At this point, Nephi's younger brother Jacob has started keeping the record. At some point before his book starts, Nephi has died and left Jacob in charge of the ministry. And he does a brilliant job of it, I may add. Some of the most beautiful sermons in the Book of Mormon are taught by Jacob. However, I would never be able to do them justice, so I'll just stick to the stories (if you do want to read them, however, the Book of Mormon is available to download for free on the app store. Or, if you see any of those young men walking around in suits and ties with nametags that say "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints" and really want to make their day, you could ask them for a copy ;)).
Most of the Book of Jacob contains his sermons, but one story stands out. Near the end of Jacob's life, there came an Anti-Christ named Sherem, who taught there was no such thing as Christ. He was known as a well-learned man, and also as a bit of a flatterer. What he really wanted was to convince Jacob that Christ would never come, so one day he came to Jacob and started the equivalent of a Book of Mormon Bible Bash. During this, Sherem did the one of the worst things you can when you're fighting God: he asked for a sign.
You'll see later that Anti-Christs (people preaching against the idea of Christ) asking for a sign always leads to trouble for them. The purpose of a miracle is to strengthen a testimony already established, and to help others. Miracles were never meant to be the reason someone believed. In the case of Anti-Christs, they want a miracle as proof that what they are saying is wrong, but at that point, they are denying every other piece of evidence they have. God will give them a sign, but it won't be something they like.
Jacob tried to warn Sherem, but Sherem insisted, so God gave him a sign. Sherem was struck by God. He fell to the ground and had to be helped to get basic nourishment for several days, before he finally told the people in general that he knew he was going to die, and he had something he wanted to say. When they were all gathered, he told them that what he had been preaching was wrong, and that he had been deceived. When he couldn't speak anymore, he died.
I've always wondered about this story, because on his deathbed, Sherem did repent. I've always wondered what happened to him afterward. Mostly I just feel sorry for him. I can't imagine the guilt and the heartache he went through in those last days of his life, the horror he would have felt when he received God's sign. I also kind of admire what he did at his death, admitting he was wrong. It takes a lot of courage to admit to anyone when you've been wrong, even when you know it's true.
Oh, and for everyone who has only just started reading these Book of Mormon stories, the link to the beginning is here. I post them every Tuesday. :)
Fare thee well, friend!