Book of Mormon (Plain English Version)/1 Nephi
- Chapter 1
- Chapter 2
- Chapter 3
- Chapter 4
- Chapter 5
- Chapter 6
- Chapter 7
- Chapter 8
- Chapter 9
- Chapter 10
- Chapter 11
- Chapter 12
- Chapter 13
- Chapter 14
- Chapter 15
- Chapter 16
- Chapter 17
- Chapter 18
- Chapter 19
- Chapter 20
- Chapter 21
- Chapter 22
Nephi is told to get the brass plates... (compare 1 Nephi, chapter 3)
After the Lord had told me these things, I returned to my father's tent, where he told me, "In a dream, the Lord commanded me to tell you and your brothers to go back to Jerusalem, where Laban, keeper of the holy records, has the writings of Moses and other prophets, and the genealogy of my forefathers engraved on brass plates.
The Lord commanded me to tell you to go to Laban's house where he keeps these brass plates, to ask Laban for them, and to bring them to me in this valley.
When I told your brothers to do this they complained, saying what I was asking of them was too hard. I told them it wasn't my commandment, but the Lord's. You must go, Nephi. Lead your brothers, and the Lord will favor you because you have not complained."
I answered my father, "I will go and do what the Lord commanded, for I know He doesn't give us commandments without preparing a way for us to obey them."
When my father heard this, he was very glad, knowing I had been blessed by the Lord.
Then my three older brothers and I took our tents and traveled back to Jerusalem.
Upon arriving in Jerusalem, we talked about how to get the brass plates from Laban. We cast lots to know who should go into Laban's house and talk with him. The lot fell upon Laman, so he went in and talked with Laban as he sat in his house.
Laman asked Laban for the brass plates, which contained my father's genealogy. Laban became angry and threw Laman out of his house, shouting, "You're a robber, and I'll kill you!" But Laman escaped, ran back and told us what happened.
We became very discouraged and my brothers were about to return to my father in the wilderness, but I told them, "As the Lord lives, and as we live, we will not go back to our father until we have accomplished the Lord's command.
Let us be faithful like our father, who gave up all his wealth to obey the Lord. Our father knows this city will be destroyed because the people here are so wicked. They have rejected the words of the prophets.
If our father had also rejected the word of the Lord, which told him to leave, then our entire family would still be here and would die. This is why we had to leave.
In His wisdom, the Lord told us to come back here for the records so we can preserve the language of our forefathers and the words of the holy prophets who have spoken by the Spirit and power of God since the world began until now."
By saying these things I persuaded my brothers to be more faithful so that we could accomplish our task.
Then we went back to our home in Jerusalem to gather our gold, silver and treasures to take to Laban's house.
- This time we all went into Laban's house and told him we would like to buy the brass plates with our gold, silver and treasures.
When Laban saw our great wealth, he was determined to have it. Being very cunning and greedy, Laban drove us out of his house and called his servants to kill us.
In order to escape the servants, we had to drop our property, run into the wilderness and hide in a cave. After resting in the cave, Laman and Lemuel became very angry with me, and also with our father for telling us to get the plates. They started beating Sam and me with a stick.
Then an angel of the Lord came and stood before them and asked,
"Why are you beating your younger brother? Do you not know the Lord has chosen him to be your ruler because of your sins? Now go back to Jerusalem and the Lord will deliver Laban into your hands."
After saying this, the angel left, after which Laman and Lemuel asked, "How can the Lord deliver Laban into our hands? Laban commands fifty servants, who could kill fifty men, and there are only four of us!"
Nephi is told to kill Laban... (compare 1 Nephi, chapter 4)
I replied to my brothers, "Let's go back to Jerusalem and be faithful in keeping the Lord's commandments. Since He is mightier than all the earth, surely He is mightier than Laban's fifty, or even his fifty thousand. Let's go and be strong like Moses, for when he spoke the Red Sea parted, and our forefathers walked out of captivity on dry ground. Then Pharaoh's armies followed and were drowned in the Red Sea.
You know this is true, and you know an angel just spoke to you, so how can you doubt? Let's go, for the Lord will deliver us just as He delivered our forefathers. He will destroy Laban just as He destroyed Pharaoh's armies."
After Laman and Lemuel heard this, they were still angry and afraid, but they did follow me back to the walls of Jerusalem.
By now it was dark. I told my brothers to wait for me and hide outside the walls. Then I crept into the city and carefully made my way back to Laban's house.
I was being led by the Spirit, not knowing what I was going to do, but I went ahead anyway.
As I came near Laban's house, I saw a drunken man stagger and fall down. I crept closer and discovered that it was Laban! I drew his sword from its sheath. The handle was made of pure gold, the workmanship very fine, and the blade was made from the finest steel.
All at once the Spirit told me, "Kill Laban."
I replied in my heart, "I have never killed anyone, and I don't want to kill this man."
But the Spirit replied, "The Lord has delivered him into your hands as He said He would."
Painting by Lester Yocum
I knew Laban had not listened to the Lord's commandments. My brothers and I had asked Laban for the records and he had refused to give them up. Rather than yield to the Lord, Laban had become proud and greedy, and our wealth had fallen into his hands after he commanded his servants to kill us.
A third time the Spirit spoke, "Kill him, for the Lord has delivered him into your hands. The Lord destroys the wicked to bring about His righteous purposes. It's better for one man to die than a whole nation to falter and pass away in unbelief." When I heard this, I remembered the Lord telling me in the wilderness,
- "If your descendants keep my commandments, they will be protected and allowed to prosper in the choice land that I have prepared for them."
I knew my descendants could not keep the Lord's commandments according to the law of Moses unless they had a record of the law, which was engraved upon the brass plates. And finally, I knew the Lord had delivered Laban into my hands for only one reason--to help me obey His commandment to obtain the records and bring them to my father in the wilderness.
Knowing all these things, I obeyed the Spirit's voice. I took Laban by the hair and swiftly cut off his head with his own sword. Then I put on Laban's clothes and armor, disguising myself as him.
I went to Laban's treasury, where I met his servant who had the treasury keys. Imitating Laban's voice, I told the servant to follow me into the treasury. Because I was wearing Laban's clothes, and because it was dark, the servant thought I was Laban and followed me.
The servant asked about the elders--the Jewish leaders, knowing Laban had been out meeting with them earlier that evening. I answered him in a way I thought Laban would have. I told the servant I would be taking the brass plates to my "elder brethren," who were just outside the city walls, and to follow me there.
The servant thought I was talking about the elder brethren of the church, and he spoke of the Jewish elders many times as he followed me out of the city.
When my brothers saw me coming, they were very frightened and ran, thinking I was Laban--that he had killed me and was now coming to kill them. When I called to them in my own voice, they knew it was me and stopped running.
Then Laban's servant became afraid and was about to run back to the city. Being large for my age, and with the strength given to me by the Lord, I held onto the servant to keep him from escaping. I said to him, "If you will listen to what the Lord told me, as He lives, you will live."
I made an oath with him so he would not be afraid. The oath was that he would no longer be a servant if he would go with us into the wilderness.
I said, "The Lord has commanded us to get the plates, and we should be diligent in keeping His commandments. If you will come with us into the wilderness, you will be an equal among us."
This servant named Zoram took courage at my words and made an oath to go and stay with us from that time forward. We wanted him to come with us so the Jews would not know of us, for they would have come after and killed us.
After Zoram had made this oath, we were no longer concerned about his loyalty to us.
Then we all returned to my father's tent in the wilderness with the brass plates.
Lehi reads the brass plates... (compare 1 Nephi, chapter 5)
My father, Lehi, was very joyful to see us return. My mother, Sariah, was especially happy, for during our journey she had been mourning. She thought we had died in the wilderness somewhere. She had been complaining against my father, telling him he was a visionary man, saying, "You've led us out of the land of our inheritance. Now my sons are dead, and we'll die here in the wilderness."
My father had comforted my mother by saying, "I know I'm a visionary man, for if God had not shown me so many things in vision I would not have left Jerusalem, but would have stayed there with my family to die at the hands of the Babylonians.
But instead, we'll been given a land of promise, over which I rejoice. I know the Lord will protect our sons, so they will return to us with the plates."
When we finally returned, my father and mother were full of joy, and my mother was comforted. She said, "Now I know without a doubt the Lord commanded Lehi to take us into this wilderness. I know the Lord protected my sons so they could accomplish their task."
My father and mother were so happy upon our return, they offered sacrifice and burnt offerings to the Lord, giving thanks to the God of Israel.
After this, Lehi began to read the brass plates from the beginning. The record contained the five books of Moses, which told about the creation of the world, and also of Adam and Eve, our first parents. The plates also contained a record of the Jews, and of the prophets, from the beginning down to the reign of Zedekiah. They also included many of Jeremiah's prophecies.
Lehi found his genealogy written on the plates. He discovered he was a descendant of Jacob's son, Joseph, who was sold into Egypt.
Joseph had been preserved by God to save his father Jacob (Israel) and the rest of his family from starvation. Joseph's descendants were led out of their captivity in Egypt by the same God who had preserved Joseph and his family.
Then Lehi discovered that Laban was also a descendant of Joseph. Laban and his forefathers had been keeping the holy records for many centuries.
