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Book of Lehi


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#1 Justice

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 07:51 AM

We had a discussion a while back about the plates that Nephi had and what all Mormon abridged.

I have been doing further research, and I have a question for you.

Many of you were *skeptical* about the statement I made concerning how much of the Large Plates of Nephi was actually translated by Mormon.

I claimed that Mormon translated ALL of the Large Plates of Nephi, and I cited reasons and passages that supported my view. Well, oftentimes the largest evidence escapes you until you do research. So, along this lines, my question (after trying to answer a question someone posed to me about it):

Where did the Book of Lehi (116 pages of lost manuscript) come from?

A clue is that it was not on the Small Plates of Nephi because Nephi made those plates and was the first person to write on them. He told highlights of his father's writings in his own books on the Small Plates of Nephi, because those Small Plates did not contain a book written by Lehi. His Large Plates did have a Book of Lehi so he did not need to duplicate his writings on them.

The answer is that Mormon abridged the Book of Lehi from the Large Plates of Nephi. This is strong evidence, nearly proof, that he abridged the entire Nephite record from Lehi to 4th Nephi.

BoMormon 6:
6 And it came to pass that when we had gathered in all our people in one to the land of Cumorah, behold I, Mormon, began to be old; and knowing it to be the last struggle of my people, and having been commanded of the Lord that I should not suffer the records which had been handed down by our fathers, which were sacred, to fall into the hands of the Lamanites, (for the Lamanites would destroy them) therefore I made this record out of the plates of Nephi, and hid up in the hill Cumorah all the records which had been entrusted to me by the hand of the Lord, save it were these few plates which I gave unto my son Moroni.


As I said before, Mormon knew he had to hide the records that were passed down from generation to generation in order to protect them from the Lamanites. With his statement that he knew it was the final struggle of his people, he knew he had to bury them. but, before he did he made an abridgment to give his son, Moroni, so that he would have scriptures to read without jeopardizing the records he was commanded to protect. So, he summarized (or abridged) them for his son, so his son would not dwindle in unbelief (without having scriptures). It stands to reason he would have wanted the more spiritual and meaningful parts on his abridgement, which is what led him to choose the Small Plates over what he had abridged dealing with the same period in time.

that I should not suffer the records which had been handed down by our fathers, which were sacred, to fall into the hands of the Lamanites, (for the Lamanites would destroy them)

therefore I made this record out of the plates of Nephi,

and hid up in the hill Cumorah all the records which had been entrusted to me by the hand of the Lord

It's pretty clear that Mormon wanted to have a copy, or for his son to have a copy, without endangering the records he was commanded to protect. What was the harm if the Lamanites found and destroyed his abridgement? In his mind there was none, because his commandment was to protect the originals.

Now, the previous scripture was taken from before the final battle at Cumorah. This one from the Words of Mormon, though much earlier in the book we have, was written after the last battle at Cumorah:

WoMormon 1:
1 And now I, Mormon, being about to deliver up the record which I have been making into the hands of my son Moroni, behold I have witnessed almost all the destruction of my people, the Nephites.
2 And it is many hundred years after the coming of Christ that I deliver these records into the hands of my son; and it supposeth me that he will witness the entire destruction of my people. But may God grant that he may survive them, that he may write somewhat concerning them, and somewhat concerning Christ, that perhaps some day it may profit them.


Mormon is "about to deliver" his abridgment to Moroni, which means to me that he is finished, or nearly finished, with whatever he was doing for his son. He supposes that Moroni will write and finish the record of their people on those "few" plates that he gave him, which consisted of...

3 And now, I speak somewhat concerning that which I have written; for after I had made an abridgment from the plates of Nephi, down to the reign of this king Benjamin, of whom Amaleki spake, I searched among the records which had been delivered into my hands, and I found these plates, which contained this small account of the prophets, from Jacob down to the reign of this king Benjamin, and also many of the words of Nephi.

A few interesting points in this verse:

after I had made an abridgment from the plates of Nephi, down to the reign of this king Benjamin, of whom Amaleki spake

Clearly this is the bread and butter of my argument. He clearly states that he made an abridgment from their start until King Benjamin. It doesn't mean he stopped there. The Book of Mormon we have today, from Mosiah to 4th Nephi, is an abridgment from the Large Plates of Nephi. So, we KNOW he made an entire abridement for his son.

I searched among the records which had been delivered into my hands, and I found these plates, which contained this small account of the prophets, from Jacob down to the reign of this king Benjamin, and also many of the words of Nephi.

This was the confusing part for me. This is the part that stumped me. But, now I see how simple it is. He's not saying immediately after he made this portion of the abridgement that he looked through the plates, he's saying after he finished his entire abridgement he went back and looked and found a different history from Nephi until the reign of King Benjamin that he liked better than his abridgement. So, what he did was remove his abridged portion that covered the same time and events and prophets as the plates he discovered and replaced them with the ones he just found, or the Small Plates of Nephi.

This leaves intact his abridgement of Lehi's book. But, being from Nephi's smaller set of plates, the ones dealing with more spiritual things, he wrote many of his father's visions and teachings.

4 And the things which are upon these plates pleasing me, because of the prophecies of the coming of Christ; and my fathers knowing that many of them have been fulfilled; yea, and I also know that as many things as have been prophesied concerning us down to this day have been fulfilled, and as many as go beyond this day must surely come to pass—
5 Wherefore, I chose these things, to finish my record upon them, which remainder of my record I shall take from the plates of Nephi; and I cannot write the hundredth part of the things of my people.
6 But behold, I shall take these plates, which contain these prophesyings and revelations, and put them with the remainder of my record, for they are choice unto me; and I know they will be choice unto my brethren.


There you have it. He removed the portion of his abridgement, or chooses the Small Plates of Nephi over his abridgement of the Large Plates of Nephi. He then inserted the Small Plates of Nephi between Lehi and King Benjamin (Mosiah), then he adds a brief comment to bridge one to the other (Words of Mormon).

