The Book Of Laman Chapter One

Let it be known, that I, Laman, have nothing but the dearest admiration for our father Lehi. He and Mother have in earnest sought after our welfare all the days of our lives. I recall from when first I came to myself that our father Lehi attend all the sacrifices at the temple frequently and taught of the great beauty of the House of Israel and the blessings bestowed upon our people as God’s chosen people. I understood Father then as he spoke to the glory of Zion and the eventual conquest of Judah over all its foes….

{Continue reading] this story of Laman, the eldest brother of Nephi.

This story is based on people mentioned in The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. For the actual history and book itself, click the link on the book’s title. It will take you to the site where you can read online.

Laman the Brother of Nephi: Chapter Two

The Book of Laman

I, Laman, took it upon myself to reclaim Father after I heard the strange things that he spoke and wrote in a scroll. Father, Lehi, began to take tools to write for him! As the chief translator and scribe of the estate, he left the bulk of the scribing to Lemuel and Sam, which greatly hindered the process once he started recording his dreams.
Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Hanging Gardens of Babylon

Source: David Keys
Sphynx of Egypt
Sphynx of Egypt

Father did not write the scripts for our associates from Babylon proper! I had given them an oath that they would have their records before they left to travel before the rainy season.
I had to act, for only Father could give the best translation of their tongue. I had charged them an excessive sum, for I knew that no other scribe society but ours had learned their tongue since many sided with Egypt in the political tension. I told Father to remain neutral, though he supported Egypt personally.
Father gave the record to Lemuel, and he began to translate and order the scrolls. It was slow work for my brother, however. He was a genius, but I needed Father to have his mind on work and not some strange visions he began to have.
Mother, Sariah, was too strained with Anna, the wife of Ishmael to help Father scribe, as was her usual task. Mother and Anna planned weddings for our brides to join our families. I was of age and worried little knowing that I had choice among the daughters of Ishmael.
“Father,” I pled. “The men from Babylon do await the scrolls from whom I took a small fortune. These men seek to have their dialect translated into Hebrew for records of the churches of Babylon to be preserved before the rainy season and Lemuel will not finish without your help.”
I spoke to him as he gazed as if I was not there. The more I obtained business for Father, it seemed he became more absent in his mind and distant from me. I needed to concentrate on building the business, not scribbing!
“Father,” I spoke more loudly as he sat in his place on the pillow I bartered for him atop his mat for prayer. He looked into my eyes and I saw distance there that brought me trouble. Then he spoke rapidly—disregarding my plea to help Lemuel.
I do not recall all he spoke, but it was of a vision with fire and a book of strange words that he must eat. He spoke on and on about having to tend to the needs of Jerusalem and go before the people. I thought this strange as he prattled on. He was a member of the council, yes, and a highly respected member. Why though would he speak to the people? That was for the prophets! Did he feel our god spoke to him to take up a role with the prophet?
I muttered a quick prayer to Adonai and the goddess of clarity and wisdom Ninsun. I personally made an image of her that I carried in my cloak for brilliance, and she has yet to fail me.
“We have taken of these children of Judah from Babylon. They are Elders in their quorum and seek our honest work. I have made an oath to them Father to have their work before the rainy season approaches.” I made sure I did not speak with any hint of anger, just urgency. I respect the old law to honor Mother and Father —though I fear Father had become ailing in his old age in the mind—talking of visions. It troubled me that I saw the time approaching were I would have to retire Father and take on the leadership of the family. I would need a wife first.
As I thought upon these things, I heard him say what I thought was some trick for me not listening to all of his prattle.
Said Father, “I must warn the people that Jerusalem will be destroyed”
My mind grew dark and angry. I thought upon what Nephi said that Father spoke only good of Jerusalem not evil like Jeremiah. How could Father say this—being that I am to marry? Mother is at the house of Ishmael arranging to join the two families with Mother Anna!
“Father, our lives are here. I am to run the society here!” I staggered in my speech, earnestly bowing my head to force my anger down and hide my scornful eyes. I could not replace my ailing Father until I marry and he is talking of preaching with those strange ones! It will ruin the business interests I have built for the last two years!
Father spoke with such conviction that I knew the matter was not to be discussed further in opposition. As the eldest son, I had to obey and speak for Father’s decision. I did so to my sisters, but to my brothers I spoke my heart. We all agreed that Father was behaving out of character and needed protection.
Five days did Father preach before business started to suffer. Lemuel frantically worked to complete the records of the men from Babylon before they left for home. Sam worked on other records as I helped Lemuel. People called for their records to be delivered when they saw Father telling them all the evil that will follow them into Babylon! I was shaken and afraid for Father’s welfare! Nephi was there to guard Father each day and told me of the terrible predictions!
We laughed at some, but mourned because of the business loss. I thought it humorous that Father thought Jerusalem could be destroyed. It was large and under the protection of Egypt. The people pay homage to Adonai, the god of the city. He would not let it fall!
I begged mother to speak with Father , but she only raised her hands to Adonai as she faced the temple and said, “I trust Lehi is a prophet. He feels to say these things and I feel to honor him.”
I did not show my true feelings to Mother’s claim to Father being a prophet. I could not imagine it and thought Mother mad! If Father’s madness was catching, I prayed to Ninsun to help me find the cure!

