Nephi and his brothers marry Ishmael's daughters--God shows Lehi a magic brass ball--Lehi and his family travel around using God's ball to guide
them--Nephi breaks his steel bow--Lehi and his family murmur against the Lord--Nephi makes another bow--God writes a message on his magic ball
telling Nephi where to hunt--Ishmael dies--Nephi's brothers and Ishamel's sons
decide to kill Nephi and Lehi--God gives them food so they decide not to kill them. (600-592 BCE)
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1 And now it came to pass that after I, Nephi, had made an
end of speaking to my brethren, behold, they said unto me: Thou hast declared unto us hard things, more than we
are able to bear.
2 And it came to pass that I said unto them that
I knew that I had spoken hard things against the wicked, according to the truth; and the
righteous have I justified, and testified that they should be lifted up at
the last day; wherefore, the guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very
3 And now my brethren, if ye were righteous and were willing to hearken
to the truth, and give heed unto it, that ye might walk uprightly before God, then ye would
not murmur because of the truth, and say: Thou speakest hard things against us.
4 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did exhort
my brethren, with all diligence, to keep the commandments of the Lord.
5 And it came to pass that they did humble
themselves before the Lord; insomuch that I had joy and great hopes of them, that they
would walk in the paths of righteousness.
6 Now, all these things were said and done as my father dwelt in a tent
in the valley which he called Lemuel.
7 And it came to pass that
I, Nephi, took one of
the daughters of Ishmael to wife; and also, my brethren took of the daughters of Ishmael
to wife; and also Zoram took the eldest daughter of Ishmael to wife.
8 And thus my father had fulfilled all the commandments of the Lord which
had been given unto him. And also, I, Nephi, had been blessed of the
One day, my brothers, Zoram, and I married the daughters of Ishmael. [1
9 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord spake unto my father by night, and commanded him that on the morrow he should take his
journey into the wilderness.
Then one night, the voice of the Lord to my father to begin his journey into the wilderness.
10 And it came to pass that as my
father arose in the morning, and went forth to the tent door, to his great astonishment he
beheld upon the ground a round ball of curious workmanship; and it was of
fine brass. And within the ball were two spindles; and the one pointed the way whither we
should go into the wilderness.
11 And it came to pass that we did gather together
whatsoever things we should carry into the wilderness, and all the remainder of our
provisions which the Lord had given unto us; and we did take seed of every kind that we
might carry into the wilderness.
12 And it came to pass that we did take our tents
and depart into the wilderness, across the river Laman.
The next morning, my father found a round brass ball of curious workmanship.
There were two spindles inside the ball that pointed the way we should go in the wilderness.
13 And it came to pass that we traveled for the
space of four days, nearly a south-southeast direction, and we did pitch our tents again;
and we did call the name of the place Shazer.
14 And it came to pass that we did take our bows
and our arrows, and go forth into the wilderness to slay food for our families; and after
we had slain food for our families we did return again to our families in the wilderness,
to the place of Shazer. And we did go forth again in the wilderness, following the same
direction, keeping in the most fertile parts of the wilderness, which were in the borders
near the Red Sea.
15 And it came to pass that we did travel for the
space of many days, slaying food by the way, with our bows and our arrows and our stones
and our slings.
16 And we did follow the directions of the ball,
which led us in the more fertile parts of the wilderness.
17 And after we had traveled for the space of many days, we did pitch our
tents for the space of a time, that we might again rest ourselves and obtain food for our
We traveled for many days, using our bows and arrows to kill food for our families, following the direction
of the ball, which led us to the more fertile parts of the wilderness..
18 And it came to pass that as I, Nephi, went
forth to slay food, behold, I did break my bow, which was made of fine
steel; and after I
did break my bow, behold, my brethren were angry with me because of the loss of my bow, for
we did obtain no food.
19 And it came to pass that we did return without
food to our families, and being much fatigued, because of their journeying, they did suffer
much for the want of food.
But then I broke my steel bow , and my brothers were angry with me since we relied
on it to obtain our food.
20 And it came to pass that Laman and Lemuel and
the sons of Ishmael did begin to murmur exceedingly, because of their
sufferings and afflictions in the wilderness; and also my father began to murmur against
the Lord his God; yea, and they were all exceedingly sorrowful, even
that they did murmur against the Lord.
21 Now it came to pass that I, Nephi, having been
afflicted with my brethren because of the loss of my bow, and their bows having lost their
springs, it began to be exceedingly difficult, yea, insomuch that
we could obtain no food.
22 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did speak
much unto my brethren, because they had hardened their hearts again, even unto complaining
against the Lord their God.
Laman, Lemuel, the sons of Ishmael, and even my father began to murmur against God. 
23 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did make out
of wood a bow, and out of a straight stick, an arrow; wherefore, I did arm myself with a
bow and an arrow, with a sling and with stones. And I said unto my father: Whither shall
I go to obtain food?
So I made another bow out of wood, an arrow from a stick, and asked my father where I should go to find food.
24 And it came to pass that he did inquire of the
Lord, for they had humbled themselves because of my words; for I did say many things unto
them in the energy of my soul.
25 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord
came unto my father; and he was truly chastened because of his murmuring against the Lord,
insomuch that he was brought down into the depths of sorrow.
26 And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord said unto him:
Look upon the ball, and behold the things which are written.
