Anachronism in the Book of Mormon?
[Being in Two Places at the Same Time Eight Years Apart]
prepred by Don R. Hender
(Jeremiah 592 B.C.)
~ Nephi WAS NOT in two different places at the same time [Book of Mormon time] ~
(Nephi 584 B.C.)
One of the most glaring anachronism in the
Book of Mormon is when Nephi is in two places at about the same time eight
years apart. Simply in truth this cannot be so. It is impossible. Yet there
it is as presented in today's Book of Mormon. An error? A mistake? Yes. But
just what kind of anachronistic error is it. That is what exactly causes it
to exist in the pages of the Book of Mormon and is there any possible
acceptable explanation which allows the truth of the Book of Mormon to still
be in tact despite of it?
Remenber the title page of the Book of Mormon warns the reader NOT to be
critical of the Word of God because of the mistakes of men and 'becoming
subject to the judgment of Christ at the time of one's appearance at the
Judgment-seat of Christ.'
Now this frequently attacked anachronism is criticized due to the ignorance
of the 'quick and dirty' reader of the Book of Mormon who does not read
completely with comprehension and understanding just what it is that he is
reading. Thus I will explain just how the anachronism was created by the
'well intended mistake or error of men' and how it is easily understood and
resolved to not be an error in the translation of the Book of Mormon and thus
it does NOT prove the Book of Mormon to be 'false'.
In 1 Nephi 7, the sons of Lehi have returned to Jerusalem to seek to obtain
the family and daughters of the family of Ishmael to become the wives of the
bachelor sons of Lehi. In short, the family of Ismael agree to join with
Lehi's party in the wilderness. But on the trek back from Jerusalem to the
wilderness valley of Lemuel, there is a rebellion which involves Laman and
Lemuel and the two sons of Ishmael determining that they do not want to leave
Jerusalem after all. In the course of this 'argument' Nephi reminds his brothers
and the sons of Ishmael that the current state of events in Jerusalem are not
the best set of conditions in support of which the abridged record cites the
fact that even at this very time the Jews have taken the prophet Jeremiah
and placed him in prison (1 Nephi 7:14). A noteable Book of Mormon scholar in
his own right, Apostle Orson Pratt, in crossreferencing the Book of Mormon
record with that of the Bible seems to correctly crossreference this
emprisonment of Jeremiah with that emprisonment recorded in the Bible in
Jeremiah 37:15 (15-18), where it records that the Jewish ruling 'princes' or
'sarim council of seventy' had been wroth with Jeremiah and had placed him
in the prison in the house of Jonathan the scribe. As any Biblical scholar
who is worth his salt will tell you, this was about the time of the eighth
year of the reign of King Zedekiah about the time when the Babylonians had
come to place Jerusalem under seige and the short interim in which they
faced off with the Egyptians in the desert before again returning to their
planned seige of Jerusalem. In Book of Mormon reported time this would have
been about 592 B.C. Now remember according to 1 Nephi 7, Nephi is contending
in the wilderness between Jerusalem and the valley of Lemuel over Laman's,
Lemuel's and the sons of Ismael's desire to return to Jerusalem about 592 B.C.
according to Apostle Orson Pratts Book of Mormon and Bible crossreference
of 1 Nephi 7:14 with Jeremiah 37:15.
Now another notable Book of Mormon scholar, Elder George Reynolds of
the Seventy, had undertaken the laboreous task of calculating a 'suggested'
time line of the Book of Mormon. According to the Book of Mormon, Lehi's
family first depart Jerusalem having been warned of the Lord of the Jewish
leaders', the Sarim, effort to put Lehi to death for preaching that Jerusalem
would be destroyed if the Jews would not repent. The Book of Mormon reports
that Lehi's initial party departed Jerusalem in the first year of the reign
of King Zedekiah which it states was 600 years before the birth of Jesus
Christ. In Elder Reynolds compilation of a suggested time line he simply
takes the scripture found in 1 Nephi 17:4 which states that Lehi's party,
after 8 years of sojourning in the wilderness for a space of 8 years, arrives
at the place they will call Bountiful and where Nephi will build a ship.
