Nephi 14

2 Nephi 14: Zion shall be Cleansed

                “…in that day, seven women shall take hold of one man, saying: We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel; only let us be called by thy name to take away our reproach [the expression of disapproval or disappointment].” (2 Nephi 14:1)

                Isaiah speaks of a time when Zion and her daughters shall be redeemed. This time will come very close to the millennial day and at the door of the Last Days. It is interesting that this chapter opens up speaking of seven women taking hold of one man. This is speaking of Polygamy.

What is Polygamy?

                Polygamy occurs when there are more than two partners in a marriage. In this case, seven women marrying one man (or taking hold of one man) would constitute ‘Polygamy’ and more specifically; ‘Polygyny’; which is when a man has multiple wives.

Polygamy in the LDS Church:

                When someone wants to attack The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Days [LDS]; or more commonly known as “The Mormons”, Polygamy is almost ALWAYS brought up! Why? Because the LDS Church practiced Polygamy. However, are the “Mormons” the only ones who have practiced Polygamy throughout time? No.

 

At various times, the Lord has commanded His people to practice plural marriage. However, like the scripture above, Polygamy was to be used within the laws of God, in other words it has only been instituted when and IF God commands. God has initiated this practice, when population of his people was at risk for extinction or in cases such as the scripture above, when women married men to take away the ‘reproach’. Early in the History of the LDS Church, so many people persecuted the church and its members that men were actually killed at an alarming rate. This left many women as widows with children. But as anyone knows women in the 1800’s were not given as many rights as men, and especially not as many rights as married women. Because women had basically no rights as single unmarried women (regardless of being widows) the Lord commanded some of the early Saints to practice plural marriage. The Prophet Joseph Smith and those closest to him, including Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball, were challenged by this command, but they obeyed it. Church leaders regulated the practice. Those entering into it had to be authorized to do so, and the marriages had to be performed through the sealing power of the priesthood.

Many of the men who participated in it did so for legal reasons, and many men kept “one wife”, but had many other legal wives that did their own thing. Like the scripture mentioned above; “…We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel; only let us be called by thy name to take away our reproach.” – In other words give us your last name and be legally called your ‘wife’, but I will take care of myself. Some who were chosen to practice polygamy were also commanded to have children with their multiple wives; however this was not the common practice throughout the church. Anyone who disobeyed the commandment of God and used Polygamy to have control over women or simply for sexual lust were disciplined by the church.

Contrary to what many people think, the LDS Church does NOT practice Polygamy today! In 1890, President Wilford Woodruff received a revelation that the leaders of the Church should cease teaching the practice of plural marriage;

To Whom It May Concern:

Press dispatches having been sent for political purposes, from Salt Lake City, which have been widely published, to the effect that the Utah Commission, in their recent report to the Secretary of the Interior, allege that plural marriages are still being solemnized and that forty or more such marriages have been contracted in Utah since last June or during the past year, also that in public discourses the leaders of the Church have taught, encouraged and urged the continuance of the practice of polygamy—

 I, therefore, as President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, do hereby, in the most solemn manner, declare that these charges are false. We are not teaching polygamy or plural marriage, nor permitting any person to enter into its practice, and I deny that either forty or any other number of plural marriages have during that period been solemnized in our Temples or in any other place in the Territory.

 One case has been reported, in which the parties allege that the marriage was performed in the Endowment House, in Salt Lake City, in the Spring of 1889, but I have not been able to learn who performed the ceremony; whatever was done in this matter was without my knowledge. In consequence of this alleged occurrence the Endowment House was, by my instructions, taken down without delay.

 Inasmuch as laws have been enacted by Congress forbidding plural marriages, which laws have been pronounced constitutional by the court of last resort, I hereby declare my intention to submit to those laws, and to use my influence with the members of the Church over which I preside to have them do likewise.

 There is nothing in my teachings to the Church or in those of my associates, during the time specified, which can be reasonably construed to inculcate or encourage polygamy; and when any Elder of the Church has used language which appeared to convey any such teaching, he has been promptly reproved. And I now publicly declare that my advice to the Latter-day Saints is to refrain from contracting any marriage forbidden by the law of the land.