7 And I do this for a wise purpose; for thus it whispereth me, according to the workings of the Spirit of the Lord which is in me. And now, I do not know all things; but the Lord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore, he worketh in me to do according to his will.

The wise purpose is obvious to us today. Had he left his abridgement of the Large Plates of Nephi then everything we have in the Book of Mormon today about Lehi would have been lost when his book was lost. The teachings of Lehi, or the more spiritual part of his life, was only repeated in the Small Plates of Nephi, not the Large. This is because the Large Plates was supposed to primarily be an account of wars, genealogy, and governement doings.

It is clear to me now that Nephi did not rewrite his fathers ministry on the Large Plates, only on the Small. So, Mormon abridged the entire Book of Mormon, then replaced part of his abridgement with the Small Plates of Nephi, preserving for us today some of the teachings of Lehi which we otherwise would not have had.

#2 Hemidakota

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 08:23 AM

I would even love to read the change version by the antis in order to receive insight to this man's life prior being called as a prophet.

#3 KristofferUmfrey

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 08:28 AM

I would even love to read the change version by the antis in order to receive insight to this man's life prior being called as a prophet.


I'm sure if the Methodists did a full search of all their old documents, they could find it and sell it back.
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#4 Hemidakota

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 08:40 AM

Rediscovering the Book of Mormon by Melvin J. Thorne, John L. Sorenson, S. Kent Borwn discusses Nephi's use of Lehi's record;

In many places in the Book of Mormon, the authors refer to writings known to them but not included in the book. One of these is the record of Lehi. Nephi reported that he made "an abridgment of the record of my father" (1 Nephi 1:17), which he included on his own original (large) plates. An English translation of that abridgment was included in the 116 pages of manuscript translation lost by Martin Harris in 1828. Someday we will have that record restored; meanwhile, we can discover some of what it contained because both Nephi and Jacob included parts from it in their records.

The Book of Mormon consistently lets us know that, years after Lehi had died, Nephi had his father's record before him as he wrote his own record (our books of First and Second Nephi). Wherever bits of Lehi's record are found scattered throughout Nephi's account, they reveal a body of language, experience, and teachings so varied and deep and yet so consistent that we must believe that a real man, a genuine prophet named Lehi, was the source.

As we start to read 1 Nephi 1, Nephi tells us that he is making "a record of my proceedings in my days" (verse 1). Yet within a few verses he is borrowing from what Lehi had written:

Now I, Nephi, do not make a full account of the things which my father hath written, for he hath written many things which he saw in visions and in dreams; and he also hath written many things which he prophesied and spake unto his children, of which I shall not make a full account. But I shall make an account of my proceedings in my days. Behold, I make an abridgment of the record of my father, upon plates which I have made with mine own hands; wherefore, after I have abridged the record of my father then will I make an account of mine own life (verses 16-17).

Lehi's record must have been very important to Nephi, for he not only used it as the basis for part of his record on the small plates, he also presented even more of it on the large plates (see 1 Nephi 19:1). Fortunately, because Nephi, and Jacob, used it as a source, we can learn much about Lehi's record from their writings. By searching there, we can construct a likely picture of how Lehi's record was made and what it contained.

When and on What Did Lehi Write?

Most of Lehi's record must have been completed by the time Nephi made and started writing on the large plates. This would be after arriving in the promised land. Nephi tells us that he recorded on those plates "the [abridged] record of my father, and the genealogy of his fathers, and the more part of all our proceedings in the wilderness" (1 Nephi 19:2). Nephi could have obtained the genealogy from the brass plates, where Lehi had learned about it (see 1 Nephi 5:14). But his father's own version of the events in the wilderness (for example, 1 Nephi 5:2-6, which happened in Nephi's absence) would have had to come from another source, most likely Lehi's own. Lehi probably had begun writing his record while still in Jerusalem so that he could include his visions there while they were still vivid (see 1 Nephi 1:16).

Notice how Nephi talks about their wandering in the wilderness after the discovery of the Liahona (see 1 Nephi 16:9-17:5). He makes a series of statements that feature the word we (except for the incident of the broken bow, which he tells in first person singular, interrupting the main story). He seems to be summarizing what happened without giving details. The text simply gives the direction and length of their travels, plus the type of hardships in general that the family faced. He is satisfied with summaries like "we did sojourn for the space of many years, yea, even eight years in the wilderness" (1 Nephi 17:4). This part of Nephi's record is likely a summary of a more detailed, diary-like account probably either written or authorized by Lehi.

We have no way of knowing what material Lehi kept his record on, but probably it was perishable. A remark made by his son Jacob supports this view. Jacob notes, "We know that the things which we write upon plates must remain; but whatsoever things we write upon anything save it be upon plates must perish and vanish away" (Jacob 4:1-2). Jacob's experience with the brass plates had shown him the durability of metal plates. We can well believe that the experience of Lehi's family concerning records kept on perishable materials included the disintegration of Lehi's record.

Other hints also suggest that Lehi's record was not kept on metal. No mention is made of metal plates or engraving tools being brought from Jerusalem. Nor is there mention of ore being smelted in the wilderness to make either plates or tools. On the contrary, the party avoided making any fires (see 1 Nephi 17:2, 12). These hints point to Lehi's having used something other than metal for his record.

The most likely candidates, according to materials used in Lehi's day, would be animal skins, clay, wood covered with wax, or possibly papyrus. The Talmud specified the use of the skins of clean animals for writing the law, and the Hebrews were expert at dressing skins (see Exodus 25:5; Leviticus 13:48). Rolls, or scrolls, made from skins were used in Lehi's day (see Jeremiah 36:2; Ezekiel 2:9-10).

The Content of Lehi's Record

Nephi describes Lehi's record as containing "many things which he [Lehi] saw in visions and in dreams" and "many things which he prophesied and spake unto his children" (1 Nephi 1:16). Using this description of Lehi's record and examining the instances in which Jacob and Nephi either quote from or paraphrase it can give us some idea of its content.

