Book of Mormon first page analysis in Claude’s ‘Fatal Flaws of the Most Correct Book on Earth’

1Nephi CHAPTER 1

1 I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father…therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days.

[Story timeline is 600BC according to JS. Nephi’s/JS writing timeline is anyone’s guess; 568BC according to Joseph Smith, likely, 1829.]

Yea, I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of theJews and the language of the Egyptians.

One comment: Josephus the Jewish Historian says in his ‘History of the Jews’ that the term ‘Jew’ was first applied to the descendants of Judah when they returned from the Babylonian captivity. This would be decades after Lehi was supposed to have left Jerusalem. This term would be unfamiliar and never used by House of Judah people in 600BC!

For Hebrew families living all their days at Jerusalem who weren’t Levite Scribes, being literate in Egyptian would be unthinkable! It would be even less thinkable that a ‘Lay’ person [Laban] would have all the sacred books of the Bible down to Jeremiah including Micah and Malachi and not just on scrolls, but everything engraved on brass [bronze] plates! Having this in the current Egyptian language would appear sacrilegious to most pious Hebrews. It appears that Laban wasn’t a Levite scribe either. How can a pious Hebrew boy say the language of his father who dwelt in/at Jerusalem all his days was Egyptian?

Was Lehi preaching in the streets of Jerusalem in Egyptian? Who did he learn it from? There was no point in Lehi or Laban knowing Egyptian, or Laban translating unobtainable copies of Hebrew scripture into Egyptian even if somehow he was literate in the language. It’s one thing to speak and understand your mother tongue, which most people did, but to be literate in two tongues was the domain of Scribes.

It didn’t happen unless you were one of them. It was a ‘craft’ that Levites dominated and they didn’t just teach ‘anybody’ to read and write languages. The only reason for ‘Egyptian’ was that JS needed the record in an unknown tongue so no one could challenge his translation! If the speculation of Hugh Nibley would be correct and that Lehi was a merchant who traded with Egypt, he might speak rudimentary Egyptian but to read and write something like the Hebrew scriptures in Egyptian would need special schooling for Lehi and family as well as Laban, Ishmael and their families, and it wasn’t available to anyone but a very small group of Levite Scribes.

If Lehi didn’t live at Jerusalem all his days but lived in Elephantine, Egypt with his family, and he found a ‘literate’ Egyptian-Jew, he could be literate in Hebrew and Egyptian, but that’s a different story than what JS tells.

3 And I know that the record which I make is true; and I make it with mine own hand; and I make it according to my knowledge.

How can Nephi say he knows the record is true when he is barely into the third verse? He wrote less than 100 words! Nephi probably writes about 30-40 years later relying on his memory and his father’s record if we can believe Joseph Smith.

4 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); and in that same year there came many prophets, prophesying unto the people that they must repent, or the great city Jerusalem must be destroyed.

*2Kings 24:14 says: ‘…none remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land.’ This is the state of Jerusalem immediately prior to Zedekiah being placed on the throne by the Babylon King in 597BC. The only true prophet in Jerusalem to declare God’s word was Jeremiah. All people of substance were taken captive to Babylon in 598BC, including Ezekiel. Jerusalem was sacked and little was left for Lehi or anyone else to preach repentance to. Bad timing for Joseph Smith! If prophets came immediately after the surrender and sacking of Jerusalem in 598BC saying ‘the people must repent, or the great city of Jerusalem must be destroyed’; the poor people who remained would wonder what cave these prophets lived in and who inspired them! Jeremiah’s prophesy was fulfilled and God led all the ‘good figs’ to Babylon. See Jeremiah 24:5 ‘Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good’. [598BC, just before Zedekiah.]

Jeremiah says in vs. 8: ‘And as the evil figs, which cannot be eaten, they are so evil; surely thus saith the LORD, so will I give Zedekiah the King of Judah, and his princes, and the residue of Jerusalem, that remain in this land, [Lehi & family] and them that dwell in the land of Egypt:

9 And I will deliver them to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth for their hurt, to be a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse, in all places whither I shall drive them.’

10 ‘And I will send the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, among them, till they be consumed from off the land that I gave unto them and to their fathers.’

[The Nephites, if they existed, were certainly consumed off the land and removed for ‘their hurt’!]

