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Joseph and Nephi: Rivalry and Reconciliation
TitleJoseph and Nephi: Rivalry and Reconciliation
Publication TypeExcerpt
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsHardy, Heather
Secondary AuthorsSmith, Julie M.
Book TitleAs Iron Sharpens Iron: Listening to the Various Voices of Scripture
PublisherGreg Kofford Books
Place PublishedSalt Lake City
KeywordsFamily; Fiction; Joseph (of Egypt); Nephi (Son of Lehi); Obedience; Rivalry

Sometime after Lehi’s death, rivalry drove his sons apart. Those who took his advice and chose to follow Nephi had been directed by God to abandon the land of their first inheritance and flee into the wilderness where they founded a new settlement, known later as the city of Nephi. They made “many swords” in preparation for the day when their kinfolk, the Lamanites, would come to battle against them. Nephi was named king and commanded by the Lord to write a second account of his family’s history, focusing on sacred events, to supplement the more comprehensive record he had already prepared. Now that the family enterprise of becoming a righteous branch to restore Israel’s fortunes in a new land of promise has apparently failed, Nephi is unsure how to proceed with these smaller plates. He has stalled for a decade and tells us twice that although he will continue to write out of obedience, the “wise purpose” of this second account remains a mystery to him. In the conversation which follows, Nephi turns to his forefather Joseph of Egypt, whom he has just recorded Lehi quoting at length in his final blessings, for guidance and encouragement.