1 Nephi 1
Our narrator is a guy named Nephi. His dad, Lehi, lived in Jerusalem hundreds of years before Jesus was born. Lehi had a vision in which he saw Jesus, and he also saw that Jerusalem would soon be destroyed. He encouraged his fellow citizens to repent, but that just made them want to kill him.
1 Nephi 2
God told Lehi in a dream to get out of town. Lehi obediently took his wife Sariah and their four sons and traveled three days into the wilderness outside Jerusalem. Laman and Lemuel, who were the oldest sons, were upset about leaving all their stuff in Jerusalem, but Lehi gave them a talking to that shut them right up (for now). Nephi (who was the youngest son) prayed and was comforted. He told his other brother, Sam, about his experience, and Sam believed. Laman and Lemuel didn't believe, and then Nephi prayed and heard the voice of God telling him that he'll be led to a promised land and rule over his brothers.
1 Nephi 3
Lehi had another dream and told his sons to go back to Jerusalem. Their mission: to get a book of prophecies and genealogy from a man named Laban. So they went back to Jerusalem, and Laman tried to talk Laban into giving them the record, but Laban refused (emphatically). Nephi then suggested gathering up all the valuables they'd left behind and trying to barter, but that also failed: Laban stole their stuff and ordered his servants to kill them. They escaped, but then Laman started beating Nephi with a rod. An angel intervened and told them to try again, but Laman and Lemuel were still skeptical that they would ever get the record.
1 Nephi 4
Nephi was able to talk Laman and Lemuel into going back to Jerusalem with him (grudgingly). They waited outside the city while Nephi snuck in. He found Laban passed-out drunk in the street. The voice of God told Nephi to kill Laman, which shocked Nephi, and he spends a few verses wringing his hands about it. Finally God persuaded him, and he killed Laman and took his clothes. Then he found one of Laman's servants, Zoram, who took him to the treasury and carried the record for him as they headed out of the city. They met up with Nephi's brothers, and Nephi convinced Zoram to come along with them back to Lehi's camp.
1 Nephi 5-6
While Nephi and his brothers were in Jerusalem, their parents had a spat. Sariah was convinced that Laban had killed them, and she blamed Lehi and his visions. But when their sons return, and everybody celebrates and all's forgiven. After the celebration, Lehi looked at the record his sons got from Laban and found that it has all of the Jewish scriptures and history. From this, he learned that he was descended from Joseph (of amazing Technicolor dream coat fame). Lehi prophesied about his own descendants, but Nephi chooses to skip that in his record so he can focus on things that will be relevant to us.
1 Nephi 7
Another day, another dream. This time, the Lord told Lehi to send his sons back to Jerusalem to convince a man named Ishmael to pack up his family and come with them to the promised land so Nephi and his brothers would have women to marry (Ishmael had just the right number of daughters). So they went, and Ishmael and his family joined the travel party. But on the way back to camp, Laman and Lemuel and some of Ishmael's kids mutinied and wanted to go back to Jerusalem. Nephi preached at them, and they got so angry that they tied him up. He prayed and was miraculously freed, but that just made his brothers even angrier. Finally, some other members of Ishmael's family interceded, and everyone was reconciled. They made it to camp and offered sacrifices in gratitude.
1 Nephi 8-9
One night, Lehi had a dream about a tree with delicious white fruit. In the dream, he invited his family to come try the fruit, and everyone except Laman and Lemuel did. He saw an iron rod going along the bank of a river and leading to the tree, and many people followed the rod through dark mists to get to the tree. There was also a building full of people making fun of the people who were trying to get to the tree. Nephi doesn't give us all the details of the dream (or of anything else) because we're reading the short version of his history. He wrote the full version in a different book (which we don't have).
1 Nephi 10
After telling his family about the dream with the tree, Lehi prophesied about Jesus and John the Baptist. He prophesied that the House of Israel would be scattered and that the gentiles would be grafted into Israel like the branches of a tree. He prophesied a lot of things that Nephi doesn't write in this book because he wrote them in his other book (which, again, we don't have). After Lehi finished sharing all these things, Nephi wanted to have the same vision Lehi had.
1 Nephi 11
The Spirit of the Lord took Nephi to the top of a high mountain, and Nephi asked to see the vision. The Spirit then showed Nephi the tree and asked what he desired. Nephi asked what the vision meant, and an angel came and showed him the birth of Christ. Nephi then understood that the tree represented the love of God. The angel showed him the ministry of Christ and John the Baptist and the apostles, and Nephi figured out that the iron rod represented the word of God. The angel then showed him the death of Christ, and Nephi realized that the building full of laughing people represented the pride of the world, and then he saw it fall (dramatically).
1 Nephi 12
Next, the angel showed Nephi the future history of his descendants, which is basically an outline of the rest of The Book of Mormon (WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!). The people will prosper and build a ton of cities, and then the civilization will be leveled by natural disasters at the death of Christ, and then Jesus himself will come visit the survivors, and then they'll be righteous and prosperous for three whole generations! But after that, they'll fall into wickedness, and Laman and Lemuel's descendants will destroy them. Through this prophetic vision, Nephi learned that the river in Lehi's dream represented hell, and the dark mists represented the temptations of the devil.
1 Nephi 13
After that, the angel showed Nephi the future history of the gentiles. He saw that there would be many gentile nations and that they would all be under the thumb of an abominable church. The church thirsts for power and tortures and kills the saints. Then Nephi saw that some gentiles would flee to the promised land and scatter his brothers' descendants. He also saw that the gentiles across the ocean would try to destroy the gentiles who fled, but they wouldn't be able to. The angel then shows Nephi a book the gentiles have. It's a record of the Jews that contains the gospel of Jesus Christ, but it isn't quite pure because the abominable church has removed a bunch of stuff. So Nephi saw that the gentiles would would stumble a lot but that they would eventually get straightened out by a record from Nephi and his descendant's. The Jewish record and the Nephite record would work together to provide the fullness of the truth, and some new records from the gentiles themselves would provide additional insights and guidance. These records together would guide the the gentiles toward establishing zion.