Elder Reynolds makes the very simplified calculation of taking 8 years
journey in the wilderness and subtracts it from Lehi's departure date from
Jerusalem of about 600 B.C. Book of Mormon time*. And he arrives with a
suggested date of 592 B.C. for when Lehi's party entered the place they
called Bountiful where Nephi would build a ship.
Now simply stated Nephi cannot be in two places at the same time. Nephi
cannot be between Jerusalem and the valley of Lemuel arguing with his
brothers and the sons of Ishmael about returning to Jerusalem and using the
fact of Jeremiah being imprisoned about the Book of Mormon date* of 592 B.C.
and also be at the location of Bountiful building a ship at about 592 B.C.
as well. That would be a case of an anachronism of time which would not be
possible. That is being at two different places at the same time several
years apart. But notice, it is not the Book of Mormon itself which has
caused this anachronistic situation. It is the placement of Apostle Orson
Pratts crossreference of 1 Nephi 7:14 with Jeremiah 37:15 and Elder George
Reynold's calculation of a 'suggested' Book of Mormon time line schedule
which has cause the anachronism to exist.
Now today's Book of Mormon still contains both, Apostle Orson Pratts
cross reference and Elder George Reynolds suggested time line. And thus there
is an error in the Book of Mormon caused by the fault and mistake of men. In
this case men post the translation of the Book of Mormon and whose efforts
are both still published in today's Book of Mormon yet unresolved. As somewhat
of a Book of Mormon scholar myself, though not of the position of a general
authority such as Apostle Orson Pratt or Elder George Reynolds of the Seventy,
I do have what I think is the correct solution which would resolve this
Book of Mormon 'error' of an anachronism of time.
My solution is to revise Elder George Reynold's suggested time line, at
least that early portion involving Lehi's time spent in the valley of Lemuel
and just when Lehi did journey for 8 years in the wilderness to the location
called Bountiful where Nephi built the ship. Simply Elder Reynolds' quick
accessment that the 8 years travel in the wilderness to Bountiful recorded
in 1 Nephi 17:4 was not from the time Lehi left Jerusalem of 600 B.C., but it
marked the time from when Lehi's party, now joined by Ishmaels family and
after the marriages of the corresponding families' sons and daughters, that is,
it is from the valley of Lemuel to the location of Bountiful that was the 8 years
journey. This would mean that Lehi had lived with his family in the valley of
Lamuel for about 8 years since his departing Jerusalem, about 600 B.C. to
592 B.C. Book of Mormon time. And then after being joined by the family of
Ishmael and the marriage of their sons and daughters, Lehi's now combined
and enlarged party departed the valley of Lemuel about 592 B.C. to about
584 B.C., thus traveling the reported 8 years journey in the wildernes to
arrive at the place called Bountiful from the valley of Lemuel.
That adjustment in Elder Reynolds 'suggested' timeline would resolve the
'anachronistic error' with no fault noted to the Book of Mormon translation,
but wholely assigned to the fault and mistakes of men. The sad fact is that
any well intended student of the Book of Mormon could/would just this easily
resolve the seeming anachronism. Only an ill spirited and mean intending Mormon
hating critic would attempt to use such as this honest mistake of men to
teardown another's religion and faith, especially being so poorly informed
and poorly studied in the Book of Mormon text itself. And thus the real big
loser here is that likely dishonest ill intentioned Mormon critic who just
is set about the work of destroying others with lies and the hatred of his
*Note: Whereas the Book of Mormon places the first year of the
reign of Zedekiah to be about 600 B.C., there is about a 3 year difference
with the 'calculated' time schedules of men who place that date about 597 B.C.
Thus note is made that it is the Book of Mormon given dates which are used
here in speaking of the supposed Book of Mormon Anachronism rather than the
dates of men so assigned to the events of the Bible. A three year difference
in the scheme of such calendar developments and adjustments and the accountings
of error prone human men is not worth the effort to investigate this
diffence further other than to merely note it as having been given.
Rev. 24 May 2014