Although we naturally think of Nephi's book as being by and about himself, much of his record may have come directly or indirectly from Lehi's record. The beginning of Nephi's account seems to echo the opening lines of what Lehi had written. A statement telling how the prophet was called was normal for ancient writers; this came near the beginning of the record. He included information about the year, expressed in terms of when the local king took over the throne (for examples, see Jeremiah 1:2-10; Ezekiel 1; Zephaniah 1; and Zechariah 1). Of course, this is what we find in 1 Nephi 1:4-15. Directly after Nephi's opening statements about himself (verses 1-3), he puts in a note that the beginning of his story came during the first year of King Zedekiah's reign (1 Nephi 1:4). Next, as expected, we read that God called the prophet (verses 5-15). But, unexpectedly, the prophet is not Nephi but Lehi. It looks as if Nephi has used the standard opening format from Lehi's book but adapted it slightly to begin his own account. Adaptations of Lehi's record can be found often in Nephi's writings.

Nephi later says this about using his father's record, "Upon the [large] plates which I made I did engraven the record of my father, and also our journeyings in the wilderness, and the prophecies of my father" (1 Nephi 19:1). This verse is intended to describe some of the content of Nephi's large plates, yet in fact it also describes what is included on the small plates (the first part of our Book of Mormon record) in 1 Nephi and the first three chapters of 2 Nephi.

To illustrate, (a) "the record of my father" corresponds roughly to 1 Nephi 1-10; (B) the "journeyings in the wilderness" appears in 1 Nephi 16-18; and © the "prophecies of my father" would include 2 Nephi 1-3 and possibly 1 Nephi 10. The overall scheme is interrupted only by the account of Nephi's dream (1 Nephi 11-15) and Nephi's discourse to his brothers (1 Nephi 19-22), both of which digress from the main story that notably focuses on Lehi. Note, however, that Nephi's dream was prompted by his father's dream, which Lehi had undoubtedly recorded in his own record. Among items that Nephi apparently borrowed from Lehi's record are the summary of Lehi's wanderings in the desert, paraphrases of and quotations from his dreams and visions, and parts of his teachings, doctrines, and blessings to his children.

Visions and Dreams

Preserved in the Book of Mormon are seven of Lehi's inspired dreams and visions. Nephi mentions Lehi's dreams and visions being in his record: "[Lehi] hath written many things which he saw in visions and in dreams" (1 Nephi 1:16). Lehi himself considered that he was "a visionary man" (1 Nephi 5:4).

The earliest vision recorded in the Book of Mormon is the one that probably began Lehi's own record. Nephi describes it briefly: "As [Lehi] prayed unto the Lord, there came a pillar of fire and dwelt upon a rock before him; and he saw and heard much; and because of the things which he saw and heard he did quake and tremble exceedingly. And it came to pass that he returned to his own house at Jerusalem; and he cast himself upon his bed, being overcome with the Spirit and the things which he had seen" (1 Nephi 1:6-7). Nephi gives nothing more of the vision's content, but it may have included Lehi's call to the role of prophet, for soon afterward Lehi began to preach to the people (see v. 18; also 1 Nephi 2:1).

Nephi begins his summary of Lehi's second vision, the vision wherein he sees a book, by emphasizing that "being thus overcome with the Spirit, [Lehi] was carried away in a vision, even that he saw the heavens open, and he thought he saw God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels in the attitude of singing and praising their God" (1 Nephi 1:8). Lehi then saw "One descending out of the midst of heaven" and "twelve others following him" (1 Nephi 1:9-10).

Nephi continues: "The first came and stood before my father, and gave unto him a book, and bade him that he should read" (1:11). Lehi then read of Jerusalem's wickedness and of its impending destruction. This same warning was the core message of other prophets in Lehi's time at Jerusalem (see 1 Nephi 1:4). Although Nephi does not mention it here, at some point in the vision Lehi also learned that the Messiah would come and save humankind: Lehi "testified that the things which he saw and heard, and also the things which he read in the book, manifested plainly of the coming of a Messiah, and also the redemption of the world" (1 Nephi 1:19). Nephi also includes two apparent direct quotations from Lehi's record—his warning to Jerusalem (1 Nephi 1:13) and his psalm rejoicing in God's power and goodness (1 Nephi 1:14).

Speaking of his father's third vision, Nephi includes words from the Lord that were probably quoted from Lehi's record: "The Lord spake unto my father, yea, even in a dream, and said unto him: Blessed art thou Lehi, because of the things which thou hast done; and because thou hast been faithful and declared unto this people the things which I commanded thee, behold, they seek to take away thy life" (1 Nephi 2:1). In this same vision, Lehi also received the command to leave Jerusalem, the first step in the family's long journey (see 1 Nephi 2:2). Lehi's obedience eventually led him and his family to their land of promise halfway around the earth.

Lehi's fourth vision was about his sons returning to Jerusalem for the brass plates (see 1 Nephi 3:2-6). Here Nephi quotes Lehi's own words, "I have dreamed a dream, in the which the Lord hath commanded me that thou and thy brethren shall return to Jerusalem. For behold, Laban hath the record of the Jews and also a genealogy of my forefathers, and they are engraven upon plates of brass" (1 Nephi 3:2-3). Nephi and his brothers were to go to Laban and "seek the records, and bring them down hither" (1 Nephi 3:4), even though his brothers had already complained about the task.

The fifth vision showed the tree of life and possibly included the Messiah. Much of the vision was written in first person singular ("I saw"). This was thus a long direct quotation from Lehi's record. When Nephi introduces the story, he clarifies that he is quoting: "He [Lehi] spake unto us [his family], saying: Behold, I have dreamed a dream" (1 Nephi 8:2). In addition, Nephi leaves no doubt when he stops quoting Lehi, for at the end he only summarizes the rest of his father's vision: "I, Nephi, do not speak all the words of my father. But, to be short in writing, behold, he saw other multitudes pressing forward; and they came and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron" (1 Nephi 8:29-30). This summary includes Lehi's warnings and urgings to Laman and Lemuel (except for a brief direct quote in 1 Nephi 8:34-35). He closes this paraphrase by saying: "All these things did my father see, and hear, and speak, as he dwelt in a tent, in the valley of Lemuel, and also a great many more things, which cannot be written upon these [small] plates" (1 Nephi 9:1).