1 Nephi 14
Then the angel showed Nephi the whole rest of the future history of the world, right up to the end of it. He saw that any gentiles who would repent would become part of God's covenant people and that the abominable church would be destroyed. But Nephi doesn't tell us exactly how it'll all play out. That's John's job. So if you want to know how the world will end, go read Revelation.
1 Nephi 15
1 Nephi 16
After Nephi finished his sermon to his brothers, they humbled themselves and were good for a while. Then Nephi and his brothers got married to the daughters of Ishmael, and everyone was pretty happy. Then the Lord commanded Lehi to break camp and get moving again. But this time, nobody had to take his word for it--the Lord gave him a fancy compass thing to direct them. Following its directions took them through the most fertile parts of the wilderness, and their journey was pretty enjoyable. But then Nephi broke his bow, and his brothers' bows had lost their springs, so there wasn't a way to get food, so everyone started complaining--including Lehi. But Nephi managed to make himself a new bow and then asked Lehi where to go to hunt. Lehi got in trouble with the Lord for losing faith, and words appeared on the compass that put the fear of God in all the doubters. Then Nephi was able to get food and everyone was happy again. But then Ishmael died, and his daughters' grief was pretty intense. So Laman decided to get together a group of people to kill Nephi, but the voice of God came from heaven and gave them a talking to, so they repented.
1 Nephi 17
All in all, Lehi's group traveled for eight years in the wilderness. In that time, Nephi's wife and sisters-in-law had children, and the group as a whole endured a lot of hardship. Then they arrived at the seashore, and they called the place Bountiful because of all the fruit and wild honey. While they were there, the Lord commanded Nephi to build a ship to cross the ocean. Nephi started working on it, and his brothers made fun of him and said it was hopeless. Nephi responded with a pretty excellent speech about how God can do anything, and how He blesses anyone who believes in Him. When Nephi finished talking, his brothers wanted to drown him, but the power of God was with him and his brothers ended up humbled and repentant.
1 Nephi 18
During the eight years they were in the wilderness, Lehi and Sariah had two more sons: Jacob and Joseph. While they were still very young, Nephi and his older brothers finished building the boat. Everybody got aboard, and then they set off across the ocean. After a while, Laman and some others started getting a bit rowdy, and Nephi told them to shape up. That made them so mad that they tied him up for four days. In that time, their compass stopped working and a huge storm came up. It got so bad that Lehi and Sariah nearly died, and Jacob and Joseph had a hard time because their mom was so sick. Everyone begged Laman and Lemuel to let up, but only the storm was finally able to convince them. In the end, they let Nephi go, and he prayed away the storm and then navigated the ship safely to the promised land.
1 Nephi 19
After arriving at the promised land, Nephi made metal plates and engraved them with Lehi's story and prophecies and many of his own prophecies. But that's not what we've been reading. Later on, he was commanded to make a record just of the ministry among his people, and that's what we've been reading. As he tells us this, Nephi hits and tangent and launches into a lengthy prophecy about Jesus, which fills the bulk of this chapter.
1 Nephi 20
Continuing his tangential prophecy, Nephi launches into a length quotation from the biblical prophet, Isaiah. Isaiah's ministry paralleled Nephi's in many ways, and some of those parallels stand out clearly in this chapter.
1 Nephi 21
Nephi's lengthy Isaiah quotation continues, and it concludes with some beautiful prophecies about Christ.
1 Nephi 22
Nephi returns to the story, telling us that he shared this Isaiah passage with his brothers and explained to them what it meant. He concludes this first book by encouraging anyone reading this to search the scriptures and follow the teachings in them.
2 Nephi 1
This book picks up right where the last book ended. After Nephi finished his sermon to his brothers, their father Lehi also taught them many things. First, he prophesied that the promised land will be reserved for their descendants as long as they are righteous, but if they ever reject the teaching of Jesus, then they'll be destroyed. Then he told Laman, Lemuel, Sam, and the sons of Ishmael that they would be blessed if they listened to Nephi.
2 Nephi 2
After addressing his older sons, Lehi talked to Jacob, the older of the two sons he had while traveling to the promised land. He taught Jacob about the fall of Adam and Eve and how Christ redeems all people from the fall. He also waxed philosophical, talking about the need for opposition and why bad things happen to good people.
2 Nephi 3
After talking to Jacob, Lehi spoke to Joseph, his youngest son, quoting a prophecy from Joseph the son of Israel. This prophecy comes from the record Nephi and his brothers stole from Laban, and it isn't in the modern Bible. It turns out that Joseph prophesied that Moses would deliver the Israelites from Egypt. He also prophesied that some of his descendants would be separated from the rest of Israel and write a record that would support the Jewish record. Joseph also prophesied there would be a seer named Joseph (whose father would also be named Joseph) who would bring that record to light. Lehi shared all this with his son Joseph then promised him that his descendants would prosper as long as they were righteous.
2 Nephi 4
After Lehi gave his final sermons to Jacob and Joseph, he left a blessing on the children of Laman and Lemuel, promising them that they would be blessed and that their sins would be the responsibility of their parents. Then he blessed the rest of his household and lastly gave a brief blessing to Sam. After that, he died, and Laman and Lemuel immediately started planning to kill Nephi. As Nephi tells us this, he hits a tangent and gives us a beautiful and moving psalm.
2 Nephi 5
The Lord commanded Nephi to take anyone who would come with him and run away from Laman and Lemuel, so he gathered a group and left. They settled a new land, called Nephi, and began raising crops and animals. They prospered and had wars with the people now called Lamanites, who were cursed by the Lord. Jacob and Joseph became priests and teachers, and Nephi started writing the record we're now reading.
2 Nephi 6
Here, Nephi gives us a sermon Jacob delivered to the people. It starts with a short Isaiah quote, then Jacob prophecies about the scattering of Israel and the coming of Christ. He teaches that those who believe in Christ will not be destroyed, and then he launches into a lengthy Isaiah passage.
2 Nephi 7-8
Jacob quotes Isaiah, who talks about the power of God, Isaiah's personal calling, the everlastingness of God's love, and how we should act because of these things.
