The Book of Nephi
The Son of Nephi, the son of Helaman. And Helaman was the son of Helaman,
Who was the son of Alma, who was the son of Alma,
Being a descendant of Nephi who was the son of Lehi,
Who came out of Jerusalem in the first year
of the reign of Zedekiah, the king of Judah.
abridged ca. 374 ad from the book of nephi
Now it came to pass that the ninety and first year had passed away and it was six hundred years from the time that Lehi left Jerusalem. And it was in the year that Lachoneus was the chief judge and the governor over the land. And Nephi, the son of Helaman, had departed out of the land of Zarahemla, giving charge unto his son Nephi who was his eldest son, concerning the Plates of Brass and all the records which had been kept, and all those things which had been kept sacred from the departure of Lehi out of Jerusalem. Then he departed out of the land and whither he went, no man knoweth. And his son Nephi did keep the records in his stead, yea, the record of this people.5He like Alma had been called to the Holy Order.
And it came to pass that in the commencement of the ninety and second year, behold, the prophecies of the prophets began to be fulfilled more fully. For there began to be greater signs and greater miracles wrought among the people. But there were some who began to say that the time was past for the words to be fulfilled, which were spoken by Samuel, the Lamanite. And they began to rejoice over their brethren, saying:
Behold the time is past! And the words of Samuel are not fulfilled.
Therefore, your joy and your faith concerning this thing
Hath been vain!
And it came to pass that they did make a great uproar throughout the land; and the people who believed began to be very sorrowful, lest by any means those things which had been spoken might not come to pass. But behold, they did watch steadfastly for that day and that night and that day which should be as one day as if there were no night, that they might know that their faith had not been vain. Now it came to pass that there was a day set apart by the unbelievers, that all those who believed in those traditions should be put to death, except the sign should come to pass, which had been given by Samuel the prophet.
Now it came to pass that when Nephi, the son of Nephi, saw this wickedness of his people, his heart was exceedingly sorrowful. And it came to pass that he went out and bowed himself down upon the earth, and cried mightily to his god in behalf of his people, yea, those who were about to be destroyed because of their faith in the tradition of their fathers. And it came to pass that he cried mightily unto the Lord all that day, and behold, the voice of the Lord came unto him, saying:
Lift up your head and be of good cheer.
For behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given,
And on the morrow come I into the world!
To show unto the world that I will fulfill all
That which I have caused to be spoken
By the mouths of my holy prophets.
Behold, I come unto my own, to fulfill all things
Which I have made known unto the children of men,
From the foundation of the world, and to do the will,
Both of the Father and of the Son: of the Father because of me,
And of the Son because of my flesh.6Jesus explains as did Abinadi, that his condescension obeys the will “of the Father,” that is, Jesus in spirit; while the will “of the Son” is to submit the flesh to that spirit. And behold,
The time is at hand, and this night shall the sign be given!
And it came to pass that the words which came unto Nephi were fulfilled, according as they had been spoken. For behold, at the going down of the sun there was no darkness! And the people began to be astonished because there was no darkness when the night came. And there were many, who had not believed the words of the prophets, who fell to the earth and became as if they were dead, for they knew that the great plan of destruction which they had laid for those who believed in the words of the prophets had been frustrated; for the sign which had been given was already at hand. And they began to know that the son of God must shortly appear. Yea, in fine, all the people upon the face of the whole earth from the west to the east, both in the land north and in the land south, were so exceedingly astonished that they fell to the earth. For they knew that the prophets had testified of these things for many years, and that the sign which had been given was already at hand. And they began to fear because of their iniquity and their unbelief.
And it came to pass that there was no darkness in all that night, but it was as light as though it was mid-day. And it came to pass that the sun did rise in the morning again, according to its proper order, and they knew that it was the day that the Lord should be born, because of the sign which had been given. And it had come to pass, yea, all things, every whit, according to the words of the prophets. And it came to pass also that a new star did appear, according to the word.7I suppose this “star” may be hailed as Earendel, bearing upon his brow a silmaril as he drew near to earth, among many of the exiles – such as the daughters of Asenath – awaiting their return with Enoch.
And it came to pass that from this time forth there began to be lyings sent forth among the people, by Satan, to harden their hearts, to the intent that they might not believe in those signs and wonders which they had seen. But notwithstanding these lyings and deceivings the more part of the people did believe, and were converted unto the Lord.
