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A Geographical Approach to The Book of Mormon

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Tyler Staheli

on 15 September 2012

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Transcript of A Geographical Approach to The Book of Mormon

A Geographical Approach to
The Book of Mormon By Tyler Staheli I have read The Book of Mormon many times in my life, but each time, I have struggled to get a good understanding of where the events occur, where cities are located, and where journeys of specific people begin and end. In this presentation, I will attempt to get a better understanding of these things, as well as how the plates were passed from one author to the next, how each author was related to their predecessors, and how much time each of the books spans.
In order to do this, I will use evidence from the text of The Book of Mormon, evidence from other scripture, including The Bible, the Doctrine and Covenants, The Pearl of Great Price, and the words of modern prophets. I will also use, though to a substantially lesser degree, my own understanding. I will verify each of my assumptions with evidence. In the first few verses of the first chapter of 1 Nephi, the reader gets a description of how, when, and where Lehi and his family lived. This description, like the entire book of 1 Nephi is written from Nephi's point of view.
"I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father; and having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days. Yea, I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians. And I know that the record which I make is true;...For it came to pass in the commencement of the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah, (my father, Lehi, having dwelt at Jerusalem in all his days); and in that same year there came many prophets, prophesying unto the people that they must repent, or the great city of Jerusalem must be destroyed. From these verses, the reader learns that Lehi's family lived in Jerusalem during the reign of King Zedekiah. According to The Book of Mormon, this places these first events at around 600 B.C.
This time frame is also found in The Old Testament in 2 Kings 24. In verses 2 and 3, the destruction of Jerusalem is spoken of by many prophets and it is also written that the desolation came 'at the commandment of the Lord...to remove them out of His sight, for the sins of Manassah, according to all that he did.' In verse 18 of chapter 1, it is shown that Lehi was one of the prophets spoken of in 2 Kings 24, and that he prophesied according to the vision that he had received from the Lord in verses 6 and 9-11.
In verses 2-6 of chapter 2, Lehi receives a dream in which he is commanded of the Lord to flee Jerusalem.
"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 cam to pass that he departed into the wilderness. And he left his house, and the land of his inheritance,...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 are nearer the Red Sea;...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." Throughout this presentation, I will use translucent and red arrows. Translucent arrows symbolize the location of an event and red arrows symbolize the movement of a journey. From the evidence in the text of verses 5 and 6, the reader can only gather that the journey of Lehi and his family was taken toward the Red Sea and that they were 'near the shore.' The reader cannot know which side of the Red Sea they pitched their tents on, but the general direction of the journey is clear.
Also, the text does not give evidence as to how far Lehi and his family traveled, only that they traveled three days. I think it is important to note the words of verse 20 of chapter 2.
"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."
This promise from the Lord to Nephi is the first mention of the journey that Lehi and his family will take across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas. At the beginning of chapter 3, Lehi receives another dream from the Lord.
"And it came to pass that I, Nephi, returned from speaking with the Lord, to the tent of my father. And it came to pass the he spake unto me, saying: Behold I have dreamed a dream, in the which the Lord hath commanded me that thou and thy brethren shall return to Jerusalem. For behold, Laban hath the record of the Jews and also a genealogy of my forefathers, and they are engraven upon plates of brass." In the remainder of chapter 3 and the entirety of chapter 4, the reader gets an account of the journey to Jerusalem by Nephi and his brothers, their attempts to get the records of their forefathers from Laban, and after they successfully acquire the plates, the beginning of their return journey.
I think it is vital to understand one section of chapter 4 in particular. Verses 7 through 14 are an account of Nephi's solitary attempt at getting the plates from Laban after he and his brothers have seen an angel and been instructed to 'go up to Jerusalem again.' In these verses, Nephi struggles with the commandment to kill Laban in order to acquire the plates. He says, 'Never at any time have I shed the blood of man. And I shrunk and would that I might not slay him."
In Verse 13, the Lord explains why he has delivered Laban into Nephi's hands. "Behold the Lord slayeth the wicked to bring forth His righteous purposes. It is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief."
In verse 14, Nephi remembers the promise that the Lord made unto him. "Inasmuch as thy seed shall keep My commandments, they shall prosper in the land of promise." Before this reading, I had never thought about how much harder it would have been for the Nephites to remain close to the Lord if they hadn't had the brass plates as a record of their forefathers. When the Lord delivered Laban into the hands of Nephi, He was giving Nephi an incredible tool for the teaching of his descendants.
I'm sure that the Lord could have given the plates to Nephi by any number of other means, but He was also testing Nephi's faith and strength in following His commands. In chapter 5 verse 1, Nephi and his brothers, along with Zoram, the servant of Laban who joined them in verse 35 of chapter 4, return to their parents in the wilderness.
In verses 2 through 8, the reader gets an account of what took place between Sariah and Lehi while their sons were in Jerusalem. Sariah had been distraught and worried that her sons had been killed, and she began to be angry with her husband because his visions had brought them into the wilderness. In verses 4 and 5, Lehi comments on these accusations.
"I know that I am a visionary man; for if I had not seen the things of God in a vision I should not have known the goodness of God, but had tarried at Jerusalem, and had perished with my brethren. But behold, I have obtained a land of promise, in the which things I do rejoice; yea, and I know that the Lord will deliver my sons out of the hands of Laban, and bring them down again unto us in the wilderness."
After these words are fulfilled by the return of her sons, Sariah exclaims, "Now I know of a surety that the Lord hath commanded my husband to flee into the wilderness." In these words, Sariah is an example of the scripture found in Ether 12:6.
"I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." Nephi and his brothers returned again to Jerusalem in verses 1 through 3 of chapter 7. "After my father, Lehi, had made an end of prophesying concerning his seed, it came to pass that 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, that they might raise up seed unto the Lord in the land of promise. 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. And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did again, with my brethren, go forth into the wilderness to go up to Jerusalem." In verses 4 and 5, Nephi and his brothers 'went up unto the house of Ishmael' and 'did gain favor in [his sight], insomuch that [they] did speak unto him the words of the Lord.' After speaking with Ishmael and gaining his favor, '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.'
