As you study 1 Nephi, you will discover that “the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty” (1 Nephi 1:20). For instance, you will see how God helped Nephi obtain the brass plates so his family could have the scriptures, how God saved Nephi from physical threats on his life, and how God saved Lehi and his people from famine in the wilderness and destruction on the ocean, delivering them safely to the promised land.
Lehi and his people experienced God’s mercy and help as they kept the commandments. Lehi and Nephi sought guidance from God and received it through the scriptures, dreams, visions, and the Liahona. Nephi received and recorded a vision of earth’s history that showed him the all-knowing power of God. Through visions, Nephi saw the future baptism, ministry, and crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
As you study the experiences of Nephi and Lehi in this book, you can learn how to seek and receive the blessings of heaven in your life.
Lehi’s son Nephi wrote this book in response to the Lord’s command that he keep a record of his people. Nephi was likely born in or near Jerusalem. He lived there during the ministry of the prophet Jeremiah and the reign of King Zedekiah.
Nephi sought his own witness about his father’s words concerning the destruction of Jerusalem and the need for their family to leave. As he continued to seek and follow the counsel of the Lord, Nephi became an instrument in God’s hands. He obediently returned to Jerusalem with his brothers twice—first to obtain the brass plates and later to persuade Ishmael’s family to join Lehi’s family in the wilderness. With the Lord’s help, Nephi built the ship that took his family and others across the ocean to the promised land. When Lehi died, Nephi became the leader of his people.
Nephi wrote the account that became 1 Nephi in approximately 570 B.C.—30 years after he and his family left Jerusalem (see 2 Nephi 5:28–31). He wrote it when he was in the land of Nephi.