Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2012, March 19

“Book of Mormon: Why is Chiasmus Found in Alma 36–of All Places?” by grego

Book of Mormon: Why is Chiasmus Found in Alma 36, of All Places?

grego
(c) 2012

As a continuation of my article of Alma’s use of NLP to communicate with his sons…

Absolutely!! Remember, Helaman is a reader, a thinker, a contemplater–not a doer. Alma purposefully gives Helaman a special message in a special form that will likely encourage him to study it more and appreciate it more deeply.

This includes literary elements like extremes, exaggerations (even if true), short and powerful yet subtle lines, and coloring throughout chapter 36: “I swear unto you”, “none could deliver”, “he surely did deliver”, “voice of thunder”, “the whole earth did tremble”, “Arise”, “If thou wilt of thyself be destroyed, seek no more to destroy the church of God.”, “fell to the earth”, “I could not open my mouth”, “struck with such great fear and amazement”, “racked with eternal torment, for my soul was harrowed up to the greatest degree and racked with all my sins”, “tormented with the pains of hell”, “rebelled against my God”, “I had murdered many of his children”, “the very thought”, “rack my soul with inexpressible horror”, “banished and become extinct”, “racked, even with the pains of a damned soul”, “racked with torment”, “harrowed up by the memory of my many sins”, etc.

1 My son, give ear to my words; for I swear unto you, that inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land.
2 I would that ye should do as I have done, in remembering the captivity of our fathers; for they were in bondage, and none could deliver them except it was the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and he surely did deliver them in their afflictions.
3 And now, O my son Helaman, behold, thou art in thy youth, and therefore, I beseech of thee that thou wilt hear my words and learn of me; for I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day.
4 And I would not that ye think that I know of myself-not of the temporal but of the spiritual, not of the carnal mind but of God.
5 Now, behold, I say unto you, if I had not been born of God I should not have known these things; but God has, by the mouth of his holy angel, made these things known unto me, not of any worthiness of myself;
6 For I went about with the sons of Mosiah, seeking to destroy the church of God; but behold, God sent his holy angel to stop us by the way.
7 And behold, he spake unto us, as it were the voice of thunder, and the whole earth did tremble beneath our feet; and we all fell to the earth, for the fear of the Lord came upon us.
8 But behold, the voice said unto me: Arise. And I arose and stood up, and beheld the angel.
9 And he said unto me: If thou wilt of thyself be destroyed, seek no more to destroy the church of God.
10 And it came to pass that I fell to the earth; and it was for the space of three days and three nights that I could not open my mouth, neither had I the use of my limbs.
11 And the angel spake more things unto me, which were heard by my brethren, but I did not hear them; for when I heard the words-If thou wilt be destroyed of thyself, seek no more to destroy the church of God-I was struck with such great fear and amazement lest perhaps I should be destroyed, that I fell to the earth and I did hear no more.
12 But I was racked with eternal torment, for my soul was harrowed up to the greatest degree and racked with all my sins.
13 Yea, I did remember all my sins and iniquities, for which I was tormented with the pains of hell; yea, I saw that I had rebelled against my God, and that I had not kept his holy commandments.
14 Yea, and I had murdered many of his children, or rather led them away unto destruction; yea, and in fine so great had been my iniquities, that the very thought of coming into the presence of my God did rack my soul with inexpressible horror.
15 Oh, thought I, that I could be banished and become extinct both soul and body, that I might not be brought to stand in the presence of my God, to be judged of my deeds.
16 And now, for three days and for three nights was I racked, even with the pains of a damned soul.
17 And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world.
18 Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death.
19 And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more.
20 And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!
21 Yea, I say unto you, my son, that there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy.
22 Yea, methought I saw, even as our father Lehi saw, God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels, in the attitude of singing and praising their God; yea, and my soul did long to be there.
23 But behold, my limbs did receive their strength again, and I stood upon my feet, and did manifest unto the people that I had been born of God.
24 Yea, and from that time even until now, I have labored without ceasing, that I might bring souls unto repentance; that I might bring them to taste of the exceeding joy of which I did taste; that they might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
25 Yea, and now behold, O my son, the Lord doth give me exceedingly great joy in the fruit of my labors;
26 For because of the word which he has imparted unto me, behold, many have been born of God, and have tasted as I have tasted, and have seen eye to eye as I have seen; therefore they do know of these things of which I have spoken, as I do know; and the knowledge which I have is of God.
27 And I have been supported under trials and troubles of every kind, yea, and in all manner of afflictions; yea, God has delivered me from prison, and from bonds, and from death; yea, and I do put my trust in him, and he will still deliver me.
28 And I know that he will raise me up at the last day, to dwell with him in glory; yea, and I will praise him forever, for he has brought our fathers out of Egypt, and he has swallowed up the Egyptians in the Red Sea; and he led them by his power into the promised land; yea, and he has delivered them out of bondage and captivity from time to time.
29 Yea, and he has also brought our fathers out of the land of Jerusalem; and he has also, by his everlasting power, delivered them out of bondage and captivity, from time to time even down to the present day; and I have always retained in remembrance their captivity; yea, and ye also ought to retain in remembrance, as I have done, their captivity.
30 But behold, my son, this is not all; for ye ought to know as I do know, that inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land; and ye ought to know also, that inasmuch as ye will not keep the commandments of God ye shall be cut off from his presence. Now this is according to his word.

2012, March 6

“Book of Mormon: The Law of War (Doctrine and Covenants 98) and the Law of Witnesses–Two Keys to Understanding the Structure and Content of Nephi’s Writings (1 Nephi–2 Nephi 5) and the Nephite-Lamanite Conflict” by grego

Book of Mormon: The Law of War (Doctrine and Covenants 98) and the Law of Witnesses–Two Keys to Understanding the Structure and Content of Nephi’s Writings (1 Nephi–2 Nephi 5) and the Nephite-Lamanite Conflict

grego
(c)2012

Two laws underlie the whole textual structure of 1 Nephi and the beginning of 2 Nephi: the law of witnesses and the law of war (which is an extension of the law of witnesses). These two laws set up the promises of the Lord to Nephi and their fulfillment through legitimate and lawful means, and set up the future of Nephite-Lamanite relations (which makes up much of the Book of Mormon). In addition, Nephi writes so that future Nephites and Lamanites will be sure of the true history of their forefathers.

Similar to how the last part of 1 Nephi 1 is the thesis statement for Lehi and his posterity and the whole Book of Mormon, the last part of the first writing that is about Nephi tells about the promise the Lord makes to him and is the thesis for the life of Nephi (much like a patriarchal blessing):
1 Nephi 2:20 And inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper, and shall be led to a land of promise; yea, even a land which I have prepared for you; yea, a land which is choice above all other lands.
21 And inasmuch as thy brethren shall rebel against thee, they shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord.
22 And inasmuch as thou shalt keep my commandments, thou shalt be made a ruler and a teacher over thy brethren.
23 For behold, in that day that they shall rebel against me, I will curse them even with a sore curse, and they shall have no power over thy seed except they shall rebel against me also.
24 And if it so be that they rebel against me, they shall be a scourge unto thy seed, to stir them up in the ways of remembrance.

Laman and Lemuel learn at least a little about this promise:
1 Nephi 3:29 And it came to pass as they smote us with a rod, behold, an angel of the Lord came and stood before them, and he spake unto them, saying: Why do ye smite your younger brother with a rod? Know ye not that the Lord hath chosen him to be a ruler over you, and this because of your iniquities? Behold ye shall go up to Jerusalem again, and the Lord will deliver Laban into your hands.

So, here the challenge to their inheritance has been thrown down; will they prove it wrong, or will it go unchallenged in the proper ways? We will see that after the promise and reason have been given them, more witnesses will be given.

This challenge is the problem Laman and Lemuel repeatedly use to fight against Nephi:
1 Nephi 16:37 And Laman said unto Lemuel and also unto the sons of Ishmael: Behold, let us slay our father, and also our brother Nephi, who has taken it upon him to be our ruler and our teacher, who are his elder brethren.

1 Nephi 16:38 Now, he says that the Lord has talked with him, and also that angels have ministered unto him. But behold, we know that he lies unto us; and he tells us these things, and he worketh many things by his cunning arts, that he may deceive our eyes, thinking, perhaps, that he may lead us away into some strange wilderness; and after he has led us away, he has thought to make himself a king and a ruler over us, that he may do with us according to his will and pleasure. And after this manner did my brother Laman stir up their hearts to anger.

1 Nephi 18:10 And I, Nephi, began to fear exceedingly lest the Lord should be angry with us, and smite us because of our iniquity, that we should be swallowed up in the depths of the sea; wherefore, I, Nephi, began to speak to them with much soberness; but behold they were angry with me, saying: We will not that our younger brother shall be a ruler over us.

2 Nephi 5:3 Yea, they did murmur against me, saying: Our younger brother thinks to rule over us; and we have had much trial because of him; wherefore, now let us slay him, that we may not be afflicted more because of his words. For behold, we will not have him to be our ruler; for it belongs unto us, who are the elder brethren, to rule over this people.

