The books of Jarom and Omni show us many things. One of the first messages we read in these books is that the Small Plates of Nephi were running out of space! Jarom writes, “I Jarom, do not write more, for the plates are small…” (Jarom 1:14) and Amaleki tells us, “… these plates are full.” (Omni 1:30)
The main reason I share with students the explanation of the plates, and how Mormon added the record of Lehi is to show that the Lord was aware of what would happen to the Book of Lehi hundreds of years before it was lost by Martin Harris. Mormon writes, “I do this for a wise purpose; for thus it whispereth me, according to the workings of the Spirit of the Lord which is in me. And now, I do not know all things; but the Lord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore, he worketh in me to do according to his will” (Words of Mormon 1:7). Understanding that the Lord is aware of all things, and that he sees events before they happen, will strengthen the faith every serious student of scripture. We can trust the Lord that when he prompts us to do something, that even though we may not understand why, the Lord does. And that should be sufficient.
The second thought that I have shared from Omni has to do with the fact that time always vindicates the prophets. When Nephi and his family leave Jerusalem in 600 B.C., his brothers accuse him of trying to usurp power. They argue that Jerusalem would not be destroyed, and that Lehi was imagining things when he led his family away from the city (1Nephi 17:20-22).
When the descendants of Nephi leave the land of Nephi in the Americas and meet the people in Zarahemla, the truth that Jerusalem was destroyed is finally proven: “They discovered a people who were called the people of Zarahemla… Mosiah discovered that the people of Zarahemla came out from Jerusalem at the time that Zedekiah, king of Judah, was carried away captive into Babylon…” (Omni 1:14-15) This people that lived in Zarahemla had the tradition of Mulek’s escape from Jerusalem. They knew that this city was destroyed, as Lehi had prophesied. Sometimes the words of the Lord are proven to be correct years after it is revealed.
There are many examples of this. We see this in the prophecy Joseph Smith made regarding the Civil War (see D&C 87). Jeremiah predicted that within 70 years of his prophecy, the Jews would return to Jerusalem: “For thus saith the Lord, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.” (Jeremiah 29:10) Isaiah’s messianic prophesies (see Isaiah 53:3-5) were fulfilled hundreds of years later.
The third thought I will share that Omni relates to us has to do with the power of the scriptures. The people of Mulek do not take the scriptures with them when they leave Jerusalem: “they had brought no records with them” (Omni 1:17). Because of this, the Mulekites faces two important consequences: 1)They lose their language, and 2)They lose their faith in God. We read, “their language had become corrupted… and they denied the being of their Creator; and Mosiah, nor the people of Mosiah, could understand them” (Omni 1:17).
The practical application is clear: keeping and reading the word of God is a preservative in this life of trials and uncertainty. It is good for the people of Zarahemla that Mosiah and his people had the language and the faith of their ancestors preserved. In what ways can you preserve the things that are most dear to you in your life? In what ways have the scriptures blessed your life? How have they preserved you?