Six hundred years before the birth of Christ, most of the Jews living in Jerusalem were wicked. At that time, a prophet named Lehi was given a vision and he began to prophesy to the people about the coming messiah named Jesus, and he warned them to repent or else Jerusalem would be destroyed and the people killed by the Babylonians or taken away as captives.
When Lehi testified of their wickedness and abominations, the Jews mocked him. And when he testified about the coming of the messiah, they became angry and tried to kill Lehi, chasing him away. Jesus was pleased with Lehi for telling these things to the people.
In a dream, Jesus told Lehi to leave Jerusalem and go to the wilderness because the people were seeking to kill him. So Lehi left behind his gold, silver, and precious things, and headed into the wilderness with just some tents, some provisions, and his family: his wife Sariah, and sons Laman, Lemuel, Sam, and Nephi.
After traveling for 180 miles, they set up camp at the shore of the Red Sea. Lehi's two oldest sons Laman and Lemuel did not believe their father's prophecies were true, and they complained that he lead them into the wilderness and left behind all their wealth. But the youngest son, Nephi, desiring to know the mysteries of God, prayed to Jesus.
Jesus visited Nephi and confirmed to him that Lehi's words were true. He blessed Nephi and told him, "If you keep my commandments, I will lead you to a promised land that is finer than all other lands, and you will prosper there and become a leader over your brothers. When your brothers rebel against me, I will painfully curse them."