After reading these things, Lehi was filled with the Spirit and began to prophesy about his descendants:
"These brass plates will go forth to all nations and people who are of my descent (of the house of Israel). The brass plates will never be destroyed nor lose their greatness over time."
Lehi prophesied many more things about his descendants, not written here.
Up to this time, my father and I had kept all the Lord's commandments.
As we continued to read the plates, they became of great value to us, for they enabled us to teach the Lord's commandments to our children. We clearly saw the Lord's wisdom in commanding us to obtain these records and take them with us on our journey to the promised land.
Purpose of making plates is explained... (compare 1 Nephi, chapter 6)
I, Nephi, am not including the genealogy of my forefathers in my record, for it's already engraved on the brass plates, kept by my father.
It is enough to say we are descendants of Joseph. I don't have room on these small plates to write everything my father did. I want to save room to write about the things of God.
I desire to persuade people to surrender their hearts to Christ--the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and thereby be saved.
The things I write are not pleasing to those who are of the world, but they are pleasing to God and to those who are not of the world.
I will tell my children, who will continue to engrave this record, only to include things of value--things that will persuade their children to come to Christ.
Laman and Lemuel rebel again... (compare 1 Nephi, chapter 7)
After my father finished prophesying about his descendants who would live in the promised land, the Lord said to him,
- "Your family must not go to the promised land before your sons obtain wives, so that they may raise up a righteous people therein."
The Lord commanded my father to tell me and my brothers to go back to Jerusalem again and bring Ishmael and his family back with us to join our journey. So my brothers and I went back to Jerusalem a second time.
Upon arriving we went to Ishmael's house, and he listened as we told him the words of the Lord. All of Ishmael's family agreed to travel with us to my father's camp in the wilderness.
But as we were all traveling, Laman and Lemuel rebelled again. They persuaded two of Ishmael's daughters and both of his sons, along with their wives and children, to rebel also. They rebelled against Sam and me, and against Ishmael, his wife and their three other daughters. Those who rebelled wanted to go back to Jerusalem.
I asked Laman and Lemuel, "How can you be so hard in your hearts, so blind in your minds? Why must I, your younger brother, always have to speak to you and set an example for you?
After all you've seen, how can you rebel against the Lord's word? Have you forgotten you've seen an angel? Have you forgotten how the Lord delivered us from Laban, and how we obtained the brass plates from his treasury? Can't you see by now that the Lord can do anything for His children who have faith in Him?
Now let's be faithful to Him. If we are, we'll obtain the land of promise and escape the destruction of Jerusalem, for we know the Lord's word will be fulfilled.
The Spirit of the Lord will soon completely leave the people of Jerusalem because they rejected the prophets. They threw Jeremiah in prison and tried to kill our father, who had to leave the city with us. The Spirit of the Lord compels me to tell you this:
'Go back to Jerusalem if you wish. But remember, if you do, you'll soon die there!'"
When I finished speaking my brothers were very angry. They grabbed me and tied my hands and feet, intending to leave me bound in the wilderness to be eaten by wild animals.
Lying on the ground tied I prayed, "Oh Lord, according to my faith in Thee, deliver me from the hands of my brothers. Give me the strength to break these ropes."
As I prayed, the ropes loosened and fell off my hands and feet. Then I stood up to speak to my brothers again.
Note: Nephi prayed for strength to break the ropes, but rather the ropes loosened themselves and fell off. This was a lesson to Nephi that the Lord will deliver us, not ourselves in our own strength.
They were still angry with me and wanted to take hold of me again, but one of Ishmael's sons who had rebelled, Ishmael's wife and one of his daughters begged them to stop.
As the Spirit touched them they realized their wrong-doing and stopped. Clearly seeing their own wickedness because of the Spirit, they were afraid and sorry. Such a change came over them, they bowed before me and begged my forgiveness. I forgave them completely and told them to pray to the Lord and ask for His forgiveness, which they did.
After this incident, we continued traveling toward our father's camp. Upon arriving in the valley of Lemuel, my father and Ishmael gave thanks to the Lord their God and offered burnt sacrifices to Him.
Lehi's dream... (compare 1 Nephi, chapter 8)
Before our family had left Jerusalem we gathered seeds so that we could raise every type of fruit and grain. While we camped in the wilderness, my father had a dream--a vision.
He told us, "Because of what I've seen, I rejoice in the Lord over Nephi and Sam. I believe they and many of their descendants will be saved.
But I'm afraid for Laman and Lemuel, for in my dream, I saw them in a dark, dreary wilderness.
In my dream, a man dressed in a white robe came and stood before me. He told me to follow him. I followed but soon found myself in a dark, dreary wasteland.
After walking in this darkness for what seemed to be many hours, I began to pray to the Lord to have mercy on me according to His great and tender mercy.
After praying I came out of the darkness into a large, wide field. In this field, I saw a tree.
The Spirit told me the tree bore a fruit that could make one very happy, so I walked to the tree and ate of its fruit. It was sweeter than anything I had ever tasted, and whiter than anything I had ever before seen.
As I ate, my soul was filled with great joy, and I wanted my family to come and taste it also, for I knew it was the best fruit of all.
Looking around for my family, I saw a river running near the tree. I looked upstream to see from where it flowed, and I saw a fountain as its source. Near the fountain were your mother Sariah, Sam and Nephi, wondering which way to go.
I cried out to them, 'Come over here and taste this wonderful fruit,' and they came, ate the fruit, and were also filled with joy.
Again, I looked to the source of the river, hoping to see Laman and Lemuel. I saw them near the fountain and called out to them, but they would not come to eat the fruit.
Then I saw an iron rod running alongside the riverbank, which led to the tree. I also saw a straight, narrow path running alongside the iron rod, which also led to the tree.
From the fountain, the straight, narrow path led into a field, which seemed as wide as the whole world.
In this field, I saw numberless people from different levels, coming down into the field. Many were moving forward in their efforts to find the path to the tree. Many found the path and began coming toward the tree.
Then a great, dark mist came over the path. Those who had been walking on it could no longer see, and they wandered off the path and became lost.
Then other people came forward and took hold of the end of the iron rod. They came through the dark mist, holding tightly to the rod until reaching the tree, and they ate of its fruit.
After they had eaten, they looked around and were ashamed, for across the river was a large, spacious building standing in the air high above the earth. The building was filled with all types of people--young and old, men and women--all dressed in very fine clothes, laughing and pointing fingers at those eating the fruit.
After tasting the sweet fruit of the tree, many people were ashamed because of those making fun of them, so they left the tree and became lost on forbidden paths."
My father Lehi told us many other details of his dream that I'm not including in this record.
But to be short in writing, my father saw other multitudes of people take hold of the iron rod. Holding it tightly, they continued until coming to the tree, knelt down in humility and tasted its fruit.
He saw yet other multitudes feeling their way to the large, spacious building.
He saw many drowned in the fountain of filthy water and many lost on strange paths.
He saw a great multitude go into the large, spacious building and join in mocking me and those with me eating the fruit, but we ignored them.
All those who wanted the approval of the great multitude in the building left the tree and fell away.
Lehi saw that Laman and Lemuel never did come to the tree and taste its fruit. He was afraid they would be cast off from the Lord's presence, and he spoke to them with all the feelings of a tender parent, pleading with them to listen to him and keep the Lord's commandments. He preached to them, hoping the Lord would be merciful and not cast them off.
Then my father prophesied many things to my brothers and again told them to keep the Lord's commandments.
Lehi prophesies of the Messiah... (compare 1 Nephi, chapter 9)
While living in a tent in the valley of Lemuel, my father saw, heard and spoke all these things, and many more things which cannot be written on these plates.
These smaller plates, which the Lord told me to make many years after arriving in the promised land, will not contain our history. The Lord told me to make these plates for the special purpose of making an account of my people's sacred preaching and prophesying.
The first plates (larger ones) contain the history of my people--the reign of their kings, their wars and contentions.
I don't know why the Lord told me to make another set (small plates), upon which I now write, to contain only the ministry of my people, but I know it's for a wise purpose.
The Lord knows all things and has all power to fulfill His words. He prepares a way for all His works to be accomplished among His children.
Lehi prophesies of Israel's tribes... (compare 1 Nephi, chapter 10)
Now I will continue this record of my ministry among my people and also finish the record of my father's ministry.
After my father finished telling us all about his dream, and after warning Laman and Lemuel, he spoke about the Jews: "After the great city of Jerusalem is destroyed, and many Jews are taken as slaves into Babylon, in the Lord's due time they will return again to their land of inheritance.
Six hundred years from the time we left Jerusalem, the Lord God will raise up a prophet among the Jews--a Messiah--even the Savior of the world. All of the many prophets have testified of this Messiah, or Redeemer.
All people are in a lost, fallen state, and will always be, unless they rely on this Redeemer.
A prophet will come before the Messiah to prepare the way of the Lord. This prophet will tell the people,
- 'Prepare the way of the Lord and make His paths straight, for the Lord stands among you, and you do not know Him. He is mightier than I, for I am not even worthy enough to remove His sandals.'
This prophet will baptize the Messiah in Bethabara, beyond Jordan.
After he baptizes the Messiah he will bear record that he has baptized the Lamb of God, who will take away the sins of the world."
My father prophesied to Laman and Lemuel, "The Messiah will preach His gospel to the Jews, who will not believe Him. Then they will kill the Messiah, but He will rise from the dead. And the Gentiles will come to know Him through the Holy Ghost.
