This is the true story of a people who were prepared by the Lord to be ready for the coming of the Savior, Jesus Christ. He came to them in the Americas, but their story began in the Old World, in Jerusalem. Jerusalem, the shining city, once the capital of Solomon’s empire. But now, six hundred years before Christ, Jerusalem is in danger. Many prophets have warned the people to repent, or they will be carried off as captives to Babylonia. A good man named Lehi listened to the prophets, and now he kneels to pray in a secret place outside the city. Oh Lord, I am afraid for Jerusalem! How can we hope to stand against our enemies unless we are protected by Thy strength? But the people of Jerusalem are stubborn in their wickedness. Please tell me, Lord, what can I do? Lehi. Watch, and I shall show unto thee what shall happen to Jerusalem. Then go thou and warn thy people to repent. So Lehi, a prophet himself, warned the people. The Lord said, Wo unto Jerusalem, for I have seen your abominations! This city will be destroyed, and many of the people shall perish by the sword, and many will be carried away captive to Babylon! Since when does the Lord speak to you! Jerusalem will not be destroyed! You’re a traitor to say our city could fall! It is not too late, even now! If we come to the Lord, if we turn away from our sins, the Lord will protect us! We can protect ourselves! Unless traitors like you make cowards out of us! We don’t have to hear this! Don’t listen to him! He’s mad! How great and marvelous are the works of the Lord! How small and weak are the works of man! The mercy of the Lord will last forever, but Jerusalem can be destroyed in a moment. If you... I’ve had enough of these false prophets! Kill him! Stone him! Pull him down! Catch him! Stone him! Where is he? There he goes! Catch him! Let’s see who gets destroyed first, Jerusalem or you! Every day when you go out to preach, I’m afraid you will not come home safe. Then be at peace, Sariah. I will not be preaching in Jerusalem again. What, Lehi? The Lord spoke to me in a dream last night. He told me to take my family and go into the wilderness. Leave Jerusalem! The Lord will lead us to a new place, a new land, and we will live there. Then let us prepare at once. Laman! Lemuel! Sam! Nephi! Sons! Come quickly! There’s work for all of you! Lehi pitched his tent In the wilderness. At the Lord’s command, Lehi sent his four sons back to Jerusalem to get the scriptures, the words of Moses, written on plates of brass. Father! Mother! The scriptures are ours! You’re back safely! Oh, I feared for you! The words of Moses and all the prophets! My sons, you have done well. Now our children can forever hear the word of the Lord, even in the promised land, our new home. Once more, Lehi sent his sons back to Jerusalem. This time they brought back Ishmael and his family. His daughters become wives for the sons of Lehi. Not all of Lehi’s family believed in him. Laman, Lemuel, the Lord has shown me a vision. Another vision, Father? Your so-called visions always mean trouble for us! Laman, Lemuel, my two oldest sons, why do you refuse to believe in the Lord? What was your vision, Father? Tell us what you saw! Nephi, Sam. All of you—listen and I’ll tell you what the Lord showed. An angel led me to a tree, and I partook of the fruit. It was most sweet and white, and it filled me with exceedingly great joy. I was desirous for all of you to taste it. I called you, and you came. But Laman and Lemuel, my two oldest sons, you refused to come and share the fruit with us. I’m not surprised. In my vision, I knew that the fruit of that tree was the only way to be happy! Returning to Jerusalem, that’s the only way to make us happy. Lehi told them much more about his vision. Oh, Nephi—the Lord showed a glorious vision unto our own father! I do not understand all of what our father said. I desire to discover more from the Lord! Nephi, what desirest thou? I desire to behold the things which my father saw. Believest thou that thy father saw the tree of which he hath spoken? Yea, I believe all the words of my father. Then look! What is the fruit? What does it mean? Look! Behold, the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father. The Messiah. My father said he would come and redeem the world from sin and death. Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw? God loved the world so much that He sent His Only Begotten Son. The tree is the love of God, which fills the hearts of men— the most desirable above all things. Yea, and the most joyous to the soul. Look! It is the Redeemer of the world! Behold the twelve apostles of the Lamb. See the mercy, the compassion, the humility of God. How blessed they are, the ones who will see Him face to face. The Son of the everlasting God will be judged of the world! And they shall kill him. He shall rise again. He shall come to your descendants in the promised land, and teach them, and heal them. You could promise me no greater blessing. My children’s children will know the Son of God! As long as your descendants obey the Lord, the land will be theirs forever, but no people will be permitted to possess the land of promise unless they live righteously, serving the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord revealed unto Nephi many other things, and Nephi told his