Before I begin with Omni, a word on what you’ll be reading. The authors of the book of Omni are many. Often I think people look at this book of scripture and use it as a case and point for getting people to keep records (i.e. journals). While I think that is certainly true, I believe there is more to it. I think it’s also easy to think that because these record keepers, didn’t write much, they weren’t righteous. After all, Omni confesses his wickedness. We have to remember that we don’t have the entire story. Some of these authors summarized their entire life in one verse. For me, that wouldn’t encompass who I am or what I’ve done. I’m not trying to say these men were perfect or even unrighteous. All I’m saying is that we don’t have a lot on them, so keep an open mind. For this post, each of the authors of Omni has a positive thing they did in their life as the section heading, even if they admitted to their wickedness. Doing this for me, I realized that everyone has a part to play in the grand scheme of things. Not everyone’s contribution (even as a prophet or record keeper) will be the same. My hope for you is that you get a lot out of the short books mentioned in today’s post.
Omni is the son of Jarom, who is the son of Enos, who is the son of Jacob, who was the brother of Nephi. We get the book of Omni because his father, Jarom, commanded him to write a little to preserve the genealogy of his fathers.
Omni Keeps the Records
Omni isn’t much of a writer, two verses is all we get after his introduction. He fought much with the sword to preserve the people of the Nephites from falling into the hands of the Lamanites. But he says he is a wicked man and has not kept the statues and commandments of God as he ought to have. Cross reference the footnote, he confessed, he seems to be honest and have humility. When you are wicked, you don’t have a great desire to keep the records. Or if you do, it isn’t much and involves confessing. Wickedness never was happiness.
Many years pass away. there are many seasons of peace and many seasons of bloodshed. But Omni keeps the record safe according to the commandments of his father and passes them down to his son Amaron. Before we move on to Amaron, I want to say one last thing about Omni. Even though he felt like he failed his father, both on writing things and living up to the commandments of God, I feel like the fact that he preserved and kept the records, in some way, he tried to make up for it to his dad. Maybe he was thinking, “I know I’m a bad person, I know that I haven’t written in this at all. I’m sorry I failed you. But I promise that I’ll keep these records safe. They won’t fall into the wrong hands, that I can promise you”. And I think he achieved that. I don’t know for sure but I like to think that’s how it went.
Amaron Saw the Destruction of the Majority of his People
The next person is Omni’s son, Amaron. Like his father, he isn’t much of a writer. He pretty much says in verse 4, “I’m going to write what I want”. I wonder what Amaron was like? Anyway, he tells us that the more wicked part of the Nephites were destroyed. However, the Lord suffered the righteous to live. Thus verifying “if ye keep my commandments, ye shall prosper in the land. But if ye keep not my commandments, ye shall not prosper”. I feel like this saying is repeated a lot in scriptures. I think it still rings true today. So be good! Obey the commandments of God!
Chemish Saw the Plates Being Written
Now the plates move on to Chemish, Amaron’s brother. We get one verse of him. He bears his testimony of the record upon which he is writing. He says that he saw his brother, Amaron, write the things he wrote with his own hand. He also wrote it the same day he delivered the plates unto him. And after this manner they keep the records. I actually kind of like this verse. It’s not story or spiritual truth, it’s just straight, “I saw this guy write in the scriptures”. It’s a little more personal.
Abinadom Fought for His People and Country
Next in line is Abinadom, son of Chemish. The way Abinadom writes is reminiscent of Omni. He says that he has seen many wars between his people, the Nephites, and the Lamanites. He himself has killed many Lamanites in defense of his people and country. He too, adds his testimony. Saying that he knows of no other prophecy or revelation save that which is written on these plates which is had by kings for its protection.
Amaleki Saw Peace Again in the Land
Finally, we have Amaleki. He was born in the days of King Mosiah. He lived to see his death and his son, Benjamin, reign in his stead. Amaleki also saw much contention and bloodshed between the Nephites and Lamanites. But the Lord did grant the Nephites the advantage and King Benjamin did drive them from the land of Zarahemla. Amaleki, having no seed and perceiving King Benjamin to be a just man, decides to deliver the plates unto him. He exhorts all men to come unto Christ and to belive in spiritual gifts and that all evil things come from the devil, and all good things from God.
Mosiah Leaves the Land of Lehi-Nephi
Right before his record ends, it gets interesting. We’ll have to backtrack a little so the story makes sense.
