"I, Nephi, crept into [Jerusalem] and went forth towards the house of Laban. And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do. Nevertheless I went forth, and as I came near unto the house of Laban I beheld a man, and he had fallen to the earth before me, for he was drunken with wine. And when I came to him I found that it was Laban. And I beheld his sword, and I drew it forth from the sheath thereof; and the hilt thereof was of pure gold, and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine, and I saw that the blade thereof was of the most precious steel. And it came to pass that I was constrained by the Spirit that I should kill Laban; but I said in my heart: Never at any time have I shed the blood of man. And I shrunk and would that I might not slay him. And the Spirit said unto me again: Behold the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands. Yea, and I also knew that he had sought to take away mine own life; yea, and he would not hearken unto the commandments of the Lord; and he also had taken away our property. And it came to pass that the Spirit said unto me again: Slay him, for the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands; Behold the Lord slayeth the wicked to bring forth his righteous purposes. It is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief. And now, when I, Nephi, had heard these words... I did obey the voice of the Spirit, and took Laban by the hair of the head, and I smote off his head with his own sword." (1 Nephi 4: 5-14, 18)
This sword, the Sword of Laban, had been in the hands of a wicked man. It was used to persecute, torture, and kill those who were righteous, and bring further unrighteousness to the wielder, who was Laban. Sister Craven likened the sword to us, and the Spirit taught me deeper. We in the hands of the wicked one can cause death and destruction, but in the hands of the Most Righteous, we can be wielded for good. As I thought about this, The Sprit brought to my mind two literal scriptural examples, and I saw the words of Alma the younger who told his son, Helaman, "I went about with the sons of Mosiah, seeking to destroy the church of God... I had murdered many of his children, or rather led them away unto destruction..." (Alma 36: 6, 14) And I thought of the account of Paul who, "made havoc of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison." (Acts 8: 3) and continued "breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord..." (Acts 9: 1) Alma and Paul had been in the hands of the wicked one, both doing the same thing as the sword, in a spiritual sense: killing righteous and innocent people.
Just as the Sword of Laban had been taken from Laban, and killed him, it was done with Alma (and those with him), and Paul. We read of Alma's experience, "Now the sons of Mosiah were numbered among the unbelievers; and also one of the sons of Alma was numbered among them, he being called Alma, after his father; nevertheless, he became a very wicked and an idolatrous man. And he was a man of many words, and did speak much flattery to the people; therefore he led many of the people to do after the manner of his iniquities. And he became a great hinderment to the prosperity of the church of God; stealing away the hearts of the people; causing much dissension among the people; giving a chance for the enemy of God to exercise his power over them.
Mosiah 27: 8-19)
Alma's experience is similar to that of Paul. "as he journeyed, [and] came near Damascus." When "suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do." (Acts 9: 3-6)
Alma later described his experience, "I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world. Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death. And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more. And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!" (Alma 36: 17-20) I am sure within those three days, Saul felt similar torment as he fasted (Acts 9: 9) and, more than likely, prayed to the Almighty. But after they were taken from the custody of the Satan. The Lord used them for works of righteousness. The Lord said of Paul "He is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel." (Acts 9: 15)
Jacob 1: 10) it was given to another righteous king. "King Benjamin gathered together his armies, and he did stand against them; and he did fight with the strength of his own arm, with the sword of Laban." (Words of Mormon 1: 13) "And it came to pass that after king Benjamin... gave [Mosiah] charge concerning all the affairs of the kingdom. And moreover, he also gave him charge concerning the records which were engraven on the plates of brass; and also the plates of Nephi; and also, the sword of Laban, and the ball or director, which led our fathers through the wilderness, which was prepared by the hand of the Lord that thereby they might be led, every one according to the heed and diligence which they gave unto him." (Mosiah 1: 15-16) The Sword of Laban is also said to be the sword Captain Moroni fought with in the wars against the Lamanites. It was passed down continually and was with the gold plates in the Hill Cumorah (Doctrine and Covenants 17). This demonstrates the eternal nature of our being in the hands of Righteousness, and fighting on that same side.
These stories, or experiences, do not need to be "Paul, or Alma" experiences. They can be "your, our, and my" experiences. Can the Lord say to you, "you are a chosen vessel unto me to bear my name before [all the world]?" Will you say that for yourself? Would you tell someone to pattern their life after yours as Paul told us? The Story of the Sword of Laban is in similitude of us; and if it is not in similitude of you, my invitation to you is to apply the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Lord wants you to become a chosen vessel for Him, and the Doctrine of Christ is the only way to become. I promise this is the only way to find true and everlasting happiness and peace.