16 November 2010

1 Nephi 18: Nephi discovers America

This is the chapter you've all been waiting for. The exciting climax to First Book of Nephi in which Nephi discovers America.

It begins with God going over with Nephi his plans for the ship's construction, showing him (from time to time) how to work timbers of curious workmanship.

And it came to pass that ... we did work timbers of curious workmanship. And the Lord did show me from time to time after what manner I should work the timbers of the ship. 1 Nephi 18:1

Nephi explains (several times in the same verse) that he didn't work the timbers after the manner of men, but in the manner that God showed him.

Now I, Nephi, did not work the timbers after the manner which was learned by men, neither did I build the ship after the manner of men; but I did build it after the manner which the Lord had shown unto me; wherefore, it was not after the manner of men. 1 Nephi 18:2

The ship took less than two verses to build and by all accounts it turned out exceedingly fine.

And it came to pass that after I had finished the ship, according to the word of the Lord, my brethren beheld that it was good, and that the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine; wherefore, they did humble themselves again before the Lord. 1 Nephi 18:4

When it was finished, they gathered up their stuff and boarded their unnamed ship, every one according to his age.

And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came unto my father, that we should arise and go down into the ship. And it came to pass that on the morrow, after we had prepared all things, much fruits and meat from the wilderness, and honey in abundance, and provisions according to that which the Lord had commanded us, we did go down into the ship, with all our loading and our seeds, and whatsoever thing we had brought with us, every one according to his age; wherefore, we did all go down into the ship, with our wives and our children. 1 Nephi 18:5-6

After they all got on board, they sailed off toward the promised land (America in BoM-speak).

And it came to pass after we had all gone down into the ship, and had taken with us our provisions and things which had been commanded us, we did put forth into the sea and were driven forth before the wind towards the promised land. 1 Nephi 18:8

And then, after the space of many days, there was mutiny on the nameless ship. (Nephi didn't keep much of a log. Everything happens "after a space of many days.") Nephi's brothers, Ishmael's sons, and all their wives began to merrily dance, sing, and speak with exceeding rudeness.

And after we had been driven forth before the wind for the space of many days, behold, my brethren and the sons of Ishmael and also their wives began to make themselves merry, insomuch that they began to dance, and to sing, and to speak with much rudeness, yea, even that they did forget by what power they had been brought thither; yea, they were lifted up unto exceeding rudeness. 1 Nephi 18:9

So he, Nephi, began to fear exceedingly that God would drown them all for dancing, singing, and carrying on like that. So he spoke to them with much soberness. But they all said in unison, "Fuck off, little brother."

And I, Nephi, began to fear exceedingly lest the Lord should be angry with us, and smite us because of our iniquity, that we should be swallowed up in the depths of the sea; wherefore, I, Nephi, began to speak to them with much soberness; but behold they were angry with me, saying: We will not that our younger brother shall be a ruler over us. 1 Nephi 18:10

Finally, Laman and Lemuel got so sick of Nephi's pompous ass that they tied him up again (See 1 Nephi 7:16).

And it came to pass that Laman and Lemuel did take me and bind me with cords, and they did treat me with much harshness; nevertheless, the Lord did suffer it that he might show forth his power, unto the fulfilling of his word which he had spoken concerning the wicked. 1 Nephi 18:11

But then the magic compass that told them how to get to the Promised Land stopped working.

And it came to pass that after they had bound me insomuch that I could not move, the compass, which had been prepared of the Lord, did cease to work. 1 Nephi 18:12

So they didn't know which way to steer. And then a great and terrible tempest came up for the space of three days. Everyone was exceedingly frightened. Still, they didn't untie Nephi.

Wherefore, they knew not whither they should steer the ship, insomuch that there arose a great storm, yea, a great and terrible tempest, and we were driven back upon the waters for the space of three days; and they began to be frightened exceedingly lest they should be drowned in the sea; nevertheless they did not loose me. 1 Nephi 18:13

The tempest became exceedingly sore on the fourth day.

And on the fourth day, which we had been driven back, the tempest began to be exceedingly sore. 1 Nephi 18:14

And just when they were about to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea, they untied Nephi, whose wrists and ankles had swollen exceedingly and great was the soreness thereof.

