Nephi stated two reasons for keeping the records. The first one was because the Lord had promised Joseph of Egypt that his seed would never be destroyed (v. 21). As a descendant of Joseph, Nephi kept the record so that it could save the posterity of Joseph when the records were brought forth in the latter days. The second reason was that his record might also give the other nations an opportunity for salvation. Nephi prophesied that his record would go to other nations according to the will and pleasure of God. Those nations who possess it will be judged by it (v. 22). Elder Marion G. Romney declared: “For me there could be no more impelling reason for reading the Book of Mormon than this statement of the Lord that we shall be judged by what is written in it” (CR, April 1960,110). All nations will be judged by it. As John the revelator prophesied, the angel “having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth [was to go] unto every nation, and kindred, and tongue and people” (Revelation 14:6). To be judged by the record means they will have the opportunity to accept it or reject it. As stated in the Doctrine and Covenants:
13 Therefore, having so great witnesses, by them shall the world be judged, even as many as shall hereafter come to a knowledge of this work.
14 And those who receive it in faith, and work righteousness, shall receive a crown of eternal life;
15 But those who harden their hearts in unbelief, and reject it, it shall turn to their own condemnation—[D&C 20:13–15]
Going to all nations will also fulfill the covenant to Abraham: “In thy seed shall the kindreds of the earth be blessed” (1 Nephi 22:9).