Laman and Lemuel

That night, Father awoke Lemuel and me. He told me that God instructed him to go into the wilderness! I lost my composure and in the loudest whisper, I asked him if he had gone mad! Lemuel quoted scripture and called him a visionary man with such venom that it had to be in derision though he cast his eyes down before Father in respect. Father stared at us with those troubling eyes that seem to pierce me.
“You will prepare the equipment and settle our affairs here as we prepare to go down in the wilderness Laman,” Father commanded in his rumbling voice. I could feel the finality in my chest of his words and dared not show disapproval. I did ask to speak freely of this and question him and he so allowed me with Lemuel’s audience.
He did not hesitate to allow my right, knowing that I have been nothing but loyal and obedient—as far as he knew. I told him that I did not understand his sudden change and it caused me to question his judgment.
“As the first son, I take issue with this new change and I need an explanation if I am to bear this news off to the family Father,” I closed with after bearing my heart.
He tried to explain, and I was almost convinced until he said we must only take provision with us to live—no treasures. I touched my cloak, hoping Ninsun would guide my next words, but she only left me with, “I will obey Father.”
Lemuel repeated my lead, but I could see when I dared to glance up that Father did not believe we were sincere. We were not.
None of us approved! Sam did not protest, but I could see in his eyes he disapproved when I announced it to the family at breaking. My sisters cast their eyes down knowing that they might not marry if we are shamed for abandoning our house after the commotion Father made with his preaching. My heart filled with rage and I understood why some wanted to kill Father. He was so stubborn!
Nephi was not quiet about his disagreement when I spoke to him singularly, but he wanted to please Father. I understood the boy wanting to honor Father. I had to smite him for verbally expressing his disagreement with Father to me. I was Father’s word to the family. He understood and rubbed his shoulder.
“Laman, I can tell that you do not agree with Father as we speak. You might smite my arm again, but I am no fool. What will you do?”
“As usual, Nephi, you are too quick to speak your mind. Father is meditating today. Gather Sam and Lemuel. We will trade before the temple the writings we have finished and have a meeting of brothers away from home. We will honor Father Nephi.”
He bowed his head a little in agreement with worried apologetic eyes and went about as he was told. Ninsun had given me a plan to make this work for our benefit. The wilderness is the best place for Father to go.
This story is based on people mentioned in The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. For the actual history and book itself, click the link on the book’s title. It will take you to the site where you can read online.
This work does not attempt to mimic the 19th century English style writing into which The Book of Mormon was translated.
All rights Reserved, Rodric Johnson Copyright 2012

Laman the Brother of Nephi Chapter Three

The Book of Laman

What occurred next is that I, Laman, took it upon me to consult with my brethren about this idea that Father had taken to go into the wilderness without Jerusalem. Of course I thought the entire idea was ludicrous, but I needed to keep my thoughts to myself first. I needed to know what the others thought of all that was happening. I wanted to know exactly what I was dealing with before I revealed what a genius was I. As the eldest, it is my responsibility to lead the others. I must know what they think in order to find out how best to lead them.

