“Went Forth and Began to Testify”

Brant Gardner

Mormon does not describe Nephi’s place in the new tribal organization. Almost certainly, he would have been recognized and revered in his own kinship organization. Presumably, he did not limit his preaching to his own kin group. Although the tribes had “very strict laws” against “trespass” (v. 14), they probably meant attempting to farm another tribe’s land. They would have retained avenues for trade, and Nephi would have continued to see all of these separate tribes as part of his religious responsibility. The geography would not have made travel more difficult than before, so he presumably continued his ministry. “Went forth” certainly implies traveling to more than his local neighbors.

Second Witness: Analytical & Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 5