“Nephi and Lehi Did Proceed from Thence to Go to the Land of Nephi”

Brant Gardner

From the land of Zarahemla, Nephi and Lehi go deep into more traditional Lamanite territory, the ancestral land of the Nephites, the land of Nephi. Despite the ancestral ties to the land of Nephi, it has not been under Nephite control for almost two hundred years at this point. We are not told why they take this step to move into the heart of Lamanite territory, but we may speculate that the process of remembering their names and heritage pointed them in that direction. Certainly their success among the Lamanites in the land of Zarahemla would encourage them.

The reception in the land of Nephi is different from the land of Zarahemla, and perhaps further highlights the probable mixed heritage in the land of Zarahemla. Nephi and Lehi appear to be able to move freely through the land of Zarahemla, even though it was under Lamanite political control. When they move into the land of Nephi, they are captured and imprisioned. It is probable that the land of Zarahemla was more tolerant precisely because of the mixed nature of the people in that land. Once again, it is most probable that the government had changed without removing most of the resident farming population. That population would still be favorable to a Nephite passing through.

Multidimensional Commentary on the Book of Mormon