Lehi’s Land

The Book of Mormon contains many contradictions with the Bible. One of the most obvious is found in the very first chapter wherein we are told of a man named Lehi who lived in Jerusalem—“the land of his inheritance”.

Nephi 1:3 “…For it came to pass, in the commencement of the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah (my father Lehi having dwelt at Jerusalem in all his days)…”

Nephi 1:29 “…And he left his house, and the land of his inheritance, and his gold, and his silver, and his precious things, and took nothing with him, save it were his family, and provisions, and tents, and he departed into the wilderness…”

Nephi 1:38 “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”

Nephi 1:77 “Therefore let us go down to the land of our father‘s inheritance, for behold he left gold and silver, and all manner of riches… knowing that Jerusalem  must be destroyed…

Nephi 1:147 “And she also had complained against my father, telling him that he was a visionary man; saying, Behold thou hast led us forth from the land of our inheritance, and my sons are no more, and we perish in the wilderness…And it had come to pass that my father spake unto her, saying, I know that I am a visionary man; for if I had not seen the things of God in a vision, I should not have known the goodness of God, but had I tarried at Jerusalem, and had perished with my brethren.”

The above verses say that Lehi’s “land of inheritance” was in Jerusalem. The Nation of Israel had 12 tribes and each tribe held a specific territory. To an Israelite, the land of their inheritance would have been located within the borders of their tribe’s territory. Moreover, God commanded the tribes to strictly maintain their territories and forbade the transference of any Land between the tribes.“  …  No inheritance in Israel is to pass from tribe to tribe, for every Israelite shall keep the tribal land inherited from his forefathers.”    Num 36:5

The contradiction arises when we are also told that Lehi was of the Tribe of Manasseh (Nephi 1:165 / Alma 10:3). Thus, if Lehi were of the Tribe of Manasseh, then the “land of his inheritance” would have been in the territory of the Tribe of Manasseh. But Jerusalem was in the territory of the Tribe of Judah.

This is just one of the many technicalities Joseph Smith missed when he crafted the Book of Mormon. In an effort to cover the obvious error, an organization called “The Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship” published an article titled: “Lehi’s House at Jerusalem and the Land of His Inheritance”. Therein the author concedes that indeed Lehi’s inheritance could NOT have been in Jerusalem as Lehi was of the Tribe of Manasseh; but then explains that Lehi was only sojourning (visiting) Jerusalem while his inheritance was really in Manasseh. Now this explanation could be plausible as members of the other tribes were allowed to sojourn in other territories for a time. But the above verses clearly say that Lehi’s inheritance was in Jerusalem. Moreover, the article provided nothing whereto Lehi ever claimed any inheritance in Manasseh. Rather, the author merely suggest that Lehi traveled to Manasseh by noting some “up and down movements” during his wanderings. But by even suggesting that Lehi had traveled to Manasseh only proves the author’s tremendous lack of Biblical and historical knowledge. For the truth is, Lehi could not have traveled to the Territory of Manasseh; for in Lehi’s time, there was no Territory of Manasseh. The story of Lehi was supposed to have taken place during the reign of King Zedekiah 597-586 B.C. (BOM v3).  By this date, 2 Kings 17:24 tells us that ALL of the northern Tribes of Israel had been completely removed from their lands and scattered throughout the Assyrian Empire. Moreover, their Lands had been renamed and repopulated with people from other regions of the Assyrian Empire—only Judah was left:“…therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight; there was none left but the tribe of Judah only…” 2 Kings 17:18

The Northern Tribes had been completely removed by 722 B.C. The story of Lehi is said to have taken place sometime after 597 B.C. which is at least 125 years after the Northern Tribes were banished. Thus, in Lehi’s time, there could have been no “land of inheritance” for Lehi in Manasseh …because there was no Manasseh!

For more false teaching of Mormonism see:

The Mormon Restoration

The Laws of Mormonism


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