Today I read Helaman 9, the very detailed prophecy of Nephi that he uses to prove his innocence to the people of Nephi and identify the murderer of the chief judge. I've always liked this chapter because it is very rare that you get to read such a detailed prophecy, in fact I am not sure that you ever really get to read one quite as detailed and specific as this one is.
In fact in my own life I think the closest I can think of to so much detail is an experience from my mission. I remember when I was a district leader I had to interview a young woman for baptism. She had all the right answers and knew what to say but at one point during the interview, she got a little hesitant and I could tell that she had a question for me. So I asked her what was on her mind and she mentioned that Elder Rhodes and all the other missionaries including me, kept saying that we know the Gospel is true, and she wanted to know how she too could know. So we talked about faith and I asked her if she believed it was true. She said she wanted to believe it was true and I told that was enough and we then read from Alma 32 that just having the desire to believe is enough to start with. We kept talking and I felt impressed to promise her something. I told her that if she would pray, that very night and I even gave her the words to pray, that God would hear her, and answer her, and then she too could know it was true. She thanked me and promised me she would and we closed the interview. The next day was her baptism and I did not get a chance to talk to her until after her baptism but when I did and she saw me she got the biggest grin on her face and I asked her if what I had told her was right. She said that yes, all my words had come true and she now knew for herself.
That is the closest I have ever seen in my personal life to such a clear cut prophecy but even that does not compare to what Nephi did in my opinion. I've often wondered with such clear prophecies does God show them a scene, like a movie, and that is how they are able to describe it in such detail? Or does the Spirit whisper to them exactly what to say? I know in my case it was a thought that popped into my head and because an idea which because a sentence I should speak and I knew it was right.
The other part of this chapter I wanted to discuss was a phrase Nephi uses. He calls the judges who accuse him of being complicit in the murder of the chief judge fools and uncircumcised of heart. That is such a unique phrase. I do not for the life of me have any idea what it actually means though. The one thought that pops into my head is this, and I warn you it will be a tiny bit sexual in nature. When a man is circumcised, they remove the extra skin at the end of his penis and to my understanding, the only real side effect is it increases the sensitivity of the now exposed skin of the penis. With this in mind, we can then conclude that an uncircumcised heart would not be as sensitive as one that is circumcised. Perhaps Nephi is implying that they are too far gone to feel the sensitive promptings of the Spirit and past feeling the things of the Spirit. That was the idea that came to me at least.
The other thought is circumcision was used as part of a covenant between the Hebrews and God to signify their duty to Him and their devotion to Him. Perhaps Nephi is implying that these judges have turned their back on their God and do not perform even the outward portions of the law anymore and are so corrupt that even the most basic of covenants are not kept. Again, I just don't know. But I intend to ponder this phrase some more throughout the day and see what the Lord can teach me about it. Whatever its intended meaning is, we know it is not pleasant since it was used to describe evil men. May we all keep the commandments and follow the prophecies of a prophet, even if they are not as clear cut as Nephi's were. Until tomorrow.