Mosiah 10:15 And again, they were wroth with him when they had arrived in the promised land, because they said that he had taken the ruling of the people out of their hands; and they sought to kill him.
16 And again, they were wroth with him because he departed into the wilderness as the Lord had commanded him, and took the records which were engraven on the plates of brass, for they said that he robbed them.

In the end, everything happens as had been foretold in 1 Nephi 2:
2 Nephi 5:19 And behold, the words of the Lord had been fulfilled unto my brethren, which he spake concerning them, that I (note: Nephi) should be their ruler and their teacher. Wherefore, I had been their ruler and their teacher, according to the commandments of the Lord, until the time they sought to take away my life.

According to the promise, there are a few conditions that must be met before it can be fulfilled:
1) Nephi must be obedient;
2) his brothers must rebel against him;
3) his brothers must rebel against God.

However:
1. this doesn’t happen when his brothers rebel against him while Lehi is still alive–they’re not cut off, either spiritually or temporally. Why not?
2. this wouldn’t just “be” “because”; there would be reason to it. How could those promises be made, and why would they be fulfilled?

Both answers have to do with the law of witnesses and the law of war. The promises to Nephi will be fulfilled to Laman and Lemuel’s detriment, but in the proper and just ways.

The Law of Witnesses

The law of witnesses can be found in many places in the scriptures (the Old and New Testaments in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants):
Deuteronomy 17:6 At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.

Deuteronomy 19:15 ¶One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.

Matthew 18:16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

2 Corinthians 13:1 This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.

1 Timothy 5:19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.

Hebrews 10:28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

Revelation 11:3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.

Doctrine and Covenants 5:15 And the testimony of three witnesses will I send forth of my word.

Doctrine and Covenants 6:28 … and in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.

Doctrine and Covenants 42:80 And if any man or woman shall commit adultery, he or she shall be tried before two elders of the church, or more, and every word shall be established against him or her by two witnesses of the church, and not of the enemy; but if there are more than two witnesses it is better.

Doctrine and Covenants 42:81 But he or she shall be condemned by the mouth of two witnesses…

Doctrine and Covenants 128:3 … naming also some three individuals that are present, if there be any present, who can at any time when called upon certify to the same, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

Doctrine and Covenants 128:20 … A voice of the Lord in the wilderness of Fayette, Seneca county, declaring the three witnesses to bear record of the book! …

2 Nephi 27:12 …that the eyes of none shall behold it save it be that three witnesses shall behold it, by the power of God, besides him to whom the book shall be delivered; and they shall testify to the truth of the book and the things therein.

2 Nephi 29:8 …Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also. (Later, mention of the witness of the lost tribes=three witnesses:)
13 And it shall come to pass that the Jews shall have the words of the Nephites, and the Nephites shall have the words of the Jews; and the Nephites and the Jews shall have the words of the lost tribes of Israel; and the lost tribes of Israel shall have the words of the Nephites and the Jews.

Ether 5:4 And in the mouth of three witnesses shall these things be established; and the testimony of three, and this work, in the which shall be shown forth the power of God and also his word, of which the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost bear record—and all this shall stand as a testimony against the world at the last day.

Moroni 6:7 And they were strict to observe that there should be no iniquity among them; and whoso was found to commit iniquity, and three witnesses of the church did condemn them before the elders…

The Law of Witnesses is first seen in the Godhead: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. They testify of themselves; but, especially to fulfill this law: the Father testifies of the Son and of the Holy Ghost; the Son testifies of the Father and of the Holy Ghost; and the Holy Ghost testifies of the Father and of the Son. (See 2 Nephi 31 where Nephi explains this.)

So, while two witnesses are good, three or more are definitely better! Note that in the Book of Mormon, references are to three witnesses, not two.

The Law of War

The Lord explains the law of war as follows:
Doctrine and Covenants 98:23 Now, I speak unto you concerning your families—if men will smite you, or your families, once, and ye bear it patiently and revile not against them, neither seek revenge, ye shall be rewarded;
24 But if ye bear it not patiently, it shall be accounted unto you as being meted out as a just measure unto you.
25 And again, if your enemy shall smite you the second time, and you revile not against your enemy, and bear it patiently, your reward shall be an hundred fold.
26 And again, if he shall smite you the third time, and ye bear it patiently, your reward shall be doubled unto you four-fold;
27 And these three testimonies shall stand against your enemy if he repent not, and shall not be blotted out.
28 And now, verily I say unto you, if that enemy shall escape my vengeance, that he be not brought into judgment before me, then ye shall see to it that ye warn him in my name, that he come no more upon you, neither upon your family, even your children’s children unto the third and fourth generation.
29 And then, if he shall come upon you or your children, or your children’s children unto the third and fourth generation, I have delivered thine enemy into thine hands;
30 And then if thou wilt spare him, thou shalt be rewarded for thy righteousness; and also thy children and thy children’s children unto the third and fourth generation.
31 Nevertheless, thine enemy is in thine hands; and if thou rewardest him according to his works thou art justified; if he has sought thy life, and thy life is endangered by him, thine enemy is in thine hands and thou art justified.

32 Behold, this is the law I gave unto my servant Nephi, and thy fathers, Joseph, and Jacob, and Isaac, and Abraham, and all mine ancient prophets and apostles.

33 And again, this is the law that I gave unto mine ancients, that they should not go out unto battle against any nation, kindred, tongue, or people, save I, the Lord, commanded them.
34 And if any nation, tongue, or people should proclaim war against them, they should first lift a standard of peace unto that people, nation, or tongue;
35 And if that people did not accept the offering of peace, neither the second nor the third time, they should bring these testimonies before the Lord;
36 Then I, the Lord, would give unto them a commandment, and justify them in going out to battle against that nation, tongue, or people.
37 And I, the Lord, would fight their battles, and their children’s battles, and their children’s children’s, until they had avenged themselves on all their enemies, to the third and fourth generation.
38 Behold, this is an ensample unto all people, saith the Lord your God, for justification before me.
39 And again, verily I say unto you, if after thine enemy has come upon thee the first time, he repent and come unto thee praying thy forgiveness, thou shalt forgive him, and shalt hold it no more as a testimony against thine enemy—
40 And so on unto the second and third time; and as oft as thine enemy repenteth of the trespass wherewith he has trespassed against thee, thou shalt forgive him, until seventy times seven.
41 And if he trespass against thee and repent not the first time, nevertheless thou shalt forgive him.
42 And if he trespass against thee the second time, and repent not, nevertheless thou shalt forgive him.
43 And if he trespass against thee the third time, and repent not, thou shalt also forgive him.
44 But if he trespass against thee the fourth time thou shalt not forgive him, but shalt bring these testimonies before the Lord; and they shall not be blotted out until he repent and reward thee four-fold in all things wherewith he has trespassed against thee.
45 And if he do this, thou shalt forgive him with all thine heart; and if he do not this, I, the Lord, will avenge thee of thine enemy an hundred-fold;
46 And upon his children, and upon his children’s children of all them that hate me, unto the third and fourth generation.
47 But if the children shall repent, or the children’s children, and turn to the Lord their God, with all their hearts and with all their might, mind, and strength, and restore four-fold for all their trespasses wherewith they have trespassed, or wherewith their fathers have trespassed, or their fathers’ fathers, then thine indignation shall be turned away;
48 And vengeance shall no more come upon them, saith the Lord thy God, and their trespasses shall never be brought any more as a testimony before the Lord against them. Amen.

I remember reading that for the first time and knowing I had received new knowledge! But I was kind of lost a little–NEPHI had that law?? I had never seen it or heard it mentioned in the Book of Mormon (and wouldn’t for many years afterward)–until today, when it all came together (at least what I’ve gotten so far)!

What Points Nephi’s Record Witnesses

Nephi writes his truthful account to show that there are at least nine categories of three or more witnesses that set up the Lord’s promises to Nephi in 1 Nephi 2 and their fulfillment, and to show the law of war is fulfilled on his part, which sets up the whole Nephite-Lamanites scenario for the rest of the Book of Mormon:
1. Nephi is obedient;
2. Nephi saves his brothers’ lives;
3. Nephi’s passing tests of wonder;
4. sacred objects/ artifacts appear in miraculous ways, and Nephi claims their ownership by test of power of use (similar to the law of jealousies in Numbers? 5)–which also signifies heavenly approval of his being chosen;
5. Jerusalem is destroyed according to the words of the Lord’s prophets, including Lehi and Nephi.
6. Nephi refuses ill-gotten leadership;
7. Laman and Lemuel try to kill Nephi;
8. they are foiled each time by heavenly witnesses which testify in Nephi’s favor and to testify of his future calling as their teacher and ruler;
9. Laman and Lemuel repent, and Nephi forgives them;
10. the warning is given;
11. Laman and Lemuel attempt to usurp Lehi’s authority and power and Nephi’s power and prophesied authority, then lie to their own children;
12. Nephi and his people receive the promises of the Lord as he fights for them.

