CLICK HERE to read Omni.
Omni is a third one-chapter-book in the Book of Mormon, having received the records passed down to him from his father, Jarom (verse 1). Excepting he doesn’t write much, and so this short chapter actually has several authors as the records keep getting passed on. It’s a sad chapter that begins to tell the destruction of the people.
Omni leads into Mosiah, almost like a monologue setting the scene before Act Two opens.
Act Two is very different from Act One. Act One was full of covenant people living covenant laws doing covenant things. Act Two opens with this chapter, starting with the confession that Omni has acted like the covenant person he knows he should be:
“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” (verse 2).
What happens when the covenant people do not act like covenant people?
Contention that leads to hating that leads to war that leads to scattering that leads to destruction. This is what happens to Omni’s people (verse 3).
And that’s all of Omni that is actually written by Omni.
His son, Amaron, takes over the narration in this book, stepping up to fulfill the family obligations even though his father didn’t.
The only thing Amaron writes in the this book of Omni? That the wicked part of the Nephites have been destroyed (verse 5).
Why did this happen?
Because they did “not keep my commandments” (verse 6).
“Wherefore, the Lord did visit them in great judgment; nevertheless, he did spare the righteous… but did deliver them out of the hands of their enemies” (verse 7).
And that’s all we get from Amaron, who passes the plates on to Chemish, also the son of Omni (Amaron’s brother).
Except all Chemish says is his witness that Amaron wrote their records as was commanded by their father. That’s it!
So then Abinadom, the son of Chemish and grandson of Omni, takes over next. He writes of the war and contention he witnesses between the Nephites and the Lamanites. And then that’s all he says. Sadness.
So his son, Amaleki, writes next. He writes of King Mosiah, telling the story of how King Mosiah (like Lehi, and like Moses) was told that the people should flee out of the land. So King Mosiah led the people to the land of Zarahemla by hearkening “unto the voice of the Lord” as the people departed the land and went into the wilderness (verse 12).
He says that King Mosiah was a good King, doing “as the Lord commanded him” (verse 13). The people wandered through the wilderness, “and they were led by many preachings and prophesyings. And they were admonished continually by the word of God; and they were led by the power of his arm…” (verse 13). This is so much like the Israelites being led through the wilderness! We could even say it is like us, wandering through mortality, led and empowered by the Spirit to know where to go and what to do.
Then there is a fun reunion! King Mosiah discovers the people living in Zarahemla, and they say they left Jerusalem (like Lehi and his family) at the time of Zedekiah, king of Judah, when the people there were carried away captive into Babylon (verse 15).
“And they journeyed in the wilderness, and were brought by the hand of the Lord across the great waters, into the land where Mosiah discovered them; and they had dwelt there from that time forth” (verse 16).
So many parallels to Lehi and his family leaving Jerusalem!
So many parallels to Moses and the Israelites travelling through the wilderness!
The difference, however, is that these people had not brought records with them, and so had fallen away from what they used to know – including no longer being a covenant people, and even their language changing. So King Mosiah becomes their king as well, and teaches them his language. The people of Zarahemla shared what they could remember about their genealogy, and bring King Mosiah a stone with engravings on it “and he did interpret the engravings by the gift and power of God” (verse 20).
So Amaleki is the great-granson of Omni, and he says he lived at the time of King Mosiah and when his son Mosiah’s son Benjamin became King (verse 23).
“And it came to pass that I began to be old; and, having no seed, and knowing king Benjamin to be a just man before the Lord, wherefore, I shall deliver up these plates unto him, exhorting all men to come unto God, the Holy One of Israel, and believe in prophesying, and in revelations, and in the ministering of angels, and in the gift of speaking with tongues, and in the gift of interpreting languages, and in all things which are good; for there is nothing which is good save it comes from the Lord” (verse 25).
“And now, my beloved brethren, I would that ye should come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption. Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved” (verse 26).