Nephi makes an interesting promise in verse 3:
Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.And again in verse 5:
For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do.I gotta say, I entered in by the way (was baptized), received the Holy Ghost (was confirmed) and feasted upon the words of Christ through high school and at BYU...and I didn't find that I was told or shown all things that I should do. I wasn't told where to look for the key when my sister and I locked ourselves out of the house. I wasn't told what to major in at school. And I definitely wasn't told whether or not I should serve a mission. I think Nephi's overselling the usefulness of his religion.
Stiffneckedness and Ignorance
Nephi makes an odd comment in verse 7:
And now I, Nephi, cannot say more; the Spirit stoppeth mine utterance, and I am left to mourn because of the unbelief, and the wickedness, and the ignorance, and the stiffneckedness of men; for they will not search knowledge, nor understand great knowledge, when it is given unto them in plainness, even as plain as word can be.Two things immediately occur to me upon reading that verse. First, this sounds like a condemnation of apologetics. FAIR and FARMS, it can be argued, do not search knowledge in order to draw their conclusions. Nor do they understand knowledge, when it's provided to them as plainly as possible.
Secondly, it makes me think of the currently heightened debate surrounding gay marriage. I definitely mourn because of the ignorance and stiffneckedness of my countrymen. I feel ya, Nephi. I mean, I'm probably in the category that you'd mourn, and the believers you champion are probably among those who I mourn, but at least I get where you're coming from.
Learning Not to Pray
Nephi preaches about prayer in verse 8:
For if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray, ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray.You know what taught this man not to pray? Not getting answers to his prayers. Or it could have been the evil spirit (whatever that is) but mostly it was just a pattern of disappointing experiences.