Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2009, March 20

“Book of Mormon: Were the Lehites Led Out or Kicked Out of Jerusalem by the Lord?” by grego

“Book of Mormon: Were the Lehites Led Out or Kicked Out of Jerusalem by the Lord?”

(c) 2009

In the Book of Mormon, Lehi, Nephi, and all the prophets clearly understand that the Lord led the Lehites out of Jerusalem to save them, because of the wickedness of the inhabitants of Jerusalem (1 Nephi 1:4, 13; 3:17, 18; 5:4, 7:13, 14, 15; 17:14; 19:20, 2 Nephi 1:1, 3-5; Jacob 2:32, Omni 1:6, Mosiah 1:11, 2:4, 7:20; Alma 9:9, 22; 36:29; Helaman 8:22).

Laman, Lemuel, and many of the children of Ishmael have different opinions:
1 Nephi 2:11 Now this he spake because of the stiffneckedness of Laman and Lemuel; for behold they did murmur in many things against their father, because *he was a visionary man, and had led them out of the land of Jerusalem*, to leave the land of their inheritance, and their gold, and their silver, and their precious things, *to perish in the wilderness*. And this they said he had done because of the *foolish imaginations of his heart*.
1 Nephi 2:13 *Neither did they believe that Jerusalem, that great city, could be destroyed according to the words of the prophets*. And they were like unto the Jews who were at Jerusalem, who sought to take away the life of my father.
1 Nephi 16:35 And it came to pass that the daughters of Ishmael did mourn exceedingly, because of the loss of their father, and because of their afflictions in the wilderness; and they did *murmur against my father, because he had brought them out of the land of Jerusalem*, saying: Our father is dead; yea, and we have wandered much in the wilderness, and we have suffered much affliction, hunger, thirst, and fatigue; and after all these sufferings *we must perish in the wilderness* with hunger.
1 Nephi 16:36 And thus they did murmur against my father, and also against me; and they were *desirous to return again to Jerusalem*.
1 Nephi 17:20 And thou art like unto *our father, led away by the foolish imaginations of his heart; yea, he hath led us out of the land of Jerusalem*, and we have wandered in the wilderness for these many years; and our women have toiled, being big with child; and they have borne children in the wilderness and suffered all things, save it were death; and it would have been better that they had died before they came out of Jerusalem than to have suffered these afflictions.
1 Nephi 17:22 And *we know that the people who were in the land of Jerusalem were a righteous people*; for they kept the statutes and judgments of the Lord, and all his commandments, according to the law of Moses; wherefore, *we know that they are a righteous people*; and *our father hath judged them, and hath led us away because we would hearken unto his words; yea, and our brother is like unto him*. And after this manner of language did my brethren murmur and complain against us.

All of these thoughts become a Lamanite tradition, and even worse:
Mosiah 10:12 They were a wild, and ferocious, and a blood-thirsty people, believing in the tradition of their fathers, which is this–Believing that they were *driven out of the land of Jerusalem because of the iniquities of their fathers*, and that they were wronged in the wilderness by their brethren, and they were also wronged while crossing the sea…

In addition, the birth and life of Jesus in a faraway land was a point of contention leading to unbelief in some:
Helaman 16:17 And they began to reason and to contend among themselves, saying:
Helaman 16:18 That it is not reasonable that such a being as a Christ shall come; if so, and he be the Son of God, the Father of heaven and of earth, as it has been spoken, why will he not show himself unto us as well as unto them who shall be at Jerusalem?
Helaman 16:19 Yea, why will he not show himself in this land as well as in the land of Jerusalem?
Helaman 16:20 But behold, we know that this is a wicked tradition, which has been handed down unto us by our fathers, to cause us that we should believe in some great and marvelous thing which should come to pass, but not among us, but in a land which is far distant, a land which we know not; therefore they can keep us in ignorance, for we cannot witness with our own eyes that they are true.

And notwithstanding the continuous reminders that the Lord had led them away and preserved them from destruction and blessed them, we still have things like this:
Jacob 7:26 And it came to pass that I, Jacob, began to be old… the time passed away with us, and also our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream, we being a lonesome and a solemn people, wanderers, *cast out from Jerusalem*, born in tribulation, in a wilderness, and hated of our brethren, which caused wars and contentions; wherefore, we did mourn out our days.

So, I imagine it was an important enough tradition about the Lehite and Mulekite beginnings that when Jesus came to visit this “lost” people, and perhaps because Jesus had lived his mortal life in another part of the world, and only appeared to them after His resurrection, that He told them:
3 Nephi 15:19 But, verily, I say unto you that the Father hath commanded me, and I tell it unto you, that ye were separated from among them because of their iniquity; therefore it is because of their iniquity that they know not of you.

Once more… What is the likelihood that Joseph Smith displayed this wonderful threading of the “leaving Jerusalem” theme throughout the Book of Mormon?

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