In Lehi's original record, the material in 1 Nephi 10 (Lehi's teachings about the coming of the Messiah and the scattering and gathering of Israel) may well have followed directly the account of his dream of the tree of life and his exhortation to his sons. This can be seen from two facts: In the first place, just a few lines (1 Nephi 9:2-6) separate these two sections. In those lines, Nephi briefly discusses the plates mentioned in verse one, before resuming his father's account in chapter ten. In the second place, when we compare the content of these two parts (chapters 8 and 10) with the content of Nephi's vision of the tree of life (chapters 11-14), we see that the second part (chapter 10) plainly belongs together with the first (chapter 8). In Nephi's parallel vision, the prophecies regarding Israel's destiny and the Messiah (1 Nephi 10:1-16) go with his account of the tree of life, suggesting the same pattern for Lehi's dream of the tree and prophecy of the Messiah. So, we should conclude that the brief segment in 1 Nephi 9:2-6 was inserted between two sections that likely were continuous in Lehi's narrative.

I believe that the words written upon the compass or Liahona (see 1 Nephi 16:26) constituted Lehi's sixth specific revelation. (Since it was shared by all the others in the party, perhaps it should not be called a vision, strictly speaking.) On this occasion Lehi had prayed to learn where Nephi should go to find food. The response came as words that appeared miraculously on the sacred ball. The Lord chastised Lehi and his family for complaining about their hardships in the wilderness (see 1 Nephi 16:24-25). Nephi wrote, "When my father beheld the things which were written upon the ball, he did fear and tremble exceedingly, and also my brethren and the sons of Ishmael and our wives" (1 Nephi 16:27). We see that, like the Urim and Thummim among the ancient Israelites, the compass-ball served as a means to receive revelation.

The last recorded vision of Lehi is mentioned in 2 Nephi 1:4: "I have seen a vision, in which I know that Jerusalem is destroyed; and had we remained in Jerusalem we should also have perished." The Lord, who had earlier told Lehi to prophesy that Jerusalem would be destroyed, now, in the New World, showed him the fulfillment of that prophecy.

The Desert Journal

The description of wandering in the wilderness (1 Nephi 16:11-17, 33; 17:1-6) also seems to have been paraphrased by Nephi from the record Lehi kept. Possibly Nephi himself made the original record of his family's journey in the desert (perhaps acting as scribe for Lehi), but the way Nephi speaks of this account makes it seem a record originally written by Lehi.

Nephi mentions the desert journal twice in 1 Nephi 19:1-2. In verse one, when listing the sources he used for the large plates, Nephi includes "the record of my father, and also [the record of] our journeyings in the wilderness, and the prophecies of my father." Note that Nephi mentions the desert journal between the items from Lehi. Only after stating what sources he employed from his father does Nephi say, "and also many of mine own prophecies have I engraven upon them" (1 Nephi 19:1).

Verse two presents a similar picture. Once again Nephi announces the sources he drew from in composing his record on the large plates: "The record of my father, and the genealogy of his fathers, and the more part of all our proceedings in the wilderness." Again Nephi associates the "proceedings" of the desert period with his father's account. Consequently, the desert journal almost certainly came from Lehi's pen. Years later, when Nephi was making his record on the small plates, this desert journal undoubtedly proved helpful in filling out Nephi's memory of hazy or forgotten details.



#5 Hemidakota

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 08:41 AM

PART 2 of 2

Doctrines and Prophecies
The material quoted or summarized from Lehi's records contains some of the most powerful doctrine and far-reaching prophecies in the entire Book of Mormon. Much of what we know about such basic gospel doctrines as loyalty in the marriage relationship, the Fall, the expected Savior, and the house of Israel, we learn from Lehi.

One doctrine often overlooked as being from Lehi is found in his son Jacob's teachings on fidelity in marriage (see Jacob 2:23-33). At first glance Jacob appears to be repeating instructions he received directly from the Lord, following the Lord's direction to declare "the word which I shall give thee unto this people" (Jacob 2:11). However, a more careful look at chapter two shows us that although the counsel concerning one wife indeed came from the Lord, Jacob was not the first to receive it. Lehi was the source for these directions.

For following what must be the Lord's own words (Jacob 2:23-33, with only the first part of verse twenty-seven being Jacob's statement), we find this: "My brethren, ye know that these commandments [concerning a husband's loyalty to his wife] were given to our father, Lehi; wherefore, ye have known them before; and ye have come unto great condemnation; for ye have done these things which ye ought not to have done" (Jacob 2:34). Clearly Lehi was the one who first received these beautiful teachings from the Lord. Jacob, then, mostly likely quoted from Lehi's record.

As we might expect in a book planned to be a witness of Jesus Christ, many teachings and prophecies that Nephi took from Lehi's record are about the Savior. For instance, although we have only a short summary of Lehi's preaching in Jerusalem, we learn that he prophesied not only of the destruction of Jerusalem but also of the coming of the Messiah and the redemption of the world, information gained in his vision of the book (see 1 Nephi 1:19).

A more complete account of the Savior's life and redeeming role in the plan of salvation is found in Lehi's later sermons. This knowledge apparently came to him in connection with his vision of the tree of life (see 1 Nephi 10). Nephi recorded an apparent direct quotation from Lehi's record about what the forerunner of the Messiah would say (see 10:8). Much more detail on this topic was given as part of Lehi's blessing to Jacob (see 2 Nephi 2). There we learn such important truths as the role of the fall in the plan of salvation, the necessity of commandments, and the reasons for and effects of the Atonement.

Many of Lehi's teachings and prophecies are found in the record of his last blessings and instructions to his family before his death (see 2 Nephi 1:1-4:12). This account, using Lehi's own words, is clearly a direct quotation from his record. Written in the first person, it is doubtless part of what Nephi referred to when he said that Lehi's record contained "many things which he prophesied and spake unto his children" (1 Nephi 1:16). In these last blessings, Lehi taught his children principles for successful living in the promised land and prophesied of a time when his posterity would reject their Redeemer and rebel against the principles of righteousness. They would then lose the lands of their inheritance and be "scattered and smitten" (2 Nephi 1:11).

