1 Nephi 4
Nephi and his brothers go up again to Jerusalem and are successful in getting the plates by continuing to apply the hero principles outlined in 1 Nephi 3.
How do heroes do it?
Heroes do the next good thing. Heroes are led by the Spirit to know what the next good thing is they should do. The Spirit speaks to us in our hearts and our minds telling us what good things we should do and what harmful things we should not do. When Nephi came across Laban who was drunken in the street, he “was constrained by the Spirit that I should kill Laban.”
Nephi was shocked to receive this instruction because he had never killed a man before and knew that it was against the Lord’s commandments. This did not appear like the next good thing to do. Gratefully, he received multiple instructions from the Spirit clarifying that the Lord had delivered Laban into his hands. The Spirit also helped Nephi understand that “the Lord slayeth the wicked to bring forth his righteous purposes. It is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief.”
Heroes remember the whys. At this point, Nephi remembered more reasons why it was important for him and his family to have the record of the Jews. He remembered the promises the Lord made with him and his posterity that if they would be faithful in keeping the commandments they should prosper in the promised land. He “also thought that they could not keep the commandments of the Lord according to the law of Moses, save they should have the law.”
Knowing that he was being led by the Spirit and remembering the whys of what he was being commanded to do gave Nephi the courage to do this hard thing and slay Laban. Adherence to these hero principles also enabled him to speak and act with confidence because of his confidence in the Lord as he approached Laban’s servant, Zoram, and asked him to bring the record of the Jews to his “elder brethren, who were without the walls.” Zoram willingly went with him but became frightened and was about to flee when he realized that the elder brethren were not the elders of the Jews and that Nephi wasn’t Laban.
Nephi “received much strength from the Lord, therefore [he] did seize upon the servant of Laban, and held him, that he should not flee.” Heroes gratefully recognize and accept the Lord’s help. They understand the enabling power of the Atonement can help them “do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Phil. 4:13).
Like a true hero and warrior, Nephi wanted to make Zoram his friend. He wanted to make peace with Zoram so he made an oath with Zoram that he would be a free man, equal to Nephi and his brothers, if he would go with them to the wilderness (see 1 Nephi 4:33-37).