After leaving Jerusalem for the third time, there was a dispute. One one side of the dispute stood Laman and Lemuel, two of the daughters of Ishmael, the two sons of Ishmael and their families, and on the other side stood Nephi and Sam, Ishmael, and the rest of his family, and possibly Zoram, though there has been no mention of him specifically up to this point.
In verse 7, the reader learns that those with Laman and Lemuel were 'desirous to return unto the land of Jerusalem.'
Then, in verses 8 through 15, Nephi rebukes his brothers. He asks them, '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?' He asks them, 'How is it that ye have not hearkened unto the word of the Lord? How is it that ye have forgotten that ye have seen an angel of the Lord? How is it that ye have forgotten what great things the Lord hath done for us, in delivering us out of the hands of Laban, and also that we should obtain the records?' He asks these questions along with many others, and he also warns them that if they return to Jerusalem, they 'will also perish.' In response to this verbal lashing, in verse 16, the reader learns that Nephi's brothers 'were angry with [him]. And it came to pass that they did lay their hands upon [him], for behold, they were exceedingly wroth, and they did bind [him] with cords, for they sought to take away [his] life.' Dispute In Verses 17 and 18, Nephi prays to be delivered from his brothers. He asks for the strength to break the cords with which he is bound. The bands are loosed, and after another short dispute which involves pleas from members of Ishmael's family for Laman and Lemuel to refrain from attacking their brother, they soften their hearts and pray for forgiveness. Then in verse 22, they continue their journey and arrive at the tent of their father. Dispute In chapters 9 and 10, the reader gets an account of Lehi's vision that has come to be known as the vision of the tree of life, as well as one verse, the last verse of chapter 10, that I think could be seen as the main theme of the first book of Nephi. "But the Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, He prepareth a way to accomplish all His works among the children of men; for behold, He hath all power unto the fulfilling of all His words. And thus it is. Amen." Chapter 10 contains a series of messianic prophecies that were revealed to Lehi in the valley of Lemuel. He prophesies of the coming of Christ and of the nature of His ministry and mission on earth. He prophesies of His baptism by John. He prophesies of His death and resurrection. And finally, he prophesies of the gathering of Israel. Chapters 11 and 12 contain revelation given to Nephi by the Lord as he was 'caught away in the Spirit of the Lord, yea, into an exceedingly high mountain, which [he] never had before seen, and upon which [he] never had before set [his] foot.' This revelation includes a more in-depth knowledge of his father's vision of the tree of life, as well as a vision of the future of his descendants and the descendants of his brothers in the promised land. Chapter 13 contains more prophecy given to Nephi of the Lord. He prophesies of the widespread pride in the latter-days (verses 1-9), the discovery and settlement of the Americas in the 15th-18th centuries (verses 10-16), the Revolutionary War (verses 17-19), the translation, transportation, and pollution of the truths from The Bible (verses 20-29), the prosperity of America (verses 30-32), Christ's ministry among the Jews and the Nephites (verses 33-36), and the second-coming of Christ (verses 37-42). I think it is important to show that Nephi's prophecy from verses 38 and 39 that 'the book of the Lamb of God, which had proceeded forth from the mouth of the Jew' and 'other books, which came forth by the power of the Lamb, from the Gentiles unto them' would work toward 'the convincing of the Gentiles and the remnant of the seed of my brethren, and also the Jews who were scattered upon all the face of the earth, that the records of the prophets and of the twelve apostles of the Lamb are true' is mirrored in Ezekiel 37:16. "Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in they hand." Chapter 14 is a testimony of the truth that God will uphold His people if they will hearken unto His words. One summarizing verse can be found in verse 14. "And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory." Chapter 15 contains Nephi's conversation with his brothers in which he answers their questions about their father's vision and about his words concerning the house of Israel being likened unto an olive tree. In verse 7 of chapter 16, Nephi gives an account of the marriages between Lehi's children and Ishmael's children. "And it came to pass that I, Nephi, took one of the daughters of Ishmael to wife; and also, my brethren took of of the daughters of Ishmael to wife; and also Zoram took the eldest daughter of Ishmael to wife."
Then, in verse 9, Lehi receives instruction of the Lord. "And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord spake unto my father by night, and commanded him that on the morrow he should take his journey into the wilderness."
In verse 10, the reader finds the first mention of the Liahona. "And it came to pass that as my father arose in the morning, and went forth to the tent door, to his great astonishment he beheld upon the ground a round ball of curious workmanship; and it was of fine brass. And within the ball were two spindles; and the one pointed the wat whither we should go into the wilderness." Verses 11 and 12 outline the preparation by Lehi's family for their journey. After crossing the river Laman, in verse 13, the reader finds a direction for their journey. "And it came to pass that we traveled for the space of four day, nearly a south-southeast direction, and we did pitch our tents again; and we did call the name of the place Shazer." River Laman? Verses 14 and 15 continue the account of this journey into the wilderness. "And it came to pass that we did take our bows and our arrows, and go forth into the wilderness to slay food for our families; and after we had slain food for our families we did return again to our families in the wilderness, to the place of Shazer. And we did go forth again in the wilderness, following the same direction, keeping in the most fertile parts of the wilderness, which were in the borders near the Red Sea. And it came to pas that we did travel for the space of many days."
Once again, the account of their journeyings does not give distances of travel, but instead, gives days of travel. Shazer? While some LDS historians have given proposals for the actual location of Shazer, I have not found any actual evidence as to the exact location. All that the reader can gather from the text of The Book of Mormon is that it was approximately a four-day, south-by-southeast journey from the river Laman. Verses 17 through 32 are an account of a few events that took place while Lehi and his family 'pitched their tents for the space of a time' after they had 'traveled for the space of many days.' This account includes, Nephi breaking his bow while hunting, the only occurrence of Lehi murmuring against the Lord, and a record that the spindles on the liahona 'did work according to the faith and diligence and heed which [Lehi's family] did give unto them.'
