Having been raised outside of the Church, by non-member parents, I often pause and reflect on the phrase that Nephi uses to describe his parents. I frequently contemplate whether my parents are “goodly parents” even though they did not know of Jesus Christ and did not raise me in his Gospel. I have come to the conclusion that the answer is yes.
Nephi primarily focuses on one aspect of his upbringing in order to describe his parents a “goodly.” He focuses on being taught in the learning of his father. Presumably, this includes the less than for the time commonplace skills of reading and writing, but I also believe that upbringing also included the encouragements to draw closer to God, and to seek vigorously to know truth. In other words, Lehi and Sariah encouraged their sons to seek out “the goodness and mysteries of God.”
As I think about my parents, I am deeply grateful for many parts of my upbringing. From my mother, I learned to seek the goodness of God. Her beautiful faith inspired me to want to come to know my father in heaven. I also learned from her the pure meaning of unqualified love. From my father,I learned to seek wisdom and knowledge. I learned to apply my self intellectually and to engage my mind.
Although they did not teach me the Gospel, they taught me the foundational skills and attitudes that I needed in order to come to learn of the Gospel. Without that foundation, I would not have had the same yearning to know the mysteries of God. I would not have been ready to accept the Restored Gospel when it was offered to me.
And of course, my parents were good in many other ways. They sacrificed so much for me in order to help me have the education and the opportunity that I needed. I am deeply grateful for my wonderful parents who made me the person that I am today.
With Nephi, I can truly declare that I was born of goodly parents, and that has made all of the difference in my life.