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Reader Voices: The cause and cure for Lemuelitis

By Rob Ficiur

Published: Saturday, Jan. 29 2011 7:00 a.m. MST

Years ago the plague of Poliomyelitis ravaged the world. Polio was the most dreaded childhood disease of the early to mid-20th century, causing death and paralysis to those it infected. Lives were destroyed.

In 1952, Jonas Salk discovered a cure for the polio virus. The dreaded disease that plagued North American 50 years ago is almost unheard of by school children today. Caring parents have made sure their children are immunized against this life-threatening disease.

In recent weeks, I have discovered the cure for another plague that is spreading across the world, across our country, even our church and our families. As I announce the discovery of this new disease, I also announce the cure. Those who follow the vaccine that I describe will avoid the heartache, sorrow and lifetime of blindness that are associated with this disease.

The disease I have discovered I have named Lemuelits Murmuronia after that great Book of Mormon leader Lemuel, who is the son of Lehi. Lemuel and his brother Laman took every opportunity they could to murmur.

Once they murmured because their food wasn't cooked right. Another time they murmured because their brother Nephi broke his bow and couldn't get them food. You may have wondered why Lemuel couldn't make a bow and get food himself; however, by this time in life Lemuelitis had spread so much throughout Lemuel's system that murmuring appears to have been an immediate reaction to any trial or annoyance that occurred in his life.

Lemuelitis can have such a hold on a person that nothing can change them. Lemuel and his brother were rebuked by an angel for beating on their younger brother Nephi. The angel then told them to go back to Jerusalem where the Lord would prepare a way for them to obtain the record of their forefathers, including the word of God and the words of the prophets. Minutes after the angel left, Lemuel and his brother murmured out loud, wondering how God could be powerful enough to help them with such a hard task.

The cure to Lemuelitis, which you have been waiting for, is found in Lemuel's younger brother Nephi. Years after the first symptoms of Lemuelitis appeared, Lemuel and his brother Laman tired of Nephi's preaching and tied him up.

A storm ensued for four days. The ship was tossed and turned in the sea. As Nephi stood facing the physical and emotional storm, he said in 1 Nephi 18:16, "Nevertheless, I did look unto my God, and I did praise him all the day long; and I did not murmur against the Lord because of my afflictions.

"My God hath been my support; he that led me through mine afflictions. ... He hath filled me with his love unto the consuming of my flesh" (see 2 Nephi 4:20-21).

I recently experienced a bout of Lemuelitis that caused significant heart damage and pollution in my environment. One Monday morning, my van that was parked in the driveway would not start. I knew the problem because it had happened before.

Due to an error of judgement on my part, I had let the gas tank on the van get low. The low gas indicator never came on. However, because the van was parked on a slope in the driveway, there was not sufficient fuel to start the vehicle. First I hoped that backing the van on to the level street would allow the limited amount of gas in the tank to redistribute and star the vehicle. My joyful Monday morning mood turned to murmuring as I recruited helpers to push the van out of the middle of the road.

I then murmured louder as I went to the shed to get a gas can. My murmuring reached a new level when I saw a 2-foot snow bank surrounding my shed. The gas I needed was there — but I would have to dig it out. My murmuring entered uncharted heights as I found that none of the three gas stations in our small town have a gas can you can borrow.

Pride was a big symptom of this Lemuelitis outbreak. I did not want anyone to know of the foolish tragedy that had come upon me. However, I humbled myself sufficiently to ask my neighbor if I could use his gas can. As I drove to the gas station for the second time, my murmuring and waling could be heard throughout the land — or at least by whomever was around me. Minutes after putting the gas into the van, the vehicle roared to life, and my mechanical problem was solved.

My bout with Lemuelitis had only begun. Now everything was wrong. My mood was set on the "murmur mode" — and getting it off the cycle was not easy. The roads were bumpy, and I grumbled. The snow was annoying, and I murmured some more. When the dog wanted to go outside, I murmured. However, if I had not let the dog go outside to do her business, I would have murmured as well. Nothing was right.

Later in the day my wife and I were having a conversation as we tried to plan an event we were both looking forward to. She proposed three options in our planning, all of which would have been fine. However, I had my responder set on "murmur mode." When I responded in the language of murmur, my communication hurt the person I loved the most.

Lemuelitis Murmuronia can destroy your day, your work place or your family as your words spread gloom and hurt to innocent bystanders.

Nephi's solution to Lemuelitis is simple: "Nevertheless, I did look unto m God, and I did praise him all the day long; and I did not murmur against the Lord because of my afflictions." I knew what was wrong with my van. I knew it was simple to fix. I chose to murmur in this minor affliction.

The next time you feel a bit of Lemuelitis Mumuronia begin to come upon you, try to do as Nephi did and praise the Lord and count his blessings to us. The pollution caused in our lives and those around us my Lemuelitis will dissipate if we choose to follow Nephi's antidote. Following Nephi's prescription, Lemuelitists and can be replaced by a peace and gratitude that helps us serve the Lord, our family and our community.

Unlike other diseases, and pandemics, I choose whether or not to be affected by the plague of Lemuelitis.

Rob Ficiur is a teacher who lives in Bow Island, Alberta. He is the author of the novels "Trouble in Palmyra" and "Rescue the Prophet."

e-mail: rob.ficiur@shaw.ca

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