Nephi is abused and scared of his brothers.

I am working on Gileriodekel’s Book of Mormon, and I came across LDS 2nd Nephi 4:15-35. I was particularly struck by this bit of scripture.

Nephi describes how even though he has had some full blown visions, visitations, and was helped across the sea, he feels unworthy of all of it; he feels like a failure. He feels downright depressed!

Verses 21-22 is what changes the whole meaning of the text for me. What he is describing is the events of LDS 1st Nephi 17:53-55 (Nephi filled with power, God shakes Laman and Lemuel). However, Nephi doesn’t describe his brothers as his brothers, he describes them as his “enemies”.

He goes on to say that he is very angry with his enemies (his brothers), and doesn’t want to be anymore. He asks the Divine to save him from them, and asks for a way to escape them. He specifically asks if the Divine will make it an easy escape.

This is a reading I had never understood before. Nephi has suffered from domestic abuse at the hands of his brothers several others times. At this point it has gotten so bad that he needs to quickly flee from his abusers (who he doesn’t even recognize as his family at this point), which he ultimately does. It is no wonder why Nephi describes himself as being depressed. I would likely be as well if I were in his shoes.