- Note: The Gentiles never hear the Lord's voice directly (3 Ne 15:23).
The house of Israel is like an olive tree, whose branches are broken off and scattered over the earth. Our journey to the promised land is the fulfilling of the Lord's word, spoken by Isaiah, that the house of Israel will be scattered.
Note: To know the complete past and future of the House of Israel,
- as compared to an olive tree, read Jacob 5.
In the last days, after the Gentiles receive the fullness of the Gospel, the house of Israel, or natural branches, will be grafted back into their mother tree. In other words, the house of Israel will come to the knowledge of their true Messiah, their Lord and Redeemer."
This is how my father prophesied to my brothers. I wrote much more of what he said--things important to me, upon my large plates. But I am writing this shorter version on these smaller plates.
All these things were done as my father lived in a tent in the valley of Lemuel.
After my father had told me everything he had seen in visions by the power of the Holy Ghost--given to him because of his faith in the Son of God, I wanted to have the same experience for myself.
I know God is the same yesterday, today and forever. The way of salvation has been prepared from the beginning, available to all who repent and come to Christ.
All who diligently seek the Lord will find Him, and His mysteries will be unfolded to them by the power of the Holy Ghost. This is how God deals with His children, and His ways never change.
Remember this, for you will be judged by all you do.
If you're wicked in your mortal life, then you'll be found unclean before the judgment-seat of Christ. And since no unclean thing can live with God, you'll be cast off forever to a place where God does not live.
I cannot deny these things, for the Holy Ghost has told me to write them.
Nephi's Vision of the Savior's life... (compare 1 Nephi, chapter 11)
Desiring to know what my father had seen, and having faith that the Lord could show it to me, I sat and meditated in my heart.
Then I was caught away, in the Spirit of the Lord, to a very high mountain I had never seen before.
There the Spirit asked me, "What do you want?"
I answered, "To see what my father has seen."
The Spirit asked, "Do you believe your father really saw the tree?"
"You know I believe all the words of my father," I replied.
Then the Spirit cried out, "Hosanna to the Lord, the most high God, for He is God over all the earth, even above all. You are blessed, Nephi, because you believe in the Son of the Most High God.
Because you believe, you will see what you desire to see.
- Note: Seeing is not believing, but believing is seeing.
First, you will see the tree that bore the fruit your father tasted. Then you will see a Man come down from heaven. By seeing Him, you will be able to testify that you have seen the Son of God, and that He lives!"
Then the Spirit said, "Look!"
I looked and saw the tree. It was more beautiful than anything I had ever seen before, and whiter than the driven snow.
I said to the Spirit, "I see the tree, bearing fruit more precious than anything."
"What do you desire now?" asked the Spirit.
I replied, "To know the meaning of the tree."
I talked with the Spirit as I would talk to any man. Although He was in the form of a man, I knew He was the Spirit of the Lord.
The Spirit again said, "Look!"
But when I turned to look, He was gone. I looked down from the mountain and saw the great city of Jerusalem, and other cities as well. I saw the city of Nazareth, and in that city I saw a virgin who was very pure and beautiful.
Then I saw the heavens open. An angel came down, stood before me and said, "Nephi, what do you see?"
I answered, "A virgin, more beautiful and fair than any other."
The angel then asked, "Do you know what the condescension of God means?"
I answered, "I know that God loves His children, but not the meaning of His condescension."
Then he said, "The virgin you see is the earthly mother of the Son of God."
I saw her carried away in the Spirit. After she had been carried away in the Spirit for some time, the angel said to me, "Look!"
I looked and saw the virgin holding a child in her arms.
Then the angel said, "See the Lamb of God, even the Son of the Eternal Father! Now do you know the meaning of the tree?"
"Yes," I answered. "The tree represents God's love which may fill the hearts of all His children, and it is worth more than anything!"
"Yes," said the angel, "And God's love is the most joyous thing to the soul!"
Then the angel said, "Look!"
I looked and saw the Son of God (the word), walking among His people. I saw many fall down at His feet and worship Him.
Then I understood the meaning of the iron rod that my father had seen. It represented God's word.
The iron rod led to a fountain of living waters and the tree of life. Both the pure fountain and the tree of life represented God's love.
Then the angel said, "Look and witness the condescension of God!"
I looked and saw the Redeemer of the world, and the prophet who would prepare the way before Him. The Lamb of God, or Redeemer, was baptized by the prophet.
After He was baptized, I saw the heavens open and the Holy Ghost come down upon Him in the form of a dove.
Then the Redeemer went among the people, ministering to them in power and great glory.
Multitudes gathered to hear Him, but many rejected Him and His words.
I saw twelve others follow Him, but after they were carried away in the Spirit, I could no longer see them.
"Look!" said the Angel.
I looked, and saw the heavens open once again. Angels came down to the people and spoke to them. I saw the Lamb of God going among them, healing their sick and casting out evil spirits. And then I looked and saw the Lamb of God--the Son of the everlasting God, taken by the people and judged by the world. I saw him lifted upon a cross and slain for the sins of the world.
After He was slain, I saw the multitudes of the earth gather together to fight against the gospel of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
This multitude was gathered in the large, spacious building that my father had seen.
The angel said, "Look at the world and its wisdom. Even the house of Israel has gathered together to fight against the gospel of the twelve apostles of the Lamb."
And then I understood that the large, spacious building represented the pride of the world. It fell with a great crash, after which the angel said, "This is how all nations, kindreds, tongues and people that fight against the gospel of the twelve apostles of the Lamb of God will be destroyed."
Nephi's vision of his descendants... (compare 1 Nephi, chapter 12)
Then the angel said, "Look and see your descendants, and also your brothers' descendants."
I looked and saw multitudes of people upon the promised land as numerous as the sand upon the seashore.
I saw these multitudes gather to battle one another.
I saw many wars, and many of my people were killed by the sword. I saw many generations of people come and go, all involved in these wars.
I saw so many cities that I could not count them all.
Then I saw a great mist of darkness over the face of the promised land. After awhile, the land became violent with lightning, thunder, earthquakes and all kinds of loud noises.
I saw large mountains fall into valleys, and plains were broken up. I saw many cities sink into the ocean. I saw many cities burn, and many collapse from earthquakes.
Then for three days there was complete silence and darkness over the earth.
- Note: Nephi saw the 3 days of darkness and great destructions in the New World that took place at the time of the Savior's crucifixion.
After the darkness left, I saw multitudes of people who had been spared from the Lord's great and terrible judgments. I saw the heavens open.
Then I saw the Lamb of God come down from heaven and show Himself to the multitudes.
I bear record that the Holy Ghost came upon twelve others, whom the Lamb of God had chosen from among the multitude and had ordained.
Then the angel said, "See the twelve disciples of the Lamb, chosen to serve your descendants.
Remember the twelve apostles of the Lamb?
They will judge the twelve tribes of Israel.
The original apostles will also judge the twelve disciples (who will be called by Jesus in the New World), for these disciples are descendants of the house of Israel.
By their faith in the Lamb of God, these twelve disciples are purified by His blood. They are righteous forever, and they will judge your descendants."
- Note: These twelve disciples who will judge Nephi's decendants, including the three who still walk the earth today, are Nephi and his brother Timothy, Jonas, Mathoni and his brother Mathonihah, Kumen, Kumenonhi, Jeremiah, Shemnon, Jonas, Zedekiah and Isaiah.
I looked and saw three generations come and go. They were all purified like the disciples, and their robes were white like the robes of the Lamb of God. I saw many in the fourth generation pass away in righteousness.
Then I saw multitudes gathered again to war. The angel then said, "See your descendants and your brothers' descendants," and I saw my descendants gathered to war against my brothers'.
The angel then said, "See the fountain of filthy water and the filthy river that your father saw in his dream? The depths of the fountain represent the depths of hell.
The mist of darkness that covers the straight path, and the whole earth, represents the devil's temptations. This mist keeps the people from seeing the true gospel. It also hardens their hearts against the Spirit of the Lord, and many people are lost because of it.
The large, spacious building represents the world's pride and vanity. A great and terrible gulf divides it from the tree of life. This gulf represents the justice of God and His Son."
While the angel was saying these things, I watched as my brothers' descendants overpowered mine, for my descendants had been tempted by the devil and had become proud and vain.
I saw my descendants completely destroyed, for only my brothers' descendants remained upon the promised land.
Then I saw many generations of my brothers' descendants pass away, fighting battles among themselves.
And the angel said, "These remaining people will falter in unbelief." I saw that they had become a dark, loathsome and filthy people, full of idleness and all kinds of sinful traditions.
Nephi's vision of Europeans in America... (compare 1 Nephi, chapter 13)
Again the angel said, "Look!"
I looked and saw many nations and kingdoms.
He then asked me, "What do you see?" I told him what I saw, and he told me these were the Gentile nations and kingdoms. Then I saw a great church formed by the Gentile nations.
The angel said, "See the most abominable church of all the churches, which captures, tortures and kills God's saints."
I saw that the devil was the founder of this great, abominable church. I saw gold, silver, fine silk, fine linen and all types of expensive clothing, and I saw many prostitutes.
The angel said, "All these things that you see are what the great, abominable church desires. Its members capture and destroy God's saints for the praise of the world."