2 Nephi 9 (2 Episodes)
Listen to Part 1 Now! (verses 1-27)
Listen to Part 2 Now! (verses 28-54)
Jacob's sermon continues. In Part 1, Jacob prophesies of Christ and explains that He will redeem mankind from sin and death. Everyone will be resurrected and brought into the presence of God to be judged. Those who believed in Christ and kept His commandments will be saved, and so will everyone who lived without ever hearing of Christ. But those who rejected Christ will be in big trouble. In Part 2, Jacob encourages his audience to repent and be faithful.
2 Nephi 10
The conclusion of Jacob's sermon. He talks about the coming of Christ, the gathering of Israel, the rise of the Gentiles, and he finishes by encouraging his audience to be faithful.
2 Nephi 11-12
Nephi returns as narrator. He tells us that he hasn't given us all of Jacob's sermon but that he's satisfied with the part he has given us. Everything Nephi writes is to convince people of the reality of Christ, and to that end, he's going to give us a whole bunch more Isaiah (chapters 12-24). This lengthy Isaiah passage starts out by prophesying that, in the last days, people will gather to Zion and live in peace. But in Isaiah's day, the people weren't righteous, and he prophesied that there would be widespread destruction among them.
2 Nephi 13-14
Isaiah prophesies that wholesale destruction is coming for the house of Israel, but afterward, the righteous survivors will be blessed.
2 Nephi 15
Isaiah tells the people of his time that God has done everything in His power to bless them, but they've been so rebellious that He has no choice but to level their civilization. Afterward, anyone left alive will enjoy an abundance of leftovers. But wo, wo, wo to the wicked people (for a lot of reasons).
2 Nephi 16-17
Here, Isaiah switches gears. Instead of prophesying of things to come, he starts talking about current events. He starts off by telling us how he was called as a prophet, and then he tells us about a looming war. Israel and Syria ganged up against Judah, and things looked pretty bleak, but Isaiah prophesied that Judah would be preserved.
2 Nephi 18-19
Isaiah prophesies that total destruction will be coming soon and that redemption will be coming later.
2 Nephi 20
Isaiah addresses Assyria, which was apparently an intimidating military power at the time. The Lord wielded Assyria's might to humble other nations (including the people of Israel), but Assyria's leaders thought they were succeeding by their own strength. So Isaiah informs them that they, too, will be humbled.
2 Nephi 21-22
Isaiah prophesies of Christ and of worldwide peace and of the gathering of Israel.
2 Nephi 23-24
Babylon will be destroyed, and the king of Babylon will be left singing Coldplay's "Viva la Vida." (No really--that's totally what happens in these chapters. Listen to the recording if you don't believe me.)
2 Nephi 25
Now that Nephi is done with his lengthy Isaiah quotation, he admits that his people didn't understand Isaiah's words very well because they never lived in Jerusalem. But he did, so he understands Isaiah, and everyone will understand Isaiah's prophecies when they are fulfilled because they are so dramatic. Nephi then prophesies about the coming of Christ and His rejection, death, and resurrection, as well as the destruction of Jerusalem that will happen afterward. Nephi then explains that the Law of Moses is full of foreshadowing about Christ.
2 Nephi 26
Continuing the thread from the previous chapter, Nephi says tells us that Christ will fulfill the Law of Moses and enact a new law. Also, based on the vision he had clear back in 1 Nephi 12, Nephi prophesies about Christ's visit to the Nephites (3 Nephi 11 and onward) and of the destruction that will precede it (3 Nephi 9, for example) and of the total destruction that will come a few generations afterward (Mormon 6-7).
2 Nephi 27
Using a whole bunch of Isaiah allusions, Nephi prophesies about the modern publishing of The Book of Mormon.
2 Nephi 28
Nephi warns us about the false doctrines that will be prevalent in our days. Specifically, he warns against thinking there's no consequences for sins, preachers who seek wealth instead of inspiration, and people who are complacent and say everything is fine.
2 Nephi 29-30
Nephi concludes the discourse he started clear back in chapter 11. He reemphasizes that there is no single chosen people who are God's favorite--those who believe in Christ will be saved, regardless of who they are or where they're from. He also tells us that God has spoken to people throughout the world, and someday we'll have all the scriptures from all His peoples together in a single volume of God's word. The Book of Mormon and the Bible are part of this, but there's more to come.
2 Nephi 31-33
Nephi wraps up his record by testifying of Christ and encouraging everyone to get baptized and become part of God's covenant people.
This book is written by Jacob, who was Nephi's younger brother. In this chapter, he talks how he wants everyone to believe in Jesus. But after Nephi died, the people started to wander off the straight and narrow, so Jacob preached a sermon to them, which he records in the next couple chapters.
A sermon Jacob preached to the Nephites, condemning their obsession with wealth and their promiscuity.
Jacob explains that he's only giving us a small piece of his sermon because engraving on plates is so difficult. But the plates are worth the effort because then his record is permanent and can help his future descendants. Speaking to them, he explains the importance of searching the scriptures and seeking revelation. He then testifies of Christ, which leads into the next chapter (which is a doozy).
Jacob 5 (part 1)
Jacob 5 is the longest chapter in The Book of Mormon. In it, Jacob gives us a lengthy allegory from a lost prophet named Zenos. The imagery is of vineyard owner who has a prized olive tree that is starting to struggle. In the first half of the chapter, the lord of the vineyard takes branches from the tree and scatters them throughout his vineyard.
Jacob 5 (part 2) - Jacob 6
In the second half of Jacob 5, the lord of the vineyard gathers the scattered branches together and grafts them back into the original tree. He also says that he'll ultimately burn the vineyard with fire. In Jacob 6, Jacob gives a minimal explanation of the allegory and once again urges his readers to be righteous or suffer the consequences (fire and brimstone).
A man named Sherem got into an argument with Jacob. Sherem claimed to believe in the Law of Moses, but he didn't believe that it was a symbol of Christ. In fact, he didn't believe in prophecy at all or that there would be a Savior of any kind. He asked Jacob for a sign, and God smote him so that he died. Jacob then gives us a melancholy monologue and signs off.