So, I let each of them speak their minds before I revealed my plan to them thanks to Ninsun, my patron goddess. As they spoke, I will not pretend that I listened closely. I had already determined the course of action. I desired to discover how laborious would my persuading need to be to bend the others to my thinking, I felt very pleased with what I had come up with–such a crafty way to indulge Father’s babblings so that we could still keep our inheritances.
Sam usually allies with Nephi on all matters to my advantage but did not agree with the lad this time! He took the belief that Father may be right to leave and take us into the wilderness! I could not believe my ears though I did not show Sam. By all the elements of creation and by my life, I fail to understand why Sam would suppose father in his right mind would leave all that we have built in Jerusalem. I would swear that father was a party to some religious cult! I see I would need to work on Sam. Lemuel of course started quoting scripture, which caused us all to be smitten in the head until he finished. I determined quickly Lemuel would hearken to my words easily. He has always followed my counsel, he and Nephi has. Sam, was not always so convinced.Though Nephi agreed with Lemuel and me, I could tell from his raised brow that this time, he also considered Sam’s words. I knew what I had to do to gain them now that I knew where they stood.
“I have known Father to never tell a lie,” Nephi stated correctly. “Why would he start lying now? He must have seen the visions he claims or he is mad.”
We all looked at him with agreement but for which opinion I am not sure. Is he mad? Is he sane? I am sure he was mad! I decided to give my brilliant plan to my brothers. I looked at Nephi who did so in return expectantly towards me. Nephi irritated me that he had such a confident look with his beardless face. He felt confident in me; yet, his trust bothered me. It was as if he expected something from me that I could not give him–I knew it, but he did not know it. It seemed as though he challenged my authority by supporting my authority! Nephi cheered my every whim as youngling brothers tend to do, but Nephi was near a man if not one–intellectually and physically. I distrust such childlike trust he has in me. I put it out of my mind.
“This is my plan brothers,” I started. “We go into the wilderness with enthusiasm. Once we are there, Father will have such a difficult time without his lounging seat and sacks of wine that he will long to return to the house where the servants will be waiting. Father is old and accustomed to easy living now. He will not want to remain in the wilderness. We will need to protect him and Mother from getting injured, but we will return in days if I am correct.”
“Cruel, but effective,” Lemuel admitted. He clicked his tongue and shook his head in agreement. I smiled within myself until I saw the look on Sam’s face–always this one! Nephi was shaking his head in agreement also until he saw Sam. Sam is of a sturdy spirit and will not act on foolishness, though I have hope that he will indulge my plan. I could see no foolishness in indulging father and supporting him in his endeavor knowing the flies and the heat will change his mind about what he supposed the Lord instructed him. With his even face and features, he reminded me of a leaf. The edges are even all around except at the stubborn stem! I needed all of their support to convince Father to return to Jerusalem after this foolishness of his in the Wilderness.
“Sam,” I pleaded. “We will not cause them discomfort. We will just allow them to know the difference between living in the wilderness and home. Years have passed since Mother or Father have left the comforts of the city.”
“Laman,” Sam responded lowering his head in submission. “I have always respected your counsel, but men in the city have threatened Father’s life, which is why he must flee. If he is truly in danger, we must leave to protect his life. We must make sure that he is safe for more than days in the wilderness. We may need to wait for much longer.”
“He will not teach Sam,” Lemuel argued. “If he does not teach that the city will be destroyed and that the Messiah should come people would not be angered by him.”
“Once Father has made up his mind about something, he never relents,” Sam reminded us. “The threats to his life have been made and he is Master Lehi and elder of the counsel! He has angered some fierce men causing a stir among the people. I am confident that those dangers will not pass in a few days or weeks. It may take years!”
Sam is right. Ninsun may have not given me the stroke of genius I hoped for. Father would not abandon a commandment from his god if he thinks it is right. We would have to take him back to the city if he ever were to return—doing so against his will. I would not allow Father and Mother to suffer. I decided to oppose anyone who prevented me from taking Father back to the city. I would not have his death upon my hands to stain my inheritance!
I noted to myself that Father needed protection—protection that I could provide with Lemuel, Sam, and Nephi’s help if they followed me. If I had to stand alone, it would be problematic.
“As God is my witness and as I live, I will not allow Father to perish in the wilderness,” I swore to my brothers. “I have readied the supplies and all manner of provisions and charged the servants with keeping the house until our return. Father visited Ishmael and planned to leave with the sun before the city gate closes today.”
“We will humor him in this journey “Nephi said blankly. “What if Father can never return to his house. We would have to seek a new inheritance. Father and Mother are goodly parents and have taught us much in the languages of the people. We owe them protection brothers. We owe them help even if it is in another land.”
We nodded in silence making a vow to protect Mother and Father and to keep them in the wilderness until the rancor dissolves in Jerusalem about the strange ones. Never had I thought that Father would become one of those that went about the city.
“What of the treasure and precious things,” Nephi questioned with his annoying brow raised. I could see that this was to be a long trip. Nephi had a habit of pointing out the unpleasant things. And interrupting my thoughts!
“Leave that to me Nephi. I will convince Father to take some treasure just in case we need to barter for trade.”
It came to pass that at my Father’s house we took all that was set to journey in the wilderness. Mother and Father added provisions to those I supplied; several asses and goats a few camels and foul. We prepared fruit that was drying and strips of meat for weeks of wilderness life as if we would camp like the travelers, nomads. There was no room for the treasure.
My heart sank as I approached Father, for I knew that he had prepared a speech for me for he knew that I would insist on treasure. Father possessed an enormous amount of wealth in gold and jewels.
“Father,” I pleaded, “How will we pay for safe passage so that robbers will not attack us or thieves who steal in the night? How will we protect our women from them being alone in the wilderness and uncovered in the sun to shine upon us and scorch our skin?”
I spoke many words to Father and he listened with patience giving me hope that he would consider. Though I trust the servants to care for the home while we went on this wilderness retreat, I did not trust that the treasure, my birthright, would all be accounted for upon our return.
“God will protect us and guide our paths if we are obedient…” Father started to prattle and I could not believe what he said. He went on with his prattle about keeping commandments. I did not understand why he used his authority to speak words that he says came from his god. Adonai has provided all the laws we needed through Moses, yet Father found it good to add more.
Once he stopped speaking Lemuel joined as we called Father a visionary man with dreams that he believed came from God. His god did not make known such things to us, yet we are obligated to obey Father as our leader. I could not help but harass Father at every turn, going against my own plan to make it a happy leaving. I spoke to him about it until we approached the gate of the city. I could see my brothers had seen my plan collapse. If I forcefully opposed Father without a just means, I could lose my family!
I began to accept the fact that we are leaving. I told Father I would run back and check with the servants once more. As I ran, I decided to see how far Father would go with this plan of his, or the one he says “God” gave him.
I looked about things in the home and decided if I wanted to leave my special cloak so that it would be safe when I return. I decided to keep Ninsun safely protected in my cloak on my person and invited two servants to travel with me making us quite the group of travelers. If Father wanted to leave behind his wealth, I would hide most of it. I left charge with one servant, an older man who would not make the trip.

