Question: Was Nephi simply listening to "a voice in his head" telling him to kill Laban as the result of a psychosis or delusion?

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Question: Was Nephi simply listening to "a voice in his head" telling him to kill Laban as the result of a psychosis or delusion?

This position would be a possibility, were it not for the fact that Nephi has already seen an angel

A secularist critic might insist that Nephi is merely listening to himself in his head—he is delusional or psychotic. This position would be a possibility, were it not for the fact that Nephi has already seen an angel, whose divine credentials are clear. And, Nephi has not seen this being alone—his three brothers have also seen, including Laman and Lemuel, who are not inclined to do more to recover the plates. Thus, Nephi can be confident that the angel is no delusion, and the angel has both reinforced what God told him earlier, and given him a command to go back and find Laban.

After Nephi's initial mental refusal to kill Laban, the Spirit speaks to him twice more, and provides Nephi's mind with thoughts and reasons to obey the Lord:

  • "Behold the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands." (1 Nephi 4:11 - the Spirit says the same thing that the angel told Nephi would happen.
  • "I also knew that he had sought to take away mine own life; yea, and he would not hearken unto the commandments of the Lord; and he also had taken away our property." (1 Nephi 4:11).
  • "And it came to pass that the Spirit said unto me again: Slay him, for the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands' Behold the Lord slayeth the wicked to bring forth his righteous purposes. It is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief" (1 Nephi 4:12-13).

The Spirit again repeats the angel's message, and Nephi then realizes that this commandment ties into something which the Lord told him earlier:

I remembered the words of the Lord which he spake unto me in the wilderness, saying that: Inasmuch as thy seed shall keep my commandments, they shall prosper in the land of promise. Yea, and I also thought that they could not keep the commandments of the Lord according to the law of Moses, save they should have the law. And I also knew that the law was engraven upon the plates of brass (1 Nephi 4:14-16).

Notes