|Books of the Book of Mormon|
The Book of Omni is one of the books that make up the Book of Mormon. The book contains only one chapter although it covers more than two centuries of Nephite history (from ca 323 BC to 130 BC, according to footnotes).
The record passes from generation to generation
(This first portion is found previous to the Book of Omni)
Nephi, who wrote First and Second Nephi forged the record, a book written on sheets, or plates of gold.
Nephi passed them to his brother Jacob
Jacob passed them to his son Enos
Enos passed them to his son Jarom
Jarom passes them to his son Omni
In the Book of Omni, we find that:
Omni passes them to his son Amaron (Omni 1:3)
Amaron passes them to his brother Chemish (Omni 1:8)
Chemish passes them to his son Abinadom (Omni 1:10)
Abinadom passes them to his son Amaleki (Omni 1:12)
The initial author was Omni, but several others were charged with keeping the record as time passed, though few made significant contributions. In verse 5 it is explained that "the more wicked part of the Nephites were destroyed." There is little detail about the destruction, except to say that the Lord did visit them in great judgment because of their wickedness.
Chemish speaks of many wars between the people of Nephi and the Lamanites.
Amaleki speaks of the then current Nephite king, named Mosiah. As had happened previously, the Lord told the king (who appears to be a spiritual leader (prophet) as well as a secular leader) to lead the righteous Nephites out of the land of Nephi to a new place. They discover a group of the Mulekite people whose ancestors had also come from Jerusalem, but after it was attacked by the Babylonians. These people, however, did not bring religious or historical records with them which had two results- they had lost their religion, and they were unable to preserve their language from generation to generation. These people are known as the people of Zarahemla (their then current king, and also the name given to the land. Mosiah arranges for the people of Zarahemla to be taught the Nephite language, and Zarahemla is able to recount to him their oral history.
The two groups of people united themselves with Mosiah as their king, and they are all known as Nephites.
The first mention of the Jaredites is found here as well. A large stone is found with writing on it. Mosiah is able to "interpret the engravings by the gift and power of God." It tells of a man named Coriantumr and the downfall of his people. Their history is recounted more fully in the Book of Ether.
Mosiah, the king dies and his son, Benjamin, becomes king. There is a war between the Nephites and Lamanites, which by this time is nothing new.
Ameliki then describes some of the Nephites who wish to return to the land of Nephi, apparently in an attempt to reclaim it. At the time Ameliki stops writing, he has not received word of them, including his brother who is among them.
Amaleki closes with some words about Christ, asserting that his words are true and that it is his intent to help others come unto Christ. He states at the close of the book that, having no descendants to carry on the record-keeping, he will give the records to King Benjamin.
The Book of Omni is notable also for being the last of the books contained on the Small Plates of Nephi, one of two major divisions of the gold plates which Joseph Smith, Jr. translated to obtain the Book of Mormon.
From First Nephi to the end of Omni, the book is presented in a first person narrative from the writers themselves (although there are many quotations). The following book, the Words of Mormon, are an explanation given by Mormon who takes the next book of history — the Large Plates of Nephi — and writes it himself in a third person manner, from Mosiah to Fourth Nephi.
According to the Book of Mormon, Omni is the first writer of several authors of the Book of Omni, and the son of Jarom. Omni wrote the first three verses of the Book of Omni before passing the responsibility of keeping the Book of Mormon record to his son, Amaron. His writings are shown below:
- Behold, it came to pass that I, Omni, being commanded by my father, Jarom, that I should write somewhat upon these plates, to preserve our genealogy—
- Wherefore, in my days, I would that ye should know that I fought much with the sword to preserve my people, the Nephites, from falling into the hands of their enemies, the Lamanites. But behold, I of myself am a wicked man, and I have not kept the statutes and the commandments of the Lord as I ought to have done.
- And it came to pass that two hundred and seventy and six years had passed away, and we had many seasons of peace; and we had many seasons of serious war and bloodshed. ea, and in fine, two hundred and eighty and two years had passed away, and I had kept these plates according to the commandments of my fathers; and I conferred them upon my son Amaron. And I make an end.
|Nephite record keeper of the small plates
Sometime before 323 B.C. - 317 B.C.