Samuel the Lamanite
Samuel the Lamanite was the only Book of Mormon prophet identified as a Lamanite. Apart from his sermon at Zarahemla (Hel. 13—15), no other record of his life or ministry is preserved. Noted chiefly for his prophecies about the birth of Jesus Christ, his prophetic words, which were later examined, commended, and updated by the risen Jesus (3 Ne. 23:9—13), were recorded by persons who accepted him as a true prophet and even faced losing their lives for believing his message (3 Ne. 1:9).
Approximately five years before Jesus' birth, Samuel began to preach repentance in Zarahemla. After the incensed Nephite inhabitants expelled him, the voice of the Lord directed him to return. Climbing to the top of the city wall, he delivered his message unharmed, even though certain citizens sought his life (Hel. 16:2). Thereafter, he fled and "was never heard of more among the Nephites" (Hel. 16:8).
Samuel prophesied that Jesus would be born in no more than five years' time, with two heavenly signs indicating his birth. First, "one day and a night and a day" of continual light would occur (Hel. 14:4; cf. Zech. 14:7). Second, among celestial wonders, a new star would arise (Hel. 14:5—6). Then speaking of mankind's need of the atonement and resurrection, he prophesied signs of Jesus' death: three days of darkness among the Nephites would signal his crucifixion, accompanied by storms and earthquakes (14:14—27).
Samuel framed these prophecies by pronouncing judgments of God upon his hearers. He spoke of a final devastation—four hundred years distant—that would end Nephite civilization because of its rebellion against God. This desolation would come through "the sword and with famine and with pestilence" (13:9; cf. Morm. 1:19). He spoke of curses from God on the land (13:17—20, 23, 30, 35—36), on property (13:18—19, 21, 31), and on the people themselves (13:19, 21, 32, 38). Such afflictions would arise because the Nephites would knowingly reject true prophets while accepting false ones, clamor for wealth, and refuse to acknowledge the blessings of God (13:19—34). Samuel reiterated the judgments of God against the Nephites (15:1—3, 17) and then emphasized the divine promises extended to the Lamanites—including assurances for "the latter times" of "restoration" (15:4—16).
Brown, S. Kent. "The Prophetic Laments of Samuel the Lamanite." In From Jerusalem to Zarahemla: Literary and Historical Studies of the Book of Mormon, 128—45. Provo, Utah: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1998.
S. Michael Wilcox