1 Ne 1:16-20
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The relationship of verses 16-20 to the rest of Chapters 1-2 is discussed at Chapters 1-2.
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- 1 Ne 1:17: Proceedings. One way this word is used is to refer to proceedings of a meeting or conference. Nephi is likely not equating his life with a conference. Another possible definition of the word is “a series of events that happen in a planned and controlled way.” This would suggest that Nephi sees the hand of the Lord guiding him throughout his entire life. The word proceedings can also mean “a complete written record of what is said or done during a meeting.” Perhaps it is less the meeting connotation and more the sense of writing something down that Nephi is trying to suggest. In other words, Nephi is equating his life with the record it is being kept on.
- 1 Ne 1:17: Account. There are at least two ways of viewing the word “account.” The first definition, which is probably the most common, is “a record or narrative description of past events.” Nephi’s discussion of writing a history certainly fits this description. Another definition is “a statement that makes something comprehensible by describing the relevant structure or operation or circumstances etc.” This fits with what Nephi is doing because it suggests that he is trying to present faith-promoting stories that readers can relate to and liken to their own life.
- 1 Ne 1:17 Abridging Lehi's record. See the discussion of Lehi's and Nephi's records at First Nephi.
- 1 Ne 1:18: I would that ye should. This verse contains the first instance of this phrase in the Book of Mormon. This phrase appears forty-nine times in the Book of Mormon, four times in the Doctrine and Covenants, and nowhere else in the standard works. The closest thing in the Bible is the phrase “I would ye should” in Philip. 1: 12. The word “would” most likely conveys the sense of “desire” or “wish.” The word “should” probably means something like “will have to” or “will be able to.” In other words, when Nephi says “I would that ye should know,” it seems likely he is saying “I desire and wish that you will have to and be able to know.”
- 1 Ne 1:18: Marvelous. At first glance, this word seems out of place. The dictionary definitions which seem to fit best are these: “causing wonder or astonishment,” “miraculous,” and “supernatural.” Lehi was probably not astonished at these things, since the Lord has a pattern of warning the wicked about their impending destruction. The people who heard Lehi may not have been completely astonished, since they presumably had already heard similar things from other prophets in Jerusalem. “Miraculous” seems to have a connotation that is too positive to fit this scenario of destruction. Maybe “supernatural” is the best fit. It suggests that the hand of the Lord was at work in determining the fate of Jerusalem--whether the people of that great city recognized it or not.
- 1 Ne 1:18: Yea. The definition that works best for this word is “not only so, but.” This works better than saying “yea” in this verse is simply an affirmation. The former definition also makes sense since it indicates that the “marvelous things” beheld by Lehi are not necessarily synonymous with the destruction he witnessed.
- 1 Ne 1:19-20: Here Nephi divides his account of Lehi's preaching and the response of the people into two distinct sequences, arranged in a simple chiasm:
- And it came to pass that the Jews did mock him because of the things which he testified of them;
- for he truly testified of their wickedness and their abominations;
- and he testified that the things which we he saw and heard, and also the things which he read in the book,
- manifested plainly of the coming of a Messiah, and also the redemption of the world.
- And when the Jews heard these things they were angry with him; yea, even as with the prophets of old.
- And it came to pass that the Jews did mock him because of the things which he testified of them;
- In the first sequence, (1) Lehi testifies of the wickedness and abominations of the people, and (2) they respond with mockery. In the second, (1) Lehi testifies of the coming of a Messiah and the redemption of the world, and (2) the people respond with murderous anger. This distinction between two messages and two associated responses deserves detailed attention.
- 1 Ne 1:18-19: Secret combination. On January 23, 1829, six months after Martin Harris lost the 116 page manuscript, but three months before Oliver Cowdery began assisting with the translation, Joseph Smith's mother Lucy Mack Smith wrote a letter, p. 9 or p. 463, stating that the Nephites had among them "that same secret society which had brought Jerusalem and the whole nation of the Jews to destruction," suggesting that a cause of the impending destruction prophesied by Lehi was the activity of one or more secret combinations at Jerusalem.
