Background

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Sariah


One of my favorite women in the Book of Mormon is Sariah. Humility, obedience, sacrifice, patience and long suffering are a few words that come to mind when I think of her. Sariah was the wife and helpmate of the prophet Lehi. Sariah teaches us that it takes great faith to trust not only in the Lord, but also those through whom He speaks. Especially if he is your husband!

Sariah was the first and only woman that Nephi identified by name in his record. In the opening line of  1 Nephi https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/1-ne/1?lang=engI, he proudly writes, "I Nephi, having been born of goodly parents . . ." and specifically names her when identifying his family members (see 1 Nephi 2:5). Her name is of Hebrew origin and means "Princess of the Lord."

Sariah was married to the Prophet Lehi and they lived in Jerusalem with their four sons. The Lord warned Lehi to leave the city because wicked people sought to take away his life. Lehi’s visions and revelations gave him strength to leave “the land of his inheritance, and his gold, and his silver, and his precious things,” taking only his family, tents, and provisions into the wilderness. But how do you think Sariah felt about this decision? She was obligated to follow her husband and there is no evidence that she received any visions or special revelations. Let us consider her story and what it meant for her to follow a prophet of God.

Nephi frequently comments that his father was a wealthy man. So we may assume that Sariah lived in one of the better homes in Jerusalem with a stove, furniture, d├ęcor and comfortable amenities. Sariah certainly enjoyed lovely clothes, jewelry, cosmetics, servants and some social standing. According to Israelite tradition, a woman’s home was where she spent the majority of her time and its domestication was her life’s work. Abandoning her home and her world must have been heartbreaking and frightening. Lehi would have frequently been taken outside of the home to fulfill commercial and religious duties. Although leaving property was a sacrifice for Lehi, it may have been a greater test of humility and faith for Sariah

Custom remains that women stayed at home during caravans. So it is likely that Sariah may have never “camped” before. Lacking servants and being the only woman in the group, she was thrust into becoming a “Survivor Woman” among men. Faithfully she put on her hiking boots and headed into the merciless, windswept Arabian dessert. As the wife and mother, much of the setting up, taking down, food preparation, cooking, cleaning and nursing would have fell upon her. Imagine how difficult her role and how heavy her responsibility. Yet, this “goodly” woman absorbed it all.


It is not until her sons are presumed dead, that we hear her despair. Her children’s round trip back to obtain the brass plates was long overdue and she frantically complained against her husband, saying, “My sons are no more, and we perish in the wilderness.” (1 Ne. 5:2.) Sariah must have known something about the unrighteousness of their relative Laban and had good cause to worry for the safety of her sons. Lehi comforted her, not by promising that they would not face difficulties in their journeys, but by pointing out that those who stayed in Jerusalem would perish. Then he bore testimony that God would deliver his sons “out of the hands of Laban” and Sariah was “comforted.”

It takes great faith to trust not only the Lord, but also those through whom he speaks. Most of us are not called to be prophets or be married to one, but we are called upon to recognize the prophets and their messages from God. Sariah is a model woman who presents a growing testimony of the Lord’s spokesman. When her son returned she bore strong testimony of Lehi’s calling exclaiming: “Now I know of a surety that the Lord hath commanded my husband to flee into the wilderness; yea, and I also know of a surety that the Lord hath protected my sons, and delivered them out of the hands of Laban, and given them power whereby they could accomplish the thing which the Lord hath commanded them.”


 I too have a testimony of a living Prophet. His name is Thomas S. Monson and he is the Prophet and President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "Heavenly Father loves His children and has not left them to walk through this mortal life without direction and guidance"Dieter F. Uchtdorf . I enjoy many blessings of peace and happiness because of this knowledge. I invite you to learn for yourself if this is true.