And it came to pass that Nephi went forth among the people, and also many others, baptizing unto repentance, in the which there was a great remission of sins. And thus the people began again to have peace in the land. And there were no contentions, save it were a few that began to preach, endeavoring to prove by the scriptures that it was no more expedient to observe the law of Moses. Now in this thing they did err, having not understood the scriptures. But it came to pass that they soon became converted, and were convinced of the error which they were in, for it was made known unto them that the law was not yet fulfilled, and that it must be fulfilled in every whit. Yea, the word came unto them that it must be fulfilled. Yea, that one jot or tittle should not pass away till it should all be fulfilled! Therefore in this same year were they brought to a knowledge of their error and did confess their faults. And thus the ninety and second year did pass away, bringing glad tidings unto the people because of the signs which did come to pass, according to the words of the prophecy of all the holy prophets.
And it came to pass that the ninety and third year did also pass away in peace, save it were for the Gadianton robbers, who dwelt upon the mountains, who did infest the land. For so strong were their holds and their secret places that the people could not overpower them. Therefore they did commit many murders, and did do much slaughter among the people. And it came to pass that in the ninety and fourth year they began to increase in a great degree, because there were many dissenters of the Nephites who did flee unto them, which did cause much sorrow unto those Nephites who did remain in the land. And there was also a cause of much sorrow among the Lamanites: for behold, they had many children who did grow up and began to wax strong in years, that they became for themselves, and were led away by some who were Zoramites, by their lyings and their flattering words to join those Gadianton robbers. And thus were the Lamanites afflicted also, and began to decrease as to their faith and righteousness because of the wickedness of the rising generation.
And it came to pass that thus passed away the ninety and fifth year also, and the people began to forget those signs and wonders which they had heard, and began to be less and less astonished at a sign or a wonder from heaven, insomuch that they began to be hard in their hearts and blind in their minds, and began to disbelieve all which they had heard and seen. Imagining up some vain thing in their hearts, that it was wrought by men and by the power of the Devil to lead away and deceive the hearts of the people. And thus did Satan get possession of the hearts of the people again, insomuch that he did blind their eyes and lead them away to believe that the doctrine of Christ was a foolish and a vain thing. And it came to pass that the people began to wax strong in wickedness and abominations. And they did not believe that there should be any more signs or wonders given. And Satan did go about, leading away the hearts of the people, tempting them and causing them that they should do great wickedness in the land. And thus did pass away the ninety and sixth year, and also the ninety and seventh year; and also the ninety and eighth year, and also the ninety and ninth year.
And also an hundred years had passed away since the days of Mosiah, who was king over the people of the Nephites. And six hundred and nine years had passed away since Lehi left Jerusalem. And nine years had passed away from the time when the sign was given, which was spoken of by the prophets, that Christ should come into the world. Now the Nephites began to reckon their time from this period when the sign was given, or from the coming of Christ; therefore, nine years had passed away. And Nephi, who was the father of Nephi who had the charge of the records did not return to the land of Zarahemla, and could nowhere be found in all the land.
And it came to pass that the people did still remain in wickedness, notwithstanding the much preaching and prophesying which was sent among them. And thus passed away the tenth year also. And the eleventh year also passed away in iniquity. And it came to pass in the thirteenth year there began to be wars and contentions throughout all the land. For the Gadianton robbers had become so numerous, and did slay so many of the people and did lay waste so many cities, and did spread so much death and carnage throughout the land that it became expedient that all the people, both the Nephites and the Lamanites, should take up arms against them.
Therefore, all the Lamanites who had become converted unto the Lord did unite with their brethren, the Nephites, and were compelled for the safety of their lives and their women and their children, to take up arms against those Gadianton robbers, yea, and also to maintain their rights and the privileges of their church and of their worship, and their freedom and their liberty. And it came to pass that before this thirteenth year had passed away the Nephites were threatened with utter destruction because of this war, which had become exceedingly sore. And it came to pass that those Lamanites who had united with the Nephites were numbered among the Nephites: And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites; and their young men and their daughters became exceedingly fair, and they were numbered among the Nephites and were called Nephites. And thus ended the thirteenth year.
And it came to pass in the commencement of the fourteenth year, the war between the robbers and the people of Nephi did continue and did become exceedingly sore. Nevertheless, the people of Nephi did gain some advantage of the robbers, insomuch that they did drive them back out of their lands into the mountains and into their secret places. And thus ended the fourteenth year. And in the fifteenth year they did come forth against the people of Nephi. And because of the wickedness of the people of Nephi, and their many contentions and dissensions, the Gadianton robbers did gain many advantages over them. And thus ended the fifteenth year, and thus were the people in a state of many afflictions. And the sword of destruction did hang over them, insomuch that they were about to be smitten down by it, and this because of their iniquity.
