Lehi was a descendant of Joseph through the lineage of Manasseh. His worthiness allowed him to commune with the Lord, to receive through revelation a prophetic view of the divine plan of happiness for mankind, to act as a witness of the divinity of the Messiah, to powerfully teach gospel principles, to be a devoted and concerned father and patriarch in his family circle, to herald of the covenant of the Lord concerning the Promised Land, and to exemplify personal repentance.
History: Lehi was a native of Jerusalem and a contemporary of Jeremiah and younger figures such as Daniel and Ezekiel. He responded to the command of the Lord to join the ranks of the “many prophets” who were brought forth at that time to call the people of Jerusalem to repentance on the eve of the Babylonian invasion. Threatened with his life, he followed the Lord’s counsel to move his family from Jerusalem and depart into the wilderness in 600 BC. Lehi, a man of means, left behind “his gold, and his silver, and his precious things, and took nothing with him, save it were his family, and provisions, and tents”. Acknowledging the importance of scriptural records, he sent his sons back to obtain the plates of brass containing the word of God and the account of His dealings with the covenant people. Having a prophetic view of the destiny of the Promised Land, he also sent his sons back to Jerusalem to bring Ishmael and his family into the circle of emigrants, so that families could be raised up unto the Lord in their new homeland.
On the basis of his visions, Lehi expounded the plan of salvation to his family, witnessing to them that ultimate happiness is not possible “save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit”. It was Lehi who dreamt of the tree of life and the “iron rod” leading to the fruit thereof, the iron rod being the “word of God” and the tree of life being “the love of God”. The prophet Lehi gave much counsel: “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy” ; “Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil”.
Toward the end of his life, Lehi, despite the rejection of his counsel by his sons Laman and Lemuel, blessed all of his children with the spirit of fatherly love and concern. He endured faithfully to the end in the Promised Land.
Modern Testimony: The man called of God to bring forth the Book of Mormon, the Prophet Joseph Smith, was known to Lehi from the record of his progenitor Joseph of Egypt.
Hence, Joseph Smith testified of Lehi, and Lehi witnessed concerning Joseph Smith.