Introduction to the Ministry Plates
composed ca. 569 bc
And it came to pass that the Lord commanded me, wherefore I did make plates of ore that I might engraven upon them the record of my people.17Simply stated, Nephi made the first plates indicated by superscript1 and then he made the plates indicated by superscript2 on which the current reading was engraved. These plates2 were called the “small account” kept by the priests of Jacob’s line. In the current LDS version of the Book of Mormon, the “Plates of Nephi” recovered by Joseph Smith and Cowdery comprise the first eighteen chapters of First Nephi, while the “Small Account” runs from First Nephi 19 through Words of Mormon 1:11. And upon the plates1 which I made I did engraven the record of my father, and also our journeyings in the wilderness, and the prophecies of my father. And also many of mine own prophecies have I engraven upon them.
And I knew not at the time when I made them that I should be commanded of the Lord to make these plates.2 Wherefore, the record of my father, and the genealogy of his fathers, and the more part of all our proceedings in the wilderness are engraven upon those plates1 of which I have spoken. Wherefore, the things which transpired before I made these plates2 are, of a truth, more particularly made mention upon the first plates.
And after I had made these plates2 by way of commandment, I, Nephi, received a commandment that the ministry and the prophecies, the more plain and precious parts of them, should be written upon these plates2. And that the things which were written should be kept for the instruction of my people, who should possess the land, and also for other wise purposes, which purposes are known unto the Lord. Wherefore, I, Nephi, did make a record upon the other plates1, which gives an account, or which gives a greater account of the wars and contentions and destructions of my people. And this have I done, and commanded my people that they should do after I was gone.
And that these plates2 should be handed down from one generation to another, or from one prophet to another, until further commandments of the Lord. And an account of my making these plates2 shall be given hereafter. And then, behold, I proceed according to that which I have spoken.
And this I do that the more sacred things may be kept for the knowledge of my people. Nevertheless, I do not write anything upon plates2 save it be that I think it be sacred. And now, if I do err, even did they err of old. Not that I would excuse myself because of other men, but because of the weakness which is in me, according to the flesh, I would excuse myself. For the things which some men esteem to be of great worth, both to the body and soul, others set at naught and trample under their feet. Yea, even the very god of Israel do men trample under their feet! I say, trample under their feet but I would speak in other words — they set him at naught, and hearken not to the voice of his counsels. And behold he cometh, according to the words of the angels, in six hundred years from the time my father left Jerusalem. And the world, because of their iniquity, shall judge him to be a thing of naught. Wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he suffereth it. Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men.
And the god of our fathers, who were led out of Egypt, out of bondage, and also were preserved in the wilderness by him, yea, the god of Abraham, and of Isaac, and the god of Jacob, yieldeth himself, according to the words of the angel,
As a man, into the hands of wicked men, to be lifted up,
According to the words of Zenock, and to be crucified,
According to the words of Neum, and to be buried
In a sepulcher, according to the words of Zenos, which he spake
Concerning the three days of darkness, which should be a sign given
Of his death unto those who should inhabit the isles of the sea,
More especially given unto those who are of the House of Israel.
For thus spake the prophet: The Lord God surely shall visit all
The House of Israel at that day, some with his voice, because
Of their righteousness, unto their great joy and salvation. And others
With the thunderings and the lightnings of his power,
By tempest, by fire, and by smoke, and vapor of darkness, and by
The opening of the earth, and by mountains which shall be carried up.
And all these things must surely come, saith the prophet Zenos.
And the rocks of the earth must rend! And because of the groanings of
The earth, many of the kings of the isles of the sea shall be wrought upon
By the spirit of God to exclaim: The god of nature suffers!
And as for those who are at Jerusalem, saith the prophet, they shall be
Scourged by all people, saith the prophet,
Because they crucify the god of Israel, and
Turn their hearts aside, rejecting signs and wonders, and the power
And glory of the god of Israel. And because they turn their hearts
Aside, saith the prophet, And have despised the Holy One of Israel,
They shall wander in the flesh, and perish, and become a hiss
And a byword, and be hated among all nations.
Nevertheless, when that day cometh, saith the prophet, that they
No more turn aside their hearts against the Holy One of Israel, then
Will he remember the covenants which he made to their fathers. Yea, then Will he remember the isles of the sea! Yea, and all the people who are of
The House of Israel, will I gather in, saith the Lord, according to
The words of the prophet Zenos, from the four quarters of the earth.
Yea, and all the earth shall see the salvation of the Lord, saith the prophet.
Every nation, kindred, tongue and people shall be blessed.
And I, Nephi, have written these things unto my people, that perhaps I might persuade them that they would remember the Lord their Redeemer. Wherefore, I speak unto all the House of Israel, if it so be that they should obtain these things. 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? And he surely did show unto the prophets of old all things concerning them, and also he did show unto many concerning us. Wherefore, it must needs be that we know concerning them, for they are written upon the Plates of Brass.