“The age in which we live is one of doubt and unbelief. Skepticism is spreading. All faith in divine things, as taught by the ancient servants of God, is being unsettled,” writes author George Q. Cannon in The Life of Nephi, the ninth book in the Juvenile Instructor Office’s Faith-Promoting Series. This work, written in 1888 and just released as a free e-book on Project Gutenberg, offers a deeply thoughtful look at the life of a central figure in The Book of Mormon. Born circa 615 B.C. in Jerusalem, Nephi was a man of deep faith and devotion to God and his family:
“The Prophet Nephi, whose life we here present, was one of the greatest and most advanced of these teachers of heavenly truths. There have been but few men, so far as we know, who comprehended, and spoke, and wrote about them as plainly as did he. He had a personal knowledge of the doctrines, principles and facts respecting which men now dispute. He has written fully upon them.”
Nephi’s father Lehi foresees the destruction of Jerusalem, a result of the wickedness of the people. His family is instructed by God to flee into the wilderness to avoid impending destruction, and the family consequently spends years wandering in the wilderness, encountering various calamities and trials of faith. Cannon details the challenges, triumphs, joys, and heartaches seen by Nephi and his family as they seek to act in accordance with the will of God.
While Nephi’s story is familiar to many of the LDS faith, Cannon’s book offers deeper insights on Nephi’s unfailing devotion to his faith. Cannon details the lineage of Nephi and his family and provides detailed context to the age in which Nephi and his family lived. These details become enlightening as we learn that acting on one’s faith had far more life-endangering consequences than in present times, thus demonstrating Nephi’s unwavering character and spiritual strength.
This book will provide historical as well as spiritual insights to both LDS and non-LDS individuals alike and will inspire, strengthen, and lift.
Margaret Willden, one of our summer 2015 BYU editing interns, proofread and produced The Life of Nephi and contributed to this post.