Sunday, September 9, 2012

1 Nephi 1:17 - Nephi's account

1 Nephi 1:17

17 But I shall make an account of my proceedings in my days. Behold, I make an aabridgment of the record of my bfather, uponcplates which I have made with mine own hands; wherefore, after I have abridged the record of my dfather then will I make an account of mine own life.
Nephi begins here by expressing that this is his account.  This is his life he's talking about, and it's him doing the recording.  Although this Book of Nephi is held in the Book of Mormon, these are Nephi's words, unabridged at this point.  I feel this is a testament to the law of witnesses.  Perhaps there is some import at the judgment day that Nephi takes the time to make this point clear, and not just to be redundant.  But they are his days.  This is not the account of Laman, Lemuel, Sam, or Nephi's sisters.  He wrote it.  

Nephi also points out he is making an abridgment - or a summary, or more brief record - of his father's experiences.  Why does he do this?  It seems that much of this record already is sharing what happened to his father Lehi.  Is it possible for Nephi to share his story, without first talking about his father, and how he was influenced?  

Once again, he is also setting himself up as a second witness.  His father is one.  Nephi makes two.  In scripture we are told that in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall all things be established (2 Cor. 13:1).  Nephi is fulfilling that law.

It is also awesome to think that somewhere, also likely on metal plates, is Lehi's full, unabridged version of what happened to him.  How cool would it be to have that record revealed, as we know Lehi witnessed a LOT of things that are not contained in this record.  

Also we find out that Nephi made these plates.  Have you ever tried to make metal plates?  would you know how to start?  Would it take a long time?  Where would you find metal to create plates out of?  And why would you use metal?  Nephi surely knew that other means of writing were not going to be able to be preserved.  This tells us (before he tells us) that he knew these records would be shared with a people who would live LONG after he passed from this earth.  

So he found metal.  He had to have dug it from the earth, somehow.  Then he had to melt the metal, and have a means to form it into metal plates.  Can you imagine the process to do this?  Were there college courses for Nephi to learn how to meld metal?  Or how to remove it from the mold?  

And how did Nephi know how to inscribe his language onto metal plates?  Did he learn reformed Egyptian/Hebrew in college?  How long did it take him to form the best tools to do so efficiently?  

As far as words are concerned, do you think that Nephi felt his weakness, knowing that millions of people would eventually find his words at the beginning of a foreign book?  that millions of people would memorize "I Nephi, having been born of goodly parents"?  Did he wonder if his work would be criticized, or judged?  At very least he seemed to recognize the importance of pointing out the need to testify that what he is writing is his, and it is true.

Lastly, Nephi shows a great example of how to write a bit of family history.  First he writes about his father's experience, and shows how it has impacted him.  While this might seem natural to those familiar with writing, those who are just beginning to analyze their lives might not realize the importance of one's parentage.  Nephi starts it from the get go.  

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