Mosiah the first is warned of the Lord to flee out of the land of their first inheritance, the land of Lehi-Nephi (the place where Lehi’s family settled when they first landed in America). Mosiah takes as many as will follow him, along with the plates of brass that were brought out of the land of Jerusalem. He and his followers journey through he wilderness until they stumble upon the people of Zarahemla. They find out that the people of Zarahemla originally came out of Jerusalem at the time of King Zedekiah, just like Lehi and his family. I wonder if Lehi was aware that the Lord would lead others out of Jerusalem? Anyway, they had stayed in Zarahemla the entire time, had grown large in size, but their language was corrupted, and they denied their creator. Nobody from Mosiah’s group could understand them.
Then Mosiah’s group teaches the people their language. I wonder how long that took! After they had learned the language of Mosiah, Zarahemla (the name of the king–as well as the city) recounts the genealogy of their fathers according to his memory. It’s written somewhere, but not in these plates. Darn! I want to know his genealogy! Anyway, the people of Mosiah and the people of Zarahemla unite. Mosiah becomes their king. One day, Mosiah is brought a stone, a large one with engravings. Mosiah interprets it by the power of God. It was the story of a Coriantumr (from the Jaredite nation) who found the people of Zarahemla shortly before he died. He was the last Jaredite. The rock told of their coming out from the tower of Babel and the judgements that fell upon the people. All their bones lay scattered northward in the land which would come to be called Desolation.
Obtaining the Land of Their First Inheritance
Now we are back up to the present time. A group containing a large amount of people were desirous to obtain again the land of their first inheritance, the land of Lehi-Nephi. they go up into the wilderness to search for it. But, their leader was a stiff-necked man and he caused a contention. All but 50 of this large group were slain. These survivors returned back to Zarahemla to get more people. Then they set out again. Amaleki had a brother who went with the second group. He hasn’t heard any word from him or if he is alive or not. Amaleki is about to die, so he makes an end of the record. How sad to die wondering what happened to your brother!
Cross reference Mosiah chapter 9! This chapter tells the story of this band that went out. The first and second time. I will relate some of that story here.
What Happened to the Group
Zeniff was a member of the party who left the people of Mosiah to go inherit the land of Lehi-Nephi. He role in the group was a spy. He was sent to scout out the Lamanite city that was in the area. He saw they had that which was good and wanted to spare them destruction. Apparently the Nephite group had enough people to destroy a Lamanite city). Zeniff wanted to make a treaty with them. Their unnamed leader was angry with Zeniff and wanted to kill him. But others protected him and thus the fight commenced. Only 50 survived and they returned to Zarahemla. Zeniff was over zealous to possess the land so he goes back with as many people who want to come. They talk with the Lamanite king and he says they can have the land. They possess it for 12 years until the Lamanite king grows worried about them and brings them into bondage. They continue to have kings up until Limhi. The people of Limhi eventually escape bondage and are found again by the people of Mosiah II (Mosiah the first’s grandson).
Mormon Abridges the Plates and Sees Nearly the Entire Destruction of his People
That’s it for Omni. Let’s jump into Words of Mormon. It’s pretty short so we’re nearly done with this post.
Mormon was one of the last prophets in the Book of Mormon. He’s living about 321-400 AD. Huge leap in time. But bear with me. Although this section is short, it’s important.
Mormon has witnessed almost all the destruction of his people. He believes that his son, whom he is about to deliver the records to, will witness the entire destruction of the people. He prays that God will spare him that he may be able to write the things that are beneficial.
Mormon made an abridgement of the plates of Nephi down to King Benjamin. Also from Jacob to King Benjamin and many of the words of Nephi. How long did Mormon have to read records in order to abridge everything? He said he searched all the plates that had been delivered into his hands. How many did he have? Probably a ton! We are talking nearly 1000 years of history! It would take forever to go through these! He likes these first couple of books of scripture because of the things they tell of Christ. Many of the prophecies have come to pass and many will come to pass after his day. He cannot put a hundredth part of the records in here. but he put these parts in because they are choice to him and he believes they will be choice unto his brethren. And the Lord is working his will through him. For the Lord knows all things.
Mormon wishes that his people will one day becomes a delightsome people again.
The Plates Pass to King Benjamin
After Amaleki gives the plates to King Benjamin, King Benjamin keep all the records he had received that they may be passed down until Mormon, which they were.
King Benjamin was a great man who labored for the people with his whole might of body and faculty of the soul. Throughwhich, he and the other prophets did establish peace int he land (and he fought with Laban’s sword!)
That’s it for this installment. We’ve now finished many of the short books in the Book of Mormon. Stay tuned for the next series!