A case is to be made that part of the ‘evil figs’ not taken captive to Babylon, were Lehi and family who were driven to a distant ‘kingdom of the earth’ for their ‘hurt’, where they became a reproach, a taunt and a curse! (This was Lehi’s oldest sons’ fate, the Amerindians! Helaman 8:22 ‘Our father Lehi was driven out of Jerusalem’

Nephi obviously never lived in Jerusalem before or during the first year of the reign of Zedekiah or he wouldn’t say what he just said about ‘many prophets’. He wouldn’t say his father lived all his days in Jerusalem but his language was Egyptian. That would be the first oxymormon. (The Bible does say ‘many false prophets’ came to Zedekiah.) It’s unfortunate for JS that he picked the worst possible time for his story, departing from Jerusalem at that time. Jerusalem had just been ‘sacked’ by the King of Babylon and 10,832 captives were taken into Exile.

When Nebuchadnezzar put Zedekiah on the throne, 2Kings 24:14 says: ‘And he [King of Babylon] carried away all Jerusalem, and all the princes, and all the mighty men of valor, even ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths: none remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land.’

This is the contradictory environment in which JS starts his story; with wealthy Laban who can ‘command fifty’ with his servants where he is in his treasury working on an OT translation on nonexistent brass. We have wealthy Lehi with his country estate and treasures! Ishmael, with his available family is not deported. Lehi’s sons could have been considered ‘mighty men of valor’ or ‘apt of war’. Vs. 16 further defines ‘…and smiths a thousand, all that were strong and apt for war, even them the King of Babylon brought captive to Babylon.’ (598BC)  The next vs. says it was then that the Babylon King put Zedekiah on the throne!

The Jewish Historian, Flavius Josephus tells it this way in his ‘Antiquities of the Jews’, pg 307: “…for the King of Babylon…gave orders to his generals to take all that were in the city captives, both the youth and the handicraftsmen, and bring them bound to him; their number was ten thousand eight hundred and thirty-two; as also [King] Jehoiachin, and his mother and friends…and appoint Jehoiachin’s uncle, Zedekiah, to be king.’

If we back up to page 306 we have a prelude of what happened three or four months before Zedekiah was made King that the BOM story totally ignores.

‘…he [The Babylonian King] did not observe the covenants he had made, but he slew such as were in the flower of their age, [Not Nephi or Ishmael’s daughters.] and such as were of the greatest dignity, [Not Laban or Lehi!] together with their King Jehoiakim, whom he commanded to be thrown before the walls, without any burial; and made his son Jehoiachin King of the country, and of the city: he also took theprincipal persons in dignity for captives, [Not Lehi, Laban or Ishmael] three thousand in number, and led them to Babylon; among which was the prophet Ezekiel, who was then but young.’

This was 3-4 months before Zedekiah was placed on the throne. Jehoiachin reigned only 3 months before he was replaced by Zedekiah. So here we find that three to four months before Zedekiah was placed on the throne the King of Babylon killed ‘such as were in the flower of their age’. This couldn’t affect Nephi or Sam or the daughters of Ishmael! Sure! The ‘principal persons in dignity for captives’ wouldn’t be Lehi, Laban or Ishmael! Why didn’t Nephi find this important enough to mention if his brothers and sisters weren’t killed in ‘the flower of their age’? How did they escape this first deportation of 3,000 and the second of 10,832, four months later?

Josephus continues in Chapter VII: ‘But a terror seized on the King of Babylon, who had given the kingdom to Jehoiachin, and that immediately; he was afraid that he [Jehoiachin] should bear him a grudge, because of his killing his father, and thereupon should make the country revolt from him; wherefore he sent an army, and besieged Jehoiachin in Jerusalem; but because he [Jehoiachin] was of a gentle and just disposition, he did not desire to see the city endangered on his account, but he took his mother and kindred, and delivered them to the commanders sent by the King of Babylon, and accepted of their oaths, that neither should they suffer any harm nor the city; which agreement they did not observe…for the King of Babylon did not keep it, but gave orders to his generals to take all that were in the city captives, both the youth and the handicraftsmen, and bring them bound to him; their number was ten thousand eight hundred and thirty-two and appointed Zedekiah as king.’