Lehi & Family Leaving Jerusalem

I do not take challenges well, when I know that I am correct. I could not help but grumble the entire journey, which Lemuel also began to do so. We would speak quietly to each other about the detestable backwards journey. Father could have misinterpreted. Jeremiah was cast into prison, not killed—and his life was threatened just like Father. We did our part traveling in the wilderness and looking after the animals and hunting for food. All I could think of was the gold we left.
We set up camp at the shores of the Red Sea. Father made a dramatic show of the waters that pour into the sea and compared me to them. I decided days ago that Father was old and probably close to death. The wilderness situation would be over, with him dying of dementia. I hoped not, but I thought so.
Father then proceeded to preach to us in the wilderness before we could finish setting up camp. Of course, we had not set up the camp well. The servants sat to listen along with Nephi, Sam, and my sisters. I am opposed to servants being treated like equals!
Father directed all of his preaching to Lemuel and me for some strange reason. I felt it a bad omen that he would do so, since I was the one holding the family together! Father spoke of God as if he was the one to secure the provisions and stock the shelter! I made provisions to order the servants! I deserved better than a lecture about faith! I am the rightful leader of the family—under the direction of Father.
After some time in the wilderness, Father approached Lemuel and me and told us “God” told him to tell us to go to the house of Laban and get some record. I could not believe his request! First, we hearkened to him going into the wilderness to protect his life making it seem as if we are all strange ones! Lehi, Father, wanted us to go to Jerusalem for records!
“In one of your visions, could you not have asked if there is anything important to bring,” Lemuel blurted out before I could check him. The fact that he spoke my thoughts help me hesitate to reprimand him for questioning Father so openly. That was my responsibility to counsel Father as the elder son.
“What he means Father;” I apologized with my tone, “is that if God wanted you to have the record why did he not say it while we were down the street? It is a hard thing to go all the way to this place. We will be taking resources away from the camp and man power that you need to protect you and the others. What if Laban was offended by your preaching in the city? Would he have faith in your claim on the record?”
“Sons,” Father pleaded. “I am not requiring this at your hands, but the Lord has requested it.”
Clearly, Father was not letting this delusion go. I accepted his command, but I am sure he knew I did not like it or agree with it because someone could follow us back to camp and actually kill Father! I became angry at the thought of it! If anyone attacked my family, I would kill them to protect my birthright and my Mother and Father. When Father dies, I expect to have the holy garments he wore. I will not disobey Father and jeopardize that. So saying did not mean I had to agree with foolish dreams and vain plans. We would fail. Laban is known to be unreasonable, and he is in the highest council of the elders over the city! He commands men. One did not casually approach such a man.
Father called Nephi and Sam to the tent. We had not discussed my plans in days and had almost forgotten about them we so busily went about setting up the camp and securing the area against bandits we could not pay off without gold and silver thanks to “God.” I must admit, I felt more alive when travelling. Home was too controlled. Out in the wilderness I could meditate and commune with the goddess of wisdom, Ninsun. I had become more attached to her and her special help now that I was in the wilderness. She did not speak, but she gave me ideas.
Before our journey to Jerusalem, Nephi took a hike to the near mountain. I never had known him to go off alone as such. When he returned, he claimed to have a vision! I cursed every god I ever knew. I repented later. I had not been studios enough in meeting with my brothers to encourage Father to keep an open mind about returning. We had made life so great in the wilderness for weeks that all had become too comfortable. Nephi claimed now to speak with God! I looked at Sam expecting him to make a claim of revelation before Nephi!. He only nodded in agreement. I knew he would fall for a delusion if his younger Nephi provided it–especially since Nephi apparently had changed his mind with my plan. I always liked Sam, but he indulges Nephi! Like Father, Nephi is so loud with his opinions! Now I would have it coming from him and Father. I looked at Lemuel and we decided to give up the moving back to Jerusalem plan. The delusion was spreading. Maybe a trip back to Jerusalem would change Nephi and Sam’s mind.

This story is based on people mentioned in The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. For the actual history and book itself, click the link on the book’s title. It will take you to the site where you can read online.
This work does not attempt to mimic the 19th century English style writing into which The Book of Mormon was translated.
All rights Reserved, Rodric Johnson Copyright 2012

