Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2011, December 19

“Book of Mormon | Internal Consistency: Lehi and Nephi Know the Old World; Later Nephites Don’t” by grego

Book of Mormon: Internal Consistency: Lehi and Nephi Know the Old World; Later Nephites Don’t


Some people like to make a big deal out of how Joseph Smith didn’t know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, not Jerusalem! Ok, like that never came up during Christmas, I’m sure… But as many have shown, Alma says “in the land of Jerusalem” not “in Jerusalem”, and then go on to explain that the Nephites–over 500 years later–likely wouldn’t have known much about the Old World.

This short study furthers that thinking. Lehi and Nephi seem clear where Babylon is:

1 Nephi 1:13 And he read, saying: Wo, wo, unto Jerusalem, for I have seen thine abominations! Yea, and many things did my father read concerning Jerusalem—that it should be destroyed, and the inhabitants thereof; many should perish by the sword, and many should be carried away captive into Babylon.

1 Nephi 10:3 That after they should be destroyed, even that great city Jerusalem, and many be carried away captive into Babylon, according to the own due time of the Lord, they should return again, yea, even be brought back out of captivity; and after they should be brought back out of captivity they should possess again the land of their inheritance.

Nephi knows Nazareth:
1 Nephi 11:13 And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the great city of Jerusalem, and also other cities. And I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white.

And where Bethabara and Jordan are:
1 Nephi 10:9 And my father said he should baptize in Bethabara, beyond Jordan; and he also said he should baptize with water; even that he should baptize the Messiah with water.

which is consistent with what John (but not the other gospel writers) writes:
John 1:28 These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.

(Also note that Nephi correctly names no countries, places, or cities in his vision of the promised land or of Europe!)

What is the likelihood that Joseph Smith would not have known that Jesus was born in Bethlehem but to know that Mary was from Nazareth (and not Nazarene!); and would have found one passage in the Bible in John to copy the location of Jesus’ baptism?

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