The Lost Book of Lemuel

“Sunday Sermon?”

There are always two sides to the story.
“No matter how thin you make the batter, there are always two sides to the pancake.”

BYU archeologists recently discovered the Book of Lemuel, Nephi’s older brother. It was hidden in a temple in the jungles of Mesoamerica. Book of Mormon Central scholars have now translated the text. Here is my revision and abridgment:

 Chapter One

I, Lemuel, having been born of zealous nagging parents, therefore, my brother Laman and I have been harassed much of our lives. Not only by our parents, but also by our younger, self-righteous brother Nephi.  

Chapter Two

Dad is crazy!  The Old Man says we must leave our friends in Jerusalem and go into the wilderness.  He thinks he’s some kind of Moses. 

He came home angry after yelling at people to repent. They threw rocks and garbage at him.  No kidding! 

I think one of the rocks hit him in the head and scrambled his brains. When he came home, he laid on his bed for hours.  Laman thought it was a coma.  So did I.

Chapter Three

The Old Man now says we have to leave everything we own because he had a dream! Unbelievable!  He says he had another dream, and we have to go back to town and get some brass records from Uncle Laban. No way will Laban hand them over! Laman says we shouldn’t go.  I agree.  

Chapter Four

Laman and I were finally forced into going back to the city. The hike was murder. 

Laban got drunk.  He was so mad, he beat up Laman. Better him than me!

We stopped by our old house and got gold to buy the brass plates, but Laban’s gang chased us away and stole our stuff. 

Laman was furious!  I thought his head would explode.

We grabbed some got sticks and started beating Nephi. Then some weird angel showed up and told us to knock it off. Nephi lucked out!

Nephi went back to the city by himself. He chopped off Laban’s head, and stole the plates. I didn’t know Nephi had it in him! And everybody thinks Nephi so righteous! Now he is a thief and a murderer! Go figure!

Chapter Five

The Old Man finally came to his senses.  He sent us back into the city to get Ismael’s daughters.  They are babes! Laman and I picked the “hottest” ones. 

Nephi chose a “sweet spirit” — all smart and spiritual. His loss!

Nephi is a real pain in the camel’s behind! He keeps pestering us to “repent,” and “go and do.”  We ignore him. What a hypocrite!  Who does he think he is!  Laman started calling him a “thief” and “murderer.” Me too.

Chapter Six

I’m not happy!  I got food poisoning from roasted scorpions. Nephi said I should cut off the tails, but Laman told him to shut up.  Maybe Nephi was right.

Nephi keeps telling me to think for myself and stop agreeing with everything Laman says and stop following Laman around like a puppy.  

The Old Man found a gold ball thingy.  He stares at it for hours. He thinks it tells us where to go. We all just want to go back home. We don’t need a compass for that.

Mom thinks she’s pregnant.  She’s too old to have a baby.  Laman says it’s just gas from the crappy food. I agree.

 Chapter Seven

Well, Mom had a baby.  She named him Jake, short for Jacob. Laban thinks the name is too common.  So do I.  

I now have two kids.  I named them Jezebel and Judas. Uncle Nephi calls them “little terrors,” and says they need to repent. Nephi sounds like a broken record. It’s always, “Repent!” and “Go and Do.” Laman told Nephi to mind his own business.  I agreed.

My wife is getting buff. She could probably beat me in arm wrestling. I think it’s from eating all the raw steaks.  The Old Man says we can’t cook food. Laman says that’s nonsense. Me too.  

Laman’s wife is huge! I called her an “eight cow wife.” I thought it was funny, but she beat me up. Laman also thought it was funny, but he didn’t say that to her face.  Nephi told us to repent. AGAIN!

 Chapter Eight

Nephi says God told him to build a ship. Yea, right!  Nephi’s never even seen a ship. Laman and I laughed at him.  Now, he thinks he’s Noah, and Dad thinks he’s Moses.

Nephi’s weird angel forced us to help out. Nephi kept complaining that we weren’t working hard enough.  He kept pestering us. He finally gave up and finished the ship by himself.  Laman said that would happen. I agreed.  

Nephi broke his metal super bow. We were starving.  Even Dad complained. Nephi told us to consider it as a religious fast. His self-righteous attitude is super annoying.

Chapter Nine

It’s now been eight very long years. We have suffered hardship after hardship. Blisters, scorpion bites, snake bites, food poisoning, hunger, thirst, and broken teeth from the grit in our food.

But the worst part is Nephi’s nagging. He constantly tells us to “repent” and “cease murmuring,” whatever that means. We need some way to shut him up. 

Nephi’s ship is finally finished. Laman said it wouldn’t float.  So did I.

Nephi wants to name the boat “Go and Do.”  Laman laughed and said it was a stupid name.  Laman thought we should name it “Homesick” or “Nightmare.” Me too.  

Mom had another baby.  He’s called Joe. Laman said it was a dumb name.  I agreed.   

Chapter Ten

We are now at sea.  I got seasick!  Will we ever see land again? 

The voyage is so boring! Laman said we should party.  I agreed.

We got drunk, and Nephi got really mad.  We finally shut him up by tying him to the mast and stuffing a rag in his mouth.  No more: “Repent!” “Go and Do!” “Murmur Not!”

A giant storm hit.  The Old Man said God is punishing us. Yea, right!  I got so seasick I thought I would die.  Nephi’s wife persuaded the wimps in the family to let Nephi loose.

Chapter Eleven

We survived the sea voyage and finally landed. 

It’s my turn to hunt, but there might be dangerous animals in this new area.  Maybe I can con Jake or Joe into going for me.

We’ve barely arrived and Nephi is already talking about building a temple. Laman told Nephi to give it a rest. So did I.

Laman told me the only way we’ll get any peace and quiet is to move out on our own. I agreed.  Seems like a good idea. Anything to get away from “Mr. Repent.”

Chapter Twelve

We finally moved away. For once, we got some peace and quiet.  No more “Go and Do.”  No more “Repent.” No more “Murmur Not.”

Laman said since he is the eldest, he should be our leader.  I agreed.  It’s tradition. Nephi always said God wanted him to rule over us. But Laman said Nephi was just making it all up. Me too.

Since we moved away, we have developed a weird skin rash.  It’s itchy. We can’t seem to get rid of it.  Our skin seems to be getting darker.  Must be the sun.  

Laman said that Nephi would probably call it a “curse” for our supposed “unrighteousness.” I agree. What a bunch of nonsense! We had a good laugh.  I’m sure our skin problem will go away eventually.

The End

[I originally came across a copy of “Lemuel’s Diary,” author unknown. Although I have re-written it, I cannot get full credit — or blame.]


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