Lehi, Father of Nephi
In the Book of Mormon, a Hebrew prophet who led his family and followers from Jerusalem to a promised land in the western hemisphere about 600 B.C. Lehi was the first prophet among his people in the Book of Mormon.
Lehi fled Jerusalem with his family at the command of the Lord (1 Ne. 2:1–4). He was a descendant of Joseph, who was sold into Egypt (1 Ne. 5:14). The Lord gave him a vision of the tree of life (1 Ne. 8:2–35). Lehi and his sons built a boat and sailed to the western hemisphere (1 Ne. 17–18). He and his descendants became established in a new land (1 Ne. 18:23–25). Before he died, Lehi blessed his sons and taught them of Christ and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon in the latter days (2 Ne. 1:1–4:12).
Joseph Smith began with the book of Lehi when he was translating the Book of Mormon. It was a record that Mormon had abridged from the plates of Lehi. After he had 116 pages of manuscript that he had translated from this book, Joseph gave the manuscript to Martin Harris, who had briefly served as Joseph’s scribe in the translation of the Book of Mormon. The pages were then lost. Joseph did not retranslate the book of Lehi to replace the lost manuscript but instead translated other related accounts from the gold plates (see the introductions to D&C 3; 10). These other accounts now are the first six books of the Book of Mormon.