Sam the Brother of Nephi Chapter Five

The Writings of Sam

And it came to pass that I, Sam, was astonished at the cooperation that existed among my brothers as we prepared to go in unison to the House of Laban with the idea of purchasing the sacred record. Father, as the Chief Scribe of His Quorum of Elders had rights to the record though Laban and his family kept them because of their value and his prestige in the family. These are things of course my brothers and I did not know at the time we went about to obtain the records. From my understanding, Laban’s family are distant relatives who were entrusted with the record by one of Father’s fore-bearers with the idea that the records would be returned.
I am of the opinion that Laban had no such knowledge because of his accusation towards Laman. Yet, it is likely that he did have such knowledge and refused to honor the tradition being that he had access to the records with opportunity to read them. He was not a man who recognized God–only so at the festivals and public meetings. Laban has employed our house on many occasions for re-translations and restoration of records. I have personally entered his home to work on many items with Father. Logic seems that he would welcome our treasure and honor our request. Yet I felt a nagging at my mind.
The unity that this new plan created reunited Nephi and Laman in a way that was most remarkable! It was as if the two became one in purpose acting as a voice and eyes of the same head! Nephi suggesting the treasure to Laman changed the nature of our visit to the city. I am certain that Laman did not include all of father’s riches in the purchase price for the record, but to an observer it would seem as he had. Only father and Laman knew exactly what the wealth of the family had become over the years and I was amazed at how much wealth we had to barter for the records.
We drank and were merry the night prior to going to Laban’s estate to present the offer. Lemuel even stole away as he often did. I am not sure what it was that he did during those times. I sat quietly listening to Laman and Nephi laughing at the strange tales that Laman related from his many travels with father and those of his alone. I knew that God truly prepared the way before us to get the plates. I offered up devotion to God before retiring that night for his kindness for our success.
Lemuel returned with a torch it was so late. He did not indulge in the wine as much as did Nephi, Laman and I, Sam. I did not question Lemuel as he came in, for I was too full of wine. I retired in my father’s house and fell into a deep sleep. I had a dream.
In this dream I was in the house of Laban, but I was not visible to him or his household members. It came to pass that as I went about in this dream I heard Laban speaking to his servants trusted advisers and elders of the church while drinking fresh wine.
“What of these people referred to as strange ones? I see they are being taken off the streets in great numbers for public disturbances by the guard,” Laban mentioned in my dream to one of the chief elders at his home in meeting.
“Yes,” one of the elders at the meeting responded. “These people are predicting the destruction of the people of Jerusalem. At first there were only a few with the chiefest among them being Jeremiah. Now, there are a great number of them all calling for reform and that we will fall before Babylon!”
“What’s worse,” says the Chief elder, “many scribes are taking up the sacred records and claiming that it has been prophesied that these days would come and the people are starting to become divided.”
“What say you chief,” Laban inquires with a rye smile on his face. “Do you believe Jeremiah and his band of “prophets” talk of the destruction of Jerusalem has merit. Am I to be fearful of the very scribes for thieves now?” Laban gives a hearty chuckle in my dream.
“What I say Laban is that you should be careful about who you let into your home. The records you possess are of great value. I have heard tale of some of these so called scribes running off with records. When caught they claimed to have been acting for the God of Israel!”
“I only have one house that I trust to maintain my records, the House of Lehi,” responds Laban. “He and his house have never been in question. Does not Lehi sit on one of the highest seats of the quorums of Israel?”
“I have heard from my brethren that many of the strange ones were in high seats and that Lehi was named among them. He has abandoned his seat and his house following the path of Jeremiah. He has not been seen or heard of for days. His seat is in jeopardy,” the chief elder informed Laban.
“Lehi is gone?”
“Yes Laban. If you are not careful, you may be robbed! You must find a new house to maintain your records aside from Lehi. I saw him in the Gate of the Gentiles speaking of the destruction of Jerusalem,” another elder confesses.
I, Sam thought this dream odd. It went about in the manner of the elders persuading Laban about the waywardness of the house of my father Lehi. Repeatedly in my dream Laban was told that any such that goes to him to inquire about the plates of Brass in particular is probably going to try to steal the record. My dream continued and I saw Laban speaking with himself. He revealed that his only prestige and power were the fact that he was the record holder of those sacred plates and that he would kill to protect his claim to the society of the elders. Though he was not a member of any quorum, he was well connected with the house of Zedekiah and an official officer of the royal court. Having access to the records of the people afforded him great trust.
Following my dream, I arose with a start. Laman’s visit to Laban was cursed because of the poison the elders spewed about father. I knew my dream was a warning, one that came too late. If I had been more prayerful, maybe God could have told Laman before he went to the house of Laban. Laman’s mission was doomed to fail from the beginning. Laban dealt usually with father and me directly. I should have gone instead of Laman. I resolved to inform Laman before we set to offer our treasure to Laban of my dream and why Laban chased him from his home.
I know that Laman does not like it when we speak of dreams, but this time, I must. I felt uneasy about the treasure also. I am not certain if any of this will please God if I attribute it to him, but I will trust that he will prosper us as we are doing his will.
I felt uneasy about the treasure because in my dream Laban would kill for his possession of the record. The record offered him influence and society that our wealth may not replace. I did not want to tell my brethren about my misgivings toward our journey. I thought maybe the dream was just a dream that my anxiety caused to occurred–being anxious to get the record. Nevertheless and notwithstanding my feelings, I would tell my brethren of my dream.
I told myself, “I am familiar with Laban. I am not sure if this dream comes as a warning, but I will keep my fear alone. My brothers are happy. Tomorrow we get the plates.”

This story is based on people mentioned in The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. For the actual history and book itself, click the link on the book’s title. It will take you to the site where you can read online.
This work does not attempt to mimic the 19th century English style writing into which The Book of Mormon was translated.
All rights Reserved, Rodric Johnson Copyright 2013