The author of this book is Enos, the son of Jacob. One day, while he was out hunting, the words he'd heard his father preach started weighing on his conscience, and he prayed for forgiveness of his sins. He prayed all day and heard the voice of the Lord saying his sins were forgiven. Then he prayed for the Nephites and even the Lamanites to be blessed. The Lord promised him that the Nephites would be blessed if they were righteous and that the Lamanites would be blessed at a future day by this record. After recording this story, Enos ends his record by saying that relations with the Lamanites were very bad. The Nephites were also pretty forgetful when it comes to obeying the commandments, but they had many prophets among them to remind them about the right way to live.
Jarom – Omni
Jarom was the son of Enos, and he writes briefly to describe how the Nephites were mostly righteous but he expected they'd be destroyed at any moment because they so easily forgot the gospel.
In The Book of Omni, we see that Jarom wasn't just blowing smoke. Through a quick succession of several writers, we see that the Nephites had many wars with the Lamanites, and the more wicked prat of the Nephites were eventually killed off. A few generations after that, they fell into wickedness again, and the righteous ones followed a guy named Mosiah into the wilderness. They discovered and land called Zarahemla. As it turns out, the people there had fled from Jerusalem about the same time as Lehi, but they hadn't brought any records with them, so they were living in ignorance. Mosiah taught them his people's language, and they told him their history. They also learned about a man named Coriantumr, the last survivor of a previous civilization (which we'll learn about in The Book of Ether). Mosiah became king of Zarahemla, and when he died, his son Benjamin became the next king. The Lamanites invaded, but the combined armies of Zarahemla were able to push them back.
The final writer in The Book of Omni is a guy named Amaleki, who was born in the days of Mosiah. He ends the record by saying he doesn't have any kids, so he's handing the record off to King Benjamin. He then encourages everyone to come unto Christ, and then adds a quick postscript to mention that some of the Nephites tried to go find the original Land of Nephi, but they never returned.
Words of Mormon
A quick interlude from Mormon, the editor-in-chief of the entire volume. It turns out the stuff we've read so far was on a set of plates he didn't know about until after he was already well into his abridgment of Nephite history. His note here is to explain that he found it and liked it, so he's adding it in. He then explains that King Benjamin dealt with a lot of infighting among the Nephites as well as attacks from the Lamanite armies, but he was a strong and righteous leader, so the people prospered during his reign. There were also false Christs and false prophets who came among the people, but King Benjamin worked with the true prophets to silence them until peace was restored in the land of Zarahemla.
After King Benjamin established peace in the land of Zarahemla, he called together his three sons and reminded them of the importance of studying the scriptures. Then he told his son Mosiah to gather the people together so Benjamin could announce that Mosiah would be their next king. He also promised that he would give the people a new name to distinguish them from all the rest of the people in the land.
The people all gathered at the temple in Zarahemla to hear what King Benjamin would say. There were so many of them that he built a tower to stand on, and everyone camped in tents to listen to his final speech. Some people still couldn't hear, so the speech was written down and shared.
King Benjamin's speech starts in this chapter and fills the next several chapters. In this first part, King Benjamin encourages his people to love and serve one another and to remember that they depend on God for everything.
King Benjamin's final speech continues. He tells about a visit he got from an angel who told him all about the coming of Christ. Christ will perform miracles, be rejected and crucified, and will rise from the dead. Because of Christ, anyone who dies without knowing His gospel will be saved. But anyone who knows about Jesus will only be saved through repentance and faith. Little children who die are automatically saved--those of us who live to adulthood need to become like little children in order to be saved. The knowledge of Christ will spread across the world, so faith and repentance will be required in order for anyone to be saved.
After King Benjamin told the people about his visit from the angel, they were so overwhelmed that they all fell down. Apparently, the teaching that their only hope was redemption through Jesus really got through to them because they begged for Jesus to cleanse them from their sins, and the Spirit of the Lord immediately filled them with peace. Then King Benjamin continued his sermon, reaffirming that Jesus is the only source of salvation and then pivoting to tell them to be kind to one another. After all, they just begged God for forgiveness and received it, so if a beggar approaches asking for help, they should give it just as freely.
King Benjamin took a survey to see how his people felt about the things he'd said so far. They all loved it and said they wanted to enter into a covenant with God. King Benjamin then finished his address by encouraging them to honor that covenant and to take Christ's name upon themselves (that was the new name he promised in Mosiah 1). Then everyone went home, and King Benjamin retired. Mosiah became the next king, and priests took over the work of preaching. Three years later, Benjamin died, and King Mosiah was just as good and honorable as his father was.
The people wanted to know what happened to the group that went off to find the original Land of Nephi (we heard about this back in Omni), so King Mosiah allowed a group to go looking for them. The group was led by a man named Ammon, who had no idea where he was going, so they just wandered in the wilderness for 40 days. Finally, they stumbled upon the land they were looking for and were immediately arrested. When they were brought before the king of the land (whose name was Limhi), he demanded to know what they were doing snooping around his land. Ammon explained that they were looking for the people Zeniff had led a generation or two earlier. Limhi then rejoiced because he was a descendant of Zeniff, and he told Ammon that his people had been conquered by the Lamanites and were looking for a way to escape. Then Limhi called the people together and announced that Ammon had come to rescue them.
After King Limhi finished speaking to the people, he had Ammon bring them up to speed on the history of the folks at Zarahemla. Ammon also shared with them the final teachings of King Benjamin. Then King Limhi dismissed the people and shared his people's records with Ammon. After Ammon read them, King Limhi asked if he knew anyone who could translate records because he had discovered the ruins of an ancient people, including some records that were in an unreadable language. Ammon told him that King Mosiah was a seer, meaning God had given him the ability to clarify everything that's unknown. This made King Limhi very happy and even more eager to escape to Zarahemla.
This is the beginning of a lengthy flashback (chapters 9-22). Way back in Omni, we read about a group of Nephites that left Zarahemla to find the original land of Nephi. Ammon and his crew just found the descendants of those people, and now we're getting an account of what happened in the meantime.
The person writing these two chapters is named Zeniff, and he led the expedition out of Zarahemla. He negotiated with the king of the Lamanites so he and his group could settle in the land of Nephi. They prospered there for a while, but the Lamanites kept invading. Throughout Zeniff's reign, his little group of Nephites had to fight the Lamanites several times, and they always came out on top. These chapters end with him saying he's old and handing the kingdom off to one of his sons.