Then I saw a great ocean (Atlantic), which divided the Gentiles from my brothers' descendants. The angel said, "You will see that God's anger is upon your brothers' people.
- I saw a man among the Gentiles (Christopher Columbus). He was separated from my brothers' descendants in the promised land by the great ocean.
I saw the Spirit of God come upon him and inspire him to sail across the great ocean.
Other Gentiles, who had been in bondage (Puritans, Pilgrims, etc.), also sailed across the ocean to the promised land inhabited by my brothers' people. Then I saw multitudes of Gentiles upon the promised land. God's anger was upon my brothers' descendants (Native South, Central and North Americans). They were scattered before the Gentiles and many were killed, for the Spirit of the Lord was upon the Gentiles.
The Gentiles prospered and obtained the land for their inheritance. They were white, very fair and beautiful, like my people had been before they were all killed.
Now these Gentiles who had gone out of their captivity and had crossed the ocean were humble before the Lord. Because of their humility, the Lord's power was with them.
- Then their native (European) kings became angry, and gathered their armies and navies to battle against the Gentiles in the promised land.
But God's anger was upon all those who fought against the Gentiles, for I saw the Gentiles delivered out ofthe hands of all other nations by God's power.
And I, Nephi, saw that the freed Gentiles prospered in the land.
I also saw a book that they carried among themselves.
Then the angel asked, "Do you know the meaning of this book?"
"No," I answered.
The angel said, "This book, (which will be known as The Holy Bible), is a record of the Jews. Because this book will contain the covenants that the Lord made to the house of Israel, it will be of great value to the Gentiles. It will also contain many prophecies of the holy prophets, like those engraved on the brass plates, but not as many.
Now when this book first went from the Jews to the Gentiles, it contained the fullness of the gospel, of which the twelve apostles testified in all truth. So according to the truth of the Lamb of God, this book went from the Jews to the Gentiles in purity. After this true, pure book went from the twelve apostles, or Jews, to the Gentiles, you saw the formation of that great, abominable church, which is the most abominable of all the churches.
- This church took out of this book, and out of the gospel, many plain and precious parts. They also took out many parts containing the Lord's covenants with His people.
They did this in order to distort the right ways of the Lord, which made it easier for them to blind the people's eyes and harden their hearts against the true, pure gospel of the Lamb."
The angel then said, "Because of that great, abominable church, the Gentiles' Holy Bible will no longer contain many of the plain and precious things that the Book of The Lamb of God will have once contained.
Their Holy Bible will first go to the nations of the Old World in Europe. Then it will be taken across the ocean to the promised land, to your brothers' descendants, the Lamanites.
Now you see that because so many plain and precious things will have been taken out of the gospel of the Lamb, multitudes of people, both Gentile and Lamanite, will stumble in darkness, and Satan will have great power over them.
The Gentiles, who were brought out of captivity and made powerful by God, will not be allowed to completely destroy your people, who will mix with your brothers' people. This is because the Lord God made a covenant with your father, Lehi, that his descendants would have this choice land for their inheritance forever.
Also because of this covenant, the Lord will not allow the Gentiles to remain in their awful state of blindness to the true gospel, which you see they are in because of their incomplete Bible, distorted by that abominable church."
The angel continued,"The Lord will be merciful to the Gentiles by bringing His judgments upon the Lamanites, who will not be mighty before them.
The Lamb of God says, 'I will be merciful to the Gentiles by bringing much (not all) of my gospel to them, and I will restore many (not all) of the plain and precious parts of the gospel to them.'
The resurrected Christ will appear to your descendants in this promised land.
They will write many plain and precious things that He will teach them.
At a later time, when your people are destroyed, these writings will be buried.
And in the last days, when your brothers' people are faltering in unbelief, these writings will come forth to the Gentiles (Latter-day Saints), through God's gift and power.
These ancient writings, which upon being translated will be known as The Book of Mormon, says the Lamb, will contain my gospel--my rock and my salvation.
Those who seek to bring forth Zion at that day will be blessed, for they will have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost. If they continue in righteousness throughout their lives, they will be lifted up at the last day and saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb.
And those who publish peace at that day, even tidings of great joy, will be beautiful upon the mountains of Zion."
After the angel said this, I saw the Gentiles take The Holy Bible to the Lamanites. I also saw other books being taken to the Lamanites.
These books came forth by the gift and power of the Lamb to the Gentiles (the Latter-Day Saints). I saw these books convince other Gentiles, Lamanites, and Jews who were scattered over the earth, that the records of the prophets and twelve apostles were true!
Then the angel said, "These last records (other books) you see among the Gentiles will establish the truth of The Holy Bible, as written by the twelve apostles to the Jews. They will make the plain and precious things, once removed from the twelve apostles' writings, known again. They will declare to all the people of the earth that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, the Savior of the world, and that all people must come to Him to be saved. For all must come to the Lamb according to His words, which will be found in your descendants' record (The complete Book of Mormon), and in the twelve apostles' record (The Holy Bible).
These books will be as one, for there is one God and one Shepherd over all the earth.
The time will come when He will first make Himself known to all nations--to the Jews, and then to the Gentiles. In the last days, He will first make Himself known to the Gentiles, and then to the Jews."
Nephi's vision of the last days... (compare 1 Nephi, chapter 14)
The angel continued, "And in those last days, if the Gentiles listen to the Lamb of God when He shows Himself to them in word, power and deed, and not turn their hearts from Him, then He will include them with the house of Israel, and they will be a blessed people upon the promised land forever.
Then the Gentiles will no longer be brought down as captives, and the house of Israel will no longer suffer in ignorance.
- Note: The angel told Nephi about the Gentiles in the last days, who will no longer be brought down as captives, meaning they will be brought down as captives.
For the Lamb of God said,
- 'That great pit, dug by the great, abominable church, founded by the devil and his children, and dug with the intent to destroy all people, will be filled by those who dug it as they are completely destroyed in the flesh.
- Their spirits will not be destroyed, but will be thrown into an endless hell. For the devil's captivity is also God's justice upon all who hear His word, yet choose wickedness.'"
The angel then said, "Nephi, you know of the Lord's covenants that He made with the house of Israel--that those who do not repent will perish, and you realize that if the Gentiles repent, it will be well with them. But great judgments will come upon the Gentiles if they reject the gospel and harden their hearts against the Lamb of God, for He says,
- 'The time will come when I will work a great, marvelous and everlasting work among the children of men--a work that will either convince people to seek for peace and eternal life, or a work that because of their pride, will allow the devil to justly capture them--to destroy them temporally and spiritually.'"
The angel then asked, "Do you remember the covenants the Lord made with the house of Israel?"
"Yes," I replied.
"Then look and see the great, abominable church--the mother of wickedness.
There are only two churches:
- 1) The church of the Lamb of God
- 2) The church of the devil
Anyone who does not belong to the church of the Lamb of God belongs to the church of the devil--that great church, the mother of all abominations, even the whore of all the earth."
I, Nephi, saw the devil's church. It dominated all nations, kindreds, tongues and people of the earth.
I also saw God's saints, who made up the church of the Lamb of God, spread over all the earth. Their numbers were few because of the wickedness of the devil's church.
Then I saw the devil's church gather multitudes in all the Gentile nations to fight against the Lamb of God.
I saw the power of the Lamb come down upon the saints of His church (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints), and also upon the Lord's covenant people (Lamanites, Jews and other tribes) who had been scattered all over the earth but were now gathering.
They were all armed with righteousness and with God's power in great glory!
Then God's anger was poured out upon that great, abominable church, and there were wars in every nation on earth.
When the wars first broke out among the Gentile nations, the angel said, "God's anger is upon the mother of harlots--the great, abominable church--the mother of abominations.
In the last days, when this vision comes to pass--when wars begin among all Gentile nations, then the Father's work will begin, preparing the way to fulfill the covenants He made with the house of Israel."
- Then the angel said, "Look!" I looked and saw a man dressed in a white robe. "See John the Revelator, one of the Lamb's twelve apostles.
John will see and write the rest of the events of the last days, and also many things which have happened from the beginning of the world.
He will also write about the end of the world. What he writes will be just and true. When he gives his writings to the Jews, they will be plain, pure, most precious and easy to understand.
John will describe what you have seen, Nephi, and he will also describe what you will yet see. But do not write about what you will yet see, for the Lord God has ordained John to do that. There are others who have been ordained by the Lord to see all things concerning the earth, from the beginning to the end. These others will also write their records, which will be sealed up to come forth in purity to the house of Israel in the Lord's due time."
- Note: One of these "others", ordained to see and write all things, was Jared's brother. His record, located in the untranslated portion of Mormon's record, will come forth when the Gentiles, particularly LDS Gentiles, sanctify and humble themselves with sufficient faith (Ether 4:4-7).
It was truly John the Revelator who wrote about the end of the world.
I, Nephi, am forbidden to write what I later saw and heard. What I have written is enough, although it is only a small part of what I saw.
I bear record that the angel showed me everything my father saw. This is a partial record of what I saw and heard while I was carried away in the Spirit to that very high mountain.
I give my witness that everything I have written is true.
Nephi explains Lehi's prophecies... (compare 1 Nephi, chapter 15)
After returning from being carried away in the Spirit, I went back to my father's tent. There I found my brothers arguing over what my father had told them.