In verse 33, Lehi's family travels again in the same direction as before for 'the space of many days.' In verse 34, Ishmael dies and is buried in a place referred to as Nahom. Possible location of Nahom. According to many LDS historians, Nahom was located near this location. Verse 1 of chapter 17 gives the direction that Lehi and his family traveled after the death of Ishmael. "And it came to pass that we did again take our journey in the wilderness; and we did travel nearly eastward from that time forth. And we did travel and wade through much affliction in the wilderness; and our women did bear children in the wilderness." Nahom? Verses 2 and 3 testify of how God blessed Lehi and his family during their trials. Some examples of these blessings include making their food edible without the need to cook it, making their wives strong and healthy, softening of hearts, and the providing of means for them to accomplish anything that the Lord asked of them.
In verse 4, the reader learns that it had been eight years from the time that Lehi and his family first left Jerusalem to the time that they reached the east coast of the Arabian Peninsula at a place that they called Bountiful. It is not specified as to where Bountiful was located along the coast, but most views that I have seen indicate that it was near the modern border between Yemen and Oman. Bountiful? In verses 7 and 8, after Nephi says that he and his family had pitched their tents at Bountiful 'for the space of many days', he is commanded of the Lord to go to the mountains that are close to bountiful. After doing as the Lord says, Nephi receives revelation. "Thou shalt construct a ship, after the manner which I shall show thee, that I may carry thy people across these waters." Verses 9 through 16 contain more revelation given to Nephi and his preparation for the building of the ship including finding ore, erecting a bellows, and making tools. Verses 17 through 22 are an account of what Laman and Lemuel said to Nephi in response to his claim that the Lord had spoken with him and instructed him concerning the building of the ship. In these verse 21, there is a piece of insight that gives a good explanation as to why Laman and Lemuel were constantly hindering the journey into the wilderness. "Behold, these many years we have suffered in the wilderness, which time we might have enjoyed our possessions and the land of our inheritance; yea, and we might have been happy." What this verse tells me is that Laman and Lemuel were consumed with the things of the world like much of today's population. In verses 23 through 47, Nephi relates his brothers to the children of Israel during their exodus from Egypt. He gives many examples of how the Lord showed His mercy to them, most of which have to do with miracles performed through Moses, and how they still did not hearken to His words.
After making this comparison, Laman and Lemuel become angry and attempt to kill Nephi. Nephi tells them that 'they should murmur no more against their father; neither should they withhold their labor from me, for God had commanded me that I should build a ship.' Nephi then testifies of the power of God and shows it by stretching forth his hand according to the command of God and shaking his brothers. In the first 6 verses of chapter 18, Nephi and his brothers finish the construction of the ship and prepare their provisions for their maritime journey.
In verse 7, the reader gets the first mention of Nephi's two younger brothers that were born in the wilderness. The oldest is named Jacob and the youngest is namd Joseph.
In verse 8, Lehi and his family launch the ship. This point of The Book of Mormon is difficult to follow as far as geography is concerned. Before I started this project, I had the idea that Lehi and his family sailed south around Africa and then west toward the east coast of the Americas. I most likely thought this because of my understanding of how Christopher Columbus and other European explorers got to the Americas.
However, as I studied different theories about the actual path of Lehi's family's journey, the majority showed a path that went east toward India, through Indonesia, then north-east to Central America.
There are not many clues from the text of The Book of Mormon as to which direction the ship traveled. In verse 1 of the previous chapter, Nephi says that they 'did travel nearly eastward from that time forth.' I had always taken this to mean that they had traveled eastward to Bountiful in order to have a suitable place to build and launch the ship, but it could also indicate that they traveled eastward in the ship as well. In verses 9 through 20, the reader gets an account of another dispute that takes place after Lehi's family had been sailing 'for the space of many days.' In this dispute, Laman and Lemual again try to kill their Nephi, and again the Lord delivers him. Laman and Lemual repent and the liahona begins to work again. In verse 23, Lehi and his family arrive in the Promised Land. The chronological footnote for this event indicates that it was 'probably about 589 B.C.' This would show that it was probably 11 years from the time that Lehi left Jerusalem to the time that he reached America, and probably 3 years of ocean travel. Verses 1 through 7 of chapter 19 give an account of Nephi making new plates out of ore for the purpose of 'keeping the more sacred things for the knowledge of his people.'
The next section of chapter 19 contains prophecy concerning the coming of Christ (verses 8 through 10), His crucifixion and resurrection (verses 11 and 12), and the scattering and gathering of Israel in the latter-days (verses 13 through 17). Verses 18 through 24 is a dialogue between Nephi and his brothers. Bountiful This section of the journey is completely a guess. I have no idea which path they took through Indonesia. According to books by Richard Hauck and Joseph Allen, Book of Mormon scholars, Lehi's family landed at a site close to the modern city of Tapachula on the border between Guatemala and Mexico. Chapters 20 and 21 contain the prophetic words of Isaiah spoken by Nephi to his brothers. While these chapters are extremely important, I will not analyze them because of the geographical focus of this presentation. Please study them on your own. The last chapter of 1 Nephi contains more prophecy concerning the restoration of the gospel and the second coming of Christ. The language and imagery is similar to that found in Daniel 2:38-45. In verses 1-11 of 2 Nephi 1, Lehi speaks to his sons, particularly Laman and Lemuel. He speaks of their murmurings during their journey across the ocean, then he testifies of the nature of The Americas as 'a land of promise, a land which is choice above all other lands; a land which the Lord hath covenanted with [him] should be a land for the inheritance of [his] seed.' He also prophesies that any people that comes to The Americas will be led by the hand of God, and that the land will be consecrated for their sake.
In verse 10, he prophesies of the desolation of his seed after they have forsaken the Lord. The remainder of chapter 1 is counsel from Lehi to Laman, Lemuel and Zoram. He counsels Laman and Lemuel to 'awake from a deep sleep, yea, even from the sleep of hell, and shake off the awful chains by which they are bound', and to 'arise from the dust...and be men.'
In verses 30 through 32, Lehi thanks Zoram for being a 'true friend' to Nephi and promises that if he will keep the commandments, the land will be consecrated for his sake. Chapter 2 contains the words of Lehi to his son Jacob. He testifies of the nature of the fall of Adam and Eve and of the truthfulness of moral agency and consequences.