- 1 Ne 1:19-20: Testifying of wickedness and abominations. Lehi's first message, according to Nephi's way of dividing up the story, concerned the wickedness and abominations of the people in Jerusalem. The coupling of these two terms—the one singular and generic ("wickedness") and the other plural and specific ("abominations")—is quite common in the Book of Mormon (see 1 Ne 14:4, 12; 2 Ne 27:8; 28:14, 17; Jacob 2:10, 31; Mosiah 3:7; 7:26; 11:20; 29:18; Alma 4:3; 13:17; 21:3; 37:21, 23, 29; Hel 4:11; 6:24, 34; 7:27; 9:23; Hel 13:14-17; 3 Ne 2:3; 7:15; 9:7-8, 10-12; 30:2; 4 Ne 1:39; Morm 2:18, 27; 3:11; Ether 14:25; Moro 9:15; note that this pairing never occurs in the Bible, though there is a consistent equation of wickedness and abomination in the Proverbs: Prov 8:7; 15:8-9, 26; 16:12; 21:27). The pairing seems, at the very least, to suggest that a kind of generic rebellion against the Lord is punctuated by so many specifiable abominations (a word generally used in connection with idolatry). Ultimately, there is nothing terribly surprising about Lehi's testimony in this regard: he seems simply to have identified the kinds of abominable practices that were prevailing in Jerusalem, and to have been attempting to make clear that these were so many signs of rebellion. It was Lehi's second point of testimony that seems to have been so radical.
- 1 Ne 1:19-20: Testifying of the Messiah and world-redemption. Lehi's second message, according to Nephi's way of dividing up the story, concerned the "the coming of a Messiah, and also the redemption of the world." Interestingly, here Nephi ties Lehi's testimony to "the things which he saw and heard," something not done with the first message. Note that verse 18 describes Lehi as "prophesy[ing]" and "declar[ing] unto them [the people of Jerusalem] concerning the things which he had both seen and heard." But because this comes before and structurally outside of the chiastic account of Lehi's double message and the Jerusalemites' double response, it seems best to see it as describing the events of Lehi's preaching only from the outside constituted by Nephi's role as narrator. It is thus only with the second message that there is any direct connection made to Lehi's visionary experience, as if Lehi had identified abominations and general Jerusalemite wickedness without making reference to the vision and what he learned there. Moreover, Nephi not only indexes Lehi's second message onto the vision, but also onto a very specific part of the vision: "the things which [Lehi] read in the book." It seems that the vision itself—what Lehi saw and heard—"manifested plainly of the coming of a Messiah," but it seems that it was what was in the book specifically that secured Lehi's understanding of what he saw and heard.
- But what can be said, more specifically, about the significance here of the Messiah, and of the theme of world-redemption?
- 1 Ne 1:20: Death vs. Deliverance. There is something incongruous about this verse. In its first half, we are told that more than one prophet suffered death at the hands of the Jews and that they sought also to take Lehi's life. "But" Nephi assures us the Lord provides “deliverance” to his “chosen” servants. In this context it seems that the deliverance spoken of is Lehi's deliverance from death. The "tender mercy" of this physical deliverance is all the more recognizable in contrast to the prophets of old who were "cast out, and stoned and slain." But at the same time this could seem to cut against Nephi's very point--that these tender mercies are given to all the Lord chooses because of their faith. To reconcile this we must recognize that the Lord's tender mercies take different forms for each person. In Lehi's case we see the Lord's tender mercies in preserving his and his families' life. The prophets who were slain received different mercies. Additionally, we can read the deliverance here as referring to the ultimate deliverance from spiritual and physical death which all can recieve.
- 1 Ne 1:20: Humility and tender mercies. According to Gen 32:11, Jacob had faith the Lord would answer his prayer about being delivered from the hand of Esau. Yet Jacob declared in the previous verse that he was “not worthy of the least of all the mercies” which the Lord had shown him (Gen 32:10). Perhaps in this case, Jacob had faith, accordingly received mercy, and was trying to be humble about it.
