The bishop, me, and our ward’s two priests kicked around the story of the brass plates using the Church’s new teaching system. A number of anomalies emerged.

1. Lehi–an experienced and capable man of faith–was not given the assignment to get the brass plates.

2. Laman, Lemuel, Sam, and Nephi–who were given the assignment–were not given the revelation to do the assignment. They had to act on Lehi’s say-so.

3. All brothers were initially obedient but their obedience was not rewarded with success.

4. Laman and Lemuel were called out by the angel as being generally iniquitous, though at this point in the story we’ve not really seen any iniquity on their part. Granted, the angel comes in response to a beating they’re administering, and one would like to say that the beating is iniquitous. But that is specifically *not* what the angel says. The beating is wrong, he says, because they are iniquitous.

5. The first thing any of the brothers hear from the Holy Ghost is when the Holy Ghost tells Nephi to kill Laban.

None of these anomalies are inexplicable. Lehi may have been too recognizable and therefore in too much danger if he returned to Jerusalem. Lehi’s revelation to his sons respected priesthood lines of authority and avoided knotty problems about which of the brothers was more favored of the Lord, which may have partially scuppered their enterprise right at the get go. And so on. All of these individually rational features add up to a peculiar aggregate.

We should not expect the Lord’s plan for us to have the simplicity of machinery but instead the protruberances and quirks of organic growth.

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