Lehi and clan move out of Jerusalem, leaving everything behind. They return back for only 2 things: the brass plates and Ishmael’s family. What made the brass plates so important they needed to be returned for? Putting a lot on the line for a possession seems foolish until you realize what this record meant.
The Scriptures are of Great Worth
There are dozens of references to the importance of keeping a record in the early chapters of the Book of Mormon. Records were important to Nephites so they could teach their children, and pass down their language.
Because “good inspiration is based upon good information”, we can infer that the more we record, the more we can pull from and apply. The Nephites understood the importance of information, but lacked the same means of storing information we have in the modern age. Digital storage allows much cheaper and practical storage for us, but the Nephites used what they had and that was metal.
Nephi understood that preserving the record of their pepole would be influential and made sure to express that space was precious and needed to be saved for the most important details in 1 Nephi 6:
If the Nephite’s records eventually became our scripture, what could happen from things we record? Will conference talks recorded in the present be compiled into some formal collection of canonized holy writ at a future time? Would presenting conference talks in a format similar to the scriptures (ie leather bound pages) give us a greater interest in what it contained?
The willingness to return to Jerusalem for the plates shows a marked determination to keep a record. The context of the story reflects how important they should be to us. If Nephi was willing to go all the back to retrieve them, fail twice, and try again, reason would say there’s something to be gained from reading them.