Wilford Woodruff

President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

 President Lorenzo Snow offered the following:

 “I move that, recognizing Wilford Woodruff as the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the only man on the earth at the present time who holds the keys of the sealing ordinances, we consider him fully authorized by virtue of his position to issue the Manifesto which has been read in our hearing, and which is dated September 24th, 1890, and that as a Church in General Conference assembled, we accept his declaration concerning plural marriages as authoritative and binding.”

Salt Lake City, Utah, October 6, 1890.

2 Nephi 1

2 Nephi 1: Prophecies of a Land of Liberty

                Lehi instructs his children that he had received a vision and in this vision he saw the destruction of Jerusalem and prophesied unto them that if they had stayed in Jerusalem, they too would have perished because of the destruction.

Lehi goes on to explain that he saw a “Land of Liberty” in his dream; this Land of Liberty is present day United States of America. Lehi explains that many will flock to this land and that; “…none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord.” (2 Nephi 1:6) This means that many great men and women throughout history have been led to the United States by the hand of God. The forefathers of the United States established the first Free Nation of the World, and we led by God to establish a nation with religious liberties.

One might question how throughout ALL time and History; why was the North American Continent NEVER discovered… until much later in the history of mankind? Lehi explains; “…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.” (2 Nephi 1:8) The Lord had a purpose for the future “America” the world knows today, to be a safe haven and inheritance for His believers. Lehi exclaims that those who follow God will prosper in the Land of Liberty, but those who chose the path of wickedness shall be judged accordingly.

Lehi prophesied of a day when “…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…” (2 Nephi 1:10) Because of their wickedness they shall be led captive by other nations and shall be led down a path to hell.

Because of this great judgment that will fall upon those who fall captivity to the devil, Lehi exhorts [urges] all to “…observe the statutes and the judgments of the Lord; behold, this hath been the anxiety of my soul from the beginning.” (2 Nephi 1:16) He reminds us that: “…Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments [God’s Commandments] ye shall prosper in the land; but inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from my presence.” (2 Nephi 1:20) Lehi invites his family and the reader to “…be determined in one mind and in one heart, united in all things, that ye may not come down into captivity;” (2 Nephi 1:21)

Lehi explains to his family that his time is limited upon the earth, but urges his sons and the sons of Ishmael to take heed to the words of Nephi and follow his counsel as they have followed his own counsel.

Summary of 1 Nephi

Summary of 1 Nephi

                The First Book of Nephi can be broken down into six sections (below). The book was written around 600 B.C. and is an account of; “…Lehi and his wife Sariah, and his four sons, being called, (beginning at the eldest) Laman, Lemuel, Sam, and Nephi. The Lord warns Lehi to depart out of the land of Jerusalem, because he prophesieth unto the people concerning their iniquity and they seek to destroy his life… The account of their sufferings… [crossing of] large waters into the promised land…” (1 Nephi Introduction)

At Jerusalem:

The book begins in Jerusalem at the time of King Zedekiah (roughly 600 B.C.), where Nephi’s father, Lehi, has a vision, wherein he sees God the Father, Christ, and the twelve apostles. Lehi is told by the Lord that Jerusalem shall be destroyed and that he was to warn the people. Lehi follows this commandment of the Lord and begins to preach repentance to his people. They reject his teachings and attempt to kill him by stoning him, like other prophets of this time.

In a dream, God commands Lehi to leave Jerusalem with his family, again he follow the command of the Lord. However, almost immediately on the start of their journey, God commands him to return to Jerusalem to obtain ‘Brass Plates’ which were held in the possession of a man named Laban, who was very powerful in Jerusalem. Nephi and his brothers return and become frustrated after several failed attempts of obtaining the Brass Plates. Eventually they are successful and obtain the Brass Plates, which are later discovered by Lehi to contain a genealogy of himself, and that he is a descendant of Joseph, the son of Jacob. It also contains the five books of Moses and even some writings by the prophet Jeremiah.

Lehi, in another dream is commanded to send his sons back to Jerusalem a second time to retrieve the family of Ishmael and his daughters. Ishmael agrees to come with Nephi and his family into the wilderness. However, on the journey back to camp, Laman and Lemuel and some members of Ishmael’s family rebel. They explain to Nephi that they want to return to Jerusalem. However, Nephi explains to them harshly that the Lord has commanded them to leave, for Jerusalem shall be destroyed. This angers them, and they tie Nephi up and leave him to die in the desert. However, their hearts are softened by the daughters of Ishmael and ask for forgiveness from Nephi.

