2 Nephi 6: Jacob recounts Jewish history: The Babylonian captivity and return; the ministry and crucifixion of the Holy One of Israel; the help received from the Gentiles; and the Jews’ latter-day restoration when they believe in the Messiah. About 559–545 B.C. 2 Nephi 7: Jacob continues reading from Isaiah: Isaiah speaks messianically—The Messiah will have the tongue of the learned—He will give His back to the smiters—He will not be confounded—Compare Isaiah 50. About 559–545 B.C. 2 Nephi 8: Jacob continues reading from Isaiah: In the last days, the Lord will comfort Zion and gather Israel—The redeemed will come to Zion amid great joy—Compare Isaiah 51 and 52:1–2. About 559–545 B.C. 2 Nephi 9: Jacob explains that the Jews will be gathered in all their lands of promise—The Atonement ransoms man from the Fall—The bodies of the dead will come forth from the grave, and their spirits from hell and from paradise—They will be judged—The Atonement saves from death, hell, the devil, and endless torment—The righteous are to be saved in the kingdom of God—Penalties for sins are set forth—The Holy One of Israel is the keeper of the gate. About 559–545 B.C. 2 Nephi 10: Jacob explains that the Jews will crucify their God—They will be scattered until they begin to believe in Him—America will be a land of liberty where no king will rule—Reconcile yourselves to God and gain salvation through His grace. About 559–545 B.C.
1 Nephi 1: Nephi begins the record of his people—Lehi sees in vision a pillar of fire and reads from a book of prophecy—He praises God, foretells the coming of the Messiah, and prophesies the destruction of Jerusalem—He is persecuted by the Jews. About 600 B.C. 1 Nephi 2: Lehi takes his family into the wilderness by the Red Sea—They leave their property—Lehi offers a sacrifice to the Lord and teaches his sons to keep the commandments—Laman and Lemuel murmur against their father—Nephi is obedient and prays in faith; the Lord speaks to him, and he is chosen to rule over his brethren. About 600 B.C. 1 Nephi 3: Lehi’s sons return to Jerusalem to obtain the plates of brass—Laban refuses to give the plates up—Nephi exhorts and encourages his brethren—Laban steals their property and attempts to slay them—Laman and Lemuel smite Nephi and Sam and are reproved by an angel. About 600–592 B.C. 1 Nephi 4: Nephi slays Laban at the Lord’s command and then secures the plates of brass by stratagem—Zoram chooses to join Lehi’s family in the wilderness. About 600–592 B.C. 1 Nephi 5: Sariah complains against Lehi—Both rejoice over the return of their sons—They offer sacrifices—The plates of brass contain writings of Moses and the prophets—The plates identify Lehi as a descendant of Joseph—Lehi prophesies concerning his seed and the preservation of the plates. About 600–592 B.C. 1 Nephi 6: Nephi writes of the things of God—Nephi’s purpose is to persuade men to come unto the God of Abraham and be saved. About 600–592 B.C. 1 Nephi 7: Lehi’s sons return to Jerusalem and invite Ishmael and his household to join them in their journey—Laman and others rebel—Nephi exhorts his brethren to have faith in the Lord—They bind him with cords and plan his destruction—He is freed by the power of faith—His brethren ask forgiveness—Lehi and his company offer sacrifice and burnt offerings. About 600–592 B.C.
Years ago, I heard a Bishop say: “Brothers and sisters, the restoration was messy.” I didn’t think much about his wording at the time. But over the few years following (including my mission), I encountered a lot of people wanting to “educate” me about early Church leaders. Joseph Smith was the most common target, of course. They cited all sorts of stories about him that seemingly “proved” he was a lying, womanizing con man. I mostly brushed off these claims during my mission. Those critics were not historians. I knew their agenda. I figured they were mostly lies, or at least huge distortions of the history. So, when I got home from my mission, I bought an 800-page history of Joseph Smith. It was written by an active stake patriarch and Church historian who worked on the Joseph Smith Papers project, so I figured his book would blow away all those false accusations with the fiery testimony of truth. But I was surprised to find that instead of tearing down all the stories the critics had told me, history largely confirmed them. And you know what? That’s OK!