Chapter 3 contains the words of Lehi to his son Joseph. He testifies that Joseph of Egypt truly saw Lehi and his family in a vision, and that he also saw Joseph Smith and the restoration of the gospel in a vision. In verses 1 through 11 of chapter 4, Lehi testifies unto his children and grandchildren. In verse 5 he gives council that strongly supports the doctrine found in Proverbs 22:6. "I know that if ye are brought up in the way ye should go ye will not depart from it."
In verse 12, Lehi dies and is buried.
The remainder of chapter 4 is a series of thoughts, musings, and covenants that Nephi makes with the Lord. My favorite verses from this section are found in verses 26 through 29. "O then, if I have seen so great things, if the Lord in His condescension unto the children of men hath visited men in so much mercy, why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions?
"And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry because of mine enemy?
"Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.
"Do not anger again because of mine enemies. Do not slacken my strength because of mine afflictions." In the first seven verses of chapter 5, Nephi illustrates his brothers' hatred toward him and desire to kill him. In response to this desire, he takes those that are loyal to him and faithful to the commandments of the Lord, including Sam, Jacob, Joseph, Zoram, his sisters, and all of their family members, and 'journeys in the wilderness for the space of many days.'
In verse 8, they settle in the wilderness and call their settlement Nephi.
In verse 9, the people begin to call themselves the people of Nephi.
Verses 10 through 17 are an account of the prosperity of the people of Nephi in response to their righteousness and willingness to stalwartly keep the commandments.
Verses 18 through 27 are a series of prophecies that had come to pass, including the prophecy that Nephi would lead and rule over his brethren, and that the people of Laman and Lemuel would be 'cut off from the presence of the Lord' 'inasmuch as they would not hearken unto the words' of Nephi.
In verse 28, the reader is given a piece of chronological evidence about the settlement of the Americas. "And thirty years had passed away from the time we left Jerusalem." This is given as the year 569 B.C.
In verse 34, another date is given. "And it sufficeth me to say that forty years had passed away, and we had already had wars and contentions with our brethren." According the the church, this is meant as forty years since Nephi had left Jerusalem. This is referenced as 559 B.C. Chapter 6 contains the words of Jacob to the people of Nephi. He quotes from Isaiah concerning the House of Israel and the second coming of Christ. In verse 8, Jacob refers to the taking of the inhabitants of Jerusalem into captivity which occurred in 582 B.C. while Lehi and his family were making their journey. Chapters 7 and 8 contain more reiteration of the prophetic words of Isaiah by Jacob. He speaks of the ministry and humility of Christ unto the laying down of His life for us, as well as His triumphal return at His second coming. Chapter 9 is split into four sections. The first section, consisting of verses 1 through 7, contains Jacob's testimony of the atonement of Christ. He says, "For as death hath passed upon all men, to fulfill the merciful plan of the great Creator, there must needs be a power of resurrection, and the resurrection must needs come unto man by reason of the fall; and the fall came by reason of transgression; and because man became fallen they were cut off from the presence of the Lord."
The next section, consisting of verses 8 through 16, contains doctrine concerning the nature of final judgment.
The third section, consisting of verses 17 through 25, contains Jacob's praise of the Lord and his testimony that Christ came to the earth to 'save all men if they would hearken unto His voice.' (verse 21)
The final section, consisting of verses 26 through 54, contains Jacob's pleading with his brethren to 'turn away from [their] sins' and 'shake off the chains of him that would bind [them].' (verse 45) In this section, he also testifies of Christ's power. Verse 50 reads, "Come, my brethren, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money, come buy and eat; yea, come buy wine and milk without money and without price." Verses 1 through 9 of chapter 10 contain Jacob's testament of Christ coming to the earth, His crucifixion, and of the literal gathering of Israel before the second coming. Verses 10 through 19 contain doctrine concerning the nature of the Americas as they relate to the covenants with Lehi and his family. Among other doctrines, the reader learns that it is a land for the inheritance of Lehi's family, gentiles shall be blessed with liberty in the land, there shall never be a king other than Christ, and it will be fortified against other nations according to the righteousness of the inhabitants. The remainder of chapter 10 is Jacob's plea with his people to 'reconcile [themselves] to the will of God' and 'cheer up [their] hearts and remember that [they] are free to act for [themselves].' In chapter 11, Nephi speaks. He testifies that he, along with his brother Jacob had seen Christ as Isaiah had. He then testifies of the reality of Christ and His importance in our lives, saying, "And my soul delighteth in proving unto my people that save Christ should come all men must perish. And if there be no Christ there be no God; and if there be no God we are not, for there could have been no creation. But there is a God, and He is Christ, and He cometh in the fulness of His own Time." (verses 6 - 7) Chapters 12 through 16 contain quotations from the Book of Isaiah by Nephi to his people. He speaks of the building of temples in the last days, the iniquity and consequential suffering of the House of Israel, and of widespread iniquity throughout the world before the second coming. Nephi continues his quotational address in chapters 17 through 24. He speaks of the first and second comings of the Lord, the divine calling of the priesthood being the government of the gospel, and of life during Christ's reign as king of kings. In chapter 25, Nephi addresses his people and testifies of the coming of Christ. He says, "Behold, [Jerusalem] shall have wars, and rumors of wars; and when the day cometh that the Only Begotten of the Father, yea, even the Father of heaven and of earth, shall manifest himself unto them in the flesh, behold, they will reject Him, because of their iniquities, and the hardness of their hearts, and the stiffness of their necks." (Verse 12) In verses 23 through 30, Nephi gives his testimony of Christ's infinite mercy and power. "And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins." (Verse 26) Verses 1 through 8 of chapter 26 are a series of prophecies by Nephi concerning the time that Christ would visit the Nephites in the Americas. The commencement of these prophecies is recorded in 3 Nephi chapter 8.
In verses 9 through 21, Nephi prophesies of the coming of Christ, the development of pride and wickedness among the Nephites after Christ's coming and their destruction as a result, and the relationship between his people and the Gentiles.
