Evidence: Prophetic Call

Ed J. Pinegar, Richard J. Allen

The account describes the process by which Lehi is called to be a prophet of God through a visionary experience involving the divine council of heaven, with “God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels” (verse 8). Lehi’s experience with this heavenly council is analogous to references to such a council in many ancient Near Eastern texts. “In ancient conceptions, it is frequently the prophet’s admission to this council as a mortal human being, and his knowledge of its decrees and secrets, that lends him authority as an earthly spokesman for God” (Echoes, 212). Even if Joseph Smith thoroughly studied the Bible before the translation of the Book of Mormon—which he apparently did not—he probably would not have noticed the complex patterns dealing with the calling of prophets. In the Book of Mormon, these patterns clearly appear, possibly even more clearly than in the Bible or any other ancient Near Eastern text.

Commentaries and Insights on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 1