My father had said many things that could be understood only by asking the Lord for their meaning. But they, being proud, did not ask the Lord.
I became very sorry because of their stubbornness, and because of the vision I had just seen, in which I knew that my brothers and their descendants would falter because of their unbelief and wickedness. I was overcome with grief, feeling it was greater than anyone's, for I had seen the destruction of my fair people!
After praying to the Lord I received strength, and I asked my brothers what they were arguing about. :They said, "We don't agree on what father meant when he spoke of the natural branches of the olive tree, and of the Gentiles."
I asked them, "Have you asked the Lord to tell you their meaning?"
"No," they replied. "The Lord doesn't tell us such things."
Then I said, "Why don't you keep the Lord's commandments? Why will you allow yourselves to spiritually die because of your hard hearts? Remember, the Lord said,
- 'If you will humble yourselves before me and not harden your hearts, but ask of me in faith, believing that you will receive, and diligently keep my commandments, then these things will surely be made known to you.'
By the same Spirit of the Lord which was in our forefathers, I tell you that the house of Israel was compared to an olive tree. Our family is of the house of Israel, for our father discovered that we are descendants of Joseph.
We are like a natural branch, broken off an olive tree, to be planted in the promised land.
The joining again of the natural branch to the olive tree is compared to our people who will receive the fullness of the gospel in the last days. They will receive it from the Gentiles (Latter-day Saints) many generations after the Messiah will have shown Himself to their forefathers, and many generations after they have faltered in unbelief.
In the last days, the rest of our descendants will know they are members of the house of Israel -- the Lord's covenant people. They will learn of their forefathers, and of their Redeemer's gospel, which He gave to their forefathers.
They will also know how to come to their Redeemer and be saved.
In the last days, they will rejoice and give praise to their everlasting God -- their rock and salvation. They will receive strength and nourishment from the natural tree again -- the true vine, and come into God's true fold.
The Lord will remember them again as members of the house of Israel, and graft them back into their mother tree as natural branches.
Our father means that after the natural branches are scattered by the Gentiles, they will be grafted back in, or in other words, receive the gospel, also by the Gentiles.
The Lord will show His power and give His gospel to the Gentiles because the Jews, or the house of Israel, will have rejected the Lord.
Our father not only spoke of our descendants, but also of the descendants of all the house of Israel, bringing to our attention the covenant that will be fulfilled in the last days, which the Lord made to father Abraham saying,
- 'Through your descendants, all families throughout the earth will be blessed.'"
- Note: Speaking to the Nephites in 34 A.D., the Savior supported Nephi's then 600 year old statements about Isaiah and the covenant, saying,
- "Ye remember that I spake unto you, and said that when the words of Isaiah should be fulfilled—behold they are written, ye have them before you, therefore search them—
- And verily, verily, I say unto you, that when they shall be fulfilled, then is the fulfilling of the covenant which the Father hath made unto his people, O house of Israel.
- And behold, ye are the children of the prophets; and ye are of the house of Israel; and ye are of the covenant which the Father made with your fathers, saying unto Abraham: And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed (3 Nephi 20:11-12, 25)."
I explained many of these things to my brothers -- about the Jews being restored to the lands of their inheritance in the last days.
photo from Book of Mormon Movie
Then I repeated the words of Isaiah, who wrote about the restoration of the Jews and of all the house of Israel. I told them that at that time, the house of Israel would no longer be scattered and confused.
After I explained these things, my brothers were pacified for awhile and they humbled themselves before the Lord.
Later they asked me what the tree meant that our father saw in his dream.
I told them it represented the tree of life.
Then they asked what the iron rod meant. I said it represented God's word, and that those who held onto it never perished, nor could the devil's temptations overpower and blind them, leading them away from the straight path to the destruction of their souls.
I pled with them to listen to this warning from God. I encouraged them with all the energy of my soul, and with all the words of my mind, to obey God's word in all things.
Then they asked what the river meant. I explained that it came from a fountain of filthy water, which represents the devil's temptations.
The depths of the fountain represent the depths of hell.
The river was an awful gulf that separated the wicked from the tree of life, and from God's saints who were eating its fruit.
I told them the gulf represents the awful hell prepared by the devil for the wicked.
I told them our father saw God's justice, which also divided the wicked from the righteous. This justice was as bright as a flaming fire, ascending to God forever.
Then they asked me if that fire represented the torment of the body -- God's justice in this life, or the final state of the soul after death.
I told them the fire represents both temporal and spiritual torment -- that the day will come when all will be judged according to the works they did while in their physical bodies--that if they were to die while they were still wicked, they would be cast off from spiritual things having to do with righteousness.
I told them they will stand before God, who will judge their works, and if their works in the body were filthy in the days of their probation, then they are still filthy out of the body, and therefore cannot live with God. For if they were to live with Him, they would make His kingdom filthy.
God's kingdom will not be made filthy, and no unclean thing can enter it, so there is another kingdom prepared for those who are filthy.
That other kingdom, which is an awful hell, is prepared by the devil.
According to the justice of God's word, the final state of all souls is to live with Him or be cast out of His presence.
I told my brothers this is how the wicked are divided from the righteous, and from the tree of life, the fruit of which is most precious and desirable above all other fruit.
This fruit -- God's love -- is His greatest gift.
The Liahona, made by God, appears ... (compare 1 Nephi, chapter 16)
Then my brothers said, "Nephi, your words are so harsh we cannot bear them."
I replied, "I know my words are harsh against the wicked. I have justified the righteous and have testified that they will be lifted up at the last day.
Guilty people take the truth to be hard on them, for it cuts them to the very center of their souls. If you were righteous -- willing to listen to the truth and obey God's commandments, you wouldn't feel I was speaking harshly to you."
After I diligently urged my brothers to keep the commandments they humbled themselves before the Lord, and I was joyful. I had great hope that they would walk the path of righteousness.
All these things were said and done as my father lived in his tent in the valley he had named Lemuel.
Of Ishmael's five daughters, I married one, each of my three older brothers married one, and Zoram married the eldest.
Up to this time, my father had fulfilled all the commandments the Lord had given him, and I, too had been very blessed by the Lord.
One night the Lord's voice came to my father telling him to continue his journey in the wilderness.
The next morning, when my father went to his tent door, to his great astonishment he saw a ball of strange workmanship, made of fine brass, sitting on the ground.
Within the ball were two spindles. One pointed the way that we should go into the wilderness.
We gathered our provisions that the Lord had given us, and the rest of the things we needed for our journey, including all types of seeds. Then we packed our tents and crossed the river that my father had named Laman.
After traveling in a south-southeastern direction for four days, we set up camp in a place we called Shazer.
Then my brothers and I went into the wilderness with our bows and arrows to hunt for food. After finding food, we returned to our families. Then we continued our journey, traveling south-southeast, staying in the most fertile areas along the borders of the Red Sea.
We traveled for many days, hunting food along the way with our bows and arrows, stones and slings. We followed the direction of the spindle on the brass ball, which led us to the most fertile parts of the wilderness.
After many days we set up camp again to rest for awhile and to hunt for more food. While hunting, I broke my steel bow, and my brothers became angry with me because I could no longer obtain food.
We returned to camp and found our families very tired because of their journeying and suffering from hunger.
Soon all the men except myself began to complain greatly against the Lord because of their afflictions in the wilderness. Because of our weakness due to hunger, and because of my broken bow and my brothers' bows which had lost their spring, our situation became desperate. And because my brothers had once again become stubborn, complaining against the Lord, I spoke to them for a long time.
Then I made a bow out of wood, and an arrow out of a straight stick. I took a sling and some stones and went to my father and asked him, "Where should I go to find food?"
My father asked the Lord where I should go, for the family had humbled themselves after I had spoken many things to them in the energy of my soul.
The Lord's voice came to my father and chastised him for complaining, and my father became very sorry for having complained against God.
Then the Lord's voice said to him,
- "Look at the writing on the ball."
After my father read the writing on the ball, he started to tremble with fear. When my brothers, Ishmael's sons and our wives read the writing, they also began to tremble.
I then realized that the pointers on the ball worked according to our faith in and obedience to the directions they gave us.
Also on the pointers we discovered some new words, plainly written, which gave us understanding about the Lord's ways. The writing changed from time to time according to the faith and diligence we gave to its instructions.
From this we learn that by small means the Lord can bring about great things.
I went atop a mountain as instructed by the directions written on the ball. On the mountain I found wild animals and obtained food for our families.
When I returned to camp with food everyone was overjoyed! They humbled themselves before the Lord and gave thanks to Him. We regained our strength and continued our journey again in the same direction.
After traveling for many days, we set up camp to rest again. And in this place, Ishmael died, after which he was buried in a place called Nahom.
Ishmael's daughters were very sad for having lost their father and because of their afflictions in the wilderness. They complained about my father, saying, "Lehi brought us from our home in Jerusalem to wander in this wilderness. Now our father is dead, and we've suffered from fatigue, hunger and thirst. And after all our suffering we're going to die of starvation in this wilderness!"
They carried on with their complaining about my father and me, asking their husbands to take them back to Jerusalem.
