How has a temporal education helped the prophets of the Book of Mormon benefit themselves and/or others?

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We read in 2 Nephi that 


to be learned is good, if they hearken unto the counsels of God

My question is, how have the Book of Mormon prophets who have heeded this counsel been able to use the temporal education they gained for the benefit of themselves and/or other people?

I've come up with one example: The prophet Nephi, son of Helaman. In Helaman 3:7, we read 


And it came to pass that he [Nephi] did fill the judgment-seat with justice and equity;

Presumably, to become a chief judge would have required him to be educated as to the laws of the land. Therefore, it could be said that this knowledge enabled him to maintain "justice and equity" in the land.

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Judging by context, it seems obvious that Nephi (the first one) was a metalworker of some sort, probably a blacksmith, someone who knew his way around a forge as well as an anvil. He was able immediately not only to recognize the very high quality of workmanship in Laban's sword, but could identify it as being of fine steel. It was Nephi who made the "gold" plates used for the large and small sets of plates named for him -- probably tumbaga, a gold/copper alloy that melts at a much lower temperature than either gold or copper, and is actually harder than copper, yet retains its malleability after being worked.

When he was commanded to build a ship, Nephi had all sorts of questions about how he would construct such a thing, since he had only the vaguest notion of how to go about such a work -- yet he didn't ask a thing about creating metal tools, except to inquire of the Lord where he should go to find ore. He was obviously competent at refining the ore and casting the tools.

I'd say Nephi's secular learning provided huge benefits to himself and his people.

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The Nephi quote may very well be misused often to belittle learning in general. But the whole passage is important:


28 O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish. But to be learned is good if they harken to the counsels of God.

The Book of Mormon is filled with examples of prophets who've used their learning (Abinandi, Nephi1, Mormon, Alma [Elder and Younger], Jacob, etc.) in the same way that Nephi3 did. Not all were educated in the laws of the land, but all understood the Laws of God, the Gospel or the Law of Moses (or both).

The passage above tells us exactly how anyone, prophet or Saint, can be both learned and wise. 


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Interesting question. But remember the Book of Mormon is a poor history book, on secular topics. We don't even know where it takes place. Nephi says there was tons of political, etc stuff that he left out. And that's just Nephi. Imagine how many volumes it would take to write a conventional, modern history of a culture that lasted 1000 years. If we had the info for it which we don't.

It's primarily the spiritual history of a people, plus a lot of great sermons about following the gospel of Christ.

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1 hour ago, moonman239 said:

How have the Book of Mormon prophets who have heeded this counsel been able to use the temporal education they gained for the benefit of themselves and/or other people?

1) First chapter of the BoM.


I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father...

Yea, I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians.

And I know that the record which I make is true; and I make it with mine own hand; and I make it according to my knowledge.

2) Nephi, Gideon, Ammon, & Moroni were each capable warriors and used such to defend the gospel.  I don't believe the sword was part of any of their Sunday School courses.  But hangman is. ;)

3) For much of the Book of Mormon, the Law was basically the Law of Moses with some minor changes as the Chief Judge saw fit.  So, in matters of law, secular and religious learning were one.

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  • 9 months later...

Much of what we know of the actual BOM history is a military type history. 

Alma the Younger and Ammon were both involved in combat.  I imagine having a good knowledge of how to fight went hand in hand with the Lord's preservation of them.

Helaman was a military commander, and as such, we hear a LOT about his military experiences.  The same could be stated of Mormon in his military career.

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