Even after picturing these difficulties, Lehi assured his family that their descendants would survive the disasters. Eventually, a special seer would bring to pass "much restoration unto the house of Israel, and unto the seed of thy brethren" (2 Nephi 3:24). Lehi also prophesied that the record his people kept would spread to the survivors of his seed and then to all parts of the world (see 2 Nephi 3:18-21).

Another significant teaching, in Lehi's final blessing to his son Jacob, concerned "opposition in all things." Lehi began by indicating that the judgment must lead either to "punishment that is affixed [assigned]" or else to "happiness which is affixed" (2 Nephi 2:10). He then reasoned: "It must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so . . . righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad" (2 Nephi 2:11).

Lehi taught that without choices we are unable to be or feel righteous or unrighteous. Note the dramatic result that Lehi said would follow: "If these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation" (2 Nephi 2:13). According to Lehi, all of existence would cease and make no sense if opposition were removed. This observation led Lehi to say: "Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the justice of God" (2 Nephi 2:12). Since Lehi had just previously been dealing with the redemption to come through the Messiah (2 Nephi 2:6-10), we should probably understand this series of passages in terms of the Redeemer's work. That is, if there exists no opposition, there is no reason for a redeemer who can bring about God's mercy and justice.

Closely related to the teachings about opposition is Lehi's understanding of the role of Adam and Eve in the drama of salvation (see 2 Nephi 2:15-27). Lehi insisted that two ingredients were essential in our first parents' situation—a choice, along with freedom to choose. There had to be "an opposition; even the forbidden fruit in opposition to the tree of life. . . .Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself" (2 Nephi 2:15-16).

For Lehi, the opposition facing Adam and Eve was necessary so that they could make the choice that could bring about mankind's mortal existence. In fact, if they had not been enticed to make that choice, which brought about both mortality and the ability to become parents, the earth would never have been peopled. This would have frustrated God's plan: "If Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. . . . They would have had no children. . . . Adam fell that men might be" (2 Nephi 2:22-23, 25). So from Lehi we have the clearest explanation of why the fall was a necessary part of the plan of salvation.

We have seen repeatedly in Nephi's and Jacob's records that Lehi's account was a rich source of the knowledge the sons have given us. They owe to Lehi—and they acknowledge it—many precious items of revelation and instruction about the gospel. Neither son set out consciously to present and interpret his father's record for future readers. But they were so deeply and broadly influenced by their father that much of what we learn from them originated with Lehi. His life and teachings, as preserved in the sons' accounts, beautifully served their purpose in writing—"to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God" (2 Nephi 25:23). Because they turned to him for light, we benefit by the legacy a great prophet and patriarch left.



#6 Justice

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 02:35 PM

That's a lot of information.

This author states that the writings by the hand of Lehi didn't appear on any plates. He believes that Lehi never wrote on plates. So, that means that the record of Lehi that was in the Large Plates of Nephi, and abridged by Mormon, was written by Nephi, supposidly as a direct copy from whatever Lehi wrote on. Then, Nephi mixed his father's writings in with his on the Small Plates he made. Here is the scripture he quotes as evidence:

1 Nephi 1:
16 And now I, Nephi, do not make a full account of the things which my father hath written, for he hath written many things which he saw in visions and in dreams; and he also hath written many things which he prophesied and spake unto his children, of which I shall not make a full account.
17 But I shall make an account of my proceedings in my days. Behold, I make an abridgment of the record of my father, upon plates which I have made with mine own hands; wherefore, after I have abridged the record of my father then will I make an account of mine own life.


It is clear that Nephi never made a full account or copy of his father's writings. So, what existed as the Book of Lehi on the Large Plates is the abridgement made by Nephi of his father's writings. That was then abridged by mormon on the plates he made for Moroni, and what was eventually lost. So, the Book of Lehi was an abridgement of an abridgement, first by Nephi, then by Mormon.

His theory is that Mormon left this abridgement he made of Nephi's abridgement of Lehi's writings even though he pulled out his abridgement of Nephi through King Benjamin. This means both Nephi and Mormon made arrangements for Lehi's lost record. Although possible, only one would need to have made allowance for the record that would be lost.

Interesting theory.

Thanks for posting Hemi.

#7 checkerboy

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 04:02 PM

Ok I still have to disagree that Mormon removed his abridgement of the period of time from Nephi to King Benjamin. It makes more sense to me that he simply added those plates to his record. How else do you explain why he had no idea why he was doing it but that it seemed that the Lord wanted him to. If he was removing one and substituting the other it wouldn't have perplexed him but to include a duplicate record now that was confusing.
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#8 Justice

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 06:11 AM

I don't believe that's in question. That Mormon made an abridgement of Lehi to King Benjamin is proven in this verse:

3 And now, I speak somewhat concerning that which I have written; for after I had made an abridgment from the plates of Nephi, down to the reign of this king Benjamin, of whom Amaleki spake

He tells us twice. "I am going to tell you about that which I have written," which is past tense; have done; completed. Then he says as plain as words can be, "I made an abridgement down to the reign of King Benjamin."

Then, if you read on he says he searched the remaining record and found the Small Plates of Nehpi just before he was going to give his abridgement to Moroni, and AFTER he already made an abridgement of that same time period from the Large Plates. Again, I ask, since he was about to deliver up "this record" he was working on to his son, was he going to leave out Nephi through King Benjamin? I hardly think so. It was already finished, as he already states...

that which I have written

after I had made an abridgment from the plates of Nephi, down to the reign of this king Benjamin, of whom Amaleki spake

So, Mormon tells us that he made that abridgement from the Large Plates, it's not a theory, or anything to disagree with. It must be the Large Plates he abridged from here because 1) he hadn't even found the Small Plates at that point, and 2) he never made an abridgement of the Small Plates, those were inserted as is.

