Lehi’s generation not only witnesses but also participates in the momentous happenings in the kingdoms of Israel and Judah.
Despite religious reforms by King Josiah (641 to 610 b.c.), the people are largely corrupt and idolatrous, and are led by wicked political and ecclesiastical leaders. Many prophets, including Jeremiah, have been empowered of the Lord to warn the people with clarity and sharpness. The message is clear: the people must repent or Jerusalem will be destroyed. Lehi, himself courageously active among the prophetic ranks, prays earnestly on behalf of his people. A vision is opened unto him concerning the coming of the Savior Jesus Christ and of the future destruction of Jerusalem. Many will be carried away captive into Babylon. Lehi preaches and prophesies to no avail. The people mock him and seek to take away his life. Therefore, the Lord commands him to take his family into the wilderness.