“He Saw the Heavens Open”

Brant Gardner

Ancient literature correlations: The account now begins of Lehi's second vision. In contrast with the first, we do get some details of this vision. This first introduction to the vision is a fairly typical introduction to the prophetic call. Indeed, all of the elements of this vision which are presented appear to fall into a general pattern which might be describing a fairly common sequence of events for the calling of a prophet, beginning with the vision of the heavens. "In many other texts from the ancient Near East, God is visualized presiding over and working with his council. Important relationships between this council and God's prophets have been scrutinized in recent years by several scholars... the council's most distinctive purpose was to govern the world by delivering the decrees of God. These decrees were typically issued to messengers or prophets who would deliver them to those affected" (John W. Welch "The Calling of a Prophet" in The Book of Mormon: First Nephi, the Doctrinal Foundation. BYU 1988:40).

Reynolds and Sjodahl (Book of Mormon Commentary. 1:8-9) compare Lehi's vision to that of Daniel (2 Samuel 24) as well as to Revelations. Welch's article, cited above, provides an excellent background and discussion of this section of 1 Nephi, and is recommended reading.

Multidimensional Commentary on the Book of Mormon