Are there Benefits of Falling On Your Face?

by Jess

You’re about to read a blog post that will likely not provide you with any answers. It won’t be a perfect representation of your situation, it isn’t meant to be. Likely the argument won’t be very well written, or present any wildly impressive ideas. But, in order for me to further understand the purposes of the Lord, it is necessary for me to write.

So that’s what I am doing, trying to sort something out that’s been on my mind.

I recently read in the first book of Nephi in the Book of Mormon about Laman, Lemuel, and Nephi; their father sent these brothers back to the Jerusalem. Do you remember why? To get the brass plates. Lehi dreamed a dream where the Lord commanded Lehi to send his sons back to Jerusalem to “seek the records.”

Do you remember what Nephi said? “I will go and do…


“For I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.”

So what happened after this?

They made a plan. Nephi says that God will prepare a way for them, and they made a plan. And the first one didn’t work.

So they tried again.

They probably thought it was an excellent plan. Likely they prayed and felt good about it. So good they went and gathered all of their possessions to exchange for these precious plates. They probably approached Laban confidently because they knew that God would prepare a way for them.

And what happened? They were robbed and almost killed.

Now, I am making some assumptions here, but judging from the response of Laman and Lemuel, that they really thought it was going to work. They beat Nephi with a rod. And an angel came and stopped them.


An angel? That is miraculous! They made a plan that didn’t work. The consequence of which an angel protected them from peril.

After the angel saved Nephi, Nephi then found Laban drunk in the street.

This is where I get confused. God had this plan the whole time. Why is it that he encouraged Nephi’s other plans? Why did he allow Nephi and his brothers to get robbed and almost killed? Why didn’t he just let them pause for a day and find Laban drunk in the street?

They could have kept all of their possessions if so. Nephi wouldn’t have got beat by his brothers. And they wouldn’t have seen an angel. What resulted from failing earlier?

A few thoughts:

  • Nephi is more aware that God delivered Laban to him.
  • Nephi knows that angels are watching out for him.
  • Nephi knows his brothers really can’t hurt him.
  • Nephi is more aware of how important the brass plates are?
  • Laman and Lemuel didn’t gain any knowledge after failing. They only became angry.
  • Other reasons?

Why does God let us fail when he has a plan all along? As we see from the scriptures, Nephi gained light and knowledge from failing. And later succeeded with a full knowledge that God had a plan and that Nephi could trust that plan.

I’ve seen this pattern in my life. I’ve made plans. Really good ones, directed by God. And I’ve failed in really big/miserable ways. But for some reason it becomes okay. I see angels watching out for me. I tend to gain greater light and knowledge, and then see the hand of the Lord guiding my life a lot more clearly.

That’s it. That’s my whole blog post. What thoughts do you have? Please comment!


  1. I. Love. This. And you, obviously. Never in the history of ever has obedience, or doing good things, been necessarily easy. So much so that many people shy away from it. It doesn't make sense to them because somewhere along the way, we got the impression that if God says to do it, or if we're asking God, the most powerful being in all the universe, our Father,etc...that it's going to be easy, or that he's going to give us all the answers. Nephi trusted the source of the commandment and therefore knew there was a way, and kept going. Even though he was falling on his face. I find it interesting that he didn't get mad or frustrated like Laman or Lemuel. I guess he could've...he was human after all. (I think.) But he didn't focus on his frustration with failure. He kept trying. He didn't question the original feeling/prompting, etc. He kept going. That's what hit me as I read your post. I think when I fall on my face, I have a tendency to question whether or not I was headed in the right direction at all, forgetting that sometimes failure is necessary to accomplish good things. :) Falling on your face, if you will, allows you to refine your process...even if the good thing you're trying to do is learn to ride a bike. Being angry because you can't ride a bike without training wheels on your first try is...well...for anyone who knows how to ride a bike, we know it gets better. But if you stopped after you fell on your first try, you'd never know just how good it could get. Anyway. Giant comment that might as well be a mini-post. But there you have it. :)

    1. Dee, thank you for your fantastic insight. I love what you said about questioning. I am the same way, questioning is definitely part of my daily life. But if things don't work out, it doesn't make it less true. Thanks for the excellent comment!

  2. I loved this post Jess! You have such awesome insights! After reading this, I have even more sympathy for Laman and Lemuel because when things don't go as planned (Like I thought they would) I'm not the happiest camper either!
    This is such a neat perspective to that story though…..why did it have to be so hard? It's interesting because in other Book of Mormon or Bible stories, the Lord seems to step in at the "fourth watch" (Mark 6) to help us through. I don't think he enjoys watching us suffer but He knows the outcome that comes from relying on Him through the whole way. I think that period of time where the plan to get the plates failed over and over again, was a time that not only proved to God that Nephi was faithful CONTINUALLY but also proved to Nephi himself how faithful he really was and helped him out as he continually faced trials….. Because he ultimately knew God would be there every step of the way.
    thanks for sharing this Jess!