brothers concerning his vision. The Lord commanded Nephi ’s father, Lehi, to journey deeper into the wilderness. For many years, they journeyed in the wilderness. Many children were born. Then, at last, they came to the ocean. What are you building, Nephi? I am building a ship, Laman. A ship? Who taught you how to make ships? The Lord commanded me to build a ship, Lemuel. Our brother is a fool! He thinks he can build a ship! He is a fool if he thinks he can cross these great waters. Aha, now our young brother is coming to his senses! We knew you could not build a ship! You are like our father, led away by the foolish Imaginations of his heart! Father led us out of the land of Jerusalem, and we have wandered in the wilderness for many years. Yes, our wives and children have suffered— all because Father thinks God speaks to him! And you, Nephi! You are just like him. The Lord has spoken to Father, the Lord has spoken to me, and you know the Lord Is leading us because you have also heard His voice. You know the power of God! You know that if He commands me to build a ship, I can surely build it, and He will take us to the land that He has promised to us! And if you know all this, oh, then why is it that you can be so hard in your hearts? How can you know what’s in our hearts! I know that you have sought to take away Father’s life. I know that you are murderers in your hearts. My soul is torn with anguish. I fear that you will be cast off forever. Cease your foolish talk, Nephi. Throw him into the sea! In the name of Almighty God, I command you: touch me not! For I am filled with the power of God, and whoever lays his hands upon me shall wither like a dried reed! If God had commanded me to do all things, I could do them. If He commanded me to tell this ocean to be dry land, it would be dry land. And if the Lord has such great power, why can’t you believe He has power enough to instruct me, that I should build a ship? Stop your complaints against our father, and help me build this ship, as the Lord commanded. Nephi. We know that the Lord is surely with you. We know it was the power of God that struck us, Nephi. No, Laman! Don’t kneel to me, Lemuel. I’m only your younger brother. Worship the Lord thy God, and honor your father and your mother, so your days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God will give thee. Now, help me build this ship. For many days they sailed before a fair wind. But there was little to do aboard the ship, and Laman and Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael began to amuse themselves. My sons, my sons, what you are doing is wrong! Go away! We are not listening to your preaching for the whole voyage! Have you forgotten by what power this ship was built? Our power! We built it! Do you remember by what power it is carried through the water? The wind blows the sail! The sea holds us up! This is your father! The prophet of God. Don’t you know that if you make the Lord angry, He can bring a storm that will swallow us up in the depths of the sea? I’ve heard enough! You do not rule over us! A storm is coming. Sam, guide us away from It! I do not know how to guide the ship! Set Nephi free! Can’t you see the Lord is angry with us? Do not say another word! We have heard enough from both of you! Please, free my father! Only Nephi can guide this ship to safety! Enough! If anyone defends Nephi, I shall throw him into the sea. Do you hear me? I rule this ship! It was the storm that ruled their ship. Four days they were tossed by the wind, beaten by the rain. Laman! We must untie him! We are all going to drown! The ship will be swallowed up in the sea! Your own children will die! The Lord will destroy us! I’ll set him free! Lemuel, help me! Please call upon the Lord! Forgive us, Nephi! Save the ship! O Lord, forgive us! End this storm, I pray! Lead us once again unto the promised land! Praise be unto the Lord God Almighty! After they sailed for many days, they came to the promised land. The land that we now call North and South America. The Lord had already brought other people to America, just as he would later bring Columbus. He gave this promise to us and everyone who ever lived here: as long as we are righteous, we will be free. My children, the Lord has spoken unto me that the prophecy has been fulfilled. Jerusalem has been destroyed, and the Jews have been led away into captivity. 0 my people, be righteous. Obey the Lord so that you may live in freedom in this beautiful, new, and promised land! The people of Lehi pitched their tents. They planted crops. They had many children. They prospered. The Lord commanded Nephi to make thin metal plates, and write on them the history of his people. Nephi, my son, write the plain and precious teachings of your ministry. Write your prophecies, and the prophecies of your father. Someday your words shall I be given to the people of another nation, so they too can learn the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The words that Nephi wrote became part of the Book of Mormon. This sacred record would be continued by one prophet after another, through all the thousand years that Nephi’s people would live in the promised land of America. Laman and Lemuel grew to hate Nephi more than ever. After their father, Lehi, died, they conspired to kill Nephi and rule over all