- 1 Ne 1:20: Reasons for tender mercies. D&C 46:15 explains that some people “know the differences of administration” through the Spirit. This gift comes to them, the verse concludes, “as it will be pleasing unto the same Lord, according as the Lord will, suiting his mercies according to the conditions of the children of men.” When this mercy comes, in other words, it fits the needs and desires of the Lord and is adapted to the circumstances of his children. I think I was forgetting the Lord’s half of this equation. Tender mercies are not delivered solely because the time is right and we need them. They are sent by a Heavenly Father who is looking for every chance possible to bless us.
- 1 Ne 1:20: Those he hath chosen. One way of understanding this verse is the teaching that “many are called but few are chosen” (D&C 121:34). This tell us that faith is what helps makes someone chosen. In addition, faith must be one of the things that qualify someone for the tender mercies of the Lord.
- 1 Ne 1:20: Mighty even unto the power of deliverance. How should we interpret deliverance? Is this physical deliverance or spiritual? 1 Ne 17:14 reinforces the physical dimension to deliverance. There Nephi was told, “I, the Lord, did deliver you from destruction; yea, that I did bring you out of the land of Jerusalem.” Clearly the prophets of old mentioned in the same verse were not given this type of deliverance. 2 Ne 9:19 speaks of spiritual deliverance: the Lord “delivereth his saints from that awful monster the devil, and death, and hell.” The dual meanings behind “mighty” and “deliverance” allow for richer interpretation.
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- 1 Ne 1:16: Lehi's writings. How much writing did Lehi do before his call as a prophet? Or did he primarily write after receiving this call? Did the subjects of Lehi's writings--visions, dreams, and prophesies--come mostly before or after Lehi's call as a prophet?
- 1 Ne 1:17: "my proceedings in my days." Is Nephi being redundant with this wording? Or is there a difference between Nephi's "proceedings" and Nephi's "days"?
- 1 Ne 1:17: "Behold." This is the first instance of this word in the Book of Mormon. Why did Nephi and other Book of Mormon prophets use the word “behold” so often? Is it simply because they wanted readers to visualize what they were saying? Were they using this word as device for grabbing our attention?
- 1 Ne 1:17: "I make an abridgment." Why was an abridgment necessary? Was Lehi’s account on perishable material? Did Nephi create this additional copy out of fear that the original might become lost? Or is the fact that Nephi said readers could find the genealogy of his fathers upon his father’s record (1 Ne 6:1) an indication that he thought his father's record was fairly permanent? Why did Nephi feel a need to consolidate his father's record into his own record if he was already planning on creating separate plates? If Nephi was including Lehi’s account on his smaller plates, does that mean Lehi’s account was primarily spiritual in nature? Or does it mean that, in the process of abridging, Nephi was selectively pulling out and recording the spiritual elements in Lehi’s account? Did Lehi's record require abridging because, like Nephi, he was writing a “full account of the history” of his people (1 Ne 9:2)? Is it reasonable to assume that Lehi was inscribing few, if any, scriptures upon his record, since he presumably did not have access to the Old Testament until after his sons took it from Laban? If so, was Lehi principally writing down his visions? Was Lehi's record more of a journal and less of a scripture? What is Nephi including and excluding, in terms of time, when he says he is making an abridgment of his father’s record? Has Lehi stopped adding to his record by this point? Was Nephi incorporating the latest visions from Lehi, such as the Tree of Life, which were too new to have appeared on the record of Lehi?
- 1 Ne 1:17: Tense. Is Nephi saying that, at that moment, he was in the process of abridging his father’s record? Or is he saying that, at some point in the future, he “shall” make this account? Why is Nephi shifting between a few different tenses?
- 1 Ne 1:17: "the record." Why did Nephi call this document “the record” of his father? Did Lehi not institute the pattern of keeping parallel records? Did Lehi put everything down on just one record?
- 1 Ne 1:17: "plates which I have made with mine own hands." Why is it important for Nephi to emphasize that he has made the plates “with [his] own hands”? Would they be less authentic if someone else had constructed the plates? Was Nephi trying to stamp his claim upon the plates, an assertion that they belonged to him and his descendants? Did Nephi conclude that making his own plates would provide his descendants with a tangible symbol of power and authority?