Verses 23 through 25 are Nephi's testimony of Christ's love. "For behold, my beloved brethren, I say unto you that the Lord God worketh not in darkness. He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for He loveth the world, even that He layeth down His own life that He may draw all men unto Him. Wherefore, He commandeth none that they shall not partake of His salvation. Behold, doth He cry unto any, saying: Depart from me? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; but He saith: Come unto Me all ye ends of the earth, buy milk and honey, without money and without price." Chapter 27 contains the words of Nephi concerning the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. His words are similar to Isaiah's words from Isaiah 29. He gives detail of the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon as well as detail about the testimony of three witnesses and 'a few according to the will of God, to bear testimony of His word unto the children of men.' Chapter 28 contains Nephi's prophecy and testimony of the condition of the world between Christ's first and second comings. He says, 'There shall be many which shall teach after this manner, false and vain and foolish doctrines, and shall be puffed up in their hearts.'
He also shows how the devil will take hold of the hearts of men. 'Others he will pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion...others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell.' Chapter 29 is Nephi's words to his people regarding the symbiotic relationship between the Bible and the Book of Mormon. He says, referencing John 8:17 'Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness that I am God?' Chapter 30 is Nephi's testimony concerning the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, the spreading of the gospel throughout the world, and the coming of Christ to begin the millennium of peace. He says, "And righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and faithfulness the girdle of His reins." (verse 11)
Chapter 31 of 2 Nephi contains some final words by Nephi. He testifies of Christ and of His baptism. Verse 21 says, 'And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father.' Chapters 33 and 34 contain Nephi's final words to his people. He testifies of the power of truth, prayer, and plainness. He glorifies Christ, saying, 'I glory in my Jesus, for He hath redeemed my soul from hell.'
At the end of 2 Nephi, 56 years had passed since Lehi and his family had left Jerusalem. At the beginning of The Book of Jacob, Jacob gives and account of how Nephi, his older brother entrusted him with the plates. "And he gave me, Jacob, a commandment that I should write upon these plates a few of the things which I considered to be most precious; that I should not touch, save it were lightly, concerning the history of this people which are called the people of Nephi." (verse 2)
Verses 3 through 8 are an account of the things that Jacob saw fit to write in the plates.
In verse 9, the reader learns that Nephi, being old, appointed a man to reign in his stead.
In verse 12, Nephi dies among his people. Verses 12 through 22 of chapter 2 contain Jacob's words to the Nephites concerning their increasing greed and pride. in verses 16 and 18, he says, "O that He would rid you from this iniquity and abomination. And, O that ye would listen unto the words of His commands, and let not this pride of your hearts destroy your souls! But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God."
Verses 23 through 35 contain Jacob's words against the people's whoredoms and carnal desires. Chapter 3 of the Book of Jacob, like the previous chapters of this book, contains words from Jacob to the Nephites. In verses 1 through 9, Jacob compares and contrasts the situations of the Nephites and the Lamanites. He says, "Behold, their husbands love their wives, and their wives love their husbands; and their husbands and their wives love their children; and their unbelief and their hatred towards you is because of the iniquity of their fathers; wherefore, how much better are you than they, in the sight of your great creator?" In verses 10 through 14, he counsels with the Nephites to 'remember [their] children, how that [they] have grieved their hearts because of the example that [they] have set before them', and to 'hearken unto [his] words; arouse the faculties of [their] souls.' In chapter 4, Jacob finishes his address and opens with an explanation and testimony of the importance of the things which he writes upon the plates. "But whatsoever things we write upon anything save it be upon plates must perish and vanish away; but we can write a few words upon plates, which will give our children, and also our beloved brethren, a small degree of knowledge concerning us, or concerning our fathers--Now in this thing we do rejoice; and we labor diligently to engraven these words upon plates,...for, for this intent have we written these things, that they may know that we knew of Christ, and we had a hope of His glory." (verses 2-4)
The remainder of chapter 4 contains Jacob's testimony of Christ and of revelation. The 5th chapter of Jacob consists of an extended allegory taken from the words of Zenos. Jacob likens the house of Israel to an olive tree which brings forth wild and tame fruit. The Master of the vineyard, symbolic of God, speaks to His servants, the prophets, and gives them His will concerning the care of the tree. The allegory gives reference to the scattering and gathering of Israel including the groups that come to the Americas, the captivity of the Israelites, the second coming, and other significant events. Chapter 6 consists of the words of Jacob to the Nephites. He counsels them to 'repent...and enter in at the strait gate, and continue in the way which is narrow, until [they] shall obtain eternal life.' (verse 11)
In the final chapter of the Book of Jacob, the reader gets an account of a situation involving the Nephites and a man named Sherem. Sherem is described as 'learned, that he had a perfect knowledge of the language of the people' wherefore, he could use much flattery, and much power of speech, according to the power of the devil.' (verse 4) In verses 6 and 7, Sherem speaks with Jacob and says, "Brother Jacob, I have sought much opportunity that I might speak with you; for I have heard and also know that thou goest about much, preaching that which ye call the gospel, or the doctrine of Christ. And ye have led away much of the people that they pervert the right ways of God.' Jacob then testifies of the truthfulness of the coming of Christ. In response to Jacob's testimony, Sherem is struck by the power of God and then learns of His power.
In verse 27, Jacob entrusts the plates to his son, Enos, and gives him the same instructions that Nephi offered. The sole chapter in the Book of Enos is a story about an experience that Enos had while hunting in the wilderness. In verses 4 and 5, he says, "And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto Him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own woul; and all the day long did I cry unto Him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens. And there came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed." In verses 12 and 13, the story continues. "And it came to pass that after I had prayed and labored with all diligence, the Lord said unto me: I will grant unto thee according to thy desires, because of thy faith. And now behold, this was the desire which I desired of Him--that if it should so be, that my people, the Nephites, should fall into transgression, and by any means be destroyed,...that the Lord God would preserve a record of my people...that it might be brought forth at some future day unto the Lamanites, that, perhaps, they might be brought unto salvation." In verses 16 and 17, Enos received a confirmation for his desires. "And I had faith, and I did cry unto God that He would preserve the records; and He covenanted with me that He would bring them forth unto the Lamanites in His own due time. And I, Enos, knew it would be according to the covenant which He had made; wherefore my soul did rest." In verse 15, the reader learns that 'an hundred and seventy and nine years had passed away from the time that our father Lehi left Jerusalem', placing the end of the Book of Enos at 420 B.C.