the people. Warned by the Lord, Nephi led the righteous to safety. They became two nations. The people who followed Nephi and served the Lord were called Nephites. The people who followed Laman and rebelled against God were called Lamanites, and they made constant war against the Nephites. We could not have defeated the Lamanites with our strength alone. The Lord God Almighty delivered us from destruction! The Nephites became a mighty nation, with great cities and temples, but in their pride, the Nephites forgot that their freedom depended on their righteousness. We have defeated the Lamanites, O King— here are the spoils of war. Yea, we won the victory! Fifty Nephites can stand against thousands of Lamanites! We are the mightiest nation in the world! And no one shall ever defeat us! Their King and his unrighteous priests were the most wicked of all. Do you know the best thing about winning a battle? The celebration afterwards! Nay! The best thing about victory is that the people are so happy when I tax them. But the Lord will not allow His people to continue in their sins forever. He sent prophets to warn them to repent. This time he sent a prophet named Abinadi. Nephites! Hear me. The Lord commanded me, saying, “This people must repent of their evil doings, or I shall visit them in mine anger because of their iniquities and abominations!” Go preach to the Lamanites! The Lamanites sin without knowing. But you should know the law. If you repent now, the Lord will forgive and protect you from your enemies. But if this people rebel against God, he will deliver you into slavery. The Lord says: “Except they repent, I will utterly destroy them from off the face of the earth!” We are stronger than all our enemies! And our king is the greatest king of all!. The Lord says: “The life of the king will be valued even as a garment in a hot furnace! Then he will know that I am the Lord!” How dare you threaten the king! The people told the king all that Abinadi had said, and the king and his priests were angry. Here is the man Abinadi, the traitor, the false prophet! Do with him as you wish! You cannot claim to be a prophet! My priests are the only men in my kingdom who have the authority to speak for God! Then I have something to ask of them. If you are indeed priests, what do you teach this nation? We teach the law of Moses! If you teach the law of Moses, why do you set your hearts upon riches? Why do you cause this people to sin? What do you know about the law of Moses? Salvation comes by obeying the law of Moses. Do you even remember the commandments? Thou shalt have no other God before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Honor thy father and thy mother. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. Thou shalt not covet. Have you kept these commandments, King? No, you have not. Have you taught this people to keep the commandments? No, you have not! Away with this man, and kill him! He is insane. He has nothing to teach us! God will smite you if you lay your hands upon me! I have not yet delivered the message the Lord commanded me to deliver. And so Abinadi delivered his message, teaching the king and his priests what they should have taught the Nephites. He taught them especially of Jesus Christ, who was not yet born. Jesus Christ will bring the resurrection of all men. Those who believe and obey the words of the Lord shall be redeemed from sin. Therefore, if you teach the law of Moses, also teach the people that redemption comes only through Jesus Christ the Lord. Amen. Are you finished? Take this man and put him to death. No, my King! Do not harm Abinadi, free him! Abinadi is not our enemy. The Lord sent him here because He loves us, He wants us to repent. And we can, we can change, we can become worthy of the Lord’s forgiveness! I see I have a poisonous snake among my priests. What is your name? I am Alma. Alma, you are no longer one of my priests. Away with you! The king sent men to follow Alma and kill him, but the Lord protected Alma, and he hid in the wilderness. Abinadi. We have found an accusation against you. You said that God himself would come down among the children of men and take upon himself the form of man. For that false teaching you will be put to death, unless you recall all the words you have spoken against me and my people. I will not recall my words, and they will stand as a testimony against you. Maybe we ought to free Abinadi. Nay! He has reviled the king! Abinadi shall not live! Kill him! Abinadi is guilty! Take him, bind him, burn him to death! Hear me, every nation that dwells in this land. You will be preserved in freedom, as long as you serve the Lord. But if you reject the commandments and the prophets, then the Lord will let your enemies defeat you. Hear me, O king! You will be hunted, you will be taken by your enemies, and then you will suffer as I suffer, the pains of death by fire. O God, receive my soul! The king had the power to kill the prophet, but he could not kill the gospel of Jesus Christ. Alma, the priest who was converted by his words, wrote down everything Abinadi had said. Then Alma taught anyone who would listen. Many people come to hear him. The king has threatened to kill anyone who comes to hear the teachings of Alma, but the Lord is with Alma, and we will obey the Lord, not the