- 1 Ne 1:17: Brass Plates. Why does Nephi not feel compelled to abridge the brass plates that he took from Laban? He certainly quotes select passages, but why is it less important to include an abridgment of this record than it is to incorporate an abridgment of his father’s record? Was Nephi assured early on that the brass plates would be preserved? What were the cut-off dates for these two different records. Did the brass plates end in the year where Lehi’s record picked up? Was there overlap in the years covered by each of these records?
- 1 Ne 1:17: "I make an account of mine own life." Why does Nephi say that he is making an account “of [his] own life”? Was he intending for this to be an autobiography? Does Nephi focus primarily on his self and his dealings with the Lord? Is Nephi absent from any of the stories he writes about? How and why did Nephi have to wait until his father’s record was abridged before he started the record of his own life? Did Nephi keep notes on paper until that point? Or did Nephi truly not write anything down about his own life until after his father died? Does this mean the Lord blessed Nephi with an amazing memory? Are there things that Nephi reports, such as quotations and pieces of conversation, that make it hard for us to believe that he memorized them without the benefit of notes? What significance, if any, is there in the fact that different articles were used to refer to “the record of [Nephi’s] father” and “an account of [Nephi’s] own life”? Does the difference suggest that Nephi regarded his father’s record as definitive, whereas he thought that the way he had written his own account was just one of the various ways he could have written it? Does Nephi imply that there could be more than one version of his account because he sees that the Lamanites will contest his interpretation of history? Does Nephi assume that his father’s account will be more definitive because the Lamanites and the Nephites will have equal claim upon Lehi’s record? Is Nephi willing to grant his father’s record definitive status because it will be one of the few things that the Nephites and the Lamanites have in common? If so, why did Nephi assume the Lamanites would not contest the interpretation of history found in Lehi’s record? Were the Lamanites silent about Lehi’s record but quite vocal in their disagreements with Nephi’s account? Did the Lamanites have access to Lehi’s record? Did they have access to Nephi’s abridgment? Did the Lamanites ever suspect that Nephi had rewritten or reinterpreted their history while abridging his father's record?
- 1 Ne 1:17: Making Plates. When did Nephi first obtain access to the materials he needed to make “plates”? Did he wait until he obtained ore to make tools for his ship? Did Nephi had access to precious metals at his father’s house before leaving Jerusalem (as well as at the time he returned for the brass plates)? Is there any chance he melted down part of the brass plates and recycled them for his own plates? Why we are not told whether Lehi’s record was on plates? Did Lehi know whether or not the scriptures held by Laban were on plates?
- 1 Ne 1:17: Nephi's imagined audience. How conscious was Nephi of future generations of Nephites and Lamanites while he wrote his record? Did Nephi have different audiences in mind for his small and large plates? Did Nephi witness the fate of the Nephites and Lamanites in vision before finishing the majority of his writing? Was Nephi writing for both groups, but assuming his writings in the short-term would impact the Nephites and in the long-term would impact the Lamanites? Was Nephi conscious of the fact that, in terms of the future audience that would read his writings, Gentiles would vastly outnumber the Nephites and Lamanites? What evidence do we have in Nephi's writings that he thought it would be relatively easy for his readers to consult his other plates on matters such as genealogy and history? Did Nephi sometimes forgot the size of his future audience?
- 1 Ne 1:18: "therefore." Why does Nephi use this word to start the verse? Is Nephi saying that we have to understand the system of recordkeeping used by him and his father before Lehi’s prophetic warnings to the inhabitants of Jerusalem will make sense to us? Does Nephi ues the word “therefore” so that we will understand that, even though Nephi would have been too young to understand Lehi’s ministry, Nephi learned about the ministry after the fact from his father’s record?
- 1 Ne 1:18: "after." Did Nephi use this word to indicate that Lehi needed information from the Lord before he could go out and warn the inhabitants of Jerusalem about their impending destruction? Or could Lehi have relied on what the other prophets were saying, rather than obtaining his own revelation, when he went out to warn the people of his city? Did Lehi wait until he had obtained his knowledge firsthand, from the Lord, before he began warning other people who had previously not been under his stewardship?