Sam The Brother of Nephi Chapter Six

The Writings of Sam

It came to pass that we brothers arose the next morning and prepared the animals to transport father’s wealth to the House of Laban that following late afternoon. I arose first though my moorings were off as the wine I drank was prepared in its strength. I preferred it to the water, but not to such a strong mix. Never did we partake of strong drinks in my fathers house save when Lemuel prepared or procured the wine. My brother took liberty to obtain it in its strength because of mother’s absence. Father indulged in wine in his youth and mother has not allowed strong drink since father stopped indulging–well before our births.
I fear I enjoy wine as much as father, which is why I swore off of it thenceforth in its strength. A little wine keeps the water healthy.
As I saw my brothers, a foreboding spirit lingered, loomed over my head. I did mourn to disrupt in any way the good feelings between the young Nephi and Laman. As much as they drank, Nephi and Laman arose in cheerful disposition. Each hugging each other and congratulating the wisdom of their plan to obtain the Plates of Brass from Laban.
“When the transaction involves gold,” Laman began, “I am sure of its purpose! With two chests of gold and valuables, Laban is sure to agree.” He grabbed Nephi by the shoulder and patted his head. Nephi appeared to flush with color as if he had received the wedding kiss from the maiden of his dreams!
I could see how he honored Laman and wanted so much to please him; we all wanted to please Laman. Poor Laman was accused as a robber and driven from the home of Laban like a common thief. I am sure the very act of running wounded him. I know my brother well enough to know that revenge was in his heart for that act of Laban’s. He had not showed it yet. Somehow, Laman’s pride and Laban’s suspicion troubled me as the eventual cause of issues in obtaining the plates.
After we loaded the animals, we had some time to speak, which I had hoped to mention my feelings to my brothers. To our surprise we saw the sons of Ishmael and three of his daughters as they went near my father’s home. They stole away to father’s house and we kissed each other and greeted each other in the safety of our house. Immediately all of my worry left as I saw my friends, especially Hannah.
It is not the custom for young men and women to mingle as such, but this was a special case for us. We had thought never to see them again. Hannah was my childhood friend and the object of my thoughts mush afterwards. She, of all women, captured my mind more than any woman could! I forebear speaking of her in detail out of respect for her, yet she was and is my best friend. Spending time with them occupied the best of the morning as we updated them on all that had happened.
Joshua and Zenos were astonished that Laban had sent his guard after Laman, but their report about the happenings in the city were just as astonishing. Public debates had started in the streets about Babylon and Egypt and more prophets and “strange ones” were imprisoned.
“Father is now feeling a need to speak out and warn the people as well, though he has received no instruction to do so as of yet,” Zenos revealed. “I fear that our father may be joining your father soon if he acts on what he has discussed with mother. She has told him that God told her in a dream that she would flee to a new land and be mother to a great people.”
“We are all speculating in my father’s house,” added Joshua. “I for one think it is foolishness and will go away when the festivals have ended and the strangers in the city have gone home. With them, These people bring uneasiness each year. It will pass.”
“I hope so brother,” Laman responses. “Father is sure that we will not return to this place and we are going to obtain means to remain in the wilderness. I cannot tell you more for fear that you may be compromised. Since you fled us in the temple gate that day, I fear to trust you.
A smile churned behind Laman’s eyes as he kissed his friend.
“You should blame Nephi. If I had a chicken for each time he caused trouble I would eat for a month,” Joshua protested. “Surely you are not upset….”
“No,” Laman and Lemuel said in unison laughing too hard for the incident. It seemed that we all had nervous energy that needed to release because we all laughed a little too hard at that moment.
“I am not so sure,” Zenos spoke, “that all of these goings on are frivolous and temporary. I get a feeling in my bones of change. I feel to go some place, yet I have duties to attend and farms to tend.:
“Oh man;” responded Joshua. “I know you feel to flee some place. Is not the one you like in the wilderness. We have all been promised.” Laughter filled the air again followed by a strange silence. Through the laughter, I discerned we all felt troubled by the goings on.
“I am concerned about all of these things surely,” Lemuel added while we all agreed for several more moments in silence..
I glanced at Hannah as the others spoke on. I knew that God had a plan and that father is a prophet We all were promised to each other and then my father fled into the wilderness to never return to Jerusalem. Though we did not live within the walls of the city, I still had love for it, for her,
I had love for Hannah as did Laman for Hadassah and lemuel for Noa and Nephi for Serach–we all loved! I knew never to act on my thoughts. None of us dared to risk our lives for just a day when we could wait and have a life with them. I did not know if we would yet live. Again the feelings returned to me as we bid our friends farewell with long embraces. We would soon need to head to Laban’s home.
“Laman, Nephi and Lemuel,” I started. “Each brother looked at me intently for I rarely spoke to all of them at once. “I had a dream that I must confess.”
Nephi’s eyes widened with interest as Lemuel threw his hands up in exasperation and said,”I had hoped that we would not get an omen!”
“Do not fear,” Laman soothed Lemuel with a calm and unreadable face. “You know how I feel about dreams Sam. I will hear you, but you are not father. If anyone will get a dream to change this mission it would be me, the eldest.”
“I do not challenge your direction brother,” I confessed. “Just hear me please and you be the judge of what it means. I know that my confidence is in the Lord. Hear me please.”
“No riddles, little brother,” Laman accented. “I weary of these tasks, though we will accomplish them I am sure.”
“It is good that you share this dream,” Nephi speaks as if he would be the judge. “I am sure it will be helpful.”
They sat before me as I related all that I felt in my heart about the dream, which took a small moment.
“This would explain much,” Laman admitted after moments digesting my sayings. You may have a vision. Why did not God give it to you before I went to Laban’s to save us the trouble?” He stood smiling.
“We have gold now brother,” Laman shouted with glee. “We are not robbers and I will avenge my honor with this proof.” He pointed to the treasures of my father as he and Nephi exchanged gleeful looks. I could not deny I felt we should find some other means to gain the records
God commanded we should have them, so we should ask Him how to obtain them. I could not defy Laman. I had no logical grounds to do so or I would. .For father was my lord and I would honor the word of God through him, but I did not trust this plan of Nephi and Laman.
I would go with them. I would speak no more of it. As we approached the court of Laban, I looked about for places to escape instinctively. In my heart I knew this would be a short and dangerous meeting.
This story is based on people mentioned in The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. For the actual history and book itself, click the link on the book’s title. It will take you to the site where you can read online.
This work does not attempt to mimic the 19th century English style writing into which The Book of Mormon was translated.
All rights Reserved, Rodric Johnson Copyright 2013

