Apocalypticism in the Book of Mormon and the Striking Lack Thereof

Lehi and Nephi have apocalypses? Why doesn’t anyone else? (Brother of Jared doesn’t count, he’s not a Lehite)

It seems a little odd to me that two of the greatest prophets of the Lehite/Nephite people (and the first two to boot) have these amazing apocalyptic visions and then there was nothing. For 1000 years or so.

The reason that this strikes me as so odd is because when apocalyptic visions start occurring during the OT and continuing on through the Second Temple period, they get more and more popular. Lehi and Nephi come out of the start of this flood of crazy dreaminess. So why didn’t it catch on in the Promised land?

Or did it? There are evidences that several others  possibly also had similar apocalyptic experiences. Jacob, the younger brother of Nephi, is said by Nephi both to have seen him (2 Ne. 11:3; no promise of an apocalypse here admittedly) but Jacob himself says that God showed him that Jerusalem was destroyed, that the people would return, that Christ would come and be crucified (ok this is starting to sound like Nephi’s vision, you think maybe Jacob asked to see it and got to too?), and then he goes on about the Gentiles, and now I’m starting to think maybe Jacob’s vision was apocalyptic (2 Ne. 6:8-18).

Several other popped into my mind as I thought about working in the Book of Mormon that could be construed as hidden apocalypses. Nephi son of Helaman converses with angels (Hel. 5:36) and the Lord when he receives the sealing power (Hel. 10:3-7). His son, Nephi, has even stronger clues because he describes himself as seeing angles on more than one occasion, being an eye witness (to what exactly?), and receiving the power to know about Christ’s coming ministry, and being given a ministry of judgment, and the people get angry with him, and he casts out devils, and on and on and on (3 Ne. 7:15-20).  Is there any way that he didn’t have an apocalyptic experience?

Mormon and Moroni both present themselves as good candidates too. Mormon was visited of the Lord and “tasted of his goodness”(Morm. 1:15-17). Moroni knows so much that if he had the time he could make all things known to us (c’mon, that’s apocalyptic all the way) and he says that the Lord showed it all to him and that he’s seen us (Morm. 8:12, 34, 35). And I could probably find others.

So why aren’t these prophets sharing their visions? Commanded not to? Maybe, they seem not to mind letting some of the details slip. I think that what’s really going on here is Nephi and his darned delighting in plainness. First he says that his people don’t understand the ways of the Jews because he’s not teaching it to them (the Jews were wicked, why learn their ways? 2 Ne. 25:2) and then he says that he loves Isaiah but that he really likes it when things are plain and straightforward (2 Ne. 25:4). It’s not impossible for his people to figure it out with the spirit of prophecy but he doesn’t seem like he’s going to encourage it either.

So I blame Nephi. I think he set a precedent that the Nephite prophets followed throughout the course of their history. Maybe especially Mormon and Moroni since they redacted the final version of the text. Too bad, I wonder what else we might have been able to learn with a few more nice apocalypses to chew on.

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