These witnesses fulfill the law of witnesses, and the events more than fulfill the requirements for the law of war. So, let’s go through them.

Nephi and Obedience
Not only is Nephi obedient, he and Lehi often invited and persuaded Laman and Lemuel to be obedient. Nephi testifies of obedience throughout his record:
a. 1 Nephi 5:20 And it came to pass that thus far I and my father had kept the COMMANDMENTS wherewith the Lord had commanded us.

b. 1 Nephi 16:8 And thus my father had fulfilled all the COMMANDMENTS of the Lord which had been given unto him. And also, I, Nephi, had been blessed of the Lord exceedingly.

c. 1 Nephi 17:15 Wherefore, I, Nephi, did strive to keep the COMMANDMENTS of the Lord, and I did exhort my brethren to faithfulness and diligence.

d. 2 Nephi 1:24 Rebel no more against your brother, whose views have been glorious, and who hath kept the COMMANDMENTS from the time that we left Jerusalem; and who hath been an instrument in the hands of God, in bringing us forth into the land of promise; for were it not for him, we must have perished with hunger in the wilderness; nevertheless, ye sought to take away his life; yea, and he hath suffered much sorrow because of you.

(e. 2 Nephi 5:10 And we did observe to keep the judgments, and the statutes, and the COMMANDMENTS of the Lord in all things, according to the law of Moses.
11 And the Lord was with us; and we did prosper exceedingly…)

Extra: 1 Nephi 8:38 And after he had preached unto them, and also prophesied unto them of many things, he bade them to keep the COMMANDMENTS of the Lord; and he did cease speaking unto them.
1 Nephi 15:10 Behold, I said unto them: How is it that ye do not keep the COMMANDMENTS of the Lord? How is it that ye will perish, because of the hardness of your hearts?
1 Nephi 15:11 Do ye not remember the things which the Lord hath said?—If ye will not harden your hearts, and ask me in faith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping my COMMANDMENTS, surely these things shall be made known unto you.
1 Nephi 15:25 Wherefore, I, Nephi, did exhort them to give heed unto the word of the Lord; yea, I did exhort them with all the energies of my soul, and with all the faculty which I possessed, that they would give heed to the word of God and remember to keep his COMMANDMENTS always in all things.
1 Nephi 16:4 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did exhort my brethren, with all diligence, to keep the COMMANDMENTS of the Lord.
1 Nephi 17:3 And thus we see that the COMMANDMENTS of God must be fulfilled. And if it so be that the children of men keep the COMMANDMENTS of God he doth nourish them, and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them; wherefore, he did provide means for us while we did sojourn in the wilderness.
1 Nephi 17:13 And I will also be your light in the wilderness; and I will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my COMMANDMENTS; wherefore, inasmuch as ye shall keep my COMMANDMENTS ye shall be led towards the promised land; and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led.
1 Nephi 22:30 Wherefore, my brethren, I would that ye should consider that the things which have been written upon the plates of brass are true; and they testify that a man must be obedient to the COMMANDMENTS of God.
1 Nephi 22:31 Wherefore, ye need not suppose that I and my father are the only ones that have testified, and also taught them. Wherefore, if ye shall be obedient to the COMMANDMENTS, and endure to the end, ye shall be saved at the last day. And thus it is. Amen.
2 Nephi 1:20 And he hath said that: Inasmuch as ye shall keep my COMMANDMENTS ye shall prosper in the land; but inasmuch as ye will not keep my COMMANDMENTS ye shall be cut off from my presence.
2 Nephi 1:27 And it must needs be that the power of God must be with him, even unto his COMMANDING you that ye must obey. But behold, it was not he, but it was the Spirit of the Lord which was in him, which opened his mouth to utterance that he could not shut it.
2 Nephi 4:4 For the Lord God hath said that: Inasmuch as ye shall keep my COMMANDMENTS ye shall prosper in the land; and inasmuch as ye will not keep my COMMANDMENTS ye shall be cut off from my presence.
2 Nephi 5:19 And behold, the words of the Lord had been fulfilled unto my brethren, which he spake concerning them, that I should be their ruler and their teacher. Wherefore, I had been their ruler and their teacher, according to the COMMANDMENTS of the Lord, until the time they sought to take away my life.

Even from the first episode of the brass plates, in fact, “commandments” is the key word for Nephi:
1 Nephi 3:16 Wherefore, let us be faithful in keeping the COMMANDMENTS of the Lord; therefore let us go down to the land of our father’s inheritance, for behold he left gold and silver, and all manner of riches. And all this he hath done because of the COMMANDMENTS of the Lord.
1 Nephi 3:21 And it came to pass that after this manner of language did I persuade my brethren, that they might be faithful in keeping the COMMANDMENTS of God.
1 Nephi 4:1 And it came to pass that I spake unto my brethren, saying: Let us go up again unto Jerusalem, and let us be faithful in keeping the COMMANDMENTS of the Lord; for behold he is mightier than all the earth, then why not mightier than Laban and his fifty, yea, or even than his tens of thousands?
1 Nephi 4:14 And now, when I, Nephi, had heard these words, I remembered the words of the Lord which he spake unto me in the wilderness, saying that: Inasmuch as thy seed shall keep my COMMANDMENTS, they shall prosper in the land of promise.
1 Nephi 4:15 Yea, and I also thought that they could not keep the COMMANDMENTS of the Lord according to the law of Moses, save they should have the law.
1 Nephi 4:34 And I also spake unto him, saying: Surely the Lord hath commanded us to do this thing; and shall we not be diligent in keeping the COMMANDMENTS of the Lord? Therefore, if thou wilt go down into the wilderness to my father thou shalt have place with us.

Nephi exhorts Laman and Lemuel to obey another time:
1 Nephi 16:3 And now my brethren, if ye were righteous and were willing to hearken to the truth, and give heed unto it, that ye might walk uprightly before God, then ye would not murmur because of the truth, and say: Thou speakest hard things against us.
4 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did exhort my brethren, with all diligence, to keep the COMMANDMENTS of the Lord.
5 And it came to pass that they did humble themselves before the Lord; insomuch that I had joy and great hopes of them, that they would walk in the paths of righteousness.

Lehi fears for Laman and Lemuel and exhorts them to keep the commandments:
1 Nephi 8:14 … and at the head thereof I beheld your mother Sariah, and Sam, and Nephi; and they stood as if they knew not whither they should go.
15 And it came to pass that I beckoned unto them; and I also did say unto them with a loud voice that they should come unto me, and partake of the fruit, which was desirable above all other fruit.
16 And it came to pass that they did come unto me and partake of the fruit also.
17 And it came to pass that I was desirous that Laman and Lemuel should come and partake of the fruit also…
18 And it came to pass that I saw them, but they would not come unto me and partake of the fruit.
35 And Laman and Lemuel partook not of the fruit, said my father.
36 …he exceedingly feared for Laman and Lemuel; yea, he feared lest they should be cast off from the presence of the Lord.
37 And he did exhort them then with all the feeling of a tender parent, that they would hearken to his words, that perhaps the Lord would be merciful to them, and not cast them off; yea, my father did preach unto them.
38 And after he had preached unto them, and also prophesied unto them of many things, he bade them to keep the COMMANDMENTS of the Lord; and he did cease speaking unto them.

And some of Lehi’s last main words to Laman and Lemuel:
2 Nephi 1:16 And I desire that ye should remember to OBSERVE the statutes and the judgments of the Lord; behold, this hath been the anxiety of my soul from the beginning.
17 My heart hath been weighed down with sorrow from time to time, for I have feared, lest for the hardness of your hearts the Lord your God should come out in the fulness of his wrath upon you, that ye be cut off and destroyed forever;
18 Or, that a cursing should come upon you for the space of many generations; and ye are visited by sword, and by famine, and are hated, and are led according to the will and captivity of the devil.
19 O my sons, that these things might not come upon you, but that ye might be a choice and a favored people of the Lord. But behold, his will be done; for his ways are righteousness forever.