Joseph Smith should know it’s perilous to write history if you have never studied history! To give a fuller picture of Jerusalem, another quote from 2Kings 24:11 ‘And Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon came against the city, and his servants did besiege it…And he carried out thence all the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king’s house, and cut in pieces all the vessels of gold which Solomon King of Israel had made in the temple of the LORD, as the LORD had said.’

What about the treasures from Laban’s house, or those from Lehi’s house? Do you think they would be spared? Next to silver, bronze was the most precious and useful metal from which swords and shields and artifacts are made. There was no ‘brass’ during this period. So ‘brass plates’ is a misnomer. The modern Bibles translate the term ‘brass’ to the correct ‘bronze’.  The ‘treasures of the house of the LORD would include the 12 bronze oxen and the ‘sea’ that they supported. Next to gold and silver, bronze was on the Babylonian King’s list for removal. If the soldiers are ransacking and looting the city for the second time just before Zedekiah is placed on the throne, do you think they didn’t go to the district where the wealthy lived and ransacked those houses? The Bible says all the persons of dignity (wealthy) were deported! Can we believe that Laban’s villa next to the High Priest’s villa, along with Lehi’s two villas are all untouched? They took all the bronze from the temple but left Laban’s stacks of bronze plates intact in his Treasury? Sure!

Our smart Mormon God who was once a ‘Man’ and is learning on the job has inspired Laban from youth to become literate in Hebrew. He did this by inspiring a Levite Scribe to break the rules and teach someone not of his tribe to read and write Hebrew. God picked this scribe in 620BC because this particular scribe was also literate in Egyptian when King Josiah was paying tribute to Pharaoh Necho of Egypt. It was Necho who put Jehoiakim on the throne that Nebuchadnezzar threw from the city walls; (according to 2Kings) but was carried to Babylon in fetters (according to 2Chronicles) in the 1st sacking of Jerusalem. It was just 6 mos. and two kings before Zedekiah started to reign in 597BC after this second sacking; it left only the poorest people of the land. In all of this upheaval and turmoil, Laban was constrained by the ‘spirit’ to scratch on the hard brass surface, plate after plate of sacred Hebrew text into Egyptian that God’s special angel was wafting from the temple before it was sacked; scroll after scroll from the sanctuary where they were placed by the High Priest. The Mormon God was doing this year after year counting on the diligence of Laban to accomplish this important task so that the soon to be called prophet Lehi could take them with him to America. But, God is busy multi-tasking and let Lehi depart without the ‘bronze’ plates and it took God a couple of weeks and 200 miles on foot by Lehi and family, before God remembered the purpose of working with Laban on a daily basis for the past 30 years.

This is the environment where Lehi was preaching repentance and warning about a future destruction to Jerusalem! When they took the prophet Ezekiel captive, why not Lehi? Why doesn’t Lehi/Nephi tell us how they escaped all of this, two months before they left for the Red Sea? For Joseph Smith, the big event was Lehi’s dream which paralleled the dream of his own father recited many times to the family.

7 AICTPT he returned to his [our] own house at Jerusalem; and he cast himself upon his bed, being overcome with the Spirit and the things which he had seen. [Like all the Elders that were taken captive?]

Nephi just happened to come home after his archery lesson so he was able to see this. Nephi himself was amazed how his mind could recall these details after 30 or more years! JS probably thought by using the term ‘at Jerusalem’ it gave him more flexibility, not fully realizing that Jerusalem was a ‘walled city’. You either lived ‘in’ Jerusalem or you didn’t.

Vs 7 must be chalked up to another error on the part of JS, unless Lehi was really a wealthy merchant. Having a ‘house at Jerusalem’ and one in his ‘inheritance’ land of the half tribe of Manasseh would mean he had to cross through the lands of one or two tribes before he was at his ‘country estate’ with all the gold, silver and treasures. It’s extremely difficult to believe that Lehi and family along with Laban and Ishmael and their families all survived as though the history the Bible and Josephus speak of, never existed! If Lehi had a house that wasn’t protected by the wall of Jerusalem, his was one of the first to fall to the invading Babylonian army along with his gold and silver and precious things! The house of Ishmael was next with his 5 daughters killed, being in ‘the flower of their age’ or captive and headed for Babylon. (Events occurring 1-3 months before Zedekiah became King of Judah!) JS’s story couldn’t occur without reconciling the historical events in Judea, that we hear absolutely nothing about!

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