After I Nephi had finished the ship, my brethren beheld that it was good and that the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine; wherefore, they did humble themselves again before the Lord.
And the voice of the Lord came unto my father that we should arise and go down into the ship. And it came to pass that after we had all gone down into the ship, and had taken with us our provisions and things which had been commanded us, we did put forth into the sea and were driven forth before the wind towards the promised land.
And after many days, my brethren and the sons of Ishmael and also their wives began to make themselves merry; yea, insomuch that they began to dance and to sing; and were lifted up to exceeding rudeness.
Wherefore I, Nephi, began to speak to them with much soberness and they were angry with me. And Laman and Lemuel did take me and bind me with cords insomuch that I could not move. And the compass, which had been prepared of the Lord did cease to work. And there arose a great storm, and we were driven back upon the waters for the space of three days; and my brethren began to be frightened. And it came to pass that we were about to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea. And my brethren began to see that the judgments of God were upon them; wherefore, they came to me, and loosed the bands which were upon my wrists.
After they had loosed me, behold, I took the compass, and it did work. And I prayed unto the Lord. And the winds did cease, and the storm did cease, and there was a great calm. And I, Nephi, did guide the ship, that we sailed again towards the promised land.
And after we had sailed for the space of many days we did arrive at the promised land.
Abridged by Arnold Friberg from the First Book of Nephi
In the words of the artist:
“The question when painting LEHI AND HIS PEOPLE ARRIVE IN THE PROMISED LAND was, how to picture Nephi’s ship. In the Book of Mormon we read the puzzling words that it was not built after the manner of men. So what did it look like? Again, Mr. Words can duck, but Mr. Pictures can’t. He must paint something that somehow satisfies us as looking real and reasonable. Faced with this decision, I reasoned that God, who works by natural laws, not in defiance of them, isn’t going to instruct Nephi to build a bizarre oddity defying all engineering logic, just to be different from man’s usual designs. Just to conjecture, God’s instructions to Nephi might have revealed something merely in advance of its time, unknown in that period of ship building. Possibly such a simple thing as the steering rudder, not yet invented in Nephi’s time, might have made his ship “not after the manner of men.” At least we may be sure that they did have sails. For we are told they “were driven forth before the wind.”
In the picture of the ship’s arrival in the promised land, I added a bit of interesting detail: the flying birds are not seagulls. They are the swallow-tailed Roseate Terns, included because they are found in the waters off Central America, thus adding a touch of geographical authenticity without trying to pinpoint any precise location. In the painting, Father Lehi holds the sacred Liahona in his hands. It is the symbol of the Lord’s fulfilled promise to His people. Illustrating as it does the Book of Mormon, this picture may rightly be labeled as “religious art.” Yet, far from expressing mere piety, it is filled with the bursting excitement of an adventure story, bringing to our ears the joyous cry of “Land Ho!” The sacred Liahona held by Lehi has fulfilled the Lord’s promise to His people, and has truly led them to the shores of the promised-land.” Arnold Friberg
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