Feast upon the Word Blog

A blog focused on LDS scriptures and teaching

Our Posterity

Posted by robf on September 21, 2009

In my current read through of the Book of Mormon, I’m increasingly struck by how “posterity focused” the Nephite patriarchs and prophets are. The whole enterprise of writing on the plates, of course, only makes sense in light of the huge pains they take to preserve the gospel covenants for their posterity. Nephi agonizes about his posterity in vision. Jacob pleads for them. Enos begs for the records to be preserved for them. It is interesting to contrast that focus with our own cares and concerns. My guess is that we seldom worry about our distant posterity like the Nephites did. Why is that? Why don’t we seek to know what will befall our posterity, and pray for them? Is it that we just assume that they will be faithful and blessed in some future Millennial day? How can we even relate to the hopes and aspirations of the Nephite patriarchs? And, to threadjack my own post, are we really fulfilling their expectations of us as regarding their posterity?

8 Responses to “Our Posterity”

  1. This is why we journal.

  2. NathanG said

    I’ve been struck by Abinidi’s prophesy to Noah and the priests that their children would cause many others to suffer death by fire (“your kids are going to be just as bad as you are”) and that the first thing Samuel the Lamanite teaches the Nephites is that if they don’t repent, then in three hundred years they will be destroyed as a people. These things just don’t strike me as the “Oh no, I better repent” motivation. I wonder if there is a much greater cultural community focus that we tend to lose in this country of “me”. I wonder if it has something to do with the Abrahamic covenant of a promised posterity.

  3. robf said

    That’s it NathanG. These guys go on and on about stuff that is going to happen to their posterity hundreds of years later. Why aren’t we thinking about this at all? Can we even fathom praying to know what will befall our posterity?

  4. BrianJ said

    Rob, this is a very interesting question, and the fact that I’ve never considered it before only serves to emphasize that I don’t think of my posterity in this way.

    • Kristine Foster said

      I am not very saavy with time lines and who existed when in exact terms but Methuselah
      was the oldest person in the Bible, right? Well considering these people lived for a very long time , I can see why they would look to posterity in terms of hundreds of years instead of like us to our retirement age and social security
      It seems our very life and our posterity is tied up with our ability to have consciousness and also what level of consciousness of the Father and Christ and how they wish us TO live and weather or not we are in harmony and alignment with that.

      Methuselah or Metushélach (Hebrew: מְתוּשֶׁלַח / מְתוּשָׁלַח, Modern Mətušélaḥ / Mətušálaḥ Tiberian Məṯûšélaḥ / Məṯûšālaḥ ; “Man of the dart/spear”, or alternatively “when he dies/died, it shall be sent/has been sent”) is the oldest person whose age is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, given as 969 years. The name Methuselah has become a general synonym for any living creature of great age.

  5. Kristine Foster said

    here is everything about Methuselah


  6. BrianJ said

    Kristine, that’s an interesting thought, yet I can’t think of anyone in the BoM being listed as living to any exceptionally old age.

    Rob, perhaps the BoM writers were much more concerned about Zion than we are. In Zion, the entire community is my posterity in a sense, whereas in my life today I kind of only think of my (future) grandkids and great grandkids as my posterity—after a few generations, my genes would be diluted so much that I couldn’t really claim them as mine. On the other hand, I don’t see the BoM writers saying all the much about Zion, so I’m probably just stretching here and projecting Joseph Smith (who was obsessed with Zion) back onto the BoM.

  7. Boyd said

    Why would an average LDS member think past his own life when they are all told in someway or another that they are the last? They are the in the 11th hour. Folk lore of patriarchal blessings describing youth who will see Christ during the second coming in their lifetime.
    The unfaithful seek to know the future and act accordingly to fit into that future. The faithful look to the present and pray their actions will benefit future generations.
    At least, that is the theme I gather from the stories in the Book of Mormon.

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