1 Nephi

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Dwindling in Unbelief
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-1 Nephi

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1 Nephi 16

A group marriage, a magic brass ball, and a broken steel bow
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.

LDS.org Cartoon Version - Chapter 5: Traveling in the Wilderness


16:2 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 center.
16:3 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.
16:4 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did exhort my brethren, with all diligence, to keep the commandments of the Lord.
16:5 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.
16:6 Now, all these things were said and done as my father dwelt in a tent in the valley which he called Lemuel.
16:7 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. (16:7)
I, Nephi, took one of the daughters of Ishmael to wife.
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?"

16:8 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 Lord exceedingly.
16:9 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.
16:10 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. (16:10-16) A round ball of curious workmanship; and it was of fine brass.
After getting that all taken care of, God showed Lehi something really interesting -- a magic brass ball of curious workmanship that was designed and made by God himself! God's magic ball had two spindles on it, one pointing the way to go and the other pointing in some other direction.

So now that they had their magic ball, they packed up camp, gathered seeds of every kind, crossed the River Laman, and took off in whatever direction God's brass ball pointed. After traveling for four days in a SSE direction, they set up camp at a place they called Shazer. (Notice how 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.)

They followed God's magic ball around for "the space of many days" in "the more fertile parts of the wilderness," killing stuff for food with their bows and arrows and slings.

16:11 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.
16:12 And it came to pass that we did take our tents and depart into the wilderness, across the river Laman.
16:13 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.
16:14 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.
16:15 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.
16:16 And we did follow the directions of the ball, which led us in the more fertile parts of the wilderness.
16:17 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 families.
16:18 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. (16:18-25)
I did break my bow, which was made of fine steel.
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.

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."

So Nephi made another bow and arrow out of wood and a straight stick. But Nephi didn't know where to hunt with his new bow. So he asked his dad (when he had stopped murmuring).

16:19 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.
16:20 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.
16:21 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.
16:22 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.
16:23 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?
16:24 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.
16:25 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.

(16:25-29) It was written and changed from time to time, according to the faith and diligence which we gave unto it.
Lehi inquired of the Lord (Hey God. Where should Nephi go to kill some animals?) Then voice of the Lord came to Lehi telling him to look on the magic ball where he'd find a text message from God.

And it came to pass that when they saw the text message from God they did fear and tremble exceedingly.

Now 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.

16:26 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.
16:27 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.
16:28 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.
16:29 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.
16:30 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. (16:30-33) According to the directions which were given upon the ball
The message on the brass ball told Nephi to go to the top of the mountain. So Nephi went to the mountain top to kill wild beasts. After eating the wild beasts, they traveled for the space of many days.
16:31 And it came to pass that I did slay wild beasts, insomuch that I did obtain food for our families.
16:32 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.
16:33 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.
16:34 And it came to pass that Ishmael died, and was buried in the place which was called Nahom. (16:34-37)
Behold, let us slay our father, and also our brother Nephi.
When Ishmael dies, his daughters mourn exceedingly, and Nephi's brothers and Ishmael's sons decide to kill Nephi and Lehi.
16:35 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 hunger.
16:36 And thus they did murmur against my father, and also against me; and they were desirous to return again to Jerusalem.
16:37 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.
16:38 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.
16:39 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. (16:39) The voice of the Lord came and did speak many words unto them.
But then the voice of God stopped by to talk for a while. He gave them some food so they decided not to kill Nephi and Lehi.


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, 39]

Exceedingly
[16:8, 20(2), 21, 27, 35]

(16:2) and I will raise him up at the last day. -- John 6:40


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Dwindling in Unbelief
1 Nephi 16: A group marriage, magic brass ball, and broken steel bow

The Annotated Book of Mormon
1 Nephi 16