Annotated Book of Mormon
Evaluated According To My Current Knowledge

2 Nephi Chapter 1

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Book of Mormon Annotations

An account of the death of Lehi. Nephi’s brethren rebel against him. The Lord warns Nephi to depart into the wilderness. His journeyings in the wilderness, and so forth.

 

 

Chapter 1

 

1 And now it came to pass that after I, Nephi, had made an end of teaching my brethren, our father, Lehi, also spake many things unto them, and rehearsed unto them, how great things the Lord had done for them in bringing them out of the land of Jerusalem.

 

2 And he spake unto them concerning their rebellions upon the waters, and the mercies of God in sparing their lives, that they were not swallowed up in the sea.

 

3 And he also spake unto them concerning the land of promise, which they had obtained—how merciful the Lord had been in warning us that we should flee out of the land of Jerusalem.

 

4 For, behold, said he, I have seen a vision, in which I know that Jerusalem is destroyed; and had we remained in Jerusalem we should also have perished.

 

5 But, said he, notwithstanding our afflictions, we have obtained a land of promise, a land which is choice above all other lands; a land which the Lord God hath covenanted with me should be a land for the inheritance of my seed. Yea, the Lord hath covenanted this land unto me, and to my children forever, and also all those who should be led out of other countries by the hand of the Lord.

This seems to make it quite clear that the seed of Lehi are to be in the Americas “forever,” but as of now, there is absolutely no evidence of any migration from the house of Israel to the Americas in this time period.

6 Wherefore, I, Lehi, prophesy according to the workings of the Spirit which is in me, that there shall none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord.

Assuming this verse is true and that the Americas were first populated by immigrants from Asia circa 13,000 to 15,000 years ago, we would have to assume that God brought these ancient Asians to the Americas.

7 Wherefore, this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring. And if it so be that they shall serve him according to the commandments which he hath given, it shall be a land of liberty unto them; wherefore, they shall never be brought down into captivity; if so, it shall be because of iniquity; for if iniquity shall abound cursed shall be the land for their sakes, but unto the righteous it shall be blessed forever.

 

8 And behold, it is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations; for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance.

Yet at this time, from what I can tell, there were already millions of individuals living in the Americas.

9 Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise, that inasmuch as those whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem shall keep his commandments, they shall prosper upon the face of this land; and they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves. And if it so be that they shall keep his commandments they shall be blessed upon the face of this land, and there shall be none to molest them, nor to take away the land of their inheritance; and they shall dwell safely forever.

In “A Promised Land,” Elder Jeffrey Holland taught that the global flood really happened, that shortly after the flood, the Americas were separated from the rest of the world, and that,

“The promised place was set apart. Without habitation it waited for the fulfillment of God’s special purposes.
With care and selectivity, the Lord began almost at once to repeople the promised land. The Jaredites came first”
(“A Promised Land” by Jeffrey R. Holland).

So according to Elder Holland there was no one in the Americas when the Jaredites arrived in maybe 2,000ish BCE. This is congruent with the language used in this chapter.

However, this flies in the face of the evidence that the Americas were first populated by immigration from Asia beginning about 13,000 or 15,000 years ago and that the ancient ancestors of indigenous Americans came at least predominantly (if not exclusively) from Asia. The evidence for this is overwhelming. The evidence for any pre Columbian migration from the Middle East to the America’s is non-existent.

(See also 1 Ne 13:10)

10 But behold, when the time cometh that they shall dwindle in unbelief, after they have received so great blessings from the hand of the Lord—having a knowledge of the creation of the earth, and all men, knowing the great and marvelous works of the Lord from the creation of the world; having power given them to do all things by faith; having all the commandments from the beginning, and having been brought by his infinite goodness into this precious land of promise—behold, I say, if the day shall come that they will reject the Holy One of Israel, the true Messiah, their Redeemer and their God, behold, the judgments of him that is just shall rest upon them.

2 Ne 1:10-11

Let’s put the time line together here.

  1. Lehites dwindled in unbelief circa 400 CE.
  2. They lived in the land fairly unperturbed for about 1,000 years or so.
  3. Then, after a millennium, they were decimated by plague and war and were scattered.

Would an all-loving God really punish a people of millions for dwindling in unbelief even though the dwindling took place more than 1,000 years earlier, so the people in question had no way of knowing anything about the God of Abraham? What about “reproving betimes (early; quickly after the fact) with sharpness” (D&C 121:43)? What about the references in the Book of Mormon that tell us Christ’s “blood atoneth for the sins of those . . . who have died not knowing the will of God concerning them, or who have ignorantly sinned” (Mosiah 3:11 and Moroni 8:22-24)?

11 Yea, he will bring other nations unto them, and he will give unto them power, and he will take away from them the lands of their possessions, and he will cause them to be scattered and smitten.

Annotation for 2 Ne 1:10-11 above

12 Yea, as one generation passeth to another there shall be bloodsheds, and great visitations among them; wherefore, my sons, I would that ye would remember; yea, I would that ye would hearken unto my words.

 

13 O that ye would awake; awake from a deep sleep, yea, even from the sleep of hell, and shake off the awful chains by which ye are bound, which are the chains which bind the children of men, that they are carried away captive down to the eternal gulf of misery and woe.

