Attitude – It Makes a Difference

Attitude - The Brass Plates

The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ begins with the writings, teachings, and life of the younger son of a prophet named Lehi. Lehi and his wife Sariah begin a journey to a promised land with four sons, Laman, Lemuel, Sam, and Nephi. The stories written in this book highlight how a positive or negative attitude can affect thoughts, feelings, and actions.

From the stories, we see that Lehi was wealthy. He had land, gold, silver, and the ability to teach his children to read and write. Yet, as a prophet, the people rejected him and plotted his death. When told by God to leave, Lehi packed up his family and the essentials that would be needed on the journey. In this journey, the family had many trials. The four sons show how much a difference in attitude makes in each life.

The Brass Plates

After three days of travel, Lehi tells his sons that God commanded them to go back to where they had just been, Jerusalem, and obtain records written on plates of brass. These plates contained writings from prophets, including Jeremiah who lived during this time. These plates, Nephi informs us, would help them and their children and progeny know and keep the commandments of God.

While Laman and Lemuel complain, saying it is impossible, Nephi simply agrees, believing that they can find a way to obtain the plates of brass. With this positive attitude, Nephi’s thoughts allow for success. His older brothers’ negative attitude rejects even the possibility of success.

For the first attempt, Laman pulls the short straw to go ask for the plates from Laban, a military authority who kept them. Laban tells Laman no and sends guards to kill him. Laman escapes with his life. Naturally, the brothers are sad that they could not obtain the plates easily. In fact, the older brothers, Laman and Lemuel are ready to quit and return to their father.

Second Attempt

Nephi, unwilling to give up so quickly, convinces them to try again. His positive attitude encouraged him to keep trying rather than give up. For their next attempt, Nephi suggests they gather the gold and silver left behind and offer to buy the plates. Laban wanted the gold and silver but still refused to turn over the plates of brass. Instead, Laban sent guards to kill the brothers, causing them to flee, leaving the treasures behind.

At this point Laman and Lemuel are angry, rejecting any possibility of success. Thye would rather return empty-handed than try again. When Nephi and Sam even try to suggest ideas, Laman and Lemuel begin to beat them, so much that an angel had to stop it. Even after the angel tells them that God will help them obtain the plates, Laman and Lemuel continue to disagree, saying that Laban is too powerful.

Third Attempt

Eventually, Nephi convinces his brothers to give him one more chance to obtain the plates of brass from Laban. With God, Nephi goes into Jerusalem, where he finds Laban passed out drunk. Taking his armor and sword, Nephi disguises himself, finds Laban’s records, and commands the servant to bring the plates of brass with him to his brothers outside the city walls. Nephi succeeded in obtaining the brass plates.


Through this story, we see examples of positive and negative attitudes. Laman and Lemuel display a negative attitude, a defeatist attitude. From the beginning of this story, Laman and Lemuel argue and complain. In their minds, they have already decided that they are destined to fail. Since they decided it in their minds, it became a reality. They failed. They did not retrieve the plates and would have gone back empty-handed if Nephi had not been there with them.

Nephi showed a positive, successful attitude. He believed from the beginning that they could succeed in the task. Since he had a positive attitude each failure did not discourage him. Instead, he kept thinking and trying other ways until he succeeded. Not once did he actually consider returning without the plates. Thinking positively he knew that if they tried different ways, one way would work. His positive attitude and belief in success gave him the chance to succeed.

Attitude is everything. With a negative, defeatist attitude, success becomes impossible and each failure seems to cement that belief. On the other hand, a positive, successful attitude, guarantees success. Each failure shows another way not to do something leading to the path of success. Laman, Lemuel, and Nephi show clearly how each attitude affects their lives and their ability to accomplish goals.

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