- 1 Ne 1:18: "the Lord had shown." Why is this phrase sufficient to convey what Lehi “had both seen and heard”? Does the dictionary definition of the word “shown"--“implies no more than enabling another to see or examine"--apply in this instance? Or should we believe that Lehi learned what would happen to Jerusalem through both his eyes and ears? Would it have been more accurate for this verse to say that “the Lord had shown and told”? Are there other examples of sight, in a spiritual context, functioning in both an auditory and visual way?
- 1 Ne 1:18: "concerning." Why does this word appear twice within the same verse? Does the meaning of “relating to” or “regarding” fit well within the context of the sentence? Is this word really necessary? Would the sentence make just as much sense if the word were omitted? Or is this word necessary for introducing a subtle distinction? Does the second use of this word suggest that Lehi told the people about his vision, rather than exactly what the Lord had told him?
- 1 Ne 1:18: Destruction of Jews vs. Destruction of Jerusalem. Why does the cross-reference for footnote 18a lead readers to a verse where we are told that the Jews have been destroyed? Is this an example of the scriptures going back and forth between destroying people versus places? Is the Book of Mormon ambivalent about this when it says certain people were destined for destruction (e.g. the Nephites at the end of the book) and particular places (e.g. in 3 Nephi) were chosen for destruction before Christ arrived?
- 1 Ne 1:18: Details of the Destruction. Why did the Lord show Lehi the destruction of Jerusalem? Was it certain at that point? Had the inhabitants refused to repent enough times that they had passed the point of no return? Or is it possible that Lehi had to see the possible destruction in order to speak convincingly of what might happen? How much detail was Lehi able to see about this destruction? Was Lehi told when it would happen, assuming the inhabitants did not repent? Was Lehi told the means by which it would be destroyed? Did the Lord show Lehi only a general sketch of what would happen during the destruction of Jerusalem, so the the agency of the Lord's people would not be diminished?
- 1 Ne 1:18: "prophesy." Why is this word used to describe Lehi's message to the people about the destruction of Jerusalem? To what degree was the impending destruction conditional? Does this mean prophesies are not always a declaration of what is going to happen, no matter what? Is this verse using the word "prophesy" to suggest Lehi was telling the people their options for the future?
- 1 Ne 1:18: "began." Why is this word used to describe the manner in which Lehi prophesied? Did Lehi start prophesying to the people, but never finished? Did Lehi have to flee once the people became angry with him? Or did Lehi stay and deliver his entire message, so that the inhabitants of Jerusalem would be adequately warned that destruction awaited them if they did not repent? Was it critical for Lehi to deliver the full extent of his prophecies, or was he merely repeating what other prophets had already said?
- 1 Ne 1:18: Warnings. Do the prophets in this generation issue similar warnings of destruction? Or are the biblical prophecies of destruction in the last days sufficient warning? Does the prophet issue specific warnings for specific places? Was Jerusalem a special case, since it was the children of Israel that lived there?
- 1 Ne 1:19: "things." Was it the “things” Lehi said, rather than the manner in which he said them, that upset the inhabitants of Jerusalem? Does this mean Lehi used a Christ-like voice to convey his message? If so, was his message offensive? Does the footnote suggest that the people in Jerusalem were reacting in this way to Lehi’s message because they were already in apostasy?
- 1 Ne 1:19: "Jews." Why is this noun used to describe everyone who was wicked in Jerusalem? Was this is a catchall term, similar to Nephi’s usage, where anyone who lived in Jerusalem was, broadly speaking, considered a Jew? Or is this verse suggesting that members of the other tribes of Israel, besides Judah, were immune to this wickedness in Jerusalem?
- 1 Ne 1:19: "testified." Why does this word appear three times in this verse? Was Lehi trying to leave his listeners with no doubt about the wrongfulness of their actions? Or is this word repeated to underscore that Lehi was bearing testimony of the Savior and his atonement?
- 1 Ne 1:19: "truly." Why was this word used to describe the extent to which Lehi testified of his listeners’ “wickedness” and “abominations”? Does this mean Lehi’s list was comprehensive? Or does it simply imply that Lehi’s testimony was very factual, correct, and exact in the truth?