Visions of Lehi and Nephi:

                Upon returning to camp, Lehi is taken away into a vision of the Tree of Life. In this vision, Lehi sees a Tree, which contains a fruit that can make one happy. Across from the tree, he sees a river and across the river a Great and Spacious Building. Later Nephi desires to see the same vision that his father had, and is granted this ability. Nephi is swept away by the spirit and sees the vision his father had described. He is also given an explanation about its symbolism: the tree and its fruit represent the love of God, a “rod of iron” represents the word of God, and a “great and spacious building” represents the pride and mocking attitude of the world.

Nephi is then shown a number of past and future events:

  • The Birth, Ministry and Death of Jesus Christ (See 1 Nephi 11)
  • Christopher Columbus Traveling across the Atlantic Ocean (See 1 Nephi 13:12)
  • The American Revolutionary War (See 1 Nephi 13:17-19)
  • The coming forth of the Book of Mormon (1 Nephi 13:34-36)
  • The Coming forth of ‘other books’ beyond the Book of Mormon and the Bible (1 Nephi 13:39; 1 Nephi 13:20-24)
  • Nephi also sees many of the wars in the future, but is commanded to not write of these things, for John the Apostle shall write them. (See 1 Nephi 14:15-23)

Most importantly, Nephi sees the future of his generations and the generations of Laman and Lemuel. He sees that even though his seed has the gospel of Jesus Christ, they will be ultimately wiped out and destroyed for their wickedness. The see of Laman and Lemuel will eventually come to a knowledge of the gospel through the writings of the Book of Mormon and the future Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ, known today as: “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints”.

Traveling in the Wilderness/Dessert:

                After the sons of Lehi marry the daughters of Ishmael a ‘ball of curious workmanship’ appears one morning outside of Lehi’s tent. Later it is revealed to be the Liahona. Using the directions on the ball, they begin journeying eastward along the Red Sea. As they travel along the banks of the Red Sea, Nephi’s steel bow breaks while hunting. Now, tired and hungry many begin to complain against Nephi, Lehi and the Lord. Nephi builds a new bow and arrows out of wood, and then enquires of the Lord where to hunt. He is led to the top of a nearby mountain, where he obtains meat from him and his family. They learn that as long as they are faithful, the Liahona will lead them to the Promised Land.

Ishmael dies on their journey near a place called “Nahum”. This is one of the few places listed in the Book of Mormon that relates to the Old World and to the Bible. In mourning, Ishmael’s daughters complain against Lehi and Nephi, and desire to return to Jerusalem. Laman and Lemuel decide to kill Lehi and Nephi, but the voice of the Lord speaks to them and they humble themselves.

Building the Ship:

                Upon arriving in a Place called Bountiful, near the borders of the Red Sea… Nephi climbs a mountain and speaks with the Lord. The Lord commands Nephi to build a ship, that would carry them across the Atlantic Ocean to the Promised Land (America). Laman and Lemuel see Nephi constructing a ship and mock him for trying to achieve an impossible task. Nephi instructs them about the strength of the Lord and how impossible things are possible when the Lord commands it. Laman and Lemuel again attempt to kill Nephi, but being filled with the Spirit, he commands Laman and Lemuel not to touch him or they would die instantly. He also commands them to assist in building the ship. In order to show Laman and Lemuel that the Lord was in control, the Lord commands Nephi to touch them. He touches them, causing a shock which causes Laman and Lemuel to repent before the Lord and begin to assist Nephi in the construction of a ship.

After completing the ship, the voice of the Lord commands Lehi to load his family and supplies on the ship. They depart on the ocean. Many days later, Laman and Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael begin partying, dancing, singing, and being rude. Nephi, fearing that the Lord would be angry with them, speaks to them. They get upset with Nephi and tie him up. Because of their wickedness, the Liahona ceases to work and they are pushed back into a terrible storm. Nephi, who was at this point tied up by his brothers is finally let down at the pleading of his mother, and others on the ship. Nephi prays, and the storm stops, leaving a great calm. Many days later, they arrive in the promised land, on the American continent.

The Promised Lands:

Once in the Promised Land, Nephi and his families begin building farms, raising livestock and discovering the land. Nephi is commanded by the Lord to create the ‘small plates’ and ‘large plates’ of Nephi.