At this point in the Book of Mormon, the Nephites are presumably still centered in the city of Nephi. No textual evidence is given to show how many secondary cities were built or even where the city of Nephi was located other than the phrase found in 2 Nephi 5:7, 'we journeyed for the space of many days.' In the first verse of the Book of Jarom, we learn that Jarom, the author of the book, is the son of Enos.
In verse 5, the reader gets another piece of chronological evidence. 'two hundred years had passed away, and the people of Nephi had waxed strong in the land.'
In verses 6 and 7, the reader learns that the Nephites and Lamanites had scattered and settled 'much of the face of the land' and that they began to 'fortify [their] cities, or whatsoever place of [their] inheritance.'
In verse 8, the reader learns that as the Nephites spread through the land, they became wealthy and industrious. In verse 13, Enos says that 'two hundred and thirty and eight years had passed away--after the manner of wars, and contentions, and dissensions, for the space of much of the time.' This places the end of the Book of Enos at 361 B.C. Verse 1 of the Book of Omni reveals that Omni was the son of Jarom. He states that his purpose in writing on the plates was to 'preserve [his] genealogy.'
Omni then writes 2 more verses, stating the he 'fought much with the sword to preserve [his] people', but that he was 'a wicked man', not having kept the 'statutes and commandments of the Lord as [he] ought to have done.'
In verse three, Omni says, 'two hundred and eighty and two years had passed away, and I had kept these plates according to the commandments of my fathers; and I conferred them upon my son Amaron.' This event is placed at 317 B.C. In verses 4 through 11, Amaron receives the plates, he writes and passes them to his brother, Chemish, he writes and passes them to his son, Abinidom, then he writes and passes them to his son Amaleki.
In verses 12 and 13, Amaleki gives an account of King Mosiah's reign over the Nephites: "Behold, I am Amaleki, the son of Abinidom. Behold, I will speak unto you somewhat concerning Mosiah, who was made king over the land of Zarahemla; for behold, he being warned of the Lord that he should flee out of the land of Nephi, and as many as would hearken unto the voice of the Lord should also depart out of the land with him, into the wilderness--And it came to pass that he did according as the Lord had commanded him. And they departed out of the land into the wilderness, as many as would hearken unto the voice of the Lord; and they were led by many preachings and prophesyings. And they were admonished continually by the word of God; and they were led by the power of His arm, through the wilderness until they came down into the land which is called the land of Zarahemla." In verse 14, Mosiah and his people 'discovered a people, who were called the people of Zarahemla.'
In the next verses, the reader learns that the people of Zarahemla had come to the Americas 'at the time that Zedekiah, king of Judah, was carried away captive into Babylon', that they had multiplied in Zarahemla, and that 'their language had become corrupted.'
In verse 19, Mosiah is appointed king over the people of Zarahemla.
In verse 20, Mosiah is given a 'large stone' with 'engravings on it.' Upon receiving this stone, 'he did interpret the engravings by the gift and power of God.'
From verses 21 and 22, the reader learns that the stone told the story of Coriantumr, the last descendant of the Jaredites who came to the Americas at the time of the tower of Babel. The next book is The Words of Mormon. This book was written almost 4 centuries after the birth of Christ by the same author as The Book of Mormon.
In verse 2, he states that he has '[witnessed] almost all the destruction of [his] people', then prays that God will allow his son, Moroni, to live through this destruction and be able to write a few words to profit their people. In verse 3, he explains his dealings with the plates of Nephi. "And now, I speak somewhat concerning that which I have written; for after I had made an abridgment from the plates of Nephi, down to the reign of this king Benjamin, of whom Amaleki spake, I searched among the records which had been delivered into my hands, and I found these plates, which contained this small account of the prophets, from Jacob down to the reign of this king Benjamin, and also many of the words of Nephi." In verses 4 through 6, Mormon testifies of the prophecies and revelations given in the first six books of The Book of Mormon, stating that 'many of them have been fulfilled; yea, and I also know that as many things as have been prophesied concerning us down to this day have been fulfilled, and as many as go beyond this day must surely come to pass.' Verses 7 and 8 contain Mormon's testimony of his relationship with God.
The remainder of The Words of Mormon is an account of the reign of Benjamin, son of Mosiah and king of Zarahemla. It is an introduction into the Book of Mosiah. The first chapter of the Book of Mosiah is an account of the reign of Mosiah's son Benjamin over the people of Zarahemla.
Verses 1 through 8 contain Benjamin's words to his three sons, Mosiah, Helorum, and Helaman. He advises them to cleave to the scriptures and to 'search them diligently, that [they] may profit thereby.'
In verse 10, Benjamin speaks to his son Mosiah. 'My son, I would that ye should make a proclamation throughout all this land among all this people...that thereby they may be gathered together; for on the morrow I shall proclaim unto this my people out of mine own mouth that thou art a king and a ruler over this people, whom the Lord our God hath given us.' In the remainder of the first chapter of the Book of Mosiah, Benjamin tells Mosiah that he will give the people of Zarahemla a name that they might not be 'blotted out', he counsels his son concerning the affairs of the kingdom, and finally, Mosiah sends the proclamation to the people. Verses 1 through 8 of chapter 2 give an account of the gathering of the people to hear king Benjamin's words. They say that 'there were a great number, even so many that they did not number them; for they had multiplied exceedingly and waxed great in the land.'
In verse 9, king Benjamin gives his objective for his address. 'My brethren, all ye that have assembled yourselves together, you that can hear my words which I shall speak unto you this day; for I have not commanded you to come up hither to trifle with the words which I shall speak, but that you should hearken unto me, and open your ears that ye may hear, and your hearts that ye may understand, and your minds that the mysteries of God may be unfolded to your view.' The remainder of chapter 2 contains king Benjamin's address to his people.
In verse 17, he testifies that 'when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.'
In verse 21, he bears his testimony of our relationship with God. "I say unto you that if ye should serve Him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another--I say, if ye should serve Him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants." In verse 30, he tells the people that he has appointed his son Mosiah to reign in his stead.
