Thank you for reading my postings. I'm grateful to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ. The gospel of Jesus Christ means everything to me and I am so grateful for this opportunity to share my thoughts and testimony. I adore my wife and my three awesome children. My wife and I currently teach Sunday School to the young single adults in our ward (congregation). I welcome your comments and suggestions.View all articles by William
Answer: Good question. First, I think it is a mistake to say that the Old Testament Prophets did not have similar experiences to Nephi's. Many of the Biblical prophets had great revelations. We know, for example, that Moses spoke with God face to face. Isaiah also saw the Lord and prophesied of his birth, life and sacrifice in beautiful poetic language. John, the apostle, saw the same vision that Nephi saw, but only John was allowed to write the end of the vision, where Nephi was asked to stop at a certain point. (See 1 Nephi 14:19-28) These and hundreds of other Biblical revelations were both magnificent and glorious.
I think the apparent difference is not in the quality of the experiences, but more of a difference in the way that these prophets shared their experiences. Because of the wickedness of the Children of Israel, many of the Old Testament prophets veiled their teachings using literary devices and symbolic language rather than plain speech. One reason for this is explained in 2 Nephi 28:30 where Nephi says that the more righteous and teachable a people are, the more knowledge can be revealed to them. The Nephites, on the other hand, were more receptive. So they received a more detailed account of Nephi’s vision. The Book of Mormon prophet Jacob explained it in these words:
"But behold the Jews were a stiffnecked people; and they despised the words of plainness, and killed the prophets, and sought for things that they could not understand. Wherefore, because of their blindness, which blindness came by looking beyond the mark, they must needs fall; for God hath taken away his plainness from them, and delivered unto them many things which they cannot understand, because they desired it." (Jacob 4:14)Nephi also made it a point to use very clear, understandable language. Nephi explains the reason for this and further explains the mode of teaching that was used by the Old Testament prophets in the 25th Chapter of 2 Nephi. He declares, ". . . my soul delighteth in plainness unto my people, that they may learn." (2 Nephi 25:4, see verses 1-7)