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Lesson 21 - Life in the Desert, Lehi the Poet — A Desert Idyll

TitleLesson 21 - Life in the Desert, Lehi the Poet — A Desert Idyll
Publication TypeManual Lesson
Year of Publication1957
AuthorsNibley, Hugh W.
Manual TitleAn Approach to the Book of Mormon
PublisherThe Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Place PublishedSalt Lake City
KeywordsArabia; Lehi (Prophet); Plagiarism; Poetry; Shakespeare, William

One of the most revealing things about Lehi is the nature of his great eloquence. It must not be judged by modern or western standards, as people are prone to judge the Book of Mormon as literature. In this lesson we take the case of a bit of poetry recited extempore by Lehi to his two sons to illustrate certain peculiarities of the Oriental idiom and especially to serve as a test-case in which a number of very strange and exacting conditions are most rigorously observed in the Book of Mormon account. Those are the conditions under which ancient desert poetry was composed. Some things that appear at first glance to be most damning to the Book of Mormon, such as the famous passage in 2 Ne. 1:14 about no traveler returning from the grave, turn out on closer inspection to provide striking confirmation of its correctness.