Zeniff's son, Noah, became king after Zeniff died. He replaced his father's priests with men who encouraged raucous living. He taxed the people so he could build a palace and vineyard. The Lamanites invaded and were driven back, so the people started to feel overly self-assured. Then a prophet named Abinadi showed up and started prophesying that the people would be punished if they didn't repent. King Noah was furious and vowed to kill Abinadi.
A couple years later, Abinadi showed up again and started prophesying about the destruction of the people. They took him to King Noah, who threw him in jail. Noah's priests decided they wanted to question Abinadi to try and trip him up, so they had him stand before them and asked him to interpret a bit of Isaiah. Abinadi called them out for not being able to interpret it themselves, and then started preaching at them, starting with the 10 commandments.
King Noah interrupted Abinadi's sermon and told his guards to take him away. But the power of God was so strong in Abinadi that the guards were afraid and let him continue. So Abinadi finished the 10 commandments and then explained that the Law of Moses was foreshadowing the coming of Christ, and he quoted Isaiah to prove his point.
After quoting Isaiah, Abinadi gave his own prophecy of Christ, saying that He would be rejected and killed, and also that He would conquer death and save everyone who believes the words of the prophets. And remember how this sermon started with the wicked priests asking Abinadi to explain a particular Isaiah passage? Well, Abinadi brought it full circle by using that scripture as the punchline of his speech and telling the priests that their job is to teach about the coming of Christ. He then finished up by talking about judgement day and calling them all to repentance.
At this point, the Nephites were all back together in a single group for the first time in a long time. King Mosiah read the records of Limhi's people to the rest of the Nephites, and they were all dumbfounded at everything that had happened. King Mosiah then gave Alma permission to run the church in Zarahemla, so then Alma baptized Limhi's people and organized seven congregations.
As it turns out, one of the biggest troublemakers was one of Alma's sons, who was also named Alma. He and a group of his friends (including four of Mosiah's sons) went around persecuting the believers until one day an angel appeared and stopped them. The angel told them to cut it out, and Alma Jr. was so surprised he went into a coma for a few days. When he woke up, he was fully converted to Jesus Christ, and he and the friends who had been with him started preaching repentance to the all the nonbelievers.
Jump to Chapter: 1 2 3 4 5 6-7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15-16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23-24 25 26 27 28-29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37.1 37.2-38 39-40 41-42 43 44 45.1 45.2-46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63
While Alma was journeying to another land, he crossed paths with the sons of Mosiah, who had been preaching to the Lamanites for 14 years. They had a happy reunion, and now we get a flashback to find out what his friends had been up to.
Aaron went to King Lamoni's father and offered to be his servant. The old king refused and insisted that Aaron preach to him. So he did, and the king was converted and, similar to Lamoni, passed out. The queen came in and thought Aaron had killed the king, and there was a tense moment until Aaron woke the king up. Then the king and queen and their entire kingdom were taught and converted.
Ammon rejoices in the success he and his brothers have had in preaching to the Lamanites. He also talks about how the Nephites all thought this missionary effort would be a waste of time, but they were wrong.
The unconverted Lamanites invaded the Nephite lands. The Nephites drove them out, but thousands of casualties were suffered on both sides. Alma observes that, while all deaths are sad, the deaths of unrighteous people are unbearable because they had no hope. So it's vital that believers share what they know with nonbelievers.
After teaching the basics of faith (Alma 32), Alma testified of Christ.
Helaman (Alma's oldest son) was the son Alma first gave parting wisdom to, and this chapter is the first part of that. Alma recounted his conversion (see Mosiah 27) and encouraged Helaman to be righteous.
Alma 37 (Part 1)
Alma 37 (Part 2) - Alma 38
Alma finishes talking to Helaman by encouraging him to be righteous, then he gives a quick pep talk to his middle son, Shiblon, praising his goodness. Shiblon went with Alma to preach to the Zoramites, and he endured all kinds of persecutions. Alma encourages him to keep on keeping on.
Alma's youngest son, Corianton, also went with him on his mission to the Zoramites. But instead of preaching, Corianton ran off to the Lamanite borderlands, chasing a harlot. Alma rebukes him and tells him to repent, then pivots and starts prophesying of Christ. As part of that, he explains the resurrection, and talks about what happens to people's souls between the time they die and the time they're resurrected.
Alma tells Corianton about how our eternal fates are tied to our desires for goodness or badness. Then he explains justice and mercy, getting deeply philosophical about why God gives us commandments in the first place.
Alma 45 (Part 1)
Alma prophecies to his son Helaman that the Nephites will fall into wickedness and be destroyed by the Lamanites roughly 400 years after Jesus comes. He then bids his sons farewell and leaves town and is never heard of again.
Alma 45 (Part 2) - Alma 46
Helaman and others preached the word among the Nephites, but the people didn't listen and became prideful and wicked. A man named Amalickiah led a group of dissenters who wanted to make him king. Captain Moroni rallied the believers and united them under a banner that reminded them what they were fighting for: their families, freedom, and religion. The two groups had a battle, and Moroni's army won. Amalickiah and some of his servants escaped to the Lamanite lands, but the majority of his followers were persuaded to give up the fight and rejoin the Nephites.
Amalickiah set to work persuading the Lamanites to invade the Nephite lands. Meanwhile, Moroni and Helaman encouraged the Nephites to believe in God and be righteous. For four years, there was peace and prosperity, and the Nephites grew strong in their faith, but then the Lamanites, led by Amalickiah, invaded and started a war that lasted for several years.
Amalickiah's brother Ammoron took over as king of the Lamanites. He employed a more defensive strategy than his brother, focusing on keeping the cities they had taken. For more than a year, the Nephites made no progress in retaking the cities. The Moroni came up with a strategy to decoy the Lamanites out of the city of Melek, and the Nephites regained that city and took a bunch of prisoners.
Moroni set his prisoners to work, burying the dead and fortifying a city to function as a prison. Because of more in-fighting among the Nephites, the Lamanites were able to take more cities, and things started looking desperate. But then the Anti-Nephi-Lehies sent 2,000 of their sons to aid the Nephite army. These young men hadn't entered the covenant their parents had (see Alma 23-24), so they were able to fight in the war.