In the final verse of chapter 2, Benjamin counsels his people as well as the reader to 'consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness.' In chapter 3, king Benjamin continues his address with prophecies and revelations concerning the first coming of Christ. He testifies that 'there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.' In Mosiah 4, king Benjamin continues his address to his people. He testifies of the importance of charity, asking 'are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have?'
He also counsels his people to raise their children in righteousness. "But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another." In verses 1 through 5 of chapter 5, the people of Zarahemla bear their testimony of the truthfulness of Benjamin's words, saying 'we are willing to enter into a covenant with our God to do His will, and to be obedient to His commandments in all things that He shall command us, all the remainder of our days.'
In the remainder of chapter 5, king Benjamin gives his people the name of the children of Christ, and pleads with them to remember their covenant. He says, 'Therefore, I would that ye should be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in good works, that Christ, the Lord God Omnipotent, may seal you His.' In chapter 6, Benjamin confers the kingdom upon his son. At this time, Mosiah is 30 years old. This event is placed at 124 B.C. Benjamin lives three more years and dies in 121 B.C.
The final verse of chapter 6 gives the reader insight about king Mosiah's reign. "And king Mosiah did cause his people that they should till the earth. And he also, himself, did till the earth, that thereby he might not become burdensome to his people, that he might do according to that which his father had done in all things. And there was no contention among all his people for the space of three years." In the first two verses of chapter 7, Mosiah sends a group of sixteen 'strong men' into the wilderness to return to the city of Lehi-Nephi. This city is referenced to 2 Nephi 5:8, where it is simply called Nephi. According to the chronological notes, it had been between 7 and 158 years since they had had contact with the people of Nephi. Most likely, closer to the former number than the latter.
In verses 3 through 6, the sixteen men, being led by a descendant of Zarahemla named Ammon, wander in the wilderness for forty days and then pitch their tents on a hill just north of a city called Shilom. Shilom is presumably close to the city of Nephi because of the evidence found in verse 6, which says that Ammon and his brethren 'went down into the land of Nephi.' In verses 7 through 9, Ammon and his brethren are imprisoned by the king of the land of Nephi, and after being in prison for two days, they were 'brought before the king' and their 'bands were loosed.' The king then proceeds to speak to them, saying, 'Behold, I am Limhi, the son of Noah, who was the son of Zeniff, who came up out of the land of Zarahemla to inherit this land.'
Limhi's grandfather, Zeniff, was a member of the party mentioned in Omni 1:27 that 'went up into the wilderness to return to the land of Nephi' to 'possess the land of their inheritance.'
In verses 10 through 13, Limhi allows Ammon to speak. He tells Limhi that he is a descendant of Zarahemla and that he knows the story of Zeniff. In verses 14 and 15, Limhi reveals that he and his people are in bondage to the Lamanites and that they are heavily taxed. In the remaining verse of chapter 7, Limhi gathers his people together to tell them of the coming of Ammon and his brethren and of his hope that through Ammon, they might free themselves from the bondage of the Lamanites.
In verse 26, he references the story of Abinadi, found in Mosiah 17, to show the actions that he believes brought this bondage upon the people. He says, 'a prophet of the Lord have they slain; yea, a chosen man of God, who told them of their wickedness and abominations, and prophesied of many things which are to come, yea, even the coming of Christ.' In verses 1 through 4, Ammon speaks to the people of Limhi. He gives them an account of the things that had occurred in Zarahemla since Zeniff left and also rehearses some of the words of his father, king Benjamin.
In verses 5 through 18, king Limhi gives Ammon the record of king Zeniff as well as another record from a deserted part of the land. He says, regarding this record, 'I caused that forty and three of my people should take a journey...that thereby they might find the land of Zarahemla, that we might appeal unto our brethren to deliver us out of bondage. And they were lost in the wilderness...and found not the land of Zarahemla...having discovered a land which was covered with the bones of men...and for a testimony that the things that they said are true they have brought twenty-four plates which are filled with engravings.' Limhi then asks Ammon if he can interpret the engravings upon the plates. Ammon says that he cannot, but that king Mosiah has the ability to interpret engravings, and that this power comes from God.
In verse 19 through 21, after hearing this news from Ammon, king Limhi praises God for having the foresight to give this power to Mosiah, and thanks Him for His goodness. Before the beginning of chapter 9, there is a short paragraph explaining that chapters 9 through 22 contain the record of Zeniff, Limhi's grandfather that left the land of Zarahemla during the reign of king Benjamin in search of the city of Nephi. This record begins in 200 B.C., 79 years before Ammon's encounter with Limhi, and ends between the years of 145 and 122 B.C. The events of chapter 9 span the thirteen years between 200 and 187 B.C. In this time, Zeniff departs from Zarahemla with the first exploration party, returns after a battle in which 'father fought against father, and brother against brother', and leaves with the second party. After reaching the land of Nephi with this secondary party, he is appointed king of Lehi-Nephi and Shilom by the king of the Lamanites. After 12 years of his reign, the Lamanites attack his people. In verse 17, Zeniff says, '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.' Chapter 10 is very similar to the previous chapter. Its events span the 18 years between 178 and 160 B.C. In these years, the people of Zeniff return to living in peace. This peace continues until king Laman dies in verse 6 and his son reigns in his stead. The new king stirs his people to anger against Zeniff's people and they go up to battle against them once more. The people of Zeniff remain firm in their trust in the Lord while the Lamanites are described as 'a wild and ferocious and 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.' After this second battle with the Lamanites, in which the people of Zeniff slew 'so many that [they] did not number them', they return to their peaceful way of life. In the final verse, Zeniff confers the kingdom upon his son Noah in his old age. This event is placed at 'probably about 160 B.C.' Verses 1 through 19 of chapter 11 describe Noah, the son of Zeniff, and his reign over the people in the land of Nephi. He did not walk in the ways of his father, he walked after the desires of his own heart. He had many wives and concubines, and caused his people to commit sin. He laid a heavy tax upon his people to support himself and his priests. He was lazy and idolatrous in his rule. Because of this example, the people began to be 'lifted up in the pride of their hearts', and to 'delight in blood, and the shedding of the blood of their brethren.'
