“They Were Like Unto the Jews at Jerusalem Who Sought to Take Away the Life of My Father”

Alan C. Miner

According to John Tvedtnes, one is intrigued by the possibility that the secret combination among the Nephites had its origin in Jerusalem. Who, then, brought the organization to the New World? While it is true that the Jaredites had such a conspiratorial group, the knowledge of its exact nature, including its oaths, was kept from the Nephites even after the Jaredite record was translated by king Mosiah2 (Alma 37:29). So one possible answer is Laman and Lemuel or the sons of Ishmael, whose rebelliousness and attempts to slay Lehi and Nephi betray their true allegiance (1 Nephi 7:16-19; 16:37; 17:44; 2 Nephi 1:24; 5:3). Hugh Nibley hinted that Laman and Lemuel may have had such ties (see his discussion of the Laban incident in High Nibley, Lehi in the Desert, The World of the Jaredites,There Were Jaredites, 91-99). Nephi noted that they did not believe their father's prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem "and they were like unto the Jews who were at Jerusalem, who sought to take away the life of my father" (1 Nephi 2:11-13; see also 1:20; 2:1; 7:14). He also recorded their declaration "that the people who were in the land of Jerusalem were a righteous people" (1 Nephi 17:22). This declaration is reminiscent of the words of Giddianhi, the leader of the Gadianton band nearly six centuries alter, who wrote that his "society and the works thereof I know to be good" (3 Nephi 3:9). [John A. Tvedtnes, "The Elders at Jerusalem in the Days of Lehi," in The Most Correct Book, pp. 72-73] [See the commentary on 1 Nephi 2:1; Alma 51:8]

Step by Step Through the Book of Mormon: A Cultural Commentary