“The City of Lehi-Nephi”

Alan C. Miner

It is interesting that in the narrative text, the city where Zeniff and his followers decided to return to is sometimes called Lehi-Nephi (Mosiah 7:1-3, 21; 9:6, 8) and sometimes called Nephi (Mosiah 20:3; 21:1, 12). According to John Tvedtnes, it is possible that the Lamanites who had moved into the city following Mosiah's departure changed the name to Lehi, not wanting to commemorate the name of the hated Nephi. But the Nephites continued to call it Nephi, though they often merged the Lamanite and Nephite names in the form Lehi-Nephi. Zeniff readily convinced the Lamanite king to move his people out of the cities of Lehi-Nephi and to allow the newly arrived Nephites to settle in their place (Mosiah 9:6-7). One might wonder why the Lamanites would so readily desert their houses and lands. The answer probably lies in the fact that they were still principally a nomadic people (Enos 1:20; Alma 22:28). They had evidently not kept the former Nephite cities in repair, for Zeniff's people were obligated "to build buildings, and to repair the walls of the city, yea, even the walls of the city of Lehi-Nephi, and the city of Shilom" (Mosiah 9:8). [John A. Tvedtnes, "Contents of the 116 Lost Pages and the Large Plates," in The Most Correct Book, pp. 45-46]

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