And it came to pass that we were about to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea. And after we had been driven back upon the waters for the space of four days, my brethren began to see that the judgments of God were upon them, and that they must perish save that they should repent of their iniquities; wherefore, they came unto me, and loosed the bands which were upon my wrist, and behold they had swollen exceedingly; and also mine ankles were much swollen, and great was the soreness thereof. 1 Nephi 18:15

Still, Nephi didn't murmur against the Lord but praised him all day long.

Nevertheless, I did look unto my God, and I did praise him all the day long; and I did not murmur against the Lord because of mine afflictions. 1 Nephi 18:16

Nephi's dad said many things to the mutineers, but they ignored him. The rude behavior of their children sickened Lehi and his wife Sariah. (They were "stricken in years" and about to die even though they just had a couple of baby boys a few verses ago. See 1 Nephi 18:7)

Now my father, Lehi, had said many things unto them, and also unto the sons of Ishmael; but, behold, they did breathe out much threatenings against anyone that should speak for me; and my parents being stricken in years, and having suffered much grief because of their children, they were brought down, yea, even upon their sick-beds. Because of their grief and much sorrow, and the iniquity of my brethren, they were brought near even to be carried out of this time to meet their God; yea, their grey hairs were about to be brought down to lie low in the dust; yea, even they were near to be cast with sorrow into a watery grave. 1 Nephi 18:17-18

Poor little Jacob and Joseph were in need of much nourishment (Was Sariah still breastfeeding them?) and Nephi's nameless wife cried and prayed, along with Nephi's nameless children.

And Jacob and Joseph also, being young, having need of much nourishment, were grieved because of the afflictions of their mother; and also my wife with her tears and prayers, and also my children, did not soften the hearts of my brethren that they would loose me. 1 Nephi 18:19

After Nephi got loose, he fixed the broken compass and prayed to the Lord, which stopped the storm and there was a great calm.

And it came to pass after they had loosed me, behold, I took the compass, and it did work whither I desired it. And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord; and after I had prayed the winds did cease, and the storm did cease, and there was a great calm. 1 Nephi 18:21

I guess the calm didn't last forever, though, because the ship began to sail again toward the promised land.

And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did guide the ship, that we sailed again towards the promised land. 1 Nephi 18:22

And after the space of many days, they arrive in the promised land.

And it came to pass that after we had sailed for the space of many days we did arrive at the promised land; and we went forth upon the land, and did pitch our tents; and we did call it the promised land. 1 Nephi 18:23

After arriving, they began to plant the seeds that they brought with them.

And it came to pass that we did begin to till the earth, and we began to plant seeds; yea, we did put all our seeds into the earth, which we had brought from the land of Jerusalem. And it came to pass that they did grow exceedingly; wherefore, we were blessed in abundance. 1 Nephi 18:24

Nephi found cows, horses, oxen, and asses when he arrived in the New World in 590 BCE. (None of these domesticated animals existed in North America before the Europeans brought them over 2000 years later.)

And it came to pass that we did find upon the land of promise, as we journeyed in the wilderness, that there were beasts in the forests of every kind, both the cow and the ox, and the ass and the horse, and the goat and the wild goat, and all manner of wild animals, which were for the use of men. 1 Nephi 18:25a

And right off the bat, they found all manner of gold, silver, and copper.

And we did find all manner of ore, both of gold, and of silver, and of copper. 1 Nephi 18:25b

And that, girls and boys, is how America was discovered.

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Enrico S said...

Yah know, when you present it like that you can't help but laugh! Holy crap, Mr. Smith was no Stephen King was he?

Anonymous said...

Can't believe grown people can read this with a straight face. The King James pretensions just start me giggling every time I read something like this. Joseph Smith was the L. Ron Hubbard of his day. And St. Paul was the Joseph Smith of his day.

Anonymous said...

I freakin' love these posts. Keep em coming.

twillight said...

On the part with the many exceedingly because of the many exceedingly I exceedingly laughed up :D

Darren Delgado said...

There's nothing worse than a sore tempest.

nazani said...

Why didn't their god show them how to form the past tenses of verbs?