“Book of Mormon Story: All the Prophets,” Friend, Mar. 1996, 48
“All the prophets worshipped the Father in the name of Christ.” So begins the heading to Jacob 4. The prophets love both the Father and the Son; that is why they keep the commandments and serve as they do, teaching us the gospel and guiding us in the paths of righteousness.
Sometimes the prophets have to tell us to repent. Jacob, Nephi’s brother, took care of the sacred plates of scripture when Nephi died. Nephi had commanded him to write on them things that he considered precious—“preaching which was sacred, or revelation which was great, or prophesying, … and touch upon them as much as it were possible, for Christ’s sake, and for the sake of our people” (Jacob 1:4).
Jacob obeyed this commandment; he also taught the Nephites the scriptures, and warned them of their wrongdoing. He told a Nephite named Sherem, who tried to turn the other Nephites away from faith in Jesus Christ, that he did not truly understand the scriptures, that “none of the prophets have written, nor prophesied, save they have spoken concerning this Christ” (Jacob 7:11).
Sherem demanded a sign to prove that what Jacob said was true. Jacob did not want to ask God for a sign, but said, “Nevertheless, not my will be done; but if God shall smite thee, let that be a sign unto thee that he has power, both in heaven and in earth; and also, that Christ shall come” (Jacob 7:14). Sherem fell to the earth. Before he died, he confessed to the people that he had lied and he testified that Jesus was the Christ. Then the Nephites who had previously fallen away because of Sherem’s word started studying the scriptures again.
Jacob turned the plates over to his son, Enos, who promised to take care of them and obey the commandments. Enos’s son Jarom kept the plates next. He wrote that the Lamanites became more wicked and greatly outnumbered the Nephites. But when the Lamanites attacked, because the Nephite “kings and … leaders were mighty men in the faith of the Lord; and they taught the people the ways of the Lord” (Jarom 1:7), the Nephites defeated the Lamanites and prospered in the land.
The plates were given from Jarom to his son Omni, to Omni’s son Amaron, to Amaron’s brother Chemish, to Chemish’s son Abinadom, to Abinadom’s son Amaleki. These record-keepers wrote little upon the plates, but what they wrote was important. They showed that they loved the Lord and were obeying the commandment handed down to them from Nephi to keep the word of God safe for their people—and us—so that we, too, can learn of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and love Them, and keep the commandments.