Then, to make them angry against me, Laman said to Lemuel and to Ishmael's sons, "Let's kill our father, and also Nephi, who thinks he's a ruler and teacher over us, his older brothers. Nephi says the Lord has talked with him, and that angels have ministered to him, but we know he lies! He says these things to trick us, to lead us away to some strange wilderness, where he plans to make himself king over us, to do what he pleases."
But in spite of my brothers, the Lord was with us all. His voice came like thunder and we all heard it. He told my brothers many things and chastised them severely.
After this, they changed their anger to humility, and the Lord blessed us with food again.
Nephi is told to build a ship... (compare 1 Nephi, chapter 17)
Then we took up our travels, heading east. We continued to suffer with affliction in the wilderness as our wives bore children, but the Lord poured great blessings upon us. While eating raw meat (for we were commanded not to make many fires) our wives were healthy and nursed their babies.
The women became as strong as the men, and they began to bear the harshness of the journey without complaint.
The miracle of our survival in the harsh wilderness is proof that God's promises will be fulfilled. If His children keep His commandments, He will feed and strengthen them so they may accomplish His commands, for the Lord fed us while we traveled in the wilderness. We camped and traveled in the wilderness for eight years.
- Finally, we came to a land we called Bountiful because it had so much fruit and wild honey prepared for us by the Lord.
Bountiful was by the sea, which we called Irreantum, meaning "many waters." We were very happy to pitch our tents by the seashore and rest, for we had suffered much in the wilderness--so much I cannot write it all.
After we had been in Bountiful for many days, the Lord's voice came to me, saying,
- "Go up onto the mountain."
I went up and prayed, and the Lord said to me,
- "Nephi, you will build a ship according to my design that I will show you. You will do this so that I may carry your people to the promised land across this great ocean."
I asked the Lord, "Where do I find ore to smelt, to make the tools needed to build this ship?" And the Lord told me where to find the ore.
I, Nephi, made bellows from animal skins to blow a fire. Then I struck two stones together and made a fire. Before this, I had not made many fires because of the Lord's command, for He had said,
- "I will make your raw meat taste good so you will not have to cook it. If you keep my commandments, I will be your light in the wilderness and prepare the way before you. I will lead you to the promised land, and you will know that it is I who leads you.
- After you arrive in the promised land, you will know that I the Lord am God, and that I delivered you from destruction by bringing you out of Jerusalem."
After speaking with the Lord, I did my best to keep His commandments, and I encouraged my brothers to be faithful and diligent as well. Then I made tools from metal ore that I smelted out of the rock.
When my brothers realized what I was doing, they said I was a fool to think that I could build a ship good enough to cross the great ocean. They would not help me because they did not believe that I could build a ship, or that the Lord had told me to build it.
I became very sorrowful because of their hard hearts and stubbornness. When they saw this, they became glad and said,
"We knew that you couldn't build a ship. We knew you over-estimated your abilities. You can't do such a great work. You are just like our father, who is led away by the foolish imaginations of his heart. He has led us to wander for these many years in the wilderness.
Our wives have suffered by bearing children in the wilderness. They have suffered everything but death and would have been better off dying in Jerusalem rather than suffering so much out here.
For these many years we have suffered in the wilderness when we could have been happily enjoying our possessions in the land of our inheritance.
We know the people of Jerusalem are righteous, for they keep all the Lord's statutes, judgments and commandments according to the law of Moses. But our father has judged them and has led us away because he knew we would follow him. And you, Nephi, are just like him!"
I replied, "Do you believe our forefathers would have been led out of the hands of the Egyptians if they had not listened to the words of the Lord? Do you believe they would have been led out of their bondage if the Lord had not commanded Moses to lead them out?
You know the children of Israel were in bondage and were given many hard tasks as slaves, and so you know it was good for them to be led out of bondage.
You know Moses was commanded by the Lord to do this great work, and that by his word the Red Sea divided and the children of Israel walked through on dry ground.
You know that the armies who followed them were drowned in the Red Sea.
You know the children of Israel were fed with manna while in the wilderness, and that Moses, by his word according to God's power in him, struck a rock, and water flowed out for the people to drink.
After being led by the Lord their God, their Redeemer, who went before them by day, who gave them light by night, and who did all things for them that they needed, they still hardened their hearts and rebelled against Moses and against God.
And by the Lord's word, He destroyed the children of Israel in their rebellion, or by His word, He led and nourished them in the wilderness.
After they crossed the Jordan River, the Lord gave them strength to drive out those who were in the land, to scatter and destroy them.
And do you think that the people driven out by our forefathers were a righteous people? No, they were not.
And do you think that our forefathers would have been chosen to inherit the land of promise if the people who were already there were righteous? No, they would not have been.
The Lord esteems all people equally, yet He favors the righteous. Those who were driven off the land were ripe in wickedness, and the fullness of His anger was upon them.
The Lord cursed the land against them to their destruction, and blessed the land for our forefathers so that they could obtain power over it, for the Lord created the earth to be inhabited, and He created His children to possess the earth in righteousness.
He raises up a righteous nation and destroys the wicked ones. He leads the righteous into precious lands, and He destroys the wicked, cursing the land for their sakes.
He rules high in the heavens, for it is His throne, and the earth His footstool.
He loves to bless those who accept Him as their God. He blessed our forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, by making covenants with them, and He remembered those covenants by bringing their descendants out of Egypt.
The Lord purified the children of Jacob (Israel) because they were stubborn and hard in their hearts, as you are. He sent fiery flying snakes among them. After they had been bitten, He prepared a way for them to be healed by simply looking at the brass snake held up by Moses. Because the way to be healed was so simple, many would not look up, and they died.
They also hardened their hearts from time to time, and they reviled against Moses, and also against God. But in spite of all this, you know they were led by His matchless power into the promised land.
After all this, the children of Israel, now in Jerusalem, have become wicked and are ripening for destruction.
I know the day must surely come when they will be destroyed, except for a few who will be taken captive. This is why the Lord commanded my father to depart into the wilderness. The Jews planned to kill him, as you do now, so you are murderers in your hearts like the Jews!
You are quick to do wrong, but slow to remember the Lord your God.
You've seen an angel who spoke to you, and you've heard the Lord's voice from time to time. He spoke to you with a soft, gentle voice, but you had become too hardened to feel His words. This is why the Lord has spoken to you with a voice of thunder, causing the earth to quake as if it would split open.
You know that by the power of His almighty word, He can cause the earth to pass away, the mountains to become valleys, and the valleys to become mountains.
Knowing all this, why are you still so hard in your hearts?
My soul is full of anguish because of you, and my heart is pained, for I am afraid that you will be cast from God's presence forever.
Look at me. I am so full of the Spirit of God that it consumes my strength!"
After I said all this, Laman and Lemuel were angry with me, and seeing my weakness, they were about to take me and throw me into the sea. As they were about to take hold of me I said,
"In the name of the Almighty God, do not touch me, for I am filled with the power of God, even unto the consuming of my flesh. Whoever touches me will wither as a dried reed in the sun, and be nothing before God, who will smite him!"
Then I told them to stop complaining and plotting against my father and me, and to no longer refuse to help me build the ship.
I said, "If God commanded me to do anything, I could do it. If He commanded me to say to this water, 'Be thou earth,' it would become earth!
And if the Lord has such great power and has brought about so many miracles among His people, why can't He tell me how to build a ship?"
I said many more things to confound Laman and Lemuel. The Spirit of God was so powerful upon them, that they dared not touch me for many days, for they were afraid of withering before me.
After many days, the Lord told me to hold out my arm and touch my brothers, and that He would shock them so they would know it was by His power.
I did as the Lord said, and after He shook them they said, "Nephi, we know for sure the Lord is with you, and that His power has shaken us."
Then they fell down before me, about to worship me, but I told them, "I'm your younger brother. Worship the Lord your God, and honor your father and mother so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God will give you."
Laman and Lemuel humbled, yet rebel again... (compare 1 Nephi, chapter 18)
My brothers worshipped the Lord and helped me build the ship. We worked the timber in a strange manner, for the Lord showed me from time to time how to fashion the timbers of the ship. It was not made like the ships of man's design, for we built it according to the Lord's design, which He showed me.
I often went up to the mountain to pray to the Lord, and He showed me great things.
When we finished the ship, my brothers saw that it was good--the workmanship very fine, and again they humbled themselves before the Lord.
Then one night, the Lord's voice came to my father, Lehi, telling him that we should board the ship.
In the morning we gathered the large supplies of meat, fruit, honey, seeds and provisions that the Lord told us to gather, and we boarded the ship.
In her old age, my mother had borne two sons in the wilderness. The first was named Jacob, the second Joseph.
After we boarded the ship we set out to sea, and the wind drove us toward the promised land.
After many days of sailing, my brothers and Ishmael's two sons and their wives began to make themselves merry. They danced, sang and spoke very rudely, forgetting that God was carrying them safely across the sea.
I was afraid that their rudeness would provoke the Lord to smite us, and that we would be swallowed up in the depths of the sea, so I spoke to them very seriously, but they became angry with me, and said, "We will not tolerate you trying to be a ruler over us."
Then Laman and Lemuel tied me with ropes and treated me harshly. The Lord allowed them to do this in order to show His power and thereby fulfill His words about the wicked.
I could not move being tied, and the pointers on the compass that the Lord had made ceased to move as well. :Then a great storm arose. It was such a terrible tempest that my brothers did not know which way to steer the ship, and we were driven back for three days. They became very frightened, thinking they would be drowned in the sea, but they still would not untie me.