Prophecies:

                To end the Book of 1st Nephi… Nephi teaches his family and people from the Brass Plates (that were obtained in Jerusalem from Laban), which contain the Books of Moses. Nephi quotes from Isaiah 48-49 which speak of the scattering and restoration of Israel in the Last Days. He also testifies that the Churches of Satan that were raised for gain, power and popularity will be destroyed by the Lord. Nephi exclaims that all prophets have testified of Jesus Christ, and that he is no different. Because of the Fall of Adam and Eve, we are only saved through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

1 Nephi 22

1 Nephi 22: Righteousness Shall Prevail in the Last Days

                After reading from the Brass Plates (1 Nephi 20-21), Nephi’s brethren ask him what these things meant; “… are they to be understood according to things which are spiritual, which shall come to pass according to the spirit and not the flesh?” (1 Nephi 22:1) Nephi responds that they are to be understood both Spiritual and temporal, he also explains that by the Spirit all things are known unto the Prophets and through the Prophets we come to know all things; “…Behold they were manifest unto the prophet by the voice of the Spirit; for by the Spirit are all things made known unto the prophets, which shall come upon the children of men according to the flesh.” (1 Nephi 22:2)

                Nephi goes on to explain that Israel will be scattered because of their wickedness, however; The Lord and the Gentiles will shall ‘nurse’ Israel that they might “…bring them again out of captivity, and they shall be gathered together to the lands of their inheritance; and they shall be brought out of obscurity and out of darkness; and they shall know that the Lord is their Savior and their Redeemer, the Mighty One of Israel.” (1 Nephi 22:12) Here we learn that Israel will eventually come to the knowledge of their Redeemer, Jesus Christ. First, they will be led into captivity and then gathered together in the land of their inheritance. We can see throughout history that the Jews have been persecuted, and now they are gathered in Israel. Does this mean the next step is them coming to the knowledge of Jesus Christ? Only time will tell.

Nephi explains that in the Last Days; “…the blood of that great and abominable church, which is the whore of all the earth, shall turn upon their own heads; for they shall war among themselves, and the sword of their own hands shall fall upon their own heads, and they shall be drunken with their own blood. And every nation which shall war against thee, O house of Israel, shall be turned one against another, and they shall fall into the pit which they digged to ensnare the people of the Lord. And all that fight against Zion shall be destroyed, and that great whore, who hath perverted the right ways of the Lord, yea, that great and abominable church, shall tumble to the dust and great shall be the fall of it.” (1 Nephi 22:13-14)

In the Last Days, the Great and Abominable Church (presumably the Catholic Church) will wage war among the people of the Lord and eventually have the sword fall upon themselves. Everyone who fights against Israel shall be destroyed and those who pervert the right ways of the Lord shall be destroyed and GREAT shall be the fall of that Great and Abominable Church!

Nephi explains that “…the time cometh speedily that Satan shall have no more power over the hearts of the children of men; for the day soon cometh that all the proud and they who do wickedly shall be as stubble; and the day cometh that they must be burned.” (1 Nephi 22:15) Again, those who fight against the Lord and His people will lose. Satan thinks he is in control, even his followers believe this… however the Lord can crush Satan at any time… he only allows Satan to tempt His children, so that we might have Agency to choose for ourselves the path we want to take.

Nephi writes that; “…the righteous need not fear, for they are those who shall not be confounded…” (1 Nephi 22:22) Those who follow the commandments of the Lord will be filled with the knowledge they need to avoid the churches of Satan built upon the world by the flesh.

Why are there so many Churches and Religions?

“…the time speedily shall come that all churches which are built up to get gain, and all those who are built up to get power over the flesh, and those who are built up to become popular in the eyes of the world, and those who seek the lusts of the flesh and the things of the world, and to do all manner of iniquity; yea, in fine, all those who belong to the kingdom of the devil are they who need fear, and tremble, and quake; they are those who must be brought low in the dust; they are those who must be consumed as stubble; and this is according to the words of the prophet.” (1 Nephi 22:23)

After the death of Jesus Christ and His Apostles, the Church Jesus established on the earth and the Power and Authority that He had given to the Apostles was eventually lost with the last Apostle who like Apostles before him were persecuted, killed and even Crucified. From this time forth, the flesh of the world created their own religions and churches. These churches or religions were built up only to obtain power, gain, and popularity to seek the lusts of the world.