And now it came to pass that in the sixteenth year from the coming of Christ, Lachoneus, the governor of the land, received an epistle from the leader and the governor of this band of robbers. And these were the words which were written, saying:
Lachoneus, most noble and chief governor of the land!
Behold, I write this epistle unto you. And do give unto you exceedingly great praise because of your firmness, and also the firmness of your people, in maintaining that which ye suppose to be your right and liberty. Yea, ye do stand well, as if ye were supported by the hand of a god, in the defense of your liberty, and your property, and your country, or that which ye do call so. And it seemeth a pity unto me, most noble Lachoneus, that ye should be so foolish and vain as to suppose that ye can stand against so many brave men who are at my command, who do now at this time stand in their arms, and do await with great anxiety for the word: Go down upon the Nephites and destroy them!
And I, knowing of their unconquerable spirit, having proved them in the field of battle, and knowing of their everlasting hatred towards you because of the many wrongs which ye have done unto them, therefore if they should come down against you they would visit you with utter destruction. Therefore I have written this epistle, sealing it with mine own hand, feeling for your welfare, because of your firmness in that which ye believe to be right, and your noble spirit in the field of battle. Therefore I write unto you, desiring that ye would yield up unto this my people, your cities, your lands, and your possessions, rather than that they should visit you with the sword and that destruction should come upon you. Or in other words, yield yourselves up unto us, and unite with us and become acquainted with our secret works, and become our brethren that ye may be like unto us — not our slaves, but our brethren and partners of all our substance.
And behold, I swear unto you, if ye will do this, with an oath, ye shall not be destroyed! But if ye will not do this, I swear unto you with an oath, that on the morrow month I will command that my armies shall come down against you, and they shall not stay their hand and shall spare not, but shall slay you, and shall let fall the sword upon you even until ye shall become extinct.
And behold, I am Giddianhi. And I am the governor of this the secret society of Gadianton, which society and the works thereof I know to be good. And they are of ancient date and they have been handed down unto us. And I write this epistle unto you, Lachoneus, and I hope that ye will deliver up your lands and your possessions, without the shedding of blood, that this my people may recover their rights and government, who have dissented away from you because of your wickedness in retaining from them their rights of government, and except ye do this, I will avenge their wrongs. I am Giddianhi.
And now it came to pass when Lachoneus received this epistle he was exceedingly astonished, because of the boldness of Giddianhi demanding the possession of the land of the Nephites, and also of threatening the people and avenging the wrongs of those that had received no wrong, save it were they had wronged themselves by dissenting away unto those wicked and abominable robbers. Now behold, this Lachoneus, the governor, was a just man, and could not be frightened by the demands and the threatenings of a robber.
Therefore he did not hearken to the epistle of Giddianhi, the governor of the robbers, but he did cause that his people should cry unto the Lord for strength against the time that the robbers should come down against them. Yea, he sent a proclamation among all the people, that they should gather together their women, and their children, their flocks and their herds, and all their substance, save it were their land, unto one place. And he caused that fortifications should be built round about them, and the strength thereof should be exceedingly great. And he caused that armies, both of the Nephites and of the Lamanites, or of all them who were numbered among the Nephites, should be placed as guards round about to watch them, and to guard them from the robbers day and night. Yea, he said unto them:
As the Lord liveth! Except ye repent of all your iniquities,
And cry unto the Lord,
Ye will in nowise be delivered out
Of the hands of those Gadianton robbers.
And so great and marvelous were the words and prophecies of Lachoneus that they did cause fear to come upon all the people. And they did exert themselves in their might to do according to the words of Lachoneus. And it came to pass that Lachoneus did appoint chief captains over all the armies of the Nephites, to command them at the time that the robbers should come down out of the wilderness against them. Now the chiefest among all the chief captains and the great commander of all the armies of the Nephites was appointed, and his name was Gidgiddoni.
Now it was the custom among all the Nephites to appoint for their chief captains — save it were in their times of wickedness — some one that had the spirit of revelation and also prophecy. Therefore, this Gidgiddoni was a great prophet among them, as also was the chief judge. Now the people said unto Gidgiddoni:
Pray unto the Lord! And let us go up upon the mountains
And into the wilderness, that we may fall upon the robbers!