Since Ammoron refused to surrender, Moroni refused to exchange prisoners with him. Instead, he orchestrated a jailbreak that freed all of the imprisoned Nephites without killing a single Lamanite.
Meanwhile, Helaman, who was the high priest of the church, was leading an army of Anti-Nephi-Lehi boys (see Alma 53). There were 2,000 of them, and Helaman treated them as though they were his sons. Their first assignment was to help defend a failing Nephite city. Simply by showing up, they scared the Lamanites away. Next, they pretended to carry supplies from that city to another, passing by the largest Lamanite stronghold in hopes of luring them out. It worked, and Helaman and his boys fled from the Lamanites while another Nephite army pursued from behind. For a couple days, nobody caught up to anyone else. But then the Lamanites turned around and had a battle with the Nephites in their rear. Helaman and his army came to the rescue just as the other Nephites were about to fall. They defeated the Lamanites, and Helaman's army was miraculously protected because of their faith. Not one of the 2,000 boys was killed.
Captain Moroni wrote a letter to Chief Judge Pahoran and accused him of greed and cowardice and threatened to kill him if he wouldn't send more reinforcements to the various military leaders.
Pahoran wrote back to Moroni. It turns out he wasn't a traitor--in fact, he'd been overthrown by traitors. He forgave Moroni for his false assumptions and asked him to come help restore the government.
Moroni marched to the aid of Pahoran, gathering volunteers as he went. Together, Moroni and Pahoran and the loyal Nephites overthrew the traitors. After that, they marched to the aid of Helaman and others and ran the Lamanites out of the land. Teancum, trying a repeat performance of killing Amalickiah (see Alma 51), snuck into a Lamanite stronghold and killed Ammoron. Unfortunately, Teancum was killed before he could escape, but because he successfully took out two Lamanite kings, the war came to an end, and peace was reestablished in the land. Helaman went back to preaching, and Moroni retired from military work.
After the war ended, life went on. Helaman, Moroni, and Pahoran all died, and the Nephite civilization expanded into the land northward. There were some battles with the Lamanites, but nothing very lasting. All in all, the end of the Book of Alma finds us back at life as usual.
Pahoran, the chief judge (head leader over all the Nephites), died. There was a disagreement about who should succeed him because three of his sons wanted the job: Pahoran, Paanchi, and Pacumeni. Pahoran was chosen, and Pacumeni deferred. But Paanchi got angry and formed a secret society. They sent a man named Kishkumen to murder Pahoran, and he succeeded. Pacumeni then became chief judge. After that, the Lamanites invaded, led by a Nephite dissenter named Coriantumr. Instead of attacking the Nephite cities in the borderlands, Coriantumr went straight for the capital city, Zarahemla, right in the heart of Nephite civilization. He killed Pacumeni and took the city, so he thought his strategy had worked. But then the Nephite armies, which were stationed throughout the borders of the Nephite civilization, descended on the city and destoroyed Coriantumr and his army.
Helaman (the son of the Helaman we followed in the Book of Alma) became chief judge. The secret society who killed a chief judge in the last chapter got a new leader, named Gadianton. Gadianton sent Kishkumen to kill Helaman, but Kishkumen was killed in the attempt. Helaman tried to capture Gadianton's band, but they fled and couldn't be caught. They'll be a source of trouble for the Nephites throughout the rest of The Book of Mormon.
The Nephites saw several years of peace. Their righteousness decreased and increased repeatedly. There was a time when the people were humble enough that the church saw unprecedented growth. But soon after, contentions and dissensions started, and times started to look pretty dark.
Helaman 4 - Helaman 5 (part 1)
Two waves of dissenting Nephites joined the Lamanites and convinced them to invade the Nephite lands. They conquered almost the entire Nephite civilization, including the capital city of Zarahemla. The Nephite leaders encouraged the people to repent of their wickedness, and as they repented, the began to regain some of their lands. But after a while, they fell into wickedness again and their progress halted. So Nephi and Lehi, who were the sons of Helaman, decided to go preach to the people and call them to repentance.
Helaman 5 (part 2)
One of the most remarkable stories of preaching in all of history. Nephi and Lehi preached to the Nephites and got many of them to repent, then they went to Zarahemla, the Nephite capital city, which at that time was in the possession of the Lamanites. They got thrown into prison, but then fire came from heaven and a cloud of darkness descended and the voice of God was heard and angels appeared, and in the end, 300 Lamanites were converted and became powerful witnesses of the truth and power of God. They all went and preached to the people and convinced the Lamanites to leave peacefully and give the Nephites their lands back.
After the Lamanites were converted and went back to their own lands, they became more righteous than the Nephites. In fact, the Lamanites got more and more faithful while the Nephites became more and more wicked. Gadianton's robbers and murders were joined by many people, both Lamanites and Nephites, but while Nephite society as a whole was accepting of this secret society, the Lamanites did everything in their power to eradicate it. Unsurprisingly, the Gadianton robbers weren't as successful among the Lamanites as they were among Nephites, where they were able to murder two chief judges in a row. The devil is real, and he had a lot of power over the Nephites during this time.
Nephi did some more preaching among the Nephites and got rejected everywhere he went. He got so frustrated that he said a prayer in his garden that made a crowd gather, wondering what he was so upset about. So he preached at them and told them to repent or be destroyed.
There were some corrupt judges in the crowd that gathered near Nephi's garden, and they tried to rally the people against him. Nephi taught about Jesus and then revealed that the chief judge of the land had just been murdered.
It turns out Nephi's prophecy about the chief judge was absolutely correct. The corrupt lower judges tried to pin the murder on Nephi, but he revealed the true murderer and was exonerated of the crime. Some people believed he was a prophet after that, but a lot of people didn't, and most folks weren't really interested in listening to him either way.
God was so pleased with Nephi that he promised him he would grant him anything he asked for. Nephi then went forth in power to preach to the people.
The people got so wicked, and the Gadianton robbers became so prevalent, that the entire civilization was in danger of self destruction. Nephi asked God to replace the fighting with a famine, and he did. The famine pushed the people to the brink of destruction, but it also persuaded them to humble themselves and stamp out the Gadianton robbers. After that, they asked Nephi to pray the famine away, and he did. There was peace for a couple of years, but then some Nephite dissenters reestablished Gadianton's secret society. They infested the mountains and destroyed any army who came against them. Meanwhile, the rest of the Nephites gradually descended into wickedness.
