1 Behold, now it came to pass in the sixty and ninth year of the reign of the judges over the people of the Nephites, that Nephi, the son of Helaman, returned to the land of Zarahemla from the land northward.
2 For he had been forth among the people who were in the land northward, and did preach the word of God unto them, and did prophesy many things unto them;
3 And they did reject all his words, insomuch that he could not stay among them, but returned again unto the land of his nativity.
Following his successful mission among the Lamanites, Nephi traveled to the land north of Zarahemla. To his disappointment, he had no success there. “They did reject all his words,” Mormon tells us in the passage above. Frustrated at their lack of openness to his message, he returned home, only to find that things had deteriorated rapidly in his absence.
Only seven years earlier, he had been chief judge over the land. Even at that time, “their laws had become corrupted, and they who chose evil were more numerous than they who chose good” (Helaman 5:1-2). Now, the entire system was falling apart, with judges ignoring the requirements of the law, accepting bribes, and blatantly favoring their friends (Helaman 7:4-5). Rather than retreat and ignore the problem, Nephi conspicuously prayed on top of his tower beside a highway in order to have an opportunity to call the people to repentance (Helaman 7:10-11).
I see an important message in this story: don’t stop preaching. If one person or group of people refuses to hear your message, move on and keep trying. When your message is rejected, don’t allow your discouragement to prevent you from continuing to share the message with someone else.
Full-time missionaries are taught this principle:
Remember that people have agency to choose whether to accept your message. Your responsibility is to teach clearly and powerfully so they can make a correct choice. Some may not accept your message even when they have received a spiritual witness that it is true. You will be saddened because you love them and desire their salvation. You should not, however, become discouraged; discouragement will weaken your faith. If you lower your expectations, your effectiveness will decrease, your desire will weaken, and you will have greater difficulty following the Spirit (Preach My Gospel, Chapter 1: “What Is My Purpose as a Missionary?”)
Today, I will avoid becoming discouraged when my attempts to share gospel principles are not well received. I will continue to exercise faith, to follow the Spirit of the Lord, and to believe that someone else will be more receptive.