And destroy them in their own lands.
But Gidgiddoni saith unto them:
The Lord forbid! For if we should go up against them the Lord would
Deliver us into their hands! Therefore we will prepare
Ourselves in the center of our lands,
And we will gather all our armies together,
And we will not go against them, but we will
Wait till they shall come against us, Therefore as the Lord liveth,
If we do this he will deliver them into our hands.
And it came to pass in the seventeenth year, in the latter end of the year, the proclamation of Lachoneus had gone forth throughout all the face of the land. And they had taken their horses, and their chariots, and their cattle, and all their flocks, and their herds, and their grain, and all their substance, and did march forth by thousands and by tens of thousands, until they had all gone forth to the place which had been appointed that they should gather themselves together, to defend themselves against their enemies. And the land which was appointed was the land of Zarahemla, and the land which was between the land Zarahemla and the land Bountiful, yea, to the line which was between the land Bountiful and the land Desolation.
And there were a great many thousand people who were called Nephites, who did gather themselves together in this land. Now Lachoneus did cause that they should gather themselves together in the land southward, because of the great curse which was upon the land northward. And they did fortify themselves against their enemies; and they did dwell in one land, and in one body, and they did fear the words which had been spoken by Lachoneus, insomuch that they did repent of all their sins. And they did put up their prayers unto the Lord their god, that he would deliver them in the time that their enemies should come down against them to battle. And they were exceedingly sorrowful because of their enemies. And Gidgiddoni did cause that they should make weapons of war of every kind, and they should be strong with armor, and with shields, and with bucklers, after the manner of his instruction.
And it came to pass that in the latter end of the eighteenth year those armies of robbers had prepared for battle, and began to come down and to sally forth from the hills, and out of the mountains, and the wilderness, and their strongholds, and their secret places. And began to take possession of the lands, both which were in the land south and which were in the land north, and began to take possession of all the lands which had been deserted by the Nephites, and the cities which had been left desolate. But behold, there were no wild beasts nor game in those lands which had been deserted by the Nephites, and there was no game for the robbers save it were in the wilderness. And the robbers could not exist save it were in the wilderness, for the want of food. For the Nephites had left their lands desolate, and had gathered their flocks and their herds and all their substance, and they were in one body. Therefore, there was no chance for the robbers to plunder and to obtain food, save it were to come up in open battle against the Nephites. And the Nephites being in one body, and having so great a number, and having reserved for themselves provisions, and horses and cattle, and flocks of every kind, that they might subsist for the space of seven years, in the which time they did hope to destroy the robbers from off the face of the land. And thus the eighteenth year did pass away.
And it came to pass that in the nineteenth year Giddianhi found that it was expedient that he should go up to battle against the Nephites, for there was no way that they could subsist save it were to plunder and rob and murder. And they durst not spread themselves upon the face of the land insomuch that they could raise grain, lest the Nephites should come upon them and slay them. Therefore Giddianhi gave commandment unto his armies that in this year they should go up to battle against the Nephites. And it came to pass that they did come up to battle, and it was in the sixth month. And behold, great and terrible was the day that they did come up to battle! and they were girded about after the manner of robbers. And they had a lamb-skin about their loins, and they were dyed in blood, and their heads were shorn, and they had headplates upon them. And great and terrible was the appearance of the armies of Giddianhi, because of their armor, and because of their being dyed in blood. And it came to pass that the armies of the Nephites, when they saw the appearance of the army of Giddianhi, had all fallen to the earth, and did lift their cries to the Lord their god, that he would spare them and deliver them out of the hands of their enemies.
And it came to pass that when the armies of Giddianhi saw this they began to shout with a loud voice, because of their joy, for they had supposed that the Nephites had fallen with fear because of the terror of their armies. 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. And the battle commenced in this the sixth month. And great and terrible was the battle thereof, yea, great and terrible was the slaughter thereof, insomuch that there never was known so great a slaughter among all the people of Lehi since he left Jerusalem. And notwithstanding the threatenings and the oaths which Giddianhi had made, behold, the Nephites did beat them, insomuch that they did fall back from before them!