Sam the Brother of Nephi Chapter Four

The Writings of Sam

And it came to pass that I, Sam, knowing the greatness of the revelations of my father Lehi, and the great love that he had for the Lord God took it upon myself to hearken unto my Brother Nephi who is the younger. Nephi having gone up to a mountain and prayed unto the Lord regarding the vision that father received and the other commandments the Lord has given our father, Lehi, has now received of himself the same conviction that I have received. Our father speaks the truth of his calling as a minister of God.
Nephi left, Sam right
Nephi left, Sam right

After hearkening to the words of my younger brother Nephi, I can truly bear witness that what our father spoke of is true. It came to pass that our father, Lehi, called us to come unto him in the tent in which he did dwell while we lived in the Valley of Lemuel. Father spoke unto Nephi and I, telling us of the command that God gave for us to return to the land of Jerusalem to obtain a record from among our brethren the Jews. Because we had separated ourselves from them, our father, Lehi, distinguished us from our brethren back in the land of our inheritance, but had yet to form a proper name by which to call our small group.
My Father Lehi said unto us “Go, for the Lord hath commanded you to return to the city of the Jews in Jerusalem and retrieve plates of brass which contain the law of the Lord so that he can preserve the commandments of God. Your elder brethren have censured me for thus asking, but unto you, I pray you do not murmur like unto them.”
I bowed my head before my father Lehi. He knew that I, Sam, am not a man of many words and am not disposed to speaking much in gatherings. I am a scribe; and I enjoy my art and employ to my hurt that we have been led to the wilderness to protect the life of my father. I trust that my father Lehi is truly called as a witness of the destruction of the people and was commanded to leave the city and flee into the wilderness.
I have sought my own understanding of what my father Lehi has revealed unto us and have a conviction. My brother Nephi has also sought out the Lord and reveals that he has a great vision and was visited of the Lord to know the things of which father spoke are indeed true. I hearken to his words and respected that he was to have a great part in God’s plan.
Nephi spoke for us both when he told our father Lehi that he would go and do the things, which the Lord has commanded, that we should do. The Lord will give no commandment unto man that he has not also prepared a way for them to completethe commandment that he gives.
So we brothers, Laman, Lemuel, Nephi, and I, Sam went about preparations to return to the city of Jerusalem. Since only we brothers were to return, it saved time in preparations and the journey towards the city. Laman and Lemuel, our elder brothers began to behave more strangely that usually on this journey back to the city of the Jews.
I spoke to Lemuel once and he chastised me for referring to the Jews as if we were not of that same family. I explained that I used the term out of respect to father and his revelations. He said nothing in response to my explanation and made a low hissing sound. I am sure that there was bitterness in his soul because never had father spoken to us as well as them when sending us on assignment. Also, he spoke to us separately as brothers on two sides of the issue of the commandments. Our father Lehi knew that Laman and Lemuel were not in agreement with any of the things that he commanded us. Laman, out of respect, hid his displeasure from the family, or tried to do so. Lemuel was more careless and allowed all of his displeasure to show.
If it were not for Laman, I am of the thought that Lemuel would have abandoned the family and went unto the city of Jerusalem to become a beggar rather than journey with us in the wilderness. Lemuel truly hearkened only to Laman as if he were the leader of the family and not our father.
Laman was the leader of us brothers, but I think that Lemuel hearkening to his words and me hearkening to the words of Nephi may have caused a rift to form dividing us as brothers. I felt as if I had to protect Nephi from the other, though Nephi did more to protect me his elder brother. Of the four of us brothers, I did not inherit the large stature that Nephi and Laman had or the intellect that Lemuel possessed. Father said that wisdom and skill were my blessings. He often referred to my ruddy looks and though I was fair to look upon, that was of small consequence.
I respected all my brothers because each had a gift that helped my family. Laman’s leadership, Lemuel’s intellect, Nephi’s bravery and conviction and my confidence. I did not doubt that the Lord could lead us. I did not doubt my mind when I came to a conclusion; and I obeyed Father.
On our trip to Jerusalem to speak unto Laban, things changed between us brothers permanently for me. After we journey we met outside the city to have conference to see who would go to the house of Laban and seek the plates. Lemuel suggested that we draw lots to see who would go. I thought that Laman should go, being the eldest; and the lot fell to him anyway.
While Laman went to seek the records, we returned onto the house of my father and asked for Saul, my father Lehi’s chief servant, to inform us of the news since we have been gone. What he revealed to us brought us great sadness and agitation.
“I knew that evil would come of us leaving,” Lemuel hissed to me while his face burned with color. Lemuel could hardly contain himself from tears it seemed. He only controlled himself when Laman was near. “The elders think that Father left the counsel and abandoned his house!”
Unfortunately, it was true, as Saul had reported. The members of the counsel constantly questioned Saul about the return of our father Lehi of which he could give no answers. If Father did not send word to them, he would lose his seat, be removed from the record and given over to the authorities, as were Jeremiah and the others called “strange ones.” I called them prophets.
We returned to our meeting place without the city walls to await Laman’s return. Lemuel went on speaking to himself about not being able to return to Jerusalem now that the family was shamed. Father had spoken to Laban some time ago about viewing the records in his custody and arranged to see them. Laban displayed them to a private party and Father expressed an interest to purchase them on several times in the past I know. I doubt this news from Saul of my father Lehi’s standing in the community being negative was very helpful to Laman as he went about to Laban’s home to get the plates.