Nephi Saves Laman and Lemuel’s Lives
a. Nephi saves his brothers’ lives with Laban:
1 Nephi 4:31 And now I, Nephi, being a man large in stature, and also having received much strength of the Lord, therefore I did seize upon the servant of Laban, and held him, that he should not flee.
32 And it came to pass that I spake with him…
34 …if thou wilt go down into the wilderness to my father thou shalt have place with us.
35 And it came to pass that Zoram did take courage at the words which I spake. Now Zoram was the name of the servant; and he promised that he would go down into the wilderness unto our father. Yea, and he also made an oath unto us that he would tarry with us from that time forth.
36 Now we were desirous that he should tarry with us for this cause, that the Jews might not know concerning our flight into the wilderness, lest they should pursue us and destroy us.

b. Nephi obtains food when everyone is starving:
1 Nephi 16:18 …after I did break my bow, behold, my brethren were angry with me because of the loss of my bow, for we did obtain no food.
19 And it came to pass that we did return without food to our families, and being much fatigued, because of their journeying, they did suffer much for the want of food.
20 And it came to pass that Laman and Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael did begin to murmur exceedingly, because of their sufferings and afflictions in the wilderness… yea, and they were all exceedingly sorrowful, even that they did murmur against the Lord.
21 … it began to be exceedingly difficult, yea, insomuch that we could obtain no food.
23 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did make out of wood a bow, and out of a straight stick, an arrow; wherefore, I did arm myself with a bow and an arrow, with a sling and with stones. And I said unto my father: Whither shall I go to obtain food?
24 And it came to pass that he did inquire of the Lord…
30 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did go forth up into the top of the mountain, according to the directions which were given upon the ball.
31 And it came to pass that I did slay wild beasts, insomuch that I did obtain food for our families.
32 And it came to pass that I did return to our tents, bearing the beasts which I had slain; and now when they beheld that I had obtained food, how great was their joy! And it came to pass that they did humble themselves before the Lord, and did give thanks unto him.

c. Nephi saves the ship from sinking and takes them to the promised land:
15 And it came to pass that we were about to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea. And after we had been driven back upon the waters for the space of four days, my brethren began to see that the judgments of God were upon them, and that they must perish save that they should repent of their iniquities…
20 …when they saw that they were about to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea they repented of the thing which they had done, insomuch that they loosed me.
21 And it came to pass after they had loosed me, behold, I took the compass, and it did work whither I desired it. And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord; and after I had prayed the winds did cease, and the storm did cease, and there was a great calm.
22 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did guide the ship, that we sailed again towards the promised land.
23 And it came to pass that after we had sailed for the space of many days we did arrive at the promised land; and we went forth upon the land, and did pitch our tents; and we did call it the promised land.

Nephi’s Tests of Wonder
Nephi has many tests of wonder where he overcomes an impossible task by performing impossible works.
a. When he goes back inside Jerusalem the third time to obtain the brass plates, he goes up against Laban, who Laman and Lemuel describe like this:
1 Nephi 3:31 And after the angel had departed, Laman and Lemuel again began to murmur, saying: How is it possible that the Lord will deliver Laban into our hands? Behold, he is a mighty man, and he can command fifty, yea, even he can slay fifty; then why not us?

Yet, Nephi, a non-warrior, goes by himself, without any weapon at all, against Laban and slays him; and not only that, but he obtains the plates, the sword, and his servant!

b. When everyone is literally starving, he makes a bow and one arrow to slay food for everyone in his group (around 20 adults, then more children), asks for directions, and goes by himself, and brings back enough food to save everyone.

c. Nephi will build a ship that will cross the ocean! He has likely never done this before (at least the full thing), which his brothers allude to:
1 Nephi 17:8 And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto me, saying: Thou shalt construct a ship, after the manner which I shall show thee, that I may carry thy people across these waters.
9 And I said: Lord, whither shall I go that I may find ore to molten, that I may make tools to construct the ship after the manner which thou hast shown unto me?
10 And it came to pass that the Lord told me whither I should go to find ore, that I might make tools.
16 And it came to pass that I did make tools of the ore which I did molten out of the rock.
17 And when my brethren saw that I was about to build a ship, they began to murmur against me, saying: Our brother is a fool, for he thinketh that he can build a ship; yea, and he also thinketh that he can cross these great waters.
18 And thus my brethren did complain against me, and were desirous that they might not labor, for they did not believe that I could build a ship; neither would they believe that I was instructed of the Lord.
19 And now it came to pass that I, Nephi, was exceedingly sorrowful because of the hardness of their hearts; and now when they saw that I began to be sorrowful they were glad in their hearts, insomuch that they did rejoice over me, saying: We knew that ye could not construct a ship, for we knew that ye were lacking in judgment; wherefore, thou canst not accomplish so great a work.

Yet, he starts with finding ore for the tools, then makes them, then builds the ship; everyone admits it’s good (and even under storm conditions, it holds up very well):
1 Nepih 18:4 And it came to pass that after I had finished the ship, according to the word of the Lord, my brethren beheld that it was good, and that the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine; wherefore, they did humble themselves again before the Lord.

d. Laman and Lemuel see that they are about to be swallowed up by the sea in a great storm, and they free Nephi. Nephi prays, and the storm stops:
1 Nephi 18:11 And it came to pass that Laman and Lemuel did take me and bind me with cords, and they did treat me with much harshness; nevertheless, the Lord did suffer it that he might show forth his power, unto the fulfilling of his word which he had spoken concerning the wicked.
12 And it came to pass that after they had bound me insomuch that I could not move, the compass, which had been prepared of the Lord, did cease to work.
13 Wherefore, they knew not whither they should steer the ship, insomuch that there arose a great storm, yea, a great and terrible tempest, and we were driven back upon the waters for the space of three days; and they began to be frightened exceedingly lest they should be drowned in the sea; nevertheless they did not loose me.
14 And on the fourth day, which we had been driven back, the tempest began to be exceedingly sore.
15 And it came to pass that we were about to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea. And after we had been driven back upon the waters for the space of four days, my brethren began to see that the judgments of God were upon them, and that they must perish save that they should repent of their iniquities; wherefore, they came unto me, and loosed the bands which were upon my wrists, and behold they had swollen exceedingly; and also mine ankles were much swollen, and great was the soreness thereof.
16 Nevertheless, I did look unto my God, and I did praise him all the day long; and I did not murmur against the Lord because of mine afflictions.
17 Now my father, Lehi, had said many things unto them, and also unto the sons of Ishmael; but, behold, they did breathe out much threatenings against anyone that should speak for me; and my parents being stricken in years, and having suffered much grief because of their children, they were brought down, yea, even upon their sick-beds.
18 Because of their grief and much sorrow, and the iniquity of my brethren, they were brought near even to be carried out of this time to meet their God; yea, their grey hairs were about to be brought down to lie low in the dust; yea, even they were near to be cast with sorrow into a watery grave.
19 And Jacob and Joseph also, being young, having need of much nourishment, were grieved because of the afflictions of their mother; and also my wife with her tears and prayers, and also my children, did not soften the hearts of my brethren that they would loose me.
20 And there was nothing save it were the power of God, which threatened them with destruction, could soften their hearts; wherefore, when they saw that they were about to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea they repented of the thing which they had done, insomuch that they loosed me.
21 And it came to pass after they had loosed me, behold, I took the compass, and it did work whither I desired it. And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord; and after I had prayed the winds did cease, and the storm did cease, and there was a great calm.
22 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did guide the ship, that we sailed again towards the promised land.
23 And it came to pass that after we had sailed for the space of many days we did arrive at the promised land; and we went forth upon the land, and did pitch our tents; and we did call it the promised land.

Sacred Objects/ Artifacts
Here is what Nephi obtained for the Lehites:
The brass plates, Laban’s sword, and the Liahona–three artifacts that can be felt, seen, and preserved for future generations:
Mosiah 1:16 And moreover, he also gave him charge concerning the records which were engraven on *the plates of brass*; and also the plates of Nephi; and also, *the sword of Laban*, and *the ball or director*, which led our fathers through the wilderness, which was prepared by the hand of the Lord that thereby they might be led, every one according to the heed and diligence which they gave unto him.

And a full list (including the above):
a, b, c. The sword of Laban, the brass plates, and Zoram:
1 Nephi 4:31 And now I, Nephi, being a man large in stature, and also *having received much strength of the Lord, therefore I did seize upon the servant of Laban, and held him, that he should not flee*.
32 And it came to pass that *I spake with him*, that if he would hearken unto my words, as the Lord liveth, and as I live, even so that if he would hearken unto our words, we would spare his life.
33 And I spake unto him, even with an oath, that he need not fear; that he should be a free man like unto us if he would go down in the wilderness with us.
34 And I also spake unto him, saying: Surely the Lord hath commanded us to do this thing; and shall we not be diligent in keeping the commandments of the Lord? Therefore, if thou wilt go down into the wilderness to my father thou shalt have place with us.
35 And it came to pass that Zoram did take courage at the words which I spake. Now Zoram was the name of the servant; and he promised that he would go down into the wilderness unto our father. Yea, and he also made an oath unto us that he would tarry with us from that time forth.
36 Now we were desirous that he should tarry with us for this cause, *that the Jews might not know concerning our flight into the wilderness, lest they should pursue us and destroy us*.
37 And it came to pass that when Zoram had made an oath unto us, our fears did cease concerning him.
38 And it came to pass that *we took the plates of brass and the servant of Laban*, and departed into the wilderness, and journeyed unto the tent of our father.

b. the brass plates (after obtaining them: understanding them):
1 Nephi 14:12-20: 20 And I did rehearse unto them the words of Isaiah… I did speak many words unto my brethren, that they were pacified and did humble themselves before the Lord.

d. their wives, and Ishmael’s family:
1 Nephi 7:1 …the Lord spake unto him again, saying that it was not meet for him, Lehi, that he should take his family into the wilderness alone; but that his sons should take daughters to wife…
2 And it came to pass that the Lord commanded him that I, Nephi, and my brethren, should again return unto the land of Jerusalem, and bring down Ishmael and his family into the wilderness.
3 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did again, with my brethren, go forth into the wilderness to go up to Jerusalem.
4 And it came to pass that we went up unto the house of Ishmael, and we did gain favor in the sight of Ishmael, insomuch that *we did speak unto him the words of the Lord*.
5 And it came to pass that *the Lord did soften the heart of Ishmael, and also his household, insomuch that they took their journey with us down into the wilderness to the tent of our father*.

