A Young Folks' History of the Church HTML version
The Book Of Mormon
You will all be interested in knowing what was written on the plates which the prophet
Joseph Smith received from the angel Moroni, so in this chapter I will tell you very
briefly. Some time you will want to read the whole book, which of course is the better
You have read in your histories and geographies that ruins of great cities have been found
in many places in America, showing that at one time there were people here more
civilized than the Indians. The writings on these plates told the history of these peoples.
Six hundred years before Christ was born, there lived in the city of Jerusalem a prophet
by the name of Lehi. He had at that time four sons, Laman, Lemuel, Sam, and Nephi. The
Lord told Lehi that because of the wickedness of the city, it would soon be destroyed, and
if he wished to be saved he must take his family and travel into the wilderness. This Lehi
did. They went south-eastward until they got to the sea where they built a ship in which
to cross to a promised land. While camping in the wilderness Lehi sent his sons back to
Jerusalem to get some records of their forefathers, and it was through the faithfulness of
Nephi that this was done.
After many days of sailing, they at last landed on the west coast of South America in
what is now called Chili.
The two older boys, Laman and Lemuel were often disobedient to their father, and many
times they brought trouble to the little company. They also treated their younger brother,
Nephi, badly because he would not agree with them but tried to do as his father told him.
When Lehi died, Nephi was chosen their leader, but soon Laman and Lemuel became
dissatisfied and again began making trouble. The Lord then told Nephi to take all who
would listen to him and leave the other brothers and those who upheld them in their evil
In this way there became two peoples in the land. Those who went with Nephi were
called Nephites, and those who remained with Laman became Lamanites. The Nephites
built houses, planted fields, and lived as civilized people, and the Lord often revealed his
will to them through prophets and holy men. The Lamanites became lazy, lived in tents in
the forests, and killed wild animals for their food. Their skins also became dark.
The greater part of the Book of Mormon is about these two peoples, their wars with each
other, etc. The Nephites ought to have remained a good people, because the Lord blessed
them so much: yet they often did wrong. The Lord would prosper them until they became
rich; then they would become proud and at last wicked. Then the Lord would allow the
Lamanites to come upon them, and there would be bloody wars. So the story goes for
hundreds of years.
Both nations became very large and occupied the greater part of North and South
At times the Lord would raise up prophets who would preach to the wicked. Usually
these teachers were Nephites, but sometimes they were Lamanites. Sometimes great
numbers of Lamanites were converted to the Lord, and when they once accepted the