The remaining verses of chapter 11 introduce the prophet Abinadi. He came into the people proclaiming repentance and removal from evil. He prophesied, "And it shall come to pass that except this people repent and turn unto the Lord their God, they shall be brought into bondage; and none shall deliver them, except it be the Lord the Almighty God." (verse 23) This prophecy, along with Nephi's prophecy from 2 Nephi 1:20, tell the story of The Book of Mormon. In chapter 12, Abinadi returns to the people in disguise after two years of hiding in the wilderness. He again preaches concerning their destruction if they will not repent and come unto Christ. Upon hearing these words, the people of Noah are angry and bring Abinadi before their king. The king's priests begin to question Abinadi about the scriptures and the law of Moses. He rebukes them for teaching the law but not following it.
In chapter 13, Abinadi continues his message to Noah and his priests. Upon hearing his words, Noah demands that Abinadi be taken and slain for his harsh words, but Abinadi testifies of his calling to deliver his message. He also gives another prophecy in verses 9 and 10 that comes to pass quickly in Mosiah 17:20 and 19:20. Chapter 14 contains Abinadi's words to king Noah and his priests. He quotes from Isaiah 53 in an attempt to show the king and his priests that salvation and redemption do not come from the law of Moses, but from Christ.
In chapter 15, Abinadi bears testimony of the nature of the Godhead, gives examples of Old-Testament prophecy concerning the coming of Christ, and speaks concerning resurrection and salvation.
Abinadi finishes his address in chapter 16. He says, "But there is a resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ. He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death." In Mosiah 17, Abinadi finishes his address (verse 1), Alma, one of Noah's priests, believes the words of Abinadi and is forced to flee to escape being killed for his belief (verses 2 through 5), Abinadi is brought before the king and his priests for sentencing (verses 6 through 8), and Abinadi refuses to recall his message and is killed by fire (verses 9 through 20).
In chapter 18, following the death of Abinadi, Alma begins to teach the words of Abinadi in the land of Nephi. He baptizes many in the waters of Mormon and sets apart priests, one priest to every 50 members of the church, to teach them 'repentance and faith on the Lord.' After they are baptized, having made a covenant to 'stand as a witness of God at all times and in all things and in all places', they begin to have charity towards one-another. The king discovers their meetings and seeks to kill them. In chapter 19, the reader learns of a division that grew among the people of Noah, the lesser number being those that were angry with king Noah and his priests. One of these men, named Gideon, attempts to kill the king. Just as he is about to slay the king atop a watchtower, Noah looks out across the land and sees the armies of the Lamanites coming to attack the city of Nephi. The people of Noah flee into the wilderness, but they are discovered by the Lamanites and scattered. The people of Noah are spared because of the compassion of the Lamanites. Noah suffers death by fire and his son, Limhi, the king at the time that Ammon entered the city of Nephi, reigns in his stead. The people of Limhi are forced into bondage and heavy taxation in payment for their spared lives. In verses 1 through 5 of chapter 20, the priests of Noah that had been hiding in the wilderness came forth from their hiding places and abducted the daughters of the Lamanites from their meeting place in Shemlon. In the remainder of the chapter, the Lamanites discover that their daughters have been taken and blame the people of Limhi. They come up to battle and the battle becomes exceedingly horrific and strenuous. The people of Limhi capture the king of the Lamanites and make peace with the Lamanites, informing them of the guilt of the priests. In the first three verses of chapter 21, the Lamanites begin to be angry with the people of Limhi. But not being willing to break the covenant that they had made with king Limhi, the refuse to slay his people. They do however begin to 'smite them on their cheeks' and 'exercise authority over them.'
Verse 4 shows the reasons behind this treatment of the people of Limhi. "Yea, all this was done that the word of the Lord might be fulfilled."
In the rest of the chapter, the people of Limhi make a few attempts to break free from the bondage of the Lamanites, but in the end, subject themselves. Verses 22 through 36 retell the story of Ammon and his brethren coming into the land of Nephi. In chapter 22, Limhi, Ammon, and Gideon lead the people out of the land of Nephi to escape the bondage of the Lamanites. They escape safely thanks to intelligence from Gideon that the Lamanite guards at the back pass of the city are drunken. After fleeing the city, Ammon leads them to the land of Zarahemla and king Mosiah welcomes them. Limhi delivers the records from the deserted land to king Mosiah. Chapters 23 and 24 contain the story of Alma and his followers after they fled from the city of Nephi. In verses 1 through 20, the people of Alma desire that he should become their king. He refuses, saying, 'thus saith the Lord: Ye shall not esteem one flesh above another, or one man shall not think himself above another.'
They begin to build a city called Helam, and they begin to prosper, tilling the ground, building structures, and laboring exceedingly.
In verses 25 through 29, the city of Helam is attacked by an army of the Lamanites and Alma and his people are taken captive.
In verses 30 through 35, the reader learns of the meeting that took place between the armies of the Lamanites and the priests of Noah as the Lamanites were pursuing the people of Limhi. The priests' wives, who are Lamanites themselves, plead with the Lamanites to spare their husbands. In verses 36 through 39, the Lamanites split into mulitple groups to occupy the land, and Amulon, the leader of the priests of Noah, is placed to rule over the people of Alma. In chapter 24, Amulon and his priests are appointed teachers over the Lamanites by king Laman. They teach the people 'that they should keep their record, and that they might write one to another', but they do not teach anything concerning God or the law of Moses.
Amulon writes and edict saying that 'whosoever should be found calling upon God should be put to death.' Hearing this, the people of Alma do not speak their prayers but keep a constant prayer in their hearts. Hearing their prayers, the Lord causes that a 'profound sleep' should come upon the Lamanites. During this time, the people of Alma flee and join the people of Mosiah and Limhi in Zarahemla. In chapter 25, Mosiah gathers all of the people, the Mulekites or descendants of Zarahemla, the Nephites, the people of Alma, and the people of Limhi. When they are gathered, he read all of the accounts of these separate peoples from the time that they left Zarahemla to the time that they returned. Alma then speaks to the people and afterward, baptizes many and sets up the church of God throughout the land of Zarahemla.
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