1 Nephi 11:1

Brant Gardner

Nephi ended his last story in 1 Nephi 10:16 by mentioning the tent of his father. In the next verse, he said:

“And it came to pass after I, Nephi, having heard all the words of my father, concerning the things which he saw in a vision, and also the things which he spake by the power of the Holy Ghost, which power he received by faith on the Son of God—and the Son of God was the Messiah who should come—I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things, by the power of the Holy Ghost”

His mention of the Son of God triggered an aside. Now Nephi must return, and he wrote: “For it came to pass after I had desired to know the things that my father had seen.” That phrase repeats the idea he expressed just before the aside. It is another case of repetitive resumption (see note for 1 Nephi 6:1-6: Part I for an explanation and examples). This is not only a literary technique that demonstrates antiquity, but it is an important marker of how Nephi wrote. By seeing these cases of repetitive resumption, we can examine the text in between the departure and the return to analyze why it appears. In Nephi, we typically see Nephi deviating from a planned text. These borders point to what was planned, and underscore the aside.

As Nephi begins his description of his vision it is important to note that it does not come without effort. Nephi begins with having heard something that pricks his heart and mind, and then that becomes the subject of sincere examination. Nephi called it “pondering in mine heart.”

As the vision opens, the Spirit of the Lord takes Nephi to “an exceedingly high mountain.” In the religious geography of the Israelites, mountains were appropriate places to approach the divine. They become symbolic temples, and temporary locations where Jehovah may visit. Thus, Nephi understands that he is being taken to a sacred place where Jehovah will open sacred things to him.

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