The question I have had is exactly where did we get Lehi.

What makes it so remarkable is, as far as doing it for a wise purpose, he had already included an abridgement of those things, why did he want to remove what he had spent so much time on?

I believe it is because Nephi did not write very much about Lehi's writing, if at all, within his own books in the Large Plates of Nephi. Why? Because Nephi abridged Lehi's writings into a Book of Lehi on the Large Plates. This is what turned out to be the lost pages of manuscript. And, since the Small Plates were intended to be a record of Nephi's doings, he did not make a Book of Lehi on them, instead he included many of the things of his father in his own book.

So, had Mormon kept his abridgement, which he labored over, we would have lost Lehi's writings when those pages were lost. The wise purpose was replacing what he states he "already made" with that which he "found."

I think that's even more amazing that he would do that. It's much harder to remove something you spent a great deal of time doing with your own hands, than it is to simply insert something into an open gap. He would have done that anyway, once discovered, without having a wise purpose, just fill in the open gap in history. That is common sense, not a wise purpose.

I think my posts have been too long for you to get anything out of. I tend to get wordy (saying it politely). Maybe this much shorter one will help. :)

Edited by Justice, 24 December 2008 - 08:02 PM.


#9 Justice

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 06:26 AM

And again, after that has sunk in, I will restate the question I asked and answered on this thread.

If Mormon did not abridge "down to the reign of King Benjamin," where did we get the Book of Lehi?

Are you saying Mormon abridged Lehi, skipped Nephi through Mosiah (King Benjamin's father), then picked up again near the end of King Benjamin's life and went straight to Mosiah, his son, and on through Alma and the rest?

Then, later, as he was about to give Moroni that much of the Nephite record in abridgement, he found the Small Plates and said, "Oh, I forgot to abridge this time period, I better put it with the rest so it's a complete history."

Very doubtful. Again, it makes far more sense that he completed his abridgement and was about to give it to Moroni, after he wrote a few more words, when he found the Small Plates of Nephi and liked it better than his abridgement. So, he chose to include his last writings with the Small Plates and replace what he made...

WoMormon 1:
3... I searched among the records which had been delivered into my hands, and I found these plates, which contained this small account of the prophets, from Jacob down to the reign of this king Benjamin, and also many of the words of Nephi.
4 And the things which are upon these plates pleasing me, because of the prophecies of the coming of Christ; and my fathers knowing that many of them have been fulfilled; yea, and I also know that as many things as have been prophesied concerning us down to this day have been fulfilled, and as many as go beyond this day must surely come to pass—
5 Wherefore, I chose these things, to finish my record upon them


Why is Words of Mormon placed many hundreds of years ahead in Mormon's record? The Words of Mormon were actually written after the Book of Mormon.

Because he chose to end his record on the Small Plates instead of the abridgement he made of the Large Plates, which he inserted in it's proper time sequence, bridging the gap between Lehi and King Benjamin.

He tells you why he liked the record on the Small Plates over the abridgement he made, and why he chose it over his abridgement. Again, this must be true since he never included anything from the Large Plates but that he abridged it first. The Small Plates did not have a Book of Lehi, so he left his abridgement of it from the Large Plates, and that is what was lost.

Does that help?

Edited by Justice, 24 December 2008 - 08:03 PM.


#10 Hemidakota

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 07:49 AM

Excellent rebuttal....

#11 Traveler

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Posted 25 December 2008 - 10:14 PM

Justice: One interesting point that you may not have realized is that there are few scriptures (especially in the Bible) that do not come down to modern time filtered by someone that has abridged the original.

The understanding and reason for abridged scripture has been lost in antiquity except in the restoration.

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#12 Justice

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 05:47 AM

I'm going to have to give that some thought. Thank you.

#13 checkerboy

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 09:55 AM

Ok Justice, I don't believe you are understanding me or maybe I am not understanding you.
I do agree that Mormon abridged the entire Book of Mormon (or the parts he wrote at least) from the Large Plates of Nephi. The Large plates begin with the writings of Nephi and then they continue but we have no idea who wrote on them after Nephi (It is assumed that the political leaders wrote them seeing as they dealt more with the history of the people) Obviously Nephi took what his father wrote and recorded the historical parts on the Large plates and the spiritual parts on the Small Plates. As time went by the Small plates stopped being written on. The history of the people continued on the large plates. All the plates (Small, Large, and a vast number of others) were delivered to Mormon. Mormon was commanded to write a history of his people. He mainly used the Large plates to do this. As he finished, he found the Small Plates. He realized that there was great worth to them. But here is where we disagree. You believe that he removed that portion of his original abridgement that dealt with the same time period covered in the Small Plates and inserted the small plates instead. I believe that he simply inserted the Small Plates word for word in the appropriate place right after the section dealing with the same time frame of his original abridgement.

So the order would have been something like this:
Mormon's Abridgement of Nephi's writings on the Large Plates

Mormon's Abridgement of the other writers of the Large Plates down to the reign of King Benjamin

Mormon's direct copy of the Small Plates

The Words of Mormon (explaining why you would have just read writings from this same time period twice)

the remainder of Mormon's Abridgement of the Large Plates.

In the following quote you make it clear you believe that he removed his abridgement and replaced it with the Small Plates.

There you have it. He removed the portion of his abridgement, or chooses the Small Plates of Nephi over his abridgement of the Large Plates of Nephi. He then inserted the Small Plates of Nephi between Lehi and King Benjamin (Mosiah), then he adds a brief comment to bridge one to the other (Words of Mormon).

7 And I do this for a wise purpose; for thus it whispereth me, according to the workings of the Spirit of the Lord which is in me. And now, I do not know all things; but the Lord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore, he worketh in me to do according to his will.

The wise purpose is obvious to us today. Had he left his abridgement of the Large Plates of Nephi then everything we have in the Book of Mormon today about Lehi would have been lost when his book was lost. The teachings of Lehi, or the more spiritual part of his life, was only repeated in the Small Plates of Nephi, not the Large. This is because the Large Plates was supposed to primarily be an account of wars, genealogy, and governement doings.


