There are eleven lessons in the manual on the writings of Nephi. Nephi’s writings are so profoundly complex and remarkably rich that I can’t resist putting together an introduction to all eleven lessons. Ten weeks is enough time, of course, only to begin to reflect on Nephi’s record, but I’ll be providing too much information in my lesson notes anyway. This introduction will be, in many ways, crucial to making sense of anything I have to say about Nephi’s record over the course of lessons 2-11.
Fawn Brodie said the following about Joseph Smith: “There are few men … who have written so much and told so little about themselves. To search his six-volume autobiography for the inner springs of his character is to come away baffled. … His story is the antithesis of a confession” (No Man Knows My History, p. vii). Referring to Joseph Smith with these words, I think Brodie was bafflingly wrong, but had she been referring to Nephi, she couldn’t have said something more accurate.