Who probably led the conversation of conversion with Ishmael about going into the wilderness? Nephi, or his brothers who immediately rebelled and wanted to go back? I imagine it was Nephi!

e. the Liahona
The Liahona worked according to their faith and diligence. Alma says:
Alma 37:43 And now, my son, I would that ye should understand that these things are not without a shadow; for as our fathers were slothful to give heed to this compass (now these things were temporal) they did not prosper; even so it is with things which are spiritual.
Who were likely the slothful ones?
Here’s a prime example of ownership:
1 Nephi 18:12 And it came to pass that after [Laman and Lemuel] had bound me insomuch that I could not move, the compass, which had been prepared of the Lord, did cease to work.
21 And it came to pass after they had loosed me, behold, I took the compass, and it did work whither I desired it. And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord; and after I had prayed the winds did cease, and the storm did cease, and there was a great calm.

f. the ship
Laman and Lemuel believe a ship is beyond Nephi:
1 Nephi 18:19 And now it came to pass that I, Nephi, was exceedingly sorrowful because of the hardness of their hearts; and now when they saw that I began to be sorrowful they were glad in their hearts, insomuch that they did rejoice over me, saying: We knew that ye could not construct a ship, for we knew that ye were lacking in judgment; wherefore, thou canst not accomplish so great a work.

It is beyond Nephi; but not the Lord, who told him to make it and taught him how to make it.
1 Nephi 17:8 And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto me, saying: Thou shalt construct a ship, after the manner which I shall show thee, that I may carry thy people across these waters.

Otherwise, how else could they cross the ocean?

The result:
1 Nepih 18:4 And it came to pass that after I had finished the ship, according to the word of the Lord, my brethren beheld that it was good, and that the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine; wherefore, they did humble themselves again before the Lord.

Jerusalem
Three witnesses that Jerusalem was destroyed according to the prophecies of the prophets:
a. Nephi: 1 Nephi 19:20 For behold, I have workings in the spirit, which doth weary me even that all my joints are weak, for those who are at Jerusalem; for had not the Lord been merciful, to show unto me concerning them, even as he had prophets of old, I should have perished also.
22 Now it came to pass that I, Nephi, did teach my brethren these things; and it came to pass that I did read many things to them, which were engraven upon the plates of brass, that they might know concerning the doings of the Lord in other lands, among people of old.
2 Nephi 25:10 Wherefore, it hath been told them concerning the destruction which should come upon them, immediately after my father left Jerusalem; nevertheless, they hardened their hearts; and according to my prophecy they have been destroyed, save it be those which are carried away captive into Babylon.

b. Lehi: 2 Nephi 1:4 For, behold, said he, I have seen a vision, in which I know that Jerusalem is destroyed; and had we remained in Jerusalem we should also have perished.

c. Jacob: 2 Nephi 6:8 And now I, Jacob, would speak somewhat concerning these words. For behold, the Lord has shown me that those who were at Jerusalem, from whence we came, have been slain and carried away captive.

d. King Mosiah and all the Nephites
Omni 1:15 Behold, it came to pass that Mosiah discovered that the people of Zarahemla came out from Jerusalem at the time that Zedekiah, king of Judah, was carried away captive into Babylon.
16 And they journeyed in the wilderness, and were brought by the hand of the Lord across the great waters, into the land where Mosiah discovered them; and they had dwelt there from that time forth.

Nephi’s Refusal of Non-Divine Leadership
Nephi never attempts to usurp or even claim authority or power over Laman and Lemuel, even when they want to give it to him. Nephi could have claimed leadership through unrighteous means, but he only encouraged his brothers to obey God and their parents:
a. 1 Nephi 7:8 And now I, Nephi, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, therefore I spake unto them, saying, yea, even unto Laman and unto Lemuel: Behold ye are mine elder brethren, and how is it that ye are so hard in your hearts, and so blind in your minds, that ye have need that I, your younger brother, should speak unto you, yea, and set an example for you?

b. 1 Nephi 16:4 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did exhort my brethren, with all diligence, to keep the commandments of the Lord.

c. 1 Nephi 17:55 And now, they said: We know of a surety that the Lord is with thee, for we know that it is the power of the Lord that has shaken us. And they fell down before me, and were about to worship me, but I would not suffer them, saying: I am thy brother, yea, even thy younger brother; wherefore, worship the Lord thy God, and honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God shall give thee.

Meeting the Requirements of The Law of War

Laman and Lemuel murmured and rebeled from the beginning, and receive their first heavenly witness:
1 Nephi 2:11 Now this he spake because of the stiffneckedness of Laman and Lemuel; for behold they did murmur in many things against their father, because he was a visionary man, and had led them out of the land of Jerusalem, to leave the land of their inheritance, and their gold, and their silver, and their precious things, to perish in the wilderness. And this they said he had done because of the foolish imaginations of his heart.
12 And thus Laman and Lemuel, being the eldest, did murmur against their father. And they did murmur because they knew not the dealings of that God who had created them.
13 Neither did they believe that Jerusalem, that great city, could be destroyed according to the words of the prophets. And they were like unto the Jews who were at Jerusalem, who sought to take away the life of my father.
14 And it came to pass that my father did speak unto them in the valley of Lemuel, with power, being filled with the Spirit, until their frames did shake before him. And he did confound them, that they durst not utter against him; wherefore, they did as he commanded them.

Nephi, however, prays to know the truth, and gets an answer:
1 Nephi 2:16 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, being exceedingly young, nevertheless being large in stature, and also having great desires to know of the mysteries of God, wherefore, I did cry unto the Lord; and behold he did visit me, and did soften my heart that I did believe all the words which had been spoken by my father; wherefore, I did not rebel against him like unto my brothers.

And from that point on, that’s the main thrust of the characters.

Laman and Lemuel seek/ try to kill Nephi three times; and Nephi is delivered miraculously, three times, giving them heavenly witnesses to what the angel told them; they repent; and Nephi forgives them.

The First Attempt

7. 1 Nephi 7:16 And it came to pass that when I, Nephi, had spoken these words unto my brethren, they were angry with me. And it came to pass that they did lay their hands upon me, for behold, they were exceedingly wroth, and they did bind me with cords, for they sought to take away my life, that they might leave me in the wilderness to be devoured by wild beasts.

8. 1 Nephi 7:17 But it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord, saying: O Lord, according to my faith which is in thee, wilt thou deliver me from the hands of my brethren; yea, even give me strength that I may burst these bands with which I am bound.
18 And it came to pass that when I had said these words, behold, the bands were loosed from off my hands and feet, and I stood before my brethren, and I spake unto them again.

9a. 1 Nephi 7:20 And it came to pass that they were sorrowful, because of their wickedness, insomuch that they did bow down before me, and did plead with me that I would forgive them of the thing that they had done against me.

9b. 1 Nephi 7:21 And it came to pass that I did frankly forgive them all that they had done, and I did exhort them that they would pray unto the Lord their God for forgiveness. And it came to pass that they did so. And after they had done praying unto the Lord we did again travel on our journey towards the tent of our father.

The Second Attempt
7. 1 Nephi 16:37 And Laman said unto Lemuel and also unto the sons of Ishmael: Behold, let us slay our father, and also our brother Nephi, who has taken it upon him to be our ruler and our teacher, who are his elder brethren.
38 Now, he says that the Lord has talked with him, and also that angels have ministered unto him. But behold, we know that he lies unto us; and he tells us these things, and he worketh many things by his cunning arts, that he may deceive our eyes, thinking, perhaps, that he may lead us away into some strange wilderness; and after he has led us away, he has thought to make himself a king and a ruler over us, that he may do with us according to his will and pleasure. And after this manner did my brother Laman stir up their hearts to anger.

8. 1 Nephi 16:39 And it came to pass that the Lord was with us, yea, even the voice of the Lord came and did speak many words unto them, and did chasten them exceedingly; and after they were chastened by the voice of the Lord they did turn away their anger, and

9a. did repent of their sins, insomuch that the Lord did bless us again with food, that we did not perish. (Ok, no mention of Nephi forgiving them here, but context shows it’s there.)

