The First Book of Nephi
Nephi begins the record of his people—Lehi sees a vision of a pillar of fire and reads from a book of prophecy—He praises God, foretells the coming of the Messiah, and prophesies the destruction of Jerusalem—He is persecuted by the Jews.
1 I am Nephi, and having been born of good parents, my father taught me a little bit of everything he knew. Though I’ve seen many hard days in the course of my life, the Lord has highly favored me, and thus having great knowledge of the goodness and mysteries of God, I write this record of my life’s journey.
2 Indeed, I write this record in the language of my father, using the Egyptian language with the Jews’ learning and understanding.
3 I know that this record of mine is true, for I’m making it with my own hands according to my knowledge.
4 Now in the beginning of the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah (I mention this because my father, Lehi, has dwelt in Jerusalem all his life, and is where our story begins), many prophets appeared, prophesying to the people that they must repent, or Jerusalem would be destroyed.
5 In response, my father left his home and began to pray with all his heart to the Lord on behalf of his people.
6 As he prayed to the Lord, a pillar of fire appeared standing on top of a rock in front of him, and he saw and heard many things which left him shaking.
7 When he returned to his home in Jerusalem, he threw himself on his bed, overwhelmed by the Spirit and what the Lord had shown him.
8 While in this state, he became entranced in a vision, where he saw the heavens open and thought he saw God sitting on His throne, surrounded by numberless crowds of angels singing praises to their King.
9 Then he saw One descending from heaven, whose brightness was greater than the sun at noon.
10 And he also saw twelve others following Him, and their brightness was greater than the stars in the sky.
11 They all came down to earth, and the first came to my father and gave him a book, directing him to read it.
12 My father opened the book, and as he read, the Spirit of the Lord filled him.
13 He read aloud, saying, “Woe, woe to you Jerusalem, for I’ve seen your atrocities!” And he read many other things concerning Jerusalem, such as that the city would be destroyed, and its people slaughtered by war or taken captive into Babylon.
14 When my father had finished reading, having seen many incredible things, he shouted to the Lord, “Your works are great and marvelous, O Lord God Almighty! Your throne stands high in the heavens, and Your power, goodness, and mercy cover all the people of the earth! And because of Your great mercy, You won’t allow for those who come to You to pass away into darkness!”
15 And such was the way my father praised his God, for his soul rejoiced and his heart was filled to bursting because of the things the Lord had shown him.
16 I am not going to write the entire story of what my father has seen and prophesied, for he has written those things himself, so I will not repeat everything.
17 What I will write about is what happens in my life, but not until I’m finished summing up my father’s story upon these plates which I’ve made with my own hands.
18 Now, this is what I want you to know, that after the Lord had shown so many incredible things to my father, particularly concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, he went out to the people and began to prophesy, declaring the things he had seen and heard.
19 In response, the Jews mocked him, because Lehi told the truth about their evil and monstrous behavior, and also of the things he’d seen and heard, and also what he’d read in the book, which had clearly shown the coming of a Messiah and the redemption of the world.
20 The Jews became angry with him and his prophecies, just as they had been angry with the prophets of past generations, whom their ancestors had cast out, stoned, and slain. Just like them, the Jews wanted to kill my father, but I will show you that the tender mercies of the Lord cover everyone He has chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty, even to the power of deliverance.