According to D&C 19:6-12 the words “endless” and “eternal” do not mean without end when it comes to “endless torment” or “eternal damnation”. These verses in the D&C explain that these words are used because, “it is more express than other scriptures, that it might work upon the hearts of the children of men.” When people read these words in the Book of Mormon, how do they likely understand the words “endless” and “eternal”? Is this honest communication if D&C 19 reveals the actual meaning of these words?

14 Awake! and arise from the dust, and hear the words of a trembling parent, whose limbs ye must soon lay down in the cold and silent grave, from whence no traveler can return; a few more days and I go the way of all the earth.

Some critics of the Book of Mormon believe that Joseph borrowed the phrase, “from whence no traveler can return” from Shakespeare’s “from whose bourn no traveler returns” (Hamlet Act III, Scene 1).

I stumbled across something I think just as likely. Seems the Freemasons may have borrowed this from Shakespeare in this excerpt found in their second degree or fellow craft ritual:
“Ever remembering that we are travelling upon that level of time, from whose bourn no traveler returns”
(Illustrations of Masonry, by William Morgan, [1827]).

I think it’s just as likely that Joseph borrowed this from the Freemasons. He was a Freemason, but I don’t think he became one until the 1840s.

P.S. The Freemasonry ritual at the link above is eerily similar in some ways to the LDS temple endowment, especially the endowment version before the 1990 changes.

15 But behold, the Lord hath redeemed my soul from hell; I have beheld his glory, and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love.

 

16 And I desire that ye should remember to observe the statutes and the judgments of the Lord; behold, this hath been the anxiety of my soul from the beginning.

 

17 My heart hath been weighed down with sorrow from time to time, for I have feared, lest for the hardness of your hearts the Lord your God should come out in the fulness of his wrath upon you, that ye be cut off and destroyed forever;

 

18 Or, that a cursing should come upon you for the space of many generations; and ye are visited by sword, and by famine, and are hated, and are led according to the will and captivity of the devil.

 

19 O my sons, that these things might not come upon you, but that ye might be a choice and a favored people of the Lord. But behold, his will be done; for his ways are righteousness forever.

 

20 And he hath said that: Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land; but inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from my presence.

 

21 And now that my soul might have joy in you, and that my heart might leave this world with gladness because of you, that I might not be brought down with grief and sorrow to the grave, arise from the dust, my sons, and be men, and be determined in one mind and in one heart, united in all things, that ye may not come down into captivity;

 

22 That ye may not be cursed with a sore cursing; and also, that ye may not incur the displeasure of a just God upon you, unto the destruction, yea, the eternal destruction of both soul and body.

According to D&C 19:6-12 the words “endless” and “eternal” do not mean without end when it comes to “endless torment” or “eternal damnation”. These verses in the D&C explain that these words are used because, “it is more express than other scriptures, that it might work upon the hearts of the children of men.” When people read these words in the Book of Mormon, how do they likely understand the words “endless” and “eternal”? Is this honest communication if D&C 19 reveals the actual meaning of these words?

23 Awake, my sons; put on the armor of righteousness. Shake off the chains with which ye are bound, and come forth out of obscurity, and arise from the dust.

 

24 Rebel no more against your brother, whose views have been glorious, and who hath kept the commandments from the time that we left Jerusalem; and who hath been an instrument in the hands of God, in bringing us forth into the land of promise; for were it not for him, we must have perished with hunger in the wilderness; nevertheless, ye sought to take away his life; yea, and he hath suffered much sorrow because of you.

 

25 And I exceedingly fear and tremble because of you, lest he shall suffer again; for behold, ye have accused him that he sought power and authority over you; but I know that he hath not sought for power nor authority over you, but he hath sought the glory of God, and your own eternal welfare.

 

26 And ye have murmured because he hath been plain unto you. Ye say that he hath used sharpness; ye say that he hath been angry with you; but behold, his sharpness was the sharpness of the power of the word of God, which was in him; and that which ye call anger was the truth, according to that which is in God, which he could not restrain, manifesting boldly concerning your iniquities.

 

27 And it must needs be that the power of God must be with him, even unto his commanding you that ye must obey. But behold, it was not he, but it was the Spirit of the Lord which was in him, which opened his mouth to utterance that he could not shut it.

 

28 And now my son, Laman, and also Lemuel and Sam, and also my sons who are the sons of Ishmael, behold, if ye will hearken unto the voice of Nephi ye shall not perish. And if ye will hearken unto him I leave unto you a blessing, yea, even my first blessing.

 

29 But if ye will not hearken unto him I take away my first blessing, yea, even my blessing, and it shall rest upon him.

 

30 And now, Zoram, I speak unto you: Behold, thou art the servant of Laban; nevertheless, thou hast been brought out of the land of Jerusalem, and I know that thou art a true friend unto my son, Nephi, forever.

 

31 Wherefore, because thou hast been faithful thy seed shall be blessed with his seed, that they dwell in prosperity long upon the face of this land; and nothing, save it shall be iniquity among them, shall harm or disturb their prosperity upon the face of this land forever.

 

32 Wherefore, if ye shall keep the commandments of the Lord, the Lord hath consecrated this land for the security of thy seed with the seed of my son.

 

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