- 1 Ne 1:19: "their wickedness and their abominations." Why was it necessary pair these words in this verse? Are they redundant? Is there is a sufficient difference in their meaning if the first word refers to the state of being evil and sinful and the second word means an object of detestation? Does the cross reference indicate that these people were in self-denial?
- 1 Ne 1:19: "mock." Is this word out of place in this verse? Are “mock” and “angry” two aspects of the same emotion? As used in this verse, does the word "mock" mean to “make fun of” or to “hold up to ridicule”? Was this a natural reaction for the guilty in Jerusalem? When their self-image was shattered by that truth that cuts to the center, was mocking Lehi was one of the few defense mechanisms that these people felt they had left? What was the process by which this levity quickly turned into a murderous spirit? Does 1 Ne 7:14 teach that people who mock the prophets lose the companionship of the Spirit? Is this one of the reasons why Laman and Lemuel believed that the people in Jerusalem had kept the commandments and that their father had wrongfully judged them (see 1 Ne 17:22)? Does this mean that losing the Spirit is the first step in seeing things as the opposite of how they really are? Do the spiritual blinders, that result from mocking, distort our perception of people and the world around us? Does 2 Chr 36:16 teach that prophets are despised by those who mock them? Does Jer 25:4 teach that the people who mock prophets do not even listen to their message? Or do the people who mock prophets listen a little and then create stereotypes and caricatures of their message? Does Ezek 5:6 tell us that the people who mock prophets are consciously refusing to obey God's commandments? Did Laman and Lemuel mock their brother and father? Is this what happened when they refused to “believe that Jerusalem, that great city, could be destroyed according to the words of the prophets” (1 Ne 2:13)? Does this tell us that the people in Jerusalem were already well versed in the art of rejecting prophets by the time Lehi came around? Can we assume Lehi’s testimony was affront to Jews who were proud of their city?
- 1 Ne 1:19: "a Messiah." Why is this wording used? Why doesn't the text say Lehi was preaching about "the Messiah"? Was Lehi trying to correct false notions of there being more than one Messiah? Was Lehi acknowledging that a Messiah can be thought of as a role that is filled by an anointed one? Was Lehi trying to point the people's attention to a specific Messiah?
- 1 Ne 1:19: "which he saw and heard ... and ... read." Why does this verse apparently draw a distinction between “the things which [Lehi] saw and heard [in a vision]” and “the things which he read in the book”? Is this evidence that the vision Lehi received in verse six, which corresponds to “saw and heard,” was different from the vision he beheld in verses eight through thirteen, which include seeing and reading from a book?
- 1 Ne 1:19: "manifested plainly." Does this phrase imply that Lehi could tell very easily that he was seeing the Messiah in vision? If so, why do verses eight through fourteen leave us with the impression that Lehi beheld an unnamed “One” with twelve followers that “came down and went forth upon the face of the earth” (1 Ne 1:11). Did Nephi believe that the identity of the Messiah was not initially revealed to Lehi in his vision? Why did Nephi not say, in verses eight through fourteen, that Lehi beheld the Messiah and twelve followers coming down to earth? Was it plain to Lehi’s listeners that he had seen the Messiah in vision? Should their mocking attitude and then angry reaction leads us to believe that the truthfulness of Lehi’s message may not have been obvious or even believable?
- 1 Ne 1:19: "the redemption of the world." Does this mean the atonement was discussed in verses eight through fourteen? Does the general discussion of the Lord’s mercy in verse fourteen count? Or was the part of the vision that pertained to redemption edited out by Nephi during his abridgment of his father's record? Why did this verse refer to “the redemption of the world” rather than “the redemption of the children of men”? Did Nephi favor the former phrase since it was more encompassing than (and undoubtedly includes) the latter? How could the people could have been angry with Lehi for bringing (at least in part) such merciful and hopeful news?
- 1 Ne 1:19: Book(s). Why does this chapter introduce the word “book” in two different ways: “a book” (1 Ne 1:11) and “the book” (1 Ne 1:19)? Was Lehi open to the possibility of seeing “a book,” just like other prophets had witnessed in vision, when his vision started? But once the vision finished, did Lehi conclude that “the book” was the same heavenly record used by the angels and previous prophets?