In this chapter, Mormon pauses the story so he can lament the wickedness of mankind.
In a surprising reversal of historical norms, the Lamanites were mostly righteous, and the Nephites were mostly wicked. A Lamanite named Samuel came to the Nephite's capital city and tried to preach to them, but they ran him out of town. So he got up on a wall and preached at them. He prophesied of coming destruction if they didn't repent.
After Samuel the Lamanite had done his best to put the fear of God into the Nephites, he prophesied about the coming of Christ. He told them about the signs they should expect to see at his birth (a new star, a night without darkness, other cool things) and at his death (darkness, destruction, etc.). He also told them a bit about who Christ is and why he's important. Then he went back to commanding them to repent and prophesying of their destruction.
After Samuel the Lamanite finished speaking, some Nephites believed and went and found Nephi so they could get baptized. A lot of Nephites didn't believe, though, and they tried to kill Samuel with stones and arrows. But he was miraculously protected so they couldn't hit him. That made more Nephites believe, and they also went to Nephi. (Nephi had been preaching repentance all along, so anyone who believed the words of Samuel immediately thought of Nephi.) Mostly, though, the Nephites were unbelieving and only got more and more wicked as the years went by.
3 Nephi 1
Nephi put his son Nephi in charge and then left town and never came back. Meanwhile, the people were getting antsy about Samuel's the Lamanite's prophecy of all the signs and wonders that would be given at the birth of Christ. Some nonbelievers designated a day when they would kill all the believers if the sign wasn't given. Luckily, the sign came, and many people believed after that. Unfortunately, the Gadianton Robbers continued to gain new followers.
3 Nephi 2
The Gadianton Robbers became so powerful that the Nephites and Lamanites had to unite forces to defend themselves.
3 Nephi 3
The leader of the Gadianton Robbers sent a threatening letter to the leader of the Nephites. All of the Nephites and Lamanites who hadn't joined with the robbers came together into one land and fortified it against the robbers.
3 Nephi 4
The robbers no longer had anyone to rob from, so they began to starve. They tried to attack the Nephite/Lamanite stronghold and were defeated. The leaders of the robbers were killed, and the Nephites rejoiced in the goodness of God in protecting them.
3 Nephi 5
For a time, 100% of the Nephites (who were at this point a combination of Nephites and Lamanites) were faithful believers. All of the robbers had been imprisoned, and many of them became believers while they were in jail. Halfway through this chapter, Mormon takes a break from abridging the story and introduces himself to us and talks about the gathering of Israel.
3 Nephi 6
The Nephites returned to their lands, and they prospered and were righteous for a few years. But then they started getting prideful, and there began to be class divisions. Prophets started coming among the people and telling them to repent, and some corrupt government leaders quietly put them to death. These people were taken and put on trial to be judged for their crimes. Meanwhile, their friends formed a secret society to free them from jail.
3 Nephi 7
The secret society murdered the chief judge of the land. They had hoped to be able to make one of their members a king, but once the chief judge was dead, the government fell apart, and the people fell into anarchy. They broke into tribes, and a tense peace prevailed throughout the land. Everyone was really angry at the people who destroyed the government, so that particular tribe had to run away. Meanwhile, Nephi was still preaching and performing miracles, and a bunch of people decided to get baptized.
3 Nephi 8
Almost exactly 33 years after the sign of Christ's birth was given, the Nephite lands were rocked by natural disasters. Storms, earthquakes, and thick darkness covered the entire land, destroying cities and killing many people.
3 Nephi 9
The darkness remained for three days. During that time, the people heard the voice of Christ describing the extent of the destruction and explaining why individual cities had been destroyed. He also declared his divinity and announced that the law of Moses had been fulfilled. (NOTE: I took some minor creative liberties in the recording of this chapter. They are explained in the recording.)
3 Nephi 10
The voice of Christ promised to gather and heal the people. The darkness dispersed, and the people discovered that only the righteous had survived the destruction.
3 Nephi 11
A voice from heaven announced Jesus' coming, and then he descended from heaven. Every person got to see him, and then he told Nephi to baptize the people.
3 Nephi 12
After Jesus chose Nephi and 11 others to baptize the people, he began teaching the people some of the things he taught in Jerusalem, starting with the Sermon on the Mount.
3 Nephi 13-14
The Sermon on the Mount (essentially).
3 Nephi 15-16
Jesus explained to the multitude what he meant when he said he fulfilled the law of Moses. Then he told his 12 chosen disciples that he had other people he needed to visit elsewhere in the world, and he prophesied about the gathering of Israel.
3 Nephi 17
Jesus said he needed to go, but the people didn't want him to leave. So healed everyone who was sick or injured, blessed the children, and prayed for the people.
3 Nephi 18
Jesus gave the people bread and wine to symbolize his body and blood and commanded them to do that regularly. He commanded the people to pray always and to invite others to come to him, then he gave his 12 disciples some further instructions and ascended into heaven.
3 Nephi 19
After Jesus left, the people stayed up all night to scour the countryside and gather more people to come hear him. The next morning, the 12 disciples repeated what Jesus had taught, then everyone got (re)baptized. Jesus came back and taught and prayed some more and told the people that, because of their faith, they are seeing far more miracles than the folks in Jerusalem did.
3 Nephi 20
Jesus once again had the people eat bread and drink wine to symbolize his body and blood, and then he quoted a whole bunch of prophets and prophesied about the gathering of Israel.
3 Nephi 21
Jesus told the people that, when the words he taught them are published among the gentiles, that would be a sign that the gathering of Israel has already started. Since we're here reading those words right now, this should really catch our attention.
3 Nephi 22-23
Jesus quoted some Isaiah and encouraged the Nephites (and, by extension, us) to study Isaiah's words. He also audited the Nephite record and pointed out that it was missing one of Samuel the Lamanite's prophecies.
