I'm no stranger to the Book of Mormon, but this 23rd read is proving to be very difficult. I'm used to reading my scriptures quickly, covering four or more chapters in a day. This kind of reading gives me a great big-picture view of the scriptures. I was really enjoying this big-picture view until it suddenly felt too monotonous last year.
But reading the scriptures daily, spending 20-30 minutes on each reading session, was about a lot more than the scriptures. During those reads, I reflected on my day, my actions, and the direction of my life, but mostly I used that time to hear God. And some of you are going to think "Wow - Nancy thinks she is hearing God. That is just crazy." I have no counter argument for that. Chances are, if you embraced spirituality at some point in your life, sometimes you think that God is trying to tell you something.
Its not that I heard God every day, but there were many instances when I felt that God was trying to teach me, through impressions and feelings, things I could not learn on my own. These moments helped me to feel that God loved me and was aware of the details of my life. God knew what I was struggling with at that moment. There is nothing like a little divine empathy and guidance to make you feel that you can tackle the challenges of life. And reading the scriptures in that fast-paced way created the necessary space in my life for me to hear God.
Blogging the Book of Mormon slowly, as I'm doing now, does not always create this same kind of space. Instead, I find that I am searching for God in the text instead of waiting for God to just show up. Mostly I feel that I am not finding God in the ways that I had expected. I am hearing Nephi, and now Jacob, wrestle with their own spiritual paths. I am watching them try to hear God in their own lives. I previously saw prophets as having a buddy-buddy relationship with God, but it turns out that things aren't that simple. Being a prophet doesn't fix all of your problems and it certainly complicates your relationships with others.
When I created the goal of blogging the Book of Mormon, this was not what I had intended to learn. Learning about being a prophet but still retaining many human flaws is not a fun kind of thing to learn. In fact, it is uncomfortable and a little painful. It is easier to believe that God's prophets are just mini versions of God walking around on earth, with all of God's knowledge and power. As it turns out, prophets are regular people with all of the prejudices of their time. They confuse culture with doctrine on occasion, just like the rest of us. I suppose that this is a timely lesson to learn as I wrestle with Mormonism and Feminism and think about the future of both.
Cross-posted at http://nickelonthenacle.blogspot.com/