1 Nephi 8:17-18
17 And it came to pass that I was desirous that Laman and Lemuel should come and partake of the fruit also; wherefore, I cast mine eyes towards the head of the river, that perhaps I might see them.
18 And it came to pass that I saw them, but they would not come unto me and partake of the fruit.
In the first chapter of 2 Nephi, Lehi addresses those same wayward sons. There he twice uses an intriguing word, “beginning.” In 1 Nephi, it was used to mean the beginning of Israelite history, the beginning of their journey, the beginning of a book, and the beginning—before the world was. Here Lehi uses it twice. The first time is clearly before the world was (2 Nephi 1:10). The second time is not so clear. It reads:
15 But behold, the Lord hath redeemed my soul from hell; I have beheld his glory, and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love.
16 And I desire that ye should remember to observe the statutes and the judgments of the Lord; behold, this hath been the anxiety of my soul from the beginning.
17 My heart hath been weighed down with sorrow from time to time, for I have feared, lest for the hardness of your hearts the Lord your God should come out in the fulness of his wrath upon you, that ye be cut off and destroyed forever (2 Nephi 1:15-17).
The whole tenor of Lehi’s admonition carries an eternal connotation, causing one to wonder if the words, “this hath been the anxiety of my soul from the beginning.” Does this suggest his premortal understanding of his sons’ tendency to separate themselves from God?