First Nephi 1:4 in the BkM declares that Nephi’s father was a Jerusalem resident all of his days. The story begins at the commencement of the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah, and we have considered some of the events surrounding the beginning of Zedekiah’s reign in Jerusalem from II Kings 24:10-17 in the Bible. This same record will prove that Lehi, Nephi’s alleged father, did not exist in Jerusalem at that time either. The prophecies of Jeremiah will also prove Lehi’s non-existence in the setting that Joseph Smith recorded. This information becomes very important when we consider in chapter twenty-three that the whole BkM depends upon Lehi’s existence. If Lehi did not exist as the book of I Nephi records, then he can have had no children and the record of their history called the BkM cannot be true. Let’s begin by considering that Lehi would have been deported to Babylon just prior to Zedekiah’s appointment as king and therefore could not have existed in Jerusalem at the commencement of the first year of reign of Zedekiah as I Nephi 1:4 states.
The vague terms â€˜all manner of riches’ and â€˜exceedingly great’ leave readers to question the exact amount of gold, silver, and precious things Lehi and his family supposedly owned in Jerusalem at that time. Considering that four brothers carried the treasures, and Nephi who was the youngest of the four no small person himself, one can picture a fair amount.
In chapter seventeen we will discover that there could have been no gold, silver, and precious things left in Jerusalem for the brothers to retrieve. The records of the Prophet Jeremiah will show that God himself had appointed all of the treasures of Jerusalem to be taken by Nebuchadnezzar. These prophecies were fulfilled when Nebuchadnezzar dethroned Jehoiachin, appointed Zedekiah as king of Judah, and deported 10,000 residents of Jerusalem to Babylon.
As wealthy Jerusalem residents Lehi and his family would have been deported to Babylon following the siege Nebuchadnezzar had just laid against Jerusalem. The Bible record seen in II Kings 24:14 states:
If only the poorest sort of the people of the land remained when Zedekiah became the king of Judah as the above verse indicates, then Lehi and his wealthy family could not have existed in Jerusalem during the year following as I Nephi 1:4 states. Chapters one through twenty of the book of Jeremiah will also confirm this fact. If Lehi did not exist in Jerusalem when and where the book of I Nephi states, then the history recorded by the fictitious writer Nephi cannot be true. If Lehi and Nephi were only storybook characters, then the whole BkM, which depends upon their having existed where and when recorded, proves to be merely a fiction novel.
Lehi is the second person in the BkM to be discovered to have never truly existed. Let’s consider the third person that II Kings 24:10-17 in the Bible eliminates from Smith’s story as having never been a true resident in Jerusalem when stated.
#23 1 Nephi 1:6-14, BkM
#24 1 Nephi 2:4, BkM
#26 1 Nephi 2:11, BkM
#27 1 Nephi 3:16, BkM
#28 1 Nephi 3:22-25, BkM