king! Alma, tell us what the Lord wants us to do! My brothers, my sisters, if you are desirous to come into the fold of God; if you wish to be called his people; if you are willing to bear one another’s burdens; if you are willing to mourn with those that mourn, and comfort those that need to be comforted; if you are willing to stand as witnesses of God at all times, wherever you are, even until death, so that you may be redeemed by Christ, and be numbered among those of the First Resurrection; I tell you, if this is the desire of your hearts, what do you have against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before Him that you have entered into a covenant with Him, that you will serve Him and keep His commandments? Then He will pour out His Spirit more abundantly upon you! That is the desire of our hearts! Yea! We shall make the covenant! I desire to be baptized. Yes. Baptize me, Alma! Alma baptized hundreds of people. The king sent an army to destroy them, but the Lord warned Alma and led the righteous people to safety. As for the king and the people who followed him in wickedness, the Lamanites conquered them, brought them into slavery, and the king suffered a miserable death—just as Abinadi had prophesied. As long as the Nephites were righteous, the Lord blessed them. They prospered, and lived in peace. But then the Nephites grew proud and rebelled against the Lord. There came a time when the Lamanites were more righteous. The Lord sent a Lamanite named Samuel to prophesy to the Nephites. Behold, I give unto you a sign, for five years more cometh, and behold, Christ the Lord shall be born; that night there shall be no darkness. There shall be one day and a night and a day as if it were one day, and a bright new star shall rise, and this also shall be a sign unto you! Do we need a Lamanite to preach religion to us? Go away, go back to where you came from! There shall also be a sign of the day the Savior dies! For three days the sun will be darkened, the moon shall not appear, so the land will be dark until Christ rises from the dead. Thunder and lightning, earthquakes and fires shall show you that the King of Heaven has died for the wickedness of men! Repent! Repent! He comes quickly! Some Nephites believed in Samuel’s prophecy. They were led by a prophet named Nephi, a descendent of that first Nephi who crossed the ocean to America 600 years before. Together they watched for the sign of the Savior’s birth. We’ve had enough of this fraud about a Savior! That Lamanite madman, Samuel, said that the sign would come in five years! The time is up! The sign has not yet come, and we shall put all these liars to death. Brothers and sisters, the Lord spoke to me. “Be of good cheer,” He said. “On this night shall the sign be given, and tomorrow I come into the world!” The sun is nearly set! Then it’s nearly time for you to die! Look! The sun is down, yet the sky is brighter! A star! A new star! Forgive me! Forgive me! Christ is born into the world tonight to bring forgiveness. Just as His birth saved our lives tonight, so will His resurrection redeem all men from death. By His sacrifice He will save us all from sin—if we believe, if we repent, if we are baptized, if we live faithful to the end. Remember—Samuel prophesied another sign. Darkness for three days, destruction, danger when the Savior dies. Yet this promise, too: When He is resurrected, He will come here. We will see His face! We will speak His name, and He will answer us! Look for that day! Despite all the signs the Lord gave to them, during the next thirty years many people forgot and many others simply didn’t care. Thirty-three years after the sign of the Savior’s birth, far away on a hill outside Jerusalem, three crosses arose. O that we had repented! Lord, forgive us! Forgive us! O that we had repented. O my Savior, come quickly! I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I was with the Father from the beginning. I am the Light and the Life of the World. Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name. Hear ye him. Behold, I am Jesus Christ whom the prophets testified shall come into the world. I have drunk out of that bitter cup the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world. Arise and come forth unto me. Thrust your hand into my side, and feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet. How could they have hurt you so? Now you know that I am the God of Israel, the God of the whole earth, and I have been slain for the sins of the world. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Blessed be the name of the Most High God! In the days that He was with them, the Savior taught His people in America as He had taught in Palestine. He ordained twelve disciples, who served Him in America as the Twelve Apostles served Him in the Old World. Ye are my disciples; ye are a light unto this people. This is the land of your inheritance, given unto you by thy Father. I told your brothers and sisters in Jerusalem, “Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear my voice; and there will be one fold and one shepherd.” They did not understand me; you are the ones of whom I spoke. As He did In Palestine, the Savior healed the sick. Bring me your children, your little ones. The Savior prayed to the Father, saying words that could not be