Gadianton Period

Nephi and Lehi in Prison

Helaman 5:20–22

Nephi and Lehi travel to the land of Nephi, where Lamanite militants capture them, imprison them, and sentence them to death.

And it came to pass that Nephi and Lehi did proceed from thence to go to the land of Nephi. And it came to pass that they were taken by an army of the Lamanites and cast into prison; yea, even in that same prison in which Ammon and his brethren were cast by the servants of Limhi. And after they had been cast into prison many days without food, behold, they went forth into the prison to take them that they might slay them.

Helaman 5:23

As the Lamanites come into the prison to execute Nephi and Lehi, a wall of fire and flames encircle Nephi and Lehi.

And it came to pass that Nephi and Lehi were encircled about as if by fire, even insomuch that they durst not lay their hands upon them for fear lest they should be burned. Nevertheless, Nephi and Lehi were not burned; and they were as standing in the midst of fire and were not burned.

Helaman 5:24–25

The Lamanites are too afraid to proceed with the execution.

And when they saw that they were encircled about with a pillar of fire, and that it burned them not, their hearts did take courage. For they saw that the Lamanites durst not lay their hands upon them; neither durst they come near unto them, but stood as if they were struck dumb with amazement.

Helaman 5:26

Nephi and Lehi call out from the fire to the guards, telling them not to fear, but to believe in God.

And it came to pass that Nephi and Lehi did stand forth and began to speak unto them, saying:

“Fear not, for behold, it is God that has shown unto you this marvelous thing, in the which is shown unto you that ye cannot lay your hands on us to slay us.”

Helaman 5:27–28

The ground begins to shake, and the prison walls rumble, but do not fall—a mist of darkness then envelops the prison.

And behold, when they had said these words, the earth shook exceedingly, and the walls of the prison did shake as if they were about to tumble to the earth; but behold, they did not fall. And behold, they that were in the prison were Lamanites and Nephites who were dissenters. And it came to pass that they were overshadowed with a cloud of darkness, and an awful solemn fear came upon them.

Helaman 5:29

The prison guards hear a voice commanding them to repent and leave Nephi and Lehi alone.

And it came to pass that there came a voice as if it were above the cloud of darkness, saying:

“Repent ye, repent ye, and seek no more
to destroy my servants whom I have sent
unto you to declare good tidings.”

Helaman 5:30–31

The voice is not booming nor is it loud, yet it is poignant and direct to the guards.

And it came to pass when they heard this voice, and beheld that it was not a voice of thunder, neither was it a voice of a great tumultuous noise, but behold, it was a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it did pierce even to the very soul— And notwithstanding the mildness of the voice, behold the earth shook exceedingly, and the walls of the prison trembled again, as if it were about to tumble to the earth; and behold the cloud of darkness, which had overshadowed them, did not disperse—

Helaman 5:32

The voice once again commands them to repent and let Nephi and Lehi go.

And behold the voice came again, saying:

“Repent ye, repent ye,
for the kingdom of heaven is at hand;
and seek no more to destroy my servants.”

And it came to pass that the earth shook again, and the walls trembled.

Helaman 5:33–34

The voice goes on to say unspeakably marvelous things.

And also again the third time the voice came, and did speak unto them marvelous words which cannot be uttered by man; and the walls did tremble again, and the earth shook as if it were about to divide asunder. And it came to pass that the Lamanites could not flee because of the cloud of darkness which did overshadow them; yea, and also they were immovable because of the fear which did come upon them.

Helaman 5:35–36, 39

One guard named Aminadab, an ex–Nephite, sees Nephi and Lehi’s faces through the mists of darkness; they are looking upward, speaking to someone.

Now there was one among them who was a Nephite by birth, who had once belonged to the church of God but had dissented from them. And it came to pass that he turned him about, and behold, he saw through the cloud of darkness the faces of Nephi and Lehi; and behold, they did shine exceedingly, even as the faces of angels. And he beheld that they did lift their eyes to heaven; and they were in the attitude as if talking or lifting their voices to some being whom they beheld.

Now the man’s name was Aminadab…

Helaman 5:37–38

Aminadab notifies the other guards—they all see Nephi and Lehi, and wonder who they are talking to.

And it came to pass that this man did cry unto the multitude, that they might turn and look. And behold, there was power given unto them that they did turn and look; and they did behold the faces of Nephi and Lehi. And they said unto the man:

“Behold, what do all these things mean,
and who is it with whom these men do converse?”

Helaman 5:39

Aminadab explains that Nephi and Lehi are talking to God’s angels.

…And Aminadab said unto them:

“They do converse with the angels of God.”

Helaman 5:40

The guards asks how they can get the dark cloud to disperse.

And it came to pass that the Lamanites said unto him:

“What shall we do,
that this cloud of darkness may
be removed from overshadowing us?”

Helaman 5:41

Aminadab tells them to to remember the teachings of Alma, Amulek, and Zeezrom, and repent through faith in Christ.

And Aminadab said unto them:

“You must repent, and cry unto the voice,
even until ye shall have faith in Christ,
who was taught unto you
by Alma, and Amulek, and Zeezrom;
and when ye shall do this, the cloud of darkness
shall be removed from overshadowing you.”

Helaman 5:42

The guards cry unto God, and the cloud disperses.

And it came to pass that they all did begin to cry unto the voice of him who had shaken the earth; yea, they did cry even until the cloud of darkness was dispersed.

Helaman 5:43

When the darkness dissipates, they see that they are all encircled by a pillar of fire.

And it came to pass that when they cast their eyes about, and saw that the cloud of darkness was dispersed from overshadowing them, behold, they saw that they were encircled about, yea every soul, by a pillar of fire.

Helaman 5:44

Nephi and Lehi are at the center of the pillar of fire, yet are not harmed.

And Nephi and Lehi were in the midst of them; yea, they were encircled about; yea, they were as if in the midst of a flaming fire, yet it did harm them not, neither did it take hold upon the walls of the prison; and they were filled with that joy which is unspeakable and full of glory.

Helaman 5:45

All present experience a pentecostal outpouring of the spirit.

And behold, the Holy Spirit of God did come down from heaven, and did enter into their hearts, and they were filled as if with fire, and they could speak forth marvelous words.

Helaman 5:46–47

The voice comes back, this time commending the people for their faith in Christ.

And it came to pass that there came a voice unto them, yea, a pleasant voice, as if it were a whisper, saying:

“Peace, peace be unto you,
because of your faith in my Well Beloved,
who was from the foundation of the world.”

Helaman 5:48–49

They all look up, see angels coming out of heaven, and are charged to go forth faithfully.

And now, when they heard this they cast up their eyes as if to behold from whence the voice came; and behold, they saw the heavens open; and angels came down out of heaven and ministered unto them. And there were about three hundred souls who saw and heard these things; and they were bidden to go forth and marvel not, neither should they doubt.

Helaman 5:50–52

The converted guards go around and preach to the other Lamanites, many of whom believe, repent, and agree to give back captured Nephite lands and live in peace.

And it came to pass that they did go forth, and did minister unto the people, declaring throughout all the regions round about all the things which they had heard and seen, insomuch that the more part of the Lamanites were convinced of them, because of the greatness of the evidences which they had received.

And as many as were convinced did lay down their weapons of war, and also their hatred and the tradition of their fathers. And it came to pass that they did yield up unto the Nephites the lands of their possession.