3 Nephi 24-26
Lehi and his family left Jerusalem long before some parts of the Old Testament were written. Jesus told them that the prophecies of Malachi were especially important, and he quoted Malachi 3-4 to them so they could have it. He then explained the whole history of the world to them, from the creation to Armageddon, and then he left, and his disciples took over teaching.
3 Nephi 27
Jesus came to visit his 12 disciples one last time. They asked him what they should call the church, and he told them it should be called in his name and founded on his gospel. He then very succinctly taught them what he means by gospel.
3 Nephi 28-30
Jesus asked his 12 disciples if there was anything they wanted him to bless them with. Nine of them asked to go straight to heaven as soon as they died, and he promised them they would. The other three wanted to live forever and preach the gospel on earth, so he blessed them so they could. Mormon then takes over the narrative to encourage us to follow the teachings of Jesus and watch for the gathering of Israel as a sign of his second coming.
For a long time after Jesus left, the people were righteous and perfectly unified. But over the course of several generations, they descended into completely wickedness.
Mormon was given charge of the Nephite records when he was 10 years old. The previous keeper had hidden them away inside a hill and told Mormon to go and update the record after he had grown up. Meanwhile, the Nephites and Lamanites had a major battle, and things were looking pretty bad for the entire civilization.
As a young man, Mormon became the leader of the Nephite armies. There was a lot of brutal warfare, and the Nephites suffered a lot of losses. Unfortunately, their hardships didn't drive them to repent, so they just sank deeper and deeper into despair. Eventually, they came to a peaceful agreement with the Lamanites, but at the sacrifice of some of their lands.
There were 10 years of peace, and Mormon spent that time preaching repentance to the people, but nobody listened to him. Then the Lamanites invaded, and Mormon led the Nephite armies to victory. But he was so disturbed by the way they celebrated that he refused to lead them anymore.
The Nephites launched an attack against the Lamanites and suffered heavy losses. After that, the Nephites began steadily losing ground.
More than a decade after calling it quits, Mormon agreed to once again lead the Nephites in battle. But he did it knowing full well that they were ultimately going to lose.
The Lamanites completely destroyed the Nephite armies and civilization, and Mormon mourned their loss. In writing this down, Mormon takes a moment to encourage all of us who read his record to believe in Christ and repent.
After the Nephites were destroyed, the few survivors were hunted and killed by the Lamanites. Mormon was one of those killed. His son Moroni managed to survive and was determined to finish writing his father's book. He spends this chapter encouraging us to repent and believe in Jesus.
Moroni finishes his father's book by encouraging his readers to believe in miracles and watch for God to gather Israel.
The Book of Ether is Moroni's abridgment of the 24 plates found (Mosiah 8). It starts at the creation of the world, but Moroni skips all that and starts at the Tower of Babel with a guy named Jared. Jared's brother was a man of God, so when the languages got confounded, Jared asked his brother to pray that their language wouldn't get confused. He did, and God granted that to him. Then God promised to bring their families to a choice land and make a mighty nation out of them.
Jared and his group gathered a bunch of supplies then went out to meet the Lord, who led them through the wilderness. They had to build barges a few times to cross bodies of waters, and then they came to the sea. They stayed there for a few years, and then Jared's brother got chastised by the Lord for not seeking further direction. After that, he was directed to build some more barges to cross the sea, but he had a few concerns: how would they breathe during such a long journey, and how would they see? The Lord taught him how to cut stoppable holes for air but left the light conundrum up to him.
Jared's brother made 16 glass balls (two for each barge) and brought them up to the mountain. He asked the Lord to touch them and make them glow, and his prayer was answered. In fact, he saw the Lord's finger touch the stones, which surprised him because he didn't know God had a body. After that, Jesus appeared to him and showed him the whole history of the world.
Moroni pauses his narration to tell us that there's nothing more powerful than the vision Jared's brother had. The Nephites had a translation of it after Jesus visited them, but eventually, they fell into wickedness anyway. Moroni tells us that he's including the whole vision in his abridgment, but he's sealing it shut, and we'll only get it if we're faithful.
Jared's brother came down from the mountain with 16 glowing stones. He put two in each barge, and then they loaded up and set sail. They spent almost a year crossing the ocean before finally reaching the promise land. They were very happy to arrive when they got there. Later on, when Jared and his brother were old and about to die, they asked the people if there was any parting wish they wanted granted, and they asked for a king. Jared and his brother were saddened by this, but they let the people choose a king from among their sons.
Within the first few generations of the monarchy, the Jaredite nation split into two rival kingdoms.
The same kinds of secret societies that led to the downfall of the Nephite civilization began to appear in the Jaredite civilization, leading to murders and infighting.
Some kings were good; some kings were bad. Lots of ups and downs for the Jaredites.
Some kings were good; some kings were bad. Lots of ups and downs for the Jaredites.
Prophets began to predict the destruction of the Jaredites, but the people didn't listen.
Moroni pauses his narration to teach us about faith and overcoming personal weaknesses.
A prophet named Ether came among the Jaredites and prophesied their destruction. Coriantumr (the king) didn't listen. A guy named Shared raised an insurrection against Coriantumr and wounded him, but Coriantumr killed him.
Several different people tried to dethrone Coriantumr, and they had some temporary success, but he rallied and got back on top. His final nemesis was a guy named Shiz, and the entire civilization divided into two armies to battle out who should be king.
Coriantumr tried to surrender to Shiz multiple times, but Shiz was out for blood. So their armies battled until the entire civilization was destroyed and there was no one left to fight.
Moroni didn't plan on writing anything else after abridging Ether, but after a while he had a change of heart. In these six chapters, he gives us some detailed notes on how the affairs of the church were administered after Jesus visited the Nephites.
Moroni gives us a sermon Mormon delivered sometime before the Nephites were destroyed. Mormon talks about the importance of faith, hope, and charity and how the three are related.
A letter Mormon wrote to Moroni sometime before the Nephites were destroyed. Mormon condemns infant baptism and explains that repentance and baptism are only required for people who are capable of understanding the law.
Another letter from Mormon to Moroni. The final days of the Nephite civilization weren't very civilized. Mormon encourages Moroni not to get discouraged, even though destruction is imminent.
Moroni's parting words to his readers. Some of the most beautiful words of the entire Book of Mormon. If you're looking for direction for your spiritual life, start here.