written by mortal men. Blessed are ye because of your faith. My joy Is full. He blessed their children, and prayed for them. The people saw angels minister to them; their children spoke and prophesied. Write the things which ye have seen, and all that I have said. Someday I will establish a great nation in this land, a free nation, and I will give them the words ye write. Ye shall be a witness unto them. Whosoever has faith and repents and is baptized in my name shall be filled, shall be sanctified by the Spirit of God; and if he endures to the end, I will hold him guiltless before my Father on that day when I judge the world. This is my gospel. And now, I go unto the Father. After the Savior established His church among them, the people lived In peace and harmony for many years. They had all things in common among them, and they dealt fairly with one another. They had no rich or poor, no bond or free, no Nephites or Lamanites, but all were partakers of the heavenly gift. The memory of their Redeemer was bright in their hearts. Never was there a happier people on the face of the earth, for they were one, the children of Christ and heirs to the kingdom of God. But after nearly 200 years, there began to be divisions again among the people. Some became wealthy, and persecuted the poor. Some became unbelievers, and persecuted the faithful. Anger became hatred. Hatred became war. Once again, they were divided between Nephites and Lamanites. Three centuries after the coming of Christ, war covered the face of the land. The Nephites were even more wicked than the Lamanites, and both nations had utterly rejected the gospel of Jesus Christ. The commander of the Nephite army was a man named Mormon. He was also a prophet of God. He tried to persuade his people to return to the Lord, but few followed him. One of the faithful was his son Moroni. Mormon gathered together all of the histories of his people, all the writing of the prophets, chose the most important of them, and wrote his abridgement on thin metal plates. Moroni, my son, thou knowest that tomorrow will be the last battle of the Nephites. At the place called Cumorah, we shall be destroyed. The world will have no sign that we ever lived, except for the record we have written on these plates. Father, I promise that I shall finish writing our story, and then I shall take these plates wherever the Lord commands, and hide them. Then the Lord will keep these plates safe until he raises up a prophet in the latter days. He will send our record forth to convince the world that Jesus is the Christ. It will be called the Book of Mormon. The world will know that in this land there lived a nation that saw the face of Christ, and heard His voice! O Father! If only our people had repented, the Lord would have protected them today! I, Moroni, now finish the record of my father, Mormon, who was killed by the Lamanites. I remain alone to write the sad tale of the destruction of my people. They are gone. You who will receive this book, many years from now, I speak unto you as if ye were present, even though ye are not. But Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing. I know that ye waste yourselves with envy, strife, malice, persecution, and all kinds of evil. Ye love money and wealth more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted. Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true. And if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, He will manifest the truth of it unto you by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost, ye may know the truth of all things. The Lord preserved Moroni’s life, and led him to the place on Cumorah’s Hill where he was to hide the plates on which the Book of Mormon was written. There, the Lord preserved the plates until another nation owned this land, and another prophet was ready to hear His voice. Centuries later, In the spring of 1820, the Lord heard the earnest prayer of a young man named Joseph Smith. God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ, appeared to him, and spoke to him. Three years later, in September 1823, the Lord sent Moroni to lead Joseph Smith to this very Hill Cumorah, where he uncovered the plates that Moroni had concealed. Joseph, you will translate this book by the gift and power of God. The Lord has a great work for you to do. In 1829, Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon, and in 1830 it was published in nearby Palmyra, New York. At the Lord’s command, God’s holy priesthood was restored and the Church of Jesus Christ was once again organized on this earth. For centuries, the voices of these ancient American prophets were silent in the dust. Now the Lord will allow the modern world to hear their words. Lehi. Nephi. Abinadi. Alma. Samuel the Lamanite. Nephi the disciple. Mormon. Moroni And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of Jesus Christ, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of Him. That He lives! Listen to the words of Moroni, written in this book: Remember what you have seen and heard, for the time is quickly coming when ye shall know that what I am telling you is true, for ye shall see me at the throne of God. And the Lord will say to you, “Did I not declare my words to you, which were written by this man?” The Savior will return. Soon He will be here.