The Third Attempt
7. 1 Nephi 17:48 And now it came to pass that when I had spoken these words they were angry with me, and were desirous to throw me into the depths of the sea; and as they came forth to lay their hands upon me…

8. (1 Nephi 17:48)… I spake unto them, saying: In the name of the Almighty God, I command you that ye touch me not, for I am filled with the power of God, even unto the consuming of my flesh; and whoso shall lay his hands upon me shall wither even as a dried reed; and he shall be as naught before the power of God, for God shall smite him.
52 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said many things unto my brethren, insomuch that they were confounded and could not contend against me; neither durst they lay their hands upon me nor touch me with their fingers, even for the space of many days. Now they durst not do this lest they should wither before me, so powerful was the Spirit of God; and thus it had wrought upon them.
53 And it came to pass that the Lord said unto me: Stretch forth thine hand again unto thy brethren, and they shall not wither before thee, but I will shock them, saith the Lord, and this will I do, that they may know that I am the Lord their God.
54 And it came to pass that I stretched forth my hand unto my brethren, and they did not wither before me; but the Lord did shake them, even according to the word which he had spoken.
55 And now, they said: We know of a surety that the Lord is with thee, for we know that it is the power of the Lord that has shaken us…

9a, 9b. 1 Nephi 17:55 And now, they said: We know of a surety that the Lord is with thee, for we know that it is the power of the Lord that has shaken us. And they fell down before me, and were about to worship me, but I would not suffer them, saying: I am thy brother, yea, even thy younger brother; wherefore, worship the Lord thy God, and honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God shall give thee.

At this time, Nephi also reminds Laman and Lemuel that their group is like the Israelites of Moses.

A Fourth Attempt
7. 1 Nephi 18: 10 And I, Nephi, began to fear exceedingly lest the Lord should be angry with us, and smite us because of our iniquity, that we should be swallowed up in the depths of the sea; wherefore, I, Nephi, began to speak to them with much soberness; but behold they were angry with me, saying: We will not that our younger brother shall be a ruler over us.
11 And it came to pass that Laman and Lemuel did take me and bind me with cords, and they did treat me with much harshness; nevertheless, the Lord did suffer it that he might show forth his power, unto the fulfilling of his word which he had spoken concerning the wicked.
12 And it came to pass that after they had bound me insomuch that I could not move, the compass, which had been prepared of the Lord, did cease to work.
17 Now my father, Lehi, had said many things unto them, and also unto the sons of Ishmael; but, behold, they did breathe out much threatenings against anyone that should speak for me; and my parents being stricken in years, and having suffered much grief because of their children, they were brought down, yea, even upon their sick-beds.
18 Because of their grief and much sorrow, and the iniquity of my brethren, they were brought near even to be carried out of this time to meet their God; yea, their grey hairs were about to be brought down to lie low in the dust; yea, even they were near to be cast with sorrow into a watery grave.
19 And Jacob and Joseph also, being young, having need of much nourishment, were grieved because of the afflictions of their mother; and also my wife with her tears and prayers, and also my children, did not soften the hearts of my brethren that they would loose me.

8. 1 Nephi 18:13 Wherefore, they knew not whither they should steer the ship, insomuch that there arose a great storm, yea, a great and terrible tempest, and we were driven back upon the waters for the space of three days; and they began to be frightened exceedingly lest they should be drowned in the sea; nevertheless they did not loose me.
14 And on the fourth day, which we had been driven back, the tempest began to be exceedingly sore.
15 And it came to pass that we were about to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea. And after we had been driven back upon the waters for the space of four days, my brethren began to see that the judgments of God were upon them, and that they must perish save that they should repent of their iniquities; wherefore, they came unto me, and loosed the bands which were upon my wrists, and behold they had swollen exceedingly; and also mine ankles were much swollen, and great was the soreness thereof.
16 Nevertheless, I did look unto my God, and I did praise him all the day long; and I did not murmur against the Lord because of mine afflictions.
20 And there was nothing save it were the power of God, which threatened them with destruction, could soften their hearts;…

9a. 1 Nephi 18:20 …wherefore, when they saw that they were about to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea they repented of the thing which they had done, insomuch that they loosed me.

9b (implied). 21 And it came to pass after they had loosed me, behold, I took the compass, and it did work whither I desired it. And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord; and after I had prayed the winds did cease, and the storm did cease, and there was a great calm.

10. The Warning
Then, Lehi testifies that:
1) the Lord was good to bring them out of Jerusalem, which had already been detroyed, and had they stayed they would have died;
2) the Lord was good to not destroy them on the seas;
3) the Lord was good to give them the promised land:
 1 And now it came to pass that after I, Nephi, had made an end of teaching my brethren, our father, Lehi, also spake many things unto them, and rehearsed unto them, how great things the Lord had done for them in bringing them out of the land of Jerusalem.
 2 And he spake unto them concerning their rebellions upon the waters, and the mercies of God in sparing their lives, that they were not swallowed up in the sea.
 3 And he also spake unto them concerning the land of promise, which they had obtained—how merciful the Lord had been in warning us that we should flee out of the land of Jerusalem.
 4 For, behold, said he, I have seen a vision, in which I know that Jerusalem is destroyed; and had we remained in Jerusalem we should also have perished.
 5 But, said he, notwithstanding our afflictions, we have obtained a land of promise, a land which is choice above all other lands; a land which the Lord God hath covenanted with me should be a land for the inheritance of my seed.

Then, Lehi testifies of Nephi as:
1) being righteous;
2) being instrumental and having saved their lives in the wilderness;
3) having suffered from Laman and Lemuel;
4) not desiring to have power and authority over them;
5) speaking the words of the Lord, even to making them obey; and,
6) Lehi warns Laman and Lemuel about Nephi:
2 Nephi 1: 24 Rebel no more against your brother, whose views have been glorious, and who hath kept the commandments from the time that we left Jerusalem; and who hath been an instrument in the hands of God, in bringing us forth into the land of promise; for were it not for him, we must have perished with hunger in the wilderness; nevertheless, ye sought to take away his life; yea, and he hath suffered much sorrow because of you.
25 And I exceedingly fear and tremble because of you, lest he shall suffer again; for behold, ye have accused him that he sought power and authority over you; but I know that he hath not sought for power nor authority over you, but he hath sought the glory of God, and your own eternal welfare.
26 And ye have murmured because he hath been plain unto you. Ye say that he hath used sharpness; ye say that he hath been angry with you; but behold, his sharpness was the sharpness of the power of the word of God, which was in him; and that which ye call anger was the truth, according to that which is in God, which he could not restrain, manifesting boldly concerning your iniquities.
27 And it must needs be that the power of God must be with him, even unto his commanding you that ye must obey. But behold, it was not he, but it was the Spirit of the Lord which was in him, which opened his mouth to utterance that he could not shut it.
28 And now my son, Laman, and also Lemuel and Sam, and also my sons who are the sons of Ishmael, behold, if ye will hearken unto the voice of Nephi ye shall not perish. And if ye will hearken unto him I leave unto you a blessing, yea, even my first blessing.
29 But if ye will not hearken unto him I take away my first blessing, yea, even my blessing, and it shall rest upon him.

The Fifth (and Last) Attempt before the Break-away
7. 2 Nephi 5:3 Yea, they did murmur against me, saying: Our younger brother thinks to rule over us; and we have had much trial because of him; wherefore, now let us slay him, that we may not be afflicted more because of his words. For behold, we will not have him to be our ruler; for it belongs unto us, who are the elder brethren, to rule over this people.
4 Now I do not write upon these plates all the words which they murmured against me. But it sufficeth me to say, that they did seek to take away my life.

8. 2 Nephi 5:5 And it came to pass that the Lord did warn me, that I, Nephi, should depart from them and flee into the wilderness, and all those who would go with me.

There is no 9, though there is likely a 10. From this point on, the law of war has been fulfilled for Nephi and his people.

Heavenly Intervention and Witnesses
a. 1 Nephi 3:29 And it came to pass as they smote us with a rod, behold, an angel of the Lord came and stood before them, and he spake unto them, saying: Why do ye smite your younger brother with a rod? Know ye not that the Lord hath chosen him to be a ruler over you, and this because of your iniquities? Behold ye shall go up to Jerusalem again, and the Lord will deliver Laban into your hands.

b. 1 Nephi 16:39 And it came to pass that the Lord was with us, yea, even the voice of the Lord came and did speak many words unto them, and did chasten them exceedingly; and after they were chastened by the voice of the Lord they did turn away their anger, and did repent of their sins, insomuch that the Lord did bless us again with food, that we did not perish.

c. 1 Nephi 17:53 And it came to pass that the Lord said unto me: Stretch forth thine hand again unto thy brethren, and they shall not wither before thee, but I will shock them, saith the Lord, and this will I do, that they may know that I am the Lord their God.
54 And it came to pass that I stretched forth my hand unto my brethren, and they did not wither before me; but the Lord did shake them, even according to the word which he had spoken.
55 And now, they said: We know of a surety that the Lord is with thee, for we know that it is the power of the Lord that has shaken us…

Result
So, Nephi leaves, taking his rightful sacred possessions with him:
2 Nephi 5:12 And I, Nephi, had also brought the records which were engraven upon the plates of brass; and also the ball, or compass, which was prepared for my father by the hand of the Lord, according to that which is written.
14 And I, Nephi, did take the sword of Laban, and after the manner of it did make many swords, lest by any means the people who were now called Lamanites should come upon us and destroy us; for I knew their hatred towards me and my children and those who were called my people.

