Engraving of the Writings of Lehi
Abridged by Nephi. composed 597 bc.
And now I, Nephi, do not make a full account of the things which my father hath written. For he hath written many things which he saw in visions and in dreams. And he also hath written many things which he prophesied and spake unto his children, of which I shall not make a full account. But I shall make an account of my proceedings in my days.
Behold, I make an abridgment of the record of my father, upon plates which I have made with mine own hands. Wherefore, after I have abridged the record of my father, then will I make an account of mine own life.
Therefore, I would that ye should know, that after the Lord had shown so many marvelous things unto my father, Lehi, yea, concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, behold he went forth among the people, and began to prophesy and to declare unto them concerning the things which he had both seen and heard. And it came to pass that the Jews did mock him because of the things which he testified of them; for he truly testified of their wickedness and their abominations; and he testified that the things which he saw and heard, and also the things which he read in The Book, manifested plainly of the coming of a Messiah, and also the redemption of the world. And when the Jews heard these things they were angry with him. Yea, even as with the prophets of old, whom they had cast out, and stoned, and slain. And they also sought his life, that they might take it away.
But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.4Undefined is the “you” to whom Nephi addresses this writing. One of several instances when he writes to the reader, it suggests this was perhaps originally planned as a sermon of sorts.
For behold, it came to pass that the Lord spake unto my father. Yea, even in a dream, and said unto him:
Blessed art thou Lehi!
Because of the things which thou hast done, and because
Thou hast been faithful and declared unto this people
The things which I commanded thee, Behold,
They seek to take away thy life.
And it came to pass that the Lord commanded my father, even in a dream, that he should take his family and depart into the wilderness. And it came to pass that he was obedient unto the word of the Lord, wherefore he did as the Lord commanded him. And it came to pass that he departed into the wilderness. And he left his house, and the land of his inheritance, and his gold, and his silver, and his precious things, and took nothing with him, save it were his family, and provisions, and tents, and departed into the wilderness. And he came down by the borders near the shore of the Red Sea. And he traveled in the wilderness in the borders which were nearer the Red Sea.
And he did travel in the wilderness with his family, which consisted of my mother, Sariah, and my elder brothers, who were Laman, Lemuel, and Sam.
And it came to pass that when he had traveled three days in the wilderness, he pitched his tent in a valley by the side of a river of water. And it came to pass that he built an altar of stones, and made an offering unto the Lord, and gave thanks unto the Lord our god. And it came to pass that he called the name of the river Laman, and it emptied into the Red Sea. And the valley was in the borders near the mouth thereof. And when my father saw that the waters of the river emptied into the fountain of the Red Sea, he spake unto Laman, saying:
O that thou mightest be like unto this river, continually
Running into the fountain of all righteousness!
And he also spake unto Lemuel:
O that thou mightest be like unto this valley, firm
And steadfast, and immovable in keeping
The commandments of the Lord!
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. 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. 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!
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. And my father dwelt in a tent.