This is what I disagree with. I think 116 pages that were lost are quite a bit more then would constitute what Nephi abridged from his fathers record. So that is why I believe what is on those 116 pages was more then just his fathers record. I believe it started with that but then moved on to include Nephi and his successor's records that Mormon abridged.
I hope that makes more sense to you.
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#14 Justice

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 12:31 PM

I said he removed the portion of his abridgement that he made that covered the same time period as the Small Plates. Mormon, himself, said he made an abridgement from the Large Plates "down to the reign of king Benjamin." I am not claiming it by interpretation. Mormon said he did. If he did not remove this part of his abridgement when he "inserted" the Small Plates we would have a double record from Nephi down till king Benjamin. I don't see a double record. If there is a double record please point it out to me. I think you should read my posts slowly. I know they're long, but if you read Book of Mormon and Words of Mormon, paying particular attention to the verses I've highlighted, you will see that Mormon says he made an entire abridgement of the Large Plates, which would have to include from Nephi through king Benjamin, and that he was about to deliver it up to his son. If, at that point, he inserted the Small Plates (from Nephi through King Benjamin) it would have doubled the record of Nephi through king Benjamin in the Plates of Mormon for that time period. Since Mormon's abridgement of Nephi through king Benjamin from the Large Plates is not in our current Book of Mormon, he must have removed it. In fact, his words say he "chose" one over the other. I didn't mean for this to be so complicated. I was simply sharing something I learned. The point being: 1) Mormon said he made an abridgement of Nephi through king Benjamin. 2) He said he chose the Small Plates over that part of his abridgement. 3) We only have one record of that time period. The only logical conclusion is that he removed that portion of his abridgement. Maybe someone else who understands what I'm trying to say can expain it to you clearer than I can. Now, had the 116 pages not been lost, we would have some of Lehi's words doubled. But, the wise purpose was the Lord's, knowing it was going to be lost. He had Mormon remove his abridgement of the Large Plates from Nephi through king Benjamin and insert the Small Plates.

Edited by Justice, 26 December 2008 - 12:55 PM.


#15 Justice

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 12:38 PM

Joseph Smith has stated that the lost 116 pages of manuscript was the Book of Lehi. Where have you heard that it was more than the Book of Lehi?

I do agree that the Large Plates is where the Book of Lehi came from. The point I'm trying to make is that (in my opinion) Nephi did not include any of his father's writings in his own writings in the Large Plates, because he included an abridgement of his father's writings as the Book of Lehi. There was no need to include his father's words in his books.

But, since there was no Book of Lehi on the Small Plates, Nephi included some of the things of his father in his own books.

So, if you have just the Large Plates, there is no duplication. If you have just the Small Plates, there is no duplication. But, if you used his abridgement of the Large Plates for the Book of Lehi, and then used the Small Plates for the Books of Nephi, there would be duplication.

This is what allowed us to have Lehi's words. If Mormon had not removed his abridgement from the Large Plates from Nephi through king Benjamin, then Lehi's writings would have been lost to us today when the 116 pages were lost.

But, since Mormon removed his abridgement of Nephi through king Benjamin and inserted the Small Plates instead, what was delivered to Joseph Smith duplicated some of Lehi's writings. This was the wise purpose.

This is from the preface that was contained in the first edition of the Book of Mormon:

“I [Joseph Smith] translated, by the gift and power of God, and caused to be written, one hundred and sixteen pages, the which I took from the Book of Lehi, which was an account abridged from the plates of Lehi, by the hand of Mormon.” Also in the heading to chapter II of the Book of Commandments of 1833, now section 3 of the Doctrine and Covenants, we read: “after Martin [Harris] had lost the Manuscript of the forepart of the book of Mormon, translated from the book of Lehi, which was abridged by the hand of Mormon. …”

Edited by Justice, 26 December 2008 - 12:52 PM.


#16 Justice

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 12:45 PM

What else we learn from this is that Lehi seems to have had plates of his own. ref: "...plates of Lehi..."

#17 Justice

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 12:56 PM

Also, Checkerboy, the Large Plates do not begin with Nephi... they begin with Lehi. This is where the Book of Lehi that was lost came from.

You also said:

Obviously Nephi took what his father wrote and recorded the historical parts on the Large plates and the spiritual parts on the Small Plates.

This is what I'm trying to say. On the Large Plates, Nephi made a Book of Lehi, which was included in the Plates of Mormon (his abridgement) and was what became the lost 116 pages.

But, on the Small Plates (which is what we currently have for Nephi through King Benjamin), Nephi did not make a Book of Lehi, he included some of his father's writings in his own books.

Edited by Justice, 26 December 2008 - 12:59 PM.


#18 checkerboy

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 04:44 PM

Ok buddy, I am not gonna try to argue this with you because you and I obviously don't agree. It would appear that you don't read my posts either because I clearly stated why I believe the 116 lost pages had to contain more then just the sayings of Lehi. Notice I say sayings because even if there were "writings of Lehi" they were only included because Nephi wrote them down. It has also been shown in other posts how many scholars don't believe that Lehi's writings were on plates because how his descendents refer to the fact that things which are not written on plates perish. Anyway getting back to my point. 116 pages seem like an awful lot of space to only talk about Lehi and his visions.

Mormon, himself, said he made an abridgement from the Large Plates "down to the reign of king Benjamin." I am not claiming it by interpretation. Mormon said he did.

No one is arguing this point. Obviously it would make sense that he made an entire abridgement.

If he did not remove this part of his abridgement when he "inserted" the Small Plates we would have a double record from Nephi down till king Benjamin.

I don't see a double record. If there is a double record please point it out to me.

Here is where you start to not follow me. You're right there is no double record. That is because the 116 LOST PAGES INCLUDES THIS DOUBLE RECORD. Ahh but you say:

Joseph Smith has stated that the lost 116 pages of manuscript was the Book of Lehi.

Yes it was the Book of Lehi but since when does that mean that it only contained the writings or account of Lehi?