Jesus Christ made it clear; “…other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” (John 10:16) The ‘other sheep’ are the people of Ancient America, who also heard His word. In the Last Days all the folds of the Lord shall come unto Him and become ONE FOLD, with ONE SHEPHERD (Jesus Christ)

Nephi explains that in the Last Days, Satan will be locked up for the space of many years (1,000 years) and shall not be loosed, so that the work of the Lord shall be carried across the entire world.

Nephi makes an end to this chapter and the 1st Book of Nephi by explaining that his testimony is not the only testimony; “…ye need not suppose that I and my father are the only ones that have testified, and also taught them. Wherefore, if ye shall be obedient to the commandments, and endure to the end, ye shall be saved at the last day. And thus it is. Amen.” (1 Nephi 22:31) Nephi, like prophets of old have made it very clear. Those who Love the Lord and have His Spirit shall come to this knowledge through careful, prayerful study of the scriptures.

1 Nephi 21

1 Nephi 21: Israel will be gathered in the Last Days

Compare to Isaiah 49

Taken from Isaiah, Nephi taught his people and made record of Isaiah in his own records. The Lord speaks to Israel and all those who have been broken off; “…because of the wickedness of the pastors of my people.” (1 Nephi 21:1) Many people are led away from the house of Israel by wicked men who chose to distort the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The servant speaks in his own voice – he has been called from the womb. His mouth has been made like a sharp sword. He will be a light to the gentiles; He will release prisoners, and those in darkness. The Lord cannot forget Israel, as a nurse cannot forget her nursing child. The Lord will protect Israel from her enemies, who will be humbled and defeated.

1 Nephi 20

1 Nephi 20: The Purpose of Israel

Compare to Isaiah 48

The Lord rebukes Israel for their routine religious observance. “…I showed thee new things from this time, even hidden things, and thou didst not know them.” (1 Nephi 20:6)The Lord made sure that he was revealed rather than concealed, but Israel did not see or hear. The Lord defers his anger for His name’s sake; He is the first and the last. The Lord wishes that his people had obeyed Him in the past. Exodus from Babylon joined with that from Egypt – the rock in the wilderness flowed with water.

In other words, Israel, even with all their disobedience was chosen by the Lord to go forth from Babylon and rise above the earth as His chosen people.

1 Nephi 19

1 Nephi 19: Nephi makes History of People on Plates

                Nephi makes plates of ore, one which would include their journey and the teachings of his father Lehi, and the other would include the contentions and wars of his people. Nephi explains that he does this for a wise purpose in the Lord that these records be passed down from one generation to another throughout time. Nephi explains that he is human; “…if I do err, even did they err of old; not that I would excuse myself because of other men, but because of the weakness which is in me, according to the flesh, I would excuse myself. For the things which some men esteem to be of great worth, both to the body and soul, others set at naught and trample under their feet. Yea, even the very God of Israel do men trample under their feet; I say, trample under their feet but I would speak in other words—they set him at naught, and hearken not to the voice of his counsels.” (1 Nephi 19:6-7) Nephi explains that he makes mistakes and his writings (just like prophets of old) will contain these mistakes. He explains that his record will be as preserved as possible, and not like other records which would be ‘esteemed as naught’ and trampled under the feet of men. In other words, some records do not contain all the words of God, because wicked men, thinking it is of no worth, will eliminate things from records to suite their own agenda. These men doe no hearken unto the voice of God’s command and counsel.

Nephi explains that roughly 600 years from the time of this writing the Lord Jesus Christ will come among the children of men, but because of their iniquity, they; “…shall judge him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he suffereth it. Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men.” (1 Nephi 19:9)

                Nephi explains that after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the Jews will be hated, scattered and despised among all nations throughout time, until the time when Jesus Christ comes again and shall restore them among and preserve them. Nephi read a lot of these things from the Books of Moses; “…that I might more fully persuade them to believe in the Lord their Redeemer I did read unto them that which was written by the prophet Isaiah; for I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning.” (1 Nephi 19:25) Because Nephi had the Books of Moses [the first five books of the Bible], Nephi was able to teach his brethren and family many things of ‘profit and learning’. This emphasizes the fact that the Book of Mormon and Bible go hand in hand.