea: If you do that you will receive the Holy Ghost as a gift from the Father. So “follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do.”
How seamless the will of the Father is with the desire of His Son!
How eager are both the Father and the Son for us to come to them!
How consistent is the message we receive from both the Father and the Son!
There is no other record in all scripture that puts together the promises of the Father and the plea of the Son like Nephi has done here!
How great a prophet was Nephi! How trusted and familiar must he have been with both the Father and the Son to be able to deliver this message to us!
Let it sink in. Let it be understood. Then, realize Nephi was a man just like you and I. He suffered, toiled, was rejected, fled and worked in obscurity to follow God against the active opposition of his own brothers. His knowledge and experiences are open to all. If you have not realized before, now you should realize why Nephi forms the bedrock example in The Second Comforter to lay out the process of returning to God’s presence.  Among prophets, Nephi was a pillar of light, whose understanding reached into heaven itself.

Perhaps we should have been giving him more attention for the last 180 years. Well, it’s not too late for you to begin to do so now.

3 thoughts on “2 Nephi 31: 12

  1. Denver (or any commentor with an insight):

    In the last blog, as opposed to this one, I thought you implied that these quotations of the Father and the Saviour are words Nephi heard/saw during a vision of Christ’s baptism, implied during your discussion of the prophet perfect tense.

    The command of the Father, therefore, “Repent ye, repent ye, and be baptized in the name of mine only Begotten” may be words that Nephi heard which the Father addressed to the crowd gathered round Bethbara, and by extension to all who were unbaptized who would later read Nephi’s words. In this paradigm, the voice of the Son which “came to” Nephi may have come to him as he heard the just baptized Jesus speaking to the gathered witnesses.

    I had never considered this before, that the words Nephi was quoting were words spoken to the gathered crowd until reading your last post. Then, just when I think I understand, you say ” Here Nephi makes it clear that the Father said to Nephi what is quoted in verse 11…”

    So, what do you think, these words of the Father, commanding someone to repent and be baptized, were they spoken to a mature prophet who undoubtedly was alread baptized and was so advanced that he had heard the voice of the Father speak directly to him OR were they spoken to the gathered crowd at Christ’s baptism and “came to” Nephi as he heard them in vision?

    Earlier I asked if there were a ‘second baptism’ because I couldn’t imagine the Father asking a mature prophet to repent and be baptized in the way we teach baptism today. So the command of the Father to repent and be baptized, was it a command directed to Nephi or directed to others and witnessed and reported by Nephi??

    McKay, a confused but curious disciple

  2. And, I thought this discussion was getting intense / interesting before….

    I am just thinking out loud here, but in regards to this and the previous post, when the Father is speaking to Nephi, and by extension, all readers of the Book of Mormon, many of whom have already been baptized, what baptism is being referred to here? Nephi would have already received the ordinance of baptism, as have many readers of the Book of Mormon, but as Denver instructed earlier, ordinances are types, and baptism is a type of Christ’s death and resurrection. So….could the Father’s command to repent and be baptized have a layered interpretation meaning to receive the ordinance of baptism if you haven’t, and to very literally follow Christ’s example of death and resurrection as another type of baptism? I don’t know. This thought has never occurred to me before, but it’s worth consideration. It makes all of those references to baptism in the scriptures take on a whole new meaning if it is true. Time for some serious pondering and prayer.

  3. Sabrina: I think you might be on to something. I think this was symbolism that Paul used quite a bit that we were to die daily to our own will (and make our bodies a living sacrifice), and then rise as a new creature to do his will.

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