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.

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.
Source: LDS.org
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

Source: LDS.org
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