On the fourth day, this terrible storm grew stronger still. By the end of that day, our ship was about to be swallowed up in the depths of the raging sea, and my brothers began to realize that God's judgments were upon them--that unless they repented, they would die, so they untied me.
My wrists and ankles had become very sore and swollen, but I did not complain. I looked to God and praised Him all that day.
While I had been tied, my father had said many things to my brothers and to Ishmael's sons, for which they had threatened him. They had also threatened anyone else who had tried to speak on my behalf.
My parents had become very sick, being old, and having suffered much grief because of their sons. Their sorrow over the iniquity of my brothers and their years of affliction had brought them near death.
My young brothers, Jacob and Joseph, needed much nourishment, but they suffered because of their mother's afflictions.
Even the tears and prayers of my wife and children did not soften my brothers' hearts, that they would untie me.
Nothing but God's power, threatening them with destruction, could soften their hearts. Only after they realized they were about to die at sea did they repent and untie me.
Finally freed, I held the compass and it began to work again. And as the storm raged on, I prayed to the Lord, and at last the tempest stopped and the waves became calm. Then I steered the ship as we sailed toward the promised land.
After sailing for many days, we joyfully arrived at the promised land and gave great thanks to God.
We went upon the land and pitched our tents. We plowed the land and planted the seeds we had brought from Jerusalem. The seeds grew very well, and we were blessed with abundant crops.
As we explored this promised land, we discovered many types of animals in the forests. We found cows, oxen, donkeys, horses, goats and all kinds of wild animals useful to us. We also found many types of ore, including gold, silver and copper.
Nephi makes more plates, quotes from brass plates... (compare 1 Nephi, chapter 19)
Soon after arriving in the promised land, the Lord commanded me to make large plates. Upon those plates, I transcribed my father's record of our journey in the wilderness, of his prophecies, and many of my prophecies.
While making my first set of plates, I didn't know that several years later the Lord would tell me to make this second set (these smaller ones). My first set contains my father's record, his genealogy and a detailed account of our wilderness journey.
On this second set, the Lord told me to write a plain and precious record of the ministry and prophecies to my people. This record was to be for their instruction, and for other wise purposes known to Him.
I made a detailed record of my people's warfare on my first set of plates (the larger ones). I have told my people that after I am gone, they should hand down all my plates, from one generation to another, from one prophet to another, until the Lord commands otherwise.
For now, I am writing this sacred history, and at a later time I will tell you how the Lord commanded me to make this second set of plates, upon which I now write this more sacred history.
My first set of plates, containing our detailed history, is also sacred.
If I make mistakes, like those who have written before me, I forgive myself, not because others have also made mistakes, but because like others, I, too am weak in the flesh. Some consider what I write to be of great worth, both temporally and spiritually, while others do not value it at all. Some do not even value the very God of Israel and His counsel.
But according to what the angel said, the God of Israel will be born 600 years from the time my family left Jerusalem. And because of their iniquity, the worldly will judge Him to be of no value. They will whip and strike Him, and even spit on Him. He will allow this because of His loving kindness and long-suffering toward all people.
The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who led the children of Israel out of Egypt and preserved them in the wilderness, will yield Himself as a mortal man into the hands of wicked men, to be...
- ..."lifted up," according to the words of Zenock.
- ..."crucified," according to the words of Neum.
- ..."buried in a selpulcher," according to the words of Zenos, who also spoke of three days of darkness that would be a sign of His death, given to the house of Israel throughout the world.
Zenos the prophet said, "The Lord God will surely visit all the house of Israel at the time of His death and resurrection. He will visit some with His voice because of their righteousness, to their great joy and salvation.
And He will visit others with His power--with thunder, lightning, storms, fire, thick darkness, by opening the earth, and by raising mountains. The rocks of the earth will break up, and because of the groaning of the earth, the Spirit of God will come upon many kings on other continents, who will exclaim, 'The God of nature suffers.'
The people of Jerusalem will be scourged by all nations for crucifying the God of Israel, and for rejecting His signs, wonders, power and glory. They will be defamed and hated among all nations. They will wander and perish for despising the Holy One of Israel, for turning their hearts from Him."
- "His blood be on us and upon our children"
- A partial history of persecution against the Jews...
- 70 A.D. - Jerusalem sacked, 1,100,000 killed, 97,000 captured by Romans
- 1095 to 1189 - attacked in Holy Land, rioted against in England
- 1182 - expelled from France
- 1420 - expelled from Vienna
- 1481 - 30,000 burned at the stake during Spanish Inquisition
- 1490 - expelled from Geneva, Switzerland
- 1492 - 150,000 expelled from Spain
- 1493 - expelled from Sicily
- 1497 - expelled from Austria
- 1498 - expelled from Lithuania
- 16th, 17th, 18th centuries, expelled from England and France
- 1939 to 1945 - 6 million killed by Hitler's regimes
Zenos continues, "However, when the day comes that the Jews no longer turn their hearts away from the Holy One of Israel, He will remember the covenants that He made to their forefathers. He will remember all the people who are of the house of Israel and gather them together from all over the earth. Then all the people of the earth in every nation will see the salvation of the Lord and be blessed."
And I, Nephi, write these things to persuade my people to always remember their Lord and Redeemer. I write these things to all the house of Israel, that my record might come to them as well.
Now I grieve in the spirit, to the point of growing weak for those who are in Jerusalem. But the Lord has shown mercy on me. He has saved me from perishing in Jerusalem and has shown me its destruction, just as He showed the prophets of old.
Surely the Lord showed the prophets of old everything about Jerusalem and about us and our descendants. It is very important for us to have their prophecies that are written on the brass plates.
I taught my brothers these things, and I read them many things from the brass plates so they would understand how the Lord has dealt with His people in other lands, and in times past. I read many things to them written by Moses, and especially by Isaiah, to persuade them to believe in the Lord their Redeemer.
I applied all the scriptures to our lives so that we could profit and learn from them. Before reading some of Isaiah's words I said, "Listen, you who are a branch of the house of Israel, which has been broken off and carried across the sea.
Listen to the words of Isaiah, written for all of Israel's descendants.
Apply Isaiah's words to your lives so that you may have hope in your Redeemer along with the rest of the house of Israel. For the reason Isaiah wrote was to give us hope!"
Nephi writes Isaiah's words from the brass plates... (compare 1 Nephi, chapter 20)
The Lord's words, first spoken to Isaiah: Listen, oh house of Jacob (Israel), who are baptized, and who make oaths in the name of the Lord and speak of God, yet do it not in truth nor in righteousness. You call yourselves holy, but you do not put the God of Israel first in your lives, whose name is The Lord of Hosts.
From the beginning, I have told you, through prophets, things that have happened. I have spoken and revealed them suddenly. I did this because I knew how obstinate and stubborn you are as a people. I prophesied to you of things that I would do before they happened, fearing that unless I did this, you would say, "Our idols and graven images have caused them to happen."
Having seen and heard their fulfillment, will you now declare them to others? Will you also declare that I have shown you new, previously hidden things? They are things revealed now, but not before. Otherwise, you would say, "We already knew about them (without a prophet)." You did not hear or know of these things before they were revealed to you, for I knew you would be a treacherous people, born into a sinful state. But in spite of your sinfulness, for my name's sake I will put my anger aside, and for my praise I will not completely destroy you, oh house of Israel, yet I will refine and choose you in the furnace of affliction. I will do this for my own sake, for I will not allow my name to be dishonored nor give my glory to another.
Listen to me, oh house of Jacob, which I have called out of the world, for I am He who was at the first, and who will be at the last. My hand laid the foundation of the earth. My right hand reaches throughout the heavens. I call to them and they obey me at once.
Assemble, all the house of Israel, and listen. Who among you has declared these things to you? It is he, whom I, the Lord, have loved. I will fulfill his prophecies of the house of Israel, and through him bring my justice upon the worldly. I have called and raised him up to prophesy, and he will fulfill his calling well.
These are the words of this servant of the Lord: "Come near me, for I have spoken openly from the beginning--from my first declaration. The Lord God and His Spirit have sent me. The Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, says,
- 'I, the Lord your God, who teaches you for your profit, and who leads you, have sent you my servant.
- If only you had obeyed my commandments--then your peace would have distilled upon you as the dews from heaven, and your righteousness would have forever flowed to you as the waves of the sea.
- Your descendants would have been as many as the sands upon the seashore, and their names would not have been cut off from before me.'
Now I (Isaiah) say, give up your worldliness and flee your conspiring enemies. With a voice of singing, declare to the ends of the earth that the Lord has redeemed all the house of Israel! For the Lord led the children of Israel out of bondage through the desert and caused water to flow out of the rock. Even though the Lord has done all this, and even greater things to save His children, the Lord says,
- 'There is no peace for the wicked.'"
Nephi reads Isaiah's words from brass plates... (compare 1 Nephi, chapter 21) "Listen to me, oh house of Israel, all of you who are broken off and driven out because of my people's wicked pastors. Listen, all of you who are scattered abroad, who are of the house of Israel upon all continents, for the Lord called me before I was born, mentioning my name before my birth. The Lord has made my words strong, but as I was growing up, He refined me in obscurity. He said to me,
- 'You are my servant of Israel, in whom I will be glorified.'