27 And it came to pass that 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.
My father asked the Lord, and the voice of the Lord said to him,
Read what's written on the ball.
28 And it came to pass that I, Nephi,
beheld the pointers which were in the ball, that they did work according to the faith and
diligence and heed which we did give unto them.
I looked at the ball, which worked according to the faith of the looker.
29 And there was also written upon them a
new writing, which was plain to
be read, which did give us understanding concerning the ways of the Lord; and it was
written and changed from time to time, according to the faith and diligence which we gave
unto it. And thus we see that by small means the Lord can bring about great things.
The writing on it changed from time to time, according to the faith that was given to it. 
30 And it came to pass that I,
Nephi, did go forth up into the top of the mountain, according to the directions which were given
upon the ball.
The ball told me to go to the top of the mountain.
31 And it came to pass that I did slay wild
beasts, insomuch that I did obtain food for our families.
So I went to the mountain top and killed wild beasts for our families.
32 And it came to pass that I did return to our
tents, bearing the beasts which I had slain; and now when they beheld that I had obtained
food, how great was their joy! And it came to pass that they did
humble themselves before the Lord, and did give thanks unto him.
When I came down with the food, everyone was filled with joy.
Ishmael dies and his family revolts
33 And it came to pass that we did again take our
journey, traveling nearly the same course as in the beginning; and after we had traveled
for the space of many days we did pitch our tents again, that we might tarry for the space
of a time.
After that we traveled again for many days.
34 And it came to pass that Ishmael died, and was
buried in the place which was called Nahom.
Then Ishmael died at a place called Nahom. 
35 And it came to pass that the daughters of
Ishmael did mourn exceedingly, because of the loss of their father,
and because of their afflictions in the wilderness; and they did murmur against my father,
because he had brought them out of the land of Jerusalem, saying: Our father is dead; yea,
and we have wandered much in the wilderness, and we have suffered much affliction, hunger,
thirst, and fatigue; and after all these sufferings we must perish in the wilderness with
36 And thus they did murmur against my father, and also against me; and
they were desirous to return again to Jerusalem.
His daughters mourned exceedingly, murmured against my father, and wanted to return to Jerusalem.
37 And Laman said unto Lemuel and also unto the sons of Ishmael:
Behold, let us slay our father, and also our brother Nephi, who has taken it upon him to be our
ruler and our teacher, who are his elder brethren.
38 Now, he says that the Lord has talked with him, and also that angels
have ministered unto him. But behold, we know that he lies unto us; and he tells us these
things, and he worketh many things by his cunning arts, that he may deceive our eyes,
thinking, perhaps, that he may lead us away into some strange wilderness; and after he
has led us away, he has thought to make himself a king and a ruler over us, that he may
do with us according to his will and pleasure. And after this manner did my brother Laman
stir up their hearts to anger.
Laman said to Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael,
Let's kill our father and Nephi.
39 And it came to pass that the Lord was with us,
yea, even the voice of the Lord came and did speak many words unto them, and did chasten
them exceedingly; and after they were chastened by the voice of the Lord they did turn away
their anger, and did repent of their sins, insomuch that the Lord did bless us again with
food, that we did not perish.
But then the voice of th Lord spoke many words to them and chastised them exceedingly.
So they repented and God blessed us with more food.
- I, Nephi, took one of the daughters of Ishmael to wife. (v.7)
Nephi, his brothers, and Zoram (Laban's servant) all got married to Ishmael's nameless daughters.
It was a group wedding with Lehi serving as the Reverend Moon, saying stuff like, "Do you [Nephi, Laman, Lemuel, Sam, Zoram]
take what's her name here to be your lawfully wedded wife?"
- I did break my bow, which was made of fine steel. (v.18)
And then it came to pass that Nephi broke his steel bow.
Of course steel didn't exist at the time, wouldn't work well for a bow anyway, and would be hard to break. But, oh well.
This is the Book of Mormon.
- Also my father began to murmur against the Lord his God. (v.20)
Apparently none of the other bows worked either, because after Nephi broke his no one
else could kill a thing. So everyone "began to murmur exceedingly." Heck, even Nephi's dad, Lehi, began
to murmur against the Lord.
- It was written and changed from time to time, according to the faith and diligence
which we gave unto it. (v.29)
The magic brass ball didn't work like a magic 8 ball. Magic 8 balls work all of the
time for everyone, whereas the brass ball only works if you believe it will work. And, of course,
Nephi believed anything and everything, the crazier the better.
So the pointers pointed in just the right directions if you believed that they pointed in just the right directions. (That's the way
dousing works too.)
But the coolest thing of all was the text messages. They "changed from time
to time" according to the faith of the person reading the message.
- Ishmael died, and was buried in the place which was called Nahom. (v.34)
Joseph Smith Nephi gives names to pretty much every place they
pass by, but didn't bother to tell us the name of his wife. (Did she have even a name? Did he know what it was?)
And it came to pass: 16:1, 2, 4, 5, 7,
9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14,
15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22,
23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28,
30, 31, 32(2), 33, 34, 35,
Exceedingly: 16:8, 20(2), 21, 27, 35,
Behold: 16:1, 18(2), 26, 37, 38
Yea: 16:20, 21, 35, 39
16:2 and I will raise him up at the last day. -- John 6:40
- Dwindling in Unbelief
- 1 Nephi 16:
A group marriage, magic brass ball, and broken steel bow
- The Annotated Book of Mormon