- 1 Ne 1:19: "the coming of a Messiah." Why was it “the coming of a Messiah” rather than “the ministry of the Messiah” that Lehi witnessed in vision? Why are the only verbs used to describe the actions of the “One” are “descending” and “came down”? Did Lehi beheld more than this condescension? Did he witness the ministry of Christ? Is this omission a consequence of Nephi’s editorial decisions concerning the experiences of his father?
- 1 Ne 1:20: "him." Why does this verse say the people were angry with “him” rather than recording that they were mad at his message? Is it a human tendency to blame other people for our problems, rather than blaming impersonal forces or ideas? Did these people in Jerusalem abdicate their agency (see 2 Ne 2:13) the moment they blamed Lehi, rather than their selves, for the anger they felt? Were these people blinded by their anger when they felt like lashing out at Lehi? Is this a good example of self-betrayal?
- 1 Ne 1:20: "even as with the prophets of old." How was this memory of murdering past prophets kept alive? Was this a strange thing for them to have been proud of? Why did the inhabitants of Jerusalem not repress these bad memories? How consciously did they choose to remember? Were these murderous memories preserved because the people had begun neglecting the condition of their hearts? Had they slipped into a superficial level of obedience, in which they still observed the outward laws of sacrifice and their priests still made the appropriate offerings at the temple? Was it this superficiality that allowed the inhabitants of Jerusalem to rationalize their spiritual status? Did these people tell themselves, and assure each other, that they were God’s covenant people, that they were righteous and blessed, and that their great city Jerusalem could never be destroyed? Does this prideful attitude help explain their reaction to the prophets in their midst? Did the prophets use truth to cut through the lies upon which these people had built their lives? Did the Jews immediately hate the prophets who warned them of their impending downfall because the prophets saw them for who they really were and because their message of repentance exposed the wickedness that the Jews were practicing?
- 1 Ne 1:20: Reactions to the Prophets. Why did the people of Jerusalem never repent? Or did some repent and the Lord kept sending prophets to give others a second and third chance? Do the varying levels of righteousness in Jerusalem, both among the people and at various times, help explain why different prophets to the Jews suffered different fates? What determined whether a past prophet was “cast out,” “stoned,” or “slain”? What is the difference between being stoned and slain? Does this mean most of the prophets sent to Jerusalem lost their lives? Does this mean Lehi accepted the assignment to call the Jews to repentance with the understanding that the odds were against him? Is this likely because nothing in this chapter indicates that Lehi was told beforehand about traveling to the promised land?
- 1 Ne 1:20: Formulaic Phrasing? Why does Hel 13:24 present a list very similar to what is found in this verse? Why do the actions of being cast out, stoned, and slain appear in the same order in both verses? Was history was repeating itself or had this list become formulaic by the time of Helaman?
- 1 Ne 1:20: What is Nephi's purpose in writing? In this verse Nephi says he will show us the tender mercies of the Lord unto those who have faith. In 1 Ne 1 Nephi simply says he will "make a record of my proceedings" and in 1 Ne 6:3-4 he says he is writing to "persuade men to come unto the God of Abraham."
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- Smith, Lucy Mack. Letter to Mary Smith Pierce, 23 January 1829. Reprinted in Jessee, Dean C., ed. "Lucy Mack Smith's 1829 Letter to Mary Smith Pierce," p. 463. In Brigham Young University Studies (Autumn 1982) 22/4:455-65. Provo, Utah: 1959-present.
- Verse 1:20. Elder Bednar's conference address in April 2005 focuses on the tender mercies of the Lord (1 Nephi 1:20); he discusses how we might understand the word chosen in this context.
Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.
- Smith, Lucy Mack. Letter to Mary Smith Pierce, 23 January 1829. Reprinted in Jessee, Dean C., ed. "Lucy Mack Smith's 1829 Letter to Mary Smith Pierce," p. 463. In Brigham Young University Studies (Autumn 1982) 22/4:455-65. Provo, Utah: 1959-present.