Then I replied, 'But I have worked for nothing, laboring in vain, for only the Lord judges me, and only my God knows my works.'
But the Lord, who ordained me before I was born to be His servant to restore Jacob, said that even though Israel is not yet gathered, I will yet be glorious in His eyes, and my God will be my strength.
- Note: This is the same latter-day servant yet to come, described in D&C 113:5-6 and 2 Ne 3:24.
The Lord said to me,
- 'It is not enough that you will be my servant to raise up the tribes of Israel--Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh), Judah (the Jews), and the other tribes. You will also be a light to the Gentiles (including LDS Gentiles), and thereby be my salvation to the ends of the earth.'
- Note: In many prophecies about Latter-day Saints, they are referred to as Gentiles.
- See 1 Ne 13:35, 3 Ne 16:6-7, 21:11.
The Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, said to me, a servant to those in authority, whom men despise and nations abhor,
- 'Kings will take notice and arise, and princes will also worship me, the Lord, seeing my faithfulness to my people.
- In my own due time, I will hear the cries of the house of Israel, and through my salvation I will help them. I will preserve them, giving them you, my servant, as their covenant.
- You will establish the earth and cause them to inherit the desolate places. You, my servant, will say to the prisoners, "You are free," and to those in spiritual darkness, "Come into the light."
- Then all will be fed as they make their journey, finding rest in all high places. They will not hunger or thirst, nor will the heat or the sun burn them, for He who has mercy on them will lead them to the springs of water. I will make a way to all my nations, raising my highways. Then see, oh house of Israel, all those who come to you from afar--from all over the world.'
Sing, oh heavens, be joyful, oh earth, for the people of the east will be established. Break forth into singing, oh nations, for you will no longer be broken up, for the Lord will comfort His people and have mercy on His afflicted!
Those of Zion will say, "The Lord has forgotten us!" but He will show that He has not. Just as a woman cannot forget her nursing child, neither can the Lord forget the house of Israel--even though they may forget Him.
He will say to them, "Look at these prints upon my hands, continually before me, just as you are. Therefore, I will cause your sons to quickly drive out your destroyers. Look around, oh house of Israel, and see all your tribes gathering around you.
And as I the Lord, live, you will surely be bound together in love. Your gathering tribes will yet make the desolate places too full, even after all your oppressors are removed far away.
Then your children, who will be given to compensate for your lost ones, will again say, "This place is too crowded. Give me another place to live." Those of the house of Israel will ask, "Who has given me these children after my first ones were lost--after I was made desolate and moved from place to place? Where have these children been while I was left alone?"
- Note: Children -- Jeremiah 31:15-17.
The Lord God will reply,
- "I raised up my servant to the Gentiles, setting up my standard to the people (including Latter-day Saints).
- Note: "Servant" is a metaphor for the words "hand, arm, ensign and rod."
- (compare metaphors for "root of Jesse" in 2 Nephi 21:10-12).
- They took the gospel to the house of Israel, bringing your sons and daughters to you, supporting them. Many wealthy Gentiles, including kings and queens, will take notice of your plight and will greatly humble themselves before you.
- Then all the house of Israel will know that I am the Lord, for those who wait for me will not be disappointed."
Is it likely for those who have been the prey of the mighty warriors--those justly captured--to be delivered? To many it is not, yet the Lord said,
- "Even the captives of the terrible and the prey of the mighty warriors will be delivered, for I will contend with him that contends with the children of Israel, and I will save them.
- I will cause those who fight against the house of Israel to fight among themselves, and they will destroy one another. Then all will know that I, the Lord, am their Savior and Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob."
Nephi explains Isaiah's prophecies... (compare 1 Nephi, chapter 22)
After I, Nephi, read some of Isaiah's words from the brass plates to my brothers, they asked me, "What does all this mean? Are these things spiritual or temporal?"
I replied, "These words were given to Isaiah by the voice of the Spirit, for by the Spirit all things that will happen to God's children are made known to the prophets. These words of Isaiah are both temporal and spiritual, for sooner or later, the house of Israel will be scattered among all nations.
Even now there are many tribes not known to the people in Jerusalem, for most of them have been led away. Most of the tribes are scattered over the continents. We do not know where they are, but only that they have been led away.
Isaiah prophesied about those who have been led away, and about those who would be scattered and hated (the Jews) among all nations for hardening their hearts against the Holy One of Israel.
The prophecy of the Lord's hand being lifted up to the Gentiles, and of the Gentiles taking care of the children of those who are scattered, is a temporal prophecy, for the Lord's covenants with our forefathers are temporal. These covenants will insure blessings upon our descendants and upon the descendants of all the tribes of Israel. Isaiah's words mean this: After all of the tribes of Israel have been scattered and confounded, the Lord God will raise up a mighty nation upon this land (USA). This mighty nation will scatter our descendants and make them desolate (displacement of Native Americans).
Then the Lord God will begin (restoration of the gospel) to do His marvelous work among the Gentiles--a work that will be of great worth to our descendants.
- Note: The restoration of the gospel was the "marvelous" work. The "great and marvelous work and a wonder" is yet to come (2 Ne 27:26 and Ether 4:15).
Some of the Gentiles will nourish our descendants, carrying them in their arms and upon their shoulders.
This marvelous work will also benefit other Gentiles and all the house of Israel (the Jews and other tribes). Then all will know of the covenants that the Father made with Abraham, saying,
- 'Through your descendants, all nations will be blessed.'
I want you to know, my brothers, that all the nations of the earth cannot be blessed until the Lord makes His arm bare in the eyes of all nations. This means He will fulfill His covenants with power as He brings His gospel to all the tribes of Israel.
- Note: How power is described in D&C 1:14, 103:15-18 and 2 Nephi 6:14.
The Lord will again bring all the tribes of Israel out of captivity and gather them to the their lands of inheritance. They will be brought out of spiritual darkness and come to know that the Lord is their Savior and Redeemer--the Mighty One of Israel.
After the tribes have been gathered, the devil's great, abominable church will war among itself.
All nations that make war with the house of Israel will make war with one another. They will fall into the very pit dug to trap the Lord's people, for all who fight Zion will be destroyed. That great, abominable church, which will distort the right ways of the Lord, will tumble to the dust with a great fall! For Isaiah said,
- 'The time comes quickly when Satan will no longer have power over the people's hearts (the millennium), for soon all the proud and the wicked will be burned like a harvested field of wheat.
- Soon the fullness of God's anger will be poured out upon all people, for the Lord will not allow the wicked to destroy the righteous. The Lord will preserve the righteous by His power, even if He must come in the fullness of His anger to destroy the wicked with fire. This is why the righteous need not fear.'
I know, my brothers, that these destructions must soon come--even blood, fire and vapor of smoke will come upon those who harden their hearts against the Holy One of Israel. But the righteous will not perish (spiritually or temporally), for the time will come when those who fight against Zion will be destroyed. The Lord will surely prepare a way for His people--fulfilling the words of Moses, who said,
- 'The Lord your God will raise up a prophet like me, and you must listen to all He says, for those who will not listen to Him will be destroyed.'
And I, Nephi, tell you that the prophet Moses spoke of is the Holy One of Israel, even the Messiah, Jesus Christ, and He will judge with righteousness.
The righteous need not fear, for they will not be confused. But the devil's kingdom built up among the people will have great reason to fear. For according to Isaiah, the time will come in the last days when all churches that belong to the devil's kingdom will fear and tremble as they see their destruction coming.
Those churches created to get gain and power over people, to become popular, seeking physical gratification and material possessions, will be brought down and burned.
The time soon comes when the righteous must be protected and nourished as helpless calves, and the Holy One of Israel must reign in dominion, might, power and great glory.
He will gather His children from all over the earth, numbering each of them, and they will know Him. Then there will be one fold and one Shepherd, and the Lord will feed and protect His children. Because of the righteousness of the Lord's people, Satan will have no power over them. He will not be unloosed for a thousand years, even the millennium, and the Holy One of Israel will reign among His people.
I know that all these things will happen to people in the flesh, for all nations, tribes and people of all languages will live safely, protected by the Holy One of Israel, if they repent of their wickedness. This is all I will say about Isaiah's words for now. Laman and Lemuel, I hope you will consider that the things written on the brass plates are true--things which testify that we must obey God's commandments.
Don't think our father Lehi and I are the only ones who have testified of these things. If you'll be obedient to the commandments and remain righteous throughout your lives, then you'll be saved on the day of judgment. Amen."
- NOTE: ISAIAH IS KEY TO BOOK OF MORMON STRUCTURE AND EVENTS OF THE LAST DAYS.
- Among the hundreds of books available to Mormon, the few he included in his compilation contain historical documentation that strictly follow the pattern set forth by Isaiah's writings. Isaiah's prophecies illustrate the Lord's people in all ages repeating cycles of blessings, apostasy, exile of the righteous, invasion by enemies, captivity, and ultimate deliverance through repentance. This is why Isaiah's writings (written on Laban's brass plates) were used and explained by Nephi, Jacob, Abinadi, the resurrected Savior, and Moroni. Isaiah writes about patterns that will repeat themselves in the last days. This is why The Book of Mormon, a book written to warn latter-day Israel, is patterned after Isaiah's writings.