I can't get the wording exactly right on this question, and it's gonna take some explaining. Nephi says this about the Lord's commandment to get the brass plates,

"for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." (1 Nephi 3:7)

Later, when trying to keep the commandment to get the brass plates, he and his brothers failed twice, but he said,

"As the Lord liveth, and as we live, we will not go down unto our father in the wilderness until we have accomplished the thing which the Lord hath commanded us. Wherefore, let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord;" (1 Nephi 3:15-16)

Later he says,

"And it came to pass that thus far I and my father had kept the commandments wherewith the Lord had commanded us." (1 Nephi 5:20)

His last words in the Book of Mormon are,

"For what I seal on earth, shall be brought against you at the judgment bar; for thus hath the Lord commanded me, and I must obey. Amen."

It seems clear to me that every commandment can be obeyed. But it's very hard, especially to obey constantly. I'd like to know why was he able to do it? I believe at the root of that is the question: Why did he believe he could do it rather than believing he would eventually fail? The obvious answer is that it isn't his own strength, but the grace of God that makes this possible, but what makes the enabling power of the Atonement available constantly rather than "every so often"? I'm not sure how to believe that obeying the commandments is really truly all the time possible, and I think I'm misunderstanding the doctrine of grace.

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    I'm not sure this can be answered objectively within the guidelines for this site. Most mainstream denominations teach that it is not possible that we can obey perfectly and that's why we have the need of the free gift of salvation though faith in Christ. This is possibly answerable by phrasing is as "according to LDS teaching", but as phrased, this is asking for Truth rather than a specific denominational teaching. Are you looking for Truth, or a specific teaching? Feb 19 '15 at 6:02
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    For clarification on why I'm asking, see We can't handle the truth Feb 19 '15 at 6:03
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    @DavidStratton According to LDS doctrine it is possible to obey perfectly, and those that do achieve perfection on earth can become translated beings.
    – ShemSeger
    Feb 19 '15 at 6:11
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    Considering he's asking about a Book of Mormon prophet, quoting the Book of Mormon, and the question is tagged LDS, I should think it's a given that he's asking for LDS teachings.
    – ShemSeger
    Feb 19 '15 at 15:29
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    Yeah, just Mormon doctrine please.
    – user18670
    Feb 20 '15 at 2:48

Nephi was not perfect in keeping the commandments. In fact, in 2 Nephi 4 he cries out:

17 Nevertheless, notwithstanding the great goodness of the Lord, in showing me his great and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities.

18 I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me.

19 And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted.

(Emphasis added.) What follows is the beautiful Psalm of Nephi (2 Nephi 4:17-35) in which Nephi praises the Lord for his goodness and mercy and affirms his commitment to follow the Savior. Every commandment can be obeyed, but we fail again and again to keep all the commandments all the time. Yet, we can be perfected through the grace of Christ and his atonement as Moroni states in Moroni 10:

32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.

33 And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.

(Emphasis added.) It is evident from the scriptures, that all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). It is natural for men, to fail keeping the commandments (Mosiah 3:19), and God does not expect us to keep all commandments all the time perfectly. Jesus has done that work for us. What he asks us to do, is to do the best to keep his commandments and repent whenever we fail. Patience and perseverance in trying to do your best are much more important than beating oneself up over every little thing you do wrong (see Alma 42:29; 2 Cor 7:10). Yet we have the promise that

God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1 Cor 10:13)

(See also Alma 13:28.) Hence, we can overcome every sin through God's grace. All he asks us is to try the best we can and whenever we fail, to try again and continue. There's an excellent talk at BYU by Brad Wilcox about the topic of grace which explains this really well.


The answer is in his own strength.

Your ability to resist temptation is measured by spiritual strength. The stronger your spirit, the easier it is to keep the commandments and abhor evil.

Just like your body requires constant nourishment and exercise for physical strength, your spirit also requires constant nourishment and exercise for spiritual strength.

Nephi was diligent in nourishing his spirit, which kept his faith strong:

And it came to pass that after I had received strength I spake unto my brethren, desiring to know of them the cause of their disputations. (1 Nephi 15:6)

Read Dallin H. Oaks devotional address on Nourishing the Spirit to learn more about how you can strengthen your spirit.


Nephi can keep all of God's commandments, at least in the sense of literal physical possibility.

Otherwise, Hell wouldn't make any sense, as it would punish people for not doing what they couldn't anyway. If you were told to fly to Mars tomorrow, and then you didn't (couldn't), it would be antithetical to justice to punish you for that.

The reality, however, is that he won't keep all the commandments, because he will choose not to.

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Romans 3:23

Nephi realizes he isn't perfect in his choices, and only through Jesus will he overcome his sins. From 2 Nephi 4 (called "The Psalm of Nephi"):

17 Nevertheless, notwithstanding the great goodness of the Lord, in showing me his great and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O wretched man that I am...

19 And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted.

The circumstances surrounding 1 Nephi 3:7 are an excellent illustration of this.

Lehi told his sons that God wanted them to retrieve records (Old Testament scriptures and geology) from Laban. Nephi's two oldest brothers (somewhat understandably) doubted that such a thing was possible

How is it possible that the Lord will deliver Laban into our hands? Behold, he is a mighty man, and he can command fifty, yea, even he can slay fifty; then why not us?

Nephi has more faith

let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord; for behold he is mightier than all the earth, then why not mightier than Laban and his fifty, yea, or even than his tens of thousands?

In one way or another, there is "a way for them that they may accomplish the thing". The task was physically possible; otherwise God would not have commanded it. If they fail, it is because they choose to fail.

Knowing this principle gives us confidence that if we begin to do what God has told us, we will be able to finish it. A way is prepared, even if we don't know what it is right now.

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    Lately I've thought that God and I are on a team: I can't do it without Him, and He can't do it without me (because He respects my agency). When I am successful in keeping His commandments, it's impossible to see exactly where my efforts end and where His start, we both are doing all we can, and it wouldn't have worked if one of us gave less than 100%. But God never fails, and so my part is to have 100% faith in Him, like 1 Nephi 4:1 says.
    – user18670
    Mar 11 '15 at 20:02

GOD because of the GRACE of the LORD JESUS - doesn't see you as sinful.

HE became sin on the cross. 2nd Corinthians 5:21

And GOD not counting man's sins against us. 2nd Corinthians 5:19

So, its only in seeing us as HE see's us, a righteousness by faith as scripture clearly tells, that we are blameless and holy. see Romans 3:22

It boils down to either a righteousness by our own doing. We go to church, pray, fast, tithe, do this and do that…banking on our own religiousness (righteousness). OR we rather seek HIS kingdom and HIS righteousness only to have everything added to us. (rather than everything lost)

So, we CANT keep the commandments or laws - impossible. How do we keep them then? by Grace. Seeing and experiencing GOD coming on the inside of us, making us lovers/servers not takers and manipulators. When HE places (by us just thanking HIM for it) that love on the inside. We start to walk better.

But again we are only HOLY or Righteous by taking what JESUS has done as our own - even though we don't deserve it. Otherwise it wouldn't be GRACE.


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