Lehi's Vision in 1 Nephi 1 Analyzed

The Book of Mormon begins with an account of the vision in which Lehi beheld God seated in the midst of a heavenly congregation. In this experience, Lehi learned of the judgments of God that were about to befall the arrogant and unrighteous city of Jerusalem. Comparing this vision of of Lehi’s with similar so-called Council Visions had by other prophets near the time of Lehi is the aim of a new paper. In it, John W. Welch documents striking correlations between the Book of Mormon account and the judgment visions of other pre-Exilic Israelite prophets. From these accounts it is concluded that the prophet is being admitted into the council of God, where he hears and sees the deliberations and receives a commission to deliver faithfully the very words of this court’s verdict. For a prophet to know the secret confidences of such a council (“sod”) appears to be tantamount in the ancient accounts to knowing the mysteries (“sod”) of God, the paper explains. This and other Book of Mormon articles will be published soon in the proceedings of the second annual Book of Mormon Symposium sponsored by the BYU Religious Studies Center.