Note that in addition that earning the right to the sacred possessions, it could be argued that he is also given them by right of the first blessing and inheritance from his father, Lehi, especially since he gave up the land under duress, which should have been his inheritance. Later, the Lamanites also take over the land of Nephi, yet they don’t enter that into their “money books”/ “retaliation/ revenge records”.
Mosiah 9:1 I, Zeniff, having been taught in all the language of the Nephites, and having had a knowledge of the land of Nephi, or of the land of our fathers’ first inheritance…
Mosiah 10: 3 And it came to pass that we did inherit the land of our fathers for many years, yea, for the space of twenty and two years.

Moroni later speaks of this in his letter to the Lamanite king, Amalickiah:
Alma 54:12 And behold, if ye do not this, I will come against you with my armies; yea, even I will arm my women and my children, and I will come against you, and I will follow you even into your own land, which is the land of our first inheritance; yea, and it shall be blood for blood, yea, life for life; and I will give you battle even until you are destroyed from off the face of the earth.
13 Behold, I am in my anger, and also my people; ye have sought to murder us, and we have only sought to defend ourselves. But behold, if ye seek to destroy us more we will seek to destroy you; yea, and we will seek our land, the land of our first inheritance.

And from that time on, only the Nephites’ unrighteousness will stop them from beating the Lamanites when the Lamanites come to fight them.

More about Laman and Lemuel’s rebellion and disbelief:
Laman and Lemuel receive a heavenly witness as they exercise unrighteous authority and power over Nephi and Sam:
1 Nephi 3:28 And it came to pass that Laman was angry with me, and also with my father; and also was Lemuel, for he hearkened unto the words of Laman. Wherefore Laman and Lemuel did speak many hard words unto us, their younger brothers, and they did smite us even with a rod.
29 And it came to pass as they smote us with a rod, behold, an angel of the Lord came and stood before them, and he spake unto them, saying: Why do ye smite your younger brother with a rod? Know ye not that the Lord hath chosen him to be a ruler over you, and this because of your iniquities? Behold ye shall go up to Jerusalem again, and the Lord will deliver Laban into your hands.

More about Laman and Lemuel’s disbelief and rebellion:
1 Nephi 3:5 And now, behold thy brothers murmur, saying it is a hard thing which I have required of them; but behold I have not required it of them, but it is a commandment of the Lord.

1 Nephi 3:7 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.

1 Nephi 3:18 For behold, they have rejected the words of the prophets. Wherefore, if my father should dwell in the land after he hath been commanded to flee out of the land, behold, he would also perish. Wherefore, it must needs be that he flee out of the land.

1 Nephi 3:28 And it came to pass that Laman was angry with me, and also with my father; and also was Lemuel, for he hearkened unto the words of Laman. Wherefore Laman and Lemuel did speak many hard words unto us, their younger brothers, and they did smite us even with a rod.

1 Nephi 4:2 Therefore let us go up; let us be strong like unto Moses; for he truly spake unto the waters of the Red Sea and they divided hither and thither, and our fathers came through, out of captivity, on dry ground, and the armies of Pharaoh did follow and were drowned in the waters of the Red Sea.
3 Now behold ye know that this is true; and ye also know that an angel hath spoken unto you; wherefore can ye doubt? Let us go up; the Lord is able to deliver us, even as our fathers, and to destroy Laban, even as the Egyptians.

1 Nephi 7:6 And it came to pass that as we journeyed in the wilderness, behold Laman and Lemuel, and two of the daughters of Ishmael, and the two sons of Ishmael and their families, did rebel against us; yea, against me, Nephi, and Sam, and their father, Ishmael, and his wife, and his three other daughters.
7 And it came to pass in the which rebellion, they were desirous to return unto the land of Jerusalem.
22 And it came to pass that we did come down unto the tent of our father. And after *I and my brethren and all the house of Ishmael had come down unto the tent of my father*, they did give thanks unto the Lord their God; and they did offer sacrifice and burnt offerings unto him.

1 Nephi 7:14 For behold, the Spirit of the Lord ceaseth soon to strive with them; for behold, they have rejected the prophets, and Jeremiah have they cast into prison. And they have sought to take away the life of my father, insomuch that they have driven him out of the land.

1 Nephi 16:37 And Laman said unto Lemuel and also unto the sons of Ishmael: Behold, let us slay our father, and also our brother Nephi, who has taken it upon him to be our ruler and our teacher, who are his elder brethren.

1 Nephi 17:20 And thou art like unto our father, led away by the foolish imaginations of his heart; yea, he hath led us out of the land of Jerusalem, and we have wandered in the wilderness for these many years; and our women have toiled, being big with child; and they have borne children in the wilderness and suffered all things, save it were death; and it would have been better that they had died before they came out of Jerusalem than to have suffered these afflictions.
1 Nephi 17:44 Wherefore, the Lord commanded my father that he should depart into the wilderness; and the Jews also sought to take away his life; yea, and ye also have sought to take away his life; wherefore, ye are murderers in your hearts and ye are like unto them.

1 Nephi 18:17 Now my father, Lehi, had said many things unto them, and also unto the sons of Ishmael; but, behold, they did breathe out much threatenings against anyone that should speak for me; and my parents being stricken in years, and having suffered much grief because of their children, they were brought down, yea, even upon their sick-beds.

2 Nephi 4:12 And it came to pass after my father, Lehi, had spoken unto all his household, according to the feelings of his heart and the Spirit of the Lord which was in him, he waxed old. And it came to pass that he died, and was buried.
13 And it came to pass that not many days after his death, Laman and Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael were angry with me because of the admonitions of the Lord.
14 For I, Nephi, was constrained to speak unto them, according to his word; for I had spoken many things unto them, and also my father, before his death; many of which sayings are written upon mine other plates; for a more history part are written upon mine other plates.

2 Nephi 5:1 Behold, it came to pass that I, Nephi, did cry much unto the Lord my God, because of the anger of my brethren.
2 But behold, their anger did increase against me, insomuch that they did seek to take away my life.
3 Yea, they did murmur against me, saying: Our younger brother thinks to rule over us; and we have had much trial because of him; wherefore, now let us slay him, that we may not be afflicted more because of his words. For behold, we will not have him to be our ruler; for it belongs unto us, who are the elder brethren, torule over this people.
4 Now I do not write upon these plates all the words which they murmured against me. But it sufficeth me to say, that they did seek to take away my life.
5 And it came to pass that the Lord did warn me, that I, Nephi, should depart from them and flee into the wilderness, and all those who would go with me.
6 Wherefore, it came to pass that I, Nephi, did take my family, and also Zoram and his family, and Sam, mine elder brother and his family, and Jacob and Joseph, my younger brethren, and also my sisters, and all those who would go with me. And all those who would go with me were those who believed in thewarnings and the revelations of God; wherefore, they did hearken unto my words.
7 And we did take our tents and whatsoever things were possible for us, and did journey in the wilderness for the space of many days. And after we had journeyed for the space of many days we did pitch our tents.
8 And my people would that we should call the name of the place Nephi; wherefore, we did call it Nephi.
9 And all those who were with me did take upon them to call themselves the people of Nephi.
10 And we did observe to keep the judgments, and the statutes, and the commandments of the Lord in all things, according to the law of Moses.

11. The Traditions of Laman and Lemuel’s Descendants

Why is it important for Nehi to show all this? First, rememer the prophecy and blessing that Lehi gave Laman and Lemuel’s children:
2 Nephi 4:3 Wherefore, after my father had made an end of speaking concerning the prophecies of Joseph, he called the children of Laman, his sons, and his daughters, and said unto them: Behold, my sons, and my daughters, who are the sons and the daughters of my first-born, I would that ye should give ear unto my words.
5 But behold, my sons and my daughters, I cannot go down to my grave save I should leave a blessing upon you; for behold, I know that if ye are brought up in the way ye should go ye will not depart from it.
6 Wherefore, if ye are cursed, behold, I leave my blessing upon you, that the cursing may be taken from you and be answered upon the heads of your parents.
7 Wherefore, because of my blessing the Lord God will not suffer that ye shall perish; wherefore, he will be merciful unto you and unto your seed forever.
8 And it came to pass that after my father had made an end of speaking to the sons and daughters of Laman, he caused the sons and daughters of Lemuel to be brought before him.
9 And he spake unto them, saying: Behold, my sons and my daughters, who are the sons and the daughters of my second son; behold I leave unto you the same blessing which I left unto the sons and daughters of Laman; wherefore, thou shalt not utterly be destroyed; but in the end thy seed shall be blessed.

