Something that seems to be missed, from time to time, is how similar Nephi and his brothers were.

Both expected that God would find a way to save the righteous.

It is easy to forget that Jerusalem faced destruction before and was promised deliverance. When the king refused to ask for a sign to confirm that, he was told:

Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

That is the event which occurred with Assyria. The prophets attributed it to the angel of death protecting the city, the other side claimed that mice had killed hundreds of thousands.

Isaiah was the Court prophet to Hezekiah. See [Isaiah and Isaiah]. He founded a school of prophets or a tradition, whose writings supplemented his own. Their writings, which were written over time, eventually became part of the Book of Isaiah in the Bible.

Horace Vernet‘s Jeremiah

A major difference between Jeremiah and Isaiah was that Jeremiah was an outsider, Isaiah was an insider. Isaiah’s call to repentance succeeded, Jeremiah was left to weep at the people’s failure to fully heed him.

To quote from the Wikipedia entry:

According to Jeremiah 1:2–3Yahweh called Jeremiah to prophetic ministry in about 626 BC,[12] about five years before Josiah king of Judah turned the nation toward repentance from idolatrous practices (2 Kings 22:3-13). According to the Books of Kings, and Jeremiah, Josiah’s reforms were insufficient to save Judah and Jerusalem from destruction, because of the sins of Manasseh, Josiah’s grandfather,[20] and Judah’s return to idolatry (Jeremiah 11:10ff.).

This difference in the way they looked at the facts is what led to the difference between the brothers. The older brothers felt that the kingdom had turned towards repentance and would be saved again (and we have writings that show that many in Jerusalem believed that).

Lehi, Jeremiah and Nephi believed that the City had turned to sin and that God would not save them. Nephi’s brothers also appear to have believed that they were righteous and that, as a result, God would save them without their having to flee into the wilderness.

The real question that an outsider should have in applying the lesson of the conflict to themselves is how to tell the false prophets from the true ones, and how to determine which is the word of God.

I know, the popular approach right now is to find reasons to assert that the author is superior to Nephi and to find various criticisms of him. However, I think the more important message to take away from the conflict between Nephi and his brothers is that often a conflict comes not because of differences in beliefs or theology or world view, but instead comes from application and interpreting the facts.

Not to mention, that just because the Lord finds a way does not mean that people will escape death or sorrow (consider that Jeremiah ended up writing Lamentations and was carried away to Egypt and murdered there).

  • What do you think?
  • What to you take away from the conflict between Nephi and his brothers?
  • What does it mean so say that “the Lord will find a way”?
  • How easy is it to become self-righteous or to decide that someone else is self-righteous and you are in the right?
  • How do you decide who is being self-righteous when you differ with someone else’s conclusions? Is it possible for both sides to be wrong or both sides to be right?