(November 11, 2015)
Nephi speaks of what the people know and cannot deny without lying. This struck me because of my own brush with doubt and a troubling diminishment of testimony. At my darkest point, I didn’t know whether God existed or whether there was anything other than the materialistic world in which we lived. I was blessed to escape that awful state of mind (and I assure you it is awful, though that is not what makes it untrue), but I can still remember being in that state.
In such a position, I don’t think that it would have been a situation where I couldn’t not deny without lying (though I am glad I never reached that point). But Nephi is speaking to a particular audience here (those who occupied the social leadership roles of what is apparently a quasi-theocratic society). There may be individuals who don’t know and can deny without lying, but I don’t think that those who occupied the positions of those Nephi was speaking to could deny without lying.
Again, I don’t know that this matters in any meaningful way, but it shows the importance of recognizing time, place, and audience when reading the scriptures.