And it came to pass that Gidgiddoni commanded that his armies should pursue them as far as the borders of the wilderness, and that they should not spare any that should fall into their hands by the way. And thus they did pursue them and did slay them, to the borders of the wilderness, even until they had fulfilled the commandment of Gidgiddoni. And it came to pass that Giddianhi, who had stood and fought with boldness, was pursued as he fled. And being weary because of his much fighting he was overtaken and slain. And thus was the end of Giddianhi the Robber. And it came to pass that the armies of the Nephites did return again to their place of security. And it came to pass that this nineteenth year did pass away, and the robbers did not come again to battle. Neither did they come again in the twentieth year.
And in the twenty and first year they did not come up to battle, but they came up on all sides to lay siege round about the people of Nephi. For they did suppose that if they should cut off the people of Nephi from their lands, and should hem them in on every side, and if they should cut them off from all their outward privileges, that they could cause them to yield themselves up according to their wishes. Now they had appointed unto themselves another leader, whose name was Zemnarihah. Therefore it was Zemnarihah that did cause that this siege should take place.
But behold, this was an advantage to the Nephites. For it was impossible for the robbers to lay siege sufficiently long to have any effect upon the Nephites, because of their much provision which they had laid up in store. And because of the scantiness of provisions among the robbers — for behold, they had nothing save it were meat for their subsistence, which meat they did obtain in the wilderness. And it came to pass that the wild game became scarce in the wilderness insomuch that the robbers were about to perish with hunger. And the Nephites were continually marching out by day and by night, and falling upon their armies, and cutting them off by thousands and by tens of thousands.
And thus it became the desire of the people of Zemnarihah to withdraw from their design, because of the great destruction which came upon them by night and by day. And it came to pass that Zemnarihah did give command unto his people that they should withdraw themselves from the siege, and march into the furthermost parts of the land northward. And now, Gidgiddoni being aware of their design, and knowing of their weakness because of the want of food, and the great slaughter which had been made among them, therefore he did send out his armies in the night-time, and did cut off the way of their retreat, and did place his armies in the way of their retreat. And this did they do in the night-time, and got on their march beyond the robbers, so that on the morrow, when the robbers began their march, they were met by the armies of the Nephites both in their front and in their rear. And the robbers who were on the south were also cut off in their places of retreat. And all these things were done by command of Gidgiddoni.
And there were many thousands who did yield themselves up prisoners unto the Nephites, and the remainder of them were slain. And their leader, Zemnarihah, was taken and hanged upon a tree, yea, even upon the top thereof until he was dead. And when they had hanged him until he was dead they did fell the tree to the earth, and did cry with a loud voice, saying:
May the Lord preserve his people!
In righteousness and in holiness of heart,
That they may cause to be felled to the earth all who shall
Seek to slay them, because of power and secret combinations,
Even as this man hath been
Felled to the earth.
And they did rejoice and cry again with one voice, saying:
May the god of Abraham, and the god of Isaac,
And the god of Jacob protect this people!
In righteousness, so long as they shall call
On the name of their god for protection!
And it came to pass that they did break forth, all as one, in singing, and praising their god for the great thing which he had done for them, in preserving them from falling into the hands of their enemies.
Yea, they did cry: Hosanna to the Most High God!
And they did cry: Blessed be the name of the Lord God Almighty, the Most High God. And their hearts were swollen with joy, unto the gushing out of many tears, because of the great goodness of God in delivering them out of the hands of their enemies. And they knew it was because of their repentance and their humility that they had been delivered from an everlasting destruction.
And now behold, there was not a living soul among all the people of the Nephites who did doubt in the least the words of all the holy prophets who had spoken. For they knew that it must needs be that they must be fulfilled. And they knew that it must be expedient that Christ had come, because of the many signs which had been given, according to the words of the prophets. And because of the things which had come to pass already they knew that it must needs be that all things should come to pass according to that which had been spoken. Therefore they did forsake all their sins, and their abominations, and their whoredoms, and did serve God with all diligence day and night.
And now it came to pass that when they had taken all the robbers prisoners, insomuch that none did escape who were not slain, they did cast their prisoners into prison, and did cause the word of God to be preached unto them. And as many as would repent of their sins and enter into a covenant that they would murder no more were set at liberty. But as many as there were who did not enter into a covenant, and who did still continue to have those secret murders in their hearts, yea, as many as were found breathing out threatenings against their brethren were condemned and punished according to the law. And thus they did put an end to all those wicked, and secret, and abominable combinations, in the which there was so much wickedness, and so many murders committed. And thus had the twenty and second year passed away, and the twenty and third year also, and the twenty and fourth, and the twenty and fifth; and thus had twenty and five years passed away…