It came to pass that after some time of Lemuel ranting to himself almost to the point of calmness, Laman bolted towards us with instructions for us to flee into the outer wall of the city and converse.
We conversed for hours as Laman kept looking up and around to see if the guards of Laban had followed him. I thought it odd but not surprising that Laban called him a robber. I had never seen my eldest brother so terrified in my years of life! Seeing such fear in his eyes made me doubt and fear knowing that God commanded us to go and get the plates. I would not return to my father without the plates. I did not know how to communicate that to the others, but I knew that God had commanded my father to send us here.
Nephi did not participate in the discussion other than to listen as Laman debated with himself verbally on what the next step to take would be. Lemuel offered no help other than trying to figure out ways to control the damage our trip into the wilderness caused the image of our father.
“When he fled,” Lemuel reasoned, “the elders counsel and quorum thought he did so out of shame for having spoken against the city and the people–calling them to repent before the city is laid to waste and its people carried away into Babylon! I would be angry also if he called me a sinner.”
“Lemuel,” Laman chastised, “You remember of whom it is that you speak. I am the elder brother. I speak for Father and I speak about him. It is my right.” Laman sat down after he spoke thinking of what to do next. Lemuel stood stung by Laman’s words waiting patiently I suppose for a manner to exercise the same authority over Nephi and me.
“This is it,” cried Laman. “By Ninsun this is it.”
“Who or what is Ninsun,” I questioned. Laman’s face blanched and he grabbed a notched place in his cloak.
“Sam, it is a pagan reference I picked up in my travels.”
“It sounds like a foreign god I have heard of from among the Babylonians brother,” I said. I knew that I made an accusation then, but I am no coward when it comes to defending my God. I had known for some time that the pagan gods of the nationals we did trade with may have affected Laman, but not to this extent and I would have him reckon with me this day on it. I had no intention to follow or consort an apostate to the Lord God.
“Sam,” Laman said with anger in his voice as he stood to confront me. I stood before him awaiting him to explain. He looked down upon me as if expecting me to bow out in respect as at times before because I honor his command as the one chosen of Father. I could and would not until he explained himself.
“Why are you angry brother,” I asked. Laman’s eyes burned and I knew that he would strike me if he had found a valid reason to do so.
“Sam,” he said again. “I have just been threatened by the guards of Laban to take away my life and my own brother would rise up against me because of a misplaced word.”
“I am sorry brother,” I admitted once I realized how quickly I had forgotten why we are in this place. I bowed my head and asked him to pardon me, which he did quickly and put his arms around me exhaling deeply as if releasing all of his anger, which I know he did. He held me too tightly and long because I perceived his thoughts as it were almost.
I did not fear my brother, but he was a strong man and large in stature. I felt that he wanted to attack me for questioning him, a feeling I had never felt before. I suppose that having fled for his life and being challenged by me, Sam, when I should have been comforting him cause him to have a bad moment.
“Laman,” I said as we embrace and his body lost its tautness as he lost anger. “I did not think to offend you brother when I spoke those words. I should know that you have just fled for your life and are trying to keep Fathers commands.”
I gather he thought to hide the anger in his eyes by embracing me before I perceived it. It was his custom to embrace us often when he was angered. I suppose it allowed him to release the emotion without harming us. I could perceive this in people. Nephi and Laman shared this trait with one another, though Nephi had control over his anger and rarely experienced such emotions. Nephi and Laman were the same in speech and manner and likeness. I could tell that Nephi adored Laman, but Laman did not share that same feeling for Nephi yet I knew they love one another.
Laman began again to explain what his thought was. He said that we could return to our father Lehi in the wilderness and explain that Laban would not give us the record and tried to have Laman killed. Laman explained that we could convince Father to return to Jerusalem, clear up the issue, and clear his name of the ill spoken of it. I did not like this plan but it made logical sense to me. I could find no reason to disagree.
After Saul had spoken to us about the threats from those who sought to kill Father because of his words, I thought it a good idea to see if it is what the Lord would command. I did not think so, but I knew that if Father said it to Laman he would listen. I allowed my desire to show my support to cloud my mind to the vow I made not return without the plates.
As I opened my mouth to say I would not go down to our father without the plates, Nephi opened his and in a very sure voice made an oath using the same words I had used to make my vow that we would not go down to Father without the records. I saw in him then a leader and a rival to Laman.
“As I was about to say Nephi,” I said as we walked to one another and embraced.
“How do you suppose we get them,” Lemuel asked with a look of astonishment on his face, no doubt because Nephi disagreed with Laman.
“I have a plan if Laman will allow it,” he acquiesced to Laman just in time to prevent another “I am the eldest brother” speech from Laman.
“Our father has much gold…” Nephi started to explain. I could see Laman’s eyes brighten, for he understood gold very well and quickly agreed that Laban would trade some of Father’s wealth for the records.

This story is based on people mentioned in The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. For the actual history and book itself, click the link on the book’s title. It will take you to the site where you can read online.
This work does not attempt to mimic the 19th century English style writing into which The Book of Mormon was translated.
All rights Reserved, Rodric Johnson Copyright 2013