Let’s look at some of the Lamanites’ traditions, a few hundred years later:
1) they were driven out of righteous Jerusalem because Lehi was wicked;
2) they had been wronged in the wilderness;
3) they had been wronged on the sea;
4) they had been wronged in the promised land;
5) that whatever they did was ok
–in exact contrast to what Lehi had told them right before he died!!

It’s clear that Laman and Lemuel had lied to and taught their posterity that:
Mosiah 10:12 They were a wild, and ferocious, and a blood-thirsty people, believing in the tradition of their fathers, which is this—Believing that they were driven out of the land of Jerusalem because of the iniquities of their fathers, and that they were wronged in the wilderness by their brethren, and they were also wronged while crossing the sea;
13 And again, that they were wronged while in the land of their first inheritance, after they had crossed the sea, and all this because that Nephi was more faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord—therefore he was favored of the Lord, for the Lord heard his prayers and answered them, and he took the lead of their journey in the wilderness.
14 And his brethren were wroth with him because they understood not the dealings of the Lord; they were also wroth with him upon the waters because they hardened their hearts against the Lord.
15 And again, they were wroth with him when they had arrived in the promised land, because they said that he had taken the ruling of the people out of their hands; and they sought to kill him.
16 And again, they were wroth with him because he departed into the wilderness as the Lord had commanded him, and took the records which were engraven on the plates of brass, for they said that he robbed them.
17 And thus they have taught their children that they should hate them, and that they should murder them, and that they should rob and plunder them, and do all they could to destroy them; therefore they have an eternal hatred towards the children of Nephi.

Alma 18: 5 Now this was the tradition of Lamoni, which he had received from his father, that there was a Great Spirit. Notwithstanding they believed in a Great Spirit, they supposed that whatsoever they did was right…

Alma 20:13 …his father was angry with him, and said: Lamoni, thou art going to deliver these Nephites, who are sons of a liar. Behold, he robbed our fathers; and now his children are also come amongst us that they may, by their cunning and their lyings, deceive us, that they again may rob us of our property.

Enos 1:14 For at the present our strugglings were vain in restoring them to the true faith. And they swore in their wrath that, if it were possible, they would destroy our records and us, and also all the traditions of our fathers.

Mormon 2:17 And now, the city of Jashon was near the land where Ammaron had deposited the records unto the Lord, that they might not be destroyed. And behold I had gone according to the word of Ammaron, and taken the plates of Nephi, and did make a record according to the words of Ammaron.

Mormon 6:6 … and having been commanded of the Lord that I should not suffer the records which had been handed down by our fathers, which were sacred, to fall into the hands of the Lamanites, (for the Lamanites would destroy them) therefore I made this record out of the plates of Nephi, and hid up in the hill Cumorah all the records which had been entrusted to me by the hand of the Lord, save it were these few plates which I gave unto my son Moroni.

Mormon sums it up like this:
Alma 3:11 And it came to pass that whosoever would not believe in the tradition of the Lamanites, but believed those records which were brought out of the land of Jerusalem, and also in the tradition of their fathers, which were correct, who believed in the commandments of God and kept them, were called the Nephites, or the people of Nephi, from that time forth—
12 And it is they who have kept the records which are true of their people, and also of the people of the Lamanites.

And in fact, it is the records that teach the Lamanites so much about the truth, at later periods of time; the truth about the incorrect traditions of their fathers, and their rebellion:

Alma 18:36 …even down to the time that their father, Lehi, left Jerusalem.
37 And he also rehearsed unto them (for it was unto the king and to his servants) all the journeyings of their fathers in the wilderness, and all their sufferings with hunger and thirst, and their travail, and so forth.
38 And he also rehearsed unto them concerning the rebellions of Laman and Lemuel, and the sons of Ishmael, yea, all their rebellions did he relate unto them; and he expounded unto them all the records and scriptures from the time that Lehi left Jerusalem down to the present time.
Alma 23:3 And thus they might go forth and preach the word according to their desires, for the king had been converted unto the Lord, and all his household; therefore he sent his proclamation throughout the land unto his people, that the word of God might have no obstruction, but that it might go forth throughout all the land, that his people might be convinced concerning the wicked traditions of their fathers, and that they might be convinced that they were all brethren, and that they ought not to murder, nor to plunder, nor to steal, nor to commit adultery, nor to commit any manner of wickedness.
Alma 23:5 And thousands were brought to the knowledge of the Lord, yea, thousands were brought to believe in the traditions of the Nephites; and they were taught the records and prophecies which were handed down even to the present time.
Alma 37:9 Yea, I say unto you, were it not for these things that these records do contain, which are on these plates, Ammon and his brethren could not have convinced so many thousands of the Lamanites of the incorrect tradition of their fathers; yea, these records and their words brought them unto repentance; that is, they brought them to the knowledge of the Lord their God, and to rejoice in Jesus Christ their Redeemer.

Alma 23:13 And these are the names of the cities of the Lamanites which were converted unto the Lord; and these are they that laid down the weapons of their rebellion, yea, all their weapons of war; and they were all Lamanites.

Alma 25:6 For many of them, after having suffered much loss and so many afflictions, began to be stirred up in remembrance of the words which Aaron and his brethren had preached to them in their land; therefore they began to disbelieve the traditions of their fathers, and to believe in the Lord, and that he gave great power unto the Nephites; and thus there were many of them converted in the wilderness.

Helaman 5:50 And it came to pass that they did go forth, and did minister unto the people, declaring throughout all the regions round about all the things which they had heard and seen, insomuch that the more part of the Lamanites were convinced of them, because of the greatness of the evidences which they had received.
51 And as many as were convinced did lay down their weapons of war, and also their hatred and the tradition of their fathers.

12. Fulfillment of the Lord’s Promises to Nephi because of the Law of War

Here are just a few examples of the numerous times in the Book of Mormon that the Lord helps and delivers the Nephites under the benefit of his law:
Omni 1:7 Wherefore, the Lord did visit them in great judgment; nevertheless, he did spare the righteous that they should not perish, but did deliver them out of the hands of their enemies.

Alma 19: 27 And there were some who said that Ammon was sent by the Great Spirit to afflict them because of their iniquities; and that it was the Great Spirit that had always attended the Nephites, who had ever delivered them out of their hands; and they said that it was this Great Spirit who had destroyed so many of their brethren, the Lamanites.

Alma 25:6 For many of them, after having suffered much loss and so many afflictions, began to be stirred up in remembrance of the words which Aaron and his brethren had preached to them in their land; therefore they began to disbelieve the traditions of their fathers, and to believe in the Lord, and that he gave great power unto the Nephites; and thus there were many of them converted in the wilderness.

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Words of Mormon 1: 14 And in the strength of the Lord they did contend against their enemies, until they had slain many thousands of the Lamanites. And it came to pass that they did contend against the Lamanites until they had driven them out of all the lands of their inheritance.

Mosiah 1:13 Yea, and moreover I say unto you, that if this highly favored people of the Lord should fall into transgression, and become a wicked and an adulterous people, that the Lord will deliver them up, that thereby they become weak like unto their brethren; and he will no more preserve them by his matchless and marvelous power, as he has hitherto preserved our fathers.

Mosiah 2:4 And also that they might give thanks to the Lord their God, who had brought them out of the land of Jerusalem, and who had delivered them out of the hands of their enemies, and had appointed just men to be their teachers, and also a just man to be their king, who had established peace in the land of Zarahemla, and who had taught them to keep the commandments of God, that they might rejoice and be filled with love towards God and all men.

Mosiah 9: 17 Yea, in the strength of the Lord did we go forth to battle against the Lamanites; for I and my people did cry mightily to the Lord that he would deliver us out of the hands of our enemies, for we were awakened to a remembrance of the deliverance of our fathers.

Mosiah 10:10 And it came to pass that we did go up to battle against the Lamanites; and I, even I, in my old age, did go up to battle against the Lamanites. And it came to pass that we did go up in the strength of the Lord to battle.
11 Now, the Lamanites knew nothing concerning the Lord, nor the strength of the Lord, therefore they depended upon their own strength. Yet they were a strong people, as to the strength of men.

Alma 20: 4 Now Lamoni said unto Ammon: I know, in the strength of the Lord thou canst do all things…

Alma 60: 16 … yea, if we had gone forth against them in the strength of the Lord, we should have dispersed our enemies, for it would have been done, according to the fulfilling of his word.

3 Ne. 4: 10 But in this thing they were disappointed, for the Nephites did not fear them; but they did fear their God and did supplicate him for protection; therefore, when the armies of Giddianhi did rush upon them they were prepared to meet them; yea, in the strength of the Lord they did receive them.

Morm. 2: 26 And it came to pass that when they had fled we did pursue them with our armies, and did meet them again, and did beat them; nevertheless the strength of the Lord was not with us; yea, we were left to ourselves, that the Spirit of the Lord did not abide in us; therefore we had become weak like unto our brethren.

There really is a strong purpose in the structure and inclusion of events in Nephi’s record which sets the stage for the whole Nephite-Lamanite struggle.

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