Take a gander at a couple other books of the Book of Mormon that were abridged by Mormon. Let's start with Alma. Who is the book of Alma about? Oh you would answer Alma and you would be wrong, well at least not entirely right, because you see the Book of Alma is about Alma, and Ammon, and Aaron, and Moroni. In fact Alma dissapears in chapter 45 leaving 18 chapters that don't even have him in it. You can look through the other books and find the same thing, namely that Mormon started a book with a particular name and then kept going long after that named individual stopped being relevent in the book.

Now as you read the Words of Mormon, I can see how one may think that he replaced his abridgement with the Small Plates but, to me, for him to then say that he does this for a wise purpose and that he doesn't know all things, makes more sense if you consider that he just abridged a section of Nephite history and is now told to include a redundent set of plates. He would be confused but would know that it was for a wise purpose. That wise purpose of course being that Joseph would lose that abridged section, which as I have stated above could have included far more then just the writings of Lehi, and yet have this redundent section to translate from thus not losing the the history of Lehi, Nephi, Jacob, and the others up to King Benjamin.

Here is the rub, we obviously disagree about whether or not Mormon's abridgement included more then the writings of Lehi as well as whether or not Mormon removed his abridgement for that time period. That's fine. I am just glad that he included the Small Plates or regardless of who removed Mormon's abridgement (himself as you believe, Martin Harris as I believe) we wouldn't have the wonderful words that we do today.

Edited by checkerboy, 26 December 2008 - 04:47 PM.

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#19 Justice

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 08:22 PM

Notice I say sayings because even if there were "writings of Lehi" they were only included because Nephi wrote them down.


Yes, Nephi abridged the writings of his father onto the Large Plates. Then, Mormon abridged that onto the Plates of Mormon, the record he was making for his son, Moroni, so that he could bury and preserve the original plates he was commanded to protect.

It has also been shown in other posts how many scholars don't believe that Lehi's writings were on plates because how his descendents refer to the fact that things which are not written on plates perish.


I don't agree or disagree with this. The fact is I don't know what Lehi wrote on. However, I gave a quote by Joseph Smith calling them "the Plates of Lehi." Whether he refered to them as plates for consistency, assumption, or because he knew... I do not know.

Anyway getting back to my point. 116 pages seem like an awful lot of space to only talk about Lehi and his visions.


As I said, it was 116 pages of hand written manuscript, not typed. Length is hardly a conclusive method to determine whether it was dealing with Lehi's own life, or also the life of his fathers, or contemporary prophets. That it "seems" like a lot of pages is hardly conclusive. I am going by what Joseph Smith stated was contained in the 116 pages. Even if it contained more, it doesn't change my theory... unless Lehi wrote of Nephi's future life and teachings.

Here is where you start to not follow me. You're right there is no double record. That is because the 116 LOST PAGES INCLUDES THIS DOUBLE RECORD.


Yes, but only if you use the Book of Lehi from the Large Plates and the Books of Nephi from the Small Plates. We do not know what was written in the Books of Nephi on the Large Plates because we have never seen them. My supposition is that since Nephi made a Book of Lehi on the Large Plates, he did not need to include many, if any at all, of his father's writings in his own books. That's a logical assumption. Of course I could be wrong. Disagree if you wish, but I hardly think your entire disagreement is over that much, because that much is rather pointless.

Ahh but you say:
Yes it was the Book of Lehi but since when does that mean that it only contained the writings or account of Lehi?


It doesn't, and I never meant to assume it did. I have called it the writings of Lehi, not that it contained only his life story.

You can look through the other books and find the same thing, namely that Mormon started a book with a particular name and then kept going long after that named individual stopped being relevent in the book.


This is a good point. My only response would be that Mormon included the stories of these people only once. If Lehi also wrote about Nephi, then there would be no need to rewrite those things in Nephi. Whether it was Mormon that did this, or the writers themselves did this, I am not certain. Like in Omni, several authors wrote in the same book, and even said, "I write in the book of my brother."

Now as you read the Words of Mormon, I can see how one may think that he replaced his abridgement with the Small Plates but, to me, for him to then say that he does this for a wise purpose and that he doesn't know all things, makes more sense if you consider that he just abridged a section of Nephite history and is now told to include a redundent set of plates.


Here's where what is written must prevail over whatever makes sense. You have said you agree Mormon made an entire abridgement, and you have said you think he did not. I'm confused on this point. Mormon said he did, that's enough for me.

Here is the rub, we obviously disagree about whether or not Mormon's abridgement included more then the writings of Lehi as well as whether or not Mormon removed his abridgement for that time period.


I have said that Mormon's original abridgement, the one he said he was about to give to his son, was a complete abridgement of Nephite history. I'm not sure what "other" writings you're talking about that might be included in the Book of Lehi. But, I believe Mormon made a complete abridgement of the Large Plates, which included Nephi's abridgement of whatever his father wrote. Mormon said he made a complete abridgement. There's no need for me to doubt or argue that point.

I am just glad that he included the Small Plates or regardless of who removed Mormon's abridgement (himself as you believe, Martin Harris as I believe) we wouldn't have the wonderful words that we do today.


Martin Harris lost the book of Lehi. Mormon did not remove the book of Lehi, which he abridged from the Large Plates. If Mormon removed his abridgement of the Book of Lehi, then there would have been nothing for Martin harris to lose. Again, I do not believe Mormon removed the book of Lehi. The Small Plates did not contain a record of Lehi, so he kept it, just as he did Mosiah, Alma, Helaman... all books that were not on the Small Plates.

I said Mormon removed what would have been duplicated, which was Nephi up until king Benjamin.

Again:

If Mormon did not remove his abridgement (from the Plates of Mormon) of Nephi through king Benjamin, we would have BOTH in our current Book of Mormon. We do not have them both, so that means Mormon removed them.

The ONLY other possibility is that he did not remove them and Joseph Smith was told not to translate them, since we do not have them. No where in anything Joseph Smith ever said do we find a statement to that effect (to my knowledge).

Edited by Justice, 26 December 2008 - 08:55 PM.





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