What Are “Plain and Precious” Things?

During the vision which Nephi experienced after praying to understand his father’s dream, he saw a time when scripture would be intentionally corrupted. “Many plain and precious things” would be removed. Because of those omissions, many people would “stumble” and fall under the power of Satan (1 Nephi 13:28-29). An angel promised Nephi that his descendants would play a role in rectifying the situation by “[making] known the plain and precious things which have been taken away” (1 Nephi 13:34-35, 40).

Later, after Nephi had engraved a detailed record of his life, the Lord commanded him to make a smaller set of plates and to be more judicious in what he chose to include upon them. On these smaller plates, Nephi was commanded to record “the ministry and the prophecies, the more plain and precious parts of them” (1 Nephi 19:3).

According to the Oxford English Dictionary:

  • Precious” means “of great value; not to be wasted or treated carelessly.”
  • Plain” means “easy to understand” but also “unpretentious,” “simple or basic in character.”

These two words might seem like an unusual pair. We often associate higher prices with increased complexity. We make things more elaborate, adding features and ornamentation in an effort to make them more valuable. In some professions, unusual terminology creates barriers to entry, driving up salaries for those who are able to master the complexity. But maybe we would be wise to recognize intrinsic value and to avoid overcomplicating things.

Nephi gloried in plainness (2 Nephi 33:6). He said that God delights in plainness, because He wants us to understand His words (2 Nephi 31:3).

Today, I will keep things simple. I will strive to communicate with clarity and simplicity. I will seek out and value things that are both “plain and precious.”

2 thoughts on “What Are “Plain and Precious” Things?

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  1. Good post. Reminds me